What’s wrong with the current preoccupation with all things green? I have friends who say the environmental initiatives sprouting like weeds are the consumer and the market taking control – AT LAST! - of issues the White House would rather ignore. A global, cultural surge towards sustainability. Something to applaud and encourage! Maybe. But I don’t believe everything green is worth celebrating this spring.
In what can be described only as a singularly courageous move, the new JCPenney unveiled a Father's Day ad featuring real-life gay dads Todd Koch and Cooper Smith, and their children, Claire and Mason. It is widely considered a direct response to the failed hysteria of the "Million Moms" boycott of the retailer after it named Ellen DeGeneres its spokesperson. And, indeed, this read of events is likely. Something more is going on, though. The ailing retailer has found the courage to be relevant, and with bold social intent.
I was delighted to see the flight attendants handing out snack packs, remembering the most delicious chocolate covered caramel on an earlier flight. Eagerly breaking the seal, I was met not only by the chocolate, but a most unfortunately named package of crackers.
Mormons and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or LDS - not to be confused with LSD(!) - have been on my my radar screen lately. It has nothing to do with HBO's popular drama Big Love or Mitt Romney's failed presidential campaign. Rather, LDS has embarked on a brand image campaign which, upon a closer look, is much more than a polished, high-gloss initiative aimed at a younger generation of potential disciples. In fact, it is both a timely move for a marketplace in search of answers and a bold competitive move among religious institutions.
Ashton Kutcher is a figure I find so unsavory that it is difficult for me to see him as worthy of anything other than endorsing POS Clothing. He is the "dude" who stays at the party an hour too long, holding court and announcing his own coolness long after others have started to yawn. Image is hard to change. That said, the man is not stupid, and very well may be ahead of the pack in terms of social media and brand endorsements. His innovative partnership with Popchips, Inc. proves the point well enough. Kutcher built his fame on mild talent, good looks, and a variety of attention-grabbing stunts (whether via Punk'd or geriatric marriage). His cultural relevance, though, came through a carefully engineered drive to be the first person to have 1 million followers on Twitter (@aplusk now broadcasts in real-time to more than 5 million people). Mr. Kutcher saw what other stars -- and major brands -- have missed: that building an audience and managing a direct relationship with it is the way forward. Notably, his work with Popchips does not involve MadAve's services. It is the latest example in what I've written about as the the trend toward post-agency markets.
I’m 25-years-old, California-bred, a sports fanatic and a Nike brand advocate. Oh, and as an average American I have not played (or remotely cared about) soccer since I was 8. Nike has decided it is time to play. And it turns out the American company is really, really good at it. Last week the Wieden + Kennedy campaign Write The Future was released racking up 7.8 million first week views, breaking its own viral record.
I’m 28-years-old, born and raised just outside Amsterdam, a loyal Nike customer and very passionate about soccer. Some of my greatest memories in life revolve around a season, game or goal, so when I first saw this new Nike ad for the World Cup Soccer 2010 - described by the brand itself as one of their best ads ever - I got excited. This was about a global sporting event that makes my blood run faster.
On May 6th, Pedigree UK launched its 2010 adoption drive with a viral video campaign about an abandoned dog named Charlie. The story of Charlie is told one video at a time, with the next part of Charlie's fate only shared after the current part receives 25,000 views. For every view, Pedigree will donate £1, up to £100,000. Episode three, "The Long Walk," was just released. As of now, we don't know whether or not Charlie will be euthanized. Charlie doesn't deserve this; no dog does. We need to find out what will happen to Charlie, and each view gets us closer to finding out and helping animals at the same time.
Swiss Tourism has long struggled to promote its country in a modern, meaningful way, oftentimes relying on national cliche. The situation is compounded by an apparent lack of brand strategy or a sound understanding thereof. As a result, in its most recent attempt Swiss Tourism tells the wrong story well. Switzerland isn't the only mismanaged national brand, but as a Swiss citizen and brand strategist, I find this latest fumble particularly painful, if pretty, to watch.
Trouble. Oh we got trouble right here in Disney. With a capital T that rhymes with C and that stands for Chip and Dale and that rhymes with...Monorail. More than a few fans of the Happiest Place On Earth aren't on board with the new appearance of one of the park's iconic monorails. To drum up early buzz for its big December release of Tron Legacy, Disney has repainted one of its 11 trains to include an image of a light bike from the film and the "Tron" name.
Domino's Pizza has changed since we left her, and she's asking for one more chance. One date to prove things are different now. And she won't take no for an answer. There's the personalized billboards. The on-air dedications from the local deejay. Airplanes trailing messages across the sky, and random acquaintances showing up at our work, promising she'll make us happy this time. Plus, we've got the sneaking suspicion we're being followed.
Facebook seems unstoppable. The community boasts more than 400 million users, half of whom log on at least once a day, and 35 million of whom update their status at least once a day. In the first week of March, its traffic increased 185 percent compared to the same time last year, briefly beating out Google for most-visited site in the U.S. And according to comScore, it commands a 41 percent share of unique visitors to top social media sites, including Twitter, YouTube, MySpace and Ning. But history suggests that when it comes to destination sites, what goes up must come down. And Facebook has apparently learned a few lessons from AOL, Friendster and MySpace. Facebook Connect and Facebook's recent announcement to extend its popular "Like" feature to the rest of the Internet point to strategic shifts intended to help it avoid a similar fate. In a decidedly Google-like move, Facebook wants to follow you outside of its walls to become a more integral part of your entire Internet experience.
Nike's new Tiger spot is drawing some praise, and much criticism, for its resurrection (and arguably, exploitation) of the late Earl Woods. A black and white Tiger, humbled but head-up, stares into the camera while the voice of his father asks "Did you learn anything?" No question it's a risk, but the ad works because it neither ignores the golfer's many indiscretions, nor does it imply that the Woods on the course is somehow separate from the Woods in the bedroom (or backseat...or backyard...). And it suggests mistakes on and off the course can lead to growth on and off the course.
"Don't buy this gum. It tastes like rubber." is a favorite phrase for graffiti vandals to write on condom vending machines in men's rooms. I've seen it several times during roadside restroom breaks in various regions of the country, indicating either a well-traveled vandal with a tremendous lack of creativity or a graffitist meme of sorts. Oddly, the current campaign for Dentyne Ice gum draws a direct comparison between its product and prophylactics, highlighting the awkward moments associated with practicing safe sex and positioning the brand as prerequisite to getting it on.
If you have a powerful singing voice you should sing. If you have a mediocre singing voice, you should sing and dance. In the business world, Zappos.com has serious pipes. The unorthodox retailer quickly climbed the customer service charts and stands alongside Nordstrom, Ritz-Carlton and USAA, companies long known for exemplary service. But despite legitimate talent and personality, Zappos choked recently when making the jump to advertising. Their first ad from Mullen, featuring puppets reenacting unusual customer calls, dials up the showmanship and distracts from their unique voice. As a result, Zappos misses some big notes and never quite connects with the audience.
March Madness begins this week, but the madness around athlete endorsements has been around since the days of Michael Jordan. It came to its most recent head last Thanksgiving, when a certain superhuman hit a fire hydrant and set off a torrent of media, fan and sponsor action and reaction. The sexy unfolding of that incident and its subsequent tawdry revelations probably inspired the Developing the Athlete’s Brand panel at this year’s MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference – a gathering which usually focuses on wonkier subjects. The panelists, after a barrage of questions from conference attendees, touched gingerly on Tiger’s comeback strategy, but the real takeaways were about the industry, not Tiger. The resulting discussion raised larger questions about athlete endorsements as brand strategy, and whether the sports representation industry model is still relevant today.
We're fans of IKEA and have written on their past marketing successes and brand missteps. The company captures our attention again by tackling an area of its business that, for many, leaves much to be desired: the assembly of its products.
AshleyMadison, of "Life is short. Have an affair." fame, trotted out this Avatar-themed spot for broadcast during Sunday's Academy Awards. Then, in a move as predictable as an over-the-top Sharon Stone reaction shot, ABC banned it from the telecast. Funny that the nation's leading adultery enabler ends up flaccid on Oscar night. Why did those frigid execs give Ashley's aliens the cock block?
Tough times for automakers have turned the industry upside down. Household names like Oldsmobile, Pontiac, Saturn and Hummer have gone the way of the dodo. Saab narrowly avoided a similar fate with a last-minute purchase by Dutch super car manufacturer Spyker, a niche player that has intriguing plans for the quirky Swedish brand. Fiat and Chrysler became strange bedfellows. And Toyota is struggling through an historic, crippling recall. But one of the more interesting outcomes of the recent upheaval within the auto industry is Ford Motor Company's sale of Volvo to China's Geely.
In December, Davis Brand Capital announced the 2009 Davis Brand Capital 25 ranking. Toyota ranked #8 overall and was the top-ranking automaker. Since the release, Toyota has issued a series of historic recalls, and the brand has suffered a precipitous fall from grace. So far, the recalls affect more than eight million vehicles worldwide, with Toyota considering still more for its best-selling Corolla. And recall-related malfunctions have caused an estimated 34 deaths since 2000 in the U.S. alone, according to government data released this week. Beyond the direct financial, legal and ethical implications of the recalls themselves, Toyota faces a crisis of consumer confidence comparable to the Tylenol cyanide murders or the Ford Explorer/Firestone fiasco. Rebuilding consumer trust will require much more than a public relations war room and marketing blitz. Toyota faces a fundamental brand challenge that extends deep into its culture, its operations and its core meaning. As the story unfolds and an embattled Toyota hunkers down for the onslaught, important lessons from the crisis are already coming to light.
We recently voiced optimism that the Super Bowl launch of Dove's Men+Care line would challenge the alpha male ad genre, just as its revolutionary Real Beauty spot from Super Bowl XL confronted unhealthy female beauty standards. On Sunday, our optimism swirled its sad little way down the drain.
Every year, in the weeks leading up to Super Bowl, we learn whose ads passed network muster and whose didn't. This year, CBS generated lively debate by green-lighting Focus on the Family's pro-life spot, while rejecting an ad from gay dating site ManCrunch.com. Much has already been written about CBS's implied endorsement of one "life choice" over another. But few question why slow-to-evolve CBS failed to capture a fraction of the value its platform created for either organization.
Legendary television producer Norman Lear often said it was best to start the story "in the middle." That's where the truth of the narrative is, and the theory held for Super Bowl XLIV. Smack in the middle of a confused and confusing collection of ads was The Who, an embarrassing half-time show of old white men singing of "pinball wizards" in the age of connected gaming, and claiming some distant insight into the "teenage wasteland" of a generation to which they do not belong. Yet, they were entirely relevant context for the general fiasco of this year's ads, asking: "Tell me who are you?" With some notable exceptions, advertisers seemed to have no idea who they were this year, nor who their customers might be.
Last year, the economy in free fall, I expected both Monster and CareerBuilder to forego the silly punchlines and offer a clear message of help and hope to the millions of unemployed Americans watching the Super Bowl. I was disappointed. This year, the jobless number nearing 15 million, I tuned in certain they'd finally get it right. That the employment experts would share their most inspiring success stories: The father of four who, laid off after 15 years at the same company, found new opportunity through Monster. Or the young college grad who, thanks to Careerbuilder, discovered an obscure field to which she could apply her highly specialized degree. Instead we got beaver-fiddling and tighty-whities -- proof these job search emperors have no clothes.
First, Hardee's showed you its B-Hole. Then, Bud Light Lime gave it to you In the Can. Now Axe, with all the class and finesse we've come to expect from the brand, wants to Clean Your Balls. On the surface, this seems like nothing more than your typical nether regions marketing. But look under the hood, and Axe's down under approach has more in common with early marital aid advertising than beer and fast food.
As the year ends, we look back at the most read and shared posts from Unbound Edition's contributors, and a few more favorites chosen by our editorial team. We appreciate your continued readership and commentary and look forward to more dialog in 2010.
Cisco's #5 ranking on the 2009 Davis Brand Capital 25 should come as no surprise. Cisco has taken an integrated approach to developing its intangibles for years. The following sections detail Cisco's success in carefully managing its brand value, competitive performance, innovation strength, company culture and social impact.
Now that we've pushed back from the Thanksgiving table and returned to work, it's worth focusing a moment not on our abundance of blessings, but on our glut of content across platforms. These blessings are decidedly mixed. Faced with multiple options we graze and gorge on empty calories, but rarely succeed in satisfying our hunger.
Twenty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, new walls are being erected that challenge the fundamental right of the public to free news and information. However, free today no longer means free from bias or state control, but instead not paying for content. News Corp.'s announcement that it would introduce pay walls has set off a firestorm of response -- the majority of whom say it will not work. The minority see Murdoch as the potential savior of professional journalism, an ironic twist for the man behind The New York Post and other tabloids. Others focus on the proposed model and respond that it could work, if News Corp. can apply the lessons it has learned from pay television and the music industry, which evolved its model in response to illegal downloading.
After years of disappointing design, quality and performance, GAP seems tapped into the American cultural pulse once again. The company's holiday advertising campaign announces that the country is "Ready for Holiday Cheer." Like many retailers, GAP is spending more and launching earlier this year, including a major Vanity Fair insert and back cover. Whether these efforts end up translating to sales, of course, remains to be seen. Still, the campaign does more than any other to date to declare a shift in attitude. Consumers will decide for themselves to celebrate in ways "modest" or "all out," but either way, GAP gives permission "to liberate" from the dark clouds of the past 18 months. A holiday declaration of independence -- "This holiday, it's up to us" -- makes the empowerment message abundantly clear: Yes, Virginia, there is an American spirit of hope, even joy, that will not be silenced. The recession is over.
The Unbound Edition players, wisely sporting plastic-lined undergarments, take the stage to present the season finale, "Shut the Door. Have a Seat."
Help yourself to the prime rib and the fillet of sole and move to the front of the theatre as the Unbound Edition Players present "The Grown Ups."
Grab yourself a steaming bowl of Rice-a-Pony and sit back while the Unbound Edition Players present "The Gypsy and the Hobo."
It seems a fait accompli, the death of agencies. I’ve made the case for the collapse of this industry business model several times over, and the Financial Times has recently detailed the challenges and the various players’ attempts to address them. It was, though, Nicholas Negroponte from MIT’s Media Lab who stated the issue plainly and first, a decade ago, saying that any organization that “describes itself as an ‘agency’ is doomed.” He was right, and the industry still has not taken on the fundamental question of the day: if not an “agency,” then what?
After 40 years of lying, cheating and stealing together, the Unbound Edition Players and their barely functioning livers reunite to present “The Color Blue.”
Two autumns ago, Chevron, working with the Economist Group, launched Energyville as part of its "Will You Join Us" campaign. Not surprisingly, the campaign, the site, and the game drew a lot of criticism and vitriol for alleged greenwashing and hypocrisy. By posing a question the way it did, Chevron also invited negative answers (“No, I will not join you” on the blog) and word play that twisted the URL (Will you join us in protesting Chevron?). Despite all this, Chevron has persisted.
Fresh from a vacation on the lunar Hilton, the Unbound Edition Players now present "Wee Small Hours." (curtain up)
Critiquing advertising for objectifying women is a bit like shooting fish in a barrel. Recent campaigns from Axe, Tag, Hardee's, American Apparel and others have arguably taken the degradation of women to new lows. But a new NC-17 iPhone app for Pepsi's Amp soft drink takes the proverbial cake.
Bitter and jetlagged, the Unbound Edition Players present "The Souvenir."
Still wearing yesterday's clothes and reeking of alcohol, the Unbound Edition Players do the walk of shame to the stage to present this week's performance of "Seven Twenty Three." And no, they don't want to talk about it.
The Unbound Edition Players now present "Guy Walks into an Advertising Agency." Heads up, front row. In the second act, you'll want to grab that plastic sheeting you saved from the 1984 Gallagher show.
The Levi's brand saddens me so. It could be so much cooler. It could, really, be the PBR of denim. Industrial, durable, worn-in and well-worn. American. Iconic. An underdog. But no. Instead of quietly offering itself up as what it is: a historied, high-quality, understated, no-frills alternative to the flash and arrogance of designer denim, it is clamoring schizophrenically to be everything to everyone. Oh, Levi's. What are you doing? Wait a minute. I know. It's called "trying too hard."
With dramatic, pre-epidural era panting and groaning, the Unbound Edition Players now put their feet in the stirrups and push out this week's episode, "The Fog."
