Archive for the ‘strategy’ category

Lowe’s Deserves High Marks for Latest Ad

October 5th, 2009

Any advertiser wishing to advertise low prices while still protecting its brand equity could learn a lesson from the latest Lowe’s TV commercial.

The ad creatively shows a variety of situations in which a t-shaped item (like an upside-down push broom sticking out of a shopping cart in a Lowe’s parking lot) is placed to the right of the Lowe’s logo, thus creating the word “Lowest”. The ad features several of these shots, each of which is clever and even mildly entertaining, while reinforcing Lowe’s claim of offering the lowest prices available.

The beauty of this advertising is that it registers the Lowe’s brand repeatedly throughout the commercial, which is in stark contrast to the typical commercial that seems almost embarrassed to show or say the advertiser’s name. Moreover, the cleverness of the ad reflects very favorably on Lowe’s’ image.

From a strategic standpoint, I never like to see a marketer hyping low prices, as there will always be someone to come along and undercut your prices and hence your strategy. Still, if that is the strategy you’ve chosen, it’s essential that you do everything possible to protect your brand equity and let people know that you stand for more than just cheap prices. And in that regard, Lowe’s has set the bar very high.

Like a Bad Advertiser, State Farm Is There…Again!

January 25th, 2009

The other day a friend of mine said, “I love that new commercial where Lebron James joins the Cleveland Browns.”  I then asked him, “Whose ad is that?”, and he was stumped.   When I told him it was State Farm Insurance, he said, “Really? I’m seen it several times, and I had no idea it was a State Farm ad!”

This ad commits three unforgivable sins:  its story line has nothing to do with the product or service being advertised; it doesn’t mention the brand until the very end of the commercial; and it no doubt cost the advertiser a fortune in endorsement fees for a celebrity who steals the show from the brand. 
Of course, this isn’t the first time someone has remembered an ad and its featured celebrity but not the advertiser.  It happens all the time, but that should be no consolation for State Farm–which wasted a ton of money on this ad–or for its advertising agency–which did not earn whatever it was paid to produce it.  

Like a Bad Neighbor

January 12th, 2009

I was just bored to tears–once again–by a commercial I’ve seen seemingly thousands of times and yet don’t understand.  It’s a State Farm commercial about fans anticipating and preparing for the upcoming Sunday NFL games.  The inane lyrics say things like “Hey Mr. Sunday” and “Lookin’ kinda fun day”.  Huh?!?! The spot ends with people in the stands holding cards forming the State Farm logo–I think. I qualify that last statement because–despite repeat exposure–I have only a hazy memory of this exceptionally unmemorable commercial.

In fact, when I heard the annoying song that starts the commercial, I looked up from my laptop because I was curious to see who the advertising assailant was. After all the times I’ve been exposed to the spot, I couldn’t for the life of me recall the advertiser.  A classic sign of a poorly designed piece of communication.
Beyond the lack of creativity, what bothers me most is the lack of any apparent strategic underpinning. What does any of this commercial have to do with insurance? What service exactly is State Farm advertising?  Are they saying they can insure you from getting hit in the face with a wayward field goal attempt?  
State Farm has been my insurance company for my entire life, and I’ve always been happy with their performance.  But this spot makes me long for the days of “Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there”…and wish that I could buy insurance protecting me from boring, inane, annoying advertising.