Opinions about branding by Dr. Dannielle Blumenthal

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Monday, March 14, 2016

Comparing The Effectiveness Of 3 Metro Ads


The D.C. Metro is running this ad campaign designed to boost recruitment. The tagline is: "Admiration. It's part of the job."

I completely hate these ads.

In this example from the series, we see a "Metro employee" displaying a crayon drawing of himself that a little girl has apparently done and given to him.

I think it's fairly safe to say that this ad strains credulity. There are no little girls drawing pictures of Metro employees.

If you want to hold up a mirror to what these hardworking people actually do, show them calling out repetitive train station names without missing a beat; apologizing for delays courteously; dealing with rude customers and overpacked trains; and handling safety situations and other crises.

The reality of the job is not only more interesting and engaging than the silly fantasy portrayed in the ad, but also has the advantage of being true.


This second ad from Metro deals with sexual harassment on the train and in contrast to the first it is highly effective. 

The letters themselves show a woman literally pushing back against gropers who take advantage of limited physical space to cop a free feel.

And we get the phone and text number right away too.

The only problem of course is that when a situation occurs, you want to document and report it right away, but under thr ground there may not be cellphone coverage.

For the ad to really work, the customer has to be able to act on it.

But overall this is good work.


The third ad, which hangs right next to the other two, is the most memorable and of course this is because it draws on a pre-established powerful brand for the target market.

The ad simply shows us the "CNN" logo on a white backdrop.

It's almost as if the maker is saying, "What more need be said?"

The CNN brand, like every great brand of course, was not built over the short-term but rather represents a significant long-term investment, history and story.

And it shows.

Of course there is one little glitch: What exactly is happening on Sunday at 9 pm, if CNN built its reputation on 24/7/365 availability?

But nevertheless, what we see is that simple, bold and bankable is best. One imagines the conversation provoked by the ad maker:

"What is the authoritative news station around here?" 

"Well of course, CNN."

Three advertisements. 

Three messages.

Three undoubtedly well-researched concepts.

Only one of them truly works. 

Because only one of them is a brand.

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All opinions my own. Photos by me.