Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Good work

I've caught the new Honda Accord Hybrid commercial a few evenings in a row now and it’s made me think. The commercial is titled "waste" and shows various ways we waste various resources during the course of a normal day. You can check out the commercial at the Rubin Postaer and Associates site.

The moral: the Accord Hybrid is an efficient vehicle in an inefficient world. In addition to the ad's pure production quality, it caused me to think and possibly contributed to my turning off the faucet while brushing my teeth this morning. One thing I know for sure: the spot is an example of work exceeding bottom-line expectations (sell Hybrids) and maybe doing some good (make sure the fridge door is closed). Truly good work.

I'd also place Kenneth Cole's "There's always room for change" campaign in the "good work" category.

"Change" not only sets a social agenda and places Kenneth Cole squarely in the "brand activism" category (think United Colors of Benetton), but the campaign takes a risk to (GASP) state that there are more important things in life than fashion. Uh oh. Who let that slip through board room? Someone who understands the power good work has on a brand.

A hybrid car and a clothing line, as products, do not have much in common. Comparing the two ads seems equally futile. I will freely admit that there'd be more options to create good work with the Accord Hybrid than a sweater. However, the Honda and Kenneth Cole advertisements produce similar outcomes and are catalysts for change among an audience that is conditioned to accept and enjoy bottom-line-satisfying ads.

Comparing the two campaigns proves that no matter what brand you are charged with growing, the only barrier that keeps that brand from embodying good work is the person in front of the computer screen.

That said, I haven't completely settled into my world of idealism and ignorance. The bottom line can be the toughest creative director, editor and client. Because of this reality, as professional communicators, it's our job to make a case for good work.


Blogger Ally said...

Good observations, Andy. I've loved the Kenneth Cole ads for a long time. The campaign was revolutionary when it began and has gone a long way to improving awareness of social issues, especially AIDS. It seems that responsible fashion houses are becoming more and more aware of the cultural messages they send. I don't know if you caught this, but Bono and his wife have recently started a clothing line called Edun (http://www.usatoday.com/life/people/2005-03-13-bono-clothing-line_x.htm.) The line is produced in third-world countries, encouraging economic development and paying the employees a fair wage. Along the lines of turning the water off, it's nice to know you're helping someone build a better life for themself when you purchase a t-shirt, rather than supporting a sweatshop. I'll be interested to see the marketing and ad efforts behind this.

4:16 PM  

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