In a competitive, product-saturated marketplace, a new product needs to have something beyond the brand -- an added value, an idea

, a "story" behind the brand. Commenting on this new ideology in marketing and what it says about today's consumers and society are Kevin Roberts, CEO, Saatchi & Saatchi Worldwide; Douglas Atkin,chief strategy officer for Merkley+Partners; Bob Garfield, columnist for Advertising Age; and Naomi Klein, author of No Logo. These excerpts are drawn from their extended FRONTLINE interviews.

CEO, Saatchi & Saatchi Worldwide.

…Let's talk about consumer brands, product brands. What is their situation today? Brands are dead, I think. We've seen this incredible journey that started off years ago with products. Products were invented to supply a benefit, a functional attribute to make you feel better. They morphed very quickly into trademarks, which is all about protection: Protect the manufacturer; protect the consumer. And then in the '30s Neil McElroy at P&G [Procter & Gamble] invented brands. And what were brands? They were based on what I call "ER words": whiter, brighter, cleaner, stronger, fitter. Watch any commercials on American TV and you'll see these words come up in the first three seconds, hammered remorselessly into your brain. But what's happened now is everybody's doing it. Everything works now: French fries taste crisp; coffee's hot; beer tastes good --

+ "The Decline of Brands" In this November 2004 piece for Wired, New Yorker staff writer James Surowiecki looked at why brand loyalty is now nearly nonexistent. "The truth is, we've always overestimated the power of branding while underestimating consumers' ability to recognize quality." + "What makes some brands inspirational while others struggle?" That is the question posed by ad executive Kevin Roberts and it's answered at this web site by roughly a thousand consumers who have nominated their own favorite brands that have inspired them to "loyalty beyond reason." Roberts is featured in FRONTLINE's report, "The Persuaders."

How do you go beyond the brand? You have to really dig in to emotional connections with consumers. The rational side of life isn't enough. We've got too much information. We do not live in the information age anymore, nor do we live in the age of knowledge. We've gone hurtling past that. Once everybody has information and knowledge, it's no longer a competitive advantage. We live now in the age of the idea. What consumers want now is an emotional connection. They want to be able to connect with what's behind the brand, what's behind the promise. They're not going to buy simply rational. You feel the world through your senses, the five senses, and that's what's next. The brands that can move to that emotional level, that can create loyalty beyond reason, are going to be the brands where premium profits lie.

If you read some of the literature, you see that people are struggling and not knowing where to go next. So there's antiglobalization, antibrands. It's very easy to be anti-something. It's very tough to be pro something and to build. So I think we're trying to develop with Lovemarks a way forward, not just an anti, "we don't think this is going to work" kind of approach.

What is a Lovemark? A Lovemark is a brand that has created loyalty beyond reason; it's infused with mystery, sensuality and intimacy, and that you recognize immediately as having some kind of iconic place in your heart. And I'll give you two personal stories of mine. Maybe eight weeks ago now, I was in Seattle talking to 3,000 college professors -- not a very stimulating kind of way to spend the day. And I went to the Adidas concept store in Seattle. I didn't need anything, nothing. $880 later and four bags later, I staggered out of the Adidas store, and I felt great, because I love Adidas and I always have. There's no reason for it. It's beyond reason. I didn't need anything in these bags. I bought stuff for my wife, for my kids, for me. I had no guilt, and I had no sense of "You stupid whatever, you just dropped 880 bucks." I didn't care; I felt great. I have loyalty beyond reason to Adidas, largely because of their heritage, their authenticity. If I try to rationalize how I've developed this -- as I was growing up playing rugby, Adidas were the best rugby boots -- but there's no reason really. I don't know why. They commune with me. Next example for me. I live in Tribeca, right, in New York. It's a very kind of groovy, hip area, or at least we like to think it is. Everybody wears black T-shirts, and everybody goes out late at night. If you leave the office at 7:00, 8:00 on a Friday night and you go into a bar in Tribeca and you carry with you your IBM ThinkPad or your Dell computer or whatever, you will leave that bar alone. If, on the other hand, you walk in there with an iPod ... or with an iBook, man, you'll be part of the crowd, because Steve Jobs has made Apple a Lovemark. There is no reason why Apple should exist in our world, right? But we have got seven iPods in our family. All the kids have got them; we're all iTunes-mad. We've all been loyal to Mac all through the winters of discontent. And there is no reason for that whatsoever. They charge a premium versus Dell, versus everybody. I mean, hell, they don't even have Microsoft Windows. But it doesn't matter; it's a Lovemark. It's full of mystery and very sensual when you hold an iPod. I remember when the first iMac came out, that round, curved shape on your desk, [it was] amazing, full of sensuality. ...

