In August 2019 the FT summed up its analysis of integrated container logistics company Maersk’s latest TV ad with the line:

“we are not enlightened enough to understand what this all has to do with global logistics”,

thereby revealing its wholesale missing of the point.

Also in 2019, Binet and Field replicated for B2B their respected B2C research The Long and the Short of It looking at how to balance short term activation with long term brand building in order to drive marketing growth. They found that the balance between brand and activation in B2B should be a 50:50 split (it’s 60:40 respectively for B2C). As such, B2B brands are significantly under-investing in emotional brand building. And yet, being a well-known, top-of-mind brand drives sustainable growth in B2B. What an opportunity!

Maersk is an innovative B2B marketer. It understands the long game and the impact of emotion in brand marketing. It’s been investing in sharing beautiful relatable human stories in video, in social media for ten years. Certainly a decade ago this must have seemed counterintuitive for what you might be forgiven for thinking is a ‘grey faceless supply chain business’. Do they do multi-million Euro deals on Facebook? No. Have they been influencing and building their brand on Facebook for years with the execs that cut those deals? Very much yes.

From the outside we can take the liberty of reverse-engineering Maersk’s brand marketing: so let’s get back to the This Is Your Brain ad where Change challenges the Reptilian Brain.

I’m going to take a punt on a key buyer persona for Maersk being an older man. Let’s call him Eric. He’s the Global Supply Chain Director for an international consumer goods organisation. He’s been in the business for 20 years and is in his late 50s. One of Eric’s key challenges is staying ahead of new tech and trends as they arise so that his multi-million dollar operation stays profitable and efficient. He’s done it well for years but change isn’t slowing down and his company is ruthless in its retrenchment efforts. Can he keep delivering long enough to retire on his terms? Fear of change is a big emotional driver for him.

Meanwhile, Maersk itself is going through a period of transformation. Having had some troubling times in recent years, it is reorganising for growth. Its ‘All The Way’ campaign is about communicating both how it is changing to continue to meet the needs of modern business and also how it delivers a seamless logistics service to its customers.

In this context, love it or hate it, the controversial ad is effective on many levels. It taps into a core buyer persona’s emotional motivation (I think Eric could well even look a bit like Reptilian Brain man), communicates core corporate and customer messages and the creative is brave and memorable.

What’s this got to do with logistics? Are you kidding me? This is class-a top-of-the-funnel, emotional brand storytelling! Watch and learn!