Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Time to take off the gloves.

            Yesterday's San Francisco Chronicle reported that Dos Equis beer sales jumped 17% in the last quarter. During the same period, its owner, Heinekin, has seen its namesake beer drop in sales. What's going on?

            Let me ask you another question. You know Dos Equis' is "the most interesting man in the world". But what is Heinekin's advertising premise these days? That's what's going on.

            We all know and watch the Dos Equis commercials, and even though Heinekin beer spends much more, we don't even know what they're telling us. Some of their commercials are good, some ordinary, but the unifying message escapes us. And maybe escaped their ad agency.

             I've seen this kind of problem happen over and over again, often with dramatic results. Miller Lite changed their ad campaign around the time Bud Lite was introduced. Miller's new advertising couldn't hold a candle to their original one with former famous athletes talking about "more flavor, less filling". Sales began a death march. And Miller's regular beer fell off the charts when they dropped their "Miller Time"ad campaign.

             When Avis stopped telling us they're "only #2, so we try harder", they got beat up by Enterprise. So, by the way, did Hertz with its invisible advertising.

             I've seen good advertising increase sales by 20%, 40%, and more. It's not a matter of money. It's a matter of ideas. Enterprise's was that their rates are cheaper and they'll pick you up.

              What did creative directors tell the Art Directors Club of New York in a recent survey? They want ideas, not just ads. Big ideas, the kind that can change your mind. It's not traditional media versus new media. It's ideas that can work in every medium. 

               All this is not new. George Lois did it with "I want my MTV". Marty Puris did it with "the ultimate driving machine".  Even Daffy's discount clothes in New York did it with "The $68 Bullshirt". So did Volvo with "drive it like you hate it".

              Look your competition right in the eye, and realize they're the enemy. Then take aim. Come up with an "umbrella" idea and execute it 40 ways. For example, Chevrolet can take a position such as "Who says Americans don't make great cars anymore?" And then do a campaign that compares the Cruze, the Camaro, and the Corvette to their foreign competition, in as forceful, edgy way.

              Yes, you can do it. You can't always be Mr. Nice Guy.





1 comment:

  1. Very well said; Mr. Harvey Bailey. Mr. Nice Guy can't work in advertising. One must be a warrior to successfully go against a competition. Advertisement is a battlefield and we must take it full force like a soldier.

    Art Institute Fashion Marketing Management