CREATIVE STRATEGY: Dyson dirty their hands with advertising
Some of my best friends are engineers. I should probably point this out - given my reaction to the current campaign for the Dyson Ball.
Dyson: Simon S Kershaw discusses the latest campaign
Also, I should say that I’ve nothing against "engineering" as the positioning for a brand.
After all, BMW spent years, if not decades, propounding their belief in precisely how a car should be put together. But, and it is a big but, BMW translated their passion for automotive design into benefits for the driver.
For example, Teutonic widgetry equals peerless road-handling – and that will naturally appeal to the well-heeled petrol-head.
As a copywriter mate of mine puts it "the bait must suit the fish, not the angler". And this is where Dyson has failed.
It all starts with the headline top left. "ENGINEERING MATTERS." As a statement, it’s a statement of the obvious. As a pun, it is feeble. Either way, it doesn’t lead us anywhere.
The opening paragraph sets out the stall for the "limited edition Dyson Ball"; apparently the machine "celebrates the fascination of engineering".
Are you still with me?
No doubt there are some Hoover-buying nerds out there who are fascinated by engineering. And not only that, they lap up statistics on just how hard engineers work to make new technology work (the ad lovingly cites the years of research and the number of prototypes involved in developing the Dyson Ball).
But the rest of us would just like to know one thing: does it suck up muck better than the alternatives?
You can read all the copy – there’s plenty of it – and you’ll be no wiser. The Dyson Ball may be innovative, tough and lightweight. Is it the answer to the prayers of the house-proud? Dunno.
The ad seems to have been written by engineers, for engineers. And the art direction doesn’t help much, either.
A full-page magazine ad is dominated by a straight, side-on shot of the Dyson Ball, surrounded by copy that’s white out of purple (not particularly easy on the eye), and a decorative border in the style of engineering drawings.
Simply showing the product and using call-outs to explain it can work. Take a bow Apple iPhone. But Dyson seems to have approached its task with its nose in the air.
"What, you mean we have to meet the reader half-way? Turn features into benefits? Talk about floors and carpets? Show why the Dyson Ball is such a sound choice?"
Underlying the Dyson approach is more than a whiff of arrogance – "We’ve built it. They’ll come." Good luck with that one. In the meantime, one’s Persian rug will be rendered pristine by ... the Vax.
Simon S Kershaw is a creative consultant and a former creative director at Craik Jones.
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