Pimp my proposition


So here is a rubbish idea. I am going to call it pimp my proposition. You give me and the rest of us a brand or category by posting a comment and I give you a proposition at best or a brilliant insight at worst. You decide I am way off the pace and ignore it while everyone else thinks i am an arrogant tosser. Eventually someone out there comes up with the goods three months after you needed it. Job done. If its a brand outside the UK I’ll definitely need the category. If anything is useable it’s governed by the same creative commons licence as the rest of the site – i.e. you can use it for commercial gain but a name check (to whoever provided the inspiration) wouldn’t go a miss.
Ask away.

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26 Replies to “Pimp my proposition”

  1. Hmmm – haven’t explained myself well enough. The idea is that you post a comment with a brand or category you are working on and we all set to trying to forge a radical new strategy.

  2. OK, here’s one. It’s a bitch (I should know)
    Heineken (UK) – premium lager.
    They scrapped the old 3.4% cold filtered (viewed as weak pish generally) and relaunched with a premium imported 5% brew to compete with the likes of Stella and Budweiser.
    Communication to date has been about ‘we’ve changed'(cf. Ray Liotta TV ad), but they need to start to communicate a new premium positioning three years on from the relaunch.
    Bear in mind that Heineken is actually viewed as very much a top premium beer brand in most other markets around the world and that the new 5% brew is a top quality product (beats Stella hands down in blind product tests)
    Big question is…given the strength of Heineken’s advertising history, would you revert back to the ‘refreshes the parts’ strapline (or a version thereof) or something new. Can there really be a relevant place for yet another premium lager brand? Now that the supermarkets are flogging it cheaper than bottled water, do consumers see any value in lager? How do you break the mould in this category when the historical standard is so high, new regulations are getting stricter all the time and a lot of the beer advertising nowadays tends to be formulaic (birds, footie, johnny foreigner, etc)
    Now pimp my proposition!

  3. Shit I really asked for it didn’t I?
    Here is some work in progress.
    OK Heineken is in trouble but the answer isn’t in a retread of the old creative vehicle – it is not actually good enough unlike Stella’s reassuringly expensive. Refreshes the parts is the best example I can think of something charlie robertson said to me last week – that left on their own creatives dramatise generic strategies.
    Yes refreshes estabished a strong communications legacy but it is dated and the brand’s advertising prowess has been damaged by the recent work – to the point that they claim to have given up on advertising.
    My feeling is that the brand needs to take it’s destiny into it’s own hands and stop being taken to the cleaners by sector issues. So I suspect its a brand in need of an opinion – possibly one that can live outside lager – we shall have to see. That is what I am going to think about. Also I am interested in reframing provenance going smaller or perhaps larger than the nation state – see if there is anything in that.
    I’ll gt back to you – anyone else interested in lending a hand?

  4. Hello Lucas! It’s a small world this web-o-spehere. And hello Richard too…
    I’m not much help on Heineken – but odd that you perceive Stella and Budweiser as similar opponents? Aren’t those two brands at opposite ends of the lager spectrum….strong, continental wife-beater v horrible yankee piss water? I might have misread the market though.
    One small thought off the top of my head….every other lager brand seems to be striving for ‘authenticity’ – citing a legacy and heritage of lager-brewing. The ads often play up to the longevity and ‘aged-ness’ of the brand – think Stella, Kronenberg, even Bud to a degree.
    But, to my mind, lager isn’t like whisky or wine. It’s a modern product and, as such, I’d expect it to improve and evolve all the time. We didn’t have decent lager in the UK until the late-1970s so why do I care if a brand has made it in the same way for a hundred plus years.
    Heineken could be daringly modern. And honest. And try to own cutting-edge lager expertise. Put your hands up and say – ‘Hey, our lager used to be terrible!’…’in fact ALL lager used to be terrible’….’but this is what’s changed and we’ve changed with it…we don’t make it like all those other guys….we’re bang up to date and so our product is better’
    I know nothing about lager or how it’s made but I’d quite like to. Noone’s ever talked about that.
    Heineken: Refreshed like no other lager.
    And Lucas – will your wedding be Heineken fuelled?!

  5. So here’s what I’m struggling with…
    Computers are commodities. It’s just about possible to sell them to consumers/SMBs with exciting product features but the most profitable contracts are often in the Public Sector – selling thousands of white boxes to Government, Schools, Hospitals etc.
    Now let’s face it – most computers are pretty much identical nowadays and if you need to buy 20,000 of them, the decision tends to be a price driven one.
    So, if you’re not the cheapest brand in town, and you offer no real product differentiation, how do you get the procurement guys and IT committees in governments/universities/hospitals to pick you?! (aside from sending them Russian hookers).
    Actually, I think I’ve just realised that this isn’t really an advertising issue….but any thoughts?!

