F#$% Your Resolutions

January 8, 2018 Ophelie Zalcmanis-Lai

“New year, new you.”

How many times have you heard that?

How many resolutions are written on paper only to maybe be crossed off?

How many brands have tried to capitalize on the seasonality of New Year’s?

The answer is lots. And the answer is usually the same, obvious response: “kick start your New Year’s goals with insert product here!”

It goes without saying that this response is tired. And frankly, it’s probably part of the reason people don’t take their resolutions seriously (whether personally or career-wise). It’s all the pressure to buy into messages and stuff that at the end of the day, don’t actually contribute much to the bigger picture.

But then one brand, a healthy brand mind you, came out with this message last week: “Screw Your Resolutions.”

SoulCycle blew us away with their campaign to get people to embrace who they are this New Year, instead of trying to change everything to no end.

This is what captured our minutes this week.

Here’s why:

1. The campaign has the element of surprise.  
If we forget about micro-analyzing the campaign, its branding, its words, its design, etc., it at least fundamentally has the element of surprise.

Why? Because no one expects a health-focused brand (owned by Equinox no less) to tell people to eat the cookie, watch one more episode or stay in late.

This kind of unexpected message works here because it breaks people’s guards down. Everyone expects to be told what to do to be healthy and that can generate a bit of resentment when certain products or practices don’t fit into their lifestyle.

So, in getting ready for 2018 everyone braces themselves for the onslaught of “be healthier” messaging. Then, SoulCycle pedals in and tells them instead to keep doing what they’ve been doing.

It’s essentially a breath of fresh air in what is an oversaturated time to be sending out new campaigns.  

2. The above said, SoulCycle is pedalling very meaningfully in the opposite direction of every other health brand.

Surprises aside, SoulCycle’s marketing team didn’t just wake up one day and think “screw it” – at least not genuinely.

No, instead this is a part of the brand’s bigger messaging for 2018, according to Advertising Age.

"As we were thinking about January and as we think about what other brands are doing in terms of telling people to diet or lose weight or cut stuff out of their lives, we kind of wanted to take a different approach," says SoulCycle SVP of marketing Sarah Choi. "We wanted it to be about celebrating who they are and embracing the things that make them who they are."


This is smart business practice, through and through. To win the Battle for Time, you can’t be doing what everyone else is already doing. SoulCycle gets that.

Furthermore, it’s adopting a brand point of view that really celebrates the individual – something that’s especially appealing to consumers who don’t know where to look, who to believe and what to buy into.

And for all this, SoulCycle will come out ahead.

3. People learned volumes about a company in super short phrases.  

Ah, simple creative. It’s such an awesome thing.

When given the chance to say a few words it’s easy to say too much.  

There’s always a ton of creative, strategic ideas that are all somehow crucial to the end goal. But 5 lines of copy just don’t roll off the tongue that well. And people also don’t have the attention spans for it.

Ignore that text.

Kiss a stranger.

Break the scale.

Give zero F@#$s

Cue the “I’m Sorry.”

They might just seem like short affirmations, but these are actually a great way of SoulCycle letting audiences know what it’s all about.

After all, SoulCycle talks about being all about soul and individuality and being for everyone. The little phrases that make up this campaign reflect this:

Ignoring texts? Yeah, that’s called being mindful.

Kissing a stranger? Spontaneity.

Saying sorry? That’s called feeling.

They essentially act as little hints at SoulCycle’s values and beliefs.

Oh, and it all plays out in under 30 seconds meaning people zero in, absorb and remember.

Congrats to SoulCycle for an awesome internal campaign. We might just want to hop on a bike ourselves.

At the end of the day, people engage with content by lending their minutes. Content is successful when its battery is fully charged with attention.

What will win this week?


 
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