Brand love

Photo by Andrew Jalali I want to share with you an interesting article I found in New York Times. The article is a review of marketing and advertising campaigns which took place in 2009, and which share one common theme: l-o-v-e.

Maybe the reason is the economic downturn, and people are tired of negative news. Just like Black Eyed Peas sing:

What's wrong with the world, mama People livin' like they ain't got no mamas I think the whole world addicted to the drama Only attracted to things that'll bring you trauma

Or maybe the reason is something else -- but so many brands, especially in the US, think that it's best to talk to their consumers using the simple, emotional language of love. The power of this approach is that it has a good chance of connecting to consumers emotionally, and that's probably the best any brand can hope for.

Here is a quick list of marketing campaigns mentioned in the article For Marketers, Love is in the Air:

Blackberry Love What You do commercial

Subaru's commercial: Love. It’s what makes a Subaru, a Subaru

LensCrafters eyeglasses See what you love, love what you see campaign

Other brands that worked around the love theme in their marketing campaigns, have been McDonalds, Olay and Payless shoes.

Since the mentioned article talks about US brands only, I wanted to find a couple of other recent examples of love related campaigns undertaken on other continents. Here they are:

Australian beer Pure Blonde, and its Dove Love campaign:

Schweppes Signs commercial, which has already featured on this blog before.

Of course, it's not that if your brand talks about love, that your consumers fall in love with your products. In most of the cases, something else is needed before you can allow yourself to use the word "love" in your marketing discourse.  Call it chemistry or mutual attraction. Or, using a bit of less romantic language, you can call it a superior product combined with great customer care. And most likely, it will be your customers who'll talk about love. Brand love.

How we perceive marketing messages depending on our mood

Results of research by University of Toronto demonstrate that people see images worse if they are in a bad mood. The blog post discusses what possible implications this research might have on ads and our perceptions of messages they carry.

The post-MBA reality or how job search can be “not-so-funky”

With an exciting, invigorating, inspiring and very intensive MBA program behind me, I enthusiastically embarked upon a job hunting journey. I thought, with my quite interesting resume, a freshly-baked MBA, cool events I organized under the auspices of the Funky Business club, plus some good publicity I received through my FT articles, finding a cool job in marketing and brand strategy would be a piece of cake.

Notwithstanding my self-confidence, I have had some …. well, not too “funky” job interviews that resulted in rejections. Let me give you some examples of bizarre HR practices some companies seem to be pursuing in their war for talent.

I never had a lot of interest in working in management consulting, so, I was quite surprised when a representative of a well-known management consultancy that came to the on-campus recruitment event seemed very interested in my profile. “This is great,” he said, “we are looking for people exactly like yourself!” “Can I have your CV?” I gave my CV to him without showing too much enthusiasm, but he insisted I could be a really good match. After a couple of weeks, I received a message from this company which “combines deep industry knowledge with specialized expertise in strategy, operations, risk management, organizational transformation, and leadership development”, with a ….. rejection. The usual message stated that after “careful consideration” of my CV, their company realized that I didn’t “match the criteria required for the jobs” there. Err…I was slightly annoyed at the rejection of the post I had never applied for, and wrote back expressing my disappointment. As expected, I never heard anything back.

An HR representative of another well-known company, a French producer and marketer of milk products, had only a quick look at my CV to conclude that I would not be a good fit there due to my lack of working experience “with milk products”. Wow, I thought, they have very precise and rigorous criteria for candidate selection! How many of their current employees had the “milk product experience” before joining the company, apart from their daily portion of cereal with milk or an occasional yoghurt? And what does the mysterious “milk product experience” really stand for? Perhaps someone could clarify that for me!

Then, I received an unexpected invitation for an interview (unexpected, because it resulted from CV submission on-line, the practice I don’t normally follow very often, as it always results in the “thank you for your application, but…” responses) with a global advertising conglomerate that calls itself “a world leader in marketing communications” and “Britain’s most successful advertising company.” I was invited to London to be interviewed by their HR representative for about 1.5 hours. Fortunately, at least I wasn’t asked the usual types of questions either about my strengths and weaknesses, or the vision of myself in 5 years. In fact, it was quite a mellow interview: we went over my CV, then chatted about various brands, such as Jimmy Choo, Dove, Benetton, etc. At the end of the interview I was surprised to find out that the hiring decision would be entirely up to the interviewer to make, which, on the one hand, could suggest great efficiency of the company in question. On the other hand, given lack of too much chemistry between myself and the interviewer, I thought it was a pity I wouldn’t get another chance to talk to anyone else. As expected, in a couple of days I received a rejection for the position. It looked like the lady (who was polite enough to call me instead of sending the usual email) tried hard to find reasons not to hire me. Apparently, the reason for rejection was that during the interview I did not give any examples of “integrated campaigns” launched by the company. “Hmm,” I said, “but I was never asked any questions about the company and your integrated campaigns.” Plus, how would this easily obtainable information demonstrate if I had any skills this company could benefit from?

The good news about these rejections is that in the end they’re all for the better. Would I really want to work for someone who thinks of the world through a narrow focus of “milk products”? Or a company that thinks that only their “integrated campaigns” are worth talking about? Most likely not! In this sense, perhaps I should’t be criticizing the short-sightedness of their human resources, but on the contrary, congratulate them for their amazing ability to spot the people who would not fit into their corporate cultures anyway?