I'm intrigued by the comms. strategy of Cadbury Dairy Milk (CDM) over the last 12 months. They've separated their sausage (product) and sizzle (emotional) messages, using different media channels for each. And each of these parts of the campaign poses some interesting questions. We'll look at the sizzle campaign today. And then the sausage bit in the next post.
1. Sizzle - That advert: sponsored entertainment, or business building campaign? The emotional component of CDM is, of course, the bloody drumming gorilla. Just in case you've been on a dessert island (with no wireless access) for the last year, the gorilla in question sniffs the air in anticipation before bursting into a an explosion of drumming, to the sounds of "In the air tonight" by Genesis. You can watch it here, or click below:
When it came out this ad struck me as a classic example of "sponsored entertainment": very entertaining and watchable, but with no product story. The brand appears at the end as the sponsor, rather than the star of the ad. Indeed, the ad even uses the title "A glass and half full production" (a token mention of the nice product truth of each bar having a glass and a half of milk in it.)
Let's look at 5 ways of assessing the effectiveness of the ad:
a) Viral power: no doubting the potency of the ad as a piece of viral marketing. It got 10 million views on You Tube alone. There are 3,386 comments on You Tube. Impressive stuff. And 70 000 people signed up to Facebook Gorilla Groups (some people really do have too much time on their hands....)
b) Brand equity: this is fascinating. Really. At first or even second viewing you don't get much info on the product. You might not even recall the brandname. But the media hoo-ha was so big that this helped explain the ad to the general public! So, I now understand that the Gorilla's drumming is supposed to be "a visual metaphor for the joy of eating a bar of Cadbury's Dairy Milk".
c) Sales growth: I would love to see some evidence that proves the ad is really responsible for the increased sales of CDM, which is the PR story from Cadbury: 'Dairy Milk sales in the UK were up in the "low double digits" in the wake of the drumming
gorilla advertisements, according to the company's advisers.' This makes a great soundbite, but people in the choc business tell me it has a lot to do with pricing and promotion.
d) Employer branding: no-one talks about this aspect of the Gorilla ad. But I think it has done a lot for the image of Cadbury as a place to work. It has made the company seem more innovative and cutting edge. The CEO, Todd Stitzer even hailed 2007 as "the year of the gorilla". It also did a lot to boost the image of agency Fallon, and the young creative hot-shot behind the ad, Juan Cabral.
e) Campaignability: the last issue is perhaps the most interesting. Was Gorilla a one-hit wonder? Or the start of a big campaign?
The second ad is called "Truck". It also used a 70's/80's track, this time Don't Stop me Now by Queen. This time we have a series of airport vehicles racing down the runway; they look like the trucks from the movie Cars. The agency had a ball. After the super simple Gorilla ad, now we had "a six-night shoot at an airport in Mexico with 140 crew, two 35mm
film cameras, two high-definition cameras and one crash-cam." You can see it here, or click below if you are on the blog:
The new ad is much less effective in viral terms, with less than
200,000 You Tube views when I looked. It is more complex, but less
effective at getting across the joy of anticipation and tasting of the
chocolate. Its less memorable. Here are some of the quotes from the Guardian blog that asked for opinions: "It's all flash and cash."; "This feels like a bit of a misfire"; "A complete flop"; "Nice ad, but I have absolutely no idea what it's supposed to have to do with Cadbury's."
The problem is that because the ad is less viral, it has less impact, and also gets less support from the media to explain what the bloody hell its all about. This suggests that the Gorilla ad was a one-off. In fact, the
Gorilla WAS the idea: the execution was bigger than the brand.
The Cadbury marketing director, Philip Rumbol, told the MediaGuardian section that "We could have created Gorilla 2 and had him playing a trumpet. But that would have been too linear. It has to have a slightly enigmatic quality." But perhaps Gorilla 2 is the only way to go if the idea is to be more than a one-hit wonder?
Check in next time to read about the sausage part of the campaign.
Had some good feedback from Brent on the post last week about "reasons to buy" being better than just "reasons to believe". This post was prompted by the under-whelming claim of Quantas to be "The world's most experienced airline".
Brent picked me up on the time-wasting that could go on from trying to change the meaning of the acronym RTB. Fair point guvnor. He also got me thinking about the real point of the post: what makes a good RTB?
