“I want ruthlessly consistent marketers, not creative ones” my VP said to the assembled room of global brand teams. There was a hush, then there was a murmur and when the beers started to flow that evening, there was more than a little “discussion.”

But as hard as that is for brand owners to hear, he was right.

Our job is to make our product easy to think of, find and buy. One way to make your brand easier to think of is by building on existing memory structures, helping it come to mind more readily. Weetabix went back to their famous end line in 2017 which tripled the advertising ROI, re-connecting the brand with the latent memories of “have you had your Weetabix.” In the IPA winning paper it was described as like “finding a Rembrandt in the attic.”

And if you can carry that consistency into all your comms, so much the better.

There are three levels of consistency.
1. “Matching Luggage” – where each piece of communication is visually consistent.
2. “Strategic” – like a creative idea in advertising.
3. Or both.

Specsavers integrate at a strategic level brilliantly. They use one consistent creative idea to bring organisation to multi layered communications including TV advertising for core brand and NPD, press, OOH, tactical, sponsorships and local media.

It’s not always been that way. Whilst the “Should’ve….” advertising made its debut around 2000, there was a short period (2006 – 2008) when the brand moved off and saw awareness drop by some 25% or so, which was more than recovered shortly after they went back.

Although Specsavers further lock their comms together with consistent use of a range of DBAs (logo, colours, end-line, narrative arc of ads), they’re not fully matching luggage.

But the ads are so well integrated to such a strong creative idea, each one seamlessly drops into the campaign. Beautifully efficient and effective.

I especially love how they managed to include other parts of the business within the “should’ve gone to Specsavers” framework – the “I asked for supplies” ad (Google it, you won’t regret it) is a classic, advertising their hearing aid service.

…and when a brand’s end line is adopted into the vernacular, you know you’re winning.

All done in house. Great work Specsavers.

Another great example that’s spanned decades, is Johnnie Walker. Although I don’t see as many of their ads as I do for Specsavers (either they’ve not been on air as much, or I’m firmly in Specsavers’ target audience).

Diageo are ninja level with their consistency. And their Johnnie Walker brand is no exception. Their latest advertising modernises the brand in a way that is strategically consistent with their back catalogue. Moving on, not off. These ads are a contemporary articulation of “progression” – vibrant, modern and set to a banging, attention grabbing soundtrack. What’s not to like?

But what makes them ninja level is how the work is strategically consistent across markets too, in a way which (I assume) is culturally relevant for those countries.

So, remember the story about my old VP in front of that room of global marketers? Fast forward 18 months, and the ruthless consistency he demanded across that global brand had delivered a 30% increase in advertising effectiveness.

As I said, he was right.

Gareth Turner

Gareth Turner

Over the past 25 years, as well as becoming Route's Non-Executive Director, Gareth has grown some of Europe’s biggest and best loved brands, worked with scale-up brands looking to become mainstream, trained marketing teams (including our Route team), and coached marketing heads. Gareth runs the Big Black Door.

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