Brand: Stanley Tools
Link: Click Here – It is the last spot entitled “World’s Weakest Man”
Target: Home improvers
The spot starts with two sportscasters talking over a shot of five gangly, knock-kneed men race-walking towards the camera. The sportscasters say, “Well, the surprises keep coming here at the World’s Weakest Man where Jeff Baxter proved he is in peak lack of condition,” as we see them with headsets on. The spot then follows the travails of Baxter as he fails to lift a small sack of peanuts over a fence. Then they mention that Baxter has some ground to make up because he was surprisingly able to squeeze the Stanley Sharpshooter Stapler, which the spot shows him doing to his dismay. ” It is really taking its toll on the contestants today,” one sportscasters says and continues, “There is noone who cannot get a staple out of that thing.” Then the spot cuts to a product shot and a voiceover which says, “The Stanley Sharpshooter. It’s that easy to squeeze.”
This campaign is a dramatic departure from Stanley’s previous advertising which focused on professional grade quality and power. But it does a very good job of getting the point across in an interesting, entertaining manner.
A few things we like about this spot:
- Clear Brand Positioning – This entire spot works to make just one point – Stanley tools are easy to use. That point positions the brand and it does seem to be a differentiated positioning in a category that is often about testosterone.
- Visible Branding - We hear and see the Stanley name and the product throughout the commercial so brand recall should be excellent for this spot.
- Stanley Takes a Risk – This spot is memorable because it is so unlike what we expect from the category. This is a risk (see below). This risk is what makes the spot memorable.
There are a few important rules in branding like, “Don’t start a land war in Asia” – or maybe that’s politics. The most important rule, however, is “be consistent” and Stanley may be in some trouble here. It is difficult to tell whether Stanley’s intention is to reposition the entire brand or if they are simply trying to extend their appeal to a larger audience. Either way, though, this strategy has a couple of dangers:
- Loss of Authenticity – The reason that everyone wants to be ‘professional grade,’ from General Motors to Black & Decker is that it makes you the expert. And being the expert makes your product very attractive to non-expert consumers who just want to get the best tool for their money. The problem in this category, of course, is that everyone is trying to be the expert and that just confuses the consumer. But by moving from an expert positioning to a Staples-type “That Was Easy” positioning, Stanley risks leaving the consumer feeling that their tools are not as capable as the competition.
- Alienates the Base – The spots on the Stanley Website (click here) show a very different side of Stanley which makes us suspect that the core Stanley users is a serious tool person. If this is so, then these spots could very easily alienate these core users. The company may be thinking “well, that’s okay because the potential audience we’re appealing to with this new positioning is much larger.” The problem is that with most brands the loyal base has a much greater influence on product purchase – through recommendation – than its small size would indicate. We have seen products where just 5% of the customers are indirectly responsible for 80% of the purchases. The question Stanley must ask here is, “Who is my base and how will they react to this advertising?” If the base is that one guy on the block who knows everything about home improvements and who everyone asks advice from when they’re doing repairs, you want him to keep using Stanley tools. If he gets the feeling that they’re just for ‘newbies’ then he might stop buying.
Branding Bottom Line:
Stanley’s spot is a bigger risk than it looks. Only the toolman knows how much.