The White Ice Cube

A couple of weeks ago, I was on a flight home from Minneapolis, MN. I had a business trip there for a couple of days, and I was happy to be heading home. The flight left on time, which in this day is a minor miracle. It was set to get into Lexington a few minutes early. I’m good.

When the flight attendant asked me what I wanted to drink, I thought for a second and requested a Coke; a hold over from the 10 years I spent working in marketing for The Coca-Cola Company. While I was drinking my favorite soft drink, I looked down at the cup and noticed that one of the ice cubes didn’t look like the rest. It was white, while the others were clear. Interesting. Shortly thereafter, the flight attendant walked by, and I asked her about the white ice cube. She told me, “It has something to do with the freezing process.” I have no idea if that’s true, or if it’s the answer she gives to the dorks that ask her stupid questions about ice cubes. But, it made me think. I noticed the white ice cube simply because it’s different. I’m guessing its cooling properties are the same as the other ice cubes, but this stood out because it looked different. I believe that’s what advertising should do. Stand out.

I have clients who demand that their advertising stand out at all times, and I have clients who believe their advertising should be in line with their competitors, because, “That’s what works in our business.” Far be it for me to suggest that only one answer exists in marketing and advertising, but the one thing I know is this; I never would have noticed the ice cubes if one of them didn’t stand out, and I never would have started a conversation about them with the flight attendant. I engaged with it. So, if you have a brand that needs to stand out from competition, consider doing something different—something that stands out.