Butt Drugs and Google – Lessons in Branding

Watch this commercial:

Pretty good, huh? Now watch this one:

Kinda different, right? Well, yes and no…

I LOVE these spots. They are two of my favorites, but not for the reasons you might think. At first blush, they couldn’t be more different. One is touching and sophisticated, the other homely and crude. One is for the biggest corporation in the world (or is it Exxon this year?), the other for a hometown pharmacy.

But in the most important way, they are identical.

Think about it. What is the ultimate purpose of any bit of advertising? Is it to entertain, to evoke emotion, to make a case? All of those to a degree. But the ultimate purpose of advertising is to burn a company’s brand into your mind. If you watch a TV commercial or listen to a radio spot or see a floating banner ad and cannot remember the name of the company whose it was, the ad fails, no matter how funny or clever or touching.

That is where the Butt Drugs and Google spots are identical. I can ask you about them a week or a month from now and you will be able to tell me who they belong to. Now, elements like humor and emotion matter, but not as much as brand awareness. And those commercials get that oh so right.

So, how can you keep focus with your advertising and make sure you are communicating your brand effectively? How can you ensure people walk away from your branding efforts with your name on the top of their minds? Keep these tips in mind:

Brands have feelings too

Think of your brand as a person. A person with thoughts, feelings and preferences, just like you or I. Now, if you have a small business or are the founder of your enterprise, that company is likely to share some of your personal characteristics. And that is okay. Great, in fact.

So, when you are considering what tone your advertising should take, ask yourself if it is in keeping with that brand’s personality. Is your brand playful but professional? Is it a cutting edge whiz kid with a devil-may-care nonchalance? Is it a seasoned business veteran, the adult in the room?

Look back at Google and Butt Drugs. Do you see their corporate personalities come through? Of course, and that is what make them memorable. Advertising should always be consistent with your brand’s personality, or you will confuse consumers with your messaging, and you will lose.

The show is you

At the end of the day, you are in business to make profit. You make profit by persuading consumers to exchange money for your offerings. You persuade consumers by communicating your value to them. That is business.

So never ever forget that, in the immortal words of Alec Baldwin from Glengarry Glen Ross, to “always be closing”. You are the show. Google and Butt Drugs entertain and amuse with their spots. But what they also do, and with laser focus, is communicate their value to you and me. They are making their case for them over their competitors with every second of footage.

 Notice in the Google spot how every feature of their search algorithm is highlighted as the anonymous individual lives out his story. He misspells louvre, and Google fixes it. It translates French for him. And, of course, Places helps him find a church. You are taken on the journey, but you are also being schooled on the merits of Google. Butt Drugs lauds their hometown service, one-stop-shopping, and their cheap pharmaceuticals. They even blatantly tell Wal Mart “exactly where to stick it.”

You are not in entertainment, you are in business. Never lose site of the fact that you are always to be persuading your target markets that they need what you have, and your advertising should reflect that.

These are two great brand building commercials, in my opinion. What are some that you love, and why?



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