The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]


Muddy The Waters Of Comparison …
November 29, 2012, 6:07 am
Filed under: Comment

Have a look at these 2 ads that I recently came across in a magazine.

First the Hyundai.

Now the Volvo.

2 cars.
Both estates/station wagons.
Both using a similar photographic angle.
Both appearing in exactly the same magazine.

Now while I accept that the price point of the vehicles may mean they’re targeting different audiences [& – to be fair – the Volvo is selling efficiency rather than Hyundai’s style] from my personal perspective, the Hyundai car is way better looking than the Volvo and so if I was in the market for a vehicle like that – even a car that had to be fuel efficient – I’d probably pass on checking out the Volvo and explore the possibilities of the Hyundai.

Now I know what you’re thinking, “… but what if the Hyundai ends up having the fuel efficiency of the Space Shuttle?”

Well, then there’s a possibility I might go back and check out the Volvo, but that’s a hell of a risk for a brand.

OK, I accept the reason I like the Hyundai is because I’m a sad bastard who responds to shiny things more than a magpie, but what these ads highlight is that if you execute category convention ad styles, then you run the risk your audience could directly compare you to a competitor and if you’re not good enough – regardless of the reason – you might lose out.

That might be a good strategy if you’re a challenger brand [“We’re the same, but different”] but it’s not if you’re a market leader and that’s why it’s a bit strange that the brands who need to keep things fresh the most are often the ones that keep things the same.

[Yes, I appreciate I am ignoring how ‘distribution ownership’ is often the key to success – especially with FMCG brands – but this is my blog so I’ll ignore it if I want to]

Of course, the bigger issue is that they are still ‘ads’ and maybe they’d be better off developing an idea that makes people experience the product rather than just show it … however I guess the real point I’m trying to make is that it could be argued the real point of having a strong brand is less about forging powerful & emotional bonds with your audience and more to do with ensuring people find it hard to directly compare your offering to a competitors.

That said, in this case it hasn’t worked for Volvo.

I feel I understand what they stand for way more than what Hyundai stands for, but to be quite honest, I’d rather be seen getting out the back of a sheep than one of those beige Swedish tanks.

In other words, a strong brand might help you occasionally overcome weak creative [emphasis on ‘might’] but it won’t help you overcome product laziness or a competitor who wants your audiences affections more.


46 Comments so far
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There is a shoddily built modern building waiting to collapse on the Hyundai. Better buy it quickly and drive away or you’ll be stuck with a Volvo.

Comment by Chris

Wise words Chris. But shiny trumps safety in the weird world of Rob.

Comment by DH

Isn’t the bigger point that you should make products that are great on the inside and out? I remember John Hegarty said the best ad for the Audi TT was the Audi TT which is why their launch campaign was literally a photo of the car.

Comment by Pete

Just realised you said that in your final paragraph. I should’ve known.

Comment by Pete

oh what a fucking surprise, you decided to kiss his fucking ring instead.

Comment by andy@cynic

thats right pete, smack the smug fuck down. you go for it, were all cheering you on. give him a right hook in the face for me.

Comment by andy@cynic

your comment might make some sense pete but it shows you dont read campbells bollocks properly because he says his “make a good fucking product” line throughout the fucking post.

this bit of news about you makes me like you more because it proves you might be a bit human. and the only reason i read all of this post is because im off to the dentist tomorrow and i wanted to make sure whatever shit is done to my mouth cant hurt me as much as the pain this post has done to my brain.

Comment by andy@cynic

Mr Hegarty was right. I bought a TT many years ago and it was not because of its advertising campaign.

Comment by Lee Hill

I had no idea you once worked in a salon.

Comment by John

Which is my way of suggesting that perhaps it was risky to let people maske assumptions about what the ccar stood for.

Comment by John

Have you just had a typing heart attack?

Comment by Rob

I’d claim it was a play on tt but we all know it was just my crap typing.

Comment by John

Don’t worry, I’m still trying to come to terms that Lee succumbed to a midlife crisis purchase.

Comment by Rob

its like finding out santa doesnt fucking exist. or your first wife isnt ms perfect, but a money hungry, manipulative bitch.

Comment by andy@cynic

That just about sums it up.

Comment by Rob

Yes. And yes I did.

Comment by Rob

I like how you suggest a new definition of a brand:

“A strong brand is less about forging powerful & emotional bonds with your audience and more to do with ensuring people find it hard to directly compare your offering to a competitors.”

And then dismiss it with your next sentence:

“That said, in this case it hasn’t worked for Volvo.”

Is that called bipolar planning?

Comment by DH

Bipolar planning. Nice.

