Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Marketing & The Importance of Claiming an Attribute

One of the goals of marketing is to get people to care about your product or service -- and to associate a specific attribute with your brand. Even if that attribute might not seem important outside the context of that need.

For example, Charmin. "Please don't squeeze the Charmin" got you thinking about softness of bathroom tissue (as they called it, instead of toilet paper). But did anyone actually squeeze toilet paper like it's a piece of fruit? Doesn't matter. All those annoying ads with Mr. Whipple registered with the public.

How about the need for mountain-grown coffee? For years, Folgers claimed its mountain-grown coffee was the richest, most aromatic kind of coffee. 

What Folgers didn't tell you is that all coffee is mountain grown.

But that's an attribute they made you care about.

Wired recently provided a similar look at beer marketing: "3 Smart Things About Beer Marketing." You should check out their points because there's a lot of beer advertising promoting attributes that are either wrong or common attributes of other beers.

My favorite, which they did not list, is drinkability. Bud Light apparently thinks that all other beers -- including, one must suppose, its non-light beer version -- lack "drinkability." I think that's an absurd attribute to define, defend and associate with a beer. (I bet if you drink too much of Bud Light you might lose the ability to say drinkability.) On the other hand, pour enough money into the ad campaign, and perhaps consumers will start assessing the drinkability-ness of their preferred beverage.

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