Low interest and confronting categories present problems for marketers.
It is relatively easy to generate interest in a new beer, a car, fashion item, but what about insurance, toilet cleaner, and petrol?
Typically we frame communications in the context of a problem to be solved, a tried and true method, but it means always coming at the product from a negative perspective, “you have a problem, here is the solution”. The marketing focus is on the happy smiling person who has solved their cleaning problem, the financially saved flood survivor, and the cleaner injectors in your car from “Factor X” in their petrol. The approach works well, but it often seems that the ad we end up with is a compromise, the best of a modest lot.
The marketing challenge is that the fake happy consumer depicted in the advertising always comes at the product from the point of view of the problem, and whilst it is nice to solve the problem, the context is still one of a problem, and the smile is still fake.
The better way is to concentrate on the person, rather than the problem, make the owner of the problem feel better, even happy. Change the context from the problem to the person who owns the problem, and be human in the way the problem is discussed. This great post by Barry Feldman, one of the great contemporary copywriters, demonstrates how with a collection of poop campaigns, a confronting topic we all face. Make sure you watch the video.
It takes some magic to make a boring or confronting product sufficiently fun, engaging, informative and interesting to enable a piece of communication to work, but it can be done with imagination and some marketing courage. The age of social media offers a new array of tools, but there is no substitute for being brave, and stepping beyond the boundaries of the norm.