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

There’s More Than One Way To Skin A Cat …
January 10, 2014, 6:15 am
Filed under: Comment

So a while back, W+K Shanghai were asked to create the brand voice for the Jeep Cherokee in the US.

Despite Jeep being the founder of the category, the reality is there are now a whole host of competitors all saying – and showing – almost identical things.

Rather than look into the appeal of emotions like ‘escape’ and ‘discovery’ we decided to look into why those things were so appealing to people and what we found was really interesting.

As we get older, we fight between satisfying our curiosity and fulfilling what is expected of us.

In other words, we fight between satisfying one innate human trait with another.

The reason ‘responsibility’ tends to win is that as we get older and have more responsibilities, we think it’s important to live up to those expectations because we think they are important and we never want to let the people down who matter most to us most.

These are good traits, wonderful traits, important traits … however the cost of this attitude is that, unlike when we were kids, we can’t easily surrender to those moments of curiosity … even if it’s nothing more than seeing what exists down a road you’ve constantly passed, but never been down.

Anyway, the reason I am saying this is that when I was recently in the US, I saw an ad for a Lexus 4×4 and it seemed they were using a similar insight, however in terms of how they expressed it, they went in a totally different direction.

Of course, Lexus and Jeep are entirely different brands and while I am not trying to say one ad is better than the other [though I obviously think one is a hell of a lot better than the other], it’s a good reminder on the importance of brand voice, not to mention how communication works best when it makes you feel something rather than tells you to feel something.

Anyway, this was our Jeep ad …

… and this was the Lexus spot …

I’ll be interested to hear what you think.

30 Comments so far
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smug fuck.

Comment by andy@cynic

you do fucking realise youve just proved its all down to the talent of the fucking creative. every fucker knew that already but its nice to read a planning twat actually admit it out loud. same insight, different fucking ad. planning is the new bag carrier.

Comment by andy@cynic

The new bag carrier that doesn’t realise that’s a step up for them.

Comment by Billy Whizz

That’s a good point. That said, I don’t know if your point just explains the importance of good creatives [though that is obviously vital] but the importance of a real brand voice rather than either [1] a template look or [2] advertising language.

Comment by Rob

I don’t think the Lexus ad is using a similar insight Rob. I’m not even sure if “people have many different sides of their character (and Lexus is there for all of them)” is even an insight in the first place.

Comment by Pete

You know no one but planners care about this stuff because like Andy said, it doesn’t make any difference to anything ever.

Comment by Billy Whizz

fair fucking point pete. shame no one gives a flying fuck. but campbell owes you a drink for defending his insight honour. shame youre at the back of a very fucking long queue of people he needs to thank and whoever wrote the jeep ad is in front of you.

Comment by andy@cynic

I hadn’t thought about that. Of course I’ll agree with you because you’ve suddenly made me feel like I had more importance to the development of this work than simply writing a blog post about it. Ha.

Comment by Rob

I followed my curiosity and ended up working for you. My advice is stick with being responsible and remember boring is safer for your soul.

Comment by Billy Whizz

You already know I really like the ad your colleagues put together – because it seeks “engagement” by being about the customer and then shows how the product relates to that.

And, in contrast to the Lexus thing, it does so from the start rather than let the viewer take in thirty seconds of cliched car ad with no voiceover that lets them decide that they’re watching a cliched car ad. A cliched car ad that then blurts out a bunch of product names (to no logical end) and irony of irony dares you to be spontaneous. While in the pursuit of perfection of course.

Andy and Pete are both right.

Comment by John

“your colleagues put together”.

thats some epic back handed compliment shit. good fucking work doddsy.

Comment by andy@cynic

except im a bit more right than pete is.

Comment by andy@cynic

Even though you are only semi-complimenting me, your point about the Lexus ad is great. It reminds me of that old Bill Bernbach quote where he said something like:

“If you say you’re different to everyone else but act in exactly the same way, why would anyone believe you?”

Comment by Rob

I don’t want to know the thinking behind the ad, I want to know the thinking behind asking a guy from Nottingham who lives in China to do an ad for America about a US iconic brand that was born from war which is something someone who is half Italian would never know anything about. Tell me THAT insight.

Comment by DH

the usual. blackmail. he has more dirt on people of pretend power than the fucking cia. or ex news of the fucking screws journalists. its the only thing about him im jealous about.

Comment by andy@cynic

How could I have forgotten the ROB is more dangerous than the CIA.

