First let’s look at theAdAudit scores for clues, as it is virtually only through advertising that the product comes alive for the target consumer. Please also remember that the ad for every product (new or not), has only one and/or two primary purposes: to target/interest the brand’s non, infrequent, or lapsed user, and/or to create dissonance with the consumer’s current product—ergo, lots of new users. That’s it! New users are especially urgent for brands such as Shiseido, which have lower ad/promotional budgets than its fierce competitors in the prestige market. And, it’s the primary job of the headline to stop, engage and appeal to that target with significant news and relevant benefits. Here it does that job, neatly.
There’s no punch to this ad’s copy.
It’s in the copy that the ad loses its punch and broader market appeal. If you have been following this column, you’ve noted how often the copy lowers advertising scores for a variety of reasons; i.e., too small, too much or too little, too process-oriented and/or not emotional or engaging, doesn’t support and/or expand upon the headline, and therefore ultimately doesn’t create the dissonance with the user’s current product. Many of these flaws can be found here, too. But more importantly—and here’s where the target market comes in—the strong benefit headline has excellent appeal to a broad user base, including both targets mentioned above. Doesn’t every woman want makeup that’s feather-light, (also perceived as natural), and smooth, no matter what skin type or coverage level? That headline brings in a vast audience, only to discover—if one can read the very fine print—that it’s really for oily skin, which is further reinforced by “matifying” in the name. They’re not talking to me,” too many will say.
Furthermore, only by reading very carefully, do you discover that the powder has foundation attributes. And, there is nothing in the copy to indicate a few other neat benefits; i.e., SPF 22; can be used wet or dry for different effects; non-comedogenic; dermatologist-tested and patented, all noted on the website. Often a patent reference provides important Permission-to-Believe, and supports a competitive advantage. Far better to creatively extol the virtues of a broader appeal strategy; i.e., new kind of powder or with natural-look product benefits. Good supporting points in the copy were both Permission-to-Believe, (91% consumer agreement with smoothness and shine-free, non-sticky benefits, in micro-type), and Permission-to-Buy, via a complimentary sample at Macy’s.
Finally, Consumer Appeal at 79.60, due to just a little better than average scores in understanding of consumers’ needs, dissonance with existing product, and how well it all works to convince the reader.
TheBrandAudit score, 76.05 in the “improve” range, was mainly due to its blurred positioning, along with the usually challenging segments of Competition and Marketing Potential, as noted in the ac- companying comparison chart. Strongly contributing to the less-than advantageous positioning was the ordinary product name, Sheer Matifying Compact. What’s really new about matifying for a powder? That finish, coupled with “super oil-absorbing powder,” and you have the basis of target limitation to oily skin. Whereas the very silky textured powder can really be enjoyed by a much wider variety of users. It is more an authentication line than a product name. Had the name been more fresh/interruptive and imaginative (perhaps something to project news and the feather imagery, especially as matte is often perceived as dry or heavy), engagement and interest in a new kind of powder would ensue.
It seems, that all too often, marketers (especially those in the prestige segment) are locked into a variety of brand or corporate cultures; i.e., “how we do things;” uniformity/conformity/rigidity; how products are named; package design, counter display, etc.,—all to the detriment of freshness and “of-the-moment” appeal. Shiseido’s Sheer Matifying Compact ($30, 11 shades) had an opportunity to reach more new users with real news and a broader-appeal positioning. In fact, both its oil-absorbing and moisturizing benefits are right on for “balancing” combination skin—there’s some news for you.
Often the product name, package and display copy are all put to bed before the ad concept and copy are finished. That’s a huge creative disadvantage to the ultimate positioning of the product, and the words used to engage the consumer in advertising and at retail. Here’s a suggestion. As early as possible, even in the basic product development request, have a section called display copy concept. Then creatively crystallize the product strategy and positioning benefits, in the amount of words that you have for a display. Get those focus groups going for display copy, early in the game. That real-world space limitation forces you to stop, engage and excite as well as provide new benefits to create that existing product dissonance.
Remember that a display and an advertisement are the creative executions of the product strategy, they do not just state the product strategy.
CATEGORY SCORE % ACHIEVED
Product 16.04 80.20
Positioning 16.83 74.80
Consumer Appeal 16.94 84.70
Competition 10.26 68.40
Marketing Potential 15.98 71.00
Total 76.05 Improve
CATEGORY SCORE % ACHIEVED
Headline 21.26 85.06
Visual Impact 24.87 90.45
Copy 18.60 74.40
Consumer Appeal 17.60 78.20
Total 82.33 Effective
Copyright: Grayson Associates, 2010