Breaking The Rules of Branding Can Pay Off
January 11, 2011
By: David Eichler
Interesting ad campaign right now from an online ticket company called Ticket City. If you're a college football fan their name may ring a bell. They were the presenting sponsor of the bowl game that was played between Northwestern and Texas Tech earlier this month.
Ticket City is positioning itself as the kinder, gentler event ticket provider relative to the Ticketmasters and Stub Hubs of the world. Not too long ago that was the latter's identity but success has a way of changing things. Or at least perceptions.
Ticket City promises that there is a human being behind the scenes, ready to help if you have a question.This is contrasted with the other guys, who are a nameless, faceless mass of circuits, wires and routers. In fact when you visit their site, you find something quite remarkable. There are head shots of the customer service reps. Listed with each are the events they have attended or hope to. Get this -- a direct dial and email is included for each. Now the skeptics out there might say that there are 100 reps at a call center in Mumbai who all share those half dozen identities, but I don't think so based on the spirit of the brand. Besides, getting busted for that would be devastating. Yes, there is bad PR.
This is what their Marketing VP Amy Carpenter says on the site -- “People often think the only option for hard-to-find tickets is to fend for themselves online. Our clients continue to tell us our service is what makes the difference. Our business started 20 years ago and obviously wasn’t based on a website. Our focus then, and still today, is providing personal service to help clients have an unforgettable experience. Nowadays, we just happen to have a website as well.”
In each 30 second spot, when explaining Ticket City's value proposition they tack on a silly scene which is as random as non sequiturs get. Nothing at all to do with ticket selling. Then their logo comes on screen, followed by a tag line tied back to the random scene.
In the one where they show affection to animals, the tag is "we don't hate puppies." In another, after a Ticket City service rep saves a customer from choking, the tag is "we can do that Heimlich thing." In each case the have trademarked the tags and presented them locked with their logo.
So this fascinates me. The tone is obviously pure Geico and Capital One. But I don't know of a time when a company was introducing its brand to the masses and they used multiple tag lines. Make no mistake, these are not ad "headlines" or "slogans." They are positioning statements that speak to the core of their brand. In short, Ticket City wants us to know THEY CARE. Which actually rings true when what you do is known as "scalping."
Formally, these multiple tag lines break the cardinal rule of branding -- consistency -- and yet it works. Of the hundreds, if not thousands of commercials I have seen the past month watching every form of football known to exist (including Madden 11 which features no shortage of in game ads and sponsorships,) these were the only ones that made me want to write.
I really hope Ticket City has a Super Bowl spot. They have set the stage for being one of the 3-4 everyone in the country is talking about the next day.
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