Archive for October, 2011

Carlsberg Video Raises the Bar

October 31st, 2011

For years I’ve felt that some of the planet’s poorest marketers were breweries.  But while several beer brands continue to pummel us with exceptionally weak efforts (I’m talking about you, Miller Lite), brands such as Dos Equis, Corona, Stella Artois and Blue Moon have been serving up smart, strategic, entertaining advertising campaigns.

The latest example of out-of-the-can thinking is this viral video from Carlsberg beer.  As of the time of this posting, it had received almost 8 million viewings, and for good reason.  Like many great movies, this very cleverly conceived and produced video makes us feel a little uneasy in order to engage us deeply and make us empathize with its story.  And the ending makes us feel good about everyone in the video, as well as about the brand that has just entertained us so royally.  What’s more, it shows that brand in use, and makes us wish we were using it ourselves.

Maybe I’m a little biased by the fact that one of my favorite memories is having taking a 10:00 am tour of the Carlsberg brewery in Copenhagen on a break between graduating from business school and starting my career. What made the tour extra special is that I took it with the then-75-year-old brother of Jerry Siegel, the creator of Superman. Still, I feel I can objectively state that this video is, well, super.

Mr. Siegel, this Carlsberg’s for you!

Ad Raises Question: Is Cain Able?

October 26th, 2011

When I see a company run really bad advertising, it makes me wonder, “If they’re screwing up something as import as the way they market themselves, what else are they screwing up?

That’s the way I now feel about Herman Cain.  While he appears to be a great guy, and he was clearly a very successful businessman, his new TV commercial now makes me question his judgment. I’ve watched the spot several times, and each time I’m left with the same question: “What was he thinking?”

If he couldn’t anticipate that voters (and the media) would be at best puzzled, and at worst turned off, by a shot of chief of staff Mark Block smoking a cigarette–just before transitioning to an image of Cain himself–what else would he fail to anticipate as Commander-in-Chief?

That might be an overreaction on my part, but the point is that this ad has weakened the Cain brand by introducing uncertainty. The essence of branding is being crystal-clear about exactly what you stand for.  And right now I’m not sure if Herman Cain is a legitimate contender to be our next president, or if he’s just blowing smoke.