In the world of Branding, it is a well-made assumption that all the big shops are filled with talented writers, art directors and presenters. I’ve always wanted to know the deciding factors that tip the scales in favor of one agency vs another.
Fortunately for me, Business Week published a “behind the scenes” look at a recent pitch for the $600 million Hyundai account. Fortunately for you- I’m about to describe it.
The Situation: Despite receiving high marks for quality, Hyundai has struggled with stalled sales. The company, which was the fastest-growing car maker in the U.S. from 2000 to 2005, had a target of selling one million vehicles in North America by 2010. Hyundai sold just 455,000 cars in the U.S. last year.
The problem with it: “I don’t think long-term we want to define ourselves relative to other brands. We want to establish our own story,”
The problem with it: Hyundai was looking for a really big idea. But the consensus of the selection committee was that “defog” was too big an idea, and perhaps too complex.
No reason was given for why this didn’t win. I kind of like it.
Hyundai was impressed with how the agency went well beyond advertising: “I could see we couldn’t do everything because of cost, but every idea was exciting, and that’s a nice problem to have.” And still, they were not selected.
THE POWER OF RESEARCH: Hyundai opted for San Francisco-based Goodby, Silverstein + Partners. Goodby helped to define Hyundai’s problem using research involving 200 people who sized up the new Veracruz crossover. When a group was shown the vehicle without any identifying logos on it, 71% said they’d buy it. Once the Hyundai logo went on, however, that dropped to 52%. In the same research, a Toyota logo lifts intent-to-purchase by more than 20%.
“Think about It” One TV ad showing a woman walking in slow motion through an art gallery carries the following voiceover: “There’s a lot of great stuff in the world that you miss when you’re in a hurry. In your mad dash to get to the Mona Lisa, you miss cubism, impressionism, and the whole French Renaissance. So, what we are really saying is slow down. It’s not something you usually hear from a car company. We’re not telling you to go out and buy one of our cars. We’re just going to tell you how we’re safer and better made than some of the cars you might be looking at. And then ask you to think about it.”
Interestingly enough, Goodby’s actual slogan, or tagline, bombed with Wilhite and most of the rest of the group. “Have A Nice Car,” Wilhite thought, was too trivial a phrase like, “Have A Nice Day.”
More interestingly to me: This week, Steve Wilhite, chief operating officer of Hyundai Motor America who was in charge of this entire agency review, has stepped down from his post directing Hyundai‘s U.S. operations after the world’s sixth-largest automaker had to cut its sales target this year.
So, how do you like life in adland? Don’t quit your day job.
The Problems as they listed them are
Well that sounds easy doesn’t it? Crisis solved.
There is one thing that does scare me. It’s this recent from About. Com on the 5 most popular articles of the past month:
Doesn’t seem like the talent gap may get filled any time this week.
I often get emails from BRANDEblog readers who want a more complete picture of what BRANDEMiX does. So, for that audience, I would like to share more information about our unique niche in the marketplace and make available some case studies with greater detail.
If you know us already, you can skip this one.
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