In this month’s issue of The Drum Network magazine – entitled ‘The Drum Network Does Food and Drink’- I was asked to give my opinion on advertising within the food and drink industry.
More specifically, I was asked: “In a world where society, media and even technology are constantly reminding us to be healthier, how do food and drink brands position themselves as the healthy option?”
“Overcoming the barrage of health-driven messages within society is a challenge. If our client’s product isn’t perceived by the audience as ‘healthy’ then we need to find another way of speaking to them. If the practical side of consumer thinking implies that a product is ‘bad’ for them, then we need to appeal to the emotional and creative side (their hearts) to remind them how it makes them feel. Let’s take white bread – the seemingly evil, less healthy sibling of wholemeal – as an example.”
“Whether it’s the bacon sarnies we have or the dippy soldiers, white bread stirs up all sorts of comforting, positive emotions. It’s not unhealthy, rather a feel-good, happiness product.”
I concluded, saying: “By creating that emotional connection with consumers, brands are able to put themselves in a better position to cut through the noise.”
And that notion of food brands staying true to themselves – not trying to fool consumers with inauthentic positioning – was a sentiment echoed by the other industry figures asked to give their opinion. Consumers appreciate honesty and they’re not stupid, which is why they’ll see right through you if you try to sell your brand or product as something it’s not.
Whether it’s through copy, design or video, I’m a firm believer that the best food and drink brands are the ones that sell the feeling and the experience (the latter being particularly important when targeting the elusive Gen-Z, who put a premium on experiences that can’t be taken away from them), not the product itself.
You crave the warm, comforting hug that only chocolate can provide? Then you pick up a bar of Cadbury Dairy Milk.
You need your thirst quenching with an ice-cold can of something from the fridge? Then you grab a can of Coke.
You want to add the finishing touch to a Sunday roast with a tsunami of gravy? Then it’s got to be Bisto.
Google or YouTube any of the above brands’ ads and you’ll see exactly what I mean. They all know that, by selling the feeling first, selling the product becomes a mere inevitability.
And, even though you might not agree with me, it’s food for thought, at the very least.