Brand campaign or product campaign?

Volkswagen has never produced communications about anything other than its products. Since the beginning, its ads have consistently reflected a deliberate choice of graphic style that of purity: hence, the motif of a car on a white background. So, even if the brand treats the rational arguments aloofly, humorously, impertinently or paradoxically, the car remains the ‘hero’ of the ad.

Sony occasionally launches so-called ‘brand campaigns’, which aim to emphasise the brand’s slogan. Whenever a brand is created, there are two alternative strategies: to communicate the brand’s meaning either directly, or by focusing on a particular product. Which path is followed depends on the company’s ability to select one product which will fully convey the brand’s meaning. It is no wonder that Volkswagen took the second option. The Beetle plainly demonstrated the genius of an original artist, an outsider, and obviously represented a different car culture.

In launching its brand in Europe, Whirlpool, the white goods world leader, decided to forbid any product ad for three years. It wanted to create a thrill around its name that no product campaign would have created, through a very imaginative and symbolic campaign.

The reason banks prefer brand campaigns is quite logical. As service companies, they have nothing tangible to show the potential customer. They can only symbolise their values and their identity. They also encapsulate the essence of their identity in slogans, in this way hoping to make up for their lack of visible products.

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