Marketing is the process of getting potential clients or customers interested in your products and services. The key word in this definition is “process”; great marketing involves researching, promoting, selling, and distributing your products or services.
This discipline centres on the study of market and consumer behaviors and it analyzes the commercial management of companies in order to attract, acquire and retain customers (hopefully instilling brand loyalty) by satisfying their wants and needs.
Big brands are often hard-pressed to do something ground-breaking when they’re already so big. So, what did Coca-Cola do to appeal to the masses? They appealed to individuals — by putting their names on each bottle.
The Share a Coke campaign began in Australia in 2011, when Coca-Cola personalized each bottle with the 150 most popular names in the country. Since then, the U.S. has followed suit, printing first names across the front of its bottles and cans in Coke’s branded font. You can even order custom bottles on Coke’s website to request things like nicknames and college logos.
It was a breaking story across the marketing and advertising industry. Many consumers were enchanted by it, while others were confused by it — why make a temporary item so personal? Pepsi even released counter-ads shortly after the campaign launched.
Nonetheless, Coke received immediate attention to it.
Coke fans are regular buyers, and the company leaned into that sense of individual ownership with full force. Wondering what name you’ll get out of the vending machine was a fun thrill in and of itself — even if it isn’t yours, it encourages you to “share a Coke” with whomever’s name is on the front.
KFC: “FCK” (2018)
The ad above isn’t just an empty bucket of KFC with the company’s letters jumbled around. It’s also not a normal, unprompted promotion of fried chicken.
This ad is an apology, and perhaps the most creative one of all time.
In February 2018, KFC’s business in the U.K. ran out of chicken. You read that right: A poultry company ran out of poultry. It’s not every day that a business stumbles upon the most ironic PR crisis in company history, so when it happens, all eyes are on the business’s response. Well, we’re happy to report that KFC stuck the landing.
With the help of the creative agency Mother London, KFC took out a full-page ad in Metro, the U.K.’s newspaper, rearranging its three famous initials to create a hilarious albeit explicit response to its product shortage. The ad depicts a KFC bucket that reads, “FCK” as if to say, “FCK, this is embarrassing.” (You can fill in the missing letter …)
Beneath this design, the company goes on to apologize for what it realizes is an inexcusable, if not a slightly funny failure.
No business is above a good old-fashioned sorry. And if you can laugh at yourself in the process, you’ll only make it better. KFC’s ad demonstrates how to combine humility, class, humor, and ultimately company pride in a message that can help you bounce back from the bad press — and even come out the other side with a net-positive result for your brand.
Nike: Just Do It.
Did you know that once upon a time, Nike’s product catered almost exclusively to marathon runners? Then, a fitness craze emerged — and the folks in Nike’s marketing department knew they needed to take advantage of it to surpass their main competitor, Reebok. (At the time, Reebok was selling more shoes than Nike). And so, in the late 1980s, Nike created the “Just Do It.” campaign.
It was a hit.
In 1988, Nike sales were at $800 million; by 1998, sales exceeded $9.2 billion. “Just Do It.” was short and sweet, yet encapsulated everything people felt when they were exercising — and people still feel that feeling today. Don’t want to run five miles? Just Do It. Don’t want to walk up four flights of stairs? Just Do It. It’s a slogan we can all relate to the drive to push ourselves beyond our limits.
When you’re trying to decide the best way to present your brand, ask yourself: What problem are you solving for your customers? What solution does your product or service provide? By hitting on that core issue in all of your messaging, you’ll connect with consumers on an emotional level that is hard to ignore.