Television commercials are strange beasts when you think about it. In 30 seconds (sometimes longer, sometimes shorter), brands are trying to create preference or, at the very least, raise awareness of the brand itself.
It’s a tough task because it requires discipline to be single-minded, communicating a message that is persuasive and supporting a brand that so resonates with target audiences that they covet being a part of that brand.
Unfortunately, most TV advertising falls far short of being that strategic, which is why you’ll have commercials that are remembered for their entertainment value but the brand itself is forgotten. Remember the herding cats commercial from a Super Bowl past? Everyone loved it, except the brand (EDS) was forgotten so completely the ad was pulled.
You see it today with Kia’s reasonably catchy “This or That” spot, which appeals to a certain demographic but has little recall for Kia. My own children, who are certainly not the demographic since they can’t buy a car, love it.
Who is Kia targeting here? Why is advertising such as this so ineffective? It’s simple, really. Neither spot – and there are hundreds, maybe even thousands, of other examples – supports a brand position. They are not related to the emotional connection to the brand – either in context or messaging – and stand as one-offs.
With the increasing costs of producing those ads, brands and companies must become more strategic or they threaten to become irrelevant.
What usually happens, however, is that the brands simply change ad agencies, thinking “better creative” will be the answer. But it will end up putting the brand in the same position with the same issues. For brand strategists, that is truly depressing news.