When Kevin Roberts, the CEO of Saatchi and Saatchi first wrote about “Lovemarks” and that unique combination of love and respect every company craves for from its customers, I remember thinking “What a lovely term!”, even if the concept was nothing new. People have, after all, been obsessed with their favourite car brands, designer wear and entertainment providers for decades. But the new angle on this was the respect customers now afford your name. Buying into a lovemark comes with kudos, for the brand and the customer.
So, as this has trickled down to German marketing departments, what have they done with it? Some have worked it out. Others have twisted it and in my opinion missed the mark.
A lovemark is about a brand your customers feel passionate about. A number of brands here are doing it backwards and talking about how passionate THEY are about blahblah.
Let’s start with a good one.
A high-profile brand building a lovemark: McDonald’s. Suggesting how YOU should feel about the brand (a projective technique, just like the Big Apple), the German agency that developed the slogan simple said I’m lovin’ it. Correct execution of the idea.
But now for some near misses, i.e. wrong executions if you ask me:
- Edeka the retail chain – Wir lieben Lebensmittel (we love food & drink)
- UPS – Wir lieben Logistik (we love logistics)
- Pro7 TV – We love to entertain you (in English)
My problem with these three approaches is I simply couldn’t give a damn that they’re so obsessed with their business that THEY are in love with the wares or services they sell. So what? You love logistics. So while you’re stroking your delivery truck, is my parcel absolutely definitely going to make it on time? The advertising johnnies will probably tell me, “Implicitly yes”. Their passion for logistics means they’re simply the best.
But I don’t buy it. This kind of obsession makes them sound a little sad. Just give me my product or solution. Isn’t it more important that customers feel the passion, as with lovemarks?
Moving on, an example from a past student. A brand I simply struggle in any way to associate with passion, lovemarks or even a second’s thought beyond the bathroom: Geberit, big here in sanitation.
They’re suggesting I love water. Hmm, passing water? Watching it go down the toilet? Trickling across backsides? Sorry, bottom marks for this lovemark concept.
Finally, a company that is not loving its products, but living them: Opel, which has been touting its “Wir leben Autos” slogan around Europe. This doesn’t mean “We love cars” but “We live cars”.
Sadly, it seems from some of the blogs I’ve read that some drivers think this is also a lovemark. They’ve been asking if this means “We love cars”. Answer: no. Despite what it says on the carmaker’s website: “it also expresses the strong emotion and passion that influences everything we do”. Hmm. I hope it’s not a typing error.