When it comes to advertising claims, the majority of us are sceptics. And it’s no surprise. From beauty creams that make our wrinkles vanish, pills that make our hair grow back, or chocolate bars that are actually good for us. We’ve heard it all before.
A few years back, American entrepreneur Eric Ryan was in London launching his new product; a line of toilet cleaner.
As expected, the audience heard the usual spiel about amazing cleaning qualities. But Eric also claimed something else. He reckoned his product was harmless too. Unlike others, his contained no poisonous nasties.
Not to miss an opportunity, one journalised challenged Eric. If it really is that safe, she exclaimed, why don’t you drink it?
Eric didn’t hesitate. He duly unscrewed the bottle, poured himself a shot and slammed it in front of an astonished audience. One or two journalists even joined in too.
Eric’s company Method has evolved from a two-man start-up, into a $100M giant in the household cleaning industry.
Eric and his partner Adam Lowry didn’t come from privileged backgrounds. And they didn’t have endless pots of cash. In fact, they ran up over $100,000 of credit card debt chasing their dream. But although the road to success was rocky, they never stopped believing in their purpose: people against dirty.
Eric and Adam believed that although cleaning products did their job, they weren’t very safe for the people using them. Furthermore, the design of the bottles were well, dirty – ugly in fact. So they set about building a brand that would be against dirty on all three levels; dirty ingredients, dirty households and dirty design. People against dirty wasn’t a campaign, it was a cause.
Eric and Adam succeeded because they told the truth. They didn’t have millions to invest in false advertising claims. But they did have bags of passion and devotion to change something for the better.
Your brand is no longer what you say; it’s what you do. People have heard enough exaggerated truths. They go in one ear and out the other. Bad news for those who spend a fortune telling people how great they are, without actually making themselves great in the first place.
Thanks to social media, we are in the age of authenticity. Advertising isn’t dead, its just no longer what it was. Anything can now serve as an ad for your brand, even drinking toilet cleaner.