Spot the difference: why is everyone making the same ads?

Brands continue to serve up the same content as their competitors and wonder why it doesn’t cut through. 3rdspace Communications' Rob Logan shares the worst offenders.

Take few moments to watch the two videos below. What do you notice about them?

Yep, they’re pretty much exactly the same. Like, almost shot for shot.

It happens so often across so many categories – brands serving up the same content as their competitors and then wondering why it doesn’t cut through.

With the above examples you could swap the logos for APT and Riviera and the outcome would be exactly the same. How is a strategy of copying your competitor going to win you any customers? It’s just marketing for the category.

When we start defining a content mission for our clients we spend time having a look at the competitive set and sometimes even ask the client to name the brands behind the content. It’s rare they pick them correctly.

To cut through, content needs to have the consumer at the heart and be built around strong insights and brand truths, but also there are always opportunities to disrupt what the pack is doing and cut through with hero content campaigns that don’t look or take the same narrative as your competitors.

It also seems that the higher the price point, the less risk averse brands are:

Jewellery: great looking model or celebrity with a piece from the brand.

Cars: highlight the car in aspirational location or escaping with the family, beautiful exterior shots, internal shots showing the instrumentation and cut to the driver and/or family enjoying the experience.

That’s why I love this new piece of work from The Wieden+Kennedy team in Tokyo, who decided to leave the car clichés in the bin with their latest campaign for Audi Japan. They opted for an approach that tunes into emotion and headspace, leaving shots of the A7 Sportback and A8 until the final seconds of the two spots.

And of course, travel.

If you go back to the examples at the top there’s a pretty obvious formula to spruik travel. Panoramic destination shots, authentic experiences and people slightly more aspirational than me enjoying themselves.

Obviously there is a reason a lot of these elements are included, they’re evocative and trigger something in customers. But even when it is a must from the client to have them, any content creator worth their salt will relish the opportunity to make content which is more relatable and not same same.

It’s proven that taking a differentiated approach to market works. Consumers can become snowblind to the usual cliches of your category, but bundled in a different way you can use them to your advantage, and drive actual awareness for a brand rather than just a category.

Why spend marketing budget to make money for your competitors.

Rob Logan is director of 3rdspace Communications.


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