Thursday, June 8, 2006

Pure balls

I get asked about branding more than a little. Since I do it for a living sometimes, have taught it more than once and have written and published articles on the subject, I don't mind getting asked. And while I feel like I know enough to talk and write on the subject with some authority, it is always a tricky and somewhat... fuzzy topic.

It's a soft science. You can't always say, "Do this-and-such and you'll get great results from your brand."

But, like many things, while it may be hard to define, sometimes a good example is truly better than a bad attempt at description.

Philips Norelco has a new product called the Bodygroom. It's an electric razor for men. And since it's called the "Bodygroom," you can figure out that it's not for our beards.

So... you want to launch a brand for a new beauty product geared to remove unwanted hair primarily from men's backs, underarms, chests and


Fine. You've got a brand development choice when it comes to promoting the thing. You can take the "high road." You can go all doctor this and health that. You can be very 1950's in terms of the tone. You could even go techno-zingo and show the "razor-in-space" thing while it cuts through 3D zoomarooma virtual hair in some kind of orbit over something that might be an asteroid... or something. Or... something.

Or you can do what Philips did and put up a fantastic site that is funny as hell and will, A) be mad-viral and have everyone and their bruddah emailing each uddah saying, "You gotta check this out (which is how I heard about it, of course); and, B) hit the nail on the head in terms of what the brand should really be.

Whom am I to say what the brand of men's beauty products "should be?"

Come on. It's an electric razor for shaving hair off your


Even for guys who actually take body hair grooming seriously, they're going to pretend not to. Tongue-in-cheek funny is dead-on-perfect for this brand, and the site pulls it off splendidly. It's not slapstick, it's not over-the-top rude... it's just, damned funny. And it's unexpectedly funny. And it's even a little smartly funny while being smart-ass funny. And you just don't expect a big ol' 19th century comp'ny like Philips (with Santa on the Norelco razor) to "get it" and be that funny. Which makes it even that much better.

I applaud the marketing. Three thumbs up. Way up.

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