Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Branding like it's 1974

I've recently had the pleasure of viewing What is a brand? presented by Jeremy Bullmore and Stephen King of JWT, London in 1974.

It's well worth looking at, for marketing maestros as well as connoisseurs of culture. The period detail is wonderful, from the graphics and the music, to the mentions of "a pound and a half of nails from the ironmonger", "brown suits" and "Elton John-style glasses." Even the "perfectly ordinary people" answering that old chestnut about what kind of person Brand X would be if it came to life come up with descriptors including "dainty", "bovine", "mini-skirted", "go-ahead" and "catty".

The content of the talk is excellent. The two well-spoken chaps take us through The History of Brands, What makes a Brand Ssuccessful, and The Role of Advertising without needing childish infographics or any other dumbing-down props. Their talk is predictive of the power of retailers (mail order rather than internet in those days) and the emergence of consumerism, including boycott groups. For all the wet-behind-the-ears new marketers out there blabbing on about "empowered consumers" who are "in charge", please ask your elders about what happened to Barclays Bank in the 70s as a result of investing in South Africa.

There are also loads of ads - most of them from around the 36 minute mark from brands both classic and vanished - Homepride Bread, Brymay Matches, Ritz Crackers, Winalot, Monopoly, Mr Kipling's Almond Slices, Kodak Instamatic.

The best part of all is the case history from the toilet paper market: Andrex vs. Delsey. Delsey cut their ad expenditure and started discounting while Andrex invested in building a personality through its cute and charming commercials. Andrex, of course, ended up being valued far more despite having similar characteristics to its rival.

What on earth happened to Delsey?


Barbara Fisher said...

I really enjoyed the ‘brands as personalities’ section. I’m your classic Mrs. Fairy Snow – content to sit by the fire in the evenings. How funny.

Sue Imgrund said...

Can you still buy Fairy Snow, I wonder? Glad you enjoyed watching the film!