Be brave. Honest.
Let’s talk about bravery. You can get awards for bravery. But there’s also such a thin line between bravery and stupidity.
Bravery in advertising is a much-used term. Brave approaches make your brand stand out, big up sales and win awards.
Carlsberg are currently being praised for their brave new approach. They’ve decided honesty is the best policy about their product. At various points in the campaign they admit they probably weren’t the best lager in the world after all and talk about their beer tasting like ‘the bathwater that their gran died in’. Brave?
Maybe it’s because they’re launching a new product though, a Pilsner. I’ve not tasted it yet, but my expectations have already been lowered. Will I be thinking I’ll be getting ‘probably the best lager in the world’? Probably not. Will I be thinking that I’ll be getting something one up from ‘a urinal cube’ or ‘the rancid piss of Satan’? Probably will. I’ll be honest now. I’m mainly a bitter drinker, so pretty hard work to convince otherwise.
It’s because they’ve said it, they’ve reinforced the perceptions I already have of the product. Any aspiration has gone. There may be more to the campaign, I hope there is, that gives me more positive associations with the brand. At the moment, they’ve been honest, but they’ve also tacitly admitted being happy delivering a sub-standard product for years. They’ve also done it without a lot of charm, recycling Jimmy Kimmel’s Mean Tweets idea rather than coming up with something new and tasty to promote their new and apparently tasty product.
The previous campaign was known for its light touch and genuine humour that helped sell that now discredited product. This one seems to misunderstand the difference between laughing with and laughing at.
There are ways to be honest, ways to have fun with it too. Take a look at this classic 2CV campaign. Admit you’re a bit rubbish, but do it in some esteemed company and do it with fun. You might even get some medals for it.