3 Black Friday brands benefiting from ‘Fresh Consistency’
Post by David Nichols, Group Managing Partner and Head of Invention
This Black Friday weekend I saw several brands reaping the benefits of ‘fresh consistency’: remembering what made them famous whilst updating to be relevant for today. Interestingly, each brand showed a different way of delivering fresh consistency: through the core proposition, visual identity and sonic identity.
1. Refresh your core proposition: Which?
My Black Friday weekend brand review starts with an ad from Which? about using the magazine and online service to avoid fake reviews, spotted when standing on a London Underground platform. This UK charity provides 100% impartial reviews of consumer products and has been around for decades. The campaign will also feature in the Evening Standard, on radio via a partnership with LBC/Global, backed up by a Which? editorial investigation into fake reviews.
What I loved about this was how they have added freshness by focusing on fake online reviews. This brings the brand bang up to date – super relevant to Black Friday – whilst maintaining their core offer entirely intact. So many brands in this situation, facing fading relevance & falling brand awareness, would ‘modernise’ with a cool new logo and a purpose-led thematic campaign. Which? rightly saw that their ‘100% impartial’ charitable stance is, in fact, more relevant today than it ever was. It’s just the context and channels that have changed.
2. Amplify a visual brand property: Amazon
Amazon’s delivery network must be have been running at full capacity or beyond over Black Friday weekend, based on the hourly deliveries to the three style conscious ladies in the Nichols house. As parcel after parcel arrived, I was struck by the good job Amazon have done in building their ‘smile’ visual device into a potent brand property.
The device was born in the brand’s logo, linking ‘A’ to ‘Z’ to signify the broad product range and delivery from A to Z. This is one of the most impressive examples of consistency, being in use for 18 years since its launch in 2000.
Freshness comes from the way Amazon has amplified the visual device across the mix. The parcels that turn up to my door all bear the same smile device, with the parcels being stars of last season’s Xmas TV ad by Lucky Generals. “The (smiling parcels) fly all around the world and bring gap-toothed smiles to young girls, days after their aunts are struck by perfect gift ideas (and have handy access to Amazon right on their mobile phones),” reported Ad Week.
This is a great example of taking a brand property and activating right through-the-line: online, mobile, TV, print, trucks, depots, packaging and direct comms. This is building strong memory structure – all we need to see is that smile on a parcel and we know it’s from Amazon with 24hr delivery, easy returns and all the other benefits they offer. The Amazon ‘smile’ is on its way to becoming as iconic and powerful a brand property as the Nike ‘Swoosh’.
3. Create and refresh a sonic brand property: British Airways
Taking (yet another) long haul flight at the end of Black Friday weekend reminded me of British Airways’ long-standing musical theme. ‘The Flower Duet’ has been around for nearly 30 years, having first appeared in an advert back in 1989. Thanks to BA, it has become one of the best-known pieces of classical music in Britain!
If you have flown BA recently you may have seen the music being used in a humorous refresh of their in-flight safety video, that we posted on here. British stars like Rowan Atkinson and Gordon Ramsay bring uniquely British humour to the film, that has over 10mill views on YouTube: not bad for a safety video. And there in the background you can hear Flower Duet – updated, modified but unmistakable. Instead of assuming people are bored of it, BA have rightly realised it is an essential asset and an immediate cue for their brand and its associations of quality, safety and service with a very British sensibility. It’s a superbly consistent brand property in the midst of fresh relevance.
Fresh consistency is what builds brand fame. Most marketers seem to be obsessed with freshness, few with consistency. It takes real creativity to stay the same in a fresh relevant way, year after year, all the way through-the-line.