Creative showcase: brand extensions
First published in the October 2011 issue of Marketing, this creative showcase looks at brand extensions. Read on to find out how brands like Woolies, Carlton Draught and Neutrogena moved into unique territories and what our panel of judges think.
Tooheys New Crew
We all know how the beer economy works — when a mate does you a favour you say thanks with beer. Inspired by this Aussie tradition, Momentum Worldwide created the Tooheys New Crew, a team of highly skilled tradies led by Paul Harragon, and sent them on the road doing a million beers’ worth of favours for Australia.
The Crew has been on the road since 2010, visiting towns like Newcastle, Penrith, Orange, Grafton and Cobar, completing building projects that make a real difference to the community. In the spirit of the beer economy, they’re measuring every favour completed by its equivalent in beer — with the current tally sitting at just over 600,000 beers worth of favours!
Tim Riches (Managing director, The Leading Edge): I think this is a nice idea on a number of levels. The observation that there’s a ‘beer economy’ operating between mates as payment for favours is quite nice — it emphasises the special nature of the product and focuses on a relatively rare phenomenon: an Australian male expression of affection.
While that’s in a sense a category level observation, Tooheys New is a nice brand to address this role. It’s an everyday beer, but perhaps a fraction less ‘hardcore’ than some key competitor brands. Harragon himself is similar — a regular guy and sportsman without the taint of socially unacceptable behaviour. A good bloke, but still a real bloke.
The big challenge with this campaign would be in evaluating its ROI. I would expect to see some improvements in brand image, but I would consider its valuable outcomes to be more akin to a CSR initiative — an investment in social acceptability and permission in communities.
Mark Campbell (Head of strategy, Red Lever): Perfect concept for middle Australia. It’s an accessible idea that lends well to the Australian psyche, with a cute insight that needs little explanation.
However, it’s a shame that it seems to have run out of pennies, legs or commitment on the brand’s part. As a promotion I can imagine this worked sufficiently well for the brand, but it’s a shame it missed out on maximising returns by extracting value out of the deeds themselves through captivating stories that would have brought in a wider audience and extended the campaign lifespan.
Jaid Hulsbosch (Director, Hulsbosch Design): As a true-blue Aussie and beer connoisseur, I would like to think that I would willingly help a mate out without expecting anything in return, but in reality, I do appreciate a beer, so the agency has tapped into a real insight here and I love the whole idea behind the beer economy. The fact that the agency has been able to develop the concept into a campaign that generates something positive for the community is even better. It is a great way of communicating the fact that alcohol is best shared with mates as a reward for a job well done. My only question is: What has Tooheys New done to owe Australian communities a million beer favours?
Nigel Roberts (Strategy & brand director, PHD Creative): Aussie beer marketing continues to be the best in the world and while the ‘beer economy’ campaign is not the strongest we’ve seen, it’s been employed really well here. The link between the economy and the value of the Tooheys New Crew’s work is a bit tenuous, but it’s still great to see a campaign that’s designed to contribute a tangible benefit to the community.
The extension into social media really works. They’ve created a true community site, about as good a use of Facebook as I’ve seen and the campaign is extending awareness of the brand well beyond the media with the good work that crew are doing.
Neutrogena – One Less Stress
Neutrogena needed to connect with their audience online, beyond just product reviews. Using the insight that 18-24 year olds experience a lot of stress, TheFARM and OMD created One Less Stress, a hub where young women can gather to share their stress. Working across MySpace, Facebook and Twitter, the social media campaign paralleled with product focused display advertising and an alpha influencer program.
Tim Riches: In the absence of actual performance data, I find this rather unimpressive — an undistinguished attempt to connect with the youths on social media, much like dozens of others, which on the face of it seems to offer little in the way of impact and ‘stickiness’.
The issue starts with the Neutrogena brand’s permission to have this kind of conversation with customers — a conversation that lifestyle media brands like Dolly have all the time. My impression of Neutrogena is that it’s a relatively functional, almost clinical brand, so it’s tricky for it to own the broader ‘stress’ space. And while this is clearly an investment in a richer and more intimate future relationship, it needs to fight for customer ‘airtime’. I didn’t see any killer plays to earn that greater involvement in terms of tapping into tensions in the customer’s life that only our brand can resolve.
Mark Campbell: I love that Neutrogena leapt into social platforms to meet their target audience. On the surface, this feels right on all levels; human experiences, capturing content and interactive platforms to engage with content. Judging by its success (the campaign is stepping up to bust stress for young women around the world) the brand found a common language with its audience, which can often be the downfall for ideas that are reliant on consumer collectivism to feed them.
