Tag Archives: coke

The Power of Surprise

I got married this September. It was done semi-secretly, so my friends in Singapore did not have opportunity to organize a bachelor party. I thought I was off the hook, but learned to my surprise that you can apparently have a bachelor party although you are already married. I was kidnapped from my morning run to a flight to Saigon. And the rest was history. Luckily all the kidneys are intact, no tigers were in hotel room and no one got a tattoo to a face.

In addition to a heightened appreciation for the great friends I have, this weekend reminded me of the power of surprise.

Surprise is one of the greatest emotions in the world that brands can tap into. There has been a flood of surprise & delight campaigns, but still good campaign always works. Surprise also comes with a range of different emotions. Sometimes the brand does not flex to be funny or really sentimental, but almost every brand can surprise (hopefully in a positive way). As long as the surprise is meaningful and/or really outrageous, the surprise & delight will work.

Many of the surprise and delight campaigns have been one-off stunts but the best brands have made it as a part of their brand behavior. KLM is a prime example of this and their latest “Cover greetings” just gets the job done:

Mastercard has also done great job by building a surprise platform with their Priceless Surprises:

One of my all-time favorite “surprise & delight” campaigns has been this Coke campaign for overseas Filipino workers. If this does not get you emotional, I don´t know what will:

These examples show that, it is not necessarily about the budget or the most overboard surprise, it is about the meaning of the surprise for the recipient. If you can spark a genuine human emotion, the surprise works.

There are naturally quite a lot of lackluster surprises. Especially this is true with one sub-category of surprise campaigns: prankvertising. Humor is always delicate matter and one man´s prank is other man´s insult. To every awesome Pepsi Max Stunt (or Uncle Drew anyone), there is always the raining bus stop –stunts, which just makes you question quite hard the future of our industry.

To put the flood of surprise campaigns in proper perspective, this “surprise video” really cracked me up:

It is funny because it is true.

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Anatomy of An Insight: Sorry, Coke & Pepsi.

The SodaStream ad for Super Bowl is quite vapid creatively. As a guy, I naturally do not complain having Scarlett Johansson on it but I have seen her in way more interesting settings. The beauty of this ad is that it is already banned:

The reason for the ban is the line in the end: “Sorry Coke & Pepsi”. Apparently Fox was afraid that it would upset those big advertisers and we will not see this 30 s clip in Super Bowl. That hardly does matter as the ad has already been seen over 2 million times. Daniel Birnbaum, the CEO of SodaStream acts furious, but is probably laughing all the way to the bank:

“What are they afraid of? Which advertiser in America doesn’t mention a competitor? This is the kind of stuff that happens in China. I’m disappointed as an American”

Insight: If you are challenger brand, you have to aggressively confront the bigger competitors. People love underdogs. This ad further solidifies SodaStream challenger position while making competitor look as evil giants. When your ad is banned, it actually gives extra credibility to your message. Although Coke or Pepsi might not have anything to do with the ad ban, this raises speculation about conspiracy.

Too often brands do not act as challengers or market leaders, but fell in the middle ground. As a brand you are either David or Goliath, there is no middle ground.

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