Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Brands - the sticky factor

In my last post on t-Mobile's “Liverpool Station Dance” (aka flash-mob), one of the questions I asked was around the stickiness of the t-Mobile ad. Would viewers notice and, more importantly remember that it was a t-Mobile ad? Since then, I came across an interesting snippet from Martin Lindstrom who reports on brands for Ad Age. He did a piece on what works (or not), in large-scale advertising campaigns and presented some of the conclusions from a research project using “neuro-marketing” – a type of brain scan where participants are exposed to marketing and communications stimuli.

According to the results of this study in which 2000 people participated, it seems that most product placement and sponsorships do not work. For a brand to be effective, Lindstrom suggests, you need an integrated approach to storytelling. You also need to be relevant and consistent in your message in order to help consumers store brands in their long term memory.


To summarize, his key findings are as follows:

  1. Logos alone don’t create any consumer awareness and in fact can create consumer suspicion. This is bad news for the billboard industry or sponsorships that basically sell you ad space where your logo is a dominant part of the medium. (It seems the Pepsi folks aren’t aware of this research as they are relying heavily on outdoor to launch their updated “smile logo” with words like “Change”, “Hope” and “Yes you Can”)

In the t-Mobile spot, the logo is the last thing you see, almost like production credits with t-Mobile’s distinguishing jingle/sign-off. Very subtle but perhaps also very effective. It begs the question at the end of the Liverpool Station Dance video – who made this cool thing?? Thus allowing the viewer to discover the advertiser vs being bombarded with logos.

Guess who else is using this strategy? Hint: it starts with a G.

  1. Brands need to be put into a relevant context and you need to be consistent. The key, however, is that the storyline needs be told in an indirect way and the story needs to be incorporated into all you do – live what you say versus “all hat no cattle” as they say in Texas.

t-Mobile has created a powerful platform for “Life is for Sharing”. Isn’t it wonderful that you can capture a spontaneous moment and share it with your friends and family through the phone? And think about the cool ways they can build on this idea in an integrated and fun fashion.

  1. In-direct signals like colour, shapes and sound are more powerful memory triggers than logos. Ten out of ten for t-Mobile.

What about Pepsi?? (Not that I wanted this post to be a t-Mobile vs Pepsi discussion – Pepsi deserves it’s own post). Let it suffice to say that Pepsi has spent a ton of $$ launching the new logo as part of their “Refresh” campaign. I’m not sure that using words like “Hope” and “Change”, (words also heralded by the Obama campaign) are inspiring when juxtaposed besides a revamped Pepsi logo. And while the music track of the now infamous Super Bowl Pepsi ad is catchy, seeing a Dylan selling his once youthful and rebellious soul to a soft drink company feels a little like Joan Baez being the spokesperson for Sleep Number beds - incongruent in a "doesn’t sit right kind of way".

What do you think?

No comments:

Post a Comment