I’ve posted before about ads aimed at horse owners that are not what you’d call…examples of best practice. But here’s an ad and a brand redesign and repositioning that seem to have bypassed the ‘sense check’ stage of the development process.
So this range of feed supplements (powders that you chuck in the horse’s breakfast or tea time bucket of feed) cover off the most popular supplement categories – multivitamin, healthy hoof, respiratory aid, calmer, electrolytes, healthy digestion and joint mobility. But I had to go on the Day, Son & Hewitt website to know that as product names like Foundation and Platform aren’t much help in identifying which-does-what.
To put this in context, the competitor set here mainly goes for a ‘does what it says on the tin’ approach, including Kof-Eze, Pro Feet, Joint Flex and Mobility, as well as the less obvious (but market leading, media investing and with very high recall) Magic (calmer) and Pink Powder (digestion).
If I was to stand staring at the supplements shelf in a tack or feed shop there’s not much on the Day, Son & Hewitt packaging to tell me immediately if it will do the job. I can’t deny that it’s a gorgeous retro design (heavily inspired by this from their archive I suspect) that will provide standout in a utilitarian category, but it just isn’t fit for purpose when it comes to aiding decision making at shelf.
Then there’s the tin. Individual sachets are really handy for portion control and keeping the contents fresh so a big tick there, but providing a tin with just 30 sachets in is overkill. Horse owners (who despite spending the equivalent of a 2nd mortgage on their equines are a savvy lot) will quickly calculate that after a year of use they’d end up with twelve empty tins and then remember that the most effective joint mobility product on the market also comes in sachets, but packed in a cardboard box for over 30% less dosh per dose. If DS&H was my client, I’d have recommended that they went for cardboard and the tins were used as a promotional tool for an enhanced free-gift-with-purchase offer at launch or on their trade stand at big horsey events.
And finally – the full page ad itself. Apart from failing to explain what the range of supplements does (or focusing on the benefits of just one), it opts for two supplement case studies, plus a third where a stallion is getting three different supplements from the range a day (or over £100 a month worth) as an example of efficacy. As core target audience, I’m not getting a clear reason why I should switch to or start buying this. On top of this, the layout is hard to navigate, inconsistent and even the call to action is clunky.
It’s a shame, as DS&H have clearly spent quite a bit of money here. And in contrast their website is not bad at all. But in this instance, it’s a case of poor naming, poor packaging, poor design and poorly executed advertising. Either they are in need of a new marketing director, a new agency, or both.