I remember being annoyed by the tagline a bank of mine once used, "Leading The Way.” The suggestion, or at least my perception of the claim, was the bank wanted me to believe it was leading me. I resented the claim and what I believed was the bank's arrogance and overblown sense of its role in my life.
I have to remind myself that in a push media world there was a lot of that crap, BS promises that brands got to make and we had to see because they paid to push messages in our faces. Sure, the best marketers avoided ego-stroking brand claims in favor of target-centric, emotionally compelling messages, but the vast majority of ad messages in a push media world trended heavily toward the arrogant claim. It took little work for the client and its ad agency to say what they wanted to say. It takes a lot more work to understand what the target truly is interested in and what authentic role in a consumer conversation your brand can truly play.
It's kind of amazing to see how slowly we're shifting our approach to brand messaging when technology is radically shifting consumer media behavior. Despite time-shifted TV viewing and digital ad blocking requiring the consumer to invite your message in, most advertisers continue to hammer on the proverbial front door to pitch their wares.
Undoubtedly, a brand marketer has a much tougher job in today's invitation-only world. But the premium now placed on true creativity is a welcome one. Just consider the social first example set by these three CPG brands:
What are the clear lessons we can take away?
These are a good place to start, but a bad place to stop. Bill Bernbach reminds us that, “Rules are what the artist breaks; the memorable never emerged from a formula." Blaze your own trail from here.
While I don't believe any brand can credibly claim, "Leading The Way," I'm willing to bestow that honor on these three pathfinders and their brand building partners: Dove Real Beauty - Ogilvy and Mather; Always #LikeAGirl - Leo Burnett; Honey Maid This Is Wholesome - Droga 5.