Comment by Billy Whizz

unexpectedly good shit slur there dave. nice to see your material finally fucking reaching some heights about kerb level.

Comment by andy@cynic

Having read this post back, it’s even more contradictory than my usual rubbish. I know what I was trying to say – but it certainly didn’t come out that way.

Damn it.

Comment by Rob

“I’d rather be seen getting out the back of a sheep than one of those beige Swedish tanks.”

Is that because you’d rather be in the back of a sheep most times of the day?

Comment by Billy Whizz

As possibly the only person on this blog who has owned both a Volvo and a Hyundai, I believe I am in the unique position to say which is the best car. Unfortunately I can’t, because both impacted me as much as the 2 advertisements Robert has shown in this post.
With this in mind, I would suggest your last paragraph is all that people need to take out from this post. Though when I say “people”, I mean Hyundai and Volvo marketing directors.

Comment by George

BTW Robert, I am impressed you preferred the Hyundai vehicle. I know it looks much better than the Volvo, but I still thought your fractious relationship with Hyundai would have left a bad taste in your mouth.

Comment by George

what about hyundai? do you think they would be happy having the birkenstock wearing planning bastard who deeply insulted them, driving their car.

stop always thinking campbell is in the right auntie. he can be an evil little fuck as well you know.

Comment by andy@cynic

Seconded.

Comment by DH

Whatever being third is.

Comment by Billy Whizz

You’re not driving either of those anymore though are you.

Comment by Rob

no he fucking isnt. but hes not a total fucking hypocrite, he has an environmentally friendly prius to go with his gleaming black, tricked out, environmental raping cadi escalade.

and no george, we dont buy your excuse it keeps mary and the girls safe. thats even shitter than campbell claiming buying a windmill celebrates mother fucking natures unlimited power. twats.

Comment by andy@cynic

“A strong brand is less about forging powerful & emotional bonds with your audience and more to do with ensuring people find it hard to directly compare your offering to a competitors.”

You can take the man out of cynic, but you can never take the cynic out of the man.

Comment by Bazza

man? thats like calling you tall.

Comment by andy@cynic

Gold.

On the positive Baz, you do make a good point.

Comment by DH

That makes all the difference Dave.

Comment by Bazza

I hate to disappoint you Robert, but your new definition of a brand is not new you at all. You are simply one of the few who have publically called it out. That is not to say your view is without merit, it’s something too few appreciate, preferring instead to talk about “brand fandom” or such other self comforting terms.

Comment by Lee Hill

You know adland Lee, we take lesser known or talked about terms/theories/ideas and take total ownership of them. Behavioral economics anyone?

Comment by Rob

Distinctive differentiation?

Comment by John

That’s going to be stolen by TBWA within minutes.

Comment by Rob

Is that a good thing?

Comment by John

Ask Northern.

Comment by Rob

can you fuckers stop talking utter shite and get a room or fucking something.

Comment by andy@cynic

Don’t provoke me

Comment by northern

Neither of those cars are German. I rest my case.

Comment by Marcus

By the way… this is an insight.

Comment by Marcus

My Dad is buying a 4×4 small estate/saloon. My exact words were “you are NOT having a Volvo”. I’m with Marcus, BMW X1 ordered.

Comment by gemma

I love the way you point out a flaw in your thinking – distribution ownership- and then admit you’re just going to ignore it.
Anyway, in terms of iron laws, according to that Bryon Sharpe stuff, it’s either distribution or using ads and stuff to build up distinctive associations – distinctive.
I did soem stuff with a certain beauty brand where we put up competitor press ads on the wall without the logos attached- no one could guess the brand. No one.
I know I should be writing APSOTW feedback rather than indulging in this, as it happens I have 8 hours on a train tomorrow and will be doing just that.
And yes, it means you can berate me about slackness forever more without any response about pots and black kettles

Comment by northern

1. If I didn’t, I know you would – hence I’m cutting off the abuse before it can start. That’s strategy. Ahem.

2. I’m only ignoring it because I thought if I then went off and wrote a diatribe about the importance of ‘distribution’ [which shouldn’t even need pointing out, even though it sadly seems too few people respect this, let alone include it in their thinking/strategy] this post would bore you all even more than it currently does.

3. Yes you are being slack.

4. You’re going on a train again? That’s 2 trips in the past 2 weeks. As I said last time, don’t say I’m the only freeloading bastard who uses the excuse of ‘work’.

[And no, I’m not going to accept the difference between a plane journey to foreign climates and an 8 hour train journey to Slough or something]

Comment by Rob

Correction 5 trips

Comment by Northern




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