If there’s one thing we find especially irksome, it’s when companies issue press releases announcing the unveiling of “a new branding campaign.”
Outside the marketing and advertising industry, nobody cares about these announcements. Yet that’s what Moen did recently. In the process, we think they missed an opportunity to really set themselves apart in the building products world.
In the press release, Moen’s CMO says, “Decades of understanding and innovation are what make us experts in water experience.” He continues, citing the company’s “opportunity to not only create beauty through the style and look of our products, but to design for the future of water experience in a world where water is becoming ever more important.”
Aside from declaring themselves experts (a title that should be said about you, but not by you), that’s great stuff. Water is indeed becoming more of a concern for people, even here in the United States. With stories like what happened in Flint, Mich., growing awareness of plastic in the oceans, and the rise of organizations like Water.org… fewer people are taking their water for granted.
For their part, Moen’s television ads that have been leading the campaign have been stunning in their execution. They imagine a world without water: with empty rivers, seas, and even swimming pools.
Clearly they have a reverence and appreciation for water, and feel the sense of responsibility that comes with being a company that helps deliver it to millions of people. So we were excited to see how that would be paid off in their campaign.
What we found is — so far at least — heavy on the telling and light on the showing.
A Missed Opportunity
“Show me, don’t tell me,” is an important rule of storytelling. The idea is that you shouldn’t simply declare your passion, commitment, or values, but show them through your actions.
Unfortunately, Moen missed an opportunity here.
The website — presumably the hub of their campaign — asks the question, “Who designs for water?” It then goes on to summarize their experience in creating products that are beautiful, innovative, and invigorating.
No new ground is covered here. Every premium faucet company makes those same claims. As you scroll down, however, you get to the payoff.
You’re presented with a beautiful photo of a person standing on the beach at dusk. The text promises to answer the question of what designing for water means:
“As a company we’ve given over to the power and beauty of water. Throughout our history, we’ve learned to respect and honor it. So that makes us a company that not only celebrates water, but that also happens to make faucets.”
Why should we believe that? The water-first-faucets-second claim is betrayed by content above it, which is entirely focused on faucets. They’re telling us about their love of water, but they don’t show us.
What would have been great is if Moen used this campaign to announce some kind of initiative they’re spearheading or supporting to advance the cause of greater access to water for everyone.
“We understand that we can’t save the world, but we can improve the world of our consumers and those around them,” the press release goes on to say. “There is much more to come.”
We hope so. No one expects Moen to save the world. But if they want to elevate their brand to something more than products, they need to show us.