I recall an ad campaign for Irish Spring soap that went along the lines of: Made for men, manly this and manly that. At the end, they tossed in a woman on camera saying, “Manly yes, but I like it too.” I assume that it was felt that weakening the core message of a product that was meant only for men was worth it, in possibly expanding the user base.
While I certainly understand the desire to expand their franchise, by adding a woman’s endorsement to this “made for men” strategy, I think it weakens the message, the brand’s distinctive reason for being, and makes it just another bar of soap. (Though I am sure they had research that showed how wrong I am.)
This came to mind when I noticed this ad for a Listerine mouthwash product. The whole premise for this alcohol free product is a milder taste. The headline loudly proclaims, “Less intense flavor,” a claim repeated on the top of the label. And then of course, there’s the “Kill bad breath germs with ONE MILD SWISH” (emphasis added)
So who decided that all this should be followed by a large type reference that completely deflates the whole mildness issue they are trying to solve? As in: “Bring out the bold.”
If you really believe in your reason for being (A mild, less intense taste, thanks to no alcohol), why confuse it with a claim of bold taste that any ordinary mouthwash could assert?
I guess the cliché that says it best is, “If you’re going to be a bear, be a grizzly.”
Got the idea?