Monday, August 08, 2005

:: adgruntie :: Commentaries from Adage

+ Al Ries takes a "critical look" at ad agencies lack of self-promotion while pump up PR and his own company. What a shocker! Al, listen, we all understand how much you're not a fan of advertising and how you obviously think PR is more powerful, but, if you're writing an article to be published in Advertising Age, I really don't need to read about how wonderful you think your company is.

A much more interesting commentary is Jonah Bloom's commentary on Ben & Jerry's marketing.
How many companies say they want to be differentiated, then choose safe, broad messages to please everyone? Answer: Most of them. This is a world in which food companies apologize for food, pharmaceutical companies apologize for improving the nation’s health, alcoholic beverage providers shy away from ads showing people having too much fun, and most marketers beg for public mercy the moment some fringe advocacy group declares itself offended by a message that wasn’t aimed at them in the first place.

How refreshing then to hear Walt say that he doesn’t care if everyone likes Ben & Jerry’s. “Half the people will love it, half the people will hate it,” he says. “We don’t try to pretend we’re anything we’re not. You shouldn’t be afraid of who you are. Take a stand. Or even just be fun and irreverent.”

Sure, it’s not easy to be so carefree when there’s a battery of lawyers and politicians eager to make capital out of any corporation that oversteps the boundaries, but many companies use that as an excuse when what they really fear is offending a single potential customer. Such fear leads to ineffective, vanilla marketing. Maybe Ben & Jerry’s success suggests more marketers should release their inner Chunky Monkey.
Yup. Yes. Right. Bingo. Couldn't agree more.

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