The Brand Your Brand Could Smell Like

September 4, 2012 - 5 minutes read

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We always remember the television commercials that take risks: the types that don’t conform and don’t patronise. However, the majority of adverts are either devastatingly irritating (to the point of making us change the channel; for example, those farcical Cillit Bang ads with Barry Scott), or anodyne (to the point of not making any sort of impression at all; seems to be the case for most air fresheners).
The irritating ones beat the anodyne ones when it comes to audience retention, but the best ads are those that stick in our minds for positive reasons. Advertising is tricky: in under 30 seconds, brands have to sum up their product and create a brand image andmake it all memorable. Hence many have begun to realise they must take more risks in order to stand above the competition.

Humour seems ultimately one of the most effective ways of getting consumers on your side: ridiculous humour most of all, since it is the most instantly memorable. The Old Spice commercials have had huge success using this form of comedy, so much so that they have gone viral. Here are the best of the best:
The Man Your Man Could Smell Like:
Terry Crews demonstrating his power:
These ads work because of their simplicity: taking masculine stereotypes and magnifying them to the point of absurdity. In suspending reality they also give the impression they don’t take themselves seriously, hence why we like them. Since there is so little to differentiate body washes on the market, Old Spice are just having a laugh!
This product is too powerful to stay in its own commercial:
From a Jacuzzi, to motorcycling with a bear:
Brands are also always looking for ways to get consumers interacting with their products using experiential, interactive, and guerrilla marketing. Old Spice are no different, but then this isn’t your standard brand image. Try out a flame sax whilst Terry Crews plays drums with his pecs: muscle music.
Old Spice also integrated consumers into their ridiculously handsom man ad through an experiential tour, which visited selected UK universities in 2011. It gave young males the chance to become the man they wished they smelled like. Check out some pics here.
Ridiculous humour, in giving the impression that brands don’t take themselves that seriously, can also break down some of the corporate anonymity which often makes us distrust large companies. We trust brands that are transparent about their intentions, and are unafraid to look foolish:
Richard Branson, Chairman of Virgin Group, is notorious for basing his brand image on his own personality. We like Virgin because we like Richard Branson:
He is also renowned for his silly gimmicks and ridiculous publicity stunts.
Although obviously not all brands and products are able to present themselves in this way (Gucci, for example, could not use Terry Crews for their next ad campaign), a lot of everyday brands – like food and drink, or personal care products – can afford to be humorous in their brand image. Here are our final few diamond examples of ridiculous or silly humour, pulled off through experiential marketing:
Tic Tacs try to raise awareness of bad breath in France:
Delites get people to do increasingly strange tasks for free snacks:
In an ordinary street, TNT Drama create a ridiculous action sequence out nothing:

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