It is not often that you will find a brand go hammer and tong on how you should be staying away from it…
But this is exactly what Philip Morris, the makers of Marlboro did earlier this month in the UK.
Their campaign urges you to quit smoking and goes on to talk about how they are working towards getting more people in the United Kingdom to kick the habit.
It takes tremendous courage to go out with a campaign such that is presumably funded by all the revenue they earn from selling cigarettes. Yes, they are launching a whole slew of smoking cessation products to help people stop but this isn’t selling all that.
In fact, this is a classic text book example of the use of negative reinforcement for a brand message.
They may not agree with me on this hypothesis but that is a different matter.
Philip Morris will always be remembered for Marlboro and sweet nothing will change this. But with this one campaign, they will probably get all the media coverage they need without spending any more on advertising.
A case study that is big enough to beat the classic Barnes and Noble story out of marketing books, this one campaign has it all. Much sentiment and emotion subtly weaved into brand imagery…
I like this.
More than anything else, for the sheer spunk in the brand managers who decided on this. It isn’t easy to beat your own premise and revenue stream out there in the open.
But this is where the wheat gets served from the chaff. Advertising must grow beyond the obvious. There is obviously lot more happening there than the quintetsential celebrity endorsement and this is what is striking.
A stark dichotomy of belief and thought, seamlessly blended to create high impact brand messages that make the audience sit up and notice.
This campaign may never find favour at Cannes or for that matter anywhere else but it sure is tremendous learning for the brand watchers in us.
I tip my hat to you Philip Morris. This is advertising well done.
Jd also consults in Consumer Neuroscience and Neuromarketing, both of which are integral to his brand interventions.