Branding… Lies & Advertising!



If you share with me the idea that advertising is one of the most valuable tactics in brand building, perhaps you would like to provide your input in a discussion that positions advertising as the most superfluous and untruthful of corporate activities.

Some define advertising as pure fabrication, designed to make us need what we do not need; to make us pay more than we have to or to deceive us with appearances.

Although I obviously don’t support this positioning, I must admit it is based on the type of advertising that deviates from the honest practice of brand building.

The principles of good branding lie in the search for the proprietary and authentic values of a company and building on them. It’s the heart and soul of a brand; therefore, it should be truthful.The main function of advertising is to package that truth so as to capture the attention of the audience. A good creative should find the way to effectively transmit this truth.

A successful brand does not need to lie; on the contrary, a successful brand will use all available tools to bring this truth to life. Brands like Nike, Johnson & Johnson or Dove could never be blamed for lying. Their equity is not based on cheating or disguising the truth. Their equity is based on giving life to that truthful DNA through products and services that respond to consumers’ expectations, desires and needs.

In a world where products look alike and where price is king, the only relevant brands are those, which honestly bring to life an original idea. George Eastman created an empire called Kodak, by enabling consumers to capture their moments while he took care of the science required to preserve them. This truth was Kodak’s key to success, and it is proven by hundreds, if not thousands, of patents registered by Kodak and the equity of one of the most beloved brands in the world.

As the trailer of the acclaimed documentary Art & Copy states, it is true that a good portion of the advertising on air today is nothing but trash; it is true that in this industry egos receive more accolades than ethics; it is true that we live in a plastic world; but it is also true that truth prevails, even if only for a bunch of dinosaurs like me, who do believe.


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September 3rd, 2009 18 Comments Advertising / Branding / Branding Blogging / Branding Education / Branding Questions / Branding Strategy / Branding Thesis / Professionalism