There’s a fascinating email exchange over on the Beige Brigade’s site. The chaps offered to help out with L&P’s Back Yard Cricket (BYC) tournament held in Paeroa (one of the most heavily ‘branded’ towns in the world – those poor, poor people) at the weekend, and got this back from the ad agency:
“We don’t want to position ourselves as hi-tech, as a brand. We’re all about back in the day and would probably prefer to use the an 80s dial phone… It’d be great if you’d like to put a link on your site to ours, we would appreciate that…I guess creatively we do feel that our senses of humours are quite different. We kinda see the Beige Brigade as high profile funny guys where as L&P is always the backseat funny guy, finding humour in little kiwi truths and not really making a fuss. We…don’t feel the fit is quite right for L&P, strategically.”
Woah. While this email probably wasn’t meant to be dragged around the internets, the agency have got this one wrong. I do a little ‘branding’ in the day job, and while it’s fun and challenging with something you believe in and understand, you get into deep water real fast if that’s not the case.
EVERYTHING you’re flogged on the telly, radio or newspaper (yes, probably even the Totalspan robot-dog), is ‘strategically’ ‘branded’. Many, many eyebrow furrows and skinny lattes go into figuring out how that washing up glove will make you feel, what that Flyspray would say if it could talk, and what radio station the Tinea Cream would listen to (George. It’s always George).
This account manager has balked at letting the Brigade play in the tournament, and sent them an email with a few cut n’ pastes from the brand outline. That’s shoddy. The Beige Brigade are organised, ambitious, generous (they wholeheartedly support local spelling bees and the beige penguin), positive and passionate supporters, in a country where bagging Black Caps is a pretty popular past-time.
The BYC campaign has its’ funny moments, but if it’s backed up by pompous, humour-free PR that just doesn’t get it, that’s a big fat FAIL. A little research into what the Brigade were all about would have been a far, far classier move than an email like that. You can bet the men in beige will be around doing good things for cricket in New Zealand long after L&P have finished mining this particular vein of Kiwiana to flog sugary water.