The most successful beer marketers in the world have crossed a line. According to AdAge, a pun is “the final frontier” in “tasteless” beer advertising. In a spot for Bud Light Lime leaked on the Internet, everyday folks innocently confess to getting it “in the can” (some of them like it and want to do so again!). The punch line of the spot reveals that the popular brew is now available in all-too-familiar handy aluminum containers.
As part of their court-mandated "Revive a Tall Blonde Singer and His Wee Mustachioed Sidekick" charity work, The Unbound Edition Players now present "the Arrangements."
I noticed Clear has been stealing a page from its competitor Verizon with its creative - or lack thereof. To tout its comprehensive coverage, it uses sprinkles as a metaphor.
After a brief delay to buy nacho cheese Doritos and Visine, the Unbound Edition Players casually amble across the stage to take their places for this week’s presentation of “My Old Kentucky Home.” Who’s up for a Taco Bell run at intermission?
Usually, the city of Venice is partially flooded by water a number of times every year, courtesy of its slowly sinking foundation. However, these days the city called "La Serenissima," or most serene, is facing a different kind of flood -- one it is much less prepared to stem.
The Unbound Edition Players now take the stage for "Love Among the Ruins," alternately titled, "The One Where Betty's Father Takes Up Way Too Much Screen Time."
After nearly ten months of making ends meet by twirling signs outside of Jiffy Lube, the Unbound Edition Players dust themselves off, oil their squeaky joints, and take the stage for “Out of Town.”
It is no news that advertising agencies are in crisis, struggling to survive under the multiple pressures of reduced client budgets, degraded media effectiveness, and connected, informed consumers. What is news: agencies are proving themselves unable to adapt and to fix their own business problems; client-side solutions are winning. This, more than anything, illustrates the disconnect too often experienced between “the business” and “the creative” sides of marketing. The marketer’s role, in the end, is to navigate the markets — to succeed even amidst change — not just to razzle and dazzle though sales don’t come in the door. This applies to clients and to marketers alike. Mad Man: market thyself.
Dim Bulb’s Jonathan Salem Baskin wrote recently that rather than battling for the right to more broadly advertise mature and adults only-rated video games, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) would be better served investing in developers willing to challenge the gaming status quo. I share his hope that the industry will evolve beyond its current incarnation, and I too have written that the user-controlled sadism found in popular first-person games requires a different rating consideration than comparable subject matter in movies and music. Participants in this debate, for censorship and against, find common ground in calling for parents to better educate themselves about their children’s entertainment choices and take greater responsibility for their purchases. A few changes, however, are complicating matters.
At a time when most leaders, including that of the western world, want to summon the “spirit of innovation” and change to reignite consumer confidence, a number of food companies prefer to bust that ghost before getting slimed by progress. From Wendy’s to Heinz to Haagen-Dazs, well-known brands are reminding us that it’s ok to push the “pause” button on innovation. None, perhaps, more joyfully than Post Shredded Wheat.
Hardee's “Name Our Holes” campaign sure has lathered up the Internet. AdAge calls Hardee's out for "upping the ante in the fast-food smutfest," and Reuters dismisses the campaign as “obnoxious.” Which it is. But it is also hilarious. It's easy to see why some claim advertising has reached an all-time low, but isn't something else going on here?
On Tuesday’s DVD release of Mad Men’s second season and across recent promotions for the August 16 premiere of season three, we’re seeing an inspired, Draper-esque approach to making 60s era ad culture relevant to today's audiences. Mad Men’s marketing blitz blends past with present as skillfully and successfully as Weiner himself. This mashup of reality and fiction, a strategy also used to great effect by HBO’s True Blood and its advertisers, proves that brands willing to go off script are endearing themselves to new, loyal audiences.
One ad campaign that resonates with me surprisingly comes from a bank. HSBC’s “Point of View” airport campaign is impactful, open-ended and sometimes humorous. The creative is unexpected and a strong example of a powerful voice, free of industry jargon that stands out from the hum of the marketplace.
In the span of a week, we lost Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, Michael Jackson and Billy Mays. Each had unique talents, became a pop culture icon, and enjoyed career longevity far beyond the norm of the media and entertainment industries. Interestingly enough, they’re connected through the legacy of some very memorable advertisements. With nothing but respect, I pay tribute to the fallen four in the form of top ten life lessons to be gleaned from their commercials:
In the wake of recent legislation allowing the FDA to regulate the tobacco industry, a variety of smokeless tobacco products are hitting the market. A few e-varieties promise a comparable experience without the stink and stigma of the earlier models. But will smokers find any of these alternatives up to snuff?
This week, fans of “Mad Men” were treated to some real-life drama about the upcoming third season of the acclaimed AMC original series. Strangely enough, a television show about an advertising guy and his model wife set more than four decades ago may be at the forefront of new revenue models for television advertising.
A fairly brilliant spoof of GM’s “re: invention” spot is making its way around the Net. It’s easy enough to make fun of GM from A to Z (A is for Aztec...B is for Buick...C is for Cimarron...), but this spoof points to something broader: a complete distrust of GM’s voice, message and methods. Any advertisement that begins with “let’s be completely honest” is setting itself up for mockery (and failure), especially in a networked world. Shame on IPG’s Deutsch and McCann agencies for letting that line make the spot, much less lead it.
Alfred P. Sloan’s famous quote epitomized the strategy that built GM into what was once the largest company on the planet. And while an entire laundry list of problems led to GM’s bankruptcy, the mismanagement or gross misinterpretation of Sloan’s strategy is what ultimately led to the behemoth’s demise.
Nearly two months after we first met Lauren, Mac has tapped its own laptop hunter. Like Lauren, Giampaolo, Lisa and Jackson, Megan values big screens and fast processors. But unlike her PC-loving predecessors, Megan's final factor is usability.
It all started with Freedom Rock. Since I saw those hippies extol the virtues of the good ‘ol days of war, protest and going to jail, I have been a huge fan of infomercials. Their sheer showmanship and exaggeration suck me in like so many Smart Mops and make me laugh with joy like so many women using Wrap, Snap & Go! hair rollers. An original type of long-form advertisement, the infomercial tells stories of wonder and amazement as intriguing and impossible to resist as ye olde carnival barker beckoning “Step right up! You won’t believe your eyes!” Sure, carny. Here’s my ha’penny. Show me what you’ve got.
Microsoft wants to help you advertise. Let’s pause on that for a moment, shall we? The people who respond directly to a smaller competitor, cannot present a consistent image to save their own markets, promote the idea that brand does not matter and release broadcast spots created on a Mac. That Microsoft. The Microsoft so in touch with consumers that they are boldly going into retail with nothing but a tightrope of user frustration upon which to dance or hang. That Microsoft. They want to help you advertise. To women. Specifically, something called “women (25-54).” We assume this is not geek speak for the code to activate some Redmondian Fembot. It might as well be, because what Microsoft proposes in its recent online campaign (proof of its own advertising pudding?) makes the fairer sex seem more foreign than ever.
I’m no fan of Microsoft’s laptop hunter campaign. I’ve said my piece on the Lauren and Giampaolo spots, both desperate attempts to bolster sales in a down economy and paint PCs with the “cool” brush CPB so effortlessly wields. On the plus side, the third installment stops playing HP favorites, and the mother-son duo moves us away from the SAG-gy hipsters we’ve stomached to date. Still, there's no brand advancement, and when there’s a chance to land a hard jab on Apple, Microsoft manages only a glancing blow.
If brand abuse was a crime, Ovaltine would be sporting unflattering horizontal prison stripes for a long, long time. The beloved chocolate drink, trusted by parents for nearly 100 years to get nutrition into kids, has squandered its positive reputation in a horrifying 41 seconds.
Microsoft’s laptop hunters are back. This time we follow Giampaolo, a tech-savvy Roman import with “really big hands” (heh... good one, CPB). He’s looking for “portability, battery life, and power.” Portability you say? In a laptop?
So in the 70’s, marketers embraced the fact that sex can sell anything from shampoo to car batteries. And over the past several decades, we’ve been treated to an endless array of genetically altered babes and double entendres, so much so that we became numb to the obvious methods of product whoring. Those were good times, in retrospect, considering the skin-crawling fetishism of two current sandwich peddlers who have spoiled my appetite.
What’s the better recession strategy: being the pricier brand everyone wants, or being the more affordable second choice? Microsoft is betting the farm on the latter with its latest attempt to counter Apple’s I’m a Mac campaign.
Somebody call Eve Ensler, because it looks like the Vagina Monologues are becoming the Vagina Dialogues.
Recently, I wrote of my interest in branded commodities and provided some fine examples of how this complex form of brand management can be done correctly. In the “never do this” category, I must now offer the other end of the spectrum.
Welcome to the new Unbound Edition. For the past two years, our readers have made Unbound Edition one of the Web’s most read marketing news aggregators and blogs. Along the way, we have laughed with you, listened to you and learned from you. Thank you. Now, we are making some changes to serve you better and to take advantage of new technologies.
I saw Benefiber’s current commercial for the first time last night, and it caught me off-guard.
I know, sounds like a parent admonishing a child. Well, in my case the “child” was a fashion magazine.
GE spends $3 million to bring Oz’s scarecrow to life in a Super Bowl spot riddled with future tense. Silly CGI. No real details. The message: efficiency through intelligence. Someday. Two weeks later, Google uploads a video to its Youtube channel. A new product, described in simple language by Google engineers and clearly connected to the brand through a compelling quote. Real data, real benefit - in percentages and dollars. The message: efficiency through intelligence. Today.
Cupid, hearts, cards and jewelry. Valentine’s Day imagery is all around us, and it rarely begs a second look. But a few iconoclasts are marketing their subtle, cynical spin on this Hallmark holiday. A small collection of my favorites...
Love’m or hate’m (please hate them), the brand managers at Axe have their formula, and they’re sticking to it. Sophomoric? Check. Misogynistic? Check. Aggressively Sexual? Check. Perfectly aligned with their audience of high school boys and socially delayed college students? Check mate.
Call me some kind of wacky, old fashioned romantic, but I generally prefer Valentine’s Day campaigns that do something other than make me want to run out and bludgeon the first woman I see sporting a green suit.
It’s hard to overstate how off-target TeleFlora’s Valentine’s Day spot is, both in concept and context.
This week we’ve discussed a few Super Bowl standouts, good and bad. But what of the ads that didn’t make the cut? PETA doesn’t shy away from extreme antics, from flinging paint to flashing skin. This year’s Super Bowl submission was no different. Borrowing a page from Victoria’s Secret, a few of PETA’s leggy veggies turned up the heat and brought some serious steak-free sizzle.
For those who think TeleFlora’s verbally abusive bouquet delivered the most offensive lines of the Super Bowl, behold the purple prose of Heineken’s Warrior...
This morning, February 3, Denny’s is treating America to breakfast. Seriously.
When we’re really lost in America—when we’re completely baffled and no one has any answers—we revert to cars and rock n’ roll. That’s the read one might get from this year’s superfluous battle between the Steelers and the Cardinals. But what started as an escapist yearning for the Fast and the Furious, Mr. Potato Head hugging mountain curves on Bridgestone tires, and Bruce Springsteen rehashing “Born to Run” and “Glory Days” gave way to what might be interpreted as a subconscious unrest over America’s second Great Depression.
For the most part, this year’s Super Bowl ads were lackluster at best (Deja vu. I think I wrote the same sentence last year). Bridgestone’s Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head spot was cute and funny if you ignored the misogynistic overtones. And the Ed McMahon/MC Hammer spot for Cash4Gold.com was simultaneously amusing and terribly depressing. But perhaps one of the most notable things about this year’s ad slots was what was missing. No Big Three. And Hyundai took advantage.
While likely to score high on the favorites lists, Careerbuilder and Monster's Super Bowl fare missed a real opportunity to shoot straight with the American people. More than 100,000 Americans lost their jobs this week, yet both organizations once again positioned their sites as resources for disenchanted and disrespected workers looking for more rewarding careers.
A new campaign from Diet Pepsi is an odd departure for a brand long-associated with hip celebrity. No Sean Combs or Jackie Chan here. No dramatic red carpet entrances or Hollywood magic. Just a young professional and a sobering dose of reality.
At the risk of crossing Oprah, we question whether the Starbucks “I’m In” initiative was the best way for the struggling coffee giant to tap into the zeitgeist. No doubt the election put a premium on optimism and grassroots participation, and admittedly, the campaign’s execution to date has been flawless, earning major endorsements and plenty of ink. But does a populist rally cry from a company that sells $5 Venti Caramel Frappuccinos trigger anyone else’s BS meter? More importantly, does it translate to sales?
Sound strategy can flounder in the absence of a clear voice. It’s especially interesting, however, when a shift in strategy causes an otherwise powerful voice to crack.
A strong brand voice can be expressed with nary a word. Behold the joy of Cadbury.
UE’s Video of the Day recently featured the latest spot in Geico’s Kash campaign. Allstate also recently launched a new spot clearly aimed at retention and equally noteworthy with regards to voice. While Geico whispers from the deep discount bin, Allstate resonates with gravitas. The two spots stand at opposite poles of a broad spectrum of insurance company voices, each struggling to speak to their customers in the context of our current economic realities.
I’d like to thank T-Mobile for tapping into one of my lifelong fantasies. Mind you, I’ve never met a befringed surrey I didn’t love. I grew up knowing jolly sailors really should bust out in into choreographed numbers more often and was really ticked that I didn’t have six sisters, a barn, and a bunch of lumber laying around so we could all do this on a lazy Sunday. Yes indeedy, we all just need to break out into song and/or dance numbers in public more often.
It’s rare to see the first person applied effectively to brand voice. Corona beer does it brilliantly, visually transporting consumers to pristine beaches unsullied by human form. Apple's "Get a Mac" campaign does it metaphorically, caricaturing “PC” as a bumbling, insecure uncle scrambling to hide his inadequacies from a hipper counterpart. But Microsoft’s attempt to counterpunch by commandeering “I’m a PC” as a populist rally cry failed.
A strong voice is instantly recognizable, regardless of the messenger. Wieden+Kennedy’s 1995 masterpiece demonstrates the power and flexibility of such a voice. Translated myriad ways through the words of amateur and all-star, Nike’s timeless imperative is always individual, urgent and authentic.
What is G? The first spot aired during the Rose Bowl, a black-and-white conveyor belt of people posing, smiling, some instantly recognizable, others vaguely so. Lil Wayne spoken-word poetry: gifts, gold, glory and game. A large white G to close.
The third spot in a series of new Geico ads featuring 'Kash," a googly-eyed stack of bills representing the savings at Geico, premiered Tuesday. When asked about the inspiration for the character, Martin Agency creative director Mike Lear explained that "Geico loves to talk about savings... We just dumbed it down to the most basic thing in the world, 'I want more money.'"
Tis the season for fad diets, and if the fresh mint shortage in our local grocery stores is any indication, the Flat Belly Diet may be the dark horse diet craze of 2009. Featured recently on Today and Oprah, the Flat Belly Diet promotes calorie control and a true balance of healthy fats, proteins and complex carbohydrates. A return to honesty and responsibility in weight-loss program marketing? What a great way to start the new year.
Maybe it's the economy, or that most of these kids, in sports terms, crossed from college to pro years ago, but this real footage of children getting a Wii Christmas morning leaves us conflicted. Nintendo's scarcity strategy warrents applause, as does their continued success despite meager graphics and an emphasis on family-friendly fare. But fainting and hysterial sobbing from kids who stopped believing in Santa years ago? Does it warm the heart or send shivers down the spine?
John Lewis takes a clever approach to advertising during a modest holiday season. Rather than emphasizing the must-have gadgets of the year, the UK retailer shifts the focus to the recipient. Finding the perfect gift, the spot suggests, requires really knowing someone. What a novel concept. Bonus points for the sweet Beatles cover.
Something interesting is happening this holiday season at Walmart. First they partnered with Coca-Cola on Extended Family, a hip, young ditty light years ahead of the company’s recent cringe-inducing Rollbacks campaign. Discount messaging rides shotgun, while celebration drives the brand forward. In Christmas Morning, a 60-second highlight reel of kids joyfully scrambling for a first glimpse at their loot, discount messaging has been hogtied and thrown in the trunk.
Something interesting is happening this holiday season at Walmart. Where's that bouncing Smiley and lowest price messaging?
Pillsbury released "Heels" in time for the 2008 holiday season. The Saatchi + Saatchi offering is simple and beautifully filmed, but the concept and tagline feel a bit saccharine for a can of easy-bake crescent rolls. And why the Poppin' Fresh cameo in the final scenes? Any lingering emotional connection fizzles when that CGI doughboy peers around the corner at the gathering family.
