This week, we’re pitting brand against brand to illustrate provocative points-of-view. Most brands want to resolve conflict, lest they should offend anyone. We say embrace it. Pick a side and project it. Take an unapologetic stance. Make it authentic and relevant. 

Here’s how 3 brands use conflict to assert their point of view…

Back Market vs. Apple

On the heels of Apple’s announcement of the iPhone Titanium 15 (and a compelling video on the status of its carbon neutral ambitions), Back Market, a marketplace for refurbished devices, produced this bold parody that mimics the tech industry’s classic marketing tropes (i.e. backlit product shots and dancers choreographed with tech gadgets in hand) and obsession with ‘new’.  Prior to the spot’s launch, the brand created faux ads for a more sustainable and affordable phone model and ‘leaked’ them in high-traffic areas around Apple’s headquarters. Their aim is not just to sell you refurbished tech, but to change the way people think about tech and circularity, taking on the 50M metric tons of electronic waste produced annually. 

Yes, & tip:

Back Market is the David to Apple’s Goliath here. To make a DENT with their audience against a beloved brand, they needed to be brave and audacious. In the words of the executive creative director Dan Brill, “Creativity is most potent when it’s got something to fight for.”  Assert your opinion and be prepared to double down if/when you get push back.

Peet’s vs Starbucks, Dunkin’, etc.

When did coffee brands stop focusing on actual coffee? That was the question Peet’s Coffee posed with a new integrated campaign and brand platform ‘Coffee for Coffee People.’ Each spot satirizes superfluous coffee culture in a different way and ultimately highlighting the brand’s position to prioritize (simply) quality coffee. With pumpkin-spice latte season upon us, the timing is ideal for the brand to carve out a niche of like-minded coffee connoisseurs. 

Yes, & tip:

In this example, Peet’s isn’t just calling out their competitors, but dares to alienate the people who buy into this alt coffee culture. The very nature of a point-of-view is that some people will disagree with it (and are likely not your customer). Lean into conflict. If everyone agrees with you, then you likely aren’t pushing far enough with your brand.

Vital Farms ‘Bullshit Free’ vs. ‘Cage-Free’ Eggs

Walk the egg aisle of any grocery store, and you’ll be met with a barrage of messages about the treatment of the pasture. Meanwhile, Vital Farms calls BS on the widely used ‘cage-free’ labeling of competitors and uses this recent campaign to educate shoppers on ‘pasture-raised’ egg production. In this video, starring a real Vital Farms farmer, the central focus is the ethical and humane way the brand treats its hens  and humorously refers to VF’s eggs as ‘Bullshit Free’. 

Yes, & tip:

Vital Farms seeks to do more than just educate shoppers on their product differentiator, and instead creates a ‘Moment of Re-evaluation’ for customers to question and reconsider purchasing eggs that simply say ‘cage-free’. Think bigger than product differentiation with your marketing and call out your entire industry’s short comings to separate your brand from the brood. 

Could your brand use more creative improvisation to help you out-think your competitors? Work with DENTR.