I was in the Tampa airport this weekend and saw this billboard, which prompted a few (perhaps cynical?) thoughts.   All of us have seen advertising that proclaims the brand name and then “Since 19XX” - whatever the year of their founding.  Usually, we see this with brands that have been around “forever” and are staples with consumers.  Either that, or it is the polar opposite situation; brands that we’ve never heard of before - perhaps entering a new market or re-engaging with consumers after a long hiatus.

Where this approach works brilliantly is with local establishments, products or services being marketed to tourists.   If I'm new to town, I want to know that something has been around for awhile.  I want to experience this local gem for myself!  

 

For those lesser known brands that use this approach, I guess the idea is to tacitly acknowledge that most consumers have never heard of them, but nevertheless attempt to instill confidence that they've been around and are, therefore, trustworthy and good.  On its face, maybe these messages accomplish their objective.  Looking a bit deeper, I think they say something else entirely.

 

These messages from unknown companies actually (albeit subtly) insult consumers.  What they imply is, “while you’ve been under a rock and not heard of us, we’ve been successful since 19XX”.  It implies that the consumer is the one who has been inept at not knowing about the company.  Otherwise, why would the company be prideful about the fact that they’ve been around so long - yet are relatively unheard of?  Last time I checked, the onus is on the company to market themselves and build their brand, not the other way around.  

 

No, what these proclamations really say is, “although we may have a fine product, and even though we’ve been around since 19XX, our marketing has been so horrible that you’re just now hearing about us”.  Not sure that’s the message to lead with.  :-\

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Tags: advertising, brand, consumer, messages, ooh, outdoor, positioning

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