Advertising category vs brand

5 Apr

Here’s a TV spot I like for free daily Metro. Simple and based on consumer insight.

Some people would watch this spot and say that competing free daily 24 could have run the same ad – there’s nothing unique to Metro about other people reading it over your shoulder. It’s a category thing.

Meanwhile, I’ll bet there are some really insignificant differences between Metro and their competitor – something like nicer paper stock or one more local reporter. Is that the stuff that people care about? Is that the stuff that makes great advertising? Probably not.

Sure, the competition could have run this ad. But they didn’t. Metro did. And (ironically) Metro will grow their brand for advertising category in an insightful way. (The risk in advertising category is that people don’t remember the brand that ran the ad – notice how this ad has the Metro masthead visible for the whole spot to address this?) If the competition is unoriginal enough to copy later, it will be the same effect as hearing the same joke twice…dead silence.

And you know who advertises category? Category leaders.

Nice one Metro.


4 Responses to “Advertising category vs brand”

  1. dougbrowncreative April 5, 2011 at 1:15 pm #

    The proof will be in whether the consumer remembers what newspaper the ad was for…

  2. Brad April 5, 2011 at 1:29 pm #

    Trying to picture them running an ad touting a subtle difference like paper quality seems silly after watching that. Loved the woman’s reaction.

  3. Bryan Dwyer April 5, 2011 at 11:19 pm #

    When you advertise the category instead of your brand, aren’t you just turning your product into a commodity?

  4. Shane April 6, 2011 at 9:09 am #

    Thanks for your comments Doug and Brad.

    Great question/point Bryan. I think the ad would only be commodizing the product if it wasn’t reinforcing the brand/name.

    I think you can use advertising to differentiate based on unique product attributes, unique brand positioning, or (in this case since daily papers’ product and brand is so similiar), likability/memorability. Metro decided that a category insight conveyed in a funny/clever way would resonate more than something unique to their product or brand. As long as people associate their positive response to the ad back to Metro (Doug’s point above), I think the ad will be effective.

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