When Kentucky Fried Chicken changed its name to KFC, it effectively hid the word "fried" from an increasingly health-conscious public. Now a famous dinosaur, for different reasons, is attempting a similar strategy.
Barney, the TV icon and oversized purple baby-sitter to 3-year-olds everywhere, is in a funk these days. Research by the purveyor of his products, Lyrick Studios of Dallas, showed that moms had misperceptions about the 13-year-old goofy-voiced dino, mistaking his manner for lack of substance. The result: a dip in sales of Barney products-and a golden brand in need of burnishing. Enter Adair-Greene, a leading Atlanta advertising agency that was brought in to troubleshoot.
Chris Steele, general manager of Adair-Greene, reports, "Moms simply weren't aware that Barney actually teaches many of life's important principles, like sharing and responsibility." Instead, they saw a dim-witted reptile with an insufferable nasality. The agency made a decision: run ads in parents' magazines promoting Barney's wholesome messages, but leave off the familiar image, lest it get a knee-jerk negative reaction.
of entrepreneurs have service businesses.
Adair-Greene's ad campaign has only just begun, so the jury is still out on whether it will be effective in rejuvenating the brand. The big question: Does this subtle approach to conveying Barney's healthy messages provide enough linkage for parents to get the point? Only time will tell. But the company's strategy is sound for any entrepreneur who is concerned about maintaining a brand's venerable image. A tweaking rather than a junking is a prudent Plan A.
Jerry Fisher, a freelance advertising copywriter, is also the author of Creating Successful Small Business Advertising.
Adair-Greene, (404) 351-8424