There are some things that always make us smile: a laughing baby, good news at work, and a really well-executed marketing campaign. Just think about how many people tune into the Superbowl commercials just to see what they’re like.
We can’t help it. Great advertising is like a great work of art; it’s meant to be appreciated.
But what makes an incredible marketing campaign?
- Is it your brand? Do you have to be well known to be successful?
- Is it your industry? Interesting industries like retail have a much easier time with their marketing than say an industry like insurance.
- Is it your budget? After all, the more money you have, the more all out you can go.
For two storage companies in New York City—Manhattan Mini Storage and MakeSpace—it’s all about their creativity. Though they occupy what most people would consider a boring industry like storage—which doesn’t lend itself to traditional consumer marketing—they’ve been killing it in their respective fields by taking proactive and innovative approaches.
Manhattan Mini Storage
Manhattan Mini is a family-owned self-storage company with 17 locations throughout NYC. And while that might not seem like enough of a reason to comment on their company, their marketing tells another story. They’ve built a reputation for witty advertising with sometimes savage and controversial campaigns targeted at New Yorkers.
(image source: Bjorn’s Blog)
For example, one of the company’s early billboards was a poke at Paris Hilton with the tagline: “Your closet’s so shallow, it makes Paris look deep.”
And that was just the start of their advertising genius.
Since then, they’ve created ads that comment on the most pressing political issues and timely commentary. Like during the 2008 presidential election when they created an ad that targeted Sarah Palin asking, “What’s more limited? Your closet or her experience?”
These on-time and on-point ads in the spirit of David Ogilvy—the godfather of modern advertising—are what make Manhattan Mini such a stand out in the advertising space. In fact, one of the company’s founding marketing experts is Stacy Stuart, an MBA who gained her initial experience at Ogilvy & Mather.
Manhattan Mini has truly mastered the art of traditional copywriting, and they use it to every advantage, though that doesn’t mean they’ve always been successful. When Archie Gottesman, the Chief Branding Office at Manhattan Mini, spoke to Fast Company about her work, she admitted to “dancing on the razor’s edge.” Still, that hasn’t stopped her from coming up with new ads that ride the edge of offensive versus appropriate.
The key to her success?
She keeps the communal decision making to a minimum. “Groups water down good advertising because everyone has a point of view,” explained Gottesman. “It just seems that ads created by a committee don’t have a very strong voice.”
Or, as the great David Ogilvy put it, “In my experience, committees can criticize, but they cannot create. ‘Search the parks in all your cities, you’ll find no statues of committees.”
Occupying the same industry, MakeSpace is one of Manhattan Mini’s biggest rivals in storage. They’re a ‘concierge’ self-storage startup whose slogan is, “Your Closet in the Cloud.”
They’ve quickly begun making a name for themselves, though they’ve taken a different route in regards to their advertising. Where Manhattan Mini is all about witty copy, MakeSpace is all about technology.
Not only is their service based on technology—you use an on-demand app to pay to have selected items delivered at your convenience—but so is their advertising.
You can find MakeSpace spread out everywhere online. They have an Instagram account, Digg, Stumbleupon, and Reddit, but that’s just the start. They also impress with their willingness to use online influencers to help sell the company.
For example, in 2015, MakeSpace teamed up with High Maintenance, one of the most well-known web series, to create a trio of commercials. According to Rion Harmon, the company’s VP of Marketing, he noticed similarities between MakeSpace’s delivery team and the protagonist in High Maintenance, and so wanted to play off that.
In one of the commercials, a slovenly apartment renter pulls a fast one on his sub-letters using MakeSpace storage solution. Throughout the commercial, technology is evident in every aspect from the video call with renters to the efficient appearance of MakeSpace using the app.
MakeSpace also isn’t afraid to sell their service through bold and experimental advertising techniques that matches their cutting-edge company. For example, they recently purchased thousands of dollars of subway car advertising space just to white out entire sections with no explanation of their service except the words “MakeSpace Was Here.”
According to Rion Harmon, “It was unusual and inspired curiosity,” he told General Catalyst Amplified. “It’s campaigns that do things a little differently that are remembered.”
There’s no doubt that both Manhattan Mini and MakeSpace have been successful in their advertising efforts, as different as they may be. The key is how they play to their particular strengths and stick with that. To learn more, contact Group 8a to see how we can transform your company.