Simplus was initially launched through a Lintas ATL/BTL campaign, with a relatively high budget. Both message and looks of the ads and promotional materials were unclear and inconsistent: the campaign resulted in a brand awareness of only 7% after a full year of campaigning.
A pitch was won by my team at Euro RSCG – we convinced the client that what was done so far in terms of advertising, had to be forgotten and their brand ID had to be changed. In fact, the campaign was a relaunch of the product.
First of all, we made a brand ID manual for which we designed a strong colour grid in light green and orange. We used a known cartoon character - La Linea - and a consistent, handwritten font. This as a counterbalance to the popular campaign of the main competitor Era TakTak, that featured a penguin. The ads were easy to recognize and memorize. But most important, the Simplus spots were nice to watch, and funny.
Although the marketing team at Simplus was very professional, their bosses where former communists with little understanding of anything except communism. Their attempts to change the storyboards for planned spots failed, because the author of La Linea - Osvaldo Cavandoli - refused to produce animations that where not in line with the original humour and character of his creation.
The Simplus management gave us more freedom after it turned out that sales increased rapidly. The campaign saved the brand: brand awareness and sales skyrocketed (increase to 43% brand awareness after 3 months), the campaign itself (especially TV) was the most popular and well known one in 1999-2001. It received the Grand Prix at Crackfilm for best campaign of the year, and a bronze Effie for most effective campaign of the year. It is one of very few campaigns from the 1990's still remembered by many Poles today.
This example shows the importance of having the basics in order - the way a product looks and feels. And even after that, to quote my beloved Bill Bernbach "In advertising not to be different is virtually suicidal".
Above: ad on the occasion of winning a Grand Prix and a bronze Effie for respectively the best national advertising and most effective campaign of the year 2000.
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