Web Ad: Axe – “Showerpool”

Screen Shot 2012-11-06 at 5.00.14 PM

I chose to write about this ad because it stood out to me as different than most ads I find online, and because it piqued a huge reaction from me.

The ad promotes Axe’s interactive online campaign for “Showerpooling” (a term they coined).  The idea of “Showerpooling” is showering with members of the opposite sex to help save water for the environment, with the added bonus of getting to be naked with someone you’re sexually interested in.  The campaign is an interactive Facebook app that invites girls to “shower” with you.  The more women you can get to join your “showerpool”, the better you do.  There’s no prize for doing well in the game, except that you show your results on your Facebook page and this is supposed to impress your friends.  The entire campaign is cloaked in the idea of being more eco-conscious and eco-friendly by reducing the amount of water used for showering.  The underlying theme is using Axe shower products, because they attract women.

On one hand, I like the nature of this ad:  I like that it’s interactive, that it’s social, that is has a greater environmental message, and that it’s unlike any other ad campaign I’ve ever seen.  But that’s where it stops.  On the other hand, I absolutely despise this ad because I think it’s childish misogynist, somewhat homophobic and promotes an ignorant view of socially-conscious thinking.  I think it highly objectifies women, and plays into the double-standard of men being rewarded for their promiscuity and/or womanizing.

As much as I despise this ad, I unfortunately have to admit that I think it’s pretty effective.  I think even if they don’t take it seriously, tons of college age boys will use this and be entertained and therefore identify more with Axe products and want to buy them.  It taps into emotional appeals of wanting to be popular with women, and also with their male friends.  And in any case of criticism, they can point to the eco-friendly mission as a cover up.  Axe really has thought of everything.

Print Ad: Drambuie – “A Taste of Excellence”

The main objective of this ad is to modernize the Drambuie brand and make it’s product more attractive to a younger generation of consumers.  The target audience for the ad is younger adults (probably age 25-40) with disposable income, who are in creative industries or have a creative background.  The ad attempts to reframe Drambuie, a liquor that is generally consumed by older generations, as an attractive, hip, refined drink choice.  This is conveyed visually through the moonlit, monochrome landscape with the Drambuie bottle emphasized in sharp contrast.  These visuals are allusions to surrealist artists like Dali to Escher, and would appeal to this younger, creative class.  The message is also conveyed through the new slogan “A Taste of Excellence”, and the copy beneath it reading “Discover the unique blend of aged scotch whisky, spices, heather honey & herbs”.

Web Ad: Axe – “Showerpool”

Screen Shot 2012-11-06 at 5.00.14 PM

I chose to write about this ad because it stood out to me as different than most ads I find online, and because it piqued a huge reaction from me.

The ad promotes Axe’s interactive online campaign for “Showerpooling” (a term they coined).  The idea of “Showerpooling” is showering with members of the opposite sex to help save water for the environment, with the added bonus of getting to be naked with someone you’re sexually interested in.  The campaign is an interactive Facebook app that invites girls to “shower” with you.  The more women you can get to join your “showerpool”, the better you do.  There’s no prize for doing well in the game, except that you show your results on your Facebook page and this is supposed to impress your friends.  The entire campaign is cloaked in the idea of being more eco-conscious and eco-friendly by reducing the amount of water used for showering.  The underlying theme is using Axe shower products, because they attract women.

On one hand, I like the nature of this ad:  I like that it’s interactive, that it’s social, that is has a greater environmental message, and that it’s unlike any other ad campaign I’ve ever seen.  But that’s where it stops.  On the other hand, I absolutely despise this ad because I think it’s childish misogynist, somewhat homophobic and promotes an ignorant view of socially-conscious thinking.  I think it highly objectifies women, and plays into the double-standard of men being rewarded for their promiscuity and/or womanizing.

As much as I despise this ad, I unfortunately have to admit that I think it’s pretty effective.  I think even if they don’t take it seriously, tons of college age boys will use this and be entertained and therefore identify more with Axe products and want to buy them.  It taps into emotional appeals of wanting to be popular with women, and also with their male friends.  And in any case of criticism, they can point to the eco-friendly mission as a cover up.  Axe really has thought of everything.

