Big brands aren’t afraid to use hyperbolic statements.
I recently watched the Russel Brand Netflix special and he touched upon brand slogans and how utterly ridiculous they can be.
He picked on Pepsi’s slogan, ‘unbelievably satisfying’ and remarked how hyperbolic that statement actually is. He asked Gilette (the best a man can get) whether they had tried *expletive*. I shall post the clip here (NSFW), regardless of your thoughts about Russel Brand’s humour, he makes quite a good point.
The big advertising agencies aren’t afraid to make big statements. Trading standards prevent us marketers from making direct claims like “this shampoo smells better than any other shampoo in the world”, but we are allowed to create advertisements which suggest that our product will not only take you to a tropical place in your mind but is also orgasmic. (It’s not.)
Gilette doesn’t directly say ‘this is the best razor a man can buy’. But they do take a more general and grandiose approach of saying it’s the best a man can get, in general. Carlsberg is most definitely not probably the best beer in the world. Red Bull won’t give you wings. And I’ve never had an OOOOO from Typhoo. Max Factor is not the makeup of makeup artists – they usually use the more expensive brand, Mac. And it’s doubtful that Apple will help you ‘think differently’. Whilst through clever advertising they’ve managed to associate the iMac and Mac Book Pro with creatives, there are plenty of musicians, designers and bloggers who are more than happy with a PC. Well, they would be happy with it if Apple hadn’t advertised at them so hard.
Powerful, global brands use powerful slogans. They work tirelessly to make you associate their products with good feelings, classy situations and success.
Why are smaller businesses afraid to say they’re the best?
And so all this made me wonder, why are local businesses so afraid to make bold claims with their advertising? Is it a lack of creativity, or a lack of confidence? Maybe fear of looking silly? What’s more, why are businesses reluctant to make absolutely true claims? Such as being the largest distributor, or having access to technology that your competitors don’t? B2B businesses, in particular, seem to believe that marketing is best kept serious, sensible and modest. Even if they’ve consistently managed to save their clients time and money.
To get in a creative mindset and flex your brain a little, I like to do pitch exercises with my clients which I got from the author Daniel H Pink, in his book ‘To Sell is Human’.
- If you had to pick one word to describe your business, what would it be?
- How can you describe your business in a tweet (140 characters?)
- Now take that sentence and make it rhyme.
And in the spirit of being hyperbolic and silly like the big brand names, what is the boldest claim you can make about your business? Is it refreshing, orgasmic, does it make CEO’s happy? Then, touch it up and make it legal.
*May cause astounding brainwaves*
Brainstorm what you want your potential customers to associate with your brand.
Aside from pitches, we can use photography, video and case studies to show our brand being associated with the things we want people to keep in their mind when they think of us. You might not be legally allowed to say that you are the most reliable provider in the world, but your clients can. You might not be able to say that your cupcakes make people happy, but you sure can show a woman eating your cupcakes with a huge grin on their face.
Category: Marketing General