May 2, 2012, 8:21 p.m. by BSUR
Opinion: Stein Janssen BSUR AmsterdamBrands without a soul will never live in the hearts of people
Opinion: Stein Janssen BSUR Amsterdam
Brands without a soul will never live in the hearts of people:
Why mentality driven communication beats campaign concept-driven advertising.
Goosebumps, shivers, and a warm, instant liking for one of the of the driest, umbrella brands around: P&G. Although I’m not a mum, nor do I have kids, the campaign for the 2012 Olympics got under my skin right away. Why’s that? Sure, it is beautifully crafted-- touching scenes, great build up and heartrending music. A first class tear-jerker! But is that really it? Is it just nice in its formula?
I think this tribute to mothers is so good because it suddenly gives P&G a reason for being. Now, for the first time P&G has a meaning, other than just being a signature on a product with a brand name of its own. This is what they’re here for; they are doing what they are doing, and they are who they are for the sake of all mothers.
Okay, I might let myself get carried away a bit by the sweet singing of W+K, but that aside, I believe that in essence I am touched by this campaign not only because of its play on emotions, but also because it gives P&G a mentality. With this tribute, they stick out—they are showing what they really stand for. And that suddenly makes it all the more real--it gives P&G a soul. And for the record, I don’t think that’s just me being naïve.
Brands lacking a soul tend to miss a progressive story in their communications. They work with quarterly or seasonal campaigns, based on a new product, a consumer insight or changes in the market. Come to think of it - how many new products can you remember that were more than just cosmetic innovations of what was already around (day and night toothpaste - are you serious?).
And yes, campaign concepts based on insights are relevant at the time, but they don’t pay into the brand in the longer term. Because there is no bigger story, no red thread. The origin of this type of advertising lies in responding to external factors. Of course, we sometimes like it as it is funny or provocative, but these ads are so often interchangeable. The reason for that is: it doesn’t come from within the brand.
The moment any given brand starts formulating an authentic mentality, it gives them a unique position. Suddenly they show what it is they believe in, what it is they stand for. And the beauty is, consumers don’t have to agree with that mentality to still respect and feel for a brand because it dares to take a position; having a mentality gives a brand a soul.
If this mentality is the basis and guide of all behaviour, everything a brand says or does instantly becomes meaningful communication; nicely tied together, as it becomes a manifestation of the brand mentality. You suddenly see the bigger picture. My perception of P&G has changed. They don’t need to tell me they are making good products—it’s obvious: they are doing it for mums; of course their products are good…
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