The Creative Platform
Once upon a time we had a client that designed and manufactured custom chrome wheels. While they didn’t sell their wheels direct to consumers, they wanted to launch an advertising campaign to create awareness and demand for their brand at the retail level. Entering this highly competitive market posed a significant creative challenge in setting them apart from more established companies who had built brand equity on tried-and-true creative concepts for this category, which consisted mostly of advertising featuring:
- A really cool car with awesome chrome wheels.
- A really sexy young woman in an awesomely skimpy bikini bending over, leaning into, sprawling on, or otherwise attached to said cool car.
Which brought us to this obvious conclusion: Well, that’s been done. Which begged this obvious question: What can we do that’s different? Which brings us to the Creative Platform.
The Creative Platform forms the foundational basis of your persuasive messaging. Think of a treehouse. Its roots run deep into your operational framework and your fundamental promise to the market, but its primary plank—the part you stand on and the part that people see—is predicated on the shared commonality of every single person in your target market. Put another way, what is the one thing that one hundred percent of your prospective customers have in common, regardless of whatever demographic, geographic or even psychographic niches they may occupy?
This was the question we asked in crafting the Creative Platform for our wheel-making client: besides their lust for the babe in the bikini, what do all these guys have in common? And the answer, though seemingly obvious, landed us far outside the conventional wisdom of how to speak to this particular market, which is what made it so compelling. The answer: Every single guy who wants to trick out his car with chrome wheels—whether it be low rider, Cadillac, SUV or sports car—at one time was a little boy. Without exception. And at some point in his life, he developed a thing for cars and the shiny objects you can buy to accessorize them, but his first vehicle was probably a tricycle.
So, we took a little boy, dressed him in blue jammies, put him on a red trike and showed him pedaling away in a variety of scenarios: city street, country road, busy freeway. (Disclaimer: no little boys were harmed in the making of these ads). The basic message was this: remember where you started, where you’ve been and where you are now, able to trick out your ride with expensive chrome wheels. We understand you; we honor you; we respect how far you’ve come, and here are the wheels you’ve always wanted and surely deserve. Buy some.
Even the toughest of tough guys has a soft spot for himself as a little boy, and the campaign struck a responsive chord with the target market in a way that was decidedly unique for this category. In short, the campaign worked, and our client sold a ton of fancy chrome wheels.
More recently, we faced the challenge of positioning Grand Junction Regional Airport as the airport of choice for Western Slope travelers. Back to the Creative Platform: what commonality does everyone in our target market share, regardless of age, income, or place of residence? Well, we know that every single one of them, without exception, is going somewhere. And they just want to Get There. The desired experience in getting there may vary according to demographics, geographics and psychographics: some aren’t as concerned about price as much as they the quality of the experience. They don’t want long layovers, they don’t want multiple connecting flights, they don’t want to deal with long lines to get through security, they just want to Get There Easier. Others are more price-driven and their desire is to Get There for Less. And then there are those who are pressed for time, don’t want the hassle of driving, and appreciate the value of direct flights to select cities. Those travelers just want to Get There Faster. The media strategy targets these different sub-messages to the appropriate different markets, but the underlying creative strategy is anchored in the Creative Platform. Get There.
So, what’s the primary plank of your Creative Platform? What are one hundred percent of your potential customers looking for that you can provide? What problem are they trying to solve? What common goal or desire do they all share? When you can define that commonality with certainty, you’ll find that your creative messaging makes more sense, is more compelling, more interesting, and delivers better results.