Sunday, June 1, 2008
The U.S. Duracell battery campaign, “Trusted Everywhere,” continues to run (sorry for the bad pun), on television, radio, and in print. It must be in its fifth or sixth year by now, and one would conclude that its longevity is a good sign the campaign works. But it only runs in North America; the rest of the world typically sees Duracell advertising that features a Duracell Bunny. No, you didn’t misunderstand—Duracell has long had a bunny (that always beats its competition) in international markets, along the lines of the Energizer Bunny here in the United States. How this bunny-duel got going is subject for another day, but the upshot for the company is this: the “Trusted Everywhere” campaign is strategically “landlocked” in North America because to abandon their “Duracell Bunny” internationally would too easily give Energizer a global bunny campaign.
Despite the fact that international markets outside of North America do not see the “Trusted Everywhere” campaign, whenever we show it in one of our international Positioning & Communication Colleges (which we often do), it always generates broad appeal, even admiration from the international marketers we work with. In fact, many will ask why such a compelling campaign idea is not running in their markets. Even in Chicago, just two weeks ago, with a large audience of pharmaceutical marketers the “Trusted Everywhere” campaign once again drew near universal acclaim. What is it about this advertising that consistently engenders admiration like this?
From time to time we have highlighted Duracell’s campaign in our weekly Dispatches, but we thought this might be good time to memorialize those things that marketers admire—can we say even, envy--about the “Trusted Everywhere” campaign. They will represent this week’s Boats & Helicopters…and, hopefully, serve as inspiration for us all when aiming to craft a new communication campaign.
BOATS & HELICOPTERS:
- The brand does not have a performance advantage or product differentiation in its Benefit, so it leads with an “endorsement advantage” in its Reason Why. What a clever way to imply that Duracell is a better choice than other leading batteries, without ever saying so directly—to feature well-known institutions and performers who choose to use only Duracell in their various electronic equipment. So often in our marketing efforts we lament the fact that we have no real product differentiation, and all the while overlook creative ways to communicate a perceived brand differentiation via a compelling Reason Why (either inside or outside the product).
- The Duracell endorsements are ownable. Unlike those “cost of entry” endorsements so many other brands fall back on (“ADA approved”; “Doctor Recommended”), the Duracell ones are specific and indicative of a choice made. These include such organizations as “Heart Hospitals Specializing in Open-Heart Surgery,” “The Rocky Mountain Rescue Squad,” “IMAX Theaters,” and more recently, “Fire Departments All Over the World (Depending on the T-Pass 3 Communicator).” Actually, the brand has assembled an impressive collection of endorsements featuring such broad usages that it can rightly claim to be “trusted everywhere.”
- The Key Copy Words, or slogan, “Trusted Everywhere” deliver both a functional and an emotional benefit in a memorable way—and they link up perfectly with the Core Dramatization. Think of the economy of language at work here. In two, simple words we can hear quite clearly that Duracell batteries can be counted on to work everywhere you need them to work and that you can feel a certain trust when you choose them over other batteries. And, as we observed recently in our weekly Dispatches, a short and sweet expression like “Trusted Everywhere” is so easy to recall that it more easily “walks with you.” Finally, what we see happening in each execution matches up nicely with the expression; we see endorsers and consumers both trusting their Duracell batteries
- By incorporating an emotional benefit into the Campaign Idea, the brand has effectively gone “where the competition isn’t.” How long have we been watching battery brand advertising that touts only how long the product performs? The category has been literally mired in product performance claims for years—and most of the time these functional claims reflect parity performance, not superior performance (remember Duracell’s longstanding, earlier Key Copy Words, “You Can’t Top the Coppertop”—a parity performance claim that sounds at first like a superior one)? But with “Trusted Everywhere” the brand has changed the dialogue with consumers regarding batteries, and in the process found a totally new way for them to think about the Duracell Brand.
- The brand’s approach in the campaign is refreshingly honest. In each television and radio spot we hear the voiceover say something like, “And while (choosing a battery) may not be the biggest decision of your day, consider this…” or “And while you may think all batteries are alike, consider this.” Such self-deprecating comments as these are so rarely heard, yet the listener relates to them instantly—because they ring so true! If you think a little more about it, “ringing true” with the target about where battery choice sits in their day is essential if the ultimate message, “Trusted Everywhere,” is to be, well, trusted.
As you can see, there is a lot to like about this campaign—both strategically and executionally. So what’s to stop you from stealing some of the above principles for use in your next campaign?
Richard Czerniawski & Mike Maloney
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