Ad doesn’t lock in brand

(Re: 'Picture perfect', a story in the Feb. 28 special report on Effectiveness in Newspaper Advertising.) It is right there for all to see. Right across the country. Words right out of their own minds. Zak ('holy shit') Mroueh, associate creative...

(Re: ‘Picture perfect’, a story in the Feb. 28 special report on Effectiveness in Newspaper Advertising.)

It is right there for all to see. Right across the country. Words right out of their own minds. Zak (‘holy shit’) Mroueh, associate creative director at TAXI Advertising in Toronto; Trevor (‘junkyard’) McConnell of Palmer Jarvis DDB in Vancouver; John (‘giant clam’) Farquhar of Young & Rubicam; Ian (‘one idea’) Grais of Rethink, and Michael (‘tight…times’) McLaughlin of BBDO.

In all their talk, as quoted in a recent article by David Todd about ‘fresh ways of saying’, their admission that ‘newspapers are regarded as the junkyard of the ad business and their whining about poor colour reproduction and tight turnaround constraints, there is not one brand-oriented thought among them.

Not Salon, not Selective

and not Colour Shield.

The ad for Salon Selectives Colour Shield shampoo touted as an ad that ‘really pops’ which accompanied the article is a prime example of the generic thinking of which all ad agencies are best at and guilty of (I know, two ending prepositions. Poetic licence; used for emphasis). What a terrible way to treat a great brand idea. Such a waste of space! All this ad does is make a terrible metaphor out of a generic feature/benefit.

Trust a young male award-winning copywriter to come up with this one. Gets across the ‘locks in’ part but totally ignores the brand. What’s the connection to the brand? This ad works with any brand. What is it about the ‘selective’ ability, ‘salon’ milieu and ‘colour shield’ attributes of this product’s positioning that entitles it to exclusive ownership of the creative idea? That’s what is missing from this kind of thinking, notwithstanding whatever value there might be in the metaphor.

Key Problem

The key problem is that Mroueh started the idea process searching, in his own words, for ‘a fresh way of saying’ that a hair care product locks in colour. He should have started by searching for the way in which to leverage the brand to the notion of ‘locking’. That’s why it’s called brand marketing! The way was staring him in the face. It’s the name of the brand. There’s a ton of potential being ignored here simply because of the approach to the brand. It doesn’t come last as a sort of grateful recipient of creative ability, it comes first. The thinking should have been, how can I make this brand the exclusive owner of a locking type of idea?

Creative Arrogance

This ad also reflects the arrogance of the idea. It places the creativity above the brand. The brand is just the excuse for the writer/director to showcase how clever he is. And we’re supposed to admire the fact that it is clear, simple and uses virtually no copy! All the right generics and no brand integration, let alone positioning. Probably win an award.

Tery Poole

President

Poole-Adamson Research Consultants

Toronto, Ont.

tpoole@mail.interlog.com

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