The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

In A World Sadly Not Far Enough Away …
December 1, 2008, 6:38 am
Filed under: Comment

… people say this sort of comment and manage to do it with a straight face …

“Tide Total Care is a breakthrough, new laundry detergent that goes beyond outstanding cleaning and stain fighting to help reveal the 7 signs of beautiful clothes. By combining the best of Beauty Care and Fabric Care technologies, Tide Total Care elevates the standard of fabric care to an inspiring, new realm: Fashion Care.”

Yep, it’s another Landor foot-in-mouth/tongue-in-cheek statement.

Photo: Arcanaartworks

What the fuck are the ‘7 signs of beautiful clothes’?

Well according to the illusionists at Landor, they’re …

Cleans Thoroughly
Protects Colour
Preserves Shape
Maintains Finish
Enhances Softness
Prevents Pills [?????]
Fights Stains

Hmmmmn … is it just me or does that sound awfully like every other washing powder brand claim?

Maybe I’m being harsh but rather than ‘breakthrough technology’ this sounds very much like cheap marketing wank – but it can’t be can it, because LANDOR did it and we all know they’re amazing.

Alright, enough of this sarcasm.

The thing is, this sort of self indulgent comment drives me nuts because when push comes to shove, what’s been done is nothing but lazy marketing …

Yes, I know that’s easy for me to say given I am not offering an alternative and don’t know the issues behind the brief- but the thing is, all Landor have actually done is compile a bunch of ‘cleaning benefits’ and give it an umbrella label … a label that is almost identical to Oil Of Ulay’s “7 Signs Of Ageing” that Saatchi’s came up with yonks ago.

Photo: Isoglossia

Putting that aside, the thing that really bothers me is that the whole concept just doesn’t really make sense.

Look at those listed attributes again. Are they really trying to say they are the signs of beautiful clothes?

I know I have all the fashion sense of a 14 year old nerd, but surely it has more to do with quality of fabric and cut than softness and finish?

Maybe this idea will work – but if it does, I believe it will owe more to Tide’s distribution strength than it will to this bland blanket communication strategy.

I’ve said it many times, but I believe the future of business is about the creation of active brands … brands that take a stand and make things happen rather than just try and rephrase old statements in an attempt to look fresh.

This doesn’t mean you have to invest huge amounts interms of R&D … but it does mean looking at new angles, understanding culture, finding unexpected relevance, DOING STUFF.

I’ve said it many times, but I believe TESCO’s are a great model of the future.

Rather than sit back and reap the rewards for their previous efforts, they go out and fight for their customer’s loyalty every single day.

Not by just making food cheaper … but finding what is really important in people’s lives and finding a way to weave that into their offering … whether it’s helping provide computers for schools with decreased Government investment through to introducing carbon neutral credit cards to let lazy people feel they are helping the environment.

Hell, if a bunch of sad bastards [that’s us by the way] can get brands as diverse as Virgin, SONY, Piaggio, Greenpeace, Google and Taj Hotels to do stuff [to name but a few], I am sure more ‘premium’ organizations could do it in their sleep.

Infact, George is currently in talks with a company about one of the greatest ideas I’ve ever heard – and if he pulls it off – then I would hope Landor and the like would do the decent thing and admit they’re a bunch of logo and television ad makers.

However, things are even worse than this …

Photo: TheDamnMushroom

You see I can sort-of understand why people like Dale Doyle – the Creative Director [Hahahaha] of Landor Associates – would say such rubbish because at the end of the day, he has to justify the multi-million dollar fee they’ve just liberated from Tide’s owners, however if you go here, you can read some of the most mental comments ever written by people who I assume have no reason to be such corporate toadies, unless they are applying for a high paying/low doing job at Landor.

I know it’s Monday … the start of a new week … the beginning of new opportunities … but when I see things like this and realize how much money gets chucked away by companies who simply want to feel they’re rubbing shoulders with the intellectual elite [which is possibly the greatest brand job Landor have ever pulled off] I just feel sick because in every agency across the World, there’s people in there who have ideas that can really make a difference to client’s business in interesting, relevant, creative ways – and yet they either don’t get heard, or they get given away for the price Branding Consultants charge for a cup of tea.

The CEO’s of adland need to take a long hard look at what they’ve made our industry because when they say the problem is “we’ve lost our place at the company board room table”, they need to understand that it’s more their fault than their clients.

[Thanks to the wife for bringing this to my attention. What a girl!]

22 Comments so far
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I am going to show this post to a few people. I believe you know who I mean. Excellent post Robert, you have been writing quite a few of them lately. Keep it up.

Are the ladies and gentlemen of Vegas back yet?

Comment by Lee Hill

Oh I know EXACTLY who you’re talking about Lee … and I can’t wait to hear what they think, though lets face it, we can be pretty sure what it’ll be.

And no, the guys aren’t back – either because it’s still Sunday there or they used their one phone call to contact our lawyer rather than me.

Comment by Rob

I’ve watched Landor at work for days and days trying to come up with a mission statement/brand vision for a white goods manufacturer and in their attempts to please everyone it was a pile of shit. Embarrassing even.

