Wednesday, March 31, 2010

What can brown REALLY do for you?

By now, you've certainly heard that tagline and seen Martin Ad Agency Creative Director Andy Azula's whiteboard TV spots. All with the closing tagline, "What can brown do for you?"

For which company?

Of course, it's UPS. The color brown, as a memory trigger, for an entire company. You could say that the color brown is perceptionally owned by UPS.

Anytime you see a brown van, truck or package - you'll be tempted to put UPS at the front of your thoughts. Anytime you see a man in brown shorts or a brown baseball cap, you'll be teased into thinking UPS. Quite possibly, the next time your daughter brings out the box of crayons, you may start to think "shipping".

But it wasn't always this way.

For years and years and years, UPS' overnight boxes and packages were red and white. It wasn't until UPS decided to change it's logo to remove the old drawstring package that it finally decided to use what it already had established with it's trucks and drivers.

Why? You know why.

Gee, let me think... "our company's strongest colors are brown and yellow. What do I think of with those two colors?" No one in the company, and no agency (up until creative powerhouse The Martin Agency), could say that the Emperor had no clothes. And, for years, squandered the opportunity that they finally found the answer for. In stating the obvious, we know call it "genius".

We have to ask ourselves, "Is my brand missing out on the obvious? What do people already associate with us - even if initially negative - and TURN it into a positive?" White Castle did it with "sliders" and Volvo did it with "safety". Sometimes the "sexiest" thing you can do, is to praise the most mundane thing and claim your title in your very own backyard.

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