John protests that he isn't a planner, which is one of the reasons I asked him to a judge, the people you have to persuade with your thinking are not planners either, they're marketeers like John ( marketing consultant if you didn't know).
The other reason I asked him is that he's a pedant and loves picking people up on inconsistencies and lapses of logic. That's important because you have to be inspiring of course, but the bedrock of any strategy and the way you deliver it is watertight thinking.
I'll quickly chip in with one observation of my own. A couple of judges have pointed out that championing beards ergo shaving less needs more stout defence as it logical result is reducing sales. I think that's a fair point but will be picked up for further debate, basically around how much any strategy..and 'the cultural approach in particular'.... results is behavioural change v reinforcing/switching brand preference.
Anyway, here it is:
A difficult task but I was surprised that not everyone explicitly covered the six points consecutively. It seems to me that was a helpful guide designed to hone your thinking and make it easier for others to understand. Maybe this is why I thought the entries were better on analysis than deductions, specifically in terms of the cultural disruption and tactics sections.
It may be harsh but I felt the analysis of the status quo became a substitute for the cultural element of the assignment in many cases, Yes, for both genders, the current marketing emphasis is a combination of smooth beauty and the technical innovation that facilitates this, but you also need to consider what shaving represents as a behaviour and what it signifies.
In similar vein, when it came to tactics, there were good ideas, but I thought the King image was jumped on too easily. It can provide good solutions but only if the cultural disruption points to it - don't shoehorn it into your analysis.
The key is that people who identify with the cultural disruption will identify with KOS. Don't tell them who they are, tell them how they feel.
That said, I'm not a planner so maybe I've got the wrong end of the stick.
You go through the process ok, but where's the original cultural disruption? An assessment of status quo is fine, but you don't go far enough away from it. What is shaving - culturally speaking? I'd like to see much more on the reasoning behind your proposed social disruption - this is the key argument and doesn't belong in an appendix. You also need more than one conference as source of your evidence and the manifesto is too brief,
You conclude that becoming a man is the fulcrum of your strategy but I'm not sure how that's cultural disruption and , in any case,, you don't define what masculinity is. You also don't say how KOS uniquely provides that or what the benefits of becoming a man are. (I'd also dispute whether shaving can ever be an amazing experience).
The strength of an insight lies in relating the culture to shaving - you don't do that, You and others just talk about the nebulous idea of men, I'm also concerned that you are isolating a small segment of the market without enthusing them or, more importantly, allowing spillover into other groups osmotically. If the message appeals to the the young, it also helps if it can appeal to not so young - even if that's self-delusion - being a man is something that has already happened to them (arguably) and so there's no appeal to them in your approach.
As for your tactics - I don't think you specify any other than rebellion. Disruption doesn't have to be rebellion but you need to tell me what the tactics are and not just the philosophy behind them.
No focus on what shaving is. Why is well-groomed, clean-shaving a good thing and a cultural norm?
Creativity is not a new thing so I don't see it as a disruption - it's just an amorphous market segment. I'm not sure why you've chosen them - why does this apply to shaving specifically?
How would that reflect uniquely on KOS? Beck's and others use art/creativity but the best executions facilitate something unique to their users - sponsorship which is effectively what you're suggesting has to have the product at the heart of the infrastructure and ecosystem of the target audience. What does shaving have to do with creativity?
In tactical terms, the indie movie idea fits with your thinking but I'm concerned that it would be very costly and involve a long time lag from inception to reality.
Moreover, focusing on people who sometimes don't shave is an odd approach commercially - this is a company that lost 2million last year, and we want to encourage people to shave more not less.
The true challenger brand is an idea I like - more companies should do it. But that's not a cultural insight and it is that which is the key to this assignment.
I'd also question whether leader brands really are happy with weak or moderate performance, It sounds like a complacent assumption - that they'll just let you walk in and steal their share. They won't, they'll react and that's why you have to connect strongly with your potential users.
You mention functionality as a secondary message - why secondary? It's why KOS started in the first place - the search for a better shave (via shaving oil as it happens) without the nonsense of Gillette and their 7 innovations. I'm biased but I think this needs more consideration as can be the patentable source of true competitive advantage.
Instead you opt for mischief, Doesn't everyone do mischief these days? On the one hand that may be a good thing in that people clearly identify with it, but how will you stop being me-too in your marketing especially when you explicitly state you're aiming for the middle ground of mischief?
That said, I think your manifesto is strong and pithy -though as with most of the entries it makes no mention of women.
There's also some good ideas in the creative expression section, but for me the big one is the retail idea.. Real marketing isn't just promotion - distribution is crucial - associative piggy-backing can make KOS stand out in a way it won't do on the supermarket shelf and will be presenting itself to users in a KOS state of mind. That's real differentiation.
Justin Thor Heyer
The chore and compulsion of shaving is where my thinking went immediately when presented with the assignment. It never seems to be discussed in the marketing - the focus is on the positive but surely there's greater power in making a negative a positive? I would have liked you to pursue this further.
No surprise then that I like the idea of online fora, get people talking about the subject and identifying it with KOS and you build a constituency. Smart, cheap tactic and a good way to get KOS to head of search engine results. What about a shaving app? That would be cheap and useful - true branded utility.
