Baking the brand into emotional campaigns

A couple of emotional-based booze campaigns got me thinking about how to create distinctiveness in this sort of marketing.

Stoli: Seen it before?

The first brand is Stolichnaya vodka. The brand idea is "The most original people deserve the most original vodka. Lead on". The idea here is: "Hey, look at us. We're "original" and creative. Original people (like Hugh Hefner, the octogenarian Playboy founder?!) drink us. So, if you drink me, then you're original and creative too."

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The problem is that this idea has been used over and over again by countless brands. I'm biased, as I bear the scars of trying to help SAB use this on Pilsner Urquell (PU) back in the 1990's. The campaign was called "Inspiring Originality".

Take out Stoly, and you could swap in its place Levi's. Or PU. Or adidas, who use a similar idea called "Celebrate Originality" (below). So, the risk is that with no strong link to the brand the communication fails to create any "memory structure". At least adidas have a range called "Originals", the vintage retro shoes.
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The other problem with this sort of emotional campaign is that it tries so hard. It has orginality as what the brand SAYS (the "stimulus"), when it should be what people take out (the "response"). In other words, the brand should do original, creative things. Not say, "Hey look at us, we're orginal".

Chivas: brand baked in

The second campaign is by Chivas Regal. The idea is "Live with Chivalry". This feels much more distinctive, as the brand is baked in. It taps into a nice insight, about the world today being full of push and shove, dog eat dog behaviour. And it has a call to action. But one which compared to Stoli feels, well, more original.

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It also feels like an idea that has potential to be developed over the long term, with many different acts of chivalry. And one that could work internationally.

However, from a quick look at the website, it feels like the idea is yet to really come to tlife beyond brand comms. I struggle to get the link between "Live with Chivalry" and a limited edition 18 year whisky by English fashion designer Vivienne Westwood, nor the sponsorship of the Cannes Film Festival?

In conclusion, for a brand creating an emotional based campaign, to be distinctive, look for the fusion of a human truth and a brand truth. And remember that originality is something you earn from brand behaviour, not something you preach.