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New Gillette ad: Right message. Wrong brand.

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Gillette

The new Gillette ad has sparked quite a stir to start the year. As a marketer, I’ve been in the position where you make what you think is an excellent piece of work, and wait for the consumer to say it works. The reality of any risk you take is that some work, some don’t. Twelve million views are great, but 673,000 giving it a thumbs down on Youtube, and many of the negative comments floating around Youtube and Twitter.

To my fellow men: make no mistake, this is the right message. Maybe you shouldn’t have been the target. If it was intended to inspire change in men, it might not be working.

Would this same message work better if women were the target? Would men have maybe listened a bit better if the message said “hey women, you deserve better”

Purpose is never a strategy

I see people putting “this is a great example of a brand purpose strategy.” What is a brand purpose strategy? That sounds a little shallow. You can’t have a brand purpose strategy if you don’t have a brand purpose. Moreover, you can’t just make up a brand purpose that wasn’t your brand purpose last year, or fifty years ago, or it will feel fake.

Last year, Pepsi put out the infamous Kendell Jenner “save the world” ad, that flopped. It likely would have been fine if it was another brand. However, with Pepsi, it felt fake. For the past 50 years, Pepsi has used Michael Jackson, Britney Spears and Beyonce to “get people to dance and smile” and all of a sudden, they want to save the world?

Gillette has spent the past 50 years adding one more blade every couple of years, putting rubber in certain places on the blade and calling it a system. While they have “The best, a man can be” I’ve always thought that tagline was a bit of a cheesy 1970s, left over from the disco era. For all those purpose-loving folks; be careful, because if all you have is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail. Gillette is a product-driven brand. Everything they do is about technology. You can’t just tack on a brand purpose to a product-driven brand and hope it works.

A brand is not what you say it is. A brand is what your consumer says it is.

Even if you want it to be, that doesn’t make it so.

To paraphrase the CEO of Patagonia, one of the most purpose-driven brands around: “Purpose is never a strategy.”

If it’s just a strategy, you make brand purpose seem very shallow.

Have a look at the new Gillette ad: 

If the goal of the ad was to inspire men to be better versions of themselves, it’s not working. The majority of the backlash seems to be coming from men. I’ve worked on many brands focused on inspiring change, whether to quit smoking or adopt a new health routine. You cannot lecture, guilt or tell people to change. It would be best if you used a very gentle helping hand to move people through the stages of change. Even then, you have to expect resistance.

Maybe the brand is wrong. Perhaps the target is wrong.

Maybe this message should be towards women, not men. Use the same theme, same storyline, but instead of “you can be better” it could be “you deserve better.” If this was for Olay or Always, would men resist the idea as much? Could the message get out there for men to see, almost without the ability to challenge.

I love the #LikeAGirl campaign for Always.

The right message for our times. The right message for both women and men to hear. However, would this same ad have worked better on a different brand?

The bad news is about a month from now, and the financial-driven P&G will force the team to change up the brand message.

As a man, let’s not let Piers Morgan or the Twitter Cowboys speak for us. We actually should be better.

Don’t give up. This type of message is needed. Maybe another brand can take the torch and carry it.

This is what I wrote 3-4 years ago when Always launched #LikeAGirl

Always “Like a Girl” ad will re-define stereotypes

To learn more about this type of thinking, you should explore my new book, Beloved Brands.

With Beloved Brands, you will learn everything you need to know so you can build a brand that your consumers will love.

You will learn how to think strategically, define your brand with a positioning statement and a brand idea, write a brand plan everyone can follow, inspire smart and creative marketing execution and analyze the performance of your brand through a deep-dive business review.

Beloved Brands book

To order the e-book version or the paperback version from Amazon, click on this link: https://lnkd.in/eF-mYPe

If you use Kobo, you can find Beloved Brands in over 30 markets using this link: https://lnkd.in/g7SzEh4

And if you are in India, you can use this link to order: https://lnkd.in/gDA5Aiw

Beloved Brands: Who are we?

At Beloved Brands, our purpose is to help brands find a new pathway to growth. We believe that the more love your brand can generate with your most cherished consumers, the more power, growth, and profitability you will realize in the future.

We think the best solutions are likely inside you already, but struggle to come out. Our unique playbook tools are the backbone of our workshops. We bring our challenging voice to help you make decisions and refine every potential idea.

We start by defining a brand positioning statement, outlining the desired target, consumer benefits and support points the brand will stand behind. And then, we build a brand idea that is simple and unique enough to stand out in the clutter of the market, motivating enough to get consumers to engage, buy and build a loyal following with your brand.

We will help you write a strategic brand plan for the future, to get everyone in your organization to follow. It starts with an inspiring vision that pushes your team to imagine a brighter future. We use our strategic thinking tools to help you make strategic choices on where to allocate your brand’s limited resources.

Our brand playbook methodology will challenge you to unlock future growth for your brand

  1. Our deep-dive assessment process will give you the knowledge of the issues facing your brand, so you can build a smart plan to unleash future growth.
  2. Find a winning brand positioning statement that motivates consumers to buy, and gives you a competitive advantage to drive future growth.
  3. Create a brand idea to capture the minds and hearts of consumers, while inspiring and focusing your team to deliver greatness on the brand’s behalf.
  4. Build a brand plan to help you make smart focused decisions, so you can organize, steer, and inspire your team towards higher growth.
  5. Advise on advertising, to find creative that drives branded breakthrough and use a motivating messaging to set up long-term brand growth.
  6. Our brand training program will make your brand leaders smarter, so you have added confidence in their performance to drive brand growth.

To learn more about our coaching, click on this link: Beloved Brands Strategic Coaching

To learn more about our training programs, click on this link: Beloved Brands Training

If you need our help, email me at graham@beloved-brands.com or call me at 416 885 3911

You have my personal promise to help you solve your brand building challenges. I will give you new thinking, so you can unlock future growth for your brand.

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