In 2006's "Childhood is Calling," Rice Krispies captures a powerful bit of ritual and celebrates the sharing of new experiences between parent and child. Rice Krispies launched Childhoodiscalling.com the following year, featuring recipes from and for parents and children.
Mattel's new Barbie spot takes an interesting approach to marketing the iconic doll. Speaking directly to moms , "Wanna Play?" blends High8 flashbacks of young girls opening their first Barbies with young mothers discussing their favorite Barbie memories with sisters and friends. "Wanna Play" encourages thirty-something mothers to both share the past and create the next generation of Barbie memories with their daughters.
Oh, Barbara Millicent Roberts, you clever little minx. I had been relatively successful at hiding my girlish sentimentality until you hit me with this commercial, just in time for the holidays.
Lexus’ 2008 “Big Wheel” approaches greatness, then quickly devolves. The ad opens with retro footage of a working class home at Christmas - warm, messy, comfortable. A boy warns his future self not to forget. The memory is quickly crushed by the buying power of white collar-adulthood. Cut to cliche of gift-wrapped luxury vehicle. Message: Cherished childhood memories are no match for Lexus.
This week, as debate over the Detroit bailout rages on, we look back at the Big Three’s record of foresight and innovation... The 2006 Apprentice/Tahoe user-generated culturejam gives a voice to more and more Americans who no longer self-identify with the worldview promoted in Detroit’s advertising.
This week, as debate over the Detroit bailout rages on, we look back at the Big Three’s record of foresight and innovation... Suburbanites refusing to be tamed by their dowdy minivans trade in their Town and Country for an Explorer, Mountaineer or Bronco. Hockey moms dream of conquering the unincorporated wilderness a zip code away.
This week, as debate over the Detroit bailout rages on, we look back at the Big Three’s record of foresight and innovation... Anticipating the rapid sprawl of the 80s and 90s, Dodge launches the Caravan. Soccer moms can now cart the kids to practice with room to spare for 32-packs of ketchup and bulk paper towels from the local wholesale club.
As debate over the Detroit bailout rages on, we look back at the Big Three’s record of foresight and innovation: The 80s. A rejection of the free-spirited 70s and celebration of conspicuous consumption epitomized by the "Greed is Good" mantra of Wall Street's Gordon Gekko. Ford Motor Co’s Mercury Cougar is ahead of the zeitgeist in this '78 spot for the XR-7.
Decades before Food Network’s Paula Dean fried her first Turducken, the American Dairy Association shared their secret to baking the perfect holiday bird.
Um, no. I am most decidedly not ready for that. Thanks.
As part of a new campaign, HP has called on the talents of the (Amy Poehler-founded) Upright Citizens Brigade and The People’s Improv Theater to tout its gizmos on YouTube’s adorably titled Master PC Theatre. While we applaud HP’s efforts to combine new media and pop culture with its storytelling, it all feels a little awkward. For one, improv should be funny. But more importantly, the “performance” overshadows the late, tacked-on message.
We're confused by this derivative spot for the Blackberry Storm, the company's new iPhone "me too." Is this Blackberry, Apple, or Target?
Never underestimate the power of moms and social media. When Motrin ran this ad, "babywearers" nationwide, feeling mocked, unleashed hell on Twitter. The rebellion also included a video of angry Tweets. And Motrin tucked its tail, pulled the ad, and, after much criticized silence, issued an apology. No one puts babywearers in a corner.
This morning, I brought my daughters' remaining Halloween candy into the office, determined to no longer spend three hours every night at home gorging on Kit Kats (the genius behind Kit Kat Dark deserves a shiv in the kidneys). Rather, I spent the last six hours at work gorging on Kit Kats.
It was no surprise that during the 2008 presidential election the candidates were compared to brands and perceived as brands. And yes, the final two candidates did have trademarks. But does that really make them brands?
The post-agency age is upon us. With remarkable speed and effectiveness, technologies and consumer preferences have coalesced, forcing a broad and deep cultural demand for direct, honest relationships. The go-between agent is less relevant than ever before, and the global financial crisis is likely the final blow to the inefficient and long-suffering agency structure. Winning in the post-agency age will require these new priorities.
You saw the original here last month. Now, Hollywood is back to encourage you not to vote...unless you care about the future of our country. It's Nov. 4. Have you voted yet?
The Unbound Edition Players now present “A Musical Salute to the Uterus,” their interpretation of the season finale, “Meditations in an Emergency.”
Rather than provide advice that executives can use to guide their brands through devastating financial times, the overwhelming response, much like the GOP, is simply to spend more on image.
The Unbound Edition Players, jetlagged from traveling to both coasts to perform this week’s production, now present “The Mountain King.” When the evil villain Dr. Greg shows up and twirls his moustache, feel free to boo and hiss.
Ditch all of your commitments and responsibilities and watch as the Unbound Edition Players present "The Jet Set," otherwise known as "The One Where Don Flips His Wig and Goes Native."
Grab your inappropriately aged soulmate and gather ‘round as the Unbound Edition Players, still delusional from too much Benadryl, present “The Inheritance.”
The Unbound Edition Players now present “Six Month Leave.” Be sure to pick up one of our UE-branded catheters at the gift kiosk on your way home this evening.
Hollywood is turning out in force, saying “don’t vote.” Because not voting is still a vote.
If you won an award as the result of spam, would you want it? Apparently the folks at the Stevie Awards for Women in Business think you would. They have spammed me to help them judge the overwhelming number of entries they have gotten worldwide. If you spam, surely you consider your email public garbage worthy of being blown about in the digital wind — so I set it free here below.
What is happening in the global financial markets is stunning, surely. I am more stunned, however, by the complete absence of dialogue in the marketing community about this historic moment. Like most stockbrokers who fell into success as markets expanded, most marketers only know how to carnival-call their offerings to cash-flush consumers. Say goodbye to that easy effort. The age of true strategy is at hand. It is make or break, to be sure.
Um, I’m no prude. I’m all for edgy. But Levi’s latest attempt to be relevant seems a little off the mark.
As the Unbound Edition players prepare to present “A Night to Remember,” you might want to pack a suitcase. We’re all going on one hell of a guilt trip.
Old Facebook was charming. It was simple. It did a job nothing else had done. I liked the odd tidbit updates from friends and colleagues, the new form of autobiography, the passionate grouping of wing nuts and dilettantes alike. Mostly, I liked that it was, in its own words, “a social utility.” It was helpful, and it performed. Then along came Microsoft with a huge infusion of cash and, it seems, clunky PC-world inefficiency and “more is better” ideology. So now we have the “New Facebook.” A fix without a problem. A mousetrap with no rodent. And, I would suggest, a business model without a business.
I must admit, I really did not want to like the new Microsoft campaign. I found the initial “Shoe Circus” spot to be silly and irrelevant — an effort that came off as simply trying “too hard” to be funny and awkwardly hip. Then came the joyfully odd bit of suburban “connection” in the latest spot for Microsoft. I love it, have watched it numerous times, and have forwarded it to many people. I have been converted to a Microsoft marketer, if no longer a customer.
Please take your seats as the Unbound Edition players present “The Gold Violin.” Heads up to the front row: you might want to have some Gallagher-esque plastic sheeting on standby.
Leave your soul at the door, grab a bottle of whiskey, and watch as the Unbound Edition Players present their entire performance of “Maidenform” from outside, their sad little noses pressed against the window.
Break out your specimen collection cups and toast the Unbound Edition Players as they present “The New Girl.”
Begrudgingly, the Unbound Edition Players lumber across the stage to present “Three Sundays.” That clunking sound you just heard is the prop guy bringing in an artificial respirator to try to breathe some life into this corpse.
This week, the Unbound Edition Players take the stage for their interpretation of “The Benefactor.” Just a warning: afterward, you might not want to shake their hands.
This week, the Unbound Edition Players, accompanied by their love children, present their interpretation of “Flight 1.”
After nine months of unemployment and government cheese, the Unbound Edition Players finally return to the stage in “For Those Who Think Young.” Kindly refrain from heckling or hurling your Jujubes. They’re a little rusty.
After what seems like the longest hiatus in history, the Unbound Edition Players are, at last, ready to return to the stage for the second season of "Mad Men" recaps. The only potential hitch is that the players just moved to Atlanta, where the wardrobe department doesn’t seem to offer anything but hoop skirts and parasols. (That “woo-hoo!” you just heard was Salvatore.)
Okay, I’ll admit that’s a harsh riff on Gatorades tagline, and 80s jingle that is still emblazoned on my brain. After all, according to Beverage Digest, Gatorade owned a 76.3 percent market share in ‘07 for take-home sports drinks.
The fever for the flavor of a Pringle finally caught up with product designer Fredric Baur.
Earlier this month I was discussing fad products in my Marketing class and brought up 80s icon Chia Pet. Immediately my senioritis-inflicted students burst into renditions of the now infamous jingle. That’s impressive name recognition for a brand that peaked in popularity when they were fetuses and sustains itself today only through nostalgic impulse buys and endless line extension. It got me wondering whether manufacturer Joseph Enterprises, with a little outsourced design help, could retrieve the Chia brand from the compost pile.
NBC Universal is still trolling for broadcast advertising dollars the old fashioned way. While they claim to be doing something different, their approach is far from innovative. If NBCU wants to avoid extinction, its leaders should think like portfolio managers.
One of my earliest childhood memories is shuffling into my parents’ tiny bathroom at daybreak, mirrors fogged over with shower steam, to watch my father shave. He frequently ended this morning ritual by depositing a thick dollop of lemon-lime Barbasol on my nose.
Ah, nothing makes the death of brain cells go down smoother than the “all natural” moral reprieve.
A while back, I wrote about this spot for Orangina and what a grody orgy it was. Little did I know that another campaign would come along that would make that musical salute to bodily functions look like the episode of “Little House on the Prairie” where Tinker Jones, the kindhearted mute, helps the kids of Walnut Grove forge a new bell for Reverend Alden’s church.
Perhaps I’m letting my nationalism get the best of me, but Absolut’s “Reconquista” ad is a little insulting:
Maytag’s century-old brand owes much of its equity to Ol’ Lonely, a lethargic Mayberry gent in a blue jumpsuit and replica 40s policeman's cap. Created by Leo Burnett in the late 60s, the ad campaign’s clever premise - expert repair services you’ll never need – emphasizes the brand’s dependability promise.
It’s no surprise Burger King likes to take chances. But their recent “Morning Tongue” spot takes things to a new level.
With an umbrella brand name like Staples, can the company succeed with its launch of an upscale brand?
It's true that there's nothing new under the sun. Also true that sex sells. Oh, true, too, that outrage gets news coverage. And true, so it seems, that Abercrombie & Fitch have become hopelessy lost in marketing cliches with the beautiful boredom of their new Gilly Hicks underwear brand.
We’ve all seen them while battling bouts of insomnia. A so-called doctor serves as a pitchman for a questionable product that will help you shave off the pounds without changing your diet or lifestyle or allow you to dramatically improve your memory.
For three months, I have been traumatized by the content of one particular ad. Seriously. I’m amazed I’ve been able to sleep at all. But today, my friends, I invite you into my private hell. Consider it my Valentine’s Day gift to you. Really, I shouldn’t have.
There’s something about Svedka’s Svedka_grl that creeps me out. Maybe it’s because Daryl Hannah made me feel a little funny as the, um…acrobatic android in Bladerunner when I was far too young to know why.
Even if you’re the sort of rarified American sportstard who thought all last year that Tom Brady was somehow associated with a 70’s sitcom, you still should succumb to the spectacle of the Super Bowl.
Last week, NPR aired a piece about how Super Bowl advertisers were making an effort to target women more than ever this year, particularly in light of the WGA strike. Companies are hurting for ways to get to us. Cool, I thought, thank you for seeing us over here, making up 40 percent of viewership. And would this mean a shortage of obnoxious fart and boob jokes? Ah, the possibilities.
The twenty-something girls called from Boston at the end of the game to log in with their commercial picks. They put the cell on speaker and yelled in together: “Universally lame.”
The underlying cultural significance of Super Bowl advertising.
Or more accurately, Xylitol sweetener junkies.
Many of the DLD participants have moved on to Davos and concerns about the volatile financial markets. I am back home, but still thinking about social networks – social networks like, say, Davos and DLD, as well as Facebook and LinkedIn.
In December, Drambuie launched a “viral” campaign (it’s viral when it spreads like a disease, not when you say it’s viral, guys) using pseudo in-market research featuring Aussies with unfortunate haircuts resoundingly rejecting the Drambuie cocktail the “market researcher” gives them.
I have been known to slam companies’ marketing approaches in past posts, so I thought I would mix things up a bit, and offer my support for Las Vegas’ new slogan. Launching next week, the new slogan will be, “Your Vegas is Showing.”
I never really liked Jared, Subway’s original lovable oaf with the ultimate customer testimonial. But the message was clear: eat Subway and lose weight (provided you don’t like mayonnaise or anything else at Subway that tastes good). But Subway’s brand endorsement from the imaginary portly doofus, Peter Griffin from “Family Guy,” doesn’t make sense to me.
A new Canadian print campaign for Burger King has a little something for everyone: pimps, ho's, drug addicts and, um, self-lovers. Oooh! There’s even mockery of religious iconography. Bonus.
We’ve come a long way, baby. Or have we? Are these ads below any different to have a sexy cartoon woman touting the smooth taste of Kamels? Or how about all those yummy transfats and other terrible foods advertisers push at us? Or the wax placebo you rub on your head to alleviate headaches?
Consumer Reports claims $8 billion was lost last year on unused gift cards. The industry's auction and trading leader responds here first.
The Trabant, East Germany’s “darling” car turned 50 a week ago. And what a run it had, as it went from East German luxury good and West German laughing stock to a cultural icon in reunited Germany.
Marketers are talking nonstop about “content” these days: how it can help companies “be the media,” how it may be more credible than news, how it more closely connects readers and sellers, how it is the key to successful social media. Fine. All true. But is any of it new?
I’ve had my share of wee hour infomercial watching this year. And more than once, the sleep deprivation has had me giddy at the thought of buying one of those neato vacuum sealing doohickeys to keep my hamburger buns from getting all frosty in the freezer. But my curiosity pretty much died with the $139 price tag.
And now, the Attention Deficit Theatre players take the stage for the season finale, “The Wheel.” While the play might only feel like it’s five minutes long, there’s a magic time machine involved and it’s really a nine month production. And you might need to sit on an inflatable donut for a few days afterward. Bonus.
Fire up the polka music and pour yourself a vile glass of rum and crème de menthe while the Unbound Edition Players present “Nixon vs. Kennedy.”
And now, the Unbound Edition Players, slightly flushed and smelling oddly of dryer sheets, present “Indian Summer.” (curtain up)
After a brief, AMC-imposed hiatus, the Unbound Edition players return to the stage for “The Long Weekend.” If they seem a little sluggish, it’s because they’re weighed down by the chunky Chips Ahoy they turned to when there wasn’t a new episode to cover. They really feel for Peggy now.
With apologies for the production delay (an unfortunate case of the flu made an appearance backstage this weekend), the Unbound Edition Players at last take the stage to present “Shoot.”
Given tight deadlines today, this blog post arguably has neither. But I thought this article on OpenAd.net, “The Biggest Creative Department in the World,” was worthy of discussion.
Never underestimate the power of an agency creative team to sweep in on a successful Internet phenomenon and whore the idea out to a client. So it goes with Kohler—the bold toiletsmiths of tomorrow. Taking a cue from the wildly successful Blendtec “Will it Blend?” series of catchy YouTube videos, Kohler has plunged the depths of their creatives to come up with JosPlumbing.com.
Pull up a chair, make sure there are no unsavory substances visible on the cushion, and join us for today’s presentation of “The Hobo Code.”
And now, at the halfway point in season one of “Mad Men,” the Unbound Edition Players present the completely bizarro-world episode, “Red in the Face.”
Alcohol companies, by nature of their product, have a greater degree of permission from consumers. People bring their beverage of choice into golden moments of relaxation, celebration, and even hard times. In a hotly competitive market such as alcoholic beverages, it’s vital to capitalize on this permission and the social nature of sharing a drink with a friend.
Attention, ladies! Playtex is on to the fact that we constantly are talking about, joking about, and otherwise obsessing over our breasts. Constantly, I tell you. And they’ve got a multimillion dollar campaign about it. Um, what? Is a 14-year-old boy the marketing genius behind this?
