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  • George Clapp

Brand of the Week: The Values of the Year (So Far)

Values are central to everything we do at One Minute to Midnight, and we think they’re crucial for brands to be in-touch with their audience in everything they do. That’s why we started Brand of the Week – to explore and call out where brands are living and enabling their values (or not, in some instances).

Over the last 4 months our team has explored the values of brands ranging from large multinationals like Coca-Cola to smaller, more specialised brands like Wren Kitchens with a diverse range of purposes and audiences. So, when looking back at them we expected there to be a real spectrum of results through our 10 values spaces, but instead we discovered some interesting consistencies. Namely, there are 3 values that hold particular importance for our brands so far: Self-direction, Hedonism, and Achievement.

As a special edition of Brand of the Week, we explore these 3 values through the brands we’ve spoken about, and how each has been deployed to target a slightly different group of people… Let’s see what we found out…


Self-direction seems to be a central value for brands who want to connect deeply with their audience, but those we’ve looked at have shown that it’s crucial to show it off in the right way to really light a spark.

For example, Gousto's “Give it some” showed that they understood a huge appeal for the brand’s products is enabling their users to express themselves through their food. The ad therefore does a great job of displaying this through the visuals and music.

But Self-direction is more than just expressing your personality, it can also be about standing out from the crowd and embracing your differences to others. This is something that Nicce and Hinge have looked to show off recently. Nicce’s partnership with bikestormz told the real human story of the movement – showing off their differences while retaining a feeling of genuine curiosity. Meanwhile, Hinge’s voice prompts represent a new opportunity for users to tell stories, jokes, or even just create sounds that show off how they stand out from the rest (even if sometimes unsuccessfully…). Promoting this level of individualism means both campaigns come off as genuine and authentic.

Gousto's "Give it Some"


Beyond self-expression and standing out, promoting the happiness and enjoyment of a product or service is a sure-fire way to spark emotional responses from an audience. We’ve seen this done in a couple of ways in our recent brands; showing off pure joy in the product experience and encouraging a broader feeling of contentment.

Wren Kitchen’s “The Greatest Showroom” is a perfect example of a campaign that just embraces joy. Its use of musical theatre, professional dancers, and vibrant colours makes the benefits of going to a showroom really pop – it’s focusing on the emotional journey of shopping, not the functional process of it…

Meanwhile, Coca-Cola took a different approach to Hedonism in its #HalfFull campaign in Romania 2019. The brand latched onto findings that Romania was in the top 10 most unhappy countries in the world and deployed a series of posters and adverts that showed off all the positive things that were happening in the country. As well as being an attempt to increase levels of pride and contentment, calling attention to this was also a bold way of extending Coca-Cola’s connection to moments of happiness in a more empathic, meaningful way.

Wren Kitchen's "The Greatest Showroom"


Achievement is a value that can be tapped into in a myriad of ways. Many brands like Adidas focus on a more traditional feeling of attainment, but 2 stood out to us for how they enable achievement in more subtle, human ways.

On the surface, Spotify’s yearly “unwrapped” feature is a great way of quantifying listening habits, but it’s also a genuine way for listeners to measure their music taste against others. For example, there’s a real feeling of pride in being within the top 1% of listeners for a particular artist, or knowing the number of new genres that you’ve discovered in the past year. While subtle, these make users feel like they’ve achieved something through their listening and can be a real confidence boost.

In contrast, Powerade is a brand usually associated with sporting excellence – pushing the body and mind to the limit to achieve what you want, so their campaign “Pause is Power” was a welcome surprise. The campaign uses several well-known athletes to demonstrate the importance of taking a break when striving to succeed. It’s an interesting shift from the idea of “success at all costs” and aligns with a growing trend of mental health awareness across many sectors.

Spotify's "Unwrapped"

These are just a few examples to show the importance of values-driven campaigns, and how attaining a real human understanding is crucial in connecting with an audience, no matter what industry a brand sits in.

The pattern of Self-direction, Hedonism and Achievement we see in these campaigns also align with the values important to the Gen Z audience, showing the shifts brands are making to appeal to the generation of cohort who are beginning to have spending power.

Thanks for reading,

George (Research Manager, OMTM)

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