Comment by DH

I mentioned how much I liked this ad previously, but I agree with Pete that the insights behind the campaigns are very different. The only reason you have been able to compare the 2 is because Lexus used the word “spontaneous” as their end line but there is really no comparison between the 2 ads at all. This makes me wonder if the planner identified the insight but was ignored by the creative team. Or whether the planner recognised the insight but failed to express it in a way that inspired the creative team. Or if there was no planner (or a bad planner) and Lexus just wanted a bog standard 4×4 car commercial that the creative team added the word “spontaneous” to in a bid to add some mystique to averageness. Whatever the truth, they failed. Nice work Robert.

Comment by George

can all you planners and ex planners get a fucking room and just fuck eachother because i dont want to see your foreplay on here.

and to answer your fucking hypothesis, it was the planners fault. doesnt matter what happened, it was all down to them. fact.

Comment by andy@cynic

It’s heartening to know fatherhood hasn’t changed you entirely.

Comment by George

You were always smarter than me. Damn you.

Comment by Rob

I am sure I don’t have to tell you Robert that I am not the sort of man who would ever buy a jeep. The good news is your commercial made me think about, and care about, the brand for quite possibly the first time in my life.

Interestingly I own a Lexus. Not the particular model advertised, but a Lexus. After watching their commercial, I never want to sit in it again.

Jeep have not made me a customer, but they have made me a temporary admirer. Not commercially great, but better than the state of apathy I had towards them before.

Comment by Lee Hill

just what has campbell got on you to always be so fucking nice to him. you know george doesnt work with him anymore so you dont have to pretend to like him to keep your bosses buddy from telling on you. and where the fuck is campbell? hes not on fucking holiday already is he. bastard.

Comment by andy@cynic

No dirt, it’s what happens when you’re nice to people. You should try it some time. But you probably won’t. Ha.

Comment by Rob

I imagine that the insight was quite similar.

After all, in principle, it’s an insight that I think has always inspired brands with a similar approach, whether or not they made it explicit or not.

Not saying it’s identical, but from Levi’s (does Jeep have a curiously similar brand voice or is that me over-interpreting?) to the old Jack Daniel’s frontier stuff to Fat Tire, the notion of white collar people growing up, not living as they used to be able to live, being pressed into form and seeking a way to do what they really want is always there.

What sets it apart, I assume, is your/the planners’ ability to express it in a way that creatives feel moved by – the difference between getting the brief right or almost right, my old APSOTW problem –, and creatives’ ability to do more with the insight than use it as the last line of a TVC.

Nice ad, by the way.

Comment by Thomas

I think you hit it on the head. It totally boils down to brand voice and “show me, don’t tell me.”

That Lexus ad just seems weird. Spontaneous feels tacked on the end, none of those activities they showed were very spontaneous. Plus, I’m not sure I buy a Lexus to tow my airstream trailer, but rather for the status of it. Lexus is the “pursuit of perfection,” not the “pursuit of nature.”

That being said, I agree with John who said that this Lexus ad feels extremely uninspired. Just a cookie cutter car ad. Show some b-roll of a car driving and people doing stuff outdoors and call it a day.

Interesting take with the Jeep insight. I think it was a great pairing. Being able to get back into the things that you love seems to be the new version of a mid life crisis, no longer the new girlfriend and fast car.

Comment by btrner

Or running a marathon. Ha.

Comment by Rob

To each his own.

Comment by btrner

To me the Lexus ad just proves, once again, that whilst you can make a good ‘brand’ ad, or you can make a good ‘model’ ad that reaffirms core brand values (like your Jeep Cherokee ad), you can never make a good ‘range’ ad …

Comment by Ian Gee

The Lexus ad is totally pedestrian and utter bilge. I don’t know what the the LUV costs but if I wanted that kind of car and had (what I imagine) is that kind of money, the ad wouldn’t persuade me to buy it or to associate myself with the people who would. Someone should get fired. (And yes, the Jeep ad is much better – and I understand the USP – but over here in the UK, Jeeps have unfortunate associations with tattooed builders with their bums hanging out who drive badly, have dangerous-looking dogs and fake-tanned wives. Sports utility vehicles in general tend to be associated with small, over-ambitious, image conscious women who use them for shopping and driving their children to private schools – and to equally over-ambitious blokes who haven’t yet quite achieved the recognition and recompense they know they deserve. Apart from Prince William of course, who’s just a royal and doesn’t count.)

Comment by hellsaged2014

I think the jeep ad mite recruit someone to SUV . The spirit.
( then they chose brand depending on a lot of other things )

Lexus is about the convenience that it brings to your adventure. The tool. ( even though the execution was boring )

Comment by vivek

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