The Unbound Edition players, joined by this week's special guest stars, now present "Babylon," also known as "The Episode That Went on for Eternity."
Last week I started to address what’s wrong with U.S. tennis, reviewing the United States Tennis Association’s (USTA) misguided attempt to interest younger consumers in tennis.
Please take your seats for "5G." Now with 20 percent more sarcasm at the same great price.
The Unbound Edition players now present the off-off-off-around-the-corner-and-then-28-more-blocks-off Broadway production of “New Amsterdam.”
What’s that? It’s the United States Tennis Association’s tagline for the US Open Series. Six weeks, ten tournaments, ten North-American cities, 200 players, $30 million on the line. Final destination, the only U.S. tennis grand slam—the US Open in Queens, New York. So far, so good. Taking tennis “on the road” and bringing it to communities around the country is a fair attempt to raise awareness and, hopefully, bring back tennis as a sport of choice.
Today it seems the jingle is considered a quaint, outmoded branding device. But I believe the right jingle or tonal identity can be pure marketing gold.
Pop open your boxes of Jujubes and Sno-Caps and enjoy today's two-minute production of "Mad Men: The Marriage of Figaro."
In preparation for tonight’s debut of "Mad Men" Episode 3: Marriage of Figaro, the Unbound Edition players proudly present the highlights of Episode 2: Ladies Room.
If you don’t have cable or an hour to spend watching AMC’s “Mad Men” each week, you’ve come to the right place. I’ve condensed the script to two minutes of key plot points, with added snarkiness as appropriate.
Let’s role play. You’re a pharmaceutical company who (allegedly) covered up the dangers of your last billion-dollar drug, for which you’re mired in costly and reputation-damaging litigation. You’re eager to launch a new, ground-breaking drug you can legitimately claim prevents cancer, and you want to avoid a barrage of articles comparing your new rising star to its fallen predecessor. You also need to break through consumer hesitation to early adopt, given your less-than-glowing track record. The new drug vaccinates against an STD. What do you do?
The new fat-blasting wonder drug, alli, is terrifying. I’m talking “Poltergeist” clown terrifying. The product poses some unique marketing challenges, to say the least.
The truth is I have to give the “Truth” campaign credit for attempting to speak the language of the IM generation. But “Whudafxup” with the double standard?
This week, Unilever announced a company-wide initiative to ban size zero models from appearing in advertising for any of its products. The company says it “believes in a healthy balanced diet and that both men and women have the right to feel comfortable with their bodies and not suffer from lack of self-esteem brought on by images of excessive slimness."
Thinly veiled PR ploys, corporate-image ads and traditional notions of CSR-as-afterthought are outmoded. As one brand consultant puts it, “corporate sheen is dead.” Unfortunately, most marketers are still hanging out at the wake, too drunk and reminiscing about the good ole days to realize their consumers (and other stakeholders) are light years ahead of them.
You’ve seen plenty of them: DTC (Direct-to-Consumer) pharmaceutical ads that mention the drug, but not its purpose. That’s because the FDA mandates that if a drug states its purpose in an ad, the side effects must be clearly communicated.
Data shows that consumers demand value
A brand is more than a logo. But a company’s mark is its calling card, a shorthand for all that other stuff--the quality of the product, the level of service, the history of the company--for its composite brand.
As the demographics of the American population continue to shift, marketers understand that the opportunities provided by the growing diversity of consumers in the United States are not what they used to be.
In the beginning, mobile advertising was all about conversions. Remember QR codes? Vouchers? What got people excited about mobile were the opportunities that didn't exist at all on desktop.
You might think that when it comes to shopping, everyone wants to get the lowest price and get the job done as fast as possible, right? Apparently not.
Coke is the Cannes Advertiser of the Year
These heat maps of the U.S. break down how people use language and pronounce words differently in different parts of the country: Soda vs. pop, sub vs. hero, water fountain vs. … bubbler?
Nivea adds functionality to a traditional print ad promoting its Sun line in Brazil.
Advertisers don't want to invade any of their customers' sense of privacy. They just want an effective way of serving relevant ads or content to consumers.
Abercrombie & Fitch CEO Mike Jeffries is under fire about his comments on excluding people who don't fit with the brand.
Coke, AT&T and GM Are on Board, but USOC Sponsors A-B InBev, Hilton Holding Out
Can Facebook make a commercial for itself without turning people off?
In the ongoing evolution of social media in 2012, people’s behavior in social and mobile matured to a point where the first thing they do when they wake up in the morning is check Facebook on their phone (some even sleep with their phones).
The authors of a new book on real-time marketing outline how brands can be part of cultural conversations without looking like idiots.
Users, advertisers, browser companies, and website owners are pitted against one another in a battle over online advertisements and the way individual consumer information is used to deliver targeted ads.
When it comes to mobile shopping, the gender gap is alive and well.
Hitting the top shelf with digital spirits is a fascinating business centered on good times, but it’s also intellectually challenging in terms of working within the regulations governing alcohol marketing.
Developers Seeks Sponsors by Touting Attraction's Technology, Social Media Potential
Consumers Will Remember the Way Your Product Made Them Feel
In the pre-digital days there really wasn’t a need for brands to produce more than the ads that went on traditional media. Now they need to produce an almost constant stream of fresh content to keep up with digital channels and social media.
There’s no question that offering incentives can be a powerful way to get your customers and prospects to take the actions you want.
Virtual retail spaces have the potential to repurpose transitional urban spaces for entirely new uses.
WWDDD: Scroll Through These Classics and Ask Yourself, 'What Would Don Draper Do?'
You're waiting for the elevator in an office building, minding your own business, perhaps lost in thought. The door slides open and, wham!
These are ads that you can actually have a (limited) conversation with, potentially creating a much more interactive and fun advertising experience — which is particularly challenging for mobile advertisers who have to work with limited screen space.
The more screens you have, the more likely you are to engage in media multitasking.
Do you think Apple, famously protective over its brand and image, should have a quiet word with Carlsberg, or is it a storm in a pint jug?
Korean Emart recently placed 3D QR code sculptures throughout the city of Seoul that could only be scanned between noon and 1 pm each day — consumers were given discounts at the store during those quiet shopping hours.
Co.Create joined The Atlantic, Vice, Gawker and College Humor in a talk about how publishers are approaching native advertiser.
Broadcast-television ratings have dropped sharply this season. And that, combined with the weak economy and competition from other media, augurs badly for the spring ad-sales market, ad buyers and analysts say.
Marketers are supposed to be the experts on connecting emotionally with customers. But ironically, their current market research practices make it almost impossible to do so.
Despite the quest, earned media isn’t always a good thing. It works when the right people -- your brand advocates and satisfied customers -- are engaged in the three R’s: rating, reviewing and recommending your brand.
Imgembed is the new embedding tool for photographs that allows for fair use of images on the internet.
The new rules of the hyper-social, data-driven, actor-friendly, super-seductive platinum age of television.
Marketing strategy is particularly difficult because the rules have changed. A generation ago, brands mostly strove to create buzz and “drive awareness,” now they need to build compelling experiences that keep consumers engaged.
The use of interactive digital displays are helping to provide customers with an immersive experience that engages multiple senses, something that’s impossible to replicate on the web.
A major mistake that many entrepreneurs make — and don’t realize — is marketing themselves, not their business.
It enables marketers to deliver content via an embedded NFC chip that allows wireless communication when a user touches a smartphone or mobile device to a piece of marketing collateral or brings the device into close proximity with an NFC tag.
Do I buy enough from Amazon to justify paying $79 per year for unlimited two-day shipping?
The Hidden Benefits of Social Media Marketing Why Your Strategy May Be Working Better Than You Think
If you’re feeling a bit skeptical about social media marketing and whether or not it’s worth the effort, following are some reasons why it may be working better than you realize.
A growing number of agency media executives who grew up in digital are finding themselves overseeing the buying and planning of all media.
Our Selection of the Most Eye-Catching Ads on Billboards
What? Corporate culture as a weapon of marketing warfare? Corporate culture as a tool to build customer preference for your products?
You often hear of the lengthy approval processes required to get a campaign underway. That’s not always the case anymore.
Advertisers looking to escape the dreaded advertorial trap and give consumers content they'll actually read has helped create the boom in native advertising or branded content.
Insight used to be considered a personal quality and one that was essential to be a successful marketer. While other corporate functions, such as finance and logistics, were driven by cold, rational calculation, marketers were supposed to thrive at the human side of business.
First of all, what is Play Live? It’s a “Participation TV” platform (that’s what Bravo calls it) where people vote or interact with questions during a television program using their laptop, tablet or smartphone.
The co-founder and executive director of MIT's Auto-ID lab, Kevin Ashton, proposed to apply the logic of the web to objects in the physical world: to connect everything that exists physically to the Internet through the application of ubiquitous tags and sensors. Fifteen years later, we are seeing Ashton's vision play out.
Digital may be the future when it comes to publishing, but the problem today is that online publishing — and advertising specifically — doesn't make enough money.
So if we’re all telling stories now, what were we doing before? And is it still relevant?
Do you follow a brand in social media? Are you glad you did?
Customer experience has become the new differentiator. Short product development cycles now mean that many companies release new products that offer little differences in actual product features. To stand out, organizations now need to meet and exceed customer expectations.
Advertisers always knew there would come a time when budgets would need to shift to mobile to keep pace with changing consumption habits. That time is now. The mobile web is growing 14 times faster than desktop traffic, as consumers interact with apps, social network and email from a slew of smart devices.
This week Panera Bread launched its largest campaign to date, which includes an increase in digital spending of just under 100%.
All agencies think innovation = digital. As a result, we’re not seeing genuine innovation; instead we’re seeing more interruption, in more places, on more devices. Ad agencies need to innovate, and innovate fast, but are caught in what is known as, ‘the innovator’s paradox.’
By the end 2013 tablets will account for 20 percent of Google’s paid search ad clicks in the U.S., up from 6 percent in January 2012. It’s not just the volume of the tablet clicks that is rising, it’s also the value.
The formula is simple. It involves just three basic ingredients. And yet, year after year, so many generally decent practitioners get it so embarrassingly wrong. I am, of course, talking about what it takes to create a super Super Bowl advertisement.
Despite all the talk about newspapers being a dying business, plenty of them are profitable. Recent history shows that profits are hardly necessary for a sale if the buyer's motivation and the price are right.
644 million people worldwide accessed online newspaper sites in October 2012, making up 42.6% of the total internet population. Mail Online was the most popular online newspaper, attracting more than 50 million unique visitors during the month.
News Corp. is shutting down The Daily, its ambitious daily newspaper for the tablet market, after two years.
Forget about the clicks and check-ins so commonly associated with what many marketers call the "second screen" experience, which typically involves use of a tablet or smartphone while the user watches anything from "The Voice" to "Hoarders." Marketers are starting to use the medium with more in mind than just sparking idle talk.
Lately we’ve heard a chorus of skepticism regarding the importance of viewability, and some say that there is no correlation between viewability and conversion rate. In reality, there are only three reasons why one could legitimately argue that viewability doesn't matter.
It used to be that brands and agencies would create ad campaigns, push them live, and use the resulting consumer reaction to help inform the next campaign. But with the rise of real-time data, marketers can now keep tabs on real-time consumer reaction and use that knowledge to make smarter decisions around all facets of creating, distributing and measuring brand campaigns.
We continuously hear of the ever-changing digital age and predictions now and then, of doom and gloom within the newspaper, magazine, radio and outdoor media marketplaces, among others. Forward-thinking marketers and media executives, however, continually find ways to adapt, evolve and reinvent traditional communication platforms.
At any given moment, Diageo has between 2.5 billion and 3 billion bottles sitting in stores around the world, acting as passive "pitchmen" for its brands. Now Diageo has found a way for the bottles to literally speak to the consumers who buy them.
Time had social media users high on its mind when it decided to move to responsive design. Social media now accounts for at least 12 percent of referrals to Time.com, and most people who click on Time links from Facebook, Twitter and the like are doing so on a mobile.
Why do some advertisers and agencies look at the world one silo at a time when, in fact, our media world is cross-referenced but brand messages across them are not completely integrated?
Newspapers in Brazil have uncoupled themselves from Google News, claiming that their presence on the search engine is preventing their online operations from growing. It's a pre-emptive strike on the firm, involving all 154 members of the Associacao Nacional de Journais--that's 90% of the country's circulation of dailies.
Shoppers at the new International Finance Center Mall in Seoul can find their way around the four-story complex by approaching one of 26 information kiosks. When they do, they also are being watched. Kiosks at a Seoul mall, above, would use facial recognition software to decide what ads to present shoppers. Just above each kiosk's LCD touch screen sit two cameras and a motion detector
Corporate America is questioning the return on their advertising investment, and agencies continue to struggle to prove their value. There is an impatience for efficiency and effectiveness, and there are higher expectations of accountability.
It’s Advertising Week, which means it’s time for a barrage of panels full of questions like “Are banners dead?” and “Native advertising: the wave of the future?” And while some will dismiss this chattering as manufactured drama, the proliferation of these existential questions is a solid indicator that the digital publishing industry needs to change.
There’s no question about it—mobile traffic is booming as people spend more time hunched over their little screens. For magazines, it represents an opportunity to capture more readers and try to convert them to paying ones.
To its groaning shelf of National Magazine Awards and bulging portfolio of stories extolling its business success, New York magazine can add one more credit: It's having its best year in a decade. Both profits and revenue are the highest they've been since financier Bruce Wasserstein bought the barely profitable publication.
A WEEKLY trade publication covering Madison Avenue since the Hoover administration will soon introduce its most significant redesign in years, as part of efforts to further redirect its editorial focus in a digital world toward analysis from breaking news.
Lots of sporting events are used to promote brands. The Olympics, perhaps, more than most. So it's no surprise that the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) is hard at work to ensure that brands that are not “official sponsors” of the games do not gain financially
With the network releasing footage of Olympic events hours after they’ve already happened, major news networks are learning they can’t pretend that social media doesn’t exist.
With such high stakes, brands should assess their fit with the Olympic Games before jumping into the arena. Not all players are a perfect match. Brands that are compatible with the Games, in both product offering and Ideal, can expect greater impact on their equity.
Turner Broadcasting said today that it acquired Bleacher Report to broaden the scope of sports coverage it can offer advertisers as well as bolster its scale, which has significantly decreased in recent months.
Canadian publication Maclean’s this week announced a study from the Advertising Research Foundation in New York City. The article states the respected Foundation recently tested a “blank” ad on Facebook whose click-thru rate performed only .01% less well than regular Facebook ads.
A survey conducted by Women’s Marketing Inc. published new findings that shed light on social media marketing and women. We’ve pulled three important lessons from the data, which will help businesses to refine their marketing tactics, especially as they pertain to the female demographic.
Those "Will It Blend?" videos of some guy throwing an iPhone in a blender and the instantly viral Shakeweight ads have millions and millions of views. Your company's new "viral" spot has 500. Here's what separates great branded video content from the flops.
The connected TV, sometimes called the smart TV (and even branded as such by Samsung) is a growing phenomenon: TV makers are adding limited apps, Net connectivity, and even streaming media powers to their newer TVs in the hope they'll persuade you to upgrade your newish LCD for a flatter, smarter unit. They're desperate to, given how flat this market is. But according to new research from Pew, the future of TV may actually be a little more closely aligned with the notion of a "connected TV viewer," an important distinction
Honest Tea has moved steadily toward the mainstream of the U.S. beverage business in recent years, as Coca-Cola has invested more and more in the brand. But since it was purchased outright by Coke last year, the Bethesda, Md.-based organic-tea and -juice startup has moved at the even faster pace that would be expected of a tiny company now backed by the immense marketing and distribution resources of the world's biggest soft-drink concern.
Hilton is evolving its current campaign to feature experiences that guests have at properties worldwide. Still using the two-year-old tagline “Stay Hilton. Go Everywhere,” the new interpretations include a series of print, online and out-of-home advertisements. Developed in collaboration with Cramer-Krasselt, the three creative executions are "Go Chill," "Go Refresh" and "Go Foodie."
Most national brands are strategically positioned at the national Web level with strong awareness and branding, but these companies often lack insight into how their brands are represented at this level. Their local presence becomes clear when you conduct local searches on national brands using the “Local Web Test.”
Last year, new advertising for Harley-Davidson was greeted with skepticism. The company had eschewed working with traditional ad agencies on the campaign, and instead became one of the very first marketers to pursue consumer-created work through crowd sourcing. Now Chief Marketing Officer Mark-Hans Richer is having the last laugh: Harley expects to repeat last year’s sales uptick of 6%, and its market share has been up 12 points in the last 4 years despite the Great Recession.
