Beware the PR ides of August. Three major brands are striking out to redefine the prism through which their products are seen, but the success of these efforts seem to have struck a hollow nerve. Whether it’s scientific disbelief, social outrage, or just plain bewilderment, these attempts are notable for becoming anti-notable.
1. Diet Coke is Actually Healthy!
Soda has always been the liquid bane of the nutritional world. Within that inglorious schema, diet soda has always occupied a unique niche. It has effectively functioned as the poster boy for the “well it’s not sugar but it is chock full of chemicals” conundrum. Diet Coke is now looking to erase that image and rebrand diet soda as an uber healthy alternative. The company will be running open advertorials promoting the healthiness and safety of artificial sweeteners. Maybe they’re just trying to win back the water drinking crowd, but redefining public perception on health issues usually requires a longer campaign than most ads can endure. It’s hard to believe that Diet Coke is in it for the long run and will rely on sustained health branding to move product.
Read more about it here.
2. HTC (a famous maker of something) Rebrands as a Famous Maker of Something
HTC makes smart phones. However (as you’re unconsciously well aware) HTC is not really providing any serious competition to Apple and Samsung. In an effort to become a name that draws people back to its products, HTC has launched what is rumored to be a billion dollar PR campaign starring Robert Downey Jr. The thrust of the campaign is that since nobody knows what HTC really is anyway, you might well just come up with something crazy and catchy to fill in the blank. Well, at least the people at HTC got to meet Iron Man.
Watch the video here.
3. No, Really, We’re Cool, But Not Like Socially Cool Cool
JCPenney recently… (Before we continue, do you have any doubt that the brand in question has suffered yet another PR disaster? Really?) Anyways, JCPenney recently ran a fairly innocuous TV spot that targeted kids who want to dress cool when they come back to school. Doesn’t sound controversial, right? However, with the luck of the Penney, it sparked a massive outcry as parents and activists complained that it promoted bullying for lack of fashion consciousness. I don’t know. Watching the ad provides for a fairly underwhelming experience, both on a fashion level, as well as a social one. It sure makes you nostalgic for the hyper excitement that accompanied the mailbox arrival of the Penney’s catalog.
Check out the ad here.