Marketing Idea No. 186 – SLIPSTREAMING

Excerpts from the writing of Rajita Chaudhuri

Slipstreaming, by definition, means a vacuum of air created behind a fast moving vehicle. When a speeding car zips past, the bystander feels a powerful wall of air that can almost blow one over. Motor racers know the moment you get too close to this force, there will be little wind resistance, so you get “sucked” along by the slipstream.

According to Max Sutherland, the author of the book ‘Advertising and the Mind of the Consumer’, one can use the “slipstream” phenomena in advertising also. So advertisers tend to keep a lookout for top news stories – essentially those stories that get a lot of publicity and are clearly the most talked about and sometimes even gossiped about. Then, if one reworks their brand slogan in such a way that it gets linked to the top story, the consumer is bound to notice it and give it more attention over and above the regular advertising clutter.

One company that has been doing this kind of slipstream advertising is Energizer batteries. It has used its slogan, “Are you power mad,” to fit various topical stories and news headlines. In 2003, when the Chelsea Football club was buying soccer players left, right and centre, Energizer used the story to popularise its slogan – “Are you power mad?” Next, when there was a power struggle between Gordon Brown and Tony Blair for the hotseat at 10 Downing Street, Energizer featured a cartoon showing Gordon Brown changing the number of his house on Downing Street to “10” and the caption “Are you power mad?” fitted just perfectly!

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