Ralph Lauren, Armani, Victoria's Secret, and Major League Sports Brands Among the 2012 Fashion Brand
For those of you out there who think brand and fashion have broken up and don’t even go to the same parties anymore, think again.
Avi Savar, founder and chief creative officer of social media agency Big Fuel, led the inaugural Branded Content and Entertainment jury at Cannes, awarding a Grand Prix to Chipotle and CAA for the burrito brand’s sustainable farming “Cultivate” campaign. Adweek caught up with Savar to chat about the category and where it’s headed.
The 2012 Olympics in London are being touted by some as the world’s “first social Games.” While some question just how social they’ll actually be, there’s no doubt that networks such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube will play an unprecedented role in how information is disseminated from London, and how the global sports conversation is driven during July and August. Why the big shift? It’s simple: Four years is an eternity in Internet time and since the last Summer Olympics in 2008, social media has exploded.
Texas Ranger outfielder Josh Hamilton got there because he deserves it. But please, three San Francisco Giants were voted onto the All Star team? In what election process is that fair? Buster Posey and Melky Cabrera maybe, but when you consider the perpetually injured Pablo Sandoval there is clearly something else at play when it comes to the All Star voting. For the Giants, and even the Rangers, it’s all about All Star tech savvy.
Marketers have tried targeting consumers in stores with QR codes and barcode scanners that so far have gotten limited traction. Now IBM is testing a new approach, dubbed augmented reality, which is a bit like applying search or a personalized version of Google Goggles to the world of physical store shelves.
A renaissance in the customer loyalty program has been long promised, but so far the reality has failed to live up to hype. Mass-adoption of smart-phones and the availability of location and social data mean the consumer loyalty program is ripe for a makeover but so far programs haven't really taken off with consumers and merchants. That's about to change and I believe the next twelve months will be critical in the growth of the mobile loyalty program.
When it comes to learning about food, nearly half of consumers use social networking sites, and 40% use Web sites, apps or blogs, according to a new study from The Hartman Group and Publicis Consultants USA. Read more: http://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/177904/leveraging-social-media-in-food-marketing.html#ixzz1zE5w9Vb4
The rise of Millennials and the aging of Baby Boomers represent significant challenges for established food brands and traditional grocery stores, according to new study from investment bank Jeffries and business advisory firm AlixPartners. Over the next decade, Millennials (born between 1982 and 2001) will come of age and Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) will enter the next phase of their lives and spending patterns. As a result, established food brands and traditional grocery stores will be pressured at both ends by consumers with different value equations.
PepsiCo’s archrival Coca-Cola may be sinking $5 billion into India, but it is finding a different way of reaching the international market: the Super Bowl.
Google "Nordstrom tire legend" and you get over 800,000 hits describing a legendary example of great customer service. Zappos has established legends of its own through bend-over-backwards customer service. Apple has topped the American Consumer Satisfaction Index (ASCI) for years, perceived as the best company in terms of customer satisfaction. Of course, there are other companies with great customer service, but no one should confuse great customer service with being customer-centric.
It’s been two months since Jeff Jones stepped into his role as executive VP and CMO at Target Corp. In that time, he’s adjusted to his move from the agency world, as president of McKinney, back to the client side. Jones, only the third CMO in Target’s 50-year history, met me in a busy Brooklyn Target store this morning to talk for the first time since his appointment–his “dream job,” he said–about the challenges Target faces, the experience he brings and what makes him an ideal candidate for the role, and how he plans to lead marketing for the discount retailer at a time when that task has never been more daunting.
Starbucks has announced plans to open its first tea-only shop by the fall. The concept store, named Tazo after the tea brand they bought in 1999, will be located in Seattle. This follows the company’s first juice bar, ‘Evolution Fresh,’ which opened in the city in March.
Social agency 1000heads have set up a social machine in the Mall of the Emirates in Dubai that gives gifts in exchange for Foursquare check-ins and NFC interactions. Prizes include candies, Nokia devices, movie tickets and other goodies that drop out the bottom of the machine when a user shares their check-in.
When a brand becomes a bully, it loses something vital. So much money, so many egos and so many governments are involved in the Olympics now (and they have so little competition) that it has become a sterling example of what happens when you let greed and lawyers run amok over common sense and generosity.
On a sweltering Wednesday night in New York, three unlikely things merged: electronica god Steve Aoki, Duran Duran and Trident Gum. As part of its first global campaign, "See What Unfolds," the gum brand is planning a series of events around the world, seeking to engage with fans over "the serious business of fun."
A mobile-display ad from none other than one of world's biggest mobile-ad sellers, Google, won the first Mobile Grand Prix at the Cannes Lions ad festival today. In what's essentially business-to-business marketing, Google's winning campaign "Hilltop Reimagined for Coca-Cola" was designed to show adland that online and mobile display advertising aren't as low-rent or constraining as is often thought.
We’ve many innovative ways to award customers with discounts based on performance, from rewarding social influence to charity work. Now the Bull and Bear Steakhouse at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York is cutting back the prices of its cocktails in line with stock market drops.
The Sunday New York Times reported one more brick removed from traditional media’s wall, as the Huff Post introduced an online weekly, available for the tablet via the Apple Store. As the article’s writer, David Carr, points out, a few years ago this wouldn’t have even been called a magazine. Ah, but how that has changed, with Arianna Huffington a powerful general leading the charge into the digital future.
In the sea of horror and despair that is the American shopping mall, the Apple Store is often a singular source of refuge. Check your email -- for as long as you want! Play a game of Angry Birds -- on the iPad of your choice! Ask a bearded blue-shirt named Jon anything at all about about the new MacBook Pro -- he'd be totally happy to talk about whatever! Beneath all the chillness and chirpiness, though, there's one more bit of precision required to make the Apple Store so Apple-y.
"We don't have any interest in being the biggest," said the senior VP-marketing and product management at Caribou. "We don't want to be in every aisle of the grocery chains in America. We'd rather be great at what we do." But Caribou, despite an acceptance of its stature as a smaller chain, hasn't sat idly by.
Android users are correct to complain that the iPhone often gets new features that are old for Android, but as loud as they may shout, they're the only ones listening. Apple truly flexes its muscles at the power of its brand.
The shaving brand, Gillette, (Procter & Gamble) has been running a television commercial which shows actor Brandon Quinn in far-flung locations, and claims one ProGlide cartridge blade lasted him 5 weeks on the road. It is impossible to put a reliable number on how long a shaving blade lasts, not least because all the variables are personal: including skin type, hair type, tolerance for drag, etc. But the news is that the huge and successful marketing machine behind the Gillette brand has seen *now* as the moment to come forward with a blade longevity number.
Carat USA President Doug Ray explains how to use content marketing in a media plan -- and why it's a bad idea to leave content out.
When Apple executive alumn Ron Johnson took the helm of J.C. Penney one of his goals was to wean customers off of the concept of “sale” and “coupon”. In their place he wanted to introduce a new pricing and merchandising strategy that was all about low prices all the time. It failed miserably as J.C. Penney’s recent earnings show and now word is that Johnson is bringing “sale” back into its advertising. Johnson miscalculated, gravely, about the love affair Americans have with coupons and discounts.
One of the three founders of Victors & Spoils, which touts itself as the first agency built on crowdsourcing principles, is preparing to exit the firm. Claudia Batten, whose most recent title at the shop is exec VP-new business, is leaving the Boulder-based company after its sale of a majority stake to Paris-based holding company Havas. Her next move is expected to be a startup.
PepsiCo has tapped Mauro Porcini, 3M's longtime design guru, as its first chief design officer. Mr. Porcini will be charged with creating a culture of design at PepsiCo as well as globally managing design for a variety of key food and beverage brands. His reach will extend from package design to advertising, industrial design and digital experiences.
Twitter made its most aggressive grab for TV marketing dollars, with the release of a TV ad during the Pocono 400 and the launch of the corresponding Twitter.com/#NASCAR hashtag page. See Twitter, like AOL before it, wants to be the destination for users who wish to engage with a certain brand. It wants to own the URL that runs at the end of an ad. Actually, scratch that — it wants to own the hashtag that appears during the ad or TV show, to become synonymous with where the conversation happens.
These news items recently caught our attention: P&G shifting money from marketing to social media. And GM walking away from advertising on Facebook. Question: Are these events contradictory or complementary?
Pepsi’s celebrity-infused “Live for Now” global ad campaign, which launched May 7, will get digital boost this summer from media conglomerate Viacom. Viacom’s Twitter accounts for MTV, VH1, CMT and Comedy Central will aid in the campaign’s mission of “inviting and inspiring” people to live in the moment — and sharing those moments on social networks with relevant hashtags.
Which new media platform has rocketed to hundreds of millions of unique visitors, provides both utility and entertainment for the masses, and has become the destination of choice for its generation? If this were 1999, Yahoo! would be your answer. Today, that torch has been handed to Facebook. And with good reason, since they have embedded their ubiquitous social network of nearly 1 billion members into a large part of people’s lives and the digital ecosystem. But Yahoo!’s challenges tell a cautionary tale for Facebook.
As the cable landscape has changed dramatically, so too have networks' branding challenges. When there were just a handful of cable networks, it was easy to sort your news from your reality channels. But as choices proliferate and programming blurs, networks are increasingly introducing revamped slogans and logos to set them apart.
Travel is an experience people like to discuss with their friends as they share the details of where they’re going and how they’ll get there. Hertz knew customers’ social activity and conversations were impacting purchase decisions but the company didn’t know how much until now.
It was Giorgio Armani's obsession with health that led to his brush with death. For 10 days in May 2009, Armani, one of the most influential fashion designers and entrepreneurs of our time, lay in a hospital bed with what he describes as "a very serious" case of hepatitis. The cause of his illness wasn't the stress that comes from juggling a global empire of clothes, accessories, furniture, cosmetics and real estate. It was the supplements. Even though Giorgio Armani single-handedly built a billion-dollar brand his own way, where does his empire go from here?
In one sense, perhaps the most important sense, a brand is a promise. Think of some top brands and you immediately know what they promise: McDonald’s, Coca Cola, Budweiser, Ford, Apple, MetLife. It takes a lot of time, money and very hard work to build and maintain great brands like that, brands that can speak volumes in just a few syllables.
Back in April you may have tweeted how much you hate doing taxes. Sometime later you may have been browsing the Web and noticed ads for TurboTax popping up. That probably wasn't an accident.
The Lipitor For You “Recipes 2 Go” app is aimed at helping consumers manage their heart health on the go. The launch marks the first time that Pfizer has released a consumer mobile app for a prescription product in the U.S.
Every company is struggling to nail down their core target group. If only they could define it, life--or at least business--would be a whole lot easier. They could then channel resources and focus energy in the right direction.
Target was already announced as a shopkick partner, but until now, it was limited to testing integration in seven cities. Now, thanks to what the company says were “rave reviews,” it’s expanding its shopkick integration to all of its 1,764 stores in the United States, making it the largest shopkick retailer.
Publishers are bleeding themselves dry, giving up the very customer data that hold the promise of their continued relevance in the digital age. They struggle to monetize online users, as the dimes from digital will never replace the analog dollars they no longer receive from print. They see social sharing as a way to drive page views on their traffic-starved websites. But many of these social-sharing tools are data vampires.
Online, men are shopping more and at rates higher than before, according to an iProspect study of men with a household income of $100,000 plus.
'The Guardian' huffed and puffed and made one of the year's best ads. Did it sell papers? Newspapers aren't known for their compelling self-promotion. Yet in the grip of their existential crisis, that's what they need—a riveting argument for their own value, evolution and place in the cultural conversation. In late February, London ad agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty delivered just that for The Guardian.
Popular game Draw Something is now rolling out a new type of ad model–instead of seeing traditional banner ads, users will be actually drawing the ads, as the new model integrates ads into the game in the form of branded word choices.
With an estimated $2.1 trillion in spending power, moms influence 85% of all purchase decisions and buy nearly everything for everybody. What’s more, we now know that moms are even better shoppers than might be perceived in the marketplace due in large part to neurological research that didn’t exist until recently.
Amidst falling sales, a revolving door of chief executives, countless attempts to be cool with “The King,” and even a fresh rift with pop diva, Mary J. Blige, we’re told in the latest Burger King ad campaign that “Exciting things are happening at Burger King.” Oh really?
The New York Times company's latest quarterly numbers contain a rich trove of data regarding the health of the digital news industry. Today, we'll focus on the transition from traditional advertising to paywall strategies being implemented across the world. Paywalls appear as a credible way to offset – alas too partially – the declining revenue from print operations.
What does a brand do when most of its competitors are recasting or overhauling themselves in a highly competitive industry? If you're McDonald's, well, you keep doing what you've been doing. Because everyone else is — still — trying to catch you.
Two-thirds of advertising spending is brand advertising, but online only one quarter is. In fact, if brand advertising dollars moved online in the same proportion that sales advertising has, it would almost exactly close the famous gap between time spent online and ad dollars spent online.
Nearly three quarters (72%) of adults are quite attached to following local news and information, and local newspapers are by far the source they rely on for much of the local information they need. In fact, local news enthusiasts are substantially more wedded to their local newspapers than others.
It’s a new era where consumers will punish a company for taking a wrong stand, but also for taking no stands at all. In these volatile times, brands actually should become more willing to take a stand.
One of the first clues to Tumblr's future as a business came in February with the launch of "highlighted posts," which allow Tumblr users to pay $1 to gain more visibility for their work. In 2010, Tumblr CEO David Karp told the Los Angeles Times that the thought of ads "turns our stomachs." But can it be a business without them?
A South Korean Dunkin’ Donuts campaign is reinventing the traditional radio advertisement using unique technology and the smell of coffee. The campaign, named, Flavor Radio releases coffee aroma via sound recognition technology.
New research from analytics firm Nielsen confirms what most have suspected about the symbiotic relationship between tablets and television, and offers some hope for a growing crop of startups looking to capitalize on the second screen experience.
Coca-Cola is looking at restructuring and expanding its in-house content creation team as it experiments with longform branded content. The soft drink giant’s VP of global advertising strategy and creative excellence Jonathan Mildenhall told C21 recent campaigns around the Olympics and Coke Zero, which both included longform video, had prompted him to look at how it manages this type of content from its Atlanta headquarters.
There's two weeks left until Ad Age Digital 2012, where six promising startups will fast-pitch Anheuser Busch-InBev execs for the chance to work on one of two iconic brands: Budweiser and Bud Light.
Following a sales increase of 26 percent in 2011, and 20 percent in 2010, this is a far cry for a company that considered pulling out of the U.S. market in the early 1990’s, when sales plummeted to 40,000 vehicles. The company plans to deliver double-digit growth this year and next, CMO Tim Mahoney told me, terming it “Quality growth”, meaning it has to be profitable and sustainable. That should put VW comfortably over the 400,000 vehicles mark.
Auto makers are deeply concerned that Millennials don’t care about vehicles nearly as much as they do about the next iPhone. So the companies have become decidedly more intent on roping in these car-reluctant twenty-somethings. That’s one big reason why, for instance, Ford has decided to set up shop, literally, in Silicon Valley, and why General Motors has turned for marketing advice to MTV.
Emirates is launching a campaign aimed at evolving the airline from a travel brand to a global lifestyle brand. With the tagline “Hello Tomorrow,” the creative seeks to paint the Dubai-based airline as an “enabler of global connectivity and meaningful experiences,” according to the company.
Magazines more than doubled their paid digital circulation in the most recent reporting period, but print remains the overwhelming majority of their business, according to a new analysis by the Audit Bureau of Circulations. Digital circulation soared to an estimated 3.29 million in the second half of 2012 from 1.46 million in the year-earlier period, a 125% increase, according to publishers' reports with the Audit Bureau.
Brand mascots are rebounding as marketers redeploy old characters in new ways, create fresh ones from scratch and use digital media to spin out rich storylines not possible in the past, when critters and cartoon characters were pretty much confined to TV. While it might be too early to declare a full-fledged mascot revival, brand characters are undoubtedly regaining attention.
Conde Nast, the publisher of magazines such as Glamour and Wired, recently gave advertisers metrics concerning tablet editions of its January issues. It now plans to give advertisers data on each new issue about 10 weeks after it comes out.
The most recent commercial for the BMW i3 and i8 concept cars is a great example of something enlightened marketers have known for years: emotion is the key driver behind purchasing decisions. Yet, today, most businesspeople still follow the old adage, “Emotions and business don’t mix,” relying on rational data to drive decisions instead.
