SlimFast Focuses on Motivations, not Sex

Marketing means a lot of different things depending on who you ask, but at the core of all marketing activity is serving customers- helping them fulfill their needs and wants. While a great deal of emphasis is put on internal strategies and processes for carrying out marketing (e.g., product development, marketing plans, and performance measurement), the fact remains that customers’ concerns influence marketing decisions. Thus, marketing should focus on selling to customers’ needs more than selling products.

Motivations = “Get What You Really Want”
A current example of how marketing is the set of activities conducted to fulfill the needs and wants of customers is a print ad campaign for SlimFast. Print ads for SlimFast’s “Get What You Really Want” campaign delve beyond standard feature-benefits presentation we are accustomed to seeing in ads. Instead, SlimFast goes to the underlying motivations that people might have for wanting to lose weight and get fit. The tone of the ads is surprisingly provocative as the motivations targeted are not surface level benefits (e.g., lose weight) but deeper payoffs for using the product. Different versions of the ads include these messages:

  • Stated thought: “I want to show off my new confidence,” Inner thought: “I want to show off my new ass.”
  • Stated thought: “I want my jeans to go on easier,” Internal thought: “I want my jeans to come off easier.”
  • Stated thought: “I want to get into my new pants,” Inner thought: “I want to get into someone else’s pants.”

At first glance, some people might criticize SlimFast and say it is resorting to sex appeal to sell its “slimming” products. After all, advertising has a lengthy history of selling sex, right? Not necessarily. Sex and the need for intimacy are based on human emotions and are needs that people desire to have fulfilled. SlimFast is positioning its brand as a means to an end; in no way do the ads suggest”buy SlimFast and you will score.” Instead, SlimFast is aligning its brand with lifestyle choices that will enable people to achieve their personal goals.

Are There Limits?
The SlimFast “Get What You Really Want” campaign is effective because it is a departure from status quo advertising in this product category. The theme of the campaign is Marketing 101- responding to buyers’ wants and needs. The blend of humor and sex is a novel presentation of the core message: SlimFast can help you achieve what you want. Are there limits to using this provocative mix of humor and sex? Sure, this approach would not likely not resonate as well if it were for an automobile brand or a new style of running shoes. There is a line over which overt sex appeals could detract from a brand’s value proposition, but SlimFast walks that line adeptly in this campaign without crossing it.

Marketing Daily – “Provocative Ads Intro New SlimFast Positioning”

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Author: Don Roy

Marketing educator, blogger, & consultant- Having fun with all of the above!

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