Messaging is the development of the language (names and claims) and visuals (codes and cues) which will become the basis for brand communication. Messaging is embedded in creative briefs, and gives agencies a better starting point for creative development. Messaging does not present itself readily. Or fully baked. It sometimes remains as a hidden fact in a scientist's notebook. Or a poorly articulated advantage vs. competitors. Messaging development is a process of investigation and discovery. It takes discipline, collaboration, and creativity. But it can change the trajectory of a brand, and pay dividends for years to come.
Comet had enjoyed a long history of superior cleaning on hard surfaces like sinks and tubs. But that began to change when lower-priced competitors (like Ajax) delivered what appeared to be the same cleaning for less money. The cleanser category has always been very price sensitive, and Comet's share began to erode.
As the Comet Account Supervisor at Saatchi & Saatchi advertising, my job was to lead the development of a new cleaning demonstration that would re-establish Comet's superiority. In discussions with the product development team, we discovered that not all dirt can be seen. On some surfaces (like porcelain), dirt and bacteria get trapped in the microscopic crevices just below the surface. We rigged a sink so that we could see the dirt trapped in the crevices, and were able to prove that Comet's cleaning action removed the trapped dirt, whereas Ajax did not. New advertising was developed, which proved to be successful in the marketplace.
Eclipse curtains were developed to block out sunlight and darken rooms. As one of the first blackout curtains in mass channels, they enjoyed considerable growth in their first three years by gaining distribution in large chains such as Bed, Bath & Beyond and JC Penney. However, once distribution gains became more difficult to secure, the company decided to turn to marketing to drive the next generation of growth.
I led the development of messaging which better dimensionalized the core light-blocking benefit by conceptualizing and shooting a side-by-side visualization of how well Eclipse curtains blocked light, compared to an ordinary curtain. The thicker nature of Eclipse curtains also gave them an insulating benefit, which I dimensionalized by engaging an engineering testing firm. We were able to claim that Eclipse curtains could save up to 25% in home heating and cooling costs. The messaging was incorporated on packaging, in product inserts, at Trade Shows, and on the brand's newly developed website.