Marketing is not difficult. It’s made difficult to give the illusion of who knows what kind of saintly, creative, brainy aura that gets brilliant ideas from hyperuranion—that are of course, inaccessible to most people.
But that’s not exactly the case.
The first inviolable rule of marketing is: ONLY communicate your differentiating idea.
To put it as simply as possible, you should never release any piece of marketing regardless of the media or format if it does not meet the customer’s demand:
“Why I should buy from you instead of one of your competitors, as opposed to not even buying anything that has to do with your merchandise sector since I don’t feel the immediate need.”
The “how” doesn’t matter. Any format is fine. Even “narrative” or creative “storytelling” commercials are fine, but if and only if at the end of the fair, the narrative pretext becomes concrete and explains why we should buy that damn product or service and why we should buy it immediately.
Winning the grand prize of commercials, or the Oscar for advertising thanks to the beauty of the spot itself, but failing to tell customers why they should buy the product is the greatest sin of fools. Vanity.
The second inviolable rule of marketing is: do not vary the message. Diversity and varying messages in campaigns are THE DEVIL.
People have no memory. They only remember something that is repeated over and over again. Creative idiots need to push creativity and change in campaigns otherwise they won’t eat. It’s their business model, otherwise they wouldn’t have anything else to sell to customers.
Even marketing managers need to spend budgets and change messages to justify their salary or new hiring.
In short, it’s a world of idiots.
And for those who are wondering, the answer is:
“NO! People don’t get bored and they don’t want new commercials for this reason!
One of the most idiotic arguments is that it’s necessary to vary advertising, marketing, etc., because people “get bored”. No, people don’t get bored at all. Adults are no different than children who ask their parents to tell them the same bedtime stories they are fond of.
Even today, if you think about the commercials that we remember, they’re the historic ones from our childhood—obviously the better made ones, those that affected us most and are still there in our memory. The imagery, legendary slogans and music that accompanied those commercials. Just like our grandparents and our parents remember Carosello
Once you find that right mix that can communicate our differentiating idea, not only is it not necessary—it should be FORBIDDEN to allow someone in the marketing department to vary or change that message.
Even creative professionals in good faith are attracted to everything that is BAD in marketing:
-That which is new,
never before seen,
-that which varies,
does not bore,
All things that hurt marketing severely!
As Al Ries always says, the real role of a marketing director in a company should be to create the right message based on the company’s positioning, and then watch over with a leveled rifle and a loaded barrel so that nobody touches anything. Ever.
You only touch campaigns when they stop working. Of course you can do it immediately if they don’t make sense, God forbid, but always keeping in mind that campaigns created properly last for decades or forever (aside from some necessary restyling) if the core message they convey is left untouched.
Now, from time to time I am asked questions about what I think of this campaign or that one. Every now and then, good-natured people get emotional as they present me with “charity” campaigns to know my thoughts.
The problem is that I have no opinions. I apply science and deductive reasoning. There are opinions on the 10% of discretionary details, while 90% of things are already correct and agreed upon.
To give an example, let’s image that Al Ries and I agree on everything about a campaign. We may have preferences on the use of one term rather than another or one shade of a color compared to another, etc. This is insignificant minutia in the big picture of: ” What works and what doesn’t work and what really matters.”
But there are no “opinions” on the principles, bases and foundations that constitute marketing. Now back to us. I was asked “what I think” (which is an offensive question, the correct question is “how should we analyze”) about the Burger King charity campaign that actually referred to a previous McDonald’s charity campaign.
Now—the short version—my dear, pure hearts, is that when you see this kind of campaign, you should immediately recognize it as bullshit.
Charity is NEVER a good idea in campaigns.
Never. People don’t give a shit if you are eco-friendly.
People are selfish. Marketing is based on this. If you don’t like it, I get it and I understand and I even agree, but you shouldn’t be in marketing. You should fight your battles for a better and fairer world and go all the way to defend and spread your ideals in all means possible.
