Manhattan Storage (a storage facility here in Manhattan - duh) is running a campaign in support of New York's recent "approval" of gay marriage. In one of the executions, any newlywed couple gets 3 months free storage, but there are several versions as part of the campaign. So smart and so clever ... one of many brands capitalizing on the new market opportunity here in New York. Also not the only issue that Manhattan Storage has taken on, come to think of it.
When I saw the campaign, though, it got me thinking. When brands go "political" it's quite a risk. Sure, those that agree with the political statements are going to love the brand. But those who don't are likely to turn away. It's a business risk.
Kenneth Cole knows this only too well. The brand's political satire has long been the "voice" of the advertising and has hinted at issues such as anti-war, pro-choice, equal rights ... quite a few political issues through the years. It's kept him and the brand in hot water for quite some time. Just recently in fact.
And then there's Chick fil-A, the chain of fast food chicken restaurants known best for their cows. while clearly not "political", the company is decidedly Christian in its orientation and in its mission, thanks to its Founder and CEO. Even closed on Sundays, nationwide. Talk about making a decision that can impact sales ... you only get 6 days a week to make money, not 7.
Are moves like these risky? Is it ok for a brand to have ethical views and make political statements?
Or ... is it just really really good targeting? Knowing your audience and serving yourself up in a way that they will connect and relate. Making a choice about the kind of brand you are going to be and the kind of person you are going to attract. And perhaps have an intensely loyal following as a result. I actually think it's quite smart.
That should make you think ... what's your experience? Jim
President of Lippe Taylor
Author of The Experience Effect