LinkedIn and the Council of Economic Advisors mapped the fastest-growing and fastest-shrinking industries since 2007, the year the Great Recession started. Renewables are at the top and newspapers are at the bottom.
Brands have historically paid for media to deliver their messages. But now, those brands are becoming the media, attracting their own audiences. And not just within social networks, but through their own online publications. This new strategy is known as content marketing, and it has been embraced by leading brands like American Express, IBM, and General Mills, with more joining the ranks every day.
If you pay attention to advertising, you may have seen some charming, pencil-figured ads entitled “Good to Know” about managing your privacy options. After midnight, Google will start linking your data across all of Google’s products.
MTV has introduced a mobile app in Europe that fits somewhere on between HBO Go and social-TV platforms, letting users watch the network's shows on demand and invite friends to chat. Don't Expect a U.S. Version Anytime Soon.
As both an avid golf fan and a curious marketer, I’ve noticed a renewed enthusiasm for the premier professional ladies golf tour, the LPGA. To learn more about the LPGA’s turnaround, I had a conversation with the organization’s CMO, Jon Podany.
Is now a good time to have a Jerry Maguire moment? To refresh your memory, the story goes when a sports agent has a moral epiphany and is fired for expressing it, he decides to put his new philosophy to the test as an independent with the only athlete who stays with him. We say people matter, do we mean it?
NBC Universal's broadcasts of the Olympics from London this summer will be filled with the usual athletic contests: synchronized swimming, basketball and canoe sprinting, among others. Behind the scenes, however, NBC will engage in a different sort of game: tablet counting. Mindful that audiences are no longer relying solely on TV to get all their video content, NBC Universal will use the Olympics to set up a system that purports to count viewers across all the different ways they now watch their shows.
Pinterest is a Virtual Pinboard. Pinterest lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. People use Pinterest to communicate through vibrant images and share their personal interests.
You may have noticed something was missing throughout the nation's most social sporting event of the year. The Super Bowl in-game broadcast had zero social media TV integration. With more than a billion people on Facebook and Twitter alone, many of them watching the game, this was a missed opportunity. Why did NBC and the NFL miss the boat?
Ah, the complex olfactory bouquet of the urban bus shelter! Trying to identify individual odors within such dense scent tapestries can be difficult, and most disturbing! That's not the case, however, at some locations in British cities like London and Manchester, where McCain Foods is installing 3-D ad panels that emit the aroma of freshly baked potatoes at the push of a button.
More than ever, the core drivers of brand loyalty are emotional rather than rational. That’s the takeaway from the 2012 Brand Keys Customer Loyalty Engagement Index (CLEI), which marks the survey’s 16th year. While emotional engagement factors have become more critical each year, the influence of two core, overarching components rose markedly in 2012: the brand’s “values” and the consumer’s brand “experience.”
Super Bowl ad prices have risen faster than inflation or viewership. Can they really be worth it? The most-expensive 30-second slot during this weekend’s Super Bowl cost a shocking $4 million. That’s a hundred-fold increase in the inflation-adjusted average price of a spot since Super Bowl I in 1967. Even at the recent 2010 low point, ads sold for $2.65 million, up more than 20 percent from where they stood in 2000. What drives increases of this scale, and how can it possibly make sense for companies to pay such sky-high prices?
Discount voucher sites are all the rage. Groupon, Living Social and a host of other players are entering the mushrooming markdown market. This begs the question if discount sites are good news for brand value? In summary we don’t think so. It may be good for short term revenue spikes and potentially contribution margin boosts but not long term brand value. This is based on our experience with hotels, spas and restaurants to name a few. Let us share how we arrived at this position.
Because you work in advertising or media, a little more is expected of you when it comes to Super Bowl advertising knowledge. It's not enough to mindlessly chuckle along with the masses at the CareerBuilder monkeys or Volkswagen's body-image-obsessed canine. You need to be able drop some serious knowledge on this, advertising's biggest day, whilst juggling a microbrew and a plate of nachos.
When Ridley Scott created Apple's iconic "1984," the company's board didn't want it to air. Newly hired CEO John Sculley, veteran of many a Super Bowl ad as CEO of Pepsi-Cola Co., agreed with the consensus: It's a waste to run an ad that doesn't even show the product. Apple ended up selling off some of its planned Super Bowl ad time and ran "1984" in the 60-second slot it couldn't unload. The rest, as they say, is history. The Macintosh did change the world as Steve Jobs said it would, and Apple is the most valuable company on the planet.
The brand new Land Rover Range Rover Evoque started 2012 off right – with a prestigious North American Truck of the Year win at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan. This topped off a terrific 2011 for the Tata Motors-owned brand, with Land Rover sales up an impressive 19.6% to 38,099 in a new car market that grew by 10.6%. The success of this off-road brand is in stark contrast to its former competitor, GM’s Hummer, which logged no new sales last year and like so many Hollywood marriages, failed to survive to the 10-year anniversary it would have celebrated this year. As you may recall, on February 24, 2010, eight months into its post-bankruptcy life, and nearly eight years after debuting the H2, GM officially announced they would begin the wind-down process for the Hummer brand. The last Hummer rolled off the Shreveport production line in 2010. So how did these two brands with arguably analogous products end up with such different fortunes?
Esquire magazine, a monument to male vitality, seemed about to keel over in 2009. Famous for laying down a much-followed literary track with an article in 1966 by Gay Talese titled “Frank Sinatra Has a Cold,” the magazine found itself gasping for breath and fighting for survival. Amid the plague that hit the magazine industry back then, Esquire was worse off than most. Beaten up by a crop of lad magazines like Maxim, then hammered by the flight of advertisers and readers to the Web, Esquire suffered a 24.3 percent loss in advertising pages compared with 2008, which was almost as bad, by the way. A Web site for investors, 24/7 Wall Street, predicted in 2009 that Esquire would be one of “Twelve Major Brands that Will Disappear” the following year.
The New York Times raised its daily price to $2.50 today. I thought back to the penny press at the turn of the last century and wondered what such a paper would cost today, inflation adjusted. Answer: a quarter. So, in inflation-adjusted current pennies, The New York Times today costs 10 times more than a newspaper in 1890. Granted, Today’s Times is better than a product of the penny press. But is it worth 10x? Should it cost 10x?
Most often, analysis of brand strategy is focused on a name brand consumer product and its conventional efforts, such as John Deere's social marketing strategy, Benetton's scandalized ad campaign, Dr.Pepper's questionable "men only" positioning or Apple doing... anything.
In 2006, Dove launched its True Colors campaign to spark a global conversation about the definition and perception of beauty among women of all ages. Its research found only 2% of women considered themselves beautiful; and body anxieties begin at an early age with 72% feeling great pressure to be beautiful, when girls feel badly about their looks, 60% disconnect from life, avoiding normal daily activities like attending school or even giving their opinion.
You are driving down the interstate, looking for the nearest outlet of your favorite fast-food restaurant. The billboards tell you things you didn't ask to know, until finally one says there's an app that will find what you're looking for. You pull over, download it on the spot, and two exits later sit down to that perfect meal. This app, called RoadNinja, was launched late last week by the Lamar Advertising Co. You can check it out on iTunes. Its arrival suggests that CMOs still figuring their 2012 new-media budgets better include some for outdoor media.
Despite online video and commercial-skipping DVRs, companies still spend 38 percent of their advertising budgets on television ads and just 1 percent on online video. YouTube is trying to change that.
Last month, CEO Reed Hastings announced that the company's DVD and streaming businesses would be split: The DVD-by-mail service would be rebranded as Qwikster, while the streaming service would remain under Netflix. Consumer reaction was overwhelmingly negative, just as it had been for the company's recent price hikes. Many found the announcement confusing (customers would now have to deal with separate websites, usernames and passwords, movie queues, credit card bills, and ratings systems), and senior Netflix execs came out to reaffirm the decision, calling it a "natural progression" and part of a "long-term marketing opportunity."
Since the daily deals site Groupon launched in November 2008, its story has been about huge numbers, giant savings, and astronomical growth. According to one accounting, it is the fastest-growing company, ever. According to its own accounting, it has become profitable far sooner than most tech startups. Wall Street seems poised to reward it with an initial public offering valuing the company at as much as $30 billion. But are all these big numbers based on questionable metrics? And can Groupon really keep up the soar-away growth justifying that fantastic valuation?
Levi Strauss is working hard to make itself a global brand. To that end, Levi’s has been beefing up its human capital, the better to bring its global campaign and corporate citizenship message to the world.
The economy is faltering and consumers are scared, but you wouldn’t know it by watching television, where advertisers are still pouring in money.
I was astounded recently to see a Pepsi ad that shows Santa on vacation somewhere in the Caribbean. There he is in a Hawaiian shirt, dancing in the sand, surrounded by noisy, happy sun-seekers. The tune is Montell Jordan's new jack swing staple from 1995, "This Is How We Do It."
You're aware by now that Fabio is the summer stand-in for Isaiah Mustafa, and that Old Spice's ad agency, Wieden & Kennedy, is producing content for YouTube and Twitter that plays off the work it did for the "Man Your Man Could Smell Like" campaign. As of this writing, there's a spokesguy "duel" going on (Mano a Mano in El Bano) involving playful videos that consumers can comment on. It's sure to win some brand-engagement award later this year. Look for it to get referenced as a stroke of genius in pop marketing books, too. Every CMO needs to see this exercise for the time-waster it is.
If sex sells, then nudity cannot be far behind. At least that is what Zappos, the online retailer, hopes with its new advertising campaign featuring naked models doing everyday things like jogging, hailing a cab and playing Frisbee in public
Brand advertising seems to be on its way out. Take Starbucks, which used to advertise its coffee shops. And very effectively, too. Today, the brand is strongly positioned at the top of the coffee-shop market. What's next for Starbucks? The company's recent decision to drop the words "Starbucks coffee" from its logotype seems to indicate where the company is going. According to media reports, Starbucks is in the midst of a transformation from a coffee company to a food and beverage organization
You know the bag. The chocolate-brown leather canvas emblazoned with quatrefoils and the LV monogram is immediately recognizable as the international symbol of globetrotting luxury. The Louis Vuitton brand is the most valuable brand in luxury, according to a new study from Millward Brown. But in a world with knock offs on street tables from New York to New Dehli and rappers like Kanye West pronouncing himself the "Louis Vuitton don," how does the world's most famous luxury brand protect its image?
What makes one brand survive a reputation crisis better than others? While it would take a PR and branding genius to help, for instance, BP restore its tarnished image, how about less extreme examples? Consider the recent New York Times expose on General Electric that revealed how the corporate behemoth paid no taxes in 2010. GE made $14 billion in profits in 2010, $5 billion of that in the US — but its US tax bill is negative $3.5 billion. And yet, GE's reputation has not suffered as much as BP, Toyota or Goldman Sachs, at least so far, according to YouGov BrandIndex, the consumer perception brand research service.
Facebook today launched a stand-alone community site (facebook-studio.com) where ad agency creatives can share ideas, comment on campaigns and learn what it takes to create a successful page for a brand. The community is called "Facebook Studio" and is a platform aimed at agencies, PR firms and media strategy companies.
Well, that didn't last very long. About a month after announcing a major exclusive deal with retailer Target, Lady Gaga has dissolved the partnership citing Target's corporate culture of anti-gay rights political donations.
Joel Martin, principal of Eight Mile Style Music and co-owner of Eminem's song catalog, is used to getting the cold shoulder from Michigan automakers who have generally found the rap artist's song lyrics too spicy for their mainstream audiences. So, imagine his surprise when he got a call on his cellphone one day last December from an assistant at his Ferndale, Mich., office that said "The president of Chrysler is here looking for you."
Me, I got my Valentine early: I didn't have to watch the Super Bowl ads this year until, you know, the Super Bowl. It was fannnnnntastic. I got to experience the game like a normal slob, with a lap full of taco dip and genuine curiosity about how unfunny the Bud Light spots would be this year. It fell to my colleague Ken Wheaton to harvest the crop ahead of time.
New hit music has become about as indispensable to commercials as commercials have become to the modern music business. So why shouldn't the Grammy Awards recognize how popular bands were on Madison Avenue in the past year?
Pepsi's Superbowl ad campaign is looking to be a mind-bending exercise in crowdsourcing. First, Pepsi and Doritos announced "the 10 finalists in the Crash the Super Bowl challenge" which will "compete to be one of six consumer-created ads – three for Doritos and three for Pepsi MAX – airing during the Super Bowl XLV broadcast." That same day, Catholic activists announced their own crowdsourcing effort: "Ask Pepsi-Doritos to reject a commercial that blasphemes the Holy Eucharist as Doritos Chips and Pepsi."
Hundreds of naming rights are up for sale nationwide at schools, parks, government buildings and boat launches, as money problems among cities and states create monuments such as Chicago's BP Bridge and AT&T Plaza.
Two truths of the online media world: brands want to develop social connections with consumers and there are tons of cheap ad inventory thanks largely to the explosion of social networking. The combination of the two could result in more advertising designed to drive social connections rather than transactions or brand awareness.
Airports have traditionally been a prime target for advertisers (captive audience: check), but recent marketing efforts are turning airport real estate into a venue for a variety of more interactive customer experiences.
Months after leaving behind the 20-year ad career that made him famous, Alex Bogusky is officially starting a new one as a consumer advocat
Dell today launches a global advertising campaign from Wunderman featuring new products that are designed to appeal to different consumer segments.
Among the signs that marketers are feeling somewhat better about the economy is an increase in advertising by airlines, an industry that is particularly vulnerable to the ebbs and flows of consumer spending.
10 changes that will continue to affect the top marketing job going Into 2011.
It sounds absurd, but you can't argue that in the marketing industry we're seeing very real progress toward removing humanity from the process of making and placing brand communication.
The one constant in the marketing industry is that it is ever-changing. Over time marketing has faced countless challenges, be it from disruptive new technologies, consumer empowerment or ongoing advertiser trust issues. As a result, the marketing community continuously adapts to achieve its goal to successfully connect with consumers. The following 10 examples show the marketing industry's strength in turning challenges into opportunities for growth.
In the last decade, we've had two wars (Iraq and Afghanistan), two automobile bankruptcies (General Motors and Chrysler) and two radically new social-media sites (Facebook and Twitter). We've had a housing crisis, a banking crisis and a dot-com bubble. Three of our four leading airlines have gone bankrupt. And the fourth one (American Airlines) is losing money. We've witnessed the incredible rise of Google and Apple. And the incredible fall of A.I.G. and Lehman Brothers. "Everything has changed" is the message marketers have been reacting to recently. And because everything has changed, marketers believe they have to change everything in their marketing programs.
The recession has given retail a swift kick in the butt -- but in the case of Target, it's done so in a good way. Using the recession as a catalyst, Target has made fairly radical shifts to its agency structure, marketing and media approach and overall business operations.
Levi's makes pants; jeans, specifically, but its brand aspires to art and beyond. I used to think this was utter nonsense, but now I'm wondering whether the company's marketers shouldn't get some credit for being so wantonly experimental. It might put them out of business, but it sure won't do so boringly.
I'll make it really simple for you to see the difference. Fundamentally, this is a conversation about putting the human being first or putting the brand/idea first.
It's been said that "video killed the radio star." Maybe that's true, I'm not really sure. I am pretty sure, however, that advertising killed itself -- or, at the very least, took the wind out of its own sails. Advertising used to work, and work well. What do I mean by "work?" I mean that once upon a time, when products and services of obvious differentiated quality and value were popping up like weeds in a field, consumers were predisposed to believe advertising claims, both overt and subtle ones. Since belief leads to action, sales of those advertised goods increased as well.
Struggling companies all share something in common. Their sales and marketing efforts are at odds. Sometimes, they are even at war. The marketing team lectures the sales department, saying that if only the salespeople would follow their advice, their problems would be solved. Meanwhile, the sales department always says it needs something else from marketing. The salespeople are clamoring for the silver bullet that will convince the most ardent skeptic to buy. The root cause of this situation is that sales and marketing have different views of the world.
Taking a government bailout, getting hit with accusations of fraud and now a class-action discrimination suit have all led to Wall Street powerhouse Goldman Sachs' steep decline in public reputation. According to YouGov, at one point it fell further than even BP and Toyota. But now that it's settled with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Goldman is trying to put a new face on the company -- one that associates Goldman with companies such as clean-energy firms and with the creation of jobs.
