Y'know what i don't write about that often? Brands that 'just' make really good stuff. That's a bit hypocritical considering how many times I use throwaway lines like 'advertising is a tax on crap products', and then spend most of my time thinking about advertising. 15 years ago when Ronseal marketed their products as doing 'exactly what is says on the tin', it was just an advertising slogan - men who painted their own fences thought they saw through advertising was and it didn't have any effect on them, so here was a brand taking an anti-advertising position. Very smart, in the sense that it positioned a category leader against every other category in which advertising played a part, while tapping into what made DIY fans proud.
As a fairly cynical person, I tend to believe that most products are likely to be a bit rubbish, and I've been backed to the hilt in this belief over the years in buying trainers. Trainers fall apart in weeks rather than months, which has always led me to believe that you are paying for brand marketing, and getting an undifferentiated product. I gave up wearing them for a while after another £80 pair of shoes fell apart within a month. So when i discovered that Camper offered 2 year guarantees on their trainers, I took this as a never-ending supply of free shoes. They are still going strong 18 months later, and while the cynic in me is proud to admit he's wrong, I'm also happy to have a great example of how making good stuff is a big part of the battle of selling it. And also pleased to have several more pairs of Camper shoes.
(Full disclosure - I haven't ever worked for Camper or for any agency that works for them....)