What do The Donald, Miley Cyrus and Mike Tyson all have in common?
Well not very much in truth, aside from the fact that against the odds all three have managed to pull off a remarkable rebrand. Trump had a well-documented jump from Reality TV Star to Commander in Chief, Miley traded Disney sweetheart for twerk temptress, while Mike Tyson went from ear biting hardman to gentle giant. This type of reinvention is also a perennial theme in the world of advertising. While clearly it’s important for brands to present a consistent identity, it’s also necessary for them to recognise when their values have become outmoded or indeed irrelevant.
With this in mind, the Brazilian beer brand Skol recently made headlines for their ‘Reposter’ campaign which invited female artists to update their back catalogue of old-school adverts. In the past, Skol’s campaigns have included posters featuring scantily clad women – objectifying them in a manner that is now embarrassingly at odds with the brand’s move into the 21st century. So to show that it’s seen the error of its ways, Skol invited artists and illustrators to turn its old, sexist posters into ads with messages of female empowerment. As part of the campaign, Skol encouraged the public to alert the brand if they see one of its old adverts. Once they do, the company will swap them for the new ones.
A growing number of companies across a range of sectors are now taking it upon themselves to champion women’s issues. However, today’s consumer tends to be highly attuned to what feels like a truly authentic concern for a brand, a case in point being the backlash recently received by Pepsi for their dubious Kendal Jenner ad. Skol made the right decision in making female artists central to their campaign and pre-empting any accusations of this just being another cynical marketing ploy. Instead of overhauling their marketing collateral overnight, and risk appearing disingenuous, the brand admitted its sexist past and bravely committed to a very public renewal. What’s more, by getting customers involved in reporting the location of ads showcasing the brands sexist legacy, Skol empowered the public to implement its new positioning.
For today’s brands, being transparent about your motives is just a simple rule of thumb if you wish to avoid the wrath of the ever vigilant keyboard crusaders. While consistency is obviously important, its pursuit must not be at the expense of also being able to shift with the times. Generation Z are typically labelled as being the audience who believe the world is theirs to save. This attitude will only continue to force brands to question themselves more frequently during their quest to remain engaging for their loyal consumer-base.
Images sourced from:
variety.com, contagious.com, davidflorazo.com