How hard do you have to scream your brand’s name?

13 Feb

Olympic advertising has got me steaming already.

I’ve seen a lot of Coca Cola ads in the run-up to the Games. They don’t open happiness in me.

Their huge posters, all of which show fake sports fans standing at some fake Olympic venue, brainwashed smiles on their frozen faces, full open bottles of Coke in their Canadian mitts. Canadian flags and Coke logos. (I tried in vain to source the current ones, but could only come up with this Torch Relay poster. But you get the idea!)

What’s wrong with this picture? What’s right with this picture?

Does everyone crave an ice cold Coke when they’re standing outside freezing? And the bottles are all full, so clearly the desire was just to stand there with them, not drink them. What’s the strategy here? Is this the best Coke can do? Does anyone get suckered into this empty chest-beating? I’ve already written about how Coke killed the Torch Relay. Is there no sense of perspective at head office?

Then there’s CTV’s Olympic self-promotion TV commercial:  the one where the camera races over multiple sports venues, where thousands upon thousands of winter sports spectators dressed in red and white, wave countless Canadian flags while Canadian athletes perform heroic feats. Wouldn’t seeing our American neighbours do this make us all want to throw up? Why this excessive jingoism? It’s the world’s Games, isn’t it?

We KNOW that the Olympics are in Canada. Of course we love it when our athletes win; we love our country. So why did this ad make me scream in frustration at the television? (I woke up the puppy.) It’s because it’s just so over-the-top. Something Canada isn’t. They got the brand personality all wrong.

Like the Coke ad, it assumes we have no receptors to subtlety. We need to be bashed over the head with the brand (our country) until we succumb.

It’s going to be a long 17 days. Go Canada!

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3 Responses to “How hard do you have to scream your brand’s name?”

  1. Amy February 13, 2010 at 9:33 pm #

    Don’t be too hard on them, Doug. From what I’m hearing VANOC has sold only a paltry percentage of their advertising space. Maybe Coke was doing them a favour by cobbling together extra ads at the last minute so people didn’t have to walk by blank or spray-painted boards.

    It’s not every year that the ENTIRE CITY OF VANCOUVER is plastered with Tourism ads beckoning the viewer to BE HERE, despite the fact that they already are and won’t be coming back before a decent period of alternative vacation experiences have elapsed. They’ve also had to help VANOC out by filling more than their fair share of advertising space. A lot more. Like every 3rd billboard more.

    And it’s not every year the Olympics loses $200 million dollars for the official broadcast network.

    That’s my rant.

    Thanks.

  2. Michael February 14, 2010 at 9:24 am #

    Thanks Coke, you are saving us by spending all those advertising dollars (which really helps a lot!), but truth be told, the ads still stink.

  3. dougbrowncreative February 15, 2010 at 9:04 am #

    Amy, while I love the idea of Coca Cola’s altruistic mindset, I gather they thought there was something in it for them. I just wish they’d gone about it with some originality or verve.

    THANK$ ANYWAY COKE.

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