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'Before we start let me say that I'm fully signed up for the idea of brand utility'

- huh?

Do consumers really care about the difference in performance between one ordinary car and the next (surely it is only new technology that people care about in terms of information but not older, more established technologies where competitors have caught up with each other and are more-a-less the same, technologically).

Isn't is a bit geeky for young people to be interested in gathering information (they have to do it in class or in the lecture hall and college library as it is). Young people are more into experiencing time with others, travel, and so on. Adventure not facts.

We are in the age of purchasing life experiences not products nor the bigness of a product (mine is bigger than yours) - surely that is so 80's ?

The best ads ever are about emotions not facts (1. Guinness, 2. Sony
colour, 3. Some Things Money Can't Buy.
I don't think we should take advertising too seriously. Most people don't mind advertising. They know what it is. But it must do something for them (the above ads certainly do). They don't want to be hit with facts. They just want to relax and escape from the utilitarian world in their own office and the world around around them.
The emotive Guinness ads based around waiting-for-a-pint-of-Guinness-being-poured- have run successively for years, and still have life in them yet.

Women are much more easily bored by facts in ads than men. Women are more emotional, visual when it comes to ads (i read something about this somewhere). We men are a bit more geeky when it comes to this.

- Just a few ranty, sort-of-random, three-quarters-baked, thoughts / ideas.

I think thats the point though that's being made. Most advertising doesn't contribute anything tangible to the experience of a product (except maybe the Guiness example that demonstrates the value of slowing, waiting, getting lost in the moment.) It is self serving rather than then serving any consumer benefit. The alternative? Make your brand out of substance - things that people actually want. These days the intangible parts are being skipped, opted out of, and dialed down so you have to go with real benefits which you could call brand utility.

But there is a problem with the word as it sounds like its there to milk all of the fun and excitement out of the brand industry but as Russell goes on to explain this need not be the case. This new type of brand substance could be a many wondrous, creative, magical thing - much more so than the advertising.

Take something dull like a painkilling drug. The advertising creative brief would probably never make it past telling people that it really, really works and its really tough on pain and all that... just enough to keep it unidentifiable from any other pain killing drug on the market.

Now think about the brand utility brief. Useful for this product would be in the territory of making people feel better. So how do you do that?? Not sure what the answer would be but it would be in the realm of sending flowers and chocolates, get well soon cards, free-phone advice with a good listener and whatever else you can think of. I'd rather work on the second brief personally.

David Hawksworth

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