Marius on Strategy and Communication

What it says on the tin

The Good and the Bad

One good, and one not so good, campaign caught my attention this week.

Good news first: Ever since I first saw the outdoor part of Star Casino’s campaign I connected with what they were trying to convey. Although the only copy was the slogan, There Will be Stories, I felt it leveraged a deep truth about the category and tapped into our collective consciousness and perception of what a casino can and should be; a mythical place from the movies where we hang out with Frank Sinatra, George Clooney and James Bond, play craps, win big and drink whiskey all night. Big nights produce big memories and stories yielding high returns in admiration and jelousy as they are retold over the years.

casino1 casino2

Although the TVC captures the old-school feel, the actual clientele is more likely to count The Hangover and Very Bad Things among their favorite movies than the original Ocean’s 11. But maybe this campaign can give the Star a bit of sorely needed class. While it wouldn’t have worked for (the old) Star City, the multi billion (give or take) dollar renovation and influx of decent restaurants means they are allowed another go at taking the casino back to the heydays of casinos. The Star has changed the product, not just the rhetoric.

This week’s bad news was brought to us by Blackberry (RIM). A brand whose addicts include Obama, the most powerful man in the world, obviously has a few strengths to leverage. They chose instead to tackle the greatest brand on earth heads on.


Their campaign was also retro, but flash mobs are no black tuxedos; rather about as much fun as cement shoes. The fact that Samsung was first thought to be behind the teaser campaign suggests it not spot on brand either.

Apple is innovative and effortlesly cool, has ethos and is confident enough to let the product be the hero. Blackberry is everything but. Their credibility was for me lost somewhere between staging cringe inducing protests and paying bloggers for coverage. Not sure if it matters, but it is interesting to note that with the protest Blackberry positions themselves as the victim; like an angry mob who take to the streets as a last resort in their attepmt to influence those in power. It is the medium of the oppressed and thus not compatible with their assertive and slightly arrogant (and totally self deluded) message telling Apple to wake up.

A website counted down (another blast from the past) and today came the “big reveal” and it’s the most uninspiring piece of communication I’ve seen in a while; an extremely weak voice over ever tellng us to wake up and be bold ( Talk about over promising and under delivering.

But wake up from what? And wake up to what? A statement from RIM’s marketing director doesn’t help“We wanted to challenge the perception that BlackBerry is a device purely for business people. We want Australians to wake up to the idea that the line between the business and consumer worlds is blurring, and drive purchase intent for BlackBerry.” 

First of all, do they believe traditional market segmentation is the new ‘opium for the masses’? Nobody outside the marketing industry could possibly care less!

Secondly, I don’t get why all these brands want to out-Apple Apple when it clearly can’t be done (although everybody managed to out-Nokia Nokia). Blackberry has a very distinct audience, business men and women. These are very different from Apple fan boys and girls. Although more and more business people use iPhones, and the lines may very well be blurring, it’s in Blackberry’s interest to focus on what separates the audiences rather than what unites them. If there is one big smart-phone demographic, Apple will take them all. Blackberry could keep a large niche market to themselves and let Samsung, LG and Motorola fight about who’s the best Apple copy. Instead they decided to joing the battle; a battle with only losers.

And how is Apple not bold? And where is the link to boldness and the product? Or the objective which supposedly is to spark debate about semantics: “A reveal will take place on May 7th that aim to provoke conversation on what ‘being in business’ means to Australia“. I doubt anyone will engage in a debate to add credibility to a self-righteous brand’s flawed campaign strategy. Instead of spin and rhetoric, how about a new product?


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This entry was posted on May 26, 2013 by in Uncategorized.
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