Tag Archives: Audi

Dear Audi

Audi LogoDear Audi,

Thank you for “piggy-backing with pride” and for using comparative advertising to both compliment and trump your competitors…

…So, so, so, so much more powerful than simply knocking them.

And thank you for putting the brand logo so beautifully at the heart of the execution. When the creative team came up with this device, they literally must have been doing back-flips of joy. For a week.

Thanks again



Dear Audi


Dear Audi,

Thank you for showing us, through two recent adverts, how the same fundamental brand property – power – can be executed in drastically different ways.

First up you gave us the new R8 V10:

I love this ad for many reasons:

  • Product as the unashamed, unapologetic hero
  • Clear Audi branding, from the outset
  • Beautiful cinematography
  • Focus on the engine reflected by the neat Evolution on the outside, Revolution on the inside strap line
  • Unmistakeable out-take out from the ad: the R8 V10 is an uber-powerful car, capable of a menacing roar and, literally, spitting fire

But now you’ve given us the new RS6:

I’m not so sure about this:

  • There’s a lack of product and Audi branding until the very end – more of an issue on first time viewing and next time I see the ad, I will know it’s for Audi and the emotional relevance will begin to build, but what if there isn’t a next time?
  • Although I’m a big fan of metaphors, I don’t think you’ve picked the right one here, for a UK audience at least…perhaps boxing is more aspirational in the US than in the UK, but here I suspect that the RS6’s price tag will make it more relevant to senior City-types who are looking to get the family and labrador down to the weekend house in illegally good time – and those types tend to be more into the Six Nations, shooting and fishing than boxing
  • Whilst the Power from a less obvious place strapline works with the metaphor of the boxing referee, I’m not so sure it works with the product – even “de-badged” an RS6 is a pretty bling car and is noticeably different from a standard Audi A6…back in the day, an RS6 could justifiably be described as “the thinking/family man’s Porsche” and back then Power from a less obvious place would have worked but nowadays with all those highly distinctive RS styling features?


  • And even though I don’t think we are supposed to envisage that the ref is leaving the boxing ring to step into his RS6 and drive home – it’s what he represents that’s more important than who he is – he’s still the hero of the ad and therefore it’s impossible to disassociate him as a driver of the car…which somehow doesn’t feel likely
  • Also I’ve got doubts that an emotionally led expression of power (as opposed to the functional expression of power of the R8 ad) is right for the target audience. If a person is considering spending in the region of £80k on a car, in all likelihood they’re an actual or closet male motor-head. And that means they want to know about engines, horsepower and the like…does that person really worry too much about being “less obvious”? (They’re already being less obvious than the Range Rover / Porsche Cayenne brigade after all)

Thanks again Audi. Even though my real world head says VW, but my financially liberated heart would say Audi every time. R8 for me. RS6 for the family. A3 for the imaginary au pair / nanny.


Dear McVitie’s


McVitie's Logo

Dear McVitie’s

Thank you for prompting me to think about Me-toos with your Breakfast Porridge Oats biscuits:

McVitie's Breakfast - Porridge Oats

It appears that Kellogg’s are on the case too with their Nutri-Grain Breakfast biscuits:

Kellogg's Nutri-grain Breakfast Biscuits

And all because of a brand that no-one (in the UK at least) had heard of until a few years ago.


So what’s going on?

Well, according to The Grocer’s Top Products Survey 2012 (it’s a cracking read), Kraft’s Belvita brand is now worth £45m and growing at over 70% per year.

Any sensible Marketeer would what a piece of that action, wouldn’t they?

Of course I could have been thanking Carling for their Stella Cidre looky-likey Carling British Cider:


Or it could have been BMW with their new 6-Series Gran Coupe which very clearly fills the slopey-rooved-4-door-sporty-looking-executive-car gap in their portfolio created by the Mercedes CLS, followed by the Audi A7, and the VW Passat CC:


Me-toos through and through.

But what’s wrong with that?

It strikes me that some Marketeers have a patronising tendency to look down on Me-toos or at least to talk about them in pejorative terms, which, at the risk of getting overly Freudian, may be born out of the dreaded childhood/playground accusation of being a “copy-cat”:

  • Can’t you think up your own ideas? 
  • It’s a blatant rip-off
  • It’s a shameful case of jumping on the band-wagon
  • Etc

Actually I think the negative attitude towards me-toos is driven by shaming feelings of:


  • Envy – “I wish we’d thought of that first”
  • Self-interest – “My boss won’t be too happy to see a competitor brand steal a march on us”
  • Differentiation myopia – “My brand must be different at all costs or else I’m not doing my job properly and will deserve the low esteem in which my Differentiate or Die minded colleagues will hold me in”


But if there’s a market, if consumers are spending their money on products that a brand is well placed to deliver but which they don’t currently produce, then why wouldn’t the brand go after it?

Even if they’re only doing it to make life difficult for the Me-one – aka “deploying a competitive blocker or harrasser” – surely it’s worth having a go? Surely it’s better to be on the band wagon than nowhere near it?

OK, McVitie’s (and Kellogg’s for that matter) you might have made slightly more effort to make your packaging design more distinctive (I smell research group influenced design here – although the somewhat weak counter-argument is that Belvita have already established the Breakfast Biscuit semiotic / category codes (i.e. yellow) and that you’ve got it right), but fundamentally, I believe you’ve done the right thing.

You’re a big brand known – in fact loved – for your biscuits.

There’s an emerging sub-segment, that a previously unknown competitor has all to themselves.

You should get after it and who cares if you didn’t think of it first.

Consumers certainly don’t care (at least won’t in about 2 minutes) and ultimately, they’re the ones that pay the bills.

You’re entirely right to have chased after Belvita and I suspect that you’ll all establish a reasonable share as (if) the category continues to grow, innovate and mature.


And finally, thanks McVitie’s for reminding me of the rant I had about the ineffective nature of your Passion for Baking strap line when I was thanking San Miguel here – you’ve saved me the trouble of working myself up into another rant on this beautifully blue-skied January day which is giving every indication that Spring is on the way – hurrah!

Thanks again




Dear VW (once again)

Dear VW (once again),

Thank you for your recent and sterling advertising efforts – the blogosphere (and 30m YouTubers) seem to agree that you were the hit commercial of the SuperBowl Ad merry-go-round, and I have to say, despite my heavily favourable disposition, I wholeheartedly agree. Thanks to my friend Andrew for sharing this link with me:

And please say thank you to your designers for staying away from the sparkly fairy christmas tree lights that we know you could be drapsing all over yourself like an over-excited 18-year-old on their first trip to Halfords. Your certainty and pride in not being an Audi is admirable, not to mention a very tangible representation of a decidedly sensible brand portfolio strategy – I would expect nothing less.


Thanks VW Group.