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When I first saw the Electric Kiwi ad on TV, I don’t think I even realised it was an ad.
It snuck in past my human ad-blocking radar, and slithered its way into my subconscious.
It caught me a couple more times over that week, until I found myself humming the tune in the shower.
So the next time I heard the words “You got your guaranteed savings…” I stopped to properly watch it.
It’s cheesy… but charming. And very clever. You got people, you got singing, you got emotion. And you got a little bit of a story.

If you haven’t seen Electric Kiwi’s latest ad, take 30 seconds to watch it.

For a low budget ad, it really works. Here’s why.

The short ad communicates a story in a way that stamps a definite impression. With apparently little effort on their part, I now know what their point of difference is and what they stand for as a brand.

How though? OK, five ways:

  1. It’s an underdog story. The small independent company takes on the big monopolistic companies who rule the market, sparking feelings of empathy and trust. And living at the bottom of the world, we Kiwis love a good underdog story (there’s even a book on great New Zealand underdog stories).
  2. It has low production values. Whether deliberate or not, it’s a brilliant strategy for a product that is typically known for being pricy. The awkward shots, wavering a bit like they were casually made on an iPhone, contribute to the image of a cheaper product with a wholesome feel.
  3. It features customers. Actually, the ad looks like it could have been made by customers. This accomplishes two things. One, it reinforces the impression that Electric Kiwi is all about their customers and passing on savings, not about the company and profits. Two, it suggests that these everyday Kiwis support the brand, so you should too. They even invite us along, singing “we’d love for you to join us.” A clever way to imply social proof without using direct testimonials.
  4. It’s imperfect. The singing is off-key. They look like regular ordinary people just going about their day, not models and actors. They’re outside, not in flashy homes. The little girl at the end is delightfully charming in her amateurish delivery. They’re imperfect people, with flaws, like you and me. In business storytelling, we know that people relate more to the realistic everyday hero with flaws than the perfectly beautiful one. And in a world of slick, big-budget ads, videos and games, it’s got that comforting homemade sort of appeal.
  5. It’s got a catchy tune. Music is the universal language of emotions. It always has been and always will be. It has the power to stick in our minds and make us feel something. The way the people in the ad sing along only adds to the effect, especially when you find yourself singing long after the ad has come and gone. It’s a great way to embed your message in the minds of prospective customers.

Deliberate differences make for a distinct brand

With the brand story work we do, we have seen just how critical it is to understand the market context, take into account the competitive landscape, and do something deliberately different. Electric Kiwi has beautifully portrayed themselves as the independent, lower cost power company made for regular everyday people. That’s it. In striking contrast to a lot of ads out there today, they don’t sing their own praises about being the best, offer extravagant deals, or assault our senses with loud music and shouting voices. Instead, there’s a bit of humility portrayed with a pleasant catchy tune that creates a warm fuzzy feeling. With a 30-second commercial they have brilliantly carved out a niche and appealed to the heart of their prospective customers. And in the super competitive power company category it’s a clever approach to distinguish their brand.

When the biggest challenge you have in marketing today is just getting noticed, what better way to do it than doing the opposite of what your competitors are doing? Create a distinct identity for your brand that shows how you are different, and stand the hell out!