Branding boo-boo by FirstBank, the largest regional bank in Colorado.
Their latest commercial says they’ll give you $50 if you open a checking account with them. That’s the good news. All the rest is downhill.
I wish I could let you view the entire commercial, but no one has put it on YouTube as yet. But the picture to the left states the gist of it.
This character, a regular used car salesman in a banker’s office, strokes this “clone-gone-wrong” throughout the 20 seconds as he presents the $50 incentive for those opening an account. Then he claims the money was not cloned. Throughout twenty seconds he “lies” about the money not being cloned, and as the camera pulls back, we see another “him” sitting off to the side, obviously his clone.
I’m sure the agency is excited because people have been drawn to the image of a double-headed lamb and the subject of cloning. I’m not at all surprised an ad agency proposed this. I don’t believe in agencies any more. These guys have sacrificed brand integrity for sensationalism. And FirstBank management approved it. Shame on them
Why would FirstBank, a regional leader, want this greasy character who’s obviously a liar, to represent the bank. Just his voice inflections make you not like this character. And why would you or I every think this bank would pass out cloned – read counterfeit – money?
And please answer me this: how is the negativism of cloned money, coupled with cloned lambs and salesmen, going to make a good impression? And how can it be relevant?
Thumbs down. I don’t want to do business with a bank that would hire this guy, or would approve such an inane commercial.
Why would such a respected brand stoop to such nonsense?
The white-tired Michelin man drives into the country to find his Michilen dog who comes running and jumps into the character’s arms. As they drive off the voice-over speaks of the imortance of having a “relationship” with your tires.
Have you ever thought about having a relationship with any inanimate object, much less a set of radials? This is just ridiculous. Now I know and can accept the concept of safe tires and the benefit as Michelin used to advertise with a baby snuggled in the tire’s diameter. Very cute and compelling. A great way to visualize the idea of safety for those you love.
There are just some products and product categories that might lend themselves to a relationship appeal, but radial tires just don’t fit. It’s too much a stretch. Michelin management is engaged in self-dilusion if they think their ads about relationships with tires might enhance brand loyalty.
I wonder if even a single account exec or creative on their account, or indeed anyone employed by Michelin has or will ever have a relationship with their tires? No? Then how can they expect that of us?
One vital ingredient in the branding mix is packaging, particularly for consumer goods.
In today’s Brandchannel feature, Brandspeak, Ted Mininni writes a commentary called, Advertising Is Dead, Long Live Packaging. It’s a well-reasoned argument for more attention to packaging as an integral branding element, and worth reading.
Packaging is obviously important in consumer purchasing of foods, cosmetics and health products. I’ll bet every one of us have stood in the grocery or drug store isle looking for a particular brand, only to have to ask an employee to point it out for you.. It’s embarrassing, but it’s not my fault. It could be my choice is packaged like all the rest. Or my choice might be so popular that others think they can “steal” sales by copying the familiar package. Or my favorite might just be packaged poorly.
But other product categories, from auto parts to computer printers, can be differentiated through packaging. HP – Hewlett-Packard – does a pretty good job of identifying their products through the multi-color package designs. Their HP blue, logo treatment and placement, product illustration and type selection are consistent throughout their product line. But they’re the exception.
“Packaging” for personal and business service companies is expressed through signage, décor and arrangement. It’s best known in the service industries as “trade dress”.
It is just as vital an element to service providers as packaging is for consumer goods.
So, as you develop your brand, as you build your branding platform, be sure packaging is an integrated element, not just an afterthought.