Here are some suggestions:
1. Obvious benefit: In his comment Brent talked about asking
"how obvious the implied benefit?" of an RTB. I think this is key. With a really strong
RTB the benefit should be really obvious. In the Blockbuster Promise of
"Get the film you want, or rent it free next time" the jump
to the benefit of "confidence" is easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy.
In contrast, with Quantas' "the most experienced airline" I don't easily jump anywhere.
2. Ownable: the best RTBs are under-pinned by some unique brand
assets or company competence. Tesco's "1 in front" service (new till
opened if more than 1 person in front of you) required a major
investment in people, training and technology. It was introduced in the
1990's, but further investment has made it even better, and harder to
copy. Last year the company won the Retail Week Customer Service Initiative of the Year award for its use of thermal imaging cameras to improve the prediction of queue lengths!
4. True: seems obvious? Well, its not to L'Oreal. They claimed their Telescopic mascara made your lashes 60% longer, but then stuck false eye lashes on Penelope Cruz in the ad. They then clarified that it made your lashes appear 60% longer.
5. Memorable: using an ownable descriptor to name the RTB can help it stick in the mind. Examples include "The Heavenly Bed" from Westin Hotels and "1-Click" ordering from Amazon.
If you're interested, an earlier post had tips on where to look for brand truths that could make good RTBs.
The new poster advert from Quantas, the Australian airline, got me thinking about "reasons to believe": those truths about a product or service on which you can build a positioning. Now, as Mr Sausage, I am a big, big fan of brand truth. Its at the very heart of our view that the best brands are built on substance not spin. BUT, the Quantas brand truth in their ad left me cold: "Quantas: The world's most experienced airline." Huh?
Does anyone really care that Quantas are the most experienced airline? What is the inferred benefit from this? We've been flying for a long time, so we are good at it, I guess. It left me cold, and gave me no desire to consider Quantas instead of BA on a future trip to Oz.
The only thing it made me think of was a scene in the movie Rainman. Dustin Hoffman, playing a guy with autism, pisses off his brother, played by Tom Cruise, by insisting that the only airline he will fly is Quantas, because "Quantas never crashed".
So, we should perhaps forget about "reasons to believe", and replace them with "reasons to buy".
Here are some good examples of Reasons to Buy:
- Pantene: Pro-Vitamin B5 => unique ingredient for shinier hair
- Apple iPod (at launch): 1000 songs in your pocket => convenience and portability
- Blockbuster Guarantee: rent the movie you want, or get it free next time => confidence, choice
- Singapore girls: unique on-board experience, a taste of Asia in the air
BA: the world's favourite airline => be with the best, must have good service-
- Pret a Manger: made fresh on premises every day => will taste better, and have no artificial crap in it.
- Moleskin notebooks: used by famous artists => I'm a creative type. Or like to think I am.
This is the last of 3 posts reporting back from the Brand Fuel Express. Here we look at some highlights from the session I ran on Core Brand Renovation. This is the topic of brandgym book number 6, which come out in the next few weeks in eBook form on the brand new website "Shoulders of Giants" (SOGiants.com)... more on SOG later...
1. Brand stretching is sexy, but risky: This has been a common theme on the brandgym blog. Regular readers will know about the risks of "brand ego tripping", when companies get too big for their brand boots and stretch into markets where they add little or no added value. Examples include easyGroup, Virgin and Tango. 2. Dwarf products are even worse: these are the tiny new products that manage to survive, but have no chance of becoming big. They are a distraction that steals time, money and resources away from the core business. The neglected core suffers a slow but steady decline.
3. An alternative: grow the core: the other way to grow is less sexy, but can be much better for the bottom line. This way is growing the core business. To do this, you need to be clear about your source of authority: what made you famous in the first place when you launched your core product. Then, the big challenge is to keep refreshing this to keep it relevant, through innovation on the core and communication.
4. Brand it like bugaboo: this brand of high-end baby strollers (1000 Euros a pop) was the star case study of my session. The brand is Dutch, but also has a big business in the UK and USA.