Not sure I'd phrase it as the art of shaving and I think your process break-down makes it sound a bit mechanistic and, dare I say, a chore, It's a coincidence that you're Australian but I'd already mentioned the slip, slop slap campaign as a creative route when discussing it with the other judges. I like the idea of focusing on the results that accrue from shaving but also make it clear that it's a good - trade-off in real life as well as in theory.
I like your breakdown of users and especially that you don't forget women but in terms of the assignment, I'm not sure that you've made the cultural disruption clear to me.
Targeting those who aren't targeted is very smart thinking and the Man that Gillette forgot is a great line - but what's the cultural distinction/disruption?
It seems to me that you're focused on body hair or did I get that wrong? I would like more on women's attitudes to hairy men - does shaving have to be non-facial - that's the majority activity surely?
It seems to me there is some tension between grooming and narcissism - manliness and nurturing. The Man that Gillette forgot isn't the one obsessed with body shaving is he - frankly that seems to be more in tune with what Gillette already do
Removing hairs as a barrier is an intriguing rallying cry but it has to be believable premise and I need to know why it is unique to KOS
(Also - if he already has a woman - does she not like him already regardless of his body hair - is that a logical flaw/)
That said, there's a lot of interesting executions in your list, though I'd suggest that most
men don't read female bloggers - info needs to be on "men's" media
PS I hate the last page - it's a valid statement but don't apologies, you undermine yourself and your thinking. It would have been better to say in the midst of your text that you would need more research to confirm your hypothesis.
Good on Gillette. Good on tension, But who are these unsmooth guys and why are they unsmooth? Do they think they cant compete or do they simply not aspire to Gillette ideal? That seems important to understand.
Not sure why you suddenly leap to identifying a demographic - are these behaviours and concerns really limited to those with a university education or indeed of a certain age? This and the Anxious Achievers moniker all seem a bit too "advertising industry" for me. Stick with the tension and see what behaviours it leads to - they will inform your tactics in a better way than overlaying socio-economic guides
Kudos for being the first person to mention dry shavers - small segment but might be worth contemplating. Useless in my experience and therefore a ripe target market. Why don't they wet shave and what can KOS do for them?
On the tactical front, I think packaging is a good route to pursue albeit not cheap,
But your stand-up idea I frankly don't get. I'm not sure you've shown me how it connects to your idea and to KOS. My reaction to nice comedy is that while it may be unthreatening it also isn't very funny and that comedy these days is mainstream and the safe ones like McIntyre and Kay appeal to sheep. You need to justify this better for my liking but if you can find the right comedian it might work.
I know planners drone on, but that's no reason to copy Rob Campbell. It was a chore to read this much. You've shown all your work. Distil it down and keep me interested. Focus my attention on your key points - they're in there
I shall now contradict myself by saying that the analysis of lost men was terrific and I think I want more on that and less of other the stuff. Need to know more about them, so that the subsequent leap to the Ivy League man is not as baffling as it was. Where did he come from?
It struck me as a construct imposed into your narrative rather than an evolution. Moreover they're the epitome of privilege and the source of the whole preppy ideal which I think you're arguing against. Roger Federer looks very Ivy League as did John Kennedy junior. For me, your description is a caricature and too prescriptive - better to talk in terms of attitude than dress code. Thinking about why they wear what they wear is more important than what they wear
James Franco is not a good choice - he has a beard! Indeed too many of your images have beards - KOS isn't in the beard business though it would be interesting to know why beardies don't shave and if there's an angle there to exploit.
Finally - Chapter 4.? My Ivy League education was insufficient to allow me to understand this - seriously.
That said, I do think you make a very good point about products that talk about themselves being boring. I'd go further and consider talking not about the user but about those with whom they interact - I had an idea about KOS reducing stubble burn that would be very distinctive and reflect a definite cultural change but I'll keep that to myself.
As for your tactics, they strike me as expensive and multi-directional. You talk about young feckless men, then focusing on the older and very driven Will King, and finally introduce curators who are too old to appeal to the 17-25 year olds in my opinion. You're too wide ranging - and you're throwing everything in - including Groupon, It's good that you've though about all the possibilities but the key then is to be selective in pursuit of affordability and effectiveness.
You end with a very well written manifesto but I just wish it had more specificity - a clearer cultural disruption would have helped you there.
Good analysis of the status quo and a history of Gillette's advertising and "is this really the best a man can get?" is a very good question to ask. But I think you need more proof of your subsequent assertions about submission and insecurity and how that relates to shaving.
What is the cultural disruption you're highlighting? It seems to be a redefinition of nebulous things like manliness and masculinity combined with a rejection of the technological claims. I may be wrong but you've not made it clear enough for me. Why do men want to be good men ? Why do they want a new definition and what makes KOS the smart choice for them?
For me, you've created an alluring alternative but not explained why it's alluring and to whom?
The tactics that follow are generally consistent though I wonder if the idea of a modern "gentleman" and barber shops suggest higher costs in contradiction with your complaints about Gilltete's prices? And I still don't get why so many of the entries featured beards - surely the anti-christ of shaving?
Finally, the manifesto lays out the position well - I just need you to anchor it explicitly to a cultural disruption