  6. Heineken
    I’ve got two ideas. I think they both have something to do with the UK’s adoption of so called continental licencing and wishful thinking about developing a more European approach to drinking.
    The first is about the increased strength of the product which elevates it into the premium lager category and I assume brings it in line with the rest of Europe. So I couldn’t resist the idea that Heineken’s increased strength represents a welcome standardisation of strength across Europe bringing the UK up to the level of the rest of Europe – just like the government used to try and do with the health care budget. It feels that this can be played one of two ways either anti European – at last some good has come out of it. Or pro European – Heineken represents yet another flowering of one of the richest cultures on earth. Either way I like the idea of Heineken having a European or continental provenance rather than a Dutch(?) one.
    Heineken – an act of european union
    The other idea is to reject the whole concept of session drinking for this brand and position it as a more grown up larger. Either as the beer you have when you are only going to have one or as the beer that you drink with a meal – like those continetal types do. I think that refering to it as beer rather than larger may also be helpful – its only here that we make the distinction between beer and larger. I think the one that has most likely traction is the only one route. This has a rally nice and defined useage occasion, speaks to a more mature audience of men who crave a thist quenching tasty pint but leave it at that because they don’t want to get pissed and becase their lives demand they aren’t down the pub from dusk to chucking out time(getting home to kids, getting back to work, going out to dinner).
    Heineken – the only one if you are only having one

  7. Jonathan – computers.
    Doesn’t feel positioning is going to help on this one. This will be a super rational decision making process conducted by cold hearted procurement people. i just wondered whether developing a radical ethical agenda for the organisation in some area of the triple bottom line might help – certainly in getting on the consideration list. In other words an environmental or social agenda that adds another dimension to the way the product is evaluated.
    R

  8. here’s mine: Fiat Albea.
    meaning: relauch Fiat Albea on the market, in such a way that we increase its brand awareness and we build a trustworthy image of Fiat on the market, using Albea’s top points: elegance, comfort and consumption. And bearing in mind the fact that Albea registered quite a success on the market due to its correct previous price-positioning, despite not being well-known (as it wasn’t sold on the occidental markets).
    so, what do you say: will you pimp my proposition?

  9. Good thinking on Heineken, Richard.
    Couple of responses. Your first idea isn’t a million miles off what we used for relaunch. It was based on the insight that people get to try ‘real’ quality 5% Heineken abroad, but get the weak shit when they get home. There was a ‘world approves’ campaign, which I don’t think was a roaring succes, but that was more to do with the rather obscure executions.
    On your second proposition, we are using pretty much just that for another one of our brands, which is targetted at the more mature drinker (with responsibilities). I won’t tell you which one just yet, but keep an eye out in May. And we had thought of it already, honest like! It is a really fresh take on beer advertising and it’s gone down very well in research so far!
    What I should point out on Heineken is that the relaunch happened 3 years ago, and we really want to move on from the ‘we’ve changed’ type of communication. Anyway, keep your eye out for what comes out. I have no idea at this stage!

  10. Fiat.
    Why are there no good car strategies? OK so there is Honda in the UK – not so much power of dreams which is a little post rationalised given the endline existed pre W+K but certainly Stuart Smith’s ‘Positive Hate’ idea for diesel.
    And I still like the D’Arcy work for the Fiat Coupe – In Italy no one wants to grow up to be a train driver.
    Oh yes and whats that ‘men are back’ campaign for Peugeot all about? Interesting after a decade of the feminisation of the car market.
    But by and large this category is bereft of good thinking. In the main it trades of cliched strategies like ‘it is big but it is also small’, ‘the family car that thinks it’s a sports car’ and ‘the diesel that is so good you keep forgetting its not petrol’. If you are personally guilty of any of these strategic crimes then you should be deeply ashamed of yourself.
    I recently did a little strategy for Fiat’s stable mate Alfa. Big year for Alfa (pretty make or break in the UK).
    I found a genius quote on the new Alfa Brera in Evo magazine. It said that the guy that designed the new Alfa Brera (an automotive design legend whose name escapes me as I type) was the ‘Georgio Armani of sheet steel’. It was one of those great planning moments when you spot from all the chaff a gem you can build everything off. So the strategy became ‘Alfa Romeo – couture in sheet steel’ which has that nice combination of high end design and the masculinity of working materials.
    All of which ain’t much help on Fiat – I’m still thinking though.
    R

  11. Computers
    How do you get IT guys to pick you?
    When your computer crashes/fails breaks at work the most likley thing you will do is call IT support. You will call IT support with an increase in frequency, frustration and tension until the problem is sorted. This will happen throughout the organisation from administators to CEOs. All giving the IT support guys aggro and headaches untill thier machine gets sorted.
    Who supports IT support? If a computer company can position itself as one which is there to help the IT guy with his headaches – getting employees computers back up and running as quickly possible they are half way there. If he believes in you he will make the case with the procurement guys.
    Postioning: Brand x we support IT support

  12. Now that I like Hannah.
    Brilliant approach to targetting and brilliant positioning based on a stonking insight. Everyone hates IT – be the people that love them to death.
    I’m sure that even if these people don’t make the decisions they are significant influencers.
    Love it.

