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Monday, August 5, 2013



(The on-going, powerful evolution of the
Dove, Snickers, and Coke Campaign Ideas)


You’ll hear some marketers and a few anti-consumerism pundits say things like: 


-   “The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty didn’t work”;

-   “Snickers’ You’re Not You When You’re Hungry campaign does nothing more than promise a ‘generic’ benefit,” which any number of other brands could promise; and

-   “Coke’s Open Happiness campaign is pure over-promise (served with a lot of typical Coca-Cola schmaltz).


Of course, it’s natural for people who had no hand in the creation of an idea to take potshots at it—due to focusing on only one aspect of an idea’s outcome or, let’s be honest here, due to sheer envy. Our take on these three campaigns runs quite the opposite. Rather than looking at one outcome—say, for example, share growth achieved in a few countries after 2-3 years—we prefer to look at a broader set of outcomes including potential future outcomes, both tangible and intangible. And, for sure, rather than envy what the marketers and their agencies have created in these ideas, our reaction is much more along the lines of “We wish we had been part of developing these!” Our reasoning is pretty simple: there’s an awful lot to like in the evolution-power, or “E-Power,” of these three ideas.


Having a campaign idea with E-Power means, first and foremost, having a Brand Idea with “stickiness.” What your brand stands for, what it really means to both its   currently and potentially loyal users (especially its advocates) is simple, clear, unchanging, and (naturally) highly relevant. But we also think that having a campaign idea that can keep evolving without straying too far from the bedrock of its original consumer insight means a lot of efficiency for the Company: the big-ticket expense of new campaign idea explorations or, worse yet, new communication agency searches, is deferred indefinitely. 


Let’s take a look at some of the very recent evolutions within the Dove, Snickers, and Coke campaign ideas—to see how well our take on them holds up.

The “Campaign for Real Beauty” may not be as talked about today as it was a few years ago, but some current evolutions of the fundamental idea are definitely worth talking about. You may have already seen the “Sketches” internet executions ( in which everyday “normally attractive” women allow themselves to be sketched by a professional sketch-artist. But there are two twists in this idea. The first is that the sketch-artist cannot actually see the woman he is sketching—she is hidden behind a curtain and he must base his drawing on how she describes herself. The second twist is that he also sketches the same woman based upon how another woman sees her.   In every case, the sketch-artist’s portrayal based upon the other woman’s description is strikingly more beautiful. The obvious moral: too many women simply cannot or do not appreciate how good-looking they really are.


You could easily assert that this “Sketches” mini-campaign is an evolution of not only the Dove Brand’s position that there is real beauty in every woman; but it is also a natural evolution of the Dove Brand’s “Self-Esteem” effort—only this time, aimed at building self-esteem in the women the themselves, not just their daughters.


Even more recent than the “Sketches” work is a new TV spot (and internet video) that features a series of women--from teenage girls to grandmothers--all instantly hiding their faces when they’re aware someone is taking their photo. The series is cleverly carried along by the old song “Peek-a-Boo” and ends with the obvious question: “When did you stop thinking you’re beautiful?”…followed by a series of very little girls who have no qualms about performing in front of a camera. And the key copy words bring the message home: “Be Your Beautiful Self.”


So, here we are more than six or seven years since the winding down of Dove’s original “Campaign for Real Beauty” yet the brand continues to build upon it. If the basic idea was so unsuccessful (according to some market share watchers), you have to wonder what’s wrong with those Unilever senior managers, who keep approving investments in evolutions to the original idea. Or could it be that they know something we don’t—about how a good but parity-performing line of products called Dove has found some pretty valuable “stickiness” with today’s beauty-care consumers?



The “You’re Not You When You’re Hungry” campaign is, much like Dove’s campaign, much talked about: partly because its TV spots are pretty darn funny, and partly because it is being run in a good number of countries now— not just in North America, but also in Asia and in Europe. And almost every marketer you talk to about the campaign agrees that it is based upon one of those highly enviable “universal consumer insights.” No matter where you live in the world, there are many occasions when your hunger gets the better of you, keeps you from concentrating or even enjoying what you’re doing; you, quite literally, get cranky or loopy or, as Snickers says in a couple of spots, “acting like a right diva.” Having this “bedrock insight” alone is enough to earn the envy of many brand marketers; after all, there is a lot of advertising out there devoid of any insight with which to strike a consumer’s nerve.


But what impresses us even more than this is how consciously the Snickers Brand holds true in this campaign to all the places they have been before. Recall, for example, some of the campaign key copy words that immediately preceded this latest one and you’ll see more of that evolutionary brand “stickiness”:


1.       “Hungry? Why Wait?”

2.       “Hungry? Grab a Snickers.”

3.       “Don’t Let Hunger Happen to You.”

4.       “You’re Not You When You’re Hungry.”


It is pretty obvious that the Snickers Brand is not merely promising a “generic” benefit. No, the Brand has taken over and maintained ownership of two highly relevant benefits: between-meal hunger satisfaction along with what that means for you. And the tightness of their evolution is nothing short of admirable.



Then there is the “Open Happiness” campaign. Some of the TV and internet videos among the evolutions of this fairly long-lived idea are more compelling and more memorable than others. But the breadth of the fundamental idea remains powerful. If you don’t agree, check out the youtube video called “Small World Machines,” which isn’t so much an ad as it is an event. Created by Leo Burnett Sydney for the Coke Brand, the idea is a simple one: what better way to “open happiness” than to have two neighboring (but disconnected) countries and cultures come together via a high-tech, 3-D “Coke machines”? With one machine set up in a mall in Lahore, Pakistan and another in a mall in New Delhi, India, people of all ages and sizes can literally see each other through the machines in real time…and touch hands, draw peace symbols together, dance, you name it.


For sure, it’s an emotionally moving event and video. And, maybe for some, a bit much on the tear-jerky scale. But there’s no denying that it fits the “Open Happiness” Campaign Idea perfectly. And it represents a great way beyond mere advertising to add more “stickiness” to the Coke Brand’s relationship with the world’s consumers—of all ages.


Our Net Take: In each of these three examples there is ample (and we think impressive) evidence of the power in (1) finding a compelling consumer insight, (2) mining that insight via a differentiated Campaign Idea, and (3) evolving and building upon that idea—for the advantages of “brand stickiness.”

Richard Czerniawski & Mike Maloney


Richard Czerniawski

430 Abbotsford Road

Kenilworth, Illinois 60043

tel 847.256.8820 fax 847.256.8847

reply to Richard: or



Mike Maloney

1506 West 13th

Austin, Texas 78703

tel 512.236.0971 fax 512.236.0972

reply to Mike: or

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