It is one of the coolest brands I have been lucky enough to work on. I am a big fan of product design (hence my appleaddiction), so working on a brand growth project with them earlier this year was a blast.
bugaboo have grown from scratch to an $80million business in under 10 years, and take the leading share of premium strollers in Holland. Here are some of the many things they have done well in growing the core:
- Remember what made you famous: bugaboo have stuck to the core business, without the need to stretch off into bugaboo baby food/high chairs/clothing/etc. a la Virgin. Having a clear idea of what bugaboo is all about is facilitated by the ongoing, hands-on involvement of co-founder and design genius Max. He is the living, breathing incarnation of the bugaboo brand, playing the same role as Steve Jobs at Apple.
- Starts with the sausage: Seeing Max demonstrate the many special features of the bugaboo stroller was one of the highlights of the project I did, and of my brandgym career to date. These features include proper suspension for bumpy urban kerbs, adjustable-height handle and real pneumatic tyres. And the whole product is so well built it lasts for longer than the competition. You can also use a wide range of different coloured fabrics and accessories to personalise your bugaboo.
The visual design features of the brand are also becoming iconic and instantly recognizable, in the same way Apple have done in PCs, MP3 players and phones.
- Plenty of sizzzzle: There is also lots of emotional sizzle in bugaboo for sure. The brand is a fave of celebrities, earning the brand invaluable press coverage. It was also featured in Sex and the City, a key factor in the brand's development in the USA. And there is also a stream of distinctive, stylish communication and lifestyle activation ideas, such as bugaboo day trips (guides to cool cities where you can go strolling with your bugaboo).
- Waves of renovation: The big challenge with renovation is to keep coming with waves of news on the core business to make it better and better, and keep it refreshed. For example bugaboo have improved and upgraded the product range, through the top-end Chameleon, and more accessible, lighter Bee.
So, that's it for the Brand Fuel 24 of 2008... make sure you book your ticket for the 2009 journey, which is set to be even bigger and better!
This is the second post from the Brand Fuel Express high-speed branding event, following on from the first one on The Power of Packaging.
This one is on another subject I'm passionate about: brand storytelling. It was nicely delivered by Bianca Cawthorne, who is ex-Diegeo and now works as a consultant.
Bianca made the case for brands to move beyond conventional product-based communication "(Omo/Persil wash whiter") and emotional communication ("We make you feel like a good mum") to story-telling ("Freedom for kids to get dirty"). The only watch-out I add, as you'd expect, is the need to build this on a strong product. Its the combination of sausage/product and sizzle/story that are the key to sustained success. Some examples of brand stories: - Johnny Walker: "Keep Walking" - Dove: "Campaign for Real Beauty" - Persil/Omo: "Freedom to get dirty"
Bianca drew on the work of Hollywood Screenplay consultant Robert McKee and his seminal tome,"Story". I am also a big fan of his, and the Story book was featured in my series of posts last summer on "10 Books that changed my life". Here are some of my key take-outs from her session:
1. Creating the story Creating a brand story is about making a connection between a brand truth, often anchored in the brand 's heritage, your values/beliefs and an insight about your consumer. In the case of Dove's story about "Campaigning for Real Beauty", the brand had for 50 years being championing simple, honest products in the form of the Dove bar. The brand also had a view that beauty was about "real types, not stereotypes". And there was an insight about (some) women becoming fed up with the artificial and un-attainable beauty portrayed by L'Oreal and the like.
I also liked the six main types of story that Bianca presented, as this can be good stimulation for brand story writing: 1) Overcome the monster (Jaws); 2) The Quest (Field of Dreams); 3) Cinderella; 4) Voyage and Return (Devil Wears Prada); 5) Tragedy (Gladiator); 6) Comedy (Meet the Parents) 2. Telling the story Telling your story requires creativity and craftsmanship. I loved the story Bianca told about one of my fave ads of all time: The Swimmer by Guinness, that I posted on here.
The ad features an old guy trying to swim a circuit faster than it takes a pint of Guinness to pour. Bianca told how the ad tested only averagely in Link Testing. But, rather than give up, the team hired a US screenwriter to craft the ad. He did this by using a voice-over to literally tell the story, and the ad then tested much better.
3. Refreshing the Story A story cannot be static of course. And so you need to work on refreshing it, to keep it relevant. I posted on the way that TV series like Seinfeld manage to do this so well. And of course how we'll all be queuing up to watch the 22nd James Bond movie when it comes out in October!
Last of the 3 posts on Brand Fuel 24 coming up next: Core Brand Renovation.
