Friday, 21 October 2011

Have you tried 'Diamond Shreddies'? Don't think outside the box. Tilt it.

In the 60's, the term 'square' became synonymous with being boring and the association endures to this day. A square is uniform, predictable and undoubtedly the least sexy of all the shapes. A marketer can only work with what they have and if what they have is a square, they'll really need to go some to give it the required va-va-voom.

A few years ago, Shreddies sales in Canada where slumping. The breakfast cereal is undeniably square and it's marketing did little to contradict the traditional association. It's image was dry and the audience were uninterested. A boring product.

For a marketing agency lacking creativity, this is a nightmare. They (hopefully) put the product in nicely produced materials on and offline, but have nothing more to offer in engaging an audience. Essentially, it's left to the poor, boring product to sell itself.

For a creative marketing agency however, a boring product is a gift, as it gives the maximum scope to really do something different.

If a product is amazing, it sells itself. A Farrari doesn't need any special effects. People will pay attention. It's eye catching in nature and even dressing one in a sack won't diminish it's appeal.

But a boring product, that's going to take something special.

So how can you make a product which is quite literally square more appealing?

Marketing agency Olgilvy came up with the answer. Rather than think outside the box, they decided to turn it over or rather, rotate it by 90 degrees.

Take a shreddie and tilt it to one side.

Make the square a diamond.

There's nothing more glamorous than a diamond. Since time began they've been a symbol of success, wealth and beauty (let's forget any negative aspects for now, such as their often unethical sourcing). Beautiful men and women drip in them. They have the 'Wow' factor.

Diamonds are eternally cool and at the very opposite end of the "Oh Joy! Look what we've got to push now!" scale from squares for Marketers.

Now of course, this is all very 'emperor's new clothes'. It's still the same old shreddie and nothing has actually changed with the product. It hasn't become sexier or a new emblem for success. It tastes the same as it always has and no one will be wearing them in their jewellery any time soon. Not even Hippies.

But that's the point. We, the audience, get that. We're in on the joke.

In a hyper aware environment, where people know the language of marketing and are better equipped to filter out the BS than ever, congratulating them on that fact and all having a laugh about it together, is a good way to get an audience on side.

Everyone already knows what a shreddie tastes like. There's little to really sell. It's square and 100% whole wheat. That's it.

But if the consumer likes the shreddie seller. If the seller makes them laugh, feel clever and hence, a little better about themselves, then they might give the plain old shreddie another go at breakfast time.

It certainly worked in Canada. Shreddie sales increased by 18% and the campaign itself won the Best of the Best Award at the 38th annual Canadian Marketing Association (CMA) Awards.

In the current financial situation, it's getting harder and harder to part consumers with their money. For a campaign to have the edge and catch the audiences attention, it needs to stand out.

Just going through the motions of your benefits and features may not be enough.

A little creativity is needed. Marketing is supposed to be a creative industry, so make sure your agency has that spark of invention, to give your promotion the edge it needs.

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