Back in the days when advertising was about TV commercials, radio spots, print ads and brochures industrial products were categorised as ‘boring’. No self-respecting employee of an advertising agency, especially those in creative would drool at the prospect of working on construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines, grinding wheels and so on. It was considered death because of the perception that such categories offered no scope for creativity, had poor visibility (read no big budget TV campaigns) and were restricted to one medium – print, outdoor or god forbid Brochures & Annual Reports.
However, it took an evolved, mature mindset to realise that there’s no such thing as a ‘boring category’ and there were a few breakthrough campaigns in staid categories. Long-copy print campaigns for Grindwell Norton from Trikaya come to mind (sorry I don’t have the images). Some creatives make the most of a medium – if the account involves just creating an annual report, they focus on creating the best damn annual report design. I think today’s advertising (digital advertising or new media as it is called) simply removes the phrase ‘boring category’ out of the equation. With activations, stunts, YouTube-specific videos, Vine & Instagram videos there are immense possibilities for brands to make compelling content, even if the category is staid. Remember the videos done by Lowe’s? Home improvement tips in 6 seconds was a brilliant use of the medium and blew the myth that the category demands boring advertising. Categories like Life Insurance (Samsung Bridge of Life), plain old milk (Cravendale’s Facebook & Twitter campaigns featuring Bertram Thumbcat) and several others have demonstrated that compelling content can be created not just for categories traditionally believed to be ‘sexy’.
A new campaign for Caterpillar, is another proof. “Stack” pits five Cat® machines, including Excavators and Telehandlers, against a mountain of massive JENGA® blocks. The object of the game is for heavy equipment operators to remove and then reposition a stack of 27 JENGA® blocks one at a time, without toppling the structure — using only their Cat machines and attachments.
What works? It is entertaining content, which a viewer is happy to share. Most importantly it is relevant to the brand & category without it being an overt, hard sell. Advertising which does not look and smell like advertising. No wonder it has garnered over a million views and gets featured in major online portals. The content is also given legs by making available some interesting behind the scenes trivia (All totaled, the JENGA® blocks making up the stack weighed over 8 tons). Loved it. You?