Posts Tagged ‘Consumer Brands’

If you don’t have something nice to say

June 7, 2013

If you read this blog, you know how it tickles me when consumer brands go negative.

Microsoft if you recall is also up with an ad against Google, seems like they’ve decided the best strategy is if you can’t say something nice about your product, just go negative against the other guy.  I was less than enthused about their attack on Google. This one play better. It’s what I would call a cute ad, generally enjoyable, but not breathtaking. It’s the kind of ad that’s amusing, but does it actually sell products?

In addition, Apple bashing has become so de rigueur, that the ad feels a little too trite or hackneyed.

Along the same lines is this ad for a Windows 8 phone:

Funny? Yes.

Memorable? Yes.

Effective? Huh.

I think they do a good job trying to tap into the meme that Apple and Samung are slugging it out, but I’m not sure their conclusion is effective. Thought in this ad, like the previous one I don’t know if I can put my finger on exactly why not.

At the end of the day, I guess neither ad creates a hole in my knowledge to fill. They’re amusing, but don’t necessarily get me interested in the product they’re trying to sell. Maybe it’s they lack credibility — Windows and Mircosoft is just a known entity that it’s hard to re-create your image, when it’s crafted in cement. In other words, it’s not just my opinion of Apple (or Samsung or google) you have to change, but it’s my opinion of Microsoft you have to change as well. And maybe not as well, maybe you have to change what I think of Microsoft (and windows) before they can go negative and change my opinion of other brands in the market place.

One of the greatest threats in a multi-party campaign is that the two front runners beat each other up so much, it leaves an opening for the underdog to sneak through. It seems that Microsoft (playing the part of the 800 lb underdog) is trying to do just that, I’m just not sure these ads are the best way to accomplish that goal.

 

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You call this negative?

April 15, 2013

For followers of this blog, you know I love it when consumer brands go negative:

1. It tickles me because many traditional advertisers have a holier than thou attitude towards negative advertising,

2. and it’s always interesting to see their takes on negative ads. Some like Apple do it very very well, others like Direct TV and Dish, eh not so much.

Mircosoft is the latest to join the negative ad bandwagon. They have a whole “don’t get scroggled campaign” which generally goes after google for being less than their vaunted “do no evil” policy. The appoach is interesting because previously they tried to show how their search engine Bing was superior. I guess that campaign wasn’t so successful so Microsfot decided they would (horrow) go negative.

So is their negative campaign any better than their positive one (which sucked)?

Wow, you get two ads for the price of one.

Ad One is two real people conversing casually… expect their spouting Bing talking points. These ads work to the extent that the acting and diologue sound authentic and real. This ad fails in that respect… fails pretty miserably. The acting is stiff, but maybe that’s cause the dialogue sounds more like they’re reading from a memo. Seriously Microsoft this is the best you can do?

Ad two is a ponteially interesting concept, having these goofy Internet type people, intereacting with the two actors because they know so much about him. I think the ad would have been better served moving full force with this concept, rather than trying to balance the two concept. It has potential for humor and more critically potential to show the viewer what’s wrong with Google, rather than telling them via awkward talking points.

This is almost a parody of a negative ad, and it’s neither this nor that. Not funny enough to be interesting and not pointed enough to make it’s point with force.  Without this sounding too snarky it feels like a pollster’s ad, all message but poor execution.

Cats and Dogs, Coke and Pepsi

August 4, 2011

I know I’ve said it before, but I love it when consumer brands go negative. First, it serves as an important signal to people who claim only political ads play in the mud and bemoan negative ads, that negative ads are all around us. Secondly, it’s usually an interesting to see the approach that consumer brands take as they go after each other — often to less effect than negative political ads.

Here are two ads for Pepsi going directly after Coke:

What I find interesting about the approach of these ads is that they aren’t taking on Coke on the “issues” or the “facts.” There is no price comparison or taste comparison here, these ads are making a purely emotional appeal.  “Summer time is pepsi time.”

I just started reading a promising book, “Storytelling: Branding in Practice,” and the author makes the following point, which puts the Pepsi approach into an eye opening context:

“The brand story gradually becomes synonymous with how we define ourselves as individuals and the products become the symbols that we use to tell the story our ourselves.” 

These pepsi ads are trying to tell a story about the brand that is Pepsi.

Pepsi = fun, partying, summer, hip. If you identify with those qualities or want to identify with those qualities, then you ought to be drinking Pepsi, just like Santa and our friend the polar bear. Pepsi goes after Coke by directly trying to redefine their own symbols (Santa and the polar bear), by showing them crossing the line for Pepsi it makes it ok for “you” to cross that line too, it also suggests that coke is on the other side of the hip/fun/cool line.

What does Summer represent? A break from school or responsibilities, a time to let lose, have an adventure, to live life. If you want to embody those qualities drink Pepsi,  or maybe more poignantly if you think you’re a fun, hip, cool person and want others to see you that way, you better be drinking Pepsi.

While I appreciate the jab at Coke in this way, and I’m sure it has created a lot of buzz, I’m not sure if it’s an effective attack. Much like the McCain “Celebrity Ad” reinforced Obama’s message as it sought to undermine it, and was ultimately ineffective for that reason, these ads seek to subvert the strength of it’s opponent, but I think it actually reinforces it. Sure Santa and the Polar Bear switch to Pepsi, but we all know they belong to Coke, and frankly the execution of the ads, doesn’t really make me (though maybe the younger viewers it was intended to reach have a different reaction) believe the switch. It feels all too forced and contrived.


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