Hikvision Dancer Advertising Campaign - What Do You Think?
Hikvision continues to ramp up its dancer / ballerina advertising campaign.
Here is their 'behind the scenes' video:
Update: Here is the dancers performing at ISC West:
I obviously have to be careful here. "People who live in glass houses..."
Wow, John. This is really interesting!
The use of good-looking, muscled and sweaty athletes we see so much of today seems to me to be an attempt to either 1. create a hybrid advertising campaign or 2. to justify the cheesecake. If Hikvision replaced the dancers with track and field athletes, for example, would the campaign make more sense to us? To the refined and knowledgeable, dancers represent extreme physical ability. Are we getting that, or would it be easier to understand if we were looking at an "athlete?"
This video seems to suggest that Hikvision feels we have not been “getting it,” so they are now spelling it out for us.
Manufacturers all have the same conundrum: we must influence two groups -- the integrator and the end-user. We typically feel that to successfully approach the two audiences requires different strategies.
Up until this video, I called this Hikvision campaign "high-concept." To the people this concept has been tailored -- big bucks end-users – Hikvision is hoping the concept is obvious. To the heart of our industry -- integrators -- it may be baffling.
Classy or Cheesecake
To illustrate, I once pitched to a manufacturer the idea of using a picture of a beautiful woman draped over their 48-port managed switch. That is not high-concept. That would have been straight cheesecake masquerading as high-concept. That would have been stereotyping or patronizing integrators. It would NOT have been an end-user play. I don't picture a Snap-On tool calendar in the office of a CTO or CFO. But at least the purpose of the image would have been obvious.
If you separate the woman from the product, that is art. That is high-concept. That is why it is surprising to me that this video now has the models handling the product.
Elevating the Brand
I assume that the Hikvision reps are telling integrators that Hikvision is spending millions of dollars to bring them more substantial projects by elevating the brand for the end-user decision-makers.
When Avigilon threw so much advertising money around a few years ago -- very successfully -- they did it with a straight-forward, low-risk message. There was no high-concept art. They flooded the world with their logo and tagline. They achieved the desired brand awareness.
In contrast, people like me have to admire Hikvision for having the courage to execute this kind of campaign. It requires a ton of money, which of course, they have. That helps. And now, they are even able to spend more money to help us understand the concept.
Hikvision has to believe that this advertising is elevating their brand. It is similar to what the communist Chinese government wanted to accomplish by hosting the Beijing Olympics and building all those aesthetically-stunning venues. What mattered is how they looked on TV. For one summer, they elevated the brand.
Hikvision (the Chinese government?) is apparently dissatisfied with dominating sales volumes. Because they are spending the money to develop products that transcend the "Made in China" stereotype, they want to be regarded more accurately for what they are today.
My question is, at what point does the cost required to realize the desire for respectability start to impact product cost? Will the time come that they will have to compete fairly? That will be interesting to see.
Stick with It or Modify It
For now, I am curious whether or not the people at Hikvision are following analytics. This video suggests that they are. Because they have sustained this campaign, and have now escalated it by intermingling product with the seemingly unassociated subjects (cheesecake?), is that move based on analytics? Has this campaign been working with end-users? Are they now trying to shift the appeal to integrators? Have they lost the focus of the campaign? Is this latest video an attempt at "classy cheesecake?"
At the beginning of this campaign, I thought that I understood it. But with this video, it is no longer high-concept. It is an attempt to justify the concept.
Part of taking the gamble is not worrying about what the “other audience” thinks as long as the primary audience understands the concept. That is a real challenge in this industry. Everyone’s opinion matters.
And, that is one man's opinion.
Meh... what does it mean? The Art of Surveillance? It just seems like an amateurish campaign. It's not offensive in any way, but I don't get the connection to their products. I voted neutral. At least it is well done, even if the message doesn't resonate.
Jon, that is exactly the point. If you ask, "What does it mean?" you are not the target audience. The correct response is, "Ooooooooooo. Classy. I drive a new Mercedes S Class and this resonates with me. I agree to the proposal. Secure our buildings and facilities with their equipment! Oh, and I told my wife that I would get tickets for Swan Lake. Please arrange that as well."
But you said it is well done, so they are getting through to you... "Resistance is futile."
Seriously. It is a real thing. "Elevate the brand to influence the end-user." It is just that few companies in our industry have or spend the money to do that, especially to this level of commitment.
They have the money. They feel that they have an image problem. They feel that they are not perceived correctly in the marketplace.
They are confident that you and Jon are aware of their brand. They approach you in traditional ways.
This is what marketing people do when they have the money. Hikvision really has nothing to lose. You know who they are. You are still seeing their logo everywhere.
But if, as a byproduct, they elevate their brand in your eyes, just a little, it is a win-win for them.
By the way, Steve Jobs was the master of this. He changed so many things in the world, including advertising as we knew it.
I think one of the cameras that had audio said "hold me closer tiny dancer" which is why they are all holding cameras.
One other thing - I've mostly seen these ads in trade magazines with a burst just in the last few months. For example, this is the front cover of the March 2017 SSI digital edition:
Anyone see these in any mass market media (like Forbes etc.)? Avigilon did that for a while and I would think this would do better in those publications with people who don't already know Hikvision well.
