“What does a TED talk about LEADERSHIP, a WHISKEY commercial and YOUR BUSINESS have in common?”

Recently I re-watched Simon Sinek’s TED Talk How Great Leaders Inspire Action – which brings fresh insight into the extraordinary triumphs of the Apple computer company, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Wright brothers (and yes! That’s a wide ranging talk, and, all in under 18 minutes) – I re-watched it because I had just seen the scotch commercial for Glenmorangie. Do yourself a HUGE favour and watch the commercial on YouTube first.

The minute-long commercial has all of the wild abandon and quirkiness of any Wes Anderson movie, mashed up with the fantasy and dream like state of Tim Burton’s version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Alice in Wonderland, all rolled into one. Now that is one hell of an impressive list of imagery wrapped up in a train journey, a trip to the laundromat, camping, and a bubble bath!

Yes, it has a oversaturated and exaggerated colour palette highlighted by the powerful splashes of Glenmorangie’s signature tangerine colour; BUT… working in radio as I do... It was the sound design that had me hooked… from the soulful crooning of British pop star Michael Kiwanuka (See the full video clip of the original Michael Kiwanuka song HERE), and the gentle sound of crystal rattling with ice that recur subtly in the mix…. But… (and this is important) it is NOT the focus of the commercial.

Conspicuously absent in the commercial are what we would class as the ‘normal’ sound images a commercial for scotch would be, or should they?. For example, there are no bagpipes playing and no kilts to be seen. WHY?

Well, let’s go back to Simon Senek’s TED Talk… Simon explains how companies, brands or people can “inspire loyalty by simply inspiring their customers.”

His theory of the Golden Circle, which, briefly is: three concentric circles representing the questions WHY, HOW and WHAT. Simon says, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”

He explains that Apple doesn’t present any of its products, its computers or its phones, as machines (the “what”). Apple’s message, he explains that Apple “believe in thinking differently, we (they) make products that are beautifully designed, simple to use and user-friendly.”

By positioning itself as an idea, something that strikes at consumers emotions instead of presenting a rational argument with facts and figures, Apple presents the “why”. As a result, you can relate to it faster than considering all of the data and information.

“The goal is not to do business with everybody who needs what you have,” Sinek says. “The goal is to do business with people who believe what you believe. 'What you do' serves as the proof of what you believe.”

Glenmorangie is an example of this. Director of Distilling and Whisky Creation for Glenmorangie and Ardbeg, Dr Bill Lumsden said in a recent interview that “…I think of whisky on three levels: technical production, then in terms of how it tastes, and how it makes me feel”

Louise Dennett, Glenmorangie Global Head of Brand explains: “We make whisky because we want people to enjoy it."

"The vivid, dazzling imagery of the Glenmorangie commercial encourages that concept of enjoyment. It’s the idea, a feeling of drinking a whiskey, not just the whiskey" says Lousie.

That’s Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle theory in practice, there’s no science – nor bagpipes or kilts – to be seen. No cliche's.

Radio commercials that follow the Glenmorangie example are going to stand out… it’s just having the instinct and trust in your consumers to understand that message, and, to do just that.

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