Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Looking backward to look forwards

Sometimes I think it's okay to say... you know, what we did a while back was pretty damn good. Perhaps we should something similar again. Take the best of the past, moments that people connect with the brand, and combine it with the present and future to step forward.

In a way, what Qantas have done with their latest campaign is exactly that.

For years they had the amazingly powerful "Still Call Australia Home" campaign. One that became essentially a part of the fabric of the country, such that even when they changed the tagline - they still used the music.

Then they changed it to something that was hugely epic, but basically felt like it was trying to be like every other airline, 'oh we're all about the customer'. It looked great but wasn't even a patch on where they used to be.

The good news is that they have clearly seen sense. Whilst they haven't exactly brought back the old creative, they've essentially revamped it.

This is Still Call Australia Home + Real Customers + John Lewis Soundtrack

Excellent decision. Instead of just well produced and good looking, what we have is engaging and moving. I find it hard to believe that any expat either in or from Australia wouldn't tear up when watching the full two minute version. I certainly did. An example of when using real people can be truly powerful.

Qantas is never going to have the huge backing and budgets that the Middle Eastern/Asian airlines often get. On product and service it will always struggle to compete. But what it is starting to rediscover, is that a strong emotional bond is worth more than any product feature or discounted price. Going beyond patriotism and national pride to something far more powerful - memory, childhood, and the unmistakable connection we have as human beings to the places we call, and have called home.

When I was planning my move to Australia, I would see the red tail fin of a Qantas plane and look forward to where I was going. This work makes me think about both where I am, and where I've come from. For a brand, that's pretty amazing - even if most people aren't expats... outside of Bondi anyway.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Flake it til you make it

Every year we see loads of brand crossovers, where a company (usually a big holding brand) mixes together two products in order to try and leverage the benefits of each.

Makes sense in most regards. Oreo bits in chocolate, that's pretty awesome. Chocolate in Philadelphia... maybe!

One brand crossover that I'm currently intrigued by is between two brands that maybe don't match quite as well as those.

Head and Shoulders with Old Spice.

At a product level it makes sense. At a brand level though, it seems like a far bigger win for Head and Shoulders, and potentially a damaging move for Old Spice. Head and Shoulders has traditionally had terrible functional communication, whilst Old Spice has revitalised itself by moving into a strong creative area.

The comms to promote this (at least here in Australia) is essentially a weaker version of the Old Spice idea, set against Head and Shoulders brand colours. Whilst it's better than anything I've seen from Head and Shoulders, it pales compared to what has been seen in the past year or two for Old Spice.

I can see three potential plans in play here.
1. The success of Old Spice being used as driver across a range of brands until the core product branding suffers from over-stretch and dilution.
2. This is the first step towards launching an old Spice shampoo. But given there is already Old Spice bodywash, why wouldn't they just jump straight in? Or at the very least utilise the most liked brand to drive the combination. As even if Head and Shoulders sells more, it lacks the strong connection.
3. A short term attempt to revitalise one brand by risking the credibility of another.

Either way, it will be an interesting one to follow.