Creative Corner: The Brand Promise
Create a memorable brand without compromising response
A few days ago I took a quick break to zoom around the corner to see the fruit and vegetable man on 39th Street. I was starving! I asked him for four bananas and he said: “$1.25.”
“Why,” I asked? “Yesterday they were only a dollar.”
“These are Chiquitas,” he smiled.
Did I notice the difference between bananas? No, but I forked over the extra quarter. On the way back to work, I ate one and pondered the little oval Chiquita label.
Does the label make it a better banana? My perception is that it does. I remember the Carmen Miranda-like Chiquita banana cartoon character who wiggled seductively and sang her calypso tune: “I’m Chiquita banana and I’ve come to say ...” It must have put a good deal of advertising weight into that brand for me to still remember it years later.
We all know that pure direct marketers rarely spend much time or money on brand building, mostly because they can’t afford to put the weight behind it, but also because it’s a tricky issue, especially when brand issues dominate direct response issues. That’s when you’re in danger of advertising instead of generating a response.
For example, it could make a good deal of sense for General Motors to reference its “like a rock” line in direct mail for Chevy trucks because the target audience might recognize it and, presumably, relate to it. I doubt its presence would affect response. But, it’s harmless, and it keeps the brand guys happy.
It would not be harmless, however, if someone in General Motors’ advertising department insisted that brand issues supersede direct marketing issues.
How do brand issues supersede direct marketing issues? An example might be the company that used a small line of text about an inch from the bottom of all its print ads and collateral material. Under the line, it would place its logo and the name of the division with the address and phone number. The brand guys insisted the logo be used on every single element of the firm’s direct mail package, too. So it was placed on the outer envelope, BRE, both pages of the letter, the bottom of the response form and even on half a buck slip. They changed their minds when they saw how silly it looked.