Jaid Hulsbosch: I asked a couple women whom I suspect of being in the demographic (not that they would tell you their age) at work about this, and the insight is relatively accurate; young women do feel a lot of stress coping with the challenges of modern life. From a brand perspective, Neutrogena is positioning itself as a brand that understands these pressures and advocates on behalf of young women by providing a forum in which they can share their feelings and not feel so alone, which ultimately reduces stress and meets the business objective – One Less Stress.
It takes great courage for brands to push the boat out into social media waters where negative sentiments about the product can be shared, however. I wonder whether there is an opportunity to embrace these smart young women as brand innovators, getting them to co-create a product that meets their expectations and truly delivers a one stop solution.
Nigel Roberts: OMG, I’m so not the right person to be commenting on this campaign. I’m trying not to find it a little sad that what’s discussed in the community is considered stress… taking that aside, it’s actually really nicely executed, with great interaction with the brand and the products.
It’s clear that there’s plenty of scepticism in the target audience about the claims made about the product range, but they’re often answered and I think as a brand extension it works pretty well.
Woolworths Macro’s Wholefoods Market
In September 2010 Woolworths Macro launched a new M&C Saatchi-created campaign that brings its Wholefoods Market organic range into the realm of mainstream shoppers — telling them that you don’t have to be a hippy to be healthy. The campaign was spearheaded by two TVCs that used humour to convey the positioning that the goodness of the Wholefoods Market organic range is to be enjoyed by everyday shoppers.
The campaign’s core theme: you ‘don’t have to be a hippy to be healthy’ when you shop at Woolworths Macro, demonstrate the proposition that Woolworths Macro’s Wholefoods Market Organic range is for everyone.
Tim Riches: I think Woollies probably finds itself backed into a bit of a corner on this one — how to promote the Macro Organic range without undermining its core brand fresh food credentials. For years the brand has been using stories about its producers and customers, unified by their love of quality fresh food.
It’s a little like the challenge with Coke and Diet Coke. The benefits of the latter serve to highlight the drawbacks of the former, and in social context of a general upward trend in focus on healthy lifestyle.
So if you can’t focus on the product itself, then the focus shifts to the customer, and how people feel about choosing these kinds of products. We know that people in fact feel a degree of self- consciousness about being seen as choosing out of the mainstream — being ‘PC’ or just silly for making a more expensive choice that their peers don’t respect.
Call me a PC hippy, but while it may be founded on sound consumer insight into a tension that the brand can address, it’s a bit sad that selling these products seems to require the lampooning of people who see their consumption as an ethical issue by those that don’t.
Mark Campbell: Really? Didn’t this elephant up and move on in the 90s? Do we still think of Neil from the Young Ones as we shimmy across over to the other side of the aisle when we see the organic food section. Is Woolies in danger of patronising its customers by projecting onto them such archaic prejudices? Maybe I’m wrong, and there’s a room full of data to challenge my own misguided assumptions.
However, where they overlooked the principle that effective advertising needs to be relevant, they have delivered on another, which is all good advertising needs to entertain. So, if the brief was to capture people’s attention, it’s a job well done, but not if the intention was to provoke reflection among consumers and to remove a genuine purchase barrier.
Jaid Hulsbosch: Love the Woolworths brand identity! Given the number of baby boomers in Australia, these ads play to a large market and communicate Woolworths’ positioning as The Fresh Food People. They are humorous and tap into the love we all feel for Neil from the Young Ones. There is real potential to see the hippy character evolve here. I actually want to know if he convinces the couple to go to the love-in on the weekend? Does he end up staying at the rainbow family’s house? Will he plant a veggie garden in their backyard like a true Macro brand champion should? I’d love to see the character evolve; he’s a great reminder that the hippies were right all along. We should be making love, not war.
Nigel Roberts: This is a lazy way to promote ‘healthy living’. The hippy and healthy hook is tired and clichéd, the execution is pretty annoying and is unlikely to inspire a change of buying habits. Healthy eating is more than just buying wholefoods. I know it’s trendy to attack the big two, but sometimes they really do open themselves up for it.
Bringing to life Strongbow’s brand positioning of ‘Strongbow captures the summer holiday spirit’, experiential agency District sourced an original 1930s wooden ketch and transformed it from derelict into the SS Strongbow, complete with a wooden deck, a photo booth caravan and a six-metre long Strongbow bar. The SS Strongbow was present at music festivals around the country, including Stereosonic, Southbound, and Splendour in the Grass 2011.
