Last Friday, Belvedere Vodka, or one of its agencies, posted a rather distasteful advertisement on its official Twitter and Facebook pages.
The ad features a man, holding on to a woman who is clearly scared, with a sexually offensive tagline. To see a photo of the ad, check out this article.
It did make me stop and think – how far will a company go to differentiate its brand?
Is the rush to generate more “likes” on Facebook or increase the number of Twitter followers causing us to make poor decisions such as sexual assault being an acceptable value proposition?
The reality is someone – either at Belvedere or one of their agencies – had to approve this ad and let it fly.
Maybe he/she thought it was controversial.
Maybe he/she thought it was clever.
Maybe he/she had a few too many Belvedere martinis at lunch that day.
I’ve seen enough alcohol ads to know they can be (and usually are) sexist, but this crosses the line from thought-provoking to downright offensive and wrong.
For whatever reason, it was approved and now Belvedere is mired a maelstrom of controversy. It’s out there for everyone to see, even though Belvedere pulled the ad off of its Facebook and Twitter pages.
Differentiation-Not Always Easy
We all know differentiating a product from its competitors is challenging, especially in the alcohol industry.
You’re competing often on price point and what kind of “lifestyle” your brand embodies.
Sounds a bit like trying to market an ad agency.
Too often agencies find themselves competing on price and how “fun” their agency is to work with.
Is it just me or does everyone expect their agency to be just like Mad Men?
Yes, it’s hard to pinpoint what makes your agency different, why a client should choose your agency, as opposed to the other ten agencies down the street, knocking on their door.
But at the end of the day, it’s not so much about you as it is about the prospect.
What Marketers Want
I speak with a lot of marketing directors and there is one common concern they all share – they want to know you understand them and that you will do a good job for them.
Your process, your roster of past clients, your years of industry experience – these are all things that give your clients CONFIDENCE in your ability to manage their account.
These are the HOW not the WHY.
Your value proposition should shake prospects up – not stir the pot.
It doesn’t have to be sexy or controversial, but it should instill the belief in the prospect’s mind that you can provide value to his/her brand.
Show great results you’ve achieved for other companies.
Provide information that demonstrates your knowledge of the industry.
Make it easy for a prospect to imagine what you could bring to their brand.
And test it out on your friends and family.
Just because you think something is controversial, clever, funny and brilliant – it doesn’t mean everyone else will.
Think about your value proposition from your prospects’ perspectives and get ready to shake up some new business for your agency.