Some might chalk it up to being in a part of the United States where there is no connectivity, so printed materials are all you’ve got. I chalk my excitement about an ad read while camping in New York up to actually seeing a compelling bit of copy with solid layout and even better placement. In a time where we seem to either find too much copy and imagery cluttering ads, or the other extreme of oversimplified condensing to a hash-tagged word, the value in good copy is often ignored. That unconnected time in the woods brought me to an ad pitching a British watch made for an American bomber squadron with simple, entertaining and compelling copy. It stands as a timeless example of good copy, solid design and perfect placement.
What is striking is that it seems like we’re just stepping back in time. With a strong balance between negative space, words and imagery, it maintains a feel that is consistent with the brand and this specific product. The British watch brand, Bremont, does have a little fun with the topic that is – no pun intended – timely regarding revealing too much information. They astutely convey very little beyond some basic facts and the influence of the B-2 bomber.
The ad is somewhat of a throwback in that it doesn’t provide a url, hash-tag, QR code or other gadget – probably because their consumer knows where to find them.
Media placement plays a huge part in this ad as well. Bremont’s ad was in the July issue of Wallpaper magazine – a perfect placement for their messaging and target.
The interesting thing is that the placement was in their July edition, meaning it might have come out in late May or early June – yet the ALT1-B2 was released in April and you can barely find it on their site, let alone in a store.
Which brings us back to their use of copy, design and placement… Sometimes its not about the product that’s being shown. All of these elements – when used properly – go beyond product and begin to convey brand. And that is when it becomes timeless.
Posted in Core
Tagged Advertising, ALT1-B2, Branding, Bremont, Copy, Design, Elegant, Marketing, Media Placement, Product, SImplicity, Timeless, Watch
Upon seeing the horrible replays of the horrible event during last week’s bombing of the Boston Marathon, I couldn’t help but notice the surrounding banners and logos that seared themselves into my memory. Though neither John Hancock Financial nor Adidas had absolutely anything to do with the disastrous events, those images of banners and apparel logos are forever connected. Of course, the idea of this happening at a sponsored event never crossed the marketers minds – and hopefully it never will – to dictate whether they should participate. But, what if it did? Would brands evaluate terror risk before sponsoring an event for fear of the collateral damage of repeated impressions shrouded in tragedy?
I realize that, in the larger scheme of things surrounding tragic events, this topic is irrelevant and possibly tasteless, but it is absolutely real. The question is whether the represented brands do anything in response specifically because of the connection, or do they shy away from continuing the connection for fear of getting into a no-win situation.
To illustrate that thin line between good and opportunistic – what if Adidas were to do a campaign to raise funds for the survivors or even promote the fact that they might provide funding toward prosthesis for those who lost limbs? Either one is worthy at its core ( Adidas is already doing a fundraising campaign and John Hancock seeded One Fund with $1Million) but it becomes a matter of how one chooses to promote either one. Again, is the goal to place your brand in a positive light, in light of the fact that it was so connected to negative? Or, is the goal to do good and the positive light will be a byproduct and not the goal… It really comes down to intention and messaging.
In a little side note, beyond what Adidas is doing in response, Nike actually had to remove Boston Massacre products that they had already created in celebration of the storied NY Yankees/Boston Red Sox rivalry. In Nike’s case, they weren’t even involved in the marathon, but were still affected by a branding and taste issue.
My hope is that Adidas, John Hancock and even New Balance can afford to do even more to help those most deeply affected by the bombing. Of course, it can’t be expected. But, if Adidas provided apparel or prosthesis for the injured; NB provided apparel or prosthesis for the injured and Hancock provided financial resources for the injured and the families of the deceased that would be very cool.
In this case, who knows if it will be more financial support to the grieving and the survivors beyond what we’re already seeing. In the spirit of the event, the city and the aftermath, all of the sponsors will most likely come out even stronger next year. And, hopefully, nobody will make the wrong move and be conveyed as opportunistic or scared.
And even more hopefully, this kind of tragedy will never happen again and the question will not arise for brands in considering their sponsorship of events and whether there might ever be a negative connection with their brand.
Posted in Ruminations
Tagged Adidas, Bombings, Boston Marathon, Branding, Campaign, Collateral Damage, Events, Fund Raising, John Hancock Financial, New Balance, Sponsorship, Strategy, Tragedy
UK grocery company, Tesco, has decided to pull out of their American Invasion and take a $1.8 Billion write-off (with the favorable UK exchange rate – only 1.2 Billion Pounds – it still doesn’t soften the blow of the astounding loss.) Tiffany Hsu’s LA Times article points to Tesco’s misunderstanding of what the public wants and the dire consequences of trying to compete with the Wal-Marts, Costcos, Trader Joes and the like. If Tesco believed those were their competition, their analysis was very off – regardless of recession or not. Tesco saw themselves as something they were not – and in America, it’s foolish to think that customers will save bad branding by finding the hidden gems behind whatever facade is presented. Any way you slice it, its unfortunate that Tesco’s invasion of the American market was dead on arrival.
It had a lot more to do with branding, design and store locations than what Americans do or do not want. Admittedly, my exposure is limited to their locations in the Los Angeles market, but it quickly became very clear how Fresh & Easy was positioned counter-intuitively and ineffectively.
The first store I visited was a huge space on heavily trafficked tourist destination Hollywood Boulevard. It was large, dark and depressing. Another location was also in midtown on a heavily trafficked car artery with no abundance of parking spaces. And the last one I was in a week ago was probably the best model of what they should have been doing all along – a small, bright and colorful store in a heavy pedestrian area near USC.
Beyond their questionable locations and early dreary decor, they should have positioned themselves as the perfect last minute spot to pick up quality prepared meals and sundry items on the way to work or on the way home for dinner. They couldn’t/shouldn’t have felt they could compete with the established big markets.
The article compares them to a Wal-Mart, but Tesco should have positioned Fresh & Healthy as more akin to a refined and healthier 7-11 – like their own Tesco Metros back in the UK. That healthy option would have been the right aspirational touch – especially in Southern California.
Fresh & Easy might have worked if they had stronger positioning. It seems they were even unclear on who they were meant to be. Because of that, their marketing never worked. It’s a shame, because if you look at their location near USC, they could have focused on smaller spaces in higher foot-traffic (or more easily accessible) areas to create something akin to the Marks & Spencer Simply Food product in the UK. Another similarity to M&S in the USC location was the automated tellers that allowed staff to be focused around the store to help out in ways you certainly don’t see in a 7-11.
The promise of getting in and out of a market in five minutes with inexpensive essentials and healthy prepared meals would have been something that might have made it a success.
Short of that, its another example of a move that a company should have never ventured in the first place. Or, its an example of a good thing that never had the required clarity and forethought to drive success. Fresh & Easy is Dead. Long Live Fresh & Easy.
Posted in Ruminations
Tagged Branding, Communication, Competition, Consumers, Costco, Fresh & Easy, Grocery Stores, Identity, LA Times, Location, M&S, Marketing, Markets, Marks & Spencer's Simply Food, Research, Strategy, Tesco, Tiffany Hsu, Trader Joe's, UK, USC, Wal-Mart