Comment by Charles Frith

Great post Rob. I’m not going to bother to comment on Landor.

Comment by fredrik sarnblad

dale, marry me. have my children. no, really. i feel like breeding with the likes of you.

hmmm… 7 signs of beautiful clothes, sounds like the ‘7 signs of aging’.. olay? are they another landor company? and why 7? none of that 7 are ‘signs’ of beautiful clothing, they’re signs of good care and quality fabric, but fucked if they’re about yet another phosphate-ridden washing powder trying to justify its existence.

this is the kind of shit that makes me see red.. honestly. will somebody please tell landor, and the people at wsdv that getting a hard-on about useless shit and landfill is passe. right up there with mink and a hummer.. c’mon peoples! this is exactly the kind of self-aggrandizing wankfest that got us into the troubles we’re in. didn’t you see the memo re: environmental damage and consumption excess?

and structural design of the packagin? are you fucking for real? structural design of architecture and infrastructure, maybe even the structural design of a piece of music or a website, but structural of a cheap plastic orange bottle, which has no sense of beauty or industrial design qualities at all?? get fucked.

sorry rob.. i’ll stop now. nice work. and jill – you’re brilliant, but we all knew that anyway 🙂

Comment by lauren

Of course we knew Jill was brilliant, she married me didn’t she … and I am glad to see such rage emenating from you guys, it’s just a shame the usual commentators are either drunk or lying dead somewhere in a gutter.

Come on, who out there want to be Lauren’s spitting anger to shame?

Comment by Rob

more on george

landor hiring?

good morning, sorta

Comment by niko

Can’t talk about George’s idea … but put it this way Niko, it’s one of those where you’d go “Fucking Bastards!” 🙂

And Landor might be hiring, but there’s no way in hell I am going to find out for you. Oh OK, I will … but I don’t think you’d stand any chance if you publically associate with me, ha!

Comment by Rob

I meant how he was doing after vegas rob 🙂

Comment by niko

I’m sure you’d give the same reaction when you heard 🙂

PS: I don’t know … but given Mary hasn’t rung to bollock me he’s either being relatively well behaved or is back in the shed!

Comment by Rob

Just wanted to say hello. I’ll have to read this long post later. I’m sure it’s good.


Comment by Marcus

congrats mr Brown

Comment by niko

Thanks Niko!

Comment by Marcus

Going beyond “outstanding cleaning and stain fighting” means that they’re actually only revealing 5 signs. So they’re innumerate as well as mad.

Comment by John

i thought i couldnt feel any shitter then i saw this. i need a fucking bucket. now

Comment by andy@cynic

Whatever it meant in Nottingham in the mid 80s, ‘pilling’ refers to the bobbling you see on knitted or woven fabrics – which we all know anyway – but I bring it up because in my experience of the fashion industry I came across two MUCH better terminologies for fabric faults:

‘Nep’ and ‘slub’. Brilliant.

Comment by Tom

This post is about clothes and Tide, let’s screw Tide and take up clothes for a moment. Clothes led me to think about your Human_2 thingy. Since its christmas time and I am feeling overtly generous and kind, I had an idea. I have lots of good, old clothes which I got from India (being stupid and now feeling guilty about adding carbon credits, dress miles to my entire shipment and wardrobe). I want to do good, want to give them to homeless people. But my clothes are not enough. Am sure it will make a whole lot of difference if everyone in this blog can contribute too for Human_2. We can all collect it and distribute it to those people who really need it during winter, christmas as they are part of our society. This will effectively/collectively help us show our middle finger to those people who are throwing wank in the name of effective branding. And prove a point on what it takes to be an ACTIVE BRAND. Landor could have made TIDE better than throwing this wank at us. Oops.

PS: I don’t know where to send my good, wearable, clean, top quality, colourful, soft, warm, old clothes too. If someone could please help me with an address, drop box etc, it will be of great help.

Comment by pooR\

My apologies to Landor, I was mistaken for a moment in believe this was not 1953, and that people who buy your product are not zombiefied brain dead morons with absolutely no concept of reality bar what you tell them.
I was wrong in my assumption that people will laugh in the face of your PR bollocks and completely ignore any actual benefits the product you are promoting contains.

7 signs of beautiful clothes? Fucking hell Landor, this isn’t an 1993 skin cream ad either.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

i like how youre developing mortimer

no idea where campbell is so ill just talk about human2 for a minute. human2 is not about raising money or getting clothes, its about lobbying against government red tape so people can help themselves out of their fucked situation. weve just signed a deal with a company who want to be nameless at this fucking moment who are going to legally manage and lobby all this for us because its hard doing it in the uk when none of us are in the fucking uk but poors/ idea is good and important one so i suggest we go into our wardrobes and pull out the good stuff we dont use and go out onto the streets and hand them to the guys who need them because most charity shops fucking cut them up and sell them as fucking dusters.

Comment by andy@cynic


And thanks!

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Carlene is wrong.

Comment by John

[…] Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely believe in the power of ‘brand purpose’. […]

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