I’ve worked on branding projects for companies that have a diverse product offering, and it’s a real challenge to come up with a way to bring everything together under one succinct tagline that has any meaning.
That’s why I’ve liked GE for some time. They came out with their “Imagination at Work” tagline, and it’s done a great job of describing the proposition of the GE brand. This video is a pretty recent brand awareness spot that explains the GE brand in the simplest of terms.
This is a great spot from Nike that is, in typical Nike fashion, tremendously inspirational. Not many brands can build clear, aspirational brand values like Nike can. This is a great example of how they do it.
This bus ad for the VW Golf makes a clever use of the media to engage the audience’s participation in the message. This is the kind of work the makes ad people say “I wish my clients let me do stuff like that.” The ad reads, “A Golf is up to 10% cheaper to run over 3 years than the competition. It’s true, no need to shake your head.”
I won’t comment on how these commercials impact the Ameriquest brand; they’re several years old and require a lot more context to fully appreciate. But it’s clear that these would have been really fun for the ad agency to produce, and they do a good job of providing entertainment in exchange for the commercial message.
While advertisers like Skittles have employed the method (successfully) for years, I think Old Spice kicked off a fad amongst ad agency creatives: they all seem to love the idea of the bizarre storyline in their ads. The worst offender, I think, is Dairy Queen, who doesn’t seem to understand the how or why of this method of storytelling, but instead comes off like a 4 year old kid try to tell a dirty joke they don’t quite get.
Vivident does a good job of tying the concept back into their brand promise to make the whole effort worthwhile.
Terry O’Reilly talks often about the implicit agreement that exists in advertising: viewing an ad is payment for entertainment. Put another way, advertisers are responsible for entertaining the audience they advertise to.
H2Oh! shows that they understand this reciprocation in this ad. This is the kind of work that the audience will actively seeks out. It’s unfortunate that we rarely see this much effort put into entertainment outside of the Superbowl.
One last thought: notice that you’re not hit over the head with the product placement. The soda makes subtle appearances throughout the spot, and each one feels natural.
I talk about lies in marketing often—probably because I find them so offensive. It’s a little bit like hating garbage, though: It’s not hard to find these things offensive.
I received this voicemail the other day. It is (for lack of a better word) a scam. I’ve been building websites and involved in search engine listings since 1996; I know how search engines work. The things said in this voicemail range from misleading to outright false. It sounds pretty convincing, however, and if I didn’t know better, I could probably be convinced to part with some money for this snake oil.
This reminds me of the Domain Registry of Canada, a similar operation that relies on misleading marketing and half-truths for its business model. I won’t get into its operation here, but if you Google “Domain Registry of Canada scam,” you’ll turn up plenty of write-ups.
This picture—which is a hoax—has been making the rounds on Twitter lately. Brandchannel has a great write-up on this situation. Aside from the content itself being ridiculous (At the very least, why would McDonald’s alienate a large segment of the audience like that?), the phone number shown at the bottom is for the KFC headquarters.
What I find interesting about this is why people take it seriously. The main reason is that we tend to suspend disbelief when we see things like this online. We assume that someone, somewhere, has taken the time to verify this. We assume that because it exists, it must be true.
The other reason this works is that it looks legitimate:
The typeface looks correct.
Everything is lined up properly (with nothing centre-aligned).
The language sounds like it came out of a head office.
In fact, the only visual clues that suggest that this isn’t legit are the masking tape sloppily tacking the sign up and the odd margins (especially on the right side of the sign).
I’ve found that you don’t have to be a designer or a marketer to be pretty savvy about what looks like legitimate communication. People are very good at sensing when things just don’t look right, at least at a very low level. This is why the email scams are appearing more and more “legitimate” nowadays. It is also why it’s so important for your collateral to be designed to reflect your brand’s promise: your audience can sense when your materials don’t reflect your message.