I help businesses, to grow, by making them better understood by people.
Last night I watched an ad for a payday loans company and it made me feel good.
No, you didn’t read that incorrectly. And I’m not some twisted individual who enjoys the prospect of cash-strapped housewives signing up for 5000% APR.
I was feeling good because a lot of my work is in marketing communications and I like to do one particular thing when I’m watching TV. Specifically: deconstructing the ads in search of some interesting insight or strategic approach to a brand or service.
Anyone else do this? It's very frequently a thankless search (I’m looking at you, Vanarama, San Miguel and any ad featuring mixed race friendship groups watching football in the sunny, magnolia-painted front room of a modern house). In the case of Quick Quid’s new campaign it was a happier experience.
Creative types probably want to look away now. Nothing very Campaign-Magazine-award-friendly about these:
‘Woman wrestling with kids/trying to get to work realises boiler is on the fritz’. ‘Man with broken down car needs it repaired right now but inevitably hasn’t got the money’.
Leonardo DiCaprio’s Oscar win was never in any danger from what acting the cast were asked to perform, either.
BUT, Quick Quid, props for the overall “Restore Some Order” idea and the strategy behind it. You are selling exactly the same thing as everyone else but with a much more nuanced psychological approach. Most ads in this sector focus on money shortfalls as a Fact of Life, patronising the audience furiously in the process. Or they try to turn the brand into some sort of elder brother figure we should all be happy to lean on. I’m not objecting to any of this on political grounds, simply that it is dull and obvious and gives the respondent nothing whatsoever to feel good about as they reluctantly pick up the phone.
By contrast the new Quick Quid ads focus on people, showing them as empowered, metaphorically able to step out of the situation and think it through, in a sort of ‘bullet time’. The strapline strongly implies that QQ clients are normally in rigid charge of their lives and just want to get back to that situation. (After all, you can’t ‘restore’ order if it wasn’t there in the first place.)
Like I suggested just now, these are low-budget ads for a very straightforward service but with a bit more thought.
What’s the lesson?
Whatever you're selling, however obvious the requirement or numerous the competition, if you decide there is really nothing particular about your product itself that can allow you to stand out, you can always look for a new, sympathetic way to bring the people you want to sell to into your communication. And stand out that way.