"Behind the Scenes - Sneak Preview"
I think these ads miss their mark. The one with the dudes playing ring around the posey is especially dumb. The ads tell me nothing about the product, they don't build excitement or how cool I'll be if I buy it.
Update: The dancers will be live in Hikvision's ISC West booth.
Our Behind the Scenes collaboration video with @LADanceCo is here! https://t.co/yTJn5BL7Br See them live in our booth 18037 at #ISCWest2017 pic.twitter.com/8ff89QjlIr— Hikvision USA (@HikvisionUSAinc) March 28, 2017
And Hikvision did a press release for it too - Hikvision and L.A. Contemporary Dance Company Illustrate the Art of Video Surveillance
Subtitled: 'Who knew that dance and video surveillance had so much in common' LACDC dancers will perform at the Hikvision booth and Partner Celebration at ISC West
Beautifully done, but I don't understand it. The great dancers seem to be admiring the product, not the use of them. Were all the images taken from the cameras? It is doubtful. Now that would be more interesting to me, seeing that the cameras can capture speed, slomo, tracking movements, dark & light, all of the issues in surveillance. It was so nicely done and I admire the creators and especially the artists captured.
I think it's very smart marketing...and I've never and don't ever plan to drink the HIKVision kool-aid.
Their message to dealers is "make tons of money on our stuff that's good enough for the common dude...and pay no attention to the guy in the red coat behind the curtain."
Their message to consumers is "we are beautiful, we are refined." ...not to mention the correlation they will make with the high quality photography to the cameras themselves...that's almost brilliant. False advertising that's more on the subconscious level so it can't really be legally construed as false.
...marketers know how stupid we (consumers) are and are smart to take every advantage of it.
...okay that first part was just my take on the company not their marketing.
Knowing this company and their corporate culture, this is a bit insulting to the arts.
I like it. It stands out. It doesn't make me choose Hikvision because of it, but surely makes me think about the brand.
Hikvision continues to promote the dancer ad campaign:
Were you able to get your hands on the special edition @SSIMagazine featuring Hikvision during #ISCWest 2017? pic.twitter.com/EFnsIFl6K7— Hikvision USA (@HikvisionUSAinc) April 14, 2017
It appears that this campaign was produced by someone not well connected to the surveillance industry. The security industry is overwhelmingly male and this campaign fails to reach the male gaze. Having dancers holding cameras communicates nothing to me as an integrator. When I first saw the campaign I laughed at it. I thought it continued to reflect an out of touch marketing group with mainstream security. I do give them points for trying something new, however, it was a flop. probably more like a complete disaster. I would be surprised if it helps Hikvision at all, it probably just makes them look more like a laughing stock. Not to mention the name Hikvision, it doesn't translate to the American marketplace. I would not want a camera called "Dumbview" or "Blindsight." What seems to be clear is that Chinese manufacturers do not understand the US marketplace, and the people they hire to help them keep leading them astray.
I've spent time at various ISC's as well as hosting Napcos booth at IFSEC several times (organised from the US). I think people may be losing focus on how crass, the marketing efforts of US and UK companies have been in the past with "showgirls" and pathetic magicians.
I'm not an arty person and don't really get into these kind of things - but if anyone would like to give their expert opinion and anecdote on what would constitute a technically focused really eye catching, front page interesting campaign - perhaps watching a really exciting vari-focal lens moving in slow motion or something ????? - that would be constructive. I'm on the edge of my seat in anticipation.
But as I say - ISC has for a long time been the home of crass marketing - so no matter how you want to attack Hikvision, it's infinitely better marketing than ISC is used to -not least because its got you all talking and giving column inches.
Perhaps you could tell me how Napcos effort at 3:24 here is soooo much better than Hik? Oh yes, they are American and not Hik which makes it fine. I think I missed Johns discussion regarding this particularly crass example.
For years the West has accused China of "copying", so when they go out at a tangent from the mainstream they get criticized. Damned if they do damned if they don't. No matter what Hik would have done at the show - it would have been either entirely ignored or criticized - there was no way it would have been applauded, so we get that.
If you are a Hik hater, its not very likely that you will turn on a dime and say you get the concept and love the marketing and defend Hik is it?
In terms of digital marketing, we used to be Nedap partners in a former company and I always found their marketing to be the best I've know in the industry. If you have 3 minutes, watch this video to get an idea. And yes, as a leading access control company they also produce systems to purify water with sunlight, feed cows etc. so its all relevant and delivered really neatly. I recall when they originally released it people scratched their heads and wondered what it was about - Napco were simply ahead of the competition bearing in mind the video is as fresh and relevant today as it was in 2011 when it was made.
"Not everyone will get it, I accept, but that's not to say its not successful - its simply who gets it that counts."
I would maintain that there was nothing there for anyone to get in the first place...
If the campaign was successful - as you at least imagine it might have been on some level that the unwashed masses don't get - then why did they stop that campaign and move quickly on to something else (winning!)?
Answer: Cuz the 'Art of Surveillance' campaign idea was dumb AND ineffective
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