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I know this isn't about voting and stuff but for what it is worth the ones I would get excited about if it were a pitch and a planner was taking me through their ideas are:

Apples. Detox before tox
Apples. Earth's vitamin tablet

And I really like the idea of apples digesting everything else (a genuinely new useage occasion)but it could do with framing a little more elegantly.

Long live propositions I say.

Hi R (&R)

Interesting list. I can see why it won.

I agree totally about finding a pithy summary of a strategy; something which sparks ideas rather than simply gets bogged down in bland generalities. Of course that's really helpful and if that is what a proposition is, then I take it all back I'm all for it too. It's usually the case that a strategy turns on a few well chosen words or a very defined direction.

What proposition used to mean in its USP original form was this (from Rosser Reeves):

> Each advertisement must make a proposition to the consumer. Each advertisement must say to the reader: "Buy this product, and you will get this specific benefit."
> The proposition must be one that the competition either cannot, or does not, offer. It must be unique—either a uniqueness of brand or a claim not otherwise made in that particular field.
> The proposition must be so strong that it can move the mass millions, i.e., pull over new customers to your product.

That sort of applies to this, but I think there is a big difference. What the USP assumes is a bounded market in which persil is mothers care, ariel is cleaning power and so on but they are all in a closed market competitor set.

What a lot of the propositions on your winning list do is REFRAME apples by putting them in a different market context. Perhaps that's inevitable because you have picked 'the apple council'. But Rosser Reeves would have thought about things like; 'apples are less messy than oranges' 'are the most versatile fruit in the larder' ie defined a closer set?

All ten of these propositions make apples comparable to or a substitute for much broader things; digestion aids, charity donations, expensive detox treatments, fast food. They are an attempt to do what some of Richard's favourite examples do; the 4th Emergency Service, dirt is good etc.

Maybe we can agree we are for market redefining propositions, and against features and benefits ones? An uneasy but workable truce?

Maybe we could call them REPOSITIONS though ;)

This is why you always win these arguments John - you actually do some research and come supplied with facts. Good find on the Rosser Reeves thing. You are quite right and I herebye agree to your uneasy truce. (Until you poison one of my diplomats with an umbrella.) Fancy being a judge on this round?

Yes why not, happy to... (unless I already blew my credentials by posting the suggestion on my blog that maple syrup should be sold on breakfast in bed/ie as a sex aid?)


Thanks Russell and Simon (and Richard and John) for your feedback. It's all very useful and nice to hear.

I fully admit that 2 and 3 are a very wooly and 8 is not strictly a proposition.


Good job Ben. Well deserved. I hope the prize Russell awards you makes all the effort worthwhile.

Hi Russell, i wrote you a coule of weeks a go about the assigment #10 to your mail, i have an idea:

British Apples: One fruit , Two flavors…

Esto tiene que ver con la dualidad, es uan gran fruta pero tiene su lado oscuro, es una deliciosa fruta, pero a la vez es la fruta del pecado. (excuseme, but its more easy to me in spanish, sorry)

Tell me what do you think?


Now we are getting somewhere. I don't want to call them propositions any more than anyone else. But I think repositioning unweildy. How about position. As is what is the brand's position - Dirt is good etc etc.

Listening to your audio thing I noticed an overall theme - you were almost justifying propositions. During the section where you described them as the "throw-ins" of planning I had a thought - why don't you create 10 propositions for Propositions? How do you form a campaign to convince planners to go back to their neglected tool? Perhaps the poster can be outside coffee shops...

I know it's a bit cheeky throwing a challenge back at the teacher (especially as I didn't actually do the original homework), but I'd be interesting to hear your take on it.

Positions are fixed so wouldn't that imply that a brand meant the same thing to everyone?

A way out of this would be to think of the position relative to the individual consumer, but then "relative positioning" is getting even more unwieldy. Sorry!

Not sure how helpful it is to ask, but, does everyone see big difference between marketing (or brand) propositions, and creative (or advertising) propositions?

I always thought a marketing proposition was something that told you; who (target), what (in terms of benefit), and why (in terms of reasons to believe). I don't quite understand how that kind of proposition doesn't allow you to 'reposition'. Or are you just talking about creative / advertising propositions?

I really don't hold with the idea that a brand should mean different things to different people.

At one level of course it will - what ever Persil say to and do with me, my brand associations are a unique collection of experiences of the brand starting from infancy.

But a brand should at least know what it wants to be - the role it seeks to play in people's lives.

Brands have an obligation to shape their destiny. That is why so many are in trouble, they don't know want they want to be and why anyone should care.

In the UK there countless retail brands that mean many things to many people and therefore have no sense of their real purpose - WH Smiths, Woolworths and Boots in particular.To neglect this is irresponsible.

that's great Richard (4 comments ago) - yes - hurrah indeed!

what's our position?

I love it. You have a position on some subject of bigger interest (what's your position on the way we are bringing up our kids these days?)

Also 'what is your position?' is the question Lacanian (french fundamentalist freudian) analysts ask and whilst I never understood what they meant by it I always thought it sounded cool

it's got something of the west coast hiphop 'what's your definition?' about it too.

I think we should call on all planners and brand strategists to start voicing this question at least three times per meeting. it will be a global piece of management jargon within months.


I would argue against the thought that brands themselves have an obligation to shape their destiny. (If that's literally what you meant, Richard.)

It's always been stressed to me that planners are brand stewards, that they are the ones who are responsible for shaping and directing the brand as they see fit.

Of course we all know that a brand is a living, breathing thing... I'm just not sure if it has a mind of its own.

And on another note, I think asking for five repositions and five prepositions of maple syrup would turn out two different lists. A proposition can reposition a brand, but I didn't think they were one in the same.

And kudos to Ben!

Are we talking about 100% real maple syrup or the artificially manufactured kind?

Sorry, had to ask as I am from Canada where we have so much real maple syrup we bath in it.

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