AOL CEO Tim Armstrong told Ad Age today that he wants a "build-first" culture at his company, in which the growth is sparked internally, like the world's oldest startup. So why did he also just pay a reported $30 million, including incentives, to buy TechCrunch, the tech and startup news blog founded by former attorney and impresario Michael Arrington?
How Facebook plans to leverage its 550 million users into the greatest advertising juggernaut since … O.K., only since Google. That's still huge.
Today begins a week's worth of advertising creativity, insight, brilliance and wit, all of which evidences an industry deeply in denial and perhaps doomed. Advertising Week is "North America’s premier gathering of cutting-edge communications leaders," according to its web site, which lists a week's schedule packed with guru-level speakers from agencies, media companies, and technology firms. There'll be a little love thrown at big-name client speakers because they spend the money that those agencies, media companies, and technology firms swap with each other. Here's the rub: they have nothing to say.
Elizabeth Warren has begun her leadership of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau ("CFPB") with calls to top bankers and a meeting to begin developing new mortgage disclosure rules. She explained her mandate at the mortgage meeting: "It is no secret to this group that consumers need good information so that they can make good decisions, and that's what this undertaking is about. It's about how it is that we think about what information consumers needs, and when they need it, to make the best possible financial decisions." Good luck with that.
It seems to me that the problem with dinosaurs was that they had such short arms. Looking at the small rubber T.Rex I have in front of me, it's obvious that they were incapable of feeding themselves in a civilised fashion, they weren't going to be able to punch anyone, and they'd never be able to knit the warm clothes they needed for the ice age. But advertising is kind of like paleontology, in that we're always looking to locate the dinosaurs; it's like finding the fat kid at school, so at least you don't come last in the 100 metres. And various people have recently suggested to me that digital agencies are the threatened species - not the big bad indistinguishable behemoths of traditional adland, the agencies named after people whom even John Tylee has never met.
Google, the online search ad giant that rarely advertises, has decided it needs to advertise the fact that it is in the online display advertising business. And if that is not enough advertising about advertising, it has picked one of the most crowded advertising venues to get the message out — Times Square.
Leave it to the company that so many people love to hate to first reinvent corporate social responsibility ("CSR") and now take on marketing. Walmart has announced that it's creating a new function, called "marketing operations," and slotting its architect of corporate sustainability into the role, and it's taking its private brands marketer and putting her into the sustainability job. These moves say profound things about the marketing world, how Walmart is reinventing it and, by default, how it's leaving other marketers in the dust.
Pepsi is so happy with its "Refresh Project" social media marketing campaign that it has renewed funding for 2011 and will expand it to the rest of the world. This year it will give away $20 million to the good works projects that win the most supportive votes from consumers, representing "true democratization of the philanthropic process," according to a company spokesman. I say it's really dumb, and not just slightly dishonest.
Google rolled out the most significant change to its search page since the advent of search ads on Wednesday with what it calls "Google Instant." Rather than requiring searchers to hit "enter," results pop up -- along with corresponding search ads -- as you type in an attempt to predict queries from the very first character.
Google really did just change the game in search today with the introduction of Google Instant. While Google execs at today’s event emphasized how much faster it makes search, Google Instant is really about showing you more search results. And this will have very interesting implications for consumers expectations of what they want from search, search market share, and how sites try to game search through SEO tactics.
Although social technologies have been capturing marketers time for over four+ years in corporate, they’ve often been operated in a silo as experimental, or a separate deployment from traditional marketing. Yet the savvy marketing leader knows that reaching customers is increasingly becoming challenging as their touchpoints continue to fragment. To reach the fragmented customer, marketers must apply an integrated approach.
Packaging creates awareness. Companies can offer a variety or great services, but if marketers don't know how to use them or can't see the benefits, those tools might as well not exist. Search marketers especially know this. So, when Google decided it wanted to bring some awareness to a variety of its tools, expert marketers for the tech company created the "zero moment of truth" and the five Ps of digital marketing. Brilliant.
Google products are efficient, slick and -- as the coders say -- elegant. They get you from point A to point B fast. Really fast. But are they fun? That's the question for the search engine as it struggles to gain a foothold in the fast-growing and here-to-stay social web. That web isn't marked by speed and elegance but rather by pit stops and side roads that allow people to pull over, meet new or old friends, play a game and buy souvenirs. In short, have fun.
Media companies must become smaller and more nimble to reach readers and the niche groups advertisers covet. Facebook and other social media platforms could become more important than company websites during this transformation. As that happens, Web companies and social networking, including Google and Facebook, will have to become more transparent and share information about the data they collect on customers, or so says Steve Rubel, SVP-director of insights for Edelman Digital.
The annual back-to-school shopping season is nearly over, and this year we've witnessed major retailers throw at it bundles, up-sells, bulk discounts, co-branded promotions, free shipping, buzz agents and every other conceivable sales trick. And yet it's hard not to think that they've completely missed the boat. Their marketing presumes that they've never before met their customers, and as if this year is the first time their target audiences have gone shopping for school stuff.
Having a well known brand can be a wonderful thing—you have a base of customers who know and trust your offerings. However, marketers often ignore this brand loyal segment, and chase after new customers instead. While developing new business is a necessity, marketers shouldn’t let existing customers get left behind.
Tracking the effectiveness of advertising on the web was hard enough. Tracking it in the era of "walled gardens" could become that much tougher. The rapid shift of web audiences and marketer attention toward closely controlled properties such as Facebook or Apple's iAd platform is presenting a growing challenge for web analytics. Nearly a quarter of online time at the PC is now spent with social media, the lion's share of that on Facebook, according to Nielsen Co.
What’s the first thing young women do when they wake up? Check Facebook. How do enterprise employees pass the time at work? With social media. With so many studies highlighting ever-accelerating social media usage rates, the conclusion is obvious — social media is everywhere. What follows are five of the hottest social media trends right now. Each are influencing our social, online and mobile behaviors in significant ways.
Mobile advertising is increasingly important, as cell phone adoption rates, especially smartphone adoption rates, soar. With a range of mobile advertising options, including SMS, WAP, mobile app display ads, search ads, rich media, video and push notifications, the landscape can be a bit complicated. After a tough 2009, advertisers are expected to increase mobile and digital marketing budgets over the next year. With this in mind, it’s essential that advertisers keep up-to-date on their options in the mobile space. Here, we’ve laid out five mobile advertising trends to watch over the coming year.
The third tenet of the Marketers' Constitution states, "Marketing must become more effective -- more creative, insightful and accountable." Marketing as a whole encompasses a wide range of activities geared to address and inform the consumer and provide a return on that marketing investment. However, business leaders are challenged to measure the impact of their marketing strategies. A successful plan involves the implementation of three pillars which serve as the basis for marketing effectiveness: Smart consumer insights, Great creative, and Accountability.
Facebook announced a new Places product Wednesday evening that will let users check-in from a mobile device, see who is around them, let friends or the public know where they are, and find interesting, new places. The announcement extends, yet again, the reach of the immensely popular social network, in hopes that the new service will convince its 500 million users to feed more information as they move around in the physical world.
AOL's hyper-local news division Patch launched its 100th news site today, underscoring just how quickly AOL is advancing its bid for original content through journalism. The company says it will launch 400 more such local news sites across the U.S. by year's end as well as hire 300 more journalists. A growing swell of mass-content players are tempting content from a wide variety of freelancers, of course, with more companies sure to adopt the model in their wake. Earlier this month one of the biggest content generators, Demand Media, announced its plans for an initial public offering. Last spring Yahoo bought another one, Associated Content, for some $100 million. But these platforms and companies aren't all the same, whether for advertisers or for freelancers.
To some, Google has been looking a bit sallow lately. The stock is down. Where once everything seemed to go the company's way, along came Apple's iPhone, launching a new wave of Web growth on a platform that largely bypassed the browser and Google's search box. The "app" revolution was going to spell an end to Google's dominance of Web advertising. But that's all so six-months-ago. When a group of Journal editors sat down with Eric Schmidt on a recent Friday, Google's CEO sounded nothing like a man whose company was facing a midlife crisis, let alone intimations of mortality.
Andrew Mason figured out how to inject hysteria into the process of bargain hunting on the Web. The result is an overnight success story called Groupon.
A recent post by Gareth Kay (of Goodby’s Brand Strategy discipline) turned our attention to a presentation he made at Boulder Digital Works on crafting a creative brief for the post-digital age. Kay begins by taking a (somehow comical) look at creative brief templates of yore (1992), which mostly all addressed a very common set of elements: a problem to be solved by advertising, consumers to ‘target’, a message to tell them, reasons to believe, and tone of voice. Needless to say that there is a continually expanding set of technology devices and platforms – and respective user interfaces – available in our current culture: from mobile to social media, to desktop and mobile video and others. Their impact includes facilitating a more participatory culture, making us more social, contributing to a more fragmented media landscape and leaving us ‘always on’ and conscious/communicative of our location; these factors need to be considered within an informed creative brief.
Recent breakthroughs in neuroscience confirm what we marketers know in our guts, but sometimes forget in the day-to-day rush of preparing the next ad campaign launch. Namely, everybody feels (emotions) before they think (rational decision), and without generating the appropriate emotional response, no ad campaign can succeed.
As early data on iPad apps trickle in, one thing is clear: It's going to require mountains of metrics for advertisers to pony up for the new platform's ads -- and their high prices. But early data from Conde Nast will bolster the argument the iPad is worth a premium, as it's delivering on reader attention better than other media channels.
Contrary to popular belief, video didn't kill the radio star, YouTube didn't knock off TV and Twitter didn't shut down blogging. However, in each case the steady advance of new technology definitely forced the incumbents to evolve. One can argue, for example, that some of the more established blogs on the web benefited greatly from building content strategies that engender massive link sharing on Twitter. Much the same, TV ad creative has changed to facilitate additional exposure on YouTube. Enter e-mail marketing, which, to some degree, has been beaten down by regulation, and has taken a backseat to social networking. Nielsen revealed last week that e-mail's share of time declined 28%, putting it in third place, while social networking, the leader, climbed 43%.
Websites from Fox Sports, the New York Daily News, the San Antonio Express-News, the Houston Chronicle, the San Francisco Chronicle and others are trying a new system to fight, or rather accommodate, web surfers' fleeting attention spans. The sites are using a platform from Brand Affinity Technologies called NetBat, which overlays editorial photos of celebrities and athletes with apps that summon content from Twitter, Google, YouTube and other parts of the web without making users leave the site. Many sites have already incorporated modules that bring up tweets about the subject at hand, but this platform seems to offer more options at once.
The first tenet of ANA's Marketer's Constitution is that "Marketing must become increasingly targeted, focused and personal." We all know that marketing works best when brands can have direct conversations with people. It works even better when those conversations are with audiences that want to hear specific product and service messaging. The simplicity and elegance of this objective is finally becoming reality.
At the heart of the Ryanair business model is differentiation of the finest and most deliberate kind. I would - in all seriousness - rank Ryanair next to Hermès or Pret a Manger in terms of brand positioning and execution. Ryanair’s brand associations centre on three key themes: low-price, no nonsense and aggression. Don’t underestimate points two and three.
Now that Saab is Swedish again -- or at least Scandinavian, having been wrested from General Motors by Danish company Spyker earlier this year -- the automaker is hoping to bring back consumers who have departed over the years.
Marketer interest in the NFL has been so strong that the league actually moved to reduce its number of sponsors to 21 for the upcoming season from 30 corporate partners in 2001 and 24 in 2008. The purpose was to avoid the sponsor-overload of, say, a Nascar, which has done a good job of delineating the categories for its partners so there are no conflicts but, nonetheless, still has 49 corporate sponsors.
After the dogged recession and uncertainty of recent years, it seems we're coming out of it in a more hopeful, optimistic mood. So why not focus on positive emotion and happiness in marketing? We've always believed in leveraging "enjoyment" for the consumer brands we work with. Nothing elicits more of an emotional response from people than associations of "enjoyment" with brands.
Everyone knows they should eat fruits and vegetables. Few people hear it from fast-food companies and snack purveyors. That is changing as companies that make foods rich in fat and salt aggressively market healthier options.
A mass marketer needs to reach the masses, and to do it in many ways, simultaneously. The mass marketer needs retail outlets and fliers and a website and public relations and tv ads and more more more and then... bam... critical mass is reached and success occurs. Best Buy is a mass marketer, but so are Microsoft and the Red Cross. Ubiquity, once achieved, brings them revenue, which advances the cycle and they reach scale. The direct marketer, on the other hand, must get it right in the small.
I know we're not supposed to say it out loud, but a lot of CMOs and agency types think that advertising is going the way of the dinosaur, the Model T and conversation without emoticons. Consumers want to engage with content instead of get interrupted by ads, or so the logic goes, so we celebrate social campaigns like the recent one from Old Spice, and find favor only for commercials that are entertaining. Making a sales pitch just isn't credible anymore. Now that we're well into the social-media revolution, I think it's time to revisit the three assumptions on which this argument is based.
Pepsi is engaging in a bit of war re-enactment, remaking a well-known comparative commercial, but with a twist, replacing Coke and Pepsi with the sugarless versions Coke Zero and Pepsi Max. The new spot, by the TBWA/Chiat/Day division of TBWA Worldwide and directed again by Mr. Pytka, uses the same setup, except this time the drivers drink Coke Zero and Pepsi Max, and the song is “Why Can’t We Be Friends?” by War.
When Matt Freeman jumped from startup shop Betwave to Interpublic Group of Cos.' Mediabrands back in January to head up its newly launched division called Ventures, which was responsible for overseeing 16 separate agencies, he landed right in the middle of the action.
One of the modern Holy Grails of advertising is to translate a successful TV campaign into a monster viral Internet phenom. Working with their client Procter and Gamble, the advertising firm Wieden+Kennedy opened the ark with its online work for Old Spice. The campaign is simple: The manly star from the TV spots responds to queries on Twitter via humorous 30-second YouTube videos that are being watched and re-tweeted with abandon.
The world may not need another social network. But Google does. Google needs a place where people can easily congregate and communicate. A place that's as easy to understand and use as Google.com. A place that people "like." Why?
The Cannes Film Grand Prix-winning Old Spice campaign has evolved over the last 24 hours to dominate discussion in social media, in what is sure to become the ‘case study du jour’ for the foreseeable future. Yesterday, however, the marketing campaign took a different turn and really got ‘social media right’. It’s been updated and sees Isaiah Mustafa respond directly to YouTube comments, Tweets, Yahoo! Answers and blog posts about him in 117 publicly available, timely and pesonalised video messages. So what are the results? It’s still early to tell, but a few things are apparent.
By now you've heard the offense against basketball star LeBron James' one-hour TV special to announce his team choice -- that it was narcissistic, sullied his brand and blurred the journalistic line for ESPN. But what you haven't heard is the defense of the man who helped put the show together: uber-agent Ari Emanuel, who says "The Decision" forwarded the paradigm for advertiser-funded programming.
Domino’s last week introduced an industry first: A transparent pizza. The chain, working with Crispin Porter + Bogusky, attempted to one-up competitors on the authenticity front by announcing that all the photographs of its pizza that will appear in ads will from now on be devoid of “fancy food artistry” or “fancy touch-ups.”
Corporate social responsibility, or CSR, means companies aligning their values with a greater good and taking action to have a positive effect. They often do so through "cause marketing," joining forces with nonprofit organizations and focusing ad campaigns on those philanthropic relationships. Why are more companies than ever flaunting their good works this way? Partly, experts say, because they realize that their employees want to be part of a business that does more than just make money.
Now Kleenex, the brand that invented facial tissues 86 years ago, is hoping to bolster summer sales with packages that resemble wedges of fruit and look more at home on a picnic table than a bedside table. The A-frame packages, featuring fruits like watermelon, orange and lime, were available only at Target last summer, and are being sold at all major retailers this summer.
The top advertising spots--actually the best whole branding campaigns--have always begun with a flash of brilliant insight about a category and its primary audience, something meaningful that no one noticed before. Call it an observation of the obvious, a point of view that captures a profound and different truth about a product that no one else has seen.
Did ESPN just get "mediajacked"? Come Thursday, in prime time no less, ESPN gets the exclusive. But to do it, the Disney sports network appears to have sacrificed revenue -- and even some journalistic control by letting Mr. James choose one of his interviewers -- in exchange for the ratings and buzz the event is likely to provide. Commercial revenue from the special program -- which is being called "The Decision" -- will be donated to Boys & Girls Club of America, a charity that ESPN and Disney also support.
