Anand Halve

Sometimes, brands want to be representatives of something more than mere consumer benefits; they want to represent a school of thought. They want to ladder up the emotional benefit to the stratospheric level of a philosophy of life, even gather metaphysics into their fold. Of course, it is a short distance from metaphysical abstraction to gobbledygook.

I have been struck by two recent television commercials, which attempt to offer mantras for millenials. Branded manifestos for materialism, if you will.

Here is the first one:

"My life
My life is good
Actually it is great

But sometimes it's awful
It doesn't always make sense
Life is a room without windows
Life is funny
Life isn't always what you ordered
It's dancing to your own tune. Sometimes somebody else's.

Life is a 41 slide presentation
Life is exploring the unknown
Life is lonely
Life is defying gravity
It's dancing with strangers
Life is a warm fuzzy feeling
Life is a bundle of nerves
Makes me do stupid things
Life is finding love 3,000 miles from home
Life is staying curious
It's unpredictable is what you make of it

It's that winning spirit
Whatever life throws at me
I'm game"

The second one goes as follows:
"Business isn't just about getting a B-school degree
It's not about playing it safe
It's not about having a big office
It's not about age. Or experience.

Today business is about packing your ideas
Breaking the rules
And reaching new destinations"

Throwing in everything and the kitchen sink, line by line, in a disorganised potpourri of cliches, both leave you reeling, wondering where it is all headed, when the last few lines reveal all!

The closing lines in the first example throw in 'spirit' in a spirited attempt at coherence. See below.

It's that winning spirit
Whatever life throws at me
I'm game.

Royal Challenge Sports Drink
Game for life

The second one uses 'destinations' to create a tenuous link leading to the product category:

Today business is about packing your ideas
Breaking the rules
And reaching new destinations

Carlton luggage
The new face of business

And then, from as far back as 1997, is this. From Apple.

"Here's to the crazy ones.
The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers.
The round pegs in the square holes.
The ones who see things differently.

They're not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo.
You can quote them, disagree withthem, glorify or vilify them.
About the only thing you can't do, is ignore them.

Because they change things. They push the human race forward. While some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius.

Because the people crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do."

Now, that is the difference between Apple's statement of a brand's genuine beliefs, and spagetti bowls of arbitrary strands of copy.