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Brands trying to make low-interest categories, interesting

May 9, 2005

In the command and control world, where static consumers could be bombarded with messages, every brand had its fair shot. The consumers were captive and found it hard to avoid the ads.

In the new world, where consumers have more control, there is no longer an even playing field; the high interest categories have the advantage, as people want to seek them out.

Ten years ago, at the dawn of the new media age, some analysts predicted that the new world would be perfect for brands belonging to high-interest categories, as they could create compelling, immersive experiences and tough for those belonging to less engaging categories.

In the last couple of weeks; brands from relatively un-interesting categories; toilet tissue and adhesive bandages, have attempted to go beyond the traditional to try and captivate consumer interest.

Band-Aid is celebrating its 85th anniversary and part of its outreach effort includes a national bus tour.

The BAND-AID Brand Bus is an interactive mobile museum where parents and children can trace the 85-year history of BAND-AID Brand, juxtaposed against major world events.
The bus will also act as a traveling wound care education center, where parents and children alike can learn how to properly Clean, Treat and Protect minor cuts and scrapes.Interactive areas will include a “boo-boo” station for treating children’s favorite dolls or teddy bears, and an arts and crafts stall, among others.

Paper giant, Georgia Pacific has made a move into web-based film with its series of bathroom humor films for its Angel Soft brand.

These efforts prove just how desperate the battle for attention is. While the brands in low-interest categories understand that consumers don’t necessarily want a relationship with them, they still want to get their message out.

In an entertainment-based culture, they are going to try anything to make that happen and that’s the problem.

Following the herd, might not be the right way to go for low-interest brands, just because others are doing events and web-films, doesn’t mean that it’s going to be right for them. It could simply be case of trying too hard and those actions making the brand look foolish.

That’s not saying there isn’t a way to do it, but brands from low-interest categories that want to play in the new and non-traditional spaces, are going to need to work ten times harder to capture attention.

For low-interest brands getting it right might require partnering with the best and perhaps being prepared for the brand to play a minor, rather than a major role in the entertainment.

For example, Band-Aid stations at the New York Marathon or Bay to Breakers, rather than a national tour. Associating with other strong and relevant brand properties that fit the brand, rather than trying to go it alone.

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