Five Ads that connect powerfully by getting on the side of consumers

consumers-1Whenever I watch TV these days, most of the ads on there just bark out some small feature they have compared to the competition.  I’m usually yelling at the TV:  “And what about the benefit?”   It drives me crazy because these same Brand Leaders say they are strategic and consumer focused.  Brands have really four choices:  better, different, cheaper or not around for very long.  Marketers tend to get so fixated on being better that they take some small feature and try to make a huge deal out of it.  But they tend to leave out he option of DIFFERENT.  

Within a sea of brands yelling features at the consumer, one of the best things you could do to stand out as DIFFERENT, is to get on the side of your consumer.   It will put you in that powerful position where they will say “This Brand is for me”.  

Here are five examples of Brands that connect with the consumer.  Maybe they can inspire you to start thinking about talking WITH the consumer about what’s important to them, rather than talking AT the consumer about what’s important to you.  After all, consumers don’t care what you do, until you care about what they want.  

Dove “Evolution”

For years Dove competed in the hand and body category, always with the Litmus test trying to be the BEST.  But they never really grabbed the huge share until they connected with the consumer and got clearly on their side by talking about real beauty.  


Nike “If you let me play”

Nike has a history of using big name athletes, but then every once in a while they make powerful ads that speak with the consumers.   This ad from the late 90s powerful speaks to the female participation in sports and what it can do for them. This ad is more about the consumer than it is the shoe, and puts Nike clearly on the side of female consumers.  


Benylin “Should I Stay”

This happens to be one of the spots I worked on.  Cough medicine is a tough category with so many competitors all saying the same thing.  Benylin for years, owned the “doctor recommended” claim.  The whole doctor recommended feels very out of date, and out of touch.  So once we made the decision to tell people to call in sick, take a day off and rest up, consumers started to see that we were on their side.  


Toyota “Swagger Wagon”

While every mini-van is talking about features, Toyota decided to talk about the consumers, even making fun of them.  It’s a bit dangerous to make fun of your consumer, especially making jokes about their mid-life crisis.  But this ad does an amazing job by talking about everything the consumer would already make fun of themselves for.  It clearly puts Toyota on the side of consumers.  Having owned a Sienna, and with 2 kids, this makes me laugh so hard.  


Ram “Farmer”

To me this is one of the best ads of the year, the clear winner at this year’s Super Bowl.  During a very patriotic time for Americans, this ad just screams, we get you.  I love how dramatic the voice over of Paul Allen against the still photos of the American farmer.  it’s less about the truck and clearly about the consumer.  


Find an Insight to Stand Behind

Insight is not something that consumers ever knew before.  That would be knowledge not insight.  It’s not data or fact about your brand that you want to tell.  Oddly enough, Insight is something that everyone already knows. Insight comes to life when it’s told in such a captivating way that makes consumers stop and say “hmm, I thought I was the only who felt like that”.  That’s why we laugh when see the way that insight is projected with humor, why we get goose bumps when insight is projected with inspiration and why we cry when the insight comes alive through real-life drama.  These ads above all tap nicely into a real life insight, beyond the brand.  

Step in the shoes of your consumer and you’ll be shocked how good it feels.


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email-Logo copyABOUT BELOVED BRANDS INC.:  At Beloved Brands, we are only focused on making brands better and making brand leaders better.Our motivation is that we love knowing we were part of helping someone to unleash their full potential.  We promise to challenge you to Think Different.  We believe the thinking that got you here, will not get you where you want to go.  grOur President and Chief Marketing Officer, Graham Robertson is a brand leader at heart, who loves everything about brands.  He comes with 20 years of experience at companies such as Johnson and Johnson, Pfizer Consumer, General Mills and Coke, where he was always able to find and drive growth.  Graham has won numerous new product and advertising awards. Graham brings his experience to your table, strong on leadership and facilitation at very high levels and training of Brand Leaders around the world.  To reach out directly, email me at or follow on Twitter @grayrobertson1


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Nike’s “Find Your Greatness” is Stealing away the Olympics again!!!

At Beijing in 2008, Nike did such a good job that almost as many consumers felt they were the Olympic sponsor.

They flooded the malls of Beijing with Nike ads, knowing that people would be so hot, they would seek shelter in the malls. It was so successful, it forced the IOC to change the rules for Vancouver 2010 where only sponsors could do any ads within 150 miles of the host city. In London, Nike’s Jordan brand has already announced that they will be carrying live tweets of the US team’s Basketball games. (to read that article, click here: Nike to Ambush the Olympics through Twitter) But Nike’s “Reach For Greatness” campaign has the chance to steal away the games of London 2012.

For me, there are two visuals that stand out from these Olympics:

  1. The kid up on the diving tower, who stands in terror and eventually jumps
  2. The fat kid running along an empty country road at the break of dawn.

Here we are watching the Olympic games, where the greatest of the greats converge. Where Silver is referred to as the first loser. Where people who come fourth are in tears and feel the need to apologize. Where millionaires are instantly made–their sponsor has their new TV ad out within seconds of winning Gold. Visa congratulated athletes with real-time footage seconds after their victory and Corn Flakes has the Gold Medal winner already on their box. Terrific marketing, but what about the average Joe? Who is for the underdog in this world?

And yet here comes Nike, with two average people trying to reach for greatness in their own way. It’s a pleasantly surprising move coming from Nike who have a stable of the most pompous and most pampered athletes of our day. This is yet another move fron Nike, a non-sponsor, to hijack the Olympics. Since Nike has enough money to sponsor the games, I wonder if they are having more fun trying to steal them away without paying. It is fast becoming a lucrative hobby. It is amazing to see real people reaching and celebrating their own versions of greatness. These average people are far more inspirational than Tiger Woods or Lebron James.

This first Nike TV ad shows all the greatness going on around the world, creatively borrowing the word London, whether that’s in London Ohio or London Nigeria, London Field or on London Street. I love the end of the ad with the kid perched up in terror on the diving tower, afraid to jump. It’s a perfect metaphor for our own fears. And then he jumps. It’s the most basic of jumps, but the point is…he jumped. Maybe if we push ourselves, we can find our own version of greatness.


The next ad, features a 12-year old from London Ohio, filmed with one shot against a voice over. And yet it is extremely creative and inspiring. This is not a super human. This is what average looks like. Here’s a kid that’s 5 foot 3, 200 pounds, trying to get in shape. Not for the games of 2024, but just to get in shape. We can all relate to this kid. None of us are going to the games, but we can each push ourselves to get a bit better and find our own greatness.


Congrats Nike, you’ve done it again. This is the best return on no-investment I have seen.


If you are in the mood to see other great advertising, here’s a few other stories:


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About Graham Robertson: I’m a marketer at heart, who loves everything about brands.  My background includes 20 years of CPG marketing at companies such as Johnson and Johnson, Pfizer Consumer, General Mills and Coke. The reason why I started Beloved Brands Inc. is to help brands realize their full potential value by generating more love for the brand.   I only do two things:  1) Make Brands Better or 2) Make Brand Leaders Better.  I have a reputation as someone who can find growth where others can’t, whether that’s on a turnaround, re-positioning, new launch or a sustaining high growth.  And I love to make Brand Leaders better by sharing my knowledge. My promise to you is that I will get your brand and your team in a better position for future growth. To read more about Beloved Brands Inc., visit   or visit my Slideshare site at where you can find numerous presentations on How to be a Great Brand Leader.  Feel free to add me on Linked In at  or on follow me on Twitter at @GrayRobertson1

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