Wednesday, March 3, 2010

What are words worth?

The right words can earn your company millions of dollars.

That’s a big claim. Can I back it up? Yes. Let’s look at LG. LG is a quality Korean consumer electrical company. Prior to 1997 they were called Lucky Goldstar. Their products were as yuck as their name: all black plastic and gold foil. Really quite horrible and down market.

They wanted to rebrand and be considered amongst the big names in fridges, TVs, washing machines etc. So the name changed from Lucky Goldstar to LG. But they needed a slogan.

My good friend and creative Geoff Fischer took the brand name and extended LG to Life’s Good.

This line had three benefits. First, the brand name reminded you of the slogan and vice versa. Second the slogan summed up the improvement LG would bring to the consumer. Third it could work on any product line AND the company as a whole. ‘Life’s Good’ just seemed right.

LG launched in Australia in 1997 on the platform of Life’s Good. The actual products were cleaned up too. They now looked like their competition: an important factor in consumer electronics.

To say that Life’s Good helped LG become a major brand is a massive understatement. The slogan is now used worldwide by LG and LG is one of the worlds best regarded domestic electrical brands.

So what would you pay for such a line?

A1. By the word. I was once asked to write similar sales lines for a large news company. They paid for advertising copy in the same way they paid for editorial – by the word. So Life’s Good would have cost them about $2.

A2. By the hour. Creative is often charged by the hour depending on who works on the job. I charge $100. If I was contracted to a large multinational agency the same work would be charged at $300 - $400 per hour. So by this scale Life’s Good could be worth between $100 and $400. Still ridiculously cheap.

A3. By the improvement it makes to your business. We didn’t know it at the time but those two little words have played a huge role in LG’s success. I believe the line is worth hundreds of millions of dollars in increased sales and brand building to LG. But I’m fairly sure LG didn’t pay that.

So what’s the answer? I think marketers should set a price that reflects the importance to their brand and business. If you need a quick short-term answer, budget accordingly. If the project is a complete brand re-focus, as with LG, make a big deal of it. Get your creative suppliers excited. Get lots of ideas.

Spend the money.

If you have a creative advertising problem call Tony Richardson on (02) 9929 0588 or visit Tony Richardson Advertising or

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