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Does Guitar Center Have the Best Brand Belief on Earth?

Content marketing sure sounds great but it isn’t always easy for marketers to embrace.

It’s a different process.
Done by different people.
At different agencies.
With different costs.
And a fundamental requirement to not talk about your brand 24/7.

What are brands supposed to talk about then?

At the heart of any content marketing strategy is the Brand Belief, the fundamental belief that goes beyond products and services instead of being defined by them.

Whole Foods doesn’t believe in organic groceries, they believe in community.
Red Bull doesn’t believe in caffeinated beverages, they believe that people need a kick in ass to step outside their comfort zone.
Those are great but Guitar Center may have the best sounding Brand Belief of them all.

This Guitar Center video was shared by Suzanne Pope over at Ad Teachings. And we love it.

They could believe in the guitars.
They could believe in the holy chords, G-C-D.
They could believe in learning an instrument.
But those would be far too boring and far too product focused. Consumers would  skip right by them and the content, not to mention the conversation, would dry up almost instantaneously.

Instead, they believe in something greater.
They state, “All we sell is the greatest feeling on earth.” 

Just reading that line makes me want to harness my inner Bon Jovi and belt out a ballad to a stadium full of adoring, Bic-lighter waving fans who would, undoubtedly, sing the chorus with me at the top of their lungs before stopping to say, “We love you, man!”

Of course, that magical feeling is the one that someone gets when another human responds to something they’ve created or performed. Ask any musician and they’ll tell you that it is the greatest feeling on earth. It’s what gets them up. It’s what keeps them going. And it’s what makes all the strumming, picking, and rehearsing worthwhile.

Now that’s something to sell.
That’s something to believe in.
Their products play a role in that feeling but Guitar Center’s not selling the instruments.
They’re selling the feeling that one gets from using the instruments.

The video above is with Questlove but their brand belief inspires months and months of non-stop content:
How do other musicians describe the greatest feeling on earth?
What was it like the first time they experienced it?
How would they describe it in a painting? In spoken word?
Videos, pictures, poems, articles, and more. Tweets, Facebook posts, Pins,  Vines, and stuff for platforms that haven’t even been invented yet.

Presenting interesting content that’s all tied back to a consistent brand belief will interest consumers. Some of those will buy guitars hoping to create the greatest feeling on earth for themselves.

With a clear Brand Belief and an organized content calendar, Guitar Center could go on and on and on and on and on and on and on.
Here’s hoping they do.






The Losers of the 2014 Super Bowl Commercials

The game may have been long over by the time Sha-Na-Na joined Bruno Mars on stage but the commercials went on as planned. You hate the sweater you paid $90 for last week? Too bad. Try being a brand that forked over millions in media and production to advertise during a game that was over after 12 seconds.

Oh well. Here’s who I thought the losers were.

Subway: “It’s Crunch Time”
What’s more off-putting? The brand that stands for eating fresh putting Fritos on their subs or letting a guy in a bad suit sing along with the “Cruncha-Muncha, Fritos on my sub” jingle? You choose. I’m too busy reviving Jared from his shock induced coma. Oh, look. They did it in-house.

SodaStream: “Sorry, Coke & Pepsi”
I don’t see why this spot is getting the love. It’s fine. But last year’s spot showed the true value of SodaStream much more effectively and it didn’t need ScarJo to do it, either. Here’s a tip: When you’re trying to differentiate yourself from the big boys, don’t act or spend like the big boys. This felt like SodaStream was a dot-com from 1999.

Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee (Crackle): “Reunion”
I didn’t mind the spot. The writing was funny. My only question is why? Why take a new type of show, shot in a new kind of way, on a new kind of network, and blow your brains out on the king of old school media? Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee (which I love) represents the new regime. There was no need to do this.

Wonderful Pistachios: “Stephen Colbert”
After last year’s Psy and this year’s Colbert, maybe Wonderful should take the money they fork over to celebrities and give it to an agency to actually help them build their brand. If only there was a contest. Oh, wait. There was.

Audi: “Doberhuahua”
All that for the line, “Designed without compromise”? Trust me, somewhere along the way, someone compromised. Disappointing effort from a great brand.

