iPods don’t take a licking. A few months back, my iPod stopped working. I got the dreaded “sad iPod” icon. I tried the suggested solutions on the Apple support page to no avail and was ready to try the controversial “6th” solution: ramming it on a pad of paper. I asked some people about how long their iPods lasted and no one seemed to mind that these things crap out regularly. (A sign of greenetically incorrect eliteness, if you ask me.) Although iPods, according to their own report, and other electronic items, according to The New York Times, are supposedly built to last for three years, the reality is that many break down before this.
I hate having to replace something that should have lasted a lot longer. It’s a waste of money and generates needless landfill. Can you imagine if Sony Walkmans broke down so easily 25 years ago? Why are we so permissive of non-durability? While in recent years, brands have been focusing on the “fluffy” stuff like inspiration, now that we’re in a recession, I predict durability will again become a selling point.
Which brands will deliver campaigns like The Energizer Bunny, Timex’s “Takes a licking but keeps on ticking” or Built Ford Tough? (The former two are on Ad Age’s list of the Top 100 Advertising Campaigns of the Century.)
Sites like eBay, Gumtree and Craigslist are establishing a re-sale value for every imaginable item. Will any brands follow the lead of the auto industry and promote a high re-sale value in their marketing communications?
Certainly, luxury brands with high-quality craftsmanship are in a prime position to respond to the current economic climate by positioning their product as an investment, something Patek Phillipe has done for awhile now with their ad campaign focusing on buying “for the next generation”.
A much smaller (and more affordable) example is our client ShopCurious which sells unique and designer vintage items. They have been encouraging customers to eschew a slavish addiction to high street trends and disposable fashion in favor of quality items which will last. The value in buying quality is that if you buy something classic that you really like, you can keep it for a long time and it will always look good and function well, i.e. they are “built to last”.
If this company selling trash cans can use "built to last" as their key selling point, any brand with a quality product can.
Kate Stendahl contributed to this blog post.