Not being the boyfriend.

13 Jan

Being a challenger brand is kind of like hitting on another guy’s girlfriend.

She’s been with him for the last four years and their relationship is great. Really, it’s just fine. Sure, things are pretty predictable. But he’s an honest and reliable guy. Maybe he’s let himself go a little since his single days, but that doesn’t mean she’s not attracted to him. And perhaps he doesn’t surprise her anymore, but why should he have to? Like I said, things are fine.

But you, you get to play the exciting part. You get to be funny and spontaneous and encourage her to do things she never thought she would do. You get to take her on an emotional adventure. It’s not a date, obviously, but the two of you go out to dinner. That’s what friends do. And you share a bottle of wine. Two bottles of wine. Two bottles of wine and a martini. That explains why you both thought it would be a fantastic idea to run through the water sprinklers outside the restaurant. Now you’re both soaked. She’s slurring syllables and her sentences are coming out like Silly String. She pauses. You notice her hand has come to rest on your forearm.

“If things were different…” she starts, peering up from beneath a furrowed brow. She pushes your arm away and presses her fingers to her lips as if to hold them together. “Never mind.” She’s shaking her head.

But that’s enough. It’s all you wanted to hear. It’s not like you ever really expected her to leave him for you. You never actually intended to spoil their perfectly adequate relationship.

You just like the way it feels to be this guy. The funny guy. The spontaneous guy. The guy that impresses the girl. For once.

Being a challenger brand is kind of like that. You can be edgy and exciting and surprising and different, because you get all the freedom of not being the boyfriend.

Here is a TV ad from a challenger brand that took me by surprise this week.


4 Responses to “Not being the boyfriend.”

  1. Bronwyn January 16, 2011 at 4:53 pm #


  2. Rachel Tompkins February 2, 2011 at 8:29 am #

    Great metaphor, even better storytelling!


  1. Tweets that mention Not being the boyfriend. « The Shortest Word. -- - February 2, 2011

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Cecilia Gorman, Katherine Keogh. Katherine Keogh said: RT @AdSchoolAdvisor: Found this on The Shortest Word blog, geared to copywriters. Good stuff. "Not being the boyfriend": […]

  2. Battle of the brands: Challengers and “boyfriends” | Emily Papp - February 10, 2011

    […] recently read an article on The Shortest Word titled “Not being the boyfriend,” that compares challenger brands—those products and companies that lack market […]

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