It’s shocking isn’t it? Two posts in two days. I know, I know. I deserve a badge. Or something.
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Anywho, this post has been in the pipeline since September when my lovely pal Debbi asked:
“I was wondering whether I could pick your brains on self-deprecating brands. Does such a thing exist? Can you think of any examples of self-deprecating ‘aren’t we all a bit rubbish never mind let’s have a laugh about it’ campaigns?
Am just having a debate with my colleagues. I reckon I’d respond really well to a brand who openly took the piss out of themselves. Do you ever think it’s a good idea?”
Here’s my response:
“Perhaps not strictly self-deprecating, but certainly self aware, Pot Noodle spring to mind – remember their slag of all snacks campaign?
We know Pot Noodles are dirty, they know Pot Noodles are dirty, they know we know Pot Noodles are dirty – hence the slag of all snacks. The ad got banned sadly, but I thought it was fab.
Tesco Mobile are trying a take on this too:
Whilst not self-deprecating per se, they’re certainly poking fun at the ‘change the world via text’ nonsense the other mobile networks are spouting with their no nonsense ad.
Is there space of a self-deprecating brand? You’d need to be careful you didn’t do a Ratner*!
However, I’d say yes, absolutely. You’d need clear positioning in terms what the brand did do well, and for obvious reasons you’d be restricted to certain niches… No one’s going to buy a self deprecating diet pill – ‘you might not lose weight, but hey, you’ve less money to spend on cakes and chips fatty…’
If you accept that music artists are brands, then I’d argue there are a lot of self deprecating brands out there already. That self-deprecation hasn’t done those artists any harm; in fact it’s probably done the opposite. In real terms the consumer relates to the artist (and therefore the brand). As branding in the noughties has become more and more about engagement rather than aspiration, perhaps indeed it’s the way to go.”
And so dear hearts, over to you: Are you ready for a self-deprecating brand? Can you highlight any other examples?
Best comment (as judged by me) gets a Ferrero Rocher.
Yep, just one. Not a box. Whaddya think I am? Made of money?
*Gerald Ratner damn near ruined Ratners in 1991 with his “it’s total crap” speech at the Institute of Directors… But you knew that already, right?