July 15, 2014

Branding Extremes: Panda Cheese v. Thai Life Insurance

by Guest Blogger


While there are many ways to approach branding, it is nearly impossible to brand your product in a way that appeals to everyone. Branding to appeal to everyone will, at best, result in the commoditization of your product. At worst, it can result in no one liking your product. This is called the "luke-warm tea" branding philosophy: If some people want hot tea and some people want iced tea, serve everyone luke-warm tea and everyone will be happy. In reality, of course, no one will be happy.

The most powerful brands, like Apple, identify a specific market segment and unapologetically cater to that market segment. Apple understands that creating the loyalty that makes people stand in line for hours for the privilege of buying your product requires consistent and extreme dedication to the philosophies of the brand. It also comes with a price. Many people hate Apple's brand philosophies and refuse to buy their products.

By way of example, I've pulled two examples of extreme dedication to a branding message. The first video below features a series of ridiculous commercials aired by Egyptian cheese maker Panda in 2010. The commercials feature a cuddly panda that punishes people for turning down Panda cheese. I've seen these commercials at least fifty times, and they always make me laugh. The second video, for Thai Life Insurance, takes the opposite approach. It will not make you laugh (in fact, it made Kevin ugly-cry), but you will feel like a better person for watching it.

Even though these brands have different products, different messages and evoke different feelings, they each share an extreme and unwavering commitment to the brand. Some people will love these commercials and some will hate them. Neither of these commercials, however, will make you say, "Meh." The lesson here is that, notwithstanding your particular brand message, it is always most effective when you adhere to it with unapologetic dedication.

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