We found this old article by Rob Walker of the New York Times titled “The Pain Principle. Is the feeling that a product is working more important than whether it actually works?”
It reminded us of a point we make time and again to clients: Promises have to be real to be lasting.
It is not good enough just to make a compelling proposition in advertising. We believe marketing works best and brands are built stronger when people feel the promise for real.
—Your wife compliments your breadth after you chew the gum that promises better kisses.
—A hardcore biker gives you (a Dentist) the thumbs up when you are riding your Harley on a Sunday.
—You feel confident taking your Platinum AmEx card out in front of a prospective new client.
—You feel uplifted after drinking a Coke.
—You get exhilarated driving a 3-Series BMW.
—Your husband goes crazy when you show him a little bit of your Agent Provocateur stockings.
—You have great stories of a fun, interesting time after drinking Bud Light all night.
These all may sound obvious but we’ve found that too often the brand stories people are promised aren’t credible. Yes, some engagements may peak people’s interest, build awareness and drive trial (all good things) but unless people feel it for real themselves somehow the brand bubble bursts and the promise fades away.
Next time you are thinking about the marketing promise you are about to make ask yourself, “will people feel this for real?”