12 Days of Advertising – Day 6

Day Six: Shane Harmon, Rugby New Zealand 2011
(Don’t forget that just by commenting on this post you are in the draw to win an awesome pair of Puma kicks!)  

Shane Harmon is a Sports Marketing and Major Event specialist with 12 years experience in Australia and New Zealand.

Shane is a veteran of two Rugby World Cups; RWC 2003 in Australia where he was Head of Marketing and most recently RWC 2011 in New Zealand where he works as General Manager, Marketing and Communications for Rugby New Zealand 2011 (the local organising committee). Shane has also worked as General Manager Marketing for Australian Rugby Union, and as Membership and Direct Marketing Manager for the Sydney Swans Football Club, in Australia’s AFL.

Best of 2011 

Nicole: What was your favourite New Zealand advertising campaign for 2011?
Shane: My favourite campaign for the year was Powershop’s ‘Same Power, Different Attitude’ campaign. 

“Showing how out of place they [Sadam Hussein, Kim Jong-il] look in everyday, charitable situations highlights their abuse of power and comments on how different the world would be if they’d used it for good instead of evil.” 
~ Ari Sargent, CEO of Powershop via StoppressNZ

Nicole: What made Powershop’s campaign your pick? 
Shane: Although controversial, the main reason I love this campaign, was my total admiration for an otherwise generic product trying something completely different and creating a strong brand personality.

The campaign takes a bunch of rotten demagogues (aka the big, boring and uncaring energy companies), famous the world over for their abuse of power, and recasts them as people who do decent things in their community.

Being a challenger brand is all about being nimble and quick and taking risks, and this campaign reflects this. The campaign has been constantly refreshed with new examples appearing regularly and older one being retired (Tui billboard-esque anyone?). A number of executions have been pulled due to complaints including posters featuring Saddam Hussein and Kim Jong-il. As recently as this week, Darth Vadar in a Sound of Music setting (as you do) was pulled after a complaint from Lucas Films. The cynic in me suggest that these executions were launched knowing full well that they may have to be pulled at some stage, but that resultant PR was more than an ample trade-off.

Some examples of Powershop advertising (left to right) – Che Guevara ad that started the “Same Power, Different Attitude” campaign, Crappliance Facebook promotion to replace old appliances and the Darth Vader ad  that has now been withdrawn.
And I also applaud both agency and client for having balls of steel! Powershop were completely transparent and open when discussing the campaign both on their blog and on their facebook page. 

Powershop’s brand personally is reflected brilliant in its social activities. Could you imagine an energy company running a “Crappliance” competition or posting a status update during August’s heavy snow that included the words “ It’s farkin freezing”.

Marketers of cleaning products, bread, milk, accounting services, and hey, even sport should take note.

Nicole: Shane is certainly right calling this campaign ‘controversial’ – I have seen the ads around town and always found them amusing. For me, they are have a light0hearted feel and I never really considered them potentially offensive. However, looking into the campaign further there was quite a backlash to the Kim Jong-il and Sadam Hussein versions which lead to them being withdrawn. However, despite the criticism Powershop’s chief executive Ari Sargent has continued to response personally to feedback and his response to Lucas Films shows he hasn’t lost his sense of humor (see his response here). 

So often when a campaign is negatively received companies run and hide while it ‘blows over’. Ari and Powershop have done the opposite – even turning the campaign website into a decision board. Four months after first issuing an apology and withdrawing the ads they continue to respond quickly to posts when needed. It’s a real shame that the humor and good intentions behind the campaign seem to be lost on some people!

Trends for 2012…

Nicole: What do you expect to see more of in 2012? 
1. Shared value: rather than simply raising funds and writing a cheque to a preferred charity, large companies will start integrating social issues into their core strategies. Growing angst around the world is going to force organisations not only pursue their own business goals but also act for the common good of society.

2. Redefining TV: The role of TV for marketers is going through fundamental change. 2012 will see marketers explore content opportunities for connected TVs. I believe the connected TV represents an exponentially greater market shift than say 3D TV. In addition marketers will launch more interactive campaigns that take account use of mobile as a second screen while watching TV.

Nicole: What do you expect (or hope to) see less of in 2012? 
Shane: Death to Verbosity – still in this day in age we see marketers using 10 words (particularly in press releases) when one will do. People don’t read this stuff anymore (did they ever?).”

What was your opinion on the PowerShop “Same Power, Different Attitude” campaign? Remember every comment posted goes in the draw to win a pair of Puma hi-tops (so make sure you leave your email address!) 

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