Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Volvo Ads Inspired By ... Valets

The caption here? "So I'd recommend you buy the Volvo."

This is not the idea spotting reported in Advertising Age Magazine this week. It is Buick versus Cadillac Revisited.

So it has taken Volvo, Arnold and Nitro this long, and this way, to learn why doctors, dentists and other understated professionals of the 50's, who carried their confidence internally, bought Buicks while their "scream look at me" counterparts wore their confidence on their sleeves by buying Cadillacs. One brand represents ostentacious luxury you call a trophy while the other is understated elegance. It's the same rationale we learned to explain why two people with $400,000 to spend chose a Bentley over a Rolls Royce. Why does Madison Avenue let history repeat itself again and again, and then hold up remakes of old strategies, consumer insights and understandings as if they're new. Just because they're new to you busy learning everything for the first time?

What has happened here is that Volvo, Arnold and Nitro looked at a slice of one consumer culture (valets are members of a larger Culturally Influential Consumer Group called Walking Actors - people who work in service or information driven industries representing over half of the employed US population today)and found that valets can see the dichotomy between Cadillac and Buick owners; Volvo and Mercedes owners. One owner needs to be seen. The other really doesn't give a rat's ass about what people think. Classic Buick versus Cadillac. Nothing new here and not expected to move the needle. Volvo's just reexpressing all the reasons Greenwich residents have been buying Volvos for years. They're good, but they're boxy. Perception fits the New England work ethic of using up and making do - that's an Audrey Hepburn line.
An Amish farmer might not look out of place stepping up to a Volvo...and that might be a more interesting campaign. Who'd question those values?
VOLVOS and QUILTS go together like MERCEDES and MIRRORS.

SWIFT-ECKRICH SMOKED SAUSAGE is made by technicians in lab coats while KAHNS HILLSHIRE FARM'S are made by farmers in jeans and flannel shirts.

WELLS FARGO BANKERS are stuffed stiff starched shirts while WASHINGTON MUTUAL BANKERS are friendly Seattle residents - in blue jeans and flannel shirts.

Come on people, this is easy market research 101 - not the stuff of breakthrough campaigns.

GYST!!! By the way, if you don't have a subscription to Advertising Age Magazine get one.

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