Wednesday, January 02, 2008

you're only a shoe

When I was a teenager I was really bad at buying trainers/sneakers. I would stand in the shoe shop, studying a trainer as though it was a piece of art. Only when I found a perfectly balanced design, with great colour combinations would I be happy. The problem was, once they were on my feet the picture changed. It took me years to appreciate that the shoe was merely an accessory to the outfit - and that sometimes a simple white trainer worked the best, even if it looked dull on its own.

I was reminded of this over the month of December when I looked up at billboards in town. Every brand screamed at me that it was the centre of Christmas. Forget everything else. If you wanted to enjoy Christmas then you could do it only by drinking it, wearing it or tasting it solely through this one product, depending on which billboard you were looking at at the time.

Christmas heightens a problem that is still everywhere in marketing: Brands behave as though they are the centre of everything. But they're not. None of them are. They are are merely one shoe. Every company, product and message is merely an accessory to a bigger picture that none of them can control.

I threw my shoe metaphor at Faris a couple of weeks ago and he mentioned Wieden's strategy for Lurpak: for the product to be a companion to foods and not the outright dinnertime hero. I think this is a great example of the kind of thinking that works well. I can't be bothered to try and finish this post off in any interesting/clever way. The end.


Blogger Faris said...

hey dude - nice - what you think of the new lurpak ad?


9:20 am  
Blogger Andy said...

quite nice. i like the tone of voice and approach behind them.

they feel a little flat but such are the limitations of the medium.

9:38 am  

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