Skip to main content

What does your brand oppose?

I usually don't think of mayonnaise. That's probably why I like Miracle Whip's new campaign. After spending years trying to tell me what Miracle Whip is, and an equal number of years of my total lack of interest, the brand finally got my attention by telling me what it isn't.

In its new TV spots, Miracle Whip seems to be against conformity and playing nice with other condiments. It demands to be heard through the bread. In fact, it thinks mayo is a wuss.

This campaign reinforces a theme I've been exploring lately -- the power of brand narratives. Great brands tell great stories. They are the lead character on an inspiring journey. They have a clear sense of true north. Importantly, they know what they stand for and what they oppose.

Miller High Life's delivery guy campaign is another good example of a brand that defines itself by clearly stating what it's against. High Life celebrates blue-collar common sense by railing against high-minded nonsense.

Across the pond, Nestle’s Yorkie candy bar is famously marketed as being “not for girls”, with appropriately tongue in cheek advertising.

Dove breathed new life into the brand by harnessing the tension between what it stands for and what it's against. Its highly successful "campaign for real beauty" positioned the brand as an advocate of women’s self-esteem battling the falsehood of media-defined beauty.

Of course, I'd be remiss if I didn't acknowledge the blueprint for this type of branding strategy -- Apple.

Next time you're defining your brand strategy, don't settle for simply declaring what your brand stands for. Define what you oppose, your proverbial line in the sand. Consumers will reward you with their attention.

I could go on an on about this. But I'm for brevity and against long-winded dissertations.