What Comes First: Perfect Ad or the Perfect Brand

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY:  logo DOES NOT EQUAL a brand, and a marketer DOES NOT EQUAL a graphic designerA marketer is paid to use their college degree and years of experience to execute your companies strategic long-term goals.  A graphic designer is paid simply to make things pretty to the client.  Both are important.  But if these two are not working together or if you are treating them as the same thing, you will find yourself off course in the near future.

[ BRAND: A “brand” is what your logo represents once it is on  something.  Changing a brand is much harder than changing a logo.   A logo is simply a visual representation of your company.  A brand, however,  is what people have come to learn over the years about the products/services on which you have your logo. ]

Our story begins…
A mediocre men’s fashion designer decides he would like to expand his business.  His goal was simply: gain more clients and increase production.    He approaches the best marketing guy in New York, George Lois, and turns him loose on the project.

The Marketer’s Hurtles:
Obstacle 1:  At the time, no one had ever heard of the brand “Tommy Hilfiger.”
Obstacle 2:  The product was not unique or exceptional in anyway.
Obstacle 3:  The client was insecure and didn’t know who he was or what he wanted.
Obstacle 4:  Getting people in the industry to care or even read the ad.

The Marketer’s Delimma:
Almost every client approaches marketing with fear and insecurity.  They say that want people beating down their door, but in truth,

1) their business structure couldn’t handle that and
2) they want 100% success with 0% risk
3) the only statement they are willing to make is “I am only a little better than my competitor, but I can’t tell you why.”

So, what is the marketer’s goal?  Is it to make the client happy and feel safe and just spend his money?  Or should he/she push the client to do something bold, unsafe, risky and defining?

The Ad:
Below is the teaser ad campaign that almost never happened.  It was the perfect ad to overcame all the obstacles.  Ultimately, it would launch Tommy Hilfiger into fame as a top designer, but not without a fight.


When Tommy saw this ad, he refused to use it.  He felt it was an insult to these great men to put himself in the same category.  He didn’t see himself as a fashion innovator or even having a product of that kind of quality.

Thankfully, his business partner overrode his decision.  The ad ran.  

Who was right: the marketer or the client?  
Both!  The ad was a sensation. It launched Tommy Hilfiger into huge success. demand increased globally.   But, Tommy’s insecurity got the best of him.  He apologized to all his peers and competitors stating that He didn’t see himself or his product this way but he was overruled in the decision to run the ad.

Tommy Hilfiger’s Defining Point
Tommy now had a decision to make.  Would he shrink back into oblivion in embarrassment, or would he use this new fame to his advantage?

It took humiliation, but Tommy rolled up his sleeves and became the designer that matched his new globally recognized brand.  He worked tirelessly to become a fashion innovator.  He upped the quality of his product.  He BECAME the designer in his ad.  He became the designer his marketer knew he could be.

 > Success doesn’t come without risk.  
 > Success doesn’t come without work.  
 > A brand is something you become.  What will your brand be? 
 > The best companies in your industry started where you are at.
 > A good marketer will push you beyond your comfort zone; because that is where success lives.
 > A good marketer believes its deceitful to let clients dictate work and then get paid for it.
> Ad campaigns have to be “SEEMINGLY OUTRAGEOUS” at first you think its outrageous but then realize its on the nose.