Value Propositions - Case Studies Part Four
iPod Silhouette ads
It’s easy to forget how good Apple’s advertising was in the early 2000’s.
It’s still good now, but the early iPod ads were special.
MP3 players weren’t new; the tech had been around for a number of years.
There wasn’t a clear market leader, and most of the devices were ugly and hard to use.
Apple presented three powerful value propositions in their advertising, which helped make them the market leader.
1. They skipped the “What” and went to the “So What?”.
Every other player talked about capacity in megabytes and gigabytes.
The problem is, normal people can’t make much of that.
Instead, Apple told them what they’d get: 10,000 songs in their pocket.
In a time where 10,000 songs was a whole cabinet worth of CD’s, this was astonishing.
2. They captured the joy of your favourite music.
The ads didn’t start with the product, they started with what the product will do for you.
The ads are energetic, infectious, and make you imagine what you’d do if you had all of your favourite artists on hand at all times.
3. They made a visually distinctive product.
Part of it was the design of the ipod itself, and it still stands up as a great looking machine.
But the genius was in the (now iconic) white headphones, which for a few years became a fashion statement.
It can’t have cost much more to make white headphones instead of black, and the results boosted sales tremendously.
Keep in mind, there were other brands with out there with larger capacities and better features – more songs, colour screens, etc.
But they didn’t make customers care, and their companies faded away.
Barossa Valley Tourism
South Australia is not traditionally known as being one of Australia’s premier tourist destinations.
No Opera house, no Uluru, no MCG, no Great Barrier Reef.
How do you compete with the rest of the Australia?
You make something like this:
I love this ad.
Mystery, authenticity, connection to the land, tranquillity.
There are no words, no landmarks, no name-drops.
The Barossa went for a completely different angle, and the results are stunning.
They played to their strengths, and framed South Australia in a way that is enticing and captivating.
What do Bunnings sell?
The obvious answer is hardware, but we can look deeper: Bunnings sell hardware for amateurs.
Because their value propositions are centred on two things – low prices, and being a one-stop shop.
Who does this appeal to?
Busy people, working on their own houses, probably on weekends.
The kind of people (like me) who don’t have an eye for quality when it comes to hardware.
Bunning have a famous guarantee: if another store is cheaper, they’ll beat the price by 10%.
It’s a good offer, but can you imagine trying to “shop around” for a three-dollar pack of bolts?
To save 30c?
Of course not.
Bunnings don’t actually have to be the cheapest, they just need the perception of being cheap, because it makes customers feel confident that everything is a great deal.
Home Hardware on the other hand, goes in a completely different direction.
“Go where the tradies go”
Why would that matter?Because if the tradies go there, their stock must be of a high standard, and their staff must be knowledgeable.
Bunnings and Home could sell the same hammer, at the same price, with two different value propositions – low prices vs high quality.
This could be why Masters was such a disaster.
What’s their point of difference?
You can’t beat Bunnings for price or range.
You can’t beat Home for authenticity and quality.
Masters needed another angle, but instead they went with “Me too”.
If you’re selling a commodity product, in a mature market, “Me too” isn’t enough.
This ad makes my stomach jump.
Something about the skill and mystery of cooking.
Something about minimalism and quality beating overly complex, factory made food.
Can I tell the difference between fancy butter and homebrand butter in a dish?
That doesn’t matter.
This is about the story I tell myself while I’m at the supermarket, and how it makes me feel.
There are so many whiskeys out there, how does a normal person make a selection at the bottle shop?
Whiskey is interesting, because there are a number of different value propositions.
Price – some want the cheapest, because it’s going to get mixed with coca cola. Some want the most expensive, because price is seen as an indicator of quality.
Taste – because it’s made to be savoured and enjoyed, with different flavours coming through. The best description I’ve heard: “This one tastes like the remains of a burnt down shack on a dewy morning”
Prestige – this is the kind of drink you use to celebrate, or use to make a toast at a special event.
Aesthetics – something you want to display on the top shelf of your cabinet, a visually beautiful bottle or box.
Origin –it should have an unpronounceable Scottish name, that signifies its quality and authenticity.
Story – the legacy, history and narrative behind the brand. This ad by Johnnie Walker is one of my all time favourites.
The same underlying product, strong malt alcohol, framed in different ways for different customers.
For more of the Value Propositions Case Studies series;
Part One featuring Louis Vuitton, AFL, Uber and TOMS
Part Two featuring Nespresso, Heineken, and Shoes of Prey
Part Three featuring a variety of Men’s Watches and Chocolate brands
Part Four featuring the classic iPod ads, Whiskey, Hardware, Butter and Barossa Tourism
Being The Best explores how companies frame themselves as industry leaders
Being The Cheapest covers strategies for demonstrating value for money
Social Proof examines how brands make themselves look popular and trustworthy
Cologne looks at how intangible gains are conveyed through imagery and design
Bottled Water compares ten brands selling the same product in different ways