Sometimes we marketers can climb so far up the brand ladder from functional benefits to emotional benefits to social benefits, we can lose touch with why people are buying our products in the first place.
There is power in purpose-driven brands. And yet, when every piece of marketing attempts to communicate some kind of social purpose, social purpose can start to lose its meaning, particularly when purpose is left to the agency.
A British soft drink brand called Oasis recently mocked the current state of purpose-driven advertising with a parody campaign showing strangers brought together through their fruit juice. Strangers are invited to share a bottle, and when they lift the bottle from the table, they find it has a neck on both ends. They then attempt to drink from the same bottle at the same time, spraying fruit juice everywhere.
As the Oasis marketing team put it: “Oasis is calling out the latest trend of worthy advertising. Brands acting holier than thou while everyone knows it’s all about sales not saintliness.”
Sometimes people buy a brand just because they like the taste.
Here are a couple related cartoons I’ve drawn over the years.
“Brand Laddering” June 2012
“Purpose-Driven Advertising” August 2016
“The Art of Greenwashing” July 2007