Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Mean something

Gone are the days where you can get consumers to buy into your brand long-term just by showing them a funny ad, pulling a great PR stunt, or having your tweet go viral.

People are fast becoming more self-aware: they look after themselves better, eat clean, train dirty, prioritise, sacrifice, budget, experience, live, travel, learn... they want a full, meaningful existence.
They know what's important to them, so it's easy to block out the constant noise of brands who aren't relevant to their lifestyle. Too many brands complicate our lives and it can cause people to "shut down" in the face of too many options.

"Brits would not care if 94% of brands disappeared... and people believe only 3% of brands improve their quality of life."
- Havas Media: Meaningful Brands Index

So your brand jumps on relevant events - great! But is your brand actually relevant to consumers' lives? No? Then who gives a shit. You've risen awareness, but haven't given them a reason to buy your product forever and ever... which is the point, right?

Brands that stand out now, and the ones that have longevity, are the ones that continuously develop their products and brand; they notice the change in consumer's attitudes and needs, and adapt.

Here are several examples of brands who I think listen to consumer's lifestyle requirements.

Unilever set out its 10 year Sustainable Living plan back in 2010, which included targets such as halving its environmental footprint and making 100% of its agricultural raw materials sustainably sourced. Sales from their environmentally friendly brands, Ben and Jerry's and Dove, accounted for half of company's growth last year.

Special K

Special K are moving away from their usual buxom brunette in a red bikini role model, and have introduced Tess Daly to their campaigns.

By using a "normal, working mum" who balances work and home life, they hope to appeal to a more modern female audience. Evolving from their previous 'diet and restriction' point of view, they're now promoting 'eating healthy for a healthy shape'.
They are also introducing 3 new products that reflect the current trends; protein, superfoods and vitamins.


Big fan of these ads for Wholefoods who promote that eating home-grown, organic food can taste and make you feel good. A very aspirational approach, which fits well with people's increasingly holistic outlook on life.

This is what will make a brand stand out from the crowd - showing that you're listening by offering them something that fits with what they already want in life, rather than trying to convince them that they still need your old, outdated product which isn't relevant to them any more.

In the end, it comes down to earning consumers' trust. If you don't listen to them, why should they listen to you?

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Oasis: was honesty the best policy?

I first saw this ad on Wednesday.

My initial thought process went like: 'Oooh honest... Mildly amusing... Doesn't make me thirsty...Lazy... Annoying... Who is that even aimed at? Would that sell Oasis?',

I immediately sent it to marketing colleagues and ad friends to get their opinions. 

The general consensus from marketers was, 'Is that funny for the consumer? Who is the consumer? Why would they buy Oasis from that? Seems lazy.'
My ad friends were slightly more accepting; ''Honesty is a refreshing's got us talking about it so job done in terms of awareness... love it, it's different."
Typical - marketers think consumer first, advertisers think attention-grabbing first.

My main bugbear with this ad is the visual. You're trying to trigger thirst for consumers, so why would you go for a cartoon image over something like this?

Regardless of whether you would drink any of the above, you'd have to admit that showing the refreshing ice cold liquid in a condensed glass will trigger your thirst a hell of a lot more than a cartoon blob. And, even though Oasis make a joke out of it, they do ultimately have to sell the product, so they could've made it work harder for them.
RTD's (ready to drink) sales soar in the summer time, so why not make the product look as incredibly tempting as possible?

In an attempt to not be biased, I decided to ask some non-marketers and non-advertisers their opinion.
"It's okay, I wouldn't buy it. I don't drink that type of drink anyway, but it doesn't entice me - I'm not worried about their sales targets!" - f, 56
"Pretty funny and to the point, but I'm not one to buy due to an advert - more just trial and error to see what I like" - m, 29

When reading up about the campaign I found out that Oasis are trying to target teenagers, the new "centennials", "generation Z". They created this laid back, give-a-fuck, attitude to connect to this target group "because they want brands to be transparent, honest and communicate their values.".... I'm sorry, but Oasis' values aren't really coming through here. And they are forgetting that that generation are pelted with "cool ads" every day. They are savvy to it and they know your game. And they will be the quickest to jump on your brand with crushing criticism unless you can offer them something newer, faster, funnier, fresher, or that's beneficial to their lives.

To end, I thought maybe it would be best to ask someone who the ad is actually aimed at. 
Here is a quick convo I had with my 18 year old cousin - Oasis' target consumer.