Advertising Done Right in a Brand New World


Based on a US Army cadence called "Hard Work" Tangerine's new campaign by Toronto's john st. advertising is a near perfect example of advertising done right in a new world of communication and marketing.

1. It's customer-centric:

Few marketers understand what that means. Tangerine's ad puts us in the customer's world, we get it from the first few seconds as it skillfully "depicts the sometimes downright dirty ins and outs of having a job (complete with a shot of a massage therapist taking on a back that could use a wax)" Harmeet Singh.

To illustrate the difference, Coast Capital talks to and about customers even features customers but it's anything but customer centric!


2. It delivers a simple and clear message:

It's not funny, fun, entertaining, engaging, and all the other buzz words we see all the time in most marketing tips and tricks articles. It delivers on the core requirements of communication, it delivers a simple and clear message.

“What we wanted was a really emotional brand message that supports forward banking and supports Tangerine” ~ Brenda Rideout, chief strategy and marketing officer


3. It's deeply emotional:

The ad brilliantly grabs us by appealing to our emotions. Set to a musical version of the left-right-left military cadence created by RMW Music, it evokes feelings of patriotism, belonging, and winning. Feelings of empathy take over as we see people hard at work, people who look like us, like our loved ones, as our neighbours and colleagues, we identify with their roles, and we can't help but feel thankful for their service and hard work.

“We wanted to position Tangerine as human, a brand that is empathetic to hardworking Canadians, and we wanted to do so by creating an emotional journey that would keep the audience engaged” Brenda Rideout, chief strategy and marketing officer


4. Question the competition:

Don't tell your customer you are better. The best way to rise above your competition is to communicate in such a way that leaves it to the customer wondering if they have made the right decision; "You work hard for your money. Does your Bank?" The customer will surely say to herself "my bank should."

“All of the competition is focused on convenience and technology features and we wanted to be the bank with a purpose. When you think about our purpose, it’s to help Canadians live better lives by helping them make smarter decisions with their money.” Brenda Rideout, chief strategy and marketing officer


5. It's an ad, and it doesn't hide it:

Brands continue to join the growing trend of Native Advertising and spending on Native ads is expected to climb from $3.2 billion in 2014 to $8.8 billion by 2018 (eMarketer forecast), but they are forgetting one very important thing, native advertising is still "advertising."

Advertisers, brands, and channels may like to name things differently and celebrate the new way of tricking the customer and declare it as an advertising innovation, much like a wolf in sheep's clothing, native advertising is advertising in the skin of content, emulating the content and style of the website that features it.

Just because brands are getting above average engagement with this format, doesn't make it the right thing to do. Instead of shifting your ad budget to a new channel if your ads are not working, you may want to revisit your strategy, your understanding of your customers and the problem you are solving, and dare I say maybe you need to take a hard look at your product and your value proposition, cause maybe, just maybe, your product is not solving a real problem for the customer and not providing a real value, and that is the real reason why the ad is not working, it's raising the awareness of something no one wants to buy!

Customers want real value, they don't want sugar coated bullshit. So dressing up your ad as content will result in a confusing message and a confused customer.

Next time you want to dress up your nonperforming ad for your nice to have a product and call it native advertising, take a moment to think; when was the last time you read or watched something that was labelled “sponsored content”, “paid post” or “promoted by”?