Thursday, August 2, 2012

Understanding the Umbrella Campaign

“The biggest benefit [of an umbrella campaign] is the message we put out, by having the same sort of creative idea throughout each of our [commercials]. It makes the Campbell’s message so much bigger and more easily interpreted and understood by consumers – as opposed to fragmenting our message and advertising spend.”-Kristi Knowles, Marketing Director, Campbell’s Soup

As you can see from the above quote, there’s something special about umbrella campaigns. If properly executed, they have the ability to reach far and wide and make your brand recognizable in an entirely new way.

Take Chrysler’s “Imported from Detroit” campaign they launched a while back. Chrysler, like most US automakers, was trying to climb out of a hole and turn things around. Buying American was becoming a joke of sorts, but they boldly launched an umbrella campaign that wore a proud badge of made in America and made it seem like it was worth driving a Chrysler again.

The campaign was awarded an Effie in 2012 and according to a statement from Chrysler on their entry, “The success of this campaign has contributed significantly to the company's sales growth over 2010, and as a result of this success, Chrysler has paid off their government bailout six years early.”

Umbrella campaigns are great because they don’t limit your brand to one specific product. “Imported from Detroit” wasn’t just for one Chrysler model, it was for every Chrysler model. They could sell whatever Chrysler product they wanted and then close out their ad with “Imported from Detroit”, they were essentially killing two birds with one stone, which is the beauty of umbrella campaigns.

There are, however, some important things to remember about umbrella campaigns:

You’re not selling a product...

Umbrella campaigns can ultimately help your sales, but they shouldn’t be created to sell something in particular. “Imported from Detroit” was Chrysler’s new badge of courage and it certainly gave people a reason to buy from them, but the campaign would’ve received much less acclaim had it focused on say a simple: “Buy a Chrysler now and received 0% APR for the first 12 months”.

What’s the “why”?

Or in other words, what is the purpose of your brand. If the purpose has to do with the price or the deal they’re going to get, you need to rethink the purpose. Price is always going to be an option for people, but an umbrella campaigns aims to go beyond that. Yes, there are cars that are cheaper than Chrysler, but “Imported from Detroit” gave people a reason to buy with a purpose. Even if they were getting a great deal, they weren’t just getting a great deal, they were buying American, supporting the US economy, creating jobs, all of that just from “Imported from Detroit”.

Umbrella campaigns have a lot of benefits and can be a big win for your brand if executed properly. Think of an umbrella campaign as a way to remind people of what your brand is in a new way.