Victoria Ellis, one of our Senior Account Managers, takes a look at campaign lines, and how the seemingly ‘unownable’ can in fact provide the cut-through needed to worry the competition.

As the Euros draw to a close, now seems like a good time to reflect back on the tournament. Not from a footballing point of view – we (England) have been disappointed enough already – but from an advertising perspective.

When Saatchi and Saatchi pitched ‘Probably the best beer in the world’ to Carlsberg (back in 1973!), I’m sure even they didn’t realise just how much longevity the campaign line would have. Who would have thought Carlsberg could own such a line, much less ‘Probably the best in the world’, which you’d immediately associate with the brand now. But Carlsberg have, and they have to the extent that at the Euros this year their advert reads ‘Probably the best beer in the world’, with no brand mention whatsoever.

But the seemingly unownable campaign line can make marketers uncomfortable. All too often we hear: “We love the idea, but how do we own that?” or “Our competitors could do that too. How is it unique to us?”

The fact is it doesn’t always have to be immediately identifiable with a brand. Any one of Carlsberg’s competitors could have used their line, but luckily for them they chose to be daring. They hired an agency prepared to push the boundaries and be creative, and most importantly they invested long-term.

Thinking creatively is particularly important in a crowded market like the food and drink industry, where genuine points of differentiation are minimal, and consumer investment in brands is vital.

At KISS, we pride ourselves on being an ideas agency. What does that mean? Every one of us within the agency is creative, and we bring challenging campaign ideas to our clients. But more importantly, these ideas provide cut-through in our clients’ industries, so like Carlsberg, brands can find a point of difference for consumers to buy into.

And it isn’t just the food and drink industry where these ‘unownable’ campaign lines have become household names or phrases. Nike’s ‘Just do it’, L’Oréal’s ‘Because I’m worth it’ and Gillette’s ‘The best a man can get’ – these are all campaign lines that could be used for a multitude of brands, not even exclusively within their sector. However, because their respective companies have made the long-term commitment to invest in the campaign line until it becomes synonymous with the brand, they benefit from industry cut-through and ultimately increased loyalty.

Which leaves me to ask the question: is Carlsberg’s advert the best at Euro 2016? Probably.