Long dead are the days of the Ford T. One product, no customisation, simple communications, simple message. Today’s theatre of brands means that differentiation is key to start with. This eventually means that brands are trying new things to better engage consumers or simply announce a new product. This unfortunately often comes at the expense of the consumer’s confusion. So can simplicity still be a topic in our ad agencies meeting rooms?
I have been stunned at the journey an idea takes in an agency. One of the brands I’ve worked for wanted to get consumers to “experience” its latest product at retail in a memorable and impactful way. The product’s KSP was really making a claim in itself and was way above competition. But we needed to set up an “in-store experience” for the consumer to test the product. 4 months and 2 – initially approved – concepts later, we all ended up with something no one would have expected, having seen the initial brief. My view was that the experience was so complicated, the bulk of our audience would be put off by it and would leave the store without even trying the product.
There is an interesting fact about airplanes when they take off. While they obviously need to reach a minimum speed to leave the ground, exceeding a certain speed will stick them to the runway. In that case, too much can be devastating. So why complicating things when doing simple could actually be the key to that differentiation everyone is obsessed with?
- Everyone is busy trying harder
- The consumer will get it
- Well, it is simple
Brands have entered into a war against each others, whereby the weapon is differentiation. Smart campaigns and marketing tricks are fired up on the battlefield. In my opinion, a brand should never forget who it is selling to – consumers and not competitors. Steering away from simplicity can sometime lead to trying too hard… in which case your campaign’s success won’t go beyond the creative award night.