Print Ad – Drambuie “A Taste of Excellence”

 

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The main objective of this ad is to modernize the Drambuie brand and make it’s product more attractive to a younger generation of consumers.  The target audience for the ad is younger adults (probably age 25-40) with disposable income, who are in creative industries or have a creative background.  The ad attempts to reframe Drambuie, a liquor that is generally consumed by older generations, as an attractive, hip, refined drink choice.  This is conveyed visually through the moonlit, monochrome landscape with the Drambuie bottle emphasized in sharp contrast.  These visuals are allusions to surrealist artists like Dali to Escher, and would appeal to this younger, creative class.  The message is also conveyed through the new slogan “A Taste of Excellence”, and the copy beneath it reading “Discover the unique blend of aged scotch whisky, spices, heather honey & herbs”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

When life gives you lemons, make Gatorade

In a previous post I mentioned the role of failure in innovation.  As we explore the importance of failure in this Innovation course, it’s becoming increasingly clear how fear can hold you back or stand in the way of potential opportunities, both professionally and personally.

I recently read an article that I found to be an inspiring reminder of the power of failure.  It’s the story of Gatorade’s “01 Prime”, a drink pouch that was marketed as a powerful pre-workout carbohydrate boost for athletes.Image

The idea for 01 Prime is a cool innovation story in itself. Gatorade observed that many young football players pack bananas in their sports bags as a light and healthy snack before practice, but faced the problem that their cleats would mash the fruit in the bag before they had the chance to eat it.  The product development team at Gatorade sought to make a solution to this problem, and the result was 01 Prime.  Gatorade launched the pouch and established a new product category in the sports drink market. However, there were inherent problems with the packaging design; the pouches were prone to leaking, which defeated their purpose of a cleaner alternative to smashed bananas. Gatorade faced negative consumer attitudes and reviews about 01 Prime, and a fallout ensued.

But!  That’s not the end of the story, it’s actually where it starts to get good. Gatorade’s president, Sarah Robb O’Hagan, personally focused on managing the fallout, and reframed the failure of the product as a company lesson.  She emphasized the importance of trial and error.  Here’s what she had to say about it:

“We could have waited another six months to ‘get it right,’ but we would have missed both the summer season and a great learning opportunity. In fact, the leaky pouches caused everyone to revisit their assumptions about the packaging, which led to an even better ergonomic design and superior packaging materials.” 

The lessons learned from 01 Prime ultimately became the foundation for the re-invented G Series product line that was hugely successful.  So it turns out that Gatorade’s “failure” ultimately pushed them to create a better product. I admire O’Hagan for how she took the shame out of failure, and instead commended her team for revisiting their approach to packaging and design.

No one likes to fail. Especially not MBA graduate students. We usually do not even see failure as an option, and we’ve trained ourselves to avoid failure at all costs. But this mindset stands in the way of achieving truly innovative thinking. We need to un-learn our approach to failure and give ourselves the opportunity to take risks, because innovation does not exist without risk.

The key is in learning from the failures, having the fearlessness to move on, and bringing the experiences you’ve learned back to the drawing board.

#30Days2Beta

This is a video from Deutsch, an advertising agency based in Los Angeles, humorously chronicling their experiment with “invention strategy”.

The story behind the video is that Deutsch needed to rebuild the company’s website and re-design their digital capabilities.  Winston Binch, the Chief Digital Officer, had been questioning the relationship between ad campaigns and product development, and decided to test the “invention strategy” idea.  It’s a way to embrace invention thinking and combine it with advertising as a sell-able product to customers.  In Binch’s own words, “…in today’s world you have to think in real time and be a lot faster than ad agencies typically are. That’s where we came up with this notion of an invention service.”  Binch decided to try a new approach to a digital campaign, and created 30 Days to Beta: an experimental process that re-designed Deutsch’s website in 30 days.

As the video explains, a team was assembled and immediately set on a sprint.  They were self-managed, which sped up the process by eliminating the need for all the meetings that Binch refers to in the beginning of the video.  The process was designed to be more “agile” with a focus on “lean development”, indicating a new faster approach to advertising which usually takes months to put together.  The result is an ad campaign and a product that are both assembled at the same time.

There are a lot of innovative skills put to good use here: the questioning of the advertising process, and the observing of the creation process.  But what I most admire about this project is their willingness to take risks and try something new, and their ability to recognize their shortcomings and learn from them.   They acknowledge the criticisms they received via social media, and I like how they took those real-time questions into consideration during their 30 day re-design.  I also like how the tone of the video satirically pokes fun at Deutsch at times… it’s refreshing to see an agency that doesn’t take themselves too seriously.   The #30Days2Beta campaign is an interesting experiment, and I’m glad that Deutsch chronicled it for us all to see.