Tim Riches: Events and festivals are such a battleground for alcohol brands to offer the essence of their experience to the kind of customers that marketers obsess about — young, disposable income, presumably opinion leaders among their social groups. Each brand creates an ‘experience’ at the event which adds to the overall atmosphere and has the potential to attract new loyals who associate the brand and event positively.
My problem with this one is that I don’t think the ‘summer holiday spirit’ is terribly ownable for Strongbow. Corona, Coke, Malibu, Cornetto all came up in a quick poll of my immediate environs, as did Strongbow. With cider still a small part of the market here, even if rapidly growing, this positioning seems ambitious and hard to really activate.
Compounding the problem for the Strongbow brand, the beautiful snow petal ad established a visual thematic and appealing “setting” which could have been leveraged as an experience in this context. The boat doesn’t feature in the ad, and while a nice idea in itself, and vaguely traceable to the positioning, fragments the Strongbow story, at a time when attracting new customers away from stronger brands in bigger categories, the brand could probably benefit with more single- mindedness.
Mark Campbell: Beautifully simple & charismatic. When everyone else is trying to urbanise music festivals with generic faux-pop-cocktail bars, the SS Strongbow embraces its surroundings. And it comes with a charming re-generation backstory that could provide further amplification opportunities for the brand.
Jaid Hulsbosch: The SS Strongbow is a unique way to connect with the target market and bring the brand to festival- goers in a fun, tangible way.
However, we’re not sure what the connection to boating is. As a branding company, we look at the identity and wonder why the brand’s logo — the tree and bow — could not have been brought to life with something like an archery competition using blunt arrows, of course! You could have bottles of Strongbow hanging like leaves from the tree as a reward. I think these experiential campaigns are most effective when there is a clear link to the master brand, as opposed to the brand campaign.
Nigel Roberts: Experiential can be so effective, but this one just doesn’t hit the mark for me. Firstly, I really don’t think that a 1930s boat is going to recapture the summer holiday spirit of 20something Australians? Don’t get me wrong, they’ve done a great job restoring it, but isn’t this more for the grandparents?
The online presence is inconsistent across the campaign and even though the photo booth seems to have had take-up at the event, it’s not had the strength to go properly viral. I think they’ve done good work here in parts, but it’s not that effective for the target market.
Carlton Dry – ‘Thank God it’s Monday’ Industry Nights
Carlton Dry’s ‘Thank God it’s Monday’ is an innovative program of ‘Industry Nights’ for hospitality staff that recognises that on the nights when most people are going to parties, dancing to DJs, listening to bands, someone behind the bar is serving them drinks, clearing up their glasses and generally making sure they have a good night. Carlton Dry created a series of free gigs and parties across the nation for hospitality staff, bringing back industry nights on a Monday.
Tim Riches: Not sure what to say about this one. Industry nights have been around forever, on a Monday, and the format of this — bands, cheap beer, street press and Facebook — doesn’t break any new ground. I’m sure it’s appreciated by folk in the industry, and perhaps there’ll be an outcome in terms of extending the ‘influence’ of the Carlton Dry. It’s probably also appealing to university students, but this one’s a bit of a ‘so what’ to me to be honest.
Mark Campbell: A fine exposition of how to win and influence friends through marketing. Carlton has found a nice way to fix a part of the purchase path the other beers find hard to reach! Winning the hearts and minds of bar staff and turning them into brand ambassadors is never going to be time misspent. It also has a secondary benefit of making party- goers on the other side of the bar think more favourably about the brand. It’s a win-win idea.
Jaid Hulsbosch: This campaign recognises the hard work that goes on behind the scenes on Thursday (the warm up), Friday and Saturday (the big nights) and Sunday (recovery) to keep the rest of us calm, happy and healthy. However, it is difficult to gauge the business objective of this campaign. Is it for Carlton Dry to become the brew of choice for the hospitality sector? Or, is it about building goodwill so that bar staff recommend Carlton Dry to punters? I guess I will find out this weekend if and when the bartender recommends the brand over what I order (“maaaattttee, have you tried a Carlton Dry – let me tell ‘ya…).
Nigel Roberts: I’ve friends in the hospitality industry and I’m pretty aware that most of the industry gets out on Friday and Saturday as well, they just start a lot later than the rest of us. Still, it’s a nice campaign for a niche industry group, executed well with a decent take up and good online cut-through.