Friday, February 08, 2008
Can you work on a category in decline ?
I have always been interested when looking for a job whether people look at whether they can actually deliver for a client and the brand when the category is in decline. One of BBHs insights was for polaroid camera's was 'life lubrication' or something to that affect. But who cares when digital was taking over (i think they have made a small comeback with sticker versions for kids).
This came up again with all the talk about Stella and agency movements and stuff. But the idea of mass beer is dropping in every western country. The long tail.... less mass, more niche. This happened about 5 years back in aus with the huge influx of international and premium beers. The top ones started to die (please note I do not mean fosters... we dont drink that crap we just sell it to the rest of the world). So more beers.... but also total beer consumption was dropping.
I did quite a bit of analysis on Stella a few years back when I worked on Heineken. I thought the 'reassuringly expensive' positioning was brilliant. The ads they did were great. Everything they did was quality ... but it was drunk by hooligans and reprobates. But even down to when they were on offer at the supermarket.....they made a higher percentage of revenue than other largers on offer because people were willing to pay that little bit more. Its interesting to show their portfolio seems to be getting more money and exposure these days.
This will also be interesting with Heineken's purchase of Scottish Newcastle as well. Will they drive the big brands or lots of smaller ones. We will see.
So would I work for brands that are in decline. I dont know. I will have to look at each case. But the idea of looking at the category first before accepting, will always be a crucial point in my mind before the decision is made.