Do you think the "housewife" is gone? I think she's been gone for about 30 years, and I don't think she would ever have recognized herself now. We've moved from brands into

it's a liberator. Tide's no longer a laundry detergent. I guess you could think about moving Tide from the heart of the laundry to the heart of the family. … Now all of that has changed. Neil Young doesn't do any commercial stuff at all.S. The consumer was almost sort of panting for the next innovation." So the ownership of the brand has switched from the producer saying. But Cheer and All will play the same roles. Long ago. there are many examples of brands where the producer has very little to do with how the brand is constructed. The Apple computer is my computer because it stands for creativity and nonconformism. very close relationship between cults and the best cult brands in the sense that people join and stay with cults for the exact same reasons as people join and stay with brands. you know what I'm saying? So you have this mysterious connection.experiences. The item itself is almost secondary. the rest of her family out into the world wearing the right clothes. and he was wearing a singlet with the Tide logo on it. "We are the Saturn family. producers of brands realize that the consumer needs to say: "No. There are more products than consumers. There was a time when brands and brand symbols were marks of identification for the producer to say: "This is my product." with no hint of irony. … Merkley+Partners. One of the grooviest things that happened to me." or. A brand originally was a way for a producer of a brand. and the producer has to have some kind of different way of selling them. Well. It's based on that mysterious emotional connection that they have with the consumer. one brand that we work with.. absolutely. yeah. because the producer is not king. or that they are part of the Saturn family. the institutions that become vessels for making meaning or venues for creating community have in turn become more consumerist. which is a great opportunity for us. of America and American family life. You can rely on its consistency. I think that brands' role is not based on their product performance at all. It's the owners of the motorbikes themselves who have created that impression and have created a community around the brand. Oh. not just in washday." to the consumer saying. They see themselves as the gritty warriors of the road. because if a lady today in her busy life can send her kids. like a maker of beer. he wouldn't be wearing Cheer or another brand. BMW Motorcycles. The reason why is pretty obvious if you think about it: The desire to belong to something. All detergents get your clothes clean. Whether they're a retailer or a car driver. he was wearing this because it was an iconic symbol. because beer or any other product was distributed widely. the next new detergent. I identify with it. I was in a recording studio once. The BMW manufacturers have very little to do with that brand. … …What do you mean by "cult branding"? Well. and its history. "The VW Beetle is my kind of car because it stands for antimaterialism. Nowadays. Now they're not. For example. the consumer is. Look at Tide. It's about the riding experience. "This is my brand. Harley-Davidson riders are seen as weekend warriors. I've interviewed people who are brand loyalists of Saturn. They absolutely and completely believe it.000 miles in one trip. so the kind of functions that cults and religions used to perform years and years ago are increasingly being taken over by brands. The consumer has almost taken over. … . it's the motorcyclists themselves who are determining what the brand is all about. or packaging. this is my product. the same quality time and time again. The brand has moved off the package to -To consumers' minds. and they will use the same vocabulary as someone who is a cult member of Hare Krishna. just like I do. it's not about getting clothes clean anymore. is universal. completely. just like I do. then Tide's played a role in family harmony. right? So you don't buy a washing powder anymore. At the end of the day.. In fact. In the U.. and Neil Young walked in. her husband. importantly. "This is my product. BMW riders are seen as the kind of people who ride 10. They will say that other car users need to be saved. that last for a long time. It's simply a neural impulse. What's changed nowadays is. Brands have a completely different function in my mind. What's different today? The difference nowadays is that there are [more] products than consumers need. to put their ownership symbol on it and to give it a sense of authenticity." Nowadays. as we've become a more consumerist society." Who creates the brand? Good question. clothes that look good. it's a fusion of both. the next breakthrough in technology. they will say. Now. producers ruled. really important when the Industrial Revolution happened. . to make meaning out of something. a brand is simply neural impulses in people's brains stimulated by the experience of using it or of someone saying that they recommend it. for instance. …Let's start by talking briefly about what a brand is. away from where it was produced. Tide's about a much deeper thing than that: It's an enabler. I believe that there is a very. And this was really. I think. or whatever.

