Sellout "Brand" or just plain "Bland"? In Lovemarks, advertising giant Saatchi & Saatchi CEO Kevin Roberts delves deep into what mysteries lie behind the long-term success and unwavering customer loyalty for a can of Coke or a pair of Levi's, ultimately concluding that Love is the answer, and without some emotional connection to a product, it will dry up like a generic raisin in the sun. Enter Lovemarks, the new marketing buzzword, which will likely be bandied about at board meetings as vigorously as The Tipping Point.
But before Roberts can get to what in fact a Lovemark means in the worlds of advertising and marketing, he takes us on a virtual tour of his CV. There was his first post at Mary Quant in London, then the gig as New Products Manager of Gillette International in the Middle East, on to CEO of Pepsi in Canada, and later the same role at Lion Nathan in New Zealand. The list goes on, and so does Roberts--on and on--about his achievements and experience building brand awareness and shaking things up (he famously machine-gunned a vending machine at a presentation for a spot on the evening news). More importantly, he succeeds at blasting away the smoke and mirrors that might prevent a creative genius (or an ordinary consumer) from seeing what makes Superman the most beloved super-hero of all time.
Despite the somewhat egocentric approach to taking us there (he is, after-all, a pretty smart guy), we arrive at Roberts's point beautifully, and see what he sees: "That human attention has become our principle currency." And that, in these times, forming long-term emotionally charged relationships with customers is the only way to make a product weather the long haul. And while Roberts speaks to us in a spirited, conversational manner (that makes Lovemarks a pleasure to read), the design of the book seems to work against him, as convoluted typography and a general lack of layout consistency give the book a visually amateurish look. --Christene Barberich