Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Breaking news: Not all brands are Apple.

I've been saying for a few years now that's it's impossible to have a conversation in an advertising agency where Apple doesn't come up. They do so much right that the temptation to imitate them always looms. Unfortunately imitation is not only the sincerest form of flattery, it's also the most prevalent form of advertising that will do nothing for your brand but, rather, will do more to help the brand you're imitating.

Today, there are two consecutive full-page ads in The New York Times for Blackberry.
"Don't just like." The first ad screams, along with this riveting copy: "LOVE. Now that's powerful stuff. Love changes things. Upsets things. Conquers things. Love is at the root of everything good that has ever happened and will ever happen." Then the tagline: LOVE what you do. When you flip the page you get this headline: LOVE the journey. And some more banal copy.

Maybe I was pre-disposed to hate this work because I saw the above commercial during the Yankees game the other night (and the Yankees winning put me in the mood to hate nearly everything.) But nevertheless, my feelings were four-fold. 1) How dare you use the Beatles in a commercial. 2) Who is this commercial for? 3)Why is Blackberry trying to be something they're not and never will be? 4)Does Blackberry know who they are?

As a piece of film or a bit of story-telling, there's nothing wrong with the Blackberry commercial. But, to me, this is a blatant-case of "me-too-ism." It doesn't have the efficient, no-nonsense soul of Blackberry. It's not about Blackberry.

There's nothing wrong with saying you're cool, if you're cool. But "cool" is not the only attribute important to consumers. It's not the only thing that matters and it's not the only strategy in the world.

But you'd never know that looking at shit like this Blackberry work.


Teenie said...

KInda like the "I'm a PCer" ads. Every time I see them I think the client must have insisted "Do like Mac!" and handcuffed the creatives till they hung their heads in shame.

Unknown said...

On the other hand, a lame, derivative ad is perfectly appropriate for Blackberry. My wife is forced to use one by her company and it is a complete dysfunctional piece of garbage.

How someone could "LOVE" a piece of electronics is beyond me.