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.