February 1, 2008

Does your brand’s future lie in the past?

I dig the return of Speedy Alka-Seltzer in this print ad:

He's also featured in an online game that's actually fun and rewards you with a coupon for playing. I hope they keep pushing the attitude of his lines, it feels like a nice twist on his old tone of voice.

Bringing back a classic advertising icon is always a tricky business.
Of course, it didn’t turn out so well for Orville Redenbacher.
But I think this campaign will work for Alka-Seltzer because they’re using what looks like a vintage figurine from their earlier campaigns – and giving him a modern voice.
I think that's one of the reasons the King’s return works - it was inspired by the helium tank cover used to blow up balloons at Burger Kings when I was a kid.
It's also why I think Wendy’s is making a mistake abandoning their red wig campaign so fast. Those wacky pigtails established a clear link to their brand heritage in a fun way.
Granted, there's no formula for success. The Maytag Repairman keeps getting recast. But KFC went too far when it turned the Colonel into a Cartoon. And Planters learned not to mess with Mr. Peanut too much.
I just hope we don’t end up trotting out the entire cast of the
Advertising Icon Museum.

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