Customer insight should be one of the most important underpinnings of any campaign. Going over and above what the data is telling you, insight helps to develop genuine contagious truth, connecting meaningfully with an audience and helping to drive behaviour.
Maybe it’s a product of something that’s directly stated in research. May its a synthesis from survey responses. Maybe it’s something else.
Whatever it is, it should be something like this UK TV Ad from Robinsons. I’m going to share the ad with you now, and then explain why I think that it should work.
I don’t have children, but the one thing that everyone I know who does says is: “They grow up so fast”.
When I was younger, it’s something I remember my relatives saying do me: “Haven’t you grown? Aren’t you growing up so fast?”
Heck, I even said something similar about my dog last week. “Look at how skinny he was when we got him – didn’t he grow up fast?”
It’s a cliche, but only because it’s true.
Time is constant, but our experience of it is relative; why the ad should work
In my opinion, Robinsons have framed the question of time passing skilfully. They pull emotional motivators with parents (the desire to actively participate in their progeny’s growth/experiences), neatly evoking most of a child’s key ‘firsts’ (missing only the first day at school because it can’t happen within the spatial context of the work) without resorting to the “With you, every step of the way” type positioning so beloved of banks , home builders or even IT/tech providers.
Interestingly, they have also done this without a huge product push – often we see a brand positioning in this way implying that the brand is integral to the events depicted. Growing older is a fact of life and through resisting the urge to imply that only Robinson can make it all happen, the product is simply integrated into the events as a statement of fact. This should further increase the work’s draw with the audience since ageing is relateable and universally experienced.
It’s not the first time that this type of rapid growth has been portrayed – the controversial Life’s Too Short XBox ad comes to mind; but that was an incredibly different paradigm relying more on shock and gamer-humour than contagiously truthful emotional salience.
Will it drive behaviour?
I think that this is a pretty brave move from Robinsons, and, of course, they’re going to be tracking their bottom line on it. It’s not an immediate call to action, but as a piece which should be aiming to positively influence attitude (with a long-tail correlation to purchase behaviour), I think that it will help Robinsons to gain market share in the longer term. At the very least, it should positively influence sentiment around the brand’s drinks in the short term – vital in a highly competitive market where the stakes (nourish your children probably to help them grow, as well as shelf competition) are inestimably high.
Three key takeaways for social marketers
1) Listen to what the audience is actually saying – then act on it. Did Robinson’s conduct massive surveys and found that every single respondent said: “They grow up so fast”? Probably not – but some people will have said it and others may have spoken of directly related concept.
2) Don’t be afraid of the simple. People often overlook simple nuggets of truth trying to be too clever or too complicated. Actually, this brutal simplicity (to borrow a working phrase from the Saatchi agency) is works for the ad – the message is clean and clear. Had any other concepts been thrown into the mix, it would have been a nightmare to create and would have been fighting against its own muddled sense of being.
3) Think the journey through. One of the things that I really like about this ad is that it naturally and seamlessly has the child going from baby to parent (I particularly like the part where the kid gets on the bike and then grows out of his shoes. We’ve all seen Big, right?). There’s nothing obviously missing, and again, that will help an audience relate to the work.
With a sound basis in audience understanding and insight, I think that Robinsons should be proud of what they’ve accomplished. it’s stylish, salient and has just the right emotional pitch to it. They could teach a lot of other brands a thing or two…
The featured image on this post is copyright of Demon Studios, discovered on their website.