WIN: Febreze shows us going "negative" can be very positive
For decades CPGs have tried to emphasize the positive "solution" rather than the negative "problem" in their messaging. A recent example of a brand winning by flouting the formula is the powerful new campaign for Febreze that dramatizes the odor removal with some very shocking torture tests.
What works so well here is the relatability of these situations -- that ultimately in order to buy into a solution I need to remember that I have the problem in spades right here at home. The shoe above gives all of us the skeeves.
WIN: Benetton gets long-term mileage from shock
For decades the Benetton brand has stood out from the crowd by presenting "shock images" that are lightning rods for free media publicity. The brand has long maintained that its images are intended to get people to rethink prejudices, bad behaviors, and the like. It was, for example, among the first brands to depict interracial relationships.
In the last couple decades they have, for instance, shown dying AIDS patients in hospital beds, and photoshopped images of global leaders kissing -- Reagan and Gorbachev for example -- to define a brand essence that translates into apparel appeal.
The brand uses these stunning messages to differentiate itself despite the very mainstream appeal of the product. In fact, part of the intent appears to be making the brand's values part of the mainstream culture. The image above is not at all shocking now, but pictures like these were very much out of the norm when Benetton began this powerful ad approach.
One wonders whether images like the one below will feel not at all surprising in a decade.