This blog is now rarely updated, but remains as an archive of bits and pieces I've collected from around the internet. To see what's caught my eye more recently, find me on twitter.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

#71; Big Promises

I haven't found any great, hilarious or fascinating things in the last couple of days, so will instead ramble a bit about the new campaign that UBS have launched. As always, I'm just using this space to vent opinions as they occur to me - this isn't a carefully considered critique, but more a gut reaction.

I've just started a 2 week internship at Wisdom London, and yesterday morning Kate mentioned having seen one of these ads. UBS are running the line:
"We Will Not Rest..."
The point made was that this is a very big promise. Is it too big? Should companies promise unrealistic things? Does this just build distrust in ad campaigns and brands themselves?

Of course, grand promises that aren't followed through are detrimental for everyone involved, and companies should only ever promise that which they know they can deliver. I completely agree that if this sort of campaign isn't coupled with genuine internal change and a massive introspective effort, then it is something that should be criticised and which will ultimately fail.

However, consider the context of this campaign. The bank's image is in a dire position. Globally, public trust of all large financial bodies is very low, while the situation for UBS has been worsened by a very public tax dispute in the US. UBS need a big, powerful message to win back the public, and this is it. This puts major pressure on themselves, but I think that's a good thing. This shows self belief and genuine commitment. The very personal statement of intent from the CEO, in which he says that this is "much more than a simple advertising campaign" augers well. He suggests that, starting with himself, the whole company will take this as the attitude and approach to all that they do.

It may be my naive and overly trusting view of these things, but I'd rather an organisation come out like this and show that they are willing to work hard and commit to winning people back, than have them show a weak and half hearted attempt. This is a huge commitment, and perhaps UBS have made life hard for themselves. But doesn't the fact that they are willing to put this pressure on themselves merit our admiration?

If they do not deliver on the promise then it will be their own downfall, and I will sheepishly admit that this is not a case of a brand being ambitious and commited, but deceitful and short-sighted. But I like to see a company put itself on a limb like this. If they didn't trust themselves enough to carry this out, then why should we trust them to do anything?

There is no reason or excuse for making promises that can't be kept. But putting yourself under pressure, and publicly committing to change and effort seems like a good thing to me. After all, if you don't deliver, it'll be you that suffers the most.

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