This is the first of 3 posts on The Brand Fuel Express, the first 24-hour branding event on a high speed train!
It covers the brilliant presentation by Lars Wallentin, who has over 40 years of experience in communication and design with Nestle and a highly entertaining style. I'd wanted to see Lars in action for ages, so it was a real highlight to hook up with him.
Here are some of the key points I took out from his session, that had me nodding my head vigorously in agreement.
Simplify and amplify Strip away all that is not essential from your brand's design. You can then amplify what you have left: the visual essence of your brand. I posted on this during my series of posts with design shop JKR last year, including the example of John West Salmon.
Lars used the Kellogg's Cornflakes pack as an example of how to simplify and amplify your visual essence, a design I have also admired.
If you can't be seen, you can't be bought Simple, but so true. Forget about how creative your design or communication is. Or how well branded it is. If the consumer doesn't see you, they can't buy you. In another JKR-linked post, I talked about how every shopping trip is a series of thirty "1 in a 1000" decisions. For each product a shopper buys, there are another 999 they don't.
Push the brand boundaries
This was my favourite bit of the presentation, and a subject close to my heart. Lars talked about the opportunity to push the brand design boundaries and be really creative with packaging to stand out. He gave the example of Toblerone's gift packs, where the brand name is replaced with a seasonal message. So, this year for Father's Day the packs will say "The Best Dad"
And this isn't just being clever. It makes business sense. According to Kraft “Toblerone Milk was the best performing chocolate gift in the week
leading up to Father’s Day in 2007", so it really seems to work.
I questioned Lars as to whether there weren't too many brands doing this trick now, especially in the UK. His response is that there are still only a few brands that do it right. This involves coming up with a brand idea, not just playing with the pack. He contrasts tow approaches to the Euro 2008 football tournament.
Good - Mars: the brand has changed Mars to "Hopp" in Switzerland, which means something like "Go on the Swiss!' There is a brand idea here, about Mars being giving fans physical and emotional energy to support their national team.
In contrast, he showed this pack of Toffee, another confectionary brand, where a football and Swiss flag had simply been slapped on the pack.
All in all, a truly inspiring session. Do check Lars out if you get the chance.
Before I get on with posts about last week's Brand Fuel Express, I have to squeeze in a quick one on the unveiling of the new 3G iPhone. This was announced yesterday by CEO Steve Jobs at the Mac Developer Conference. What I think is so impressive is not only the amazing product. Its also the launch marketing, that Apple have turned into an artform.
1. Renovation Waves Apple are repeating on the iPhone what they did with the iPod. They launch, and then follow up with wave after wave of new news. On iPhone it was: Wave 1 - May 2007: launch Wave 2 - Jan 2008: 2.0 software with new features Wave 3 - April 2008: 16GB version launchd Wave 4 - July 2009: 3G iPhone
2. Big-bang launch, kept under wraps Apple do an amazing job of creating a firework display of a launch, but keep the whole thing secret. When I checked the Apple site at 6pm UK time, there was not a thing about the new iPhone. And I couldn't find anything on the internet, apart from one lousy, blurred photo of an outer case on a gossip site.
A couple of hours later, after Steve Jobs announcement, and "BANG!". It was all there. 3D photos, the new TV ad, features.
And it was the same orchestration on O2, the UK mobile network partner. 6pm. Rien du tout. 8pm and there teasing you, and asking you to come back the next day.
Which I did of course. And was pleased to see that I can upgrade to the new phone for free.
3. Better and better sausage Don't let anyone tell you Apple and iPhone is about lifestyle and image. Its all about the product design, or sausage. This new phone fixes the main gripes with the first version of the iPhone: - Adding faster 3G capability - Cutting the price: now free on some of the O2 tarrifs - Improving compatability with corporate "push" email, so Crackberry users can now fight back when the IT guys says "iPhone? iDontThinkSo"
And check out some of the facts about how much people like the current iPhone: - 90% customer satisfaction - 98% of iPhone users are browsing the internet - this is a revolution, the first true mobile internet phone - 80% percent are using 10 or more features (how many do you use on your normal phone.. text, call...then?)
I think the combination of an already amazing product, plus these new feautures will give iPhone sales the kick up the arse they need to hit or get close to the target of 10 million phones sold by end 2008 (currently at 6 million).
