Just Be Happy

A while ago, Jennifer wrote an article on the crappiness of Guess jeans and their ad format. I’m a media/mass communications student, and I’ve often had discussions with people over what would happen if the dominating product in any market would maintain its position if they stopped advertising. Are McDonald’s burgers so superior to Burger King’s that the public would still go there without massive ad campaigns? Is Coke such a better beverage to Pepsi that customers would still buy it without billion-dollar campaigns?

A good example of this is Google, which revolutionised Internet search engines. Google is so superior a product to other search engines available, that its programmers spent next to nothing promoting it. Why the hell waste money to promoting something when the people who’d tried it and like it way more then anything else available will go and promote it for free? And free word of mouth is much more effective then anything you pay for. Believe me, I’m much more willing to shell out money for something that’s gotten a glowing review from a friend then a glowing review from its spokesperson.

Which brings me back to clothes and their campaigns. It made me think of Target, a discount store which primarily sells clothes and accessories (at least the Australian chains do). The Australian ad format is pretty simple; show lots of smiling, attractive (but not often DDG) models wearing the clothes/having a good time wearing the clothes in the TV ads, with prices telling the consumer how much the clothes cost.

No “˜buy these clothes and you’ll have an enviable lifestyle’ format – you know the ones, where men who wear the clothes have mansions and yachts and beautiful women fawning all over them. No silly gimmicks. And unless you count their “˜just be happy’ slogan, no annoying catchphrases.

Target apparently has an exceptionally high QC for what you’re buying – I have a pair of jeans I bought several years ago which, after several hundred wears and washes, are just starting to fade and lose their shape. Not bad for a thirty-dollar pair of pants. All my girlfriends proudly wear Target, and I’ve even turned my label-conscious bf into a semi-convert.

This makes me think that when you have high QC and value for money, you don’t need gimmicks. It’s only when you have a shit/mediocre product in a saturated market that you need expensive ads selling a lifestyle rather then a product. After all, there’s no cheaper or more effective advertising campaign then word of mouth.

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