Stand and Deliver
How to get noticed, get talked about and get sales.
‘Prince Charming’ by Adam Ant was the first album that I owned; it was a Christmas present in 1981 when I was 7 years old. The song I liked the most was Stand and Deliver, which had previously been number 1 for 5 weeks and sold over 1 million records in the UK. Who didn’t love doing that cross your arm over your arm dance at the school disco?
Adam Ant was someone that got noticed and got talked about. His fashion style got copied on the streets, men wore make up in night clubs and his moves were duplicated on dance floors across the country. ‘Antmania’ was infectious.
Adam, born Stewart Goddard, created a post-punk band and brand Adam. The first album signed to CBS, ‘Kings of the Wild Frontier’, was an enormous hit. The buzz of ‘Antmania’ that ensued put the band at the forefront of the ‘New Romantic’ movement.
Most advertisers talk about getting noticed. Some have strategies like irreverence, disruption and juxtaposition. Buzzketeers do or create something that’s talked about, shared, goes viral and gets approval. This could be a TV advert, a brand experience, PR, a brand film, a DM piece, point of sale or an NPD. There’s no imaginary above or below line, just a bold strategy with executional ideas that get a brand talked about and recommended.
To do this you need to stand for something and deliver against that philosophy. Adam Ant stood for creativity, performance and most notably opposing oppression against minorities – he is of part Romani descent. He created ‘AntMania’ through these values which made people take notice, talk about him, buy his music, dress and dance like him.
An advertising campaign caught my eye recently and I’m sure it caught yours too. I’m talking about Protein World, featuring bikini clad skinny women and then the satirical response from Dove. Two brands with opposing views of the world colliding with each other. They both stand for something and are trying to deliver against what they stand for– in return they’ve both got noticed, they’ve both got talked about on and off-line and are both enjoying increased sales and column inches.
Protein World’s ‘Are you Beach Body Ready?’ campaign taps into their audience insight for the pursuit of physical perfection contrasted to Dove, the personal care brand that celebrates real beauty in all women and inspires them to have the confidence to be comfortable with themselves.
More than 200 people have complained about the Protein World ads to the ASA, which is considering whether they are “offensive, irresponsible and harmful, promoting an unhealthy body image”.
Many of those offended have been hijacking the campaign with graffiti messages spray painted onto the billboards. A ‘taking back the beach protest’ with more than 400 expected to attend is to take place in London. More than 50,000 people signed an online petition for the ads to be taken down. Online protests have grown under #everybodysready. A pair of women even photographed themselves in bikinis in front of the ad saying the best way to get a beach body is to "take your body to the beach."
Protein World seems to be relishing the backlash; the CEO has taken to Twitter to blast the "insecurities" of detractors, branding them "terrorists," and suggesting we’re a nation of "sympathizers for fatties"—whilst also boasting that the campaign has tripled sales and the public relations team will get a bonus.
Protein World is on a mission for us all to have skinny and toned perfect* bodies. They want to make a stand against fatties and are clearly enjoying the controversy.
On the other hand a spoof response ad was created, as if from soap brand Dove, not shy of spotting a body-image opportunity, and under the umbrella ‘Campaign for Real Beauty’ tagline. Dove UK tweeted "Though we think ALL bodies are beach-ready, this image was not created or sanctioned by Dove". A second further explains, “We agree with 2/3 of UK women and prefer to see more women of all shapes & sizes." Dove revelling in the spotlight being put on their beliefs and values.
What do you and your company stand for? What values set your product or service apart? What gets you talked about and what are you going to deliver?