What makes some objects Lovemarks and others not? I am often asked this and have lots of examples up my sleeve, though recently, someone didn’t ask me what I thought was a Lovemark, but told me the oddest object that they thought was. The Slinky. I didn’t have to ask him what he meant. You remember them. Those sprung metal coils that ‘walk’ down stairs and tip from hand to hand like cards manipulated by a magician. I think one of the reasons the Slinky popped up was the recent death of Betty James; it was her husband, Richard, who invented the toy way back in 1945. The Slinky rapidly became a childhood icon with its distinctive sliding sound, erratic wobbly movements, and instant fun. To kids, it gave a sense of total control as you slid it from hand-to-hand. It also had the hi-tech hi-touch factor we’ve had to wait for the iPhone to rival.

Notice how the words surrounding the Slinky sound like they come straight out of Lovemarks Central Casting. Sometimes a simple object like a sprung coil of steel can capture our imaginations faster than the most elaborate entertainment. This seems to apply particularly in the land of toys. The LEGO block, a plank of wood, a rubber ball – they all can create Lovemark experiences with minimum fuss. Why? Because they connect with our imagination and put us in control. Toys like the Slinky truly understand that the consumer is boss. Mystery, Sensuality, and Intimacy, the Slinky is saturated with them. Next time you want a rough and ready test of whether something is a Lovemark, try the Slinky as your benchmark. Has it got Mystery (what the hell is that!)? Has it got Sensuality (slide this baby from hand-to-hand)? Is it rich in Intimacy (it bends as you desire)?

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Kevin Roberts

Kevin Roberts is founder of Red Rose Consulting; business leader and educator; author and speaker; adviser on marketing, creative thinking and leadership.


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