9 percent of the time they're failing. it's the idea of basic citizenry needing a place that is not try to influence that decision. If you think about Disney.a sense of belonging. whether from religion. because it's hard to do. no sneaker manufacturer had taken upon itself to say to the audience. Advertising Age. what you want to do is . and they bought them by advertising this idea again and again and again and again and again. and sometimes it's just an idea." because hitherto. much larger share of the marketplace on the strength of an advertising idea. and expanded it into cruise ships and things like that. Sometimes it's an actual property of the product that's different. If you buy the Pepsodent. and they borrowed that interest at great expense. So the actual role it was playing was as a mark of quality. the idea behind your brand. And it really was very much entwined with the dawn of industrialization. Colgate and Crest have failed." How is it that the diamond is the default demonstration of lifelong love and affection? How did that happen? An advertising idea.and it's come in waves. but 99. The transition that has happened since that time -. Sometimes brands are just brands. you need to have something else. That's one answer. You need to have an added value.they really are selling an idea of a lost American town where there was a town square and your kids were safe to walk in the streets. The first sort of corporate mascots like Aunt Jemima. I think it also has to do with a reaction to a culture in the '80s where people were longing for some kind of deeper meaning in their lives. These are the few examples when advertising really does cast a Svengali spell. who was this extraordinary athlete doing seemingly impossible. simply having a mark of quality on your product isn't enough to give you an edge. whether from a sense of belonging in their community. Most of it does actually. where your competitors can essentially match you on the product itself. Three of the greatest campaigns in advertising history are built on nothing more than an idea. And they first built that in their films. They own the idea of all of the really powerful emotional sentiments that we attach to sport. You know what.." I don't think we can understand this phenomenon just in terms of how easy it is to produce products. "A diamond is forever. coming from long distances that they used to buy from a local shopkeeper. "the story behind the brand. They own them because they bought them. the idea that Starbucks is what they like to call a "third place. So what brands started selling was a kind of pseudo-spirituality -. a community. where you pack up the kids and move inside the brand. and the campaign grew to have them own all of the emotion of sport. …What's the difference between a brand and a product? Are you going to buy the Arm & Hammer? Are you going to buy the Colgate? Are you going to buy the Crest? Are you going to buy Pepsodent for a little blast from the past? That's where all the money is spent -. it wasn't invented in the '90s. So it was quite jarring for people to suddenly be getting products that were coming from distances and from people that they'd never met. You would be buying food or farm equipment. Nike. Marlboro cigarettes: It's built on the idea of rugged individualism. And this is spoken of in many different ways. squinting into the sun. And they have privatized that idea in a way. And Nike. In a marketplace where it's so easy to produce products. And yet decisions are made to the tunes of billions of dollars every day -. maternal or paternal figure. and that's really what is behind a lot of these brand meanings: a privatized concept of what used to be public. So brands started filling a gap that citizens. of taking on the world all by yourself.this very.was the idea that if you wanted to really be successful in a highly competitive marketplace. the drama of sport. "Just do it. Once you actually achieve brand nirvana.. holidays. and you would have that trust. … Author. used to get elsewhere. No Logo. from a local farmer whom they had a relationship of trust with. a celebration of public space. Fla. the triumph and so forth. though? Marlboro. of making your own decisions. So the original brands.into the ultimate expression of enduring love. But they've got much. Brands like Starbucks came along and talked about their brand as itself being a community. There's just not a whole lot of difference between the most expensive Nike shoe and the most expensive Reebok. What's interesting about Celebration." comforting. …What is a brand versus a product? Brands and products are enmeshed from the beginning. very seldom happens. "Why don't you just get up off your fat ass?" They began to own the aspirational quality of sport. much. who grew it. the role that they played was essentially as a surrogate relationship. What has imbued Nike with this special something? It's two things: One is Michael Jordan. that is not home. and it has penetrated societies throughout the world for 100 years. but it sort of skyrocketed in the '90s -. Fla. "A diamond is forever" -. Mostly it's just "12 percent more whitening power. Uncle Ben's [emerged when] people were buying products that were coming out of factories. of course.Columnist. It was just an advertising idea. mechanization. The other was "Just do it. the original logos." which is not their idea. the aspiration. virtuosic things. But you have to go back and look at what role the original logos and trademarks played for products. They turned a commodity -.a rock -. I find it really interesting that Disney describes Celebration as a tribute. something intrinsic to them that makes them different. Arm & Hammer. then brought it to life in their theme parks." They hire the same slaves in Southeast Asia to make a pair of shoes for $4 and then sell them for $120 as all the other sneaker manufacturers. and that added value is the identity. have to do with a longing for public for the "other guy. not just consumers. for instance -. is that there are no brands there. much. So you would have this kind of " of the most successful brand builders of all time -. Very seldom can you trade on an idea to change the way people view your good or service. as a guarantee of quality on the product itself. That's pretty extraordinary." So has advertising pulled your strings? Evidently not. with [the planned community] Celebration. And then they took it further. You would be looking in the eye of the person who made it. Sometimes there's actually something inherent. where citizens gather." and the "12 percent more whitening power" struggle and ideas sometimes are triumphant. the grit of sport. And I guarantee you there's a lot of advertisers out there trying to do that all the time. ironically. mass transportation. that were coming off of trains.

