All posts tagged Volvo

This Dr. Pepper campaign isn’t sexist. It’s bad.

Hello, ladies. Look at this ad. Now back to me. Now back at this ad. Sadly, we’re all a little bit sexist, aren’t we?

Dr. Pepper launched a new drink targeting guys called Dr. Pepper Ten. The spot is below.

While good brands massage their tone and messaging to appeal to a specific target, this one is kinda unique because it blatantly excludes females by saying, “Not for Women”. There’s even a Facebook page only visible to guys with such manly gems as The Manly Shooting Gallery and Name Your Sausage (I picked “Chorizo” which wasn’t the right answer.) As if that wasn’t enough, pop-up Man Caves will appear in select US cities.

People are kinda freaking out. Ad Chickadee is asking people to sign a petition to “remove this sexist ad” and respected AdRants said there was “…no reason to pit one sex against the other…”

Do I like this ad? No I do not.
As a guy, does it speak to me? No it does not.
Will I buy this product? No I will not.

But is it sexist? I guess it is by definition but when we still have gender imbalance in income levels and household duties and women are still marginalized by “babes in bikinis” for just about every beer brand on the planet, I think we have more important gender issues to fight for.

As a guy, I don’t connect with this campaign just as I fail to connect with manly ads for pickup trucks, meat-lovers pizza, and domestic beer. Sure, they don’t say, “Not for women” but they might as well. And what about the hundreds of CPG spots that depict the husband as bumbling idiots while their wives do that all-knowing wink to the camera? Are those sexist? Hell, even the toast of ad-town Old Spice claimed that if I stopped using lady scented body wash, I could smell like a chiseled former NFL player. Was it sexist or just targeting burly men who proudly define themselves as one?

I drive a Volvo. I’m not handy. I despise action movies. And I don’t own any Rock ‘em Sock ‘em Hockey DVDs. I can’t be further from the image of men depicted in most advertising. But I’m ok with it because I vote with my dollars by not purchasing those products. I don’t waste my time or space in gender discussions to complain about it. I just say “no thanks” and move on.

Good advertising should always connect with specific people. Some of those people are women who like traditional “girly stuff” or men who like “macho stuff”. And if there aren’t enough guys who relate to a soft drink that is exclusively male then sales will plummet, business will suffer, and people will get fired.

Ordering them to take it down seems foolish when it’ll come crashing down organically if people vote with their wallets.

Call me old school but I think Dr. Pepper should have the opportunity to fail just like the rest of us.

For part 2 of this, read the post Who’s guilty? Advertising, Paris Hilton, or me?

Relationships. for life

Volvo XC60

Image via Wikipedia

Volvo has been a client of mine for the better part of a decade. They’re nice people. They have a great product and a wonderful brand. My commitment to them even extended to driving their cars for the past 5 years (Even though I’m never been a huge car guy, I absolutely love my Volvo XC60).

There have been a lot of changes at Volvo lately. Ford sold them to Geely. Stefan Jacoby became CEO. And they created “Team Volvo” with a few trusted agency partners. With huge goals (double sales by 2020), they clearly have a lot to do. But there’s one thing they didn’t do:
They didn’t fire the agency.

Far too often, new clients come in, look at the situation they inherited and immediately fire off a request for proposals. This is never a good thing for the incumbent. New people, new goals, and new strategy usually means “new agency”. And while most responsible agencies hunker down to participate in the pitch, it rarely works out. The writing may not be on the wall, but it’s certainly imbedded in a PowerPoint deck somewhere along the way.

Volvo didn’t do that. They respected their agency partners for their intellect not for the work that had been produced in conjunction with clients who also preceded the new regime. As Jacoby stated, “The work is as good as the brief and our agency hasn’t had a good brand brief to work from for some time.”

Changing agencies can be tough for a business. Critical months can fly by as the old agency winds down and the new one ramps up leaving the client with few partners who truly understand the brand or the legacy of it. Combine that with any internal changes and it’s a recipe for disaster. Besides, I just don’t like the relationship implications of it. While many brands treat their people with respect, there aren’t many that extend that to their partners. What does that say to your new agency? Hell, what does it say about the brand? It’s kind of like cheating n your wife. It doesn’t say much about you but it certainly says a lot to your next wife.

Compare this to Mr. Sub debacle last year. Even though Mr. Sub approved and aired a campaign, they fired their agency, Bos, when consumer complaints started coming in over it. Not cool. They threw their agency under the bus for something that they participated in themselves.

The sub people can learn a lot from the Volvo people. How you treat your agency says a lot about how you treat your customers.

I remain loyal to Volvo and I use my consumer vote to never eat at Mr. Sub. Has anyone got the number for Subway?