What do you get when two companies with an aversion to effective branding join forces to bring an exciting new product to market? In the case of AT&T and Blackberry, a TV commercial that entertains but fails to effectively drive home the name of the advertisers providing the entertainment.
The premise of the commercial is simple: there’s a new smartphone that makes it fun to do business, and the visuals and voiceover cleverly make that point. The new phone–the Blackberry Torch–makes a lot of sense strategically for Blackberry given its focus on the business market and the fact that it’s been losing market share to the superior “wow factor” of Apple’s iPhone. And from the reviews I’ve read, the Torch is being very warmly received by the technology writers.
Unfortunately, viewers of this commercial hear the brand names “AT&T” and “Blackberry” twice and once, respectively, while “Torch” is nevered uttered. (The word appears on screen for less than two seconds at the end of the spot.) Anyone who’s read about the Torch will have to be paying extremely close attention to realize that it’s the product being showcased–or not–in this commercial.
It doesn’t help that the lyrics of the background song–Buddy Holly’s “Every Day”–aren’t particularly pertinent to the product’s positioning. The song is cute, but it doesn’t sell.
For as long as I’ve been in this business, I’ve been both amazed and appalled by how many marketers are reluctant to leverage their brands in their advertising. It’s almost as if they feel it’s crass or in poor taste to call too much attention to their brand name. The best marketers, however, realize that branding doesn’t have to be boring.
In other words, if AT&T and Blackberry can combine business with fun in their product, why can’t they do it in their advertising?