How to advertise commodity brands: Double A shows the way – oui?

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A cola is a cola is a cola – we’ve heard that in marketing circles. And then there are global powerhouse brands like Coca-Cola and Pepsi which have mastered the art of creating and sustaining brand pull in an undifferentiated category. A similar challenge exists even in commodity brands. There is ‘water’ and Evian, Bisleri and Perrier. There is ‘salt’ and Tata Salt; ‘wheat’ and Aashirvaad. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines commodity as: a good or service whose wide availability typically leads to smaller profit margins and diminishes the importance of factors (as brand name) other than price. In an article, ‘How to Brand and Market a Commodity‘, David Dolak provides a wonderful definition: Commodity products are largely undifferentiated products that offer little or no perceived differences between competitive offerings. These are lowly differentiated products or services with high levels of substitutability and straightforward price discovery.

In this context, what Double A paper has been doing to create a brand preference for their photocopier papers, is remarkable. Their advertising, including the famous ‘copy room’ one, has relied on humour (and therefore memorability and hopeful affinity & preference) to deliver the message of what makes their brand of paper superior.

In the latest series adverts from France, the story is sharper, believable and impactful. The premise: all things are not created equal.

To a prospective buyer it sends a message that it is worth asking for the Double A brand when there are generic options available. It cleverly presents the downsides of choosing the ‘lesser’ option, thus creating preference for Double A. More importantly, it proves that anything can be differentiated. Je l’aime.

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