Marketing Doctor John Tantillo’s Winner and Loser of The Week
Winner: Donald Trump
Loser: Coca Cola
Folks, while there
is no question that Donald Trump is one of the best self-publicizers
around (nothing wrong with that!), this past week underscores that there
is some real substance behind this brand.
He’s our winner because he took a stand against charges that his Miss USA contest is fraudulent.
only did he let the world know that he was furious with the charges, he
took immediate action against them.
I’ve selected Trump
because to make a point. Not every action that support a brand
needs to be “positive”. Rejecting a brand image forcefully can do
wonders to fortify a brand.
Trump’s actions fit
with his outspoken history. They work with his distinct brand and they
re-enforce that he might be showy, but he is more than just the hair
–there’s something serious there that he’s willing to fight for.
Donald Trump took the right kind of negative action to re-enforce his
brand in the face of a challenge; Coco Cola –usually a master of brand
navigation– took the wrong kind.
In the face of the legislation from Mayor Michael Bloomberg banning super-size sodas in New York, Coca Cola is fighting back.
I’m just not sure that they need to or that if they do, they are doing it the right way.
The city’s position is that sugary beverages are the main driver of an
“obesity crisis” that is killing more than 5800 city dwellers each
year. For my part, I think this crisis is serious and have even asked Santa to consider trimming down for the sake of the kids.
But my guess is that pushing this soda ban might go a bit too far toward
nanny statism and Coca Cola might not have had to push back –they
could have let the public and others push back for them.
Instead, they’ve engaged in the kind of battle that not only makes them
fall off the high road, they’ve gotten tangled into the nitty gritty of
numbers and statistics, arguing, for example, that even though obesity
rates are rising, the amount of sugar in sodas has been falling.
What Coke ought to do is stress the other part of their message: that
they’re committed to working together to fighting obesity and their
money is where their mouth is (20 new low calorie and no calorie
beverages on the way and over 1/3 of US beverage sales from light
The point is that Coke has every right to stand up for itself, but in
this case, emphasizing the positive, rather than attacking the Mayor’s
numbers and approach would probably have been the best route.
And remember, it’s always easier when you keep marketing and branding in mind.
TODAY’S TANTILLO TAKEAWAY: Brands need to be very careful about the battles they pick.