By Trevor Daughney
Gord put me onto this hilarious marketing video (caution, contains foul language) for the Church Street Gym in New York. In it, trainer Eric Kelly dogs his pitiable clients to their face, “I bet someone gave you a wedgy on your way here.” He says what I’m sure every gym trainer in the world having a bad day dreams of saying to their clients. He lands verbal punches fast and furious: “you look like all the nerds just had a convention on your body.” As a marketing asset, it is even more contrarian when you find out his clients are wall street bankers, some of the world’s wealthiest and powerful people, a class of folks used to pampering and deference. Is this crazy or genius marketing?!
Some of my favorite recent marketing campaigns prove that this strategy of embracing a harsh reality can be a real winner. Take Chrysler. Detroit rose and fell with the US car industry. And for the past several decades as US-based car makers have lost market share, Detroit has seen over a 1 million denizens pick up and leave. It became the butt end of jokes, and synonymous with decay. Chrysler, however, embraced its rugged image and quickly differentiated its brand in a cluttered market. As Eminem says in this commercial, “this is the motor city, and this is what we do.” With over 15 million views for this video to date, the numbers attest to the campaign’s success.
Likewise, Domino created the turnaround campaign to respond to negative feedback about the taste of its product. Rather than hide from the problem, their marketing campaign addresses the issue head on. Along the way the campaign makes taste a buying criteria in the value segment of the market where price is king.
So yeah, maybe Church Street gym is onto something. Their wall street banker clients are looking for something rugged and authentic. They go to the gym looking to take a few hits; in and out of the ring. The typical gym pampering is exactly what they are seeking to avoid.
Done well this type of marketing strategy can intentionally create a chasm between a company’s out of touch past and a promising future. Who else needs a shake up?
Things are not going well for RIM’s Blackberry brand. They are losing the battle for consumer dollars. Its time to step away from trying to be everything to everyone and get back to their roots as an enterprise solution. Today’s CIOs need technology that allows them to take control of all the data on their employees’ mobile devices. I see a security hardened mobile solution and a new campaign: “We’re all business.”
Who do you see running a campaign embracing a harsh reality? Yahoo! anyone?