Ciaran Watkins – Rebranding’s A Tough Business

Posted on April 1, 2011 by

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I imagine that completely changing your advertising campaign can be a hard decision to make. When you change your advertising and branding, you’re throwing away what your current customers recognise about you and your product. There have been recent uproars about the smallest of changes in logo (Starbucks I’m looking at you), so to change a recognisable advertising campaign must be brave in this day and age.

Of course with a rebrand/readvertise there’s always the problem of it falling on it’s arse. The general public are notoriously scared of change. It’s not often that companies get it absolutely spot on, usually because companies that constantly rebrand/readvertise have their previous pearls of advertising to one up. It helps when there is either nothing to advertise against, or something so boring, bland and honestly a bit rubbish, that a person holding a sign and singing a funny song would be a better sell. The most recent example I’ve seen of this would be the Carcraft ads aired on T.V.

When I think about Carcraft and their advertising, the only thing that fills my head is that god awful jingle; “For a great price on used automobiles, Carcraft of Rochdale”. My first experience of their advertising was their radio ads with that very jingle. It was way too ‘happy’, and it got stuck in my head for days. From an advertising point of view, that’s great! But it didn’t help them being very very naff. From what I gather from the adverts about to follow, Carcraft is a second hand car factory/graveyard where John can finally buy a new ‘motah’. Try not to get this jingle stuck in your brainbox, as it’ll be there for a while. It’s no longer Carcraft ‘of Rochdale’, as they appear to have spread nationwide.

Meh, lots of information, some singing, and I really couldn’t care less. It’s a bit snoresville to be honest. Here’s another one from earlier in 2010.

Again, snoresville galore. It’s a hard sell, like DFS and Safestyle did in the past, and it’s doing the job I suppose. There’s a sale on, and you should go to it. It’s hardly setting the world on fire though. There may be a time and place for ‘flashy’ advertising especially with budgets being so low, but there should always be the opportunity to make something better than that. It doesn’t matter if you’re getting someone to come to your school’s tennis tournament, selling a second hand car or trying to raise awareness for a bake sale. A good idea will always best a hard sell, and I don’t know if it’s a personal gripe or not, but my personal space feels invaded when I see ads like those above.

As I was saying earlier, it wouldn’t be hard to top those adverts. They were hardly ground breaking, and definitely far from entertaining. It’s nice to see that Carcraft have gone out of their way to distance themselves from the entire hard sell approach with their most recent of campaigns.

Now that is a genuinely good advert. It provokes a cheap emotional response sure, but there’s no one shouting prices at me, and I’m not being told to ‘CHECK THIS OUT’. It’s enjoyable, if a little… forgettable. What’s nice is they’ve managed to keep the tune of their God awful jingle, but transform it into something that people will want to listen to again. There’s the soft dulcet tones of the lovely spoken announcer that wash over us as we’re shown imagery that’s very easy on the eye. There’s the tag line ‘Drive Happy’, which is, well, nice.

In fact, the whole advert is just that; nice. It’s definitely not up there with the best of the best in the advertising world, but it beats the previous attempts hands down. My applause go out to the agency behind the advert, and to Carcraft for taking that big step (and probably big hit in costs) to pull this off. Well done guys and gals. You’ve produced an advert you can be proud of, and one that kept this want-to-be creative entertained enough to write a blog post about. Rest assured that I won’t turn the channel over when it comes on, or shout, or make obscene hand gestures. What I will do however, is remember all of my favourite road trips, and wonder if I’ll ever be bothered to learn to drive. Have a pat on the back from me, because you’ve bloody earned it.

Read more over at Whatever’s In There, Falls Out Here.

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Posted in: Ciaran Watkins