House of brands, Proctor and Gamble have started to look into the power of storytelling in their advertising.
Which is a great sign of things to come, as well as for the brand story industry!
By using a similar formula by Apples recent signature ad. Their commercial is very P&G, by that I mean that its very tongue in cheek. P&G playing it very universal, very safe. But it is their first storytelling commercial of this kind.
Anyways enough of my opinions, here’s the ad, what are your thoughts?
Following shortly after Apples Signature commercial, the P&G ad does a good job of representing the brands and categories that the company cover. Though the tone of voice still echoes the days of the golden TV age. The classic 2.4 family. A tone that is not familiar with today’s audience.
What P&G Got Right
1. P&G is a corporation, a collection of household brands. They are not afraid of telling their customers that fact.
2. Starting the journey to attach emotional attributes to their brand.
3. They are showcasing their brands in unity and what appears to be part of their strategy, the unity of their products in the hands of their customer. Their products are for everyday use and ‘empower the customers lives’.
Here’s Apple Signature once again. Just for comparison and some inspiration!
Imagine the ‘Power of Everyday’ commercial focused on one or more of the core values. Rather than the aspect of change through being ordinary.
The commercial seems to be an end product from a company trying to understand the world and it’s audience. Attempting to present an aspirational, emotional connection that ‘CHANGE’ starts with everyday normal activities.
Why everyday average activities? Because that’s how they value and position their brands. It’s a shame as P&G like other large FMCG companies do not innovate nor do they try to change the world. They simply associate with cause marketing to simply make aware their product.
If this wasn’t the case the values of the cause, the charity would be baked into the brand values. The way it sees the world. Think Toms shoes.
In this case these Apple products represent P&G brands. The experience is the association with the brand, the brand (Apple product) resides just out of focus.
How does this look when we talk about P&G, their brands and their commercial.
Everyday Stories And Commercials
Power of Everyday is a great tag line for the FMCG company. They aim to empower the lives of millions, everyday.
But does this video commercial enforce that view?
I don’t think it does and here’s why..
The commercial starts by showing the hectic pace of society and the results of technology. Then P&G target audience starts to appear, with the narration that CHANGE starts closer to home. A few flash shots of products.
“A boys clean shirt makes him stand an inch taller” and “A girls shiny hair, that tells the world she’s in charge”. Thanks Pantene. But what is she in charge of? And how is her hair defining change?
The commercial ends with the flashing of a selection of the better known brands. If they didn’t do even this smallest of advertisement, how would the audience know what brands and products are within P&G. It’s a sign of how internally they are lacking the courage and know how to advance their marketing.
Everyday stories – what does it mean? What do they look like? How can they be demonstrated?
An age old way of endorsements are testimonials, this attributes to everyday stories. What customers of P&G brands would be discussing with friends originally offline. Today we are lucky that social media acts as the online version of offline customer conversations.
A testimonial is a statement, by a customer and reflects what people are saying (offline and online) – word of mouth.
NOTE: These everyday stories from P&G are not as popular as they once were prior the 21st century. There are many reasons for there demise. Change of lifestyle, culture, world view and the decrease in customer time and increased decision making and choices through competitors.
1950 Product Commercial from P&G
A lot has changed since then. Yet we still see celebrity endorsements in commercials like;
Celeb endorsement from Rodger Federer
Making the ordinary products of ordinary brands slightly more enticing to the audience. Their is also the Customer Endorsement commercials, though these are always hard to find!
NOTE: These examples are still not authentic uses of customer endorsements. They are still based upon selling rather than brand affiliation.
Authentic Customer Endorsements
Why are you talking about word of mouth/testimonials? And what does it have to do with storytelling?
As we have covered that testimonials are a reflection of word of mouth. Word of mouth are the ACTUAL stories customers are having everyday around brands. I refer to these as Social Stories these are stories that happen when people come together discuss their day, the problems they face.
Though all stories are social, only great stories can provide value, insight, knowledge these stories create the conversations where as Social Stories are part of the conversation.
Other endorsement commercials using experience and storytelling is that of Jamal Edwards Google/YouTube commercial. Demonstrating the use of the Google products. Being a success story of YouTube service, launching SBTV.
What P&G Needs To Learn
There are 4 things P&G can learn from their first storytelling commercial. The lessons are;
1. Visual – .There are a few ways to visually demonstrate a story associated with a brand, or collection of brands A) SHOW how the product can benefit the users. B) Show the EXPERIENCE connected to the product. C) Tell the story of your values demonstrate this through your unique brands personality.
2. Audio – more commonly used in commercials is that of TELLING the audience what the product is and this is also the reason why the customer should buy. This is wrong! It doesn’t work no more.
What they should be doing; A) narrate what the commercial is showing B) talk about the experience associated with the product or more importantly the brand C) Build on the emotion and direction of the visual aspects
3. Consistency – cultivating a consistent image and values through every touch point and interaction. If your company culture does not resemble what you are preaching then you are misrepresenting your brand. Resulting in reduction of trust and authenticity.
4. Value – how does the video align with the brands core values? Does it add value to the target audience? How do they associate the value to their lives? Thus indicating how best to approach tackling communications with your target audience.
As long as you play it safe and try to please everyone. You will in effect please no one. In effect making your brands not worthy of remembering. Thus failing in the brands most challenging times to attract and maintain customers.
Brand Narrative Researcher & Designer. Driver and explorer of new innovative branding and marketing fields. With diverse experience working with planning and delivering global digital campaigns for some of the worlds largest FMCG brands. If you have a question or would like to get in touch please do connect with me, on twitter @NovelInfluence or on Google+