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Marketing Strategy: Flaunt What Your Brand is Not

By Lisa GulasyJul 26, 2013

say yes to the dress brideFor years, I have been obsessed with TLC’s “Say Yes to the Dress.” It’s one of my guilty pleasure shows I’m least embarrassed discussing. (I’m also a big fan of the “Say Yes to the Dress” spinoff shows—I know you were curious!) If you’re unfamiliar with the show, the basic premise is that brides-to-be shop for their perfect wedding day attire at a posh boutique.

As a young woman who someday hopes to get married, I’ve learned numerous dress shopping lessons from the show, but if there’s one that really sticks out, it’s this: Focus on what you want in a dress, not what you don’t want. You may have a laundry list of design dislikes, but ultimately, it’s concentrating on the features you adore that lead to wedding dress bliss.

In that way, “Say Yes to the Dress” is just like marketing.

In marketing, you don’t want to focus on your product’s shortcomings—that would scare customers away. No, you want to scream your product’s features (and the benefits they trigger) from the rooftops!

At least, that’s how I always thought about marketing, until I saw this Smart car commercial from BBDO Germany. In the commercial, a Smart Fortwo goes offroading and fails…miserably. It slides backward down diminutive hills, gracelessly topples over hedges and small boulders and gets stuck in a pond the size of the puddle.

 
 

 

The car’s performance in the spot is so laughable, by the time the wiper blades switch on to wipe away what I can only assume is the car’s shame, you’re wondering, “Who would ever want to buy this piece of tin?” But then the frame goes black. “As good off road as an offroader in the city,” the copy reads.

Suddenly, we’re in the city, and a massive black SUV hesitates beside an annoyingly tiny parking spot. The SUV, obviously too large for the spot, floors it, and who speeds in to nab the spot? “The Smart Fortwo. The ultimate city car.”

Wow. Just wow. In a mere 49 seconds, BBDO Germany did exactly the opposite of what marketing practitioners preach. It flaunted the Smart Fortwo’s massive limitations—and it was fantastic!

So I propose this experiment...

For one day, flaunt what your brand is not. Talk about your confines in social media or write a blog that lists everything your consumers shouldn’t be doing with your product! Use the Smart Fortwo as your inspiration, and be sure to check back here and let me know how it goes.

Did you find the Smart Fortwo spot as awe-inspiring as I did? Share your thoughts on the spot (and this strategy experiment) in the comments.


lisa gulasy

Known as Hawkeye for her near superhuman copy editing abilities, Lisa Gulasy applies her unique experiences in agency and journalism to manage strategy and day-to-day engagement of client social media profiles and assist in researching and writing blogs, press releases and advanced content. Find her on Twitter and LinkedIn.


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