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Friday, 30/11/12

The Great British shed

Music, film and sport may be the mainstream consumer interests,but there are plenty of others. Lindsey Jordan explores some of the less obvious passions



There's more to passion than just gaming, music, sport and film. There is no doubt that these passions inspire punters the world over and give brands powerful entry points into the lives of their audiences but sometimes it's the more off-piste passions that give brands cut through.


I've selected five examples which show that brands don't always have  to look for a mainstream interest to connect with consumers. As long as there is authenticity, consistency and commitment on behalf of the brand, even less mainstream passions can enable them to be welcomed in to the lives of consumers.


1. The Great British Shed 


Not the most obvious passion, but according to new research, the average Brit spends 72 hours a year or five months of their lives in their shed. This predominantly male domain is a sanctuary, where generation of British chaps have escaped for pottering, fixing things that don't need fixing and escaping "her indoors".


Serious things get done in sheds. Famous sheddies include Roald Dahl and Phillip Pullman (the latter spent seven years in his shed writing his "Dark Materials" trilogy), and William S.Harley and Arthur Davidson, who put together their first motorcycle in their shed.

The shed taps in to the male psyche, and is capable of generating powerful emotion.


To connect with the sheddies of Britain, charity Men's Health Forum is using the shed as a medical 'honey trap'. to overcome the issue that men over sixty are less likely to go to their GP for health advice, putting them at risk of developing serious conditions unchecked. It has developed a network of communal man-sheds as it seems that men who are desperate for shed time are willing to talk about medical issues that they eschew discussing in less manly areas, like the doctors.

Woodcare brand Cuprinol has also realised the emotional power of the shed and has activated this by sponsoring the mighty Shed of the Year competition, using the winners as inspiration for less ardent enthusiasts.



2. Reading


There's nothing better than a good book, unless that is, it's a good book with a bar of chocolate. Galaxy Chocolate saw the natural fit between the moment of indulgence that is reading and the taste of indulgence that is chocolate for women. The brand harnessed this passion for its "melt in to a good book" campaign. It created "Galaxy Irresistible Reads" inviting women to melt into action, giving away over 1 million branded books, sponsoring the Richard and Judy Book Club and the National Book Awards, and forming partnerships with publishing houses and authors.




3. Art and Design

Turning your product into a masterpiece appeals to the man and woman who insist that everything looks just right. Since 1985, Absolut Vodka has leveraged passion for design by giving more than 300 artists from all fields, including painters, sculptors and fashion designers, free reign to use their bottle as a canvas, both in terms of advertising and in terms of the actual product itself. From Andy Warhol in 1986 to Jamie Hewlett (of Gorillaz fame) in 2012, the brand has consistently used credible artists to tap into this aspirational passion.




4. Heritage

Here in Britain our past can be a deep and credible passion. With so much history littering these Isles and the people among them, heritage has provided profitable ground for many brands. In 2009, Cobra Beer re-focused on a key passion that tapped into its Indian heritage, and resonated with a food-loving British public: Curry. Cobra formed  community of interest around "We love curry", created curry festivals, sponsored National Curry Week and tried to make Cobra synonymous with British curry houses.

5. Fashion

You only have to walk past a department store on Oxford Street to see how passionate people get about the latest clothes and looking good. It's a passion that Diet Coke has successfully used to become part of the lives of its female target. The brand drew credibility from the fact that Diet Coke is one of the few things scientifically proven to be consumed on a regular basis by fashion models. Having recently formed UK partnerships with fashion brands like ASOS and Benefit, Diet Coke has just hired fashion designer
John Paul Gautier as its new creative director. The result is not only (slightly bizarre and very JPG) advertising content, but also a newly styled bottle, which was recently unveiled.



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