OBJECTIVE boost awareness in the lead up to the FIFA World Cup
CHALLENGE Nike and Adidas had famous campaigns, enormous budgets and legendary athletes. Puma did not even have a positioning.
SOLUTION interviewing players we learned that consumers’ perception of Adidas and Nike’s was strikingly similar: the tough American/German coach driven by success with an almost militaristic approach discipline (just do it/impossible is nothing). Puma on the other hand was seen as more easy going, the coach that reminds you to have fun.
Semiotically, Nike and Adidas have both, for years, been using the language of Duty as the path to Glory (much as “the few, the proud, the Marines“). By talking to players we learned that all that hard work is just the cost of entry for any competitive endeavor: after that, what makes the difference is how much you enjoy yourself, how much you love what you do.
Like our competitors, we decided to tap into the Belonging instinct that rules team sports. But instead of insisting on the cost of entry (fulfilling a duty), we claimed Love, its chemical reward, awarding Puma the emotional high-ground.
RESULTS brilliantly executed by Syrup, the Love strategy became a viral sensation giving Puma more visibility than Adidas -the event’s official sponsor- in the weeks leading up to the World Cup.
Even after agencies changed, the brief kept paying off and lead Droga5 to Cannes Gold.
Imitation is certainly the highest form of flattery: today there are no fewer than 3 agencies and a dozen portfolios claiming credit for this work. If you encounter them, ask them about it. It’ll be fun.
“Are you in marketing? kill yourself” famously said comedian Bill Hicks.
According to Carl Cederström, when “Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence that the pursuit of happiness was an unalienable right, he did not just intend to say that man should pursue pleasure, but that he should also have the right to acquire and possess property”.
In other words: Pleasure+Property=Happiness.
This relation between Happiness and Economic Performance is so entrenched that we use the same word to describe serious setbacks on either side of that equation: Depression.
Were Jefferson around today, he would probably love marketers: we help improve the world by informing consumers and fueling competition. This eventually translates into better, more affordable goods for all, creating jobs and growth along the way. More property, more pleasure: more happiness.
Others understand Happiness not as a fleeting state but a permanent one, reached through introspection and a deeper understanding of Life.
From this perspective, advertising helps fuel spiritual ADD, distracting society from the pursuit of Happiness, and instead tempting us with the rewards of Joy, which are ephemeral.
A new dress, car, stereo or a vacation are thus Joy Fuel: acquisitions that give us a rush of a temporary wellbeing, that disappears as soon as new events unfold or the novelty wears out.
But worry not, we just launched this brand new shiny thing: In a society driven by instant gratification, years of spiritual work can seem too daunting a task when an instant jolt of Joy can be acquired with two clicks of a mouse.
So while advertising isn’t any more evil than a hammer or a cup, it can enrich popular culture and our lives just as quickly as it can become the lubricant of our procrastinations, perpetually distracting us from the Pursuit of Happiness with the quick fix offered by the shiny Joy Fuel we are paid to sell.
Interestingly, research* indicates that the elder, precisely the section of society less impressed by brands, novelty and trends, are consistently happier than younger generations.