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Alfa Romeo – The best TV ad in Australia

It’s not hard to spot the best TV ad in Australia. Alfa Romeo’s new campaign for its Giulietta is outstanding.

A cool blonde is harangued in the lift on her way out of the office by an annoying workmate about the new car she is rumoured to have bought.

She denies everything until, stepping out of the lift, she turns to the vehicle in the parking lot and explains: “It’s not a car. It’s an Alfa Romeo.”

At first glance, all this might appear to be just a beautifully crafted execution from Melbourne creative agency CumminsRoss. Certainly, the agency deserves many plaudits for its work. On a deeper level, however, the campaign also demonstrates a key insight into brand building. Alfa’s insistence that it doesn’t make cars, it makes Alfa Romeos, is the fundamental building block of any decent brand strategy.

Ask BRW readers what they have in their pocket and many will tell you an iPhone. Not a mobile phone, an iPhone. Apple is one of the few brands to successfully and consistently detach itself from the category and walk a different path.

Perhaps the best recent example of branded differentiation can be taken from the 95,000 fans who crammed into the MCG to watch Liverpool FC play. They were not there to watch a match or even support a team; they were there because they were Liverpool fans and it was so much more than just another game.

As Liverpool manager Bill Shankly once explained: “Some people believe football is a matter of life and death. I am very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that.”

There are significant long-term advantages for the select few brands that can achieve this level of differentiation from their category. They can charge a higher price because they offer something beyond the competition. They can retain consumers in the face of the strongest competition. Others may be cheaper, they may even beat you in terms of product attributes, but because your consumers love you for who you are, they are unlikely to switch because no one can be more you, than you. On objective measures of quality, Samsung is making a better, cheaper smartphone than the iPhone these days and yet Apple’s market share remains strong. It’s been almost 25 years since Liverpool last won the English Premier League, and yet their Australian fans remain fanatic.

Despite what your marketing manager may tell you, brands are not born from consistency. Rather, strong brands are fundamentally disruptive.

They actively and repeatedly do things differently.