Often times ads are created that are either funny OR product focused and informative. Two posts ago I questioned Slack’s strategy behind this piece of work:
The piece above speaks to the net value of the Slack’s product, but it does so in such a broad manner that, if you are not already familiar with the product and how it works, the spot does little to inform as to how the product is different from other products that claim to provide streamlined communications. Although Slack has achieved product market fit, it is under three years old and has not reached maximum scale. It strikes me as odd to that the company has created this type of ad as opposed to continuing to focus on specific benefits of the product in a very concise manner — and though I am all for an “above the line” approach where the goal is awareness, I think there are more effective ways to achieve this. Rather than taking creative inspiration from external factors that have nothing to do with the product (fake animals) it makes sense to look at the product itself and find inspiration from core features. Just because you are focused on core product, does not mean that you cannot be clever, funny or imaginative.
Slack competitor HipChat uses the approach that I reference above:
While their ad is just as entertaining as Slack’s, if not more so, it manages to highlight the functional reasons to use the product. It clearly shows what the product does and how it does it in a real like context. For growing companies looking for growth and adoption it is essential to keep communications as close to the product as possible as this is still the “education phase”.
Large commodity products may need to create “cult of brand” through advertising that merely tells a story loosely related to the product itself, but more often these days it is critical to get people using your product and let the surprise and delight within the product itself do the storytelling (unless your product is rubbish, then you are screwed no matter what).
Originally published at brandnewx.com on January 18, 2016.