Have you seen the ad “The Stress Monster“?
Dr. Grant McCracken has written a nice analysis of how this ad works, and why it does a good job of promoting Propel Fitness Water:
Stress Monster is dedicated the simple proposition that exercise makes stress go away. This is well established as an understanding in our culture. It’s well established as a reality in the lives of millions of Americans.
Meaning management sometimes goes like this. The idea is not to find a new meaning for the brand. The idea is go after an existing meaning with new vigor and skill. In the language of marketing, the idea is to “own” an idea that is already out there.
When we say we “own” a meaning, we mean we have discovered it’s [sic] most essential, powerful properties and made these as our own. This is hard to do well, but when it works the brand (Propel) and the meaning (stress reduction) are mutually presupposing. When they’re done really, really well, it is now impossible to think about one without thinking about the other.
And that’s the way, I think, to think about Stress Monster. It is part of Propel’s effort to own stress reduction. Does this ad succeed? I have to say they made a pretty good run at it. (No pun intended.)
- Thirty-second ads can still work, even in the age of PVRs and fast-forwarding, if the ads themselves are visually interesting, cleverly thought out, and well-executed.
- Understanding the meaning of your brand — how the market sees you today — is the first step in creating marketing of any kind that works.
At the Propel website you can see two other current ads from the same campaign: “Powerwalk” and “Uphill.” For me, all three ads are compelling. “Stress Monster” hits me the most, probably because I think of exercise primarily as a stress reduction tool. As I sit at my computer working on a Sunday, the idea of running a couple of miles and letting the world fall away looks pretty darn great.
I get energized watching “Uphill” too, because I like Liz Phair, whose song “Extraordinary” provides the sound track, and because I identify with the woman in the ad, pushing herself to superhuman feats of strength and endurance — even if those feats are executed on an exercise bike in a crowded gym. And of course the ad also works for/on me because I long to be slim and fit like the woman in the ad.
Each ad in the campaign highlights a different motivation for why people work out, yet all three motivations integrate with the tagline “Fit has a feeling … and a water.” Nicely done.
(Link thanks to Sam Ford at the MIT CCC.)