Allan Fraser-Rush
Feb 17, 2014

Make light of brand promises at your peril

LG's 'Life's good' brand promise may not be as well known as Google's famous 'Don't be evil' motto, but the consumer-electronics brand still shouldn't abuse it as it has done in an OOH campaign in Indonesia.

Allan Fraser-Rush
Allan Fraser-Rush

Most of us are familiar with Google’s brand promise, how they have demonstrated that you can make loads of money without doing evil, simply by focusing on the user’s needs and putting these before everything else. It is a brave stance, and one that could quickly be unravelled should they ever step into the murky realm of dubious behaviour.

Delivering on your brand promise, be it a formal or informal one, lends credibility and substance to the brand. It goes beyond day-to-day products and services and gives us a point of connection that we can latch onto. One of my old favourites is LG’s: Life’s Good. Simple and straightforward, and it gives you an easy point of connection. Every innovation can be explained through the lens of how it makes the user’s life better, bringing the brand to life—rather than just a clever piece of thinking from R&D.

When I was working on the brand, LG’s Life’s Good made it easier to strategically shape communications, as you knew you always had to land this promise in your communications platform. So it was with great surprise when I saw the launch campaign that had been developed in Indonesia for the new Android G2 Phone (a gadget that I must say has had exceptional reviews).

Let’s set the scene: in the back of a taxi on my way to research groups in Jakarta with a senior client, who, as we passed some banner ads, suddenly decried, “That is just disgusting, what were LG thinking, approving something like that!” Well you may ask what. In fact it was quite simple: Instead of the communications focusing on all Android’s great technological whizz-bang gimmicks and tricks, it had focused on its “Guest Mode” which allows you to “keep your private stuff private”.

Or rather, in this case the 15 metre high billboard clearly stated that you could keep your “private affairs, private” (the image on the right shows a related execution). Wife here, mistress over here, and never the twain shall meet. With such a wealth of great features, who thought it would be a good idea to sell the phone on your ability to keep your philandering private? Maybe they were worried about their own fragile marriage?

At any rate, promoting promiscuous behaviour seems to be more of a joke for the lads at the agency, not a communications premise for launching a great new phone. Life’s good? Well as long as you don’t get caught.

These ads fail in so many ways: they are in bad taste, promote promiscuity, are very dismissive of women’s place in society (as per my client’s reaction) and really don’t do justice to the phone itself or the brand promise of Life’s Good. Personally I think that LG should think again and really try to deliver on their brand promise and positioning rather than create puerile, school boy executions.

LG if you want to land Life’s Good and keep your brand true to itself, then think again, think smart and try not to be so evil!

Allan Fraser-Rush is global planning director based at Lowe Singapore. He is also visiting professor in marketing and communications at Northampton University in the UK.

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