Over the years, AdPulp has written many stories referencing Kevin Robert’s book Lovemarks, an overly designed Saatchi & Saatchi promo piece wrapped in a trademarked branding process. It’s amusing to note now that in 2006, a former CEO of a department store was so enamored of the book he hired Saatchi to turn his store into a “Lovemark.” That beloved department store? JC Penney.
But Lovemarks the book is so…well, 2004. After 9 years, what does the agency say now? We find out in Loveworks: How the world’s top marketers make emotional connections to win in the workplace by Brian Sheehan, a former Saatchi executive and now Syracuse University Professor.
Sheehan doesn’t forget where he came from. What we get is simply a hagiography of Saatchi and Saatchi, as the book offers case study after case study of agency clients he seems to think can be chalked up to being a “Lovemark.” Swiffer. Reebok. Nike (a Saatchi client in Brazil). It doesn’t matter what the product is, they all somehow fit into the Lovemarks ethos. The conclusion of the book? “Love is working.” Not exactly an unbiased analysis.
The redeeming value in Loveworks comes from the interesting studies of brands working internationally (Saatchi & Saatchi has offices in pretty much any country you can name). The story of Safeguard soap being introduced to the Chinese market, for example, provides some fun and valuable insight into marketing in other cultures. But at heart, Loveworks simply acts as an agency credentials book, where any emotional connection forged with consumers is deemed to be one born from “love.” We’ve seen many agencies attempt similar ways at branding themselves, but this one comes with a cute phrase. Are there lessons you can apply at your own agency or brand? You’ll have to decide for yourself whether Loveworks is all you need.
Special thanks to FSB Associates for providing me with a review copy.