You Know A Product’s Good When Your Competitors Recommend It!

American courier company DHL has been a bit cheeky in their latest advertising campaign. But they certainly understand the power of recommendations . . . especially when they come from your competitors!

In their latest advertising campaign, DHL painted large delivery boxes with the slogan ‘DHL is Faster’ and then covered them in thermodynamic foil. They then paid deliverymen from different competing courier companies (TNT, UPS and DPD) to deliver the boxes to difficult addresses where they have to cross large streams of traffic.

I imagine that most companies would object to carrying around a large advertisement for their competitors, so DHL cooled down the boxes and this caused the special foil to turn black. Little did the delivery men know that as the boxes were exposed to the sun and warmed up, they would reveal an advertisement for their competitors.

While this is a great example of an advertising stunt that captures the attention of many onlookers, it also shows the power of a recommendation!

The best way to get people to engage with a product is through a personal recommendation. Salesmen, doctors, people in white coats and shouting advertisements can tell you this is the product for you, but if that recommendation comes from a trusted friend then – like friendship – it is worth its weight in gold.

However, DHL seem to have uncovered an even more powerful source of recommendation . . . competitors.

While you may trust your friends, there is the inherent understanding that competitors are out to protect their own interests. If two companies offer the same service for a similar price, one probably isn’t going to recommend you try out the other.

So by getting your competitors to shout your message loud and clear the audience is basically being told ‘This company’s service is so good, even their competitors recognise that they cannot compete.’

Additionally, there is one other factor at play.

The courier industry isn’t really at the heart of consumer’s life or death decisions. If a package arrives a day later, it probably isn’t the end of the world. As a result, within these industries consumers are willing to have a bit of a joke. And that is why this advertisement comes off so well – it appeals to the light side of life.

The emphasis of this advertisement isn’t on telling consumers that they need to use DHL (well, at least not overtly). The emphasis is placed on showing off what they were able to make their competitors do.

And that sticks with viewers much better than being lectured about the benefits of DHL. Test it out. Is the three word slogan imprinted on your brain? I know it’s on mine!