Link: Not Yet
Target: Corporate Purchasing Agents
A corporate identity commercial advertising all of the good things Tyco does for us. Starts with a man turning a valve and a girl drinking from a fountain to the voiceover: “With our valve, there is water and where there is water, there’s life.” Then shows firefighters with voiceover “With our mask, there’s air to breathe. And where there’s air, there’s a rescue” Then shows African children and doctors giving injections, “With our syringe, there’s a safe injection and with that there’s hope for a cure.” Ends with montage and voiceover “At Tyco we make thousands of products that aren’t simply important – they’re vital. Tyco – a vital part of your world.”
Here’s what works
- Engaging visuals - firefighters, African children and doctors get our attention
- High Production Value - no expense was spared to make the shots crisp and vivid. The voiceover is good and quick transitions keep the pacing good.
- No animals were harmed in producing the spot- or so we assume.
It is always nice to see a company that has been dragged through the headlines for wasting money (former CEO Dennis Koslowski and CFO Mark Swartz were convicted for misusing some $600 million in Tyco funds) proceed to waste even more money while seeking to clean up their corporate reputation.
This spot by Tyco was undoubtedly created on the recommendation of a corporate communications department, not a brand marketing group. Why do we say that? A corporate communications department would most likely reason like this – our reputation is damaged, lets use all of the paid and unearned media (i.e. publicity) we can to reverse this and reassure investors that we are a good company. A communications group would be quite sophisticated about the implementation of the PR strategy, but not as in touch with the real usefulness of advertising.
A brand manager would first ask these questions:
- What is the brand?
- What am I trying to accomplish for the brand?
- What does the consumer already believe?
When we answer these questions honestly we realize that the brand may not even be Tyco (ADT, the home security company is one of their consumer brands, for instance). Where the brand is Tyco, the consumer may not even be aware that they are using the brand (those doctors in Africa) and moreover, the consumer may not influence the purchase of the brand at all. Finally, it is clear that consumers – if they know Tyco at all – think of it as a disjointed conglomerate with no central organizing principle (even P&G, for all its brands has one) that showed itself to be badly out of control during the Koslowski scandal. And that is a pretty strong association. We’ve said many, many times in this blog that advertising does not change people’s minds in the vast majority of cases. Instead, advertising reminds people of things they already believe, intend to do or might have forgotten about. Thinking well of Tyco falls into none of these categories.
To create this commercial and get it a decent airing on network television, Tyco has spent a minimum of $30 million. Perhaps much more. While it will undoubtedly increase top-of-mind awareness of Tyco among consumers, it is hard to see any other legitimate business purpose that this spending will accomplish.
Targeted advertising (which may also be happening as we are out of Tyco’s real target group) and non-traditional marketing would be a much better bet for building Tyco’s business. To repair the corporate reputation, either slow, steady PR ground work – like a longterm charitable partnership that gradually builds the company’s reputation or perhaps something big and newsworthy (donating safety harnesses to big-city fire departments, etc) might be a better call.
And let us not forget to mention that the advertising strategy behind this campaign is derivative (copying BASF’s similarly ill-conceived campaign “we don’t make a lot of the things you use” – to which we replied “and we don’t care”). There is nothing worse than copying a bad strategy.
This spot demonstrates the need for competent brand management. Without thinking realistically and critically about the brand, Tyco has either done nothing at all or even made things worse, all the while wasting a great deal of money.
Branding Bottom Line -
Tyco steps over the line between building the business and corporate ego. Again.