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LawsonGuru Blog

Thought-Provoking Commentary for the Lawson Software Community

Lars, You Need a Cause


I’ve recently noticed some interesting ads, focused on brand loyalty and awareness:

  • Tide’s Loads of Hope.  In a nutshell, Proctor & Gamble outfitted a truck with washers and dryers, and they deploy into areas affected by natural disasters, and people line up to do their laundry:

    What an awesome idea.  Think about it.  If you were one of those people, wouldn’t you become life-time Tide customer?

  • AT&T is undertaking an initiative to replace it’s vehicle fleet, with energy-efficient, American-made vehicles.
  • Wal-Mart is trying to repair its reputation of being an aggressively employee-unfriendly place to work. Part of its lower-price strategy over the years has translated into horrible public relations.  A new CEO is trying to fix that.  A recent advertisement pledges that Wal-Mart "won’t be 100% satisfied until every American has quality, affordable health coverage”.

In Marketing 101, we learned that these are examples of institutional advertising, intended to build awareness and generate goodwill, not to promote a particular product.  Which brings us to Lars, the animated avatar from Lawson.

Lars is cute and the videos are obviously well-produced.  But the message just isn’t compelling.   Lawson should be using this opportunity to tie their products into some meaningful community service; saving cats just seems so irrelevant.  Given our economic situation and all that we face, how about tackling a serious problem, like expanding into electronic health records (EHR), or tracking your carbon emissions?   Sure, it’s cool to have a mascot/avatar, but it needs to be more than just a cartoon.

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3 responses to “Lars, You Need a Cause

  1. GRG_MTFF June 24, 2009 at 3:08 pm

    Tide’s Loads of Hope, not only provides community benefit, and it promotes the brand at the same time. Wal-Mart and AT&T, a bit more self-interest by updating their fleet and soothing employee relations. Not to take away the environment benefits, but, their actions piggy backs on the current “go green” movement while benefits their bottom line.

    P&G, ATT, Wal-Mart,and others such as BP, Toyota, has one thing in common. They KNOW what to do to build a future for their companies (and their share holders).

    Lawson has an unique opportunity to take the lead in the Digital Health Care market. They are already in the Hospitals! Lars, can be used to promote Lawson similar to Intels commercials of the past, Intel Inside.

    How about this line
    Lars on the job, ensuring the accuracy of your digital medical records.

    As I have stated in the past, Lawson needs to figure out what they want to be when then grow up. 5 years from now, will Lawson still be relevant? or SAP and Oracle would have make Lawson “disappear” like Microsoft did to Borland?

  2. Milo Tsukroff July 1, 2009 at 7:54 am

    Brilliant idea! Lawson could expand on the “Save the Cat” idea & start supporting vets and feral cat programs. How about a program to help create digital records for pets? Or a support effort to help feral cat programs, that help maintain feral cat populations which in turn keeps down vermin?

    Pets are a back-door into people’s lives. Long live Lars!

    [Opinion: WalMart built its reputation on “Buy American” – and now they’re known as ‘China-Mart’. I think that WalMart is stumbling again when they get into the “affordable health care” area. It’s politically explosive. Another sign that their management doesn’t get it.]

  3. Michael Stanley July 1, 2009 at 11:25 am

    True, Lawson is “in hospitals”. But Lawson is part of the “business-side” of running the hospital, not the clinical side. Lawson needs to stay focused on their core competency which is the business side. I would not want Lawson to try to compete in the Electronic Medical Records space while they still have many elements of their core suites that need refinement.

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