Posted by Abe Sauer on April 28, 2010 01:26 PM
Talk about a great name for a brand of sleek Bluetooth headset device: Jawbone. But is Jawbone's latest brand-building endeavor on par with the brand's overall character?
Launched by manufacturer Aliph in 2006, Jawbone Bluetooth devices quickly captured the heart of design nerds and technical sticklers with its eye-catching, one-of-a-kind forms and top-of-the-line functionality.
The brand positioned itself as the buffed, image- and quality-conscious Bluetooth-user's Bluetooth device. Its branding continues to perfectly communicate this aesthetic.
That said, we're not convinced by Jawbone's new "Funny Video Contest."
As the promotion's dedicated site explains the deal -- "Ever experienced unwanted background noise during a phone call?... Then grab a camera, get creative, and film a funny scenario (under 60 seconds) where you really wish you had a Jawbone. We're looking for videos that showcase humorous moments caused by unwanted and unexpected background noise during a phone call."
Can we take a moment here to talk frankly about "funny" and how it relates to branding?
When did brand managers and advertisers get to a point where it was taken on faith that making a potential customer laugh was the same as emotionally connecting with him and being "funny" was a brand position? And was it this cult of comedy that resulted in "funny video contests" being synonymous with the goals of brand-building?
Jawbone even seems to understand this. In the contest website's about us section, the brand offers videos that demonstrate, very creatively, and without pointless laughs, just why a Jawbone product is superior.
Making matters worse is that the payoff for Jawbone's contest is cash: $10,000, to be exact. Between the "funny video contest" premise and the cash payoff for engagement, Jawbone's reliance on crowdsourcing and user-generated content may be selling its own well-positioned brand short.