Why did Slack splash out on such a major ad campaign?

Our Score:

The Background

In these days of everything making our lives easier or more efficient, who would have thought that an online-workflow tool used by tech, design and marketing companies would have seen the need to create a mainstream advertising campaign? 

With the whole ethos of its product being about efficiency, it seems a bit odd to advertise in mainstream media channels where there will be so much media wastage as most people will never have a need for Slack or are not in a position to get it in their company anyway. Not the most efficient use of its budget I would argue. But it seems to be everywhere in London anyway with six-sheet posters, tube panels, press and even a TV commercial. 

So, what’s it all about?

The Big Idea

In one word, Collaboration. 

I write this as a veteran of the system which we have had in our agency for over three years now so have seen how the collaboration idea is relevant. Slack has taken this as the core thought of the campaign and tried to deliver it through all the executions to varying levels of success. It’s quite easy with a tech product to create boring work which talks about features rather than consumer benefit and it has seen this potential pitfall.

What They Did

All the ads (both press and TV) are set in a bright, colourful workplace to reinforce the brand colours so dominant in its logo. It also gives a fairly positive feel to the ads. 

However, it does feel a bit plastic and a little bit corny in some of the executions but better that, I guess, than some boring, grey, real-world office environment. The TV plays out what Slack does and how you can create channels as individual workflows/projects. This is its real strength. It allows you to involve all the people who need to be involved and everyone can see everything so no need to delve through hundreds of emails searching for that bit of info you need. 

BUT. The press just doesn’t do this is my opinion. I know what Slack is but if I didn’t, I’m not sure the press ads really help me understand what it is. And, if this is a direct-response campaign, the call to action is quite small and recessive.

The Review

My biggest issue with this work is not the actual creative, but the targeting. I just don’t see how mainstream TV especially and the cost of that media space is ever going to be relevant to most people watching it. As business owners we had the choice to get Slack after understanding what it could do for us. 

However I don’t see how the wastage it will get from mainstream media will ever pay back given most people on their sofas at home are not business owners and are without a group of fellow workers. 

Are they going to collaborate on the household chores?

In Hindsight

Maybe I’d have made the benefits a little clearer in the messaging and make the point that it is different to email and why. I found it hard to see what it did that email couldn’t at first. Other than that, media buying could have been more targeted to business users.

A competent campaign which does a job of creating awareness to a mass audience. Just can’t understand why as it seems a business-to-business product to me.

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Andy MacKenzie

Andy MacKenzie

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