4. The product slogan Apple have perfected the product slogan. A short and snappy summary of the product features. Like an ad slogan, but for the product. So, the first iPod was "1000 songs in your pocket". The MacBook Air was "Thinnovation". And the new 3G iphone is "Twice as fast. Half the price".
This is more than an ad slogan, as I think they start with the product proposition/vision from Jobs and Ive (head of design). Then they work on how to make it happen.
I'll post again in a month, when I get my hands on my new Apple toy...!
I'm just back from the inaugural Brand Fuel 24. This innovative new event took place over 24 hours on a high-speed train from Amsterdam to Antwerp and back on 5th to 6th June. I was one of the 6 people invited to speak on the train, to a group of senior marketing people from top companies including Heinz, Hi-Speed (Dutch railways), Heineken T and Achmea (leading Dutch insurance company) .
The action-packed 24 hours combined speakers, speed-dating, socialising and “trend-hunting” during a stop-off in Brussels . I would highly recommend booking for next year’s event! It was very cool to see on the departure board your very own train.
I wasn't surprised at all to read in Marketing Week that Danone UK is planning to put the gun to the head of its V energy drink and put it our of its misery.
The latest re-vamp was backed with a pretty hefty £3.3 million campaign by RKCR/Y&R. The idea was that V invigorates the mind. Mmm. Sounds familiar? Isn't that Red Bull, the brand that "gives you wings?"
The demise of V is a good example of how hard it is to make a dent in the share of a dominant brand leader. Dominant means a brand that IS the category. In the UK if you say "energy drink", people think "Red Bull". The brand has a huge 89% market share. And in a world where there is just too much stuff to worry about, brands like Red Bull are a godsend, as they mean there's one less decision to make. -> Energy drink? Red Bull. Bang. In the basket (or in the hand in a garage/convenience store). Next.
[Interesting aside is that V is the leading energy drink in New Zealand, with Red Bull tiny]
To have any chance at all of taking share from a dominant market leader you need a combination of at least 4 things:
1. A decent bit of product/pack "sausage": you need some sort of product or pack innovation to make yourself worth considering. => V lacked any product differentiation [1/10]
2. Bravery to break codes: you also need to be brave enough to break some codes and stand out => V has the same type/shape/size of can as Red Bull. As far as I know, its sold in the same channels [1/10]
3. Loadsamoney: you need some big bucks to fight the big boys. Re-wiring peoples' brains so they think "energy drink?->V" instead of Red Bull is REALLY hard. [2/10]
4. Stamina: its one thing to launch. Its a whole different challenge to keep up the battle for 2, 3, 4 years and longer. Be ready for a long, hard and bloody fight. Energy drinks are just not key for Danone, who is focused on health, especially dairy [1/10] TOTAL 5/40 = No chance
I have to eat at least 1/2 of my words regarding one other brand who took on a dominant brand: Trident taking on Wrigley's in the UK gum market. I commented that Trident's smaller in-store presence was like "putting a tent up in front of a skyscraper" that is the Wrigley's brand blocking.
The 1/2 of my words I'm eating now is that after 18 months they have managed to take an c. 11-15% share of the UK market, which ain't bad. With 18 months worth of learning, let's do the check vs. the new brand criteria above:
1. Product/pack: I didn't give Trident enough credit here. They did have a different pack shape, and a different product format (tabs and liquid filled chews) [7/10]
2. Breaking codes: as mentioned, pack shape was different... and they tried to do some wacky online stuff...but could have been more innovative in the mix [5/10]
3. Loadsamoney: they have spent quite a lot...launch alone was £10 million [6/10]
4. Stamina: what helps Trident is that it is a priority, billion dollar global brand for Cadbury. So, it has a good chance of sustained investment [9/10]
Total score: 27/40
But, the 1/2 of my words I'm sticking to is that i) I still think they will struggle to get a business that is
profitable in the long-term, as they are still small and will now have
to battle it out with a Wrigley's brand backed by the might of Mars,
who are buying it. ii) they still don't have a great and proven mix. The original campaign, "Mastication for the Nation", with a dub poet, didn't work. They are now on a new campaign with a bloke taken off on a surreal taste journey and the endline "Mess with your head". This is better, as it tells a product story. But is it enough?