But you can’t hope to do it as creative professionals of a multinational company that sells sandwiches produced on an assembly line.
I know what’s going through your little brain. You are all the same in your pure, snow-white, fair-trade hearts:
“If we humanize our company and demonstrate through our marketing that we are worried about social causes, the planet, the well-being of dwarf snails in Borneo, etc., then people will see that we are good, they will get emotional from our deeply moving campaign and decide to buy from us as a reward! Right, Santa? Huh? Right???”
My dear little elves of Santa Claus’ village, unfortunately I have a bad message for you: People are selfish, ugly and bad and will not reward your “fake, one-time goodness” by buying from you. Ever.
Attention, I’m not saying that a certain number of people won’t become emotional as soon as they see your kind, moving campaign. On the contrary.
I am saying that this moves people, excites them, makes them think about how much we’re hurting the world, the needy, the poor, etc. Their buying habits will not change by a millimeter.
A bit like the Greta Thunberg supporters who demonstrated a few days ago in various cities of the world to “save the planet.” Those who, after finishing, went and pigged out on sandwiches at McDonald’s—which should be the real rampant symbol of eco-damaging consumerism.
Attention: I am certain that in the midst of that mass of people who demonstrated and paraded in recent days there are actually people who (on a purely abstract, purely theoretical level) are somehow worried about the planet.
But when it comes down to it, they’ll continue to go around with their iPhones, turn on air conditioning in the summer and blast heaters in winter. They will go around the city with polluting cars and mixed fuel scooters, killing flora and fauna and insisting on stuffing themselves with shitty fast food. All the while polluting with all of the plastic produced in the process.
Here, your customers are exactly like the Greta Thunberg idiots, who after having marched off, went to McDonald’s: when they get lectured, they are sincerely moved. They sincerely reflect on the future of the planet, the poor, the groundhogs of Titicaca… but then after five seconds they return to “screw it!” mode and their buying behavior does not change.
People just want to know why the fuck they should buy from you instead of staying with their current supplier/product/service or, even better, give two shits about what you’re selling.
If you don’t tell them, over and over again throughout their lifetime, you won’t sell.
Do you remember the “Moncler down jacket scandal” with the news showing how poor geese were abused and tortured while being plucked alive? Horrifying, isn’t it? Terrible, right? Truly inhuman? Someone should have done something, right? Sure.
Do you know who did “something”? Consumers. Since the day after that new coverage, the sales of Moncler down jackets have suddenly DOUBLED.
Why, you’ll ask? For the usual reason, I’ll say… my little, naive Smurfs: positioning.
That scandalous coverage reminded all consumers that Moncler down jackets are the original ones made with real goose feathers! So real that they showed us how they pluck them and torture them to get those real goose feathers! They sent it out to the world!
Had I been the marketing director of Moncler I would have started buying TV commercials to show how fucking good we are at torturing those fucking geese to create the original goose feather down jackets.
“No pain no gain! They suffer so that you can enjoy! Don’t waste their sacrifice and buy these fucking down jackets!”
That’s how to do those fucking commercials. You need balls!
Let’s be serious again. There is only ONE exception to the concept of ineffective charity, and that is when a company is BORN as a project somehow linked to charity, and therefore that message is repeated endlessly whether we like it or not.
An occasional charity campaign not only serves no purpose as a message (especially when it’s done by a company that makes shitty sandwiches), but it’s also DELETED from people’s minds in 0.2 milliseconds.
SECONDLY, a charity campaign with proper brand positioning (not random, like the aforementioned) can, at most, be used in the embryonic stages of a brand launch in a correctly capitalized PR moment.
Let us remember the third inviolable law of marketing:
“Brands are built with PR and defend themselves with advertising.”
An old brand like Burger King no longer has PR potential. It’s over. They just need to defend themselves and try to win market share with advertising, perhaps by first finding a differentiating idea that they doesn’t currently have.
Technical summary of this campaign: They’re not even close.
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