A few years ago, while working clientside for a big mobile phone company, we worked with an ad agency network called Lowe Worldwide. I loved working with a variety of different people from Lowe, especially those who listened to me. However there was one copywriter in particular who I repeatedly had to correct; he always seemed like he was talking about my brand with too much bravado and not enough humility.

Last week I stumbled across this ad from Verizon for its Droid phone line:

One powerhouse of brand strategy brings you this screenshot

One powerhouse of brand strategy brings you this screenshot

This lack of self-awareness made me feel bad for Verizon. Do they really think consumers think of them as a “powerhouse of communication”? Do their brand personality guidelines call for “cocky, aggressive and full of ourselves”? Then I thought about my copywriter from a few years back and I did a Google news search:

Screen shot 2010-01-11 at 15.19.41

There’s a Greek proverb (it might be borrowed from the Turks) that says: Πες μου ποιός είναι ο φίλος σου, να σου πω ποιός είσαι. In other words, “Tell me who your friends are, and I can tell you who you are.”

It’s important that big brands brief their agencies clearly, especially about their own personality. It’s the hardest thing for an agency to learn, and if you’re not clear, a copywriter will just write in his/her (in this case his) comfort zone.

Join the conversation! 3 Comments

  1. So…
    How bad did this guy annoy you back in the day? You’re able to pick him out just by his bad ad… OUCH!

  2. This reminds me of those Christmas/Year’s End letters people write about their whole family and their activities in third person just because the letter is signed by everyone. No-one taking the responsibility for the quality of the letter nor for the truthfullness of all the wonderful things it claims to have happened to the members of the family ;D

  3. He was a very good guy and an excellent writer. He just had a habit of “bigging up” things, and overdoing it sometimes.

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Brand Personality