we've got a new product coming out. "Hey. but they're not actually going to fulfill those needs. it is just a pair of want to seal the exits. fully synergized branded lives. tends to be incompatible with owning your own factories. branding. on a business model. and you've got full synergy. Their actual production is the production of image. It's one of the ironies of our branded age. HBO is the same in a way. things get a lot more tranquil and quiet. So what are we producing? We're producing brands. But when you get home. and the discussion of brands. You can go to these brand temples like Niketown. 9. that have embraced this ideology have simultaneously embraced a model for producing their products where they don't own any of their factories. Well." All of these companies. the production of intellectual property. of course. It's actually in many ways the end of advertising. which is extraordinarily costly and which. You pay extra not to be advertised to. Bahamas bans McDonald's. … Companies now seem distanced from actual processes of production. 2004   FRONTLINE is a registered trademark of wgbh educational foundation. this process of selling an idea as opposed to a product. they want to be protected from the brands that they got rich creating. is not the same as advertising. or pseudo-public space. Did brands come to the rescue. which serves them very well because. There's a branding agency called The Brand Factory that I know of. is now a luxury item that is only really available to the very rich. When rich people get together. and there's no need for marketing. filling a need for community or meaning in society? I think brands definitely are filling a very real need. They might be great. which is a lot more expensive than just taking out an ad and saying. Public space. guys. that unbranded space. that means that you have to go shopping again to try to fill them. web site copyright 1995-2010 WGBH educational foundation . and you sort of pay not to be marketed to. There's no competition. without exception. where they see production as being really a kind of a menial sideline to their actual production. … home · introduction · watch online · forum · interviews · analysis neuromarketing · shaping a new brand · join the discussion · links & readings teacher's guide · producer's chat · press reaction · tapes & transcripts · credits · privacy policy FRONTLINE home · wgbh · pbsi   posted nov. The question is. the dream behind that brand. it is a laptop and a pair of running shoes. is the language of production -. from the perspective of designers. and that's why they are paid so handsomely for it. but in the end. the production of meaning. the narrative. are they filling it well? I believe that they tend to fill it in a fairly unsatisfying way. full vertical integration. because it ramps up to the point where you're actually building these fully enclosed branded [lives]. right? And they might be a good pair of sneakers. Once you move up the class hierarchy. from the perspective of marketers.that they are producing the actual product. and you can get a piece of the story. having lasting relationships with your employees.