In Advertising, There Are No Boring Categories, Just Boring Brands

“Our industry is boring” is one of the biggest cop outs a marketer can use.  It’s an excuse to settle for soft, safe, vanilla creative that lacks passion and energy.  It’s an excuse for small, tactical marketing thinking instead of big strategic ideas.  It’s the dark, damp place where third-rate brands hide and settle for being third-rate instead of manning-up and doing what good marketing is supposed to do – make you stand out.


boring_class-300x225Here’s an example.  Insurance.  Boring category, right?  It used to be the place of authoritarian voiceovers and large animals. Think whales, bulls, lions … Prudential. Hartford. Allstate. Whoever “the quiet company” was.  Now think about this:  the third-ranking auto insurance company in the U.S. (behind State Farm and Allstate) was an also-ran nobody for 74 years before they ramped up their marketing efforts by introducing a Gecko and a caveman as their spokes-things.  The “Aflac” quacking duck is also in the same “boring” industry.

Another example?  How about men’s deodorant!  Not long ago, the last thing you remembered seeing of Old Spice was this.

Now, they’ve revived and re-energized their brand with one of the most talked about ad campaigns of the year.  It’s the same product on the shelf, but brand visibility and sales have both gone from stagnant to solid growth.  Name a “boring category” and I can name a company with energy and enthusiasm behind their brand that will change your opinion.  Website URLs?  Go Daddy.  Industrial warehouse fans?  Big Ass Fans.  Blankets?  Snuggie.  The examples of companies who have stepped out of “boring categories” to become well-known brands are endless. It just takes a willingness to stop being boring.