Wednesday, August 11, 2004

:: adgruntie :: Brands as celebrity endorsers

+ Forget Madonna, Britney, Michael Jordan, Becks, and the like. You don’t need them as brand endorsers anymore. Not when you could have other strong brands substantiate your brand equity. Take MasterCard’s new print campaign from McCann Erikson. "They are revamping the approach and look of the print part of the campaign in an ambitious effort centered on teaming up MasterCard with well-known retailers - both the brick-and-mortar and dot-com varieties - whose brand names get equally prominent play in the ads." "The retailers shown in the ads, which are being paid for entirely by MasterCard, were chosen from among the largest where consumers use MasterCard, Ms. Thomas and Ms. Fuller said, as well as those that have promotional and other partnerships with MasterCard." They are going to be featuring 10 brands will be featured in their advertisements, including AT&T Wireless, Banana Republic, Gap, Hyatt, Kmart, Pier 1 Imports, Radio Shack, Shell, Travelocity, and Williams-Sonoma- with more to come. “The idea is to use one powerful brand to support another’s product. Examples include a deal to place Apple’s iPods in BMW automobiles, a description of Miller Lite beer as “the WD-40 of conversation”, and the promotion by General Mills of Hershey chocolate as an ingredient in Betty Crocker cake mixes”. The thing is, that last example is really more of a co-branding concept. An article from last year on calls it branded brands. Read the article for some more on the subject. This idea is really using the brands to endorse another brand. The brand as the celebrity endorser. But the Miller Lite example is another interesting one. It's brands piggy-backing on the equity already established with another brand. Advertising agencies are increasingly using unrelated brand-name products to help sell the brands they are paid to pitch. (read this article for more, lots of great examples). This article calls it all co-branding, which I suppose is somewhat accurate. Although I think piggyback branding is better. It's the strengthening of your brand via the brand of something else. At least with MasterCard they are related in enough of a way that it's not so jarring, unlike some of the other examples out there. Although, as the NYTimes article mentions, the concept is very similar to the old Visa print ads by BBDO NY where small businesses were featured.

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