A new year, new budgets, new campaigns, and the kick off to what promises to be the best of the best in advertising for the Super Bowl. It is such an exciting time for advertising as we wait with anticipation for the spots during the game (unless you peek and watch the ones that were released early). Who ever would have thought that the 1st weekend in February would place advertising and advertisements in the spotlight?
Thereafter, we we start seeing ads catered towards holidays, seasonal ads with spring around the corner and summer knocking as well with ads that try and tie their brand into the event. Many try and many fail as they are forcing their brand to be associated with the event as opposed to their target market connecting their lifestyle to the event and including the brand. It is about the target and how the brand fits their life and not how the brand fits the event which then will fit into the life of the target. Sometimes through the creative process or lack thereof, this is forgotten.
The Purpose of Advertising
The purpose of advertising is to persuade the audience to buy. This is achieved through relating to the target market and convincing them that they need and/or want what you are selling to enrich their lives in some sort of way. There is also advertising whose purpose is stop people from doing things – ie drunk driving, smoking or even stop buying this brand and buy ours. With some advertising the purpose is harder as in some industries price matters, in others social status matters and in others there is that combination of both. Researching and targeting your target market is more than a good headline. It is a headline and marketing message that resonates enough to guide the target to buy. This persuasion encompasses the objectives of advertising which are to build awareness, position and differentiate all geared to build trust. We buy when we trust. Sure, there is buying out of need like groceries but the trust that Ronzoni makes better pasta than the store private label has us willing to spend that $.50 more even if they both taste the same and are made in the same plant.
Advertising the Lifestyle
Advertising the lifestyle sells. This is “you” with an iphone, ipad, a family running the kids here and there, this is “you” and you will have a better life as it will be easier, more convenient, you will be at the cool kids table, etc. Volvo was safety. The family car to protect the most precious, your kids and you of course. Chevrolet putting the focus on Motor City and the deterioration and strength of the City to be again. These are winners. Fiat was a loser as they tried to have people believe that Jennifer Lopez drives a Fiat. Maybe for the commercial she did on a Hollywood set which was supposed to be the Bronx but we all know that she is not driving a Fiat, or, for that matter, driving at all. Her driver drives, she rides. Even the younger generation would not rush out to buy a Fiat because J-Lo allegedly drives one. So, what is a car company to do? Show the car hugging the road, in extreme temperatures up a mound of snow? Meh, overdone and not really a lifestyle as you expect your vehicle, especially a truck or SUV to do that. Have an airplane land in the bed of the truck? Sure, because we all can take our pick-up truck on the runway. This is not lifestyle advertising. It is entertaining I suppose but tells the target nothing about their life experiences/lifestyle with the vehicle.
Honda Targets Life Stages with New Leap List Campaign
Honda has taken the bucket list to a new level by incorporating a holiday of sorts. This year is leap year and while we do not celebrate leap year as we do most holidays, it is an opportunity for advertisers to take advantage of it. Many advertisers are more than likely planning big sales and ads around those sales. Great but, it is nothing new or different. It is one way communication that is no different than the sales for Valentines’ Day, President’s Day, Memorial Day, etc. Honda has done something different and has created the Leap List Campaign for the all new CR-V.
It embraces stages in our lives when we would be experiencing new things such as graduating college, planning a big vacation, running our first marathon, purchasing a new home, getting married and having a child. Not all of these would involve purchasing a new vehicle but it makes us think of the stages in our life and what we will (or want to) to accomplish before the next stage. Brilliant, as it incorporates leap year but does not make that the main focus. It makes our lives and the things we see as attainable the focus. The campaign is run on Facebook and, as you will notice, the contest is not the main tab. It is actually the third tab out of four. The main page is about YOUR leap list and encourages you to create your own leap list. The contest of course is a new CR-V with a years worth of gas to help the grand prize winner complete their leap list. The judging is based upon progress updates so it is not create a list and forget about it the next day as we do with New Years Resolutions. They are making you work for it.
The campaign is very creative, interactive and really just so great. I am not only saying this because I currently own a Honda Accord and have owned 3 other Honda’s. I admit I do love and swear by Honda but SUV’s are not my thing. I love this campaign as they are having us decide when we tackle those big things in life and determine when we would need the CR-V to accomplish them. It is not have a baby and need a safe car or bring the kids to football practice and need a mini-van, it is accomplish the big things in your life and for some of them you may need a CR-V and if you do, we are here.
photo credit: exfordy