Cultural missions and propositions

A couple of advertisements have caught my attention recently, the new creative work from The Co-operative and Lurpak. Different stylistically and strategically, but they share an interesting angle – both brands are taking on a social mission. These advertisements serve to root the brands in a wider socio-cultural issue than their product benefits would normally justify. The Co-operative are positioning themselves as a brand which helps you reclaim your weekend and rejuvenate your relationships. Lurpak, as a follow on to their previous work, are petitioning their customers to cook. They’re looking to own messy, tangible cooking and championing real food without the ceremony.

You can argue about whether either of these brands have the stature to credibly own such lofty territory. The Co-operative stance is quite the leap from their previous advertising and the instore experience doesn’t quite deliver on the inspirational promise. And butter, often the villain of the food pyramid, makes Lurpak an unlikely hero for food marketers. 

But regardless of whether or not these succeed, what’s interesting, is the attempt. I’m personally a big fan of brands which seek to forge a cultural movement. They’re tapping into real, relevant and motivational territories and that has to deliver an emotional win for them.

In my last post I referenced the Heath and Feldwick paper which found that there was a linear relationship between emotional content and brand favourability, but no relationship between rational content and brand favourability. If effective advertising is based on emotional engagement and not rational propositions, how does this cultural movement approach compare to “we are better, faster, cheaper, bigger, fancier” propositional messages?

The beauty about the Co-operative and Lurpak advertisements of course, is that the propositions are still there – they’re just implied rather than explicitly stated. For the Co-Op to own “saving weekend time”, customers need to make the connection that these stores are local, more accessible and have everything you would need in your weekly shop. For Lupak, associating with cooking and taking on a foody mission, conveys a confidence that their product quality must be high. Both advertisements do implicitly communicate their superiority.

Which leaves them free to concentrate on the riskier, resonant, emotional stuff in their execution. And I’m pretty sure that’s the reason they caught my attention in the first place.

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