Monday, April 16, 2012

An Amazing Ad Ruined By Branding

I rant frequently about how bad branding ruins great advertising. Most of the time, this is the result of some idiot marketing wonk somewhere in either the company or the advertising firm feeling the need to stamp both logo and slogan somewhere, anywhere, in an advertisement. Very few companies seem to understand that a great ad stands alone.

This is one of the more egregious examples that springs to mind. It was a poem that became a cultural phenomenon, written by an ad copywriter, and placed into a wonderfully artistic ad with desaturated colors and wondrous composition. This is a masterpiece of an ad, but it skirts destruction with two events. First, the Tahoe logo is displayed twice, and the first time is essentially pasted into the commercial with no connection to other parts. Second, the end of the ad includes the nauseatingly inane "like a rock" slogan that they drove into the dirt before the equally nauseating "American Revolution" campaign saw them into bankruptcy.

This ad should have ended with the Chevy bowtie, and nothing else. No other words. No other images. NO OTHER BRANDING. Worse still, this version of the ad, the pure version, only aired for a short time before being replaced with a version that was branded a third time with James Garner's voice saying "Chevy Tahoe. Like a Rock." Trust me, idiots, people know that it's for Chevy.

What triggered this was a new commercial that showed equal flashes of brilliance before being ruined by machinations of the "marketing" department at Panasonic. It is a commercial for the new Eluga waterproof cell phone.

I love the ad until the voiceover starts. Yes, we know that it's a Panasonic. Yes, we know that it's a phone. And, ugh, really? You really needed to paste the slogan in at the end? A slogan and logo should be as small as possible. The point of the ad is to be fetching enough to make people remember the logo when it appears, not to compensate for a poor ad by hitting your viewer in the face with your logo.

All that they needed were the words "Panasonic," "Eluga," and "waterproof." No slogans. No fucking logos. No splashy animation. No buttons (WTF?) saying "discover more." All they needed was the music, the imagery, and those three words. It's made even worse by the fact that Panasonic's slogan is so bad. Ideas for life? What does that even mean? It sounds like some phrase that was badly translated by Babelfish.

Good branding minimizes the brand. That is why good implementation is difficult. Ideas are a dime a dozen. Implementing them with style, grace, and efficacy is hard.

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