A few years back we had to advertise Fiesta kitchen towels.
Fiesta was market leader in kitchen towels.
So, according to the Binary Brief, we should be doing market growth for kitchen towels.
But that didn’t seem to make a lot of sense given that Fiesta only had 30% of the market.
Which meant for every 10 people we brought into the market, 7 of them would buy something else.
So I looked at the pie chart.
(I always prefer charts to just numbers, they bring the facts to life more.)
And Fiesta was way the biggest brand with 30%.
Next was Tesco own-label with 16%.
Then Sainsbury’s own-label with 14%.
Then Asda own-label with 12%.
Then Morrison’s own-label with 10%.
So looked at in a purely literal way Fiesta was the biggest brand.
But actually there was a much bigger brand.
When you added Tesco, Sainsbury, Asda, and Morrisons kitchen towel sales together they made up 52% of the market.
So we shouldn’t be doing a Market Growth campaign at all.
We should be doing a Brand Share campaign.
Now how that changes the thinking is, we shouldn’t be telling people why they should be buying paper towels at all.
We shouldn’t be growing the market by explaining the hygienic benefits of disposable paper towels over dishcloths.
We shouldn’t be growing the market by suggesting new uses for paper towels either.
We have to go against the market leader, and tell people why they should switch to our brand instead.
Well first you have to see why people are buying their current brand.
In this case the answer’s obvious: price.
People aren’t specifying a brand, they’re just buying the cheapest in whichever supermarket they shop in.
So the brief becomes, “How do we get them to trade up?”
How do we get them to pay more for our brand?
Checking against cheaper towels we found ours were 3 ply, they were 2 ply.
So now the Brand Share communication is, “Why you should buy our towels instead of cheaper ones.”
Well they last longer because they’re thicker.
You’ll use less of them, because they’re thicker.
They‘ll absorb more spills, because they’re thicker.
They’re softer for your family because they’re thicker.
And for all these reasons, they could even work out cheaper in the long run.
So buying own-label is a false economy.
So the brief becomes Brand Share/ Triallists/ Product.
The product message could however be delivered in a brand way, “Don’t your family deserve the best?”
And 3 ply is probably 50% thicker than 2 ply.
So that could go on the pack.
“50% thicker than cheaper kitchen towels.
Don’t your family deserve the best?”
Then you’ve got the reason to switch at point-of-sale, just as the woman’s about to reach for the own-label.
So you see, the Binary Brief isn’t just a simple algebraic formula.
It’s a language that allows creatives to interrogate the brief.
It’s a discipline that means hard choices must be made, before the ads are written.


Used creatively, it forces people to think.