• 09.19.11

Making People Passionate For Toilet-Bowl Cleaners And Other “Low-Interest” Products

Method has proved there is no such thing as a low-interest product category, just low-interest brands. Attracting attention in a traditionally low-interest category like soap or underwear just takes a bit more thought than, say, beer or cellphones.

We admit it: We were never passionate about cleaning before we launched
Method. But building a belief brand with a social mission taught us that there is
no such thing as a low-interest category, just low-interest brands. Anyone can
generate excitement about a new cellphone technology or a new beer brand.
Attracting attention in a traditionally low-interest category (like soap) takes a bit
more thought. This is one of the best benefits of belief brands–they work equally
well in crowded high-interest categories and in overlooked categories. Beyond
the emotional engagement created by sharing similar beliefs and values with
their advocates, belief brands have a philosophy, an attitude, and a story to tell.
Their personalities aren’t created in some office on Madison Avenue; they’re
woven into the very fabric of the organization. Below, a few examples of high-interest brands in low-interest categories:


Joe Boxer. By injecting irreverence and controversy into his Joe Boxer
brand, Nicholas Graham transformed everyday boxer briefs into a conversation

Dyson. Ten years ago, it would have been difficult to imagine anyone getting
excited about a vacuum cleaner. Dyson shook up the dusty category
with innovative technology and beautiful design.

Swingline. An unremarkable and ubiquitous tool, staplers were the poster
boy of low interest before Mike Judd cast a red Swingline as an object
of devotion in his 1999 corporate satire, Office Space.

To many people, jogging is a chore. Imagine if Nike ran advertisements featuring
unhappy joggers forcing themselves through another grueling early
morning routine. Not likely. To the contrary, the brand celebrates every sport it
touches, with aspirational imagery. We’d even bet there are some fierce
badminton ads out there that would inspire you to Just Do It with a birdie! Nike
ties this to its social mission of bringing inspiration and innovation to every athlete
in the world. As Bill Bowerman, track coach and cofounder of Nike, said, “If you
have a body, you are an athlete.”

Bottom line: If you’re struggling to shift your brand from low to high interest,
seek to reframe your communications from presenting the problem to projecting
the desired end state and wrap that in a social mission.

Excerpted from The Method Method by Eric Ryan and Adam Lowry by arrangement with Portfolio Penguin, a member of Penguin Group (USA), Inc., Copyright © 2011 by Eric Ryan and Adam Lowry.


[Image: Flickr user AllStarsYouth]

About the author

Eric Ryan and Adam Lowry are the co-founders of Method. Previously Ryan had spent seven years in advertising for a range of consumer brands.