Winning Product Launches: Case Studies in Tactic Selection

April 5, 2019

By Morgan Strawn

Sorbetto/Getty Images

When a company launches a new product or service, simple novelty won't cut it with consumers. They demand the credible promise of added value before risking an unfamiliar purchase or a departure from habit. Persuasively conveying this promise depends on an apt selection of marketing tactics; fortunately, technology and marketers' ingenuity have recently produced a greater variety of such tactics than have ever been available before.


Real-World Examples

In some instances, use cases can convincingly convey a new product's promise. For example, when Comcast was rolling out a gig-speed service, it launched its "Dream Gig" campaign to describe the benefits that the new offering could deliver for a wide array of professionals. This campaign included portraits of a music producer who needed to download dense music files and a travel agent who needed to download large virtual tours — needs that Comcast's gig speed satisfied in dramatic fashion in the company's ad.



On other occasions, marketers might find that innovative technology can usefully offer consumers a nearly first-hand experience with the advantages of a new product. To support the launch of its 2018 Wrangler, Jeep released an app that allowed consumers to design and view their own versions of the vehicle in an AR environment. The Adventure Reality app enabled users to select a newly available Wrangler model and choose features (such as dashboard style, exterior paint color, and hard top or soft top); they could then view their creation in one of five fully-interactive 360-degree virtual environments — desert, forest, hillside, mountains, or city. Users could even share their vehicle design through social channels.


Experiential Marketing

Sometimes, the best way to evoke a new product's advantages is by way of experiential analogy. Firefox adopted this tactic when it launched its Firefox Quantum browser. To convey the new product's speed to New Yorkers, a "Firefox Fast Ferry" carried them from Brooklyn to Manhattan and back faster than the subway. Riders were not only made vividly aware of the launch; they were also encouraged to associate the convenience of their Fast-Ferry commute with the convenience they'd enjoy in using the new browser.


Celebrity Endorsements

In the case of certain, more unusual launches, marketers face a paradoxical challenge: demonstrate how their product and an existing one are similar, not different. This was Pepsi's task when it launched Pepsi Max, a low-calorie soda that claimed to have the taste of a normal cola. Enter "Uncle Drew," an initiative that began as a partnership with NBA star Kyrie Irving. The basketball player disguised himself as the elderly Uncle Drew character only to dominate pick-up games on playground courts. The video of the humorous hoax suggested that just as Uncle Drew's appearance belied his athletic talent, so too did Pepsi Max's low-calorie count belie the taste that it shared with a standard can of Pepsi. The video went viral on YouTube and eventually inspired a full-length motion picture.

Whether marketers of new products are using cutting edge immersive technology, large-scale experiential events, or simple but compellingly crafted use cases, they are striving to meet the same demand: to convincingly evoke a benefit unavailable until now. With luck, the illustrations above can provide some inspiration to marketers grappling with this challenge; those seeking additional examples, however, can turn to the ANA's vast content library, which offers many more.

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