Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Brand Denigration Theory.

Some time ago when I worked on the west coast--yes, I have spent time out of Manhattan--I developed something I call "The Brand Denigration Theory." How I came upon this thesis was pretty simple.

HP, my client at the time, was doing brilliant brand work. They were also doing horrific work for their PCs. Work that was shrill, discounted and crass. Of course, they added brand accoutrement and decorations to make sure their PC work looked like their brand work.

The net result of these two distinct actions was that they canceled each other out. One was saying HP is classy and premium. The other was saying HP is cheap and available. The consumer cannot resolve such contradiction. The consumer is left confused and without a clear understanding of who, in this case, HP is.

Houston, we have a problem.

With the onslaught of alternative distribution channels like a company's website and You Tube, the demand for cheap video is greater than ever. It must be cheap, of course, because the size of the audience it reaches is small, at least in comparison to a TV audience, and thus these channels don't therefore support television-level production values.

In other words what happens to your beautiful million-dollar spot when it's butted up against a $30K web video?

We speak a lot about integration in our business. We make things look-alike. We'll end the million-dollar spot and the $30K web video with the same logo treatment. But the spirit of each will contradict each other. Each will denigrate the other and cancel each other out.

Regardless of how we try to convince each other that this is all ok.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

The audience for video ion the web is small? Hardly 1B views for lady gaga and others. Tv commercials are increasingly irrelevant. Video and film can be watched on a plethora of platforms. Don't become an angry dinosaur like bob hofffman. TiVo, hulu, vim, tumblr etc are not going away. The 30 sec spot will over time.

geo said...

Anonymous, less than 1% of all video is viewed online. Sorry. That's a fact. For every viral hit--and viral hits reach a fraction of what a TV spot will--there are thousands and thousands of videos that will be seen by 136 people.

Anonymous said...

And most tv spots never register w viewers. The nelson.." the set is on therefore everyone is in rapt attention" metrics are bs and you, of all ad folks, should know that.

It's all about the smartphone and the tablet. Dismiss at your peril.

Bob Hoffman said...

I am not an angry dinosaur. I am a very happy dinosaur.

geo said...

My point was simpler. You can't have one voice and one set of production values in one medium and another voice and set of values in another. The point wasn't about the relative size or importance of media. It's about unity of message and brand deportment. OK.

Anonymous said...

Btw, bob Hoffman aka the adcontrarian is huts cranky and irrelevant. It's what he knows how to be. Old ad guys never just fade away even when they should.


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