Make Marketing History

The views of a marketing deviant.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Differentiation Is Different From Difference.

Back in 1967, Fab and Zoom were popular ice lollies. Bizarrely, Fab was originlly aimed at girls and Zoom at boys, but both were marketed in conjunction with popular TV show Thunderbirds to exploit the products' shapes and to exude the idea of play.

Fifty years on, a big push has been made to celebrate the anniversary and below you can see one of the outdoor ads that has been created. They're different. I saw one creative director tweet that they were the best outdoor ads he'd seen in years.

To which I'd respond with some pithy questioning of the state of outdoor advertising creativity.


No doubt there will be effectiveness papers claiming these did something for Fab - but that will have to be discounted by consideration of the heatwave and the fact that this was a huge increase in marketing expenditure.

Russell Davies has often written about winning the Honda business by pointing out that every car ad looked the same and being different was the way to create clear blue water between Honda and the rest. But this wasn't difference for the sake of it - it was difference that drew attention to a real differentiation.

You have to conclude that "Where There's Fab, There's Fun" doesn't really challenge Honda's "Isn't It Good When Something Just Works?" and fun certainly isn't illustrated in the ad.  It's an ad which is designed to appeal to a sense of irony rather than a sense of play. An ad that the industry might like, but that customers will ignore.

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