AKSourceLink Blog

What do Xerox, Michelin, Ducati, and Marriott Have in Common?

Posted by Melissa Houston on Jan 08, 2013
A commercial.

Yes that's right, Xerox has begun an aggressive television marketing campaign, but they've taken an unconventional approach. Take a moment to watch these ads before reading on:


Let's deconstruct this marketing strategy. By partnering with other large corporations to produce television ads, Xerox is effectively able to achieve at least these three objectives:

Cost Savings

I am only speculating here- but if Xerox approached these firms with an offer to co-brand a television ad, chances are they may have also been receiving some financial assistance to air and/or produce the commercials. In hard economic times, and during the height of political advertising spending, this approach is a wise one to reduce costs and potentially get TV ad time that otherwise would normally be unapproachable right before a U.S. Presidential election. Even if not compensated; I'd argue that the other outcomes are well worth the approach.

Highlight Client Successes

The content in the commercial itself pays homage to what these companies do best, while at the same time, highlighting what Xerox's core competencies are. The scripting was both funny and positively genius. The Marriot commercial especially comes to mind here. The two hotel concierge staff fighting to impress each other was a classic demonstration of Marriott's dedication to customer service. By the same right, the Michelin man fighting the evil gas man again demonstrated their commitment to efficiency and gas savings through better tires. By creating narrative that praises hard work all around, brands like Michelin, Ducanti, and Marriott all are seen as winners in their respective industries. The positive messaging is only further amplified by the negative political ads that dominate the current airtime. Perhaps even more important, is the subtle hint that Xerox is their own industry champion for being able to handle the large brands that were selected to partner in the ads. It's certainly no coincidence that the companies selected to appear are all well recognized and established. Consider this from Christa Carone, Chief Marketing Officer of Xerox:

"Our value proposition to clients is we’re not just doing it for one company, we’re doing it for dozens of companies so we can invest in technology and infrastructure. This means companies that use our products can shift time and resources back to their real business."
Source: MarketingWeek Profile: Christa Carone, CMO, Xerox

The Incorporation of Key Viral Elements

I would be remiss if I didn't also mention that Xerox is implementing their marketing message across multiple channels- not just TV. I easily found their commercials with no more than one search, and without scrolling on the Google search results page. Xerox's YouTube channel had all the commercials that I needed, along with the ability to embed and share their content for this blog post. Here again, the content of the commercials themselves also amplify the likelihood of social sharing, not just by being accessible, but by also being positive, funny, and unique.

The Take Home

So what is the message for small business owners who are looking to increase their brand presence? Well, especially for B2B companies, this is a strategy you might take to work for you. Is there a client company who might be interested in being highlighted in a fun and genuine way, so both of your firms can win some additional business? If you partner to share your business successes, who knows- you both just might gain a few more customers.

Rob Williams is a Business Analyst for the University of Northern Iowa.  This post originally ran on IASourceLink, part of U.S.SourceLink - America’s largest resource network for entrepreneurs.