Bud Light: “Epic Night”
It starts well. It ends well. It’s executed well. Still, a brand like Bud has to be in front of trends not behind them. Every second brand film feels like it was created by the crew of Just for Laughs Gags. Remember when Howie Madel helped orchestrate that over the top wedding proposal at Disneyland on the show Mobbed 3 years ago? This felt like the beer version of that. Besides, didn’t Heineken do that 6 months ago?

Intuit TurboTax: “Prom”
I love the concept. Love the writing. Love the performance. Hell I even love Shawn in slow motion. I just don’t really like the connection to the brand. That set up was for a faster tax refund? Eeeesh.

Squarespace: “A Better Web Awaits”
“We can’t change what the web has become”… is great territory. I absolutely love the promise of that notion. The spot just didn’t deliver on it. More importantly, I have no clue what Squarespace even does.

Check out the Winners of the 2014 Super Bowl Commercials. 

The Winners of the 2014 Super Bowl Commercials


The game may have been long over by the time Sha-Na-Na joined Bruno Mars on stage but the commercials went on as planned. You hate the sweater you paid $90 for last week? Too bad. Try being a brand that forked over millions in media and production to advertise during a game that was over after 12 seconds.

Oh well. Here’s who I thought the winners were.

Esurance: “Save30”
This wasn’t as funny as E-trade’s “Well, we just wasted 2 million bucks” spot from years ago but it was just as relevant. It not only communicated a strong brand belief, it backed it up with a clever media buy and a second screen contest. Top marks for something so simple.

Maserati: “Strike”
Young creatives pay attention. This is how a writer makes a spot. From the opening line,  “The world is full of giants” to the closing, “…and quietly walk out of the dark and strike”, every word has its place, every beat has its purpose. The only thing they didn’t do was ask the writer of the script to take a look at the name of the car, “Ghibli”. Regardless, as a writer, I wish I wrote this.

Jaguar: “Rendezvous” 
Who knew “Good to be bad” could be so great? Well it was in every way. Ben Kingsley, Tom Hiddleston and Mark Strong undoubtedly made British villains and the country they represent proud. I may never be an evil villain but I’d certainly kill for their getaway car. Well done, Jag.

Chevrolet: “Life” 
Aligning with an important event like World Cancer Day isn’t easy. A lot of brands try to be noble but their bias gets in the way and they end up sounding like self-interested capitalists who are just using the charity for profits. This didn’t in any way. Beautiful spot. Amazing song.

VW: “Wings”
A wonderful set up with great casting and nice little smiles throughout. Touch the rainbow!

Cheerios: “Gracie” 
I like brands that stand for something. Thanks, Cheerios. Good for you.

Budweiser: “Puppy Love”
If you saw this and didn’t cry, your heart is made of left-over steel from the Keystone pipeline. I’ll take 1 of these over 10 of those “epic” spots any day.

Chrysler: “America’s Import”
I’m still not sure that Bob Dylan was the right person to appear in this spot. Luckily, he was given a pretty bold script and he delivered. When it comes to drawing a line in the sand, it doesn’t get much better than: “So let Germany brew your beer. Let Switzerland make your watch. Let Asia assemble your phone. We will build your car.”

RadioShack: “The Phone Call”
You want celebs? RadioShack put on their leg warmers and brought in Erik Estrada, Dee Snider, Cliff Clavin, Mary Lou Retton, Devo, Jason, Hulk Hogan, Sgt. Slaughter, California Raisins, Teen Wolf, and Alf (who also appeared in an inflight video earlier in the week) for an 80’s flashback that was really fun. Completely self deprecating, too. It’s time for a new Radio Shack. Let’s just see if they can build one.

Hyundai Genesis:  “Dad’s Sixth Sense”
Nice spot indirectly thanking dad. Nice to see especially after all the P&G mom love. I hope I’m as good a dad as this guy.

Go Daddy: “Body Builders”
You want web traffic? Here’s a totally fun depiction of it. Ridiculously simple and simply ridiculous. Besides, Go Daddy finally didn’t resort to using sex to sell. Imagine that.

Check out the Losers of the 2014 Super Bowl Commercials.

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