"Solutionism": Brain busting brand positioning

September 23, 2011

Traditional advertising techniques just don't cut it in this social media centric age. And yet, sometimes, revamping an old technique can be just what you need to build a new brand platform.

Dow Chemicals' latest campaign involves a classic of advertising materials: the billboard. Or in this case, the brick wall of a building in SoHo. The twist? It's styled as a giant chalkboard, with one mind boggling equation.

The tagline of the Giant Chalkboard is "Powered by Solutionism. The new optimism." If this is a new positioning on Dow's part, I could see it as an offshoot of their "Human Element" positioning.

It took human elements to create several bits of their equation: "year great Pyramid of Giza completed", "Golden Gate Bridge length in feet", "GIANT leaps for mankind", or my favorite "W in flux capacitor/88".

What one person might not be able to figure out, another dozen might. The Giant Chalkboard also has a twitter account to give them steady feedback and build conversations about the significance of the equation.

Math was never my strong suit, or history for that matter, but the sheer scope of the equation they've created intrigues and impresses me. The campaign is successful in that I've been checking every day for the next stretch of the equation, and to see what some of the answers are for smaller bits of it. And I want to see what the final answer is and what it means.

But, after all that is said and done, what will the following result be? A sense of accumulated accomplishment for figuring out the devilishly hard math problem? What will the takeaway impressions be? I sincerely hope that this is going to be more than just a way to gain attention and a slice of Twitterverse's attention.

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