  13. OK, let’s get to real commodities like bread. What if I were a national brand of bread.
    Or hot dogs, lunchmeat, basically anything in those tired old aisles at the grocery store. Make consumers care about that.
    Pip it.

  14. Bread. The ultimate commodity. No, that’s not the idea, that’s the problem. Worked on Hovis, a UK brand and on some npd stuff. Over here, so many varieties, but little real choice and even less interest.
    Need a connection with the brand (OR with the sector) so first job is to create one or build on one. Examples: Allied Bakeries’ crustless bread, Hovis putting baked beans on the outside of the pack. Insight in both cases coming from: it’s not the product it’s how it’s used that matters.
    Assuming NO particular point of difference, if it is a national brand, it must be known. The more familiar it is the more playful you can be. Consumers maybe don’t HAVE to care they just have to notice and to connect.
    Seems to me many propositions work BACK from a line or idea or wordplay. Almost like they are ‘pre-pimped’. So play around and have fun.

  15. Bread then.
    Subject of one of my favourite quotes from Elizabeth David – “Bread takes a long time to bake, fortunately very little of it yours’.
    I wonder if we haven’t just given up on bread assuming thtere is nothing that can be said that hasn’t been said about this staple foodstuff.
    No killer strategies here but some starters.
    Got bread
    Can ‘t think why no one has ripped off the got milk strategy for bread. Basically think of all the foods that are delicious but just aren’t quite right without bread or toast. Then dramatise the aching emotinal chasm that its absense creates. Oddly enough the Hovis rebranding in the UK that lead to food being plastered all over the packs sort of got to this from a packaging point of view but the ads never follwed this direction. Baked beans are fantastic but without toast and butter rather pointless and sloppy.
    Unspoilt so don’t spoil it
    This idea comes from totally the opposite direction and is about dramatising the taste credentials of your bread by advising people not to contaminate the taste with foreign food stuffs like butter, peanut butter, sandwich fillings, fry ups, cheese and the like. The bread that tastes so good you can eat it alone feels confident and introduces a little self respect back into bread communication.
    The original fast food
    Bit derivative of an old UK egg campaign but I like the idea of reminding people of bread’s supreme convenience credentials.
    Yeast provenance
    NPD idea more than anything but a route to decommodification might be a high end bread range where the heroes are the yeasts and their pedigree. Along the lines of ‘every loaf of our sour dough is made from the decendents of Winona our first sour dough yeast brought over in great care from San Francisco in 1998’. That kinda thing.
    Heaven is a place called toast
    Bread is fine, bread is good but toast – that is a different matter. Nations have unleased unthinkable weapons upon fellow nations over issues of less importance than the emotional significance of toast. Be the brand that backs toast singlemindedly.
    Enough for now me thinks.

  16. “Yeast provenance”?? calm down
    I once spent a couple of hours (HOURS) of my life debating what nationality of yeast sounded best in a brand of beer… followed by what breed of dog should be shown walking upside down on the ceiling…
    what are we doing??!

  17. Is a single brand proposition still relevant?
    I’ve been thinking about the whole concept of brand propositions and their place in todays mind’s and not sure if they are still relevant.
    Why does it have to come down to one proposition and then a load of supports that make it believable?
    Should the whole approach to branding and strategy development not reflect our ability to take onboard and react to a whole lot more than one message. Yes it gets executed and translated in different ways across channels – but it’s all still driven by one proposition that cannot be deviated from.
    Which is fine, except we’re deviants?
    M

  18. I have heard this whole schtick about whether a single brand proposition is still relevant before but no one has really explained what they mean by the alternative – sounds like gonzo planning to me.
    By the way I am talk ing about positionings not propositions.
    Positioning – what role do we want the brand to play in people’s lives?
    Propostion – what do we want this peice of communication to say?

  19. Communications proposition – yep, each execution focused on one message otherwise the actual creative will start to look like a moroccan tabard – messy and uncomfortable.
    As for a single brand positioning – well it just seems convenient for all – but perhaps not relevant.
    I was talking to a retailer recently, looking at a category project – they wanted me to develop a single minded category proposition built on the brand; I kinda did, but ignored the brand – instead, it was completly rational achieving best fit not force fit.
    So moving swiftly on, perhaps something like the following has value:
    ‘brand.IS’ – where the brand doesn’t stretch categories, but it becomes something completely different. It is; with meaning and purpose – depending on you, the environment and product/service.
    WIP……

  20. I have alot of sympathy for this. When I worked for the food retailer Iceland I developed an overarching positioning for the brand (cos thats what I like to do) but then delivered what I called 4 reasons to shop – almost micro positioning thoughts covering accessibility, ethics, value and store environment. this made the brand a little more 3 dimensional and gave it a multiple messaging structure. Worked rather well.
    R

  21. pimp a porposition or gimme some insigts on ” a credit card that has the best security ”

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