When I started out in advertising almost 20 years ago, the firm I worked at had a simple mantra. Promise a lot. Deliver more. And we did. It was our "ad" you might say and the founder of the firm believed that every day we had to live up to that ad. If we didn't, then over time we'd fail and eventually that failure would cause us to lose many a client. I've never forgotten that lesson but alas I'm reminded every day that companies around our fine country have.
Levi's annual Fourth of July campaign, Go Forth, this year focused on the theme of work and on the residents of the recession-battered community of Braddock, PA. Check out its latest campaign above and after the jump, including a spot for Levi's Workshops, inviting the public to "roll up your sleeves, get your hands dirty, and get down to work" at workshops located across the U.S.
Digital is fast becoming so pervasive for marketers that it may soon lose its meaning as a separate media designation, according to Procter & Gamble Co. Global Brand-Building Officer Marc Pritchard. It's one of the many ways the company is changing through a brand-building organization he brought together last year that encompasses all areas of marketing communications.
I'll never forget attending my first World Cup game. It was back in 1994 and took place in my hometown Rose Bowl, the same field where I marched in gleeful pride at Pasadena High School's graduation. Romania squared off vs. Argentina. The game was nothing short of electrifying. Back then my word-of-mouth trajectory seemed unlimited. Armed with both AOL and Compuserve accounts, my post-game "dude, I was there" viral dispatches flew across my network of friends, family, business-school classmates and fellow P&G summer interns with almost unrestrained velocity.
An annual orgasm of self-love -- remember, the awards aren't voted by clients or consumers -- suggests to me that the advertising industry is still unable to talk to itself about what's happening. Creative ain't what it used to be. Actually, it never was. For the entirety of human history, advertising was a vehicle to get people to buy things. Creativity was important as long as it was applied to this goal; even corporate ads from the late 1800s had a direct link to a sales strategy.
The first of Apple's iAds are expected to start popping up on iPhones later this week, but don't expect all the marketers that have committed to the platform to be there. A check-in with declared iAd advertisers found that many are still in the early stages of flushing out concepts and creative. Some are weeks -- perhaps months -- away from having an iAd in the system. What are the i-advertisers up to? Here's a look at some of those willing to share.
Popchips Inc. is creating a new social-media campaign, but Madison Avenue won't be devising it. Instead, the three-year-old snack-food maker has turned to actor and producer Ashton Kutcher. The company's deal with Mr. Kutcher shows the novel ways marketers are teaming up with Hollywood to use star power to promote their brands.
You've seen him in those commercials for BP. An unassuming man wearing an orange polo and wire-frame glasses approaches the camera as he walks along a generic dock and says, "I'm Darryl Willis. I oversee BP's claims process on the Gulf Coast. BP has got to make things right, and that's why we're here." Mr. Willis has been setting up and overseeing BP's claims offices in the affected Gulf Coast states -- a juxtaposition that some commentors on black-focused blogs said has undertones of racial perfidy. Nonetheless, Mr. Willis, a married father of two children, has become the most visible face of BP. Ad Age spoke to Mr. Willis via phone as he was en route from Florida to New Orleans.
Apple, without a doubt, is creating a massive sea change in how we interact with digital content. Note that I didn't say "the Web." This is because the millions of iPad and iPhone users spend more time within Apple's walled garden of apps rather than in a browser. However, there's a potential dark side to the millions of Apple devices being sold and it should give every marketer pause.
A campaign for a clothing brand is rolling up its sleeves, figuratively and literally, as the ads are set in an actual distressed town and the advertiser donates money to help revitalization efforts there. The campaign is for the flagship Levi’s brand sold by Levi Strauss & Company, and it is the start of the second year of an initiative that carries the theme “Go forth.”
AT&T’s exclusive deal with Apple for the iPhone in the U.S. has proven to be something of a mixed blessing. It has delivered new customers and lined its corporate coffers, but it has simultaneously strained the very fiber of the AT&T network. Faced with new but unhappy customers and a flailing brand image, AT&T is turning to social media for a quick fix. In keeping with its "Rethink Possible" campaign, it's taking its customer care service to the social Web.
Aleksandr is one of the more prominent examples of the trend for animated characters or puppets to act as brand ambassadors. US consumers have long been charmed by the frogs that feature in Budweiser’s advertising or the cockney gecko that stars in Geico’s campaigns. Meanwhile, Domo, the saw-toothed mascot for Japanese broadcaster NHK, has gone on to appear in video games and comics, and spread virally online. But the proliferation and popularity of these creations and the merchandising they have spawned raises questions for both brand owners and advertising agencies hoping to capitalise on the value of the intellectual property.
Getability is simply how easy an idea is for someone to immediately understand without a whole lot of explanation needed. When your marketing has getability, it means that it is simple, clear and memorable. This matters for good reason. Marketing that is complex or confusing rarely works. To help their getability, two brands in particular are using a technique that may be worth considering when promoting your product or service ... they are giving an ownable name to the problem they solve. The recent marketing from Dyson around their new Air Multiplier fan is one great example.
John Ross, president of the research and development arm of Interpublic Group's Mediabrands, thinks retailers have a big problem. Their circulars, which worked in the offline world for decades, haven't caught up with consumer habits online.
Twitter this week began testing a new type of advertising: "Promoted Trends." Under the new system, brands can pay to appear below the "Trending Topics," the most talked-about terms on Twitter at any given moment. The idea is, in a word, ingenious -- the perfect way to generate revenue from the popular social network without infuriating users.
At this year's World Cup in South Africa, which kicked off Friday, soccer's governing body FIFA is trying to squelch guerrilla-marketing tactics by those who haven't paid for official sponsorships. It created new "exclusion zones" that restrict companies from advertising close to its venues and hired agents to help enforce the zones. But big-name advertisers including Nike, Puma AG, PepsiCo Inc. and others are finding ways to go over and around them.
Consumers generated word-of-mouth buzz about the brand, in many cases, without any incentives—something O’Brien sees as being crucial to long-term engagement with fans. In an interview with Brandweek, O’Brien discussed the results of both "DEWmocracy" campaigns, and how, moving forward, social media and crowdsourcing will play a bigger role in the brand’s innovation.
For many marketers, advertising in stores is an increasingly important way to influence shoppers at the so-called moment of truth, as they finally make up their minds about which brands of soup, soap or cereal to buy — or not buy. Now, a company is hoping to bring commercials to the retail point of purchase on screens that will be attached to shelves and above aisles.
Kicking off Nielsen’s Consumer 360 conference in Las Vegas, Irene Rosenfeld, Chairman and CEO of Kraft Foods addressed the ways reaching consumers have changed significantly over the last twenty years and how the Internet and social media are increasingly important components of overall marketing strategies. Previously, brands acted as teachers, according to Rosenfeld. Marketing was designed to build an image around a brand with the expectation that consumers would be attracted to it; they would aspire to the brand. Today, that “paradigm is upside down,” as brands want to learn from consumers and find ways to connect with them.
Infiniti from the very beginning has had a difficult time establishing a brand identity and finding a way to execute it in communications. Introduced in 1989, Infiniti was Nissan's response to the introductions of the other Japanese luxury marques; Acura and Lexus. The original Q45 was a sporty performance alternative to the Lexus. Unfortunately, the brand got off to a rough start when it introduced the car and brand with the infamous "rocks and trees" campaign created by its agency Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos.
As Nike's top marketer, Trevor Edwards, VP-global brand and category management, has helped the world's leading footwear and apparel company grow its market-share lead by becoming possibly the world's most accomplished digital marketer.
Unilever may be a global marketer, but it hasn't been able to do many truly global ad deals -- at least not until its multimillion-dollar deal with Apple to be the consumer goods "presenting advertiser" on the new iAd platform was announced June 7. For Unilever, the deal aims at tapping the two biggest, and largely interdependent, trends it sees shaping marketing: globalization and mobile digital media.
On Tuesday, G.M. sent a memo to Chevrolet employees at its Detroit headquarters, promoting the importance of “consistency” for the brand, which was the nation’s best-selling line of cars and trucks for more than half a century after World War II. And one way to present a consistent brand message, the memo suggested, is to stop saying “Chevy,” though the word is one of the world’s best-known, longest-lived product nicknames.
Walt Disney Co.'s ESPN network has convinced three major advertisers to produce expensive 3-D commercials for its new sports channel debuting Friday with the 2010 World Cup broadcast. It is the first major test of marketers' appetite for 3-D pitches. Procter & Gamble Co., Sony Corp. and Disney's Pixar will all experiment with spots on the new 3-D sports channel. ESPN has previously aired several 3-D telecasts, including the Masters Tournament.
I may be looking too hard for hopeful signs but I think we may be at the threshold of a reformation in advertising, which will mean larger changes in the communications world overall. Here are two of them and why I think they’re important (and somewhat related).
Undeterred by criticism of a new TV commercial featuring its leader, BP PLC is pressing ahead with a major ad campaign—in an effort to rescue its badly damaged image—as torrents of oil continue to spew into the Gulf of Mexico. "We are preparing a series of ads to air over the next days and weeks," said Andrew Gowers, a spokesman for the British oil company. President Barack Obama blasted the company on Friday for reportedly spending $50 million on television advertising as the company scrambles to fix its leaking well.
Will the idea of a "generation gap" eventually atrophy into obsolescence? We see this not only in the video-game world, but also in other brands: moms and daughters with matching Ugg boots, Juicy Couture sweatsuits, Abercrombie hoodies and Coach handbags. Fathers and sons comparing fantasy football rankings on matching iPhones or killing precious productivity hours on YouTube. Teachers and students sipping from matching Starbucks latte cups or ordering the same items from Pinkberry. Moms and daughters rooting feverishly for their favorite "American Idol" contestants or shaking their heads in utter disgust at the shameless and hygienically dubious conduct of the latest batch of "The Real World" participants.
I've just read that PepsiCo is evolving away from traditional mass market advertising towards an approach that connects with its audience in a direct and more meaningful way. According to Frank Cooper III, chief consumer engagement officer for PepsiCo's US beverage arm, "We want to become a catalyst in the culture rather than act like a big brand announcing something." This is big, big news. It may be a sign that the ship of big brands has finally become aware of the changing environment and is beginning to turn.
Is quality important? Yes. Is Innovation important? Absolutely. Is service important? Of course. Is it desirable to be the industry leader? Sure. However, in more and more categories, as I perform brand audits, I find that large numbers of companies in many categories make these claims, so much so that the claims have become hollow.
Loyalty cards — those little paper cards that promise a free sandwich or coffee after 10 purchases, but instead get lost or forgotten — are going mobile. And merchants are looking for ways to marry the concept to games that customers can play to earn more free items and, it is hoped, spend more money. Instead of collecting paper cards and fumbling through wallets at the cash register, customers are increasingly using their cellphones to track their visits and purchases, and receive rewards.
Kentucky Fried Chicken, the serial phony immortalized in some of the most stunningly dishonest marketing efforts of the past 10 years. The chain's latest outrage is a promotion with the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, in which 50 cents is donated to the foundation for every special pink bucket of chicken purchased -- that is, for every 20 grams of sodium, every 2,500 calories, every 120 grams of fat in KFC's smallest pail. Whoa. How low can you go?
Judy Hu, GE's global director of advertising and branding, on stage at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference last week, discussed a new effort by GE to crowdsource ideas for how to "avoid the lame and embrace the awesome" in digital media. Over the next four days, GE collected 60 suggestions, ranging from ideas for ad campaigns to product concepts. The effort is the latest example of a worldwide brand testing the crowdsourcing waters. The move has put the spotlight back on the ongoing debate about the value of such efforts -- including to creators.
Everyone is talking about the new Nike World Cup spot, and with good reason: It's a beautifully told story that transcends media formats to deliver a truly emotional and inspirational experience. In 30 seconds, it appears that Nike finally cracked the code by combining compelling narrative with the power of digital distribution. And, Wieden & Kennedy showed us what it means for a brand to truly participate in culture. Or, did it? Is this really still a way to build a strong digital brand?
The upfront market, the annual mating dance in which ad buyers and major broadcast networks haggle over ad time for the new TV season, is heating up, and could be sold out in a matter of weeks, ad buyers and marketers say. It's a major reversal from last year when talks dragged on through much of the summer in a harsh economic climate.
"TV meets Web. Web meets TV." This is the tagline that Internet giant Google has given to its new software-based television platform called Google TV, described as the blending of the best of both TV and Web experiences. Realizing that TV still has the majority of the consumer eyeballs, Google is trying something new by extending its reach in cross-platform content--in this case, bringing Web, gaming, online video, and social media to the set top box and/or television set. According to Google, millions of "channels" of entertainment will now be easily maneuverable, seamless and searchable--in one device. Google has also challenged Web developers to start creating new apps using the Android open-source platform.
By all official indications, the Great Recession has very likely ended. But as marketers, we know better than to interpret this to mean we can pick up right where we left off prior to the steep economic slide. Many consumers have readjusted their budgets and some continue to cope with concerns about the security of their jobs. Even those who have not been directly touched are still anxious about the future. Things that once mattered to our customers no longer seem so important to them. That's why we have to reconnect with them in a way that reflects their new reality.
Mountain Dew took three new Dew flavors to fans, asking for feedback on placing ad media buys. The move represents the latest in a series of attempts through Dew Labs to turn over the entire product development cycle and marketing process to consumers who love the brand most.
Numbers are the universal language of business. We use them to attract investors for our startup ideas, to win approval for product introductions, to make the case for expanding into new markets or entering new categories. In other words, numbers, when used well, tell a compelling story. So why is it that so many of the numbers we encounter in business — from endless Excel spreadsheets to bloodless calculations in business plans — make our eyes glaze over rather than set our minds racing?
Google opened up an entirely new store of inventory for advertisers today with Google TV, an interactive platform that collapses the wall between TV and internet in the living room. The service, created with hardware partners Sony, Logitech and Intel, will launch this fall on TVs, set-top boxes and Blu-ray players.
In a time of big promises and increasing consumer skepticism, building a strong corporate brand starts with understanding the truth about an organization.
Intel has a new plan for growth: getting in good with young, hip adults. This week the Santa Clara, Calif., processor giant launches, in collaboration with the Montreal-based magazine Vice, what it calls the Creator's Project--a multi-year, international marketing program designed to showcase technology-influenced art, film and music.
US retailers have become engaged in a battle for hearts and mobiles. As leading retailers, including Walmart and JC Penney, continue to grapple with the potential of the internet, the proliferation of smartphones has inevitably caught their attention. Three years after Apple launched its first iPhone, mobile connectivity is shaking up the way retailers do business, not only online but in their stores.
Woody Allen once said that “80 percent of success is just showing up.” Unfortunately, at purchase decision time, the vast majority of brands never show up at all. Getting consumers to “think” about your brand more often, and in more buying situations, is one of the most under-rated marketing challenges that brands face today.
That social media is a powerful tool for raising awareness is not new news. But its increasing power is leading some advertisers to reconsider how they plan and measure traditional ad campaigns as they increasingly look to so-called earned media impressions as being as important as primary paid media. The promise of what some are calling "free media" is that it's more credible than paid placements, particularly when it comes from consumers speaking to other consumers.
This is one of those important posts to forward to your marketing team, agency partners, and to Facebook themselves. While there’s been plenty of coverage about user privacy concerns, attention on Facebook’s changes on brands hasn’t been adequately covered, this analysis is intended to unravel what’s at stake –and what brands should do. I’ve spoken to a handful of brands and their representatives to learn what’s eating at them.
Global marketers such as Coca-Cola, McDonald's and Nike are describing the 2010 FIFA World Cup as a larger event than even the 2008 Beijing Olympics. That scale -- combined with the intensity of interest in the sport, the national pride of fans and the fact that it's the first major global sporting event ever held on the African continent -- figures to sell a lot of sneakers and soft drinks.
Starbucks is brewing a fresh image for Seattle’s Best Coffee, a specialty brand it acquired in 2003. The coffee giant this week kicked off a rebranding effort, which includes a simpler logo and a new tagline, “Great coffee everywhere.” Starbucks hopes to grow Seattle’s Best into a billion-dollar business by expanding it to fast food channels, convenience stores, drive-through restaurants and even vending machines this fall. But the coffee chain faces a challenge presented by competitors like McDonald’s and Dunkin’ Donuts; both have rolled out lower-priced coffee drinks aimed at penny pinched consumers. That's why Starbucks is rounding up its best and brightest marketers to lead the rebranding effort.
Nike Inc. Chief Executive Mark Parker took an unusual path to the top: The former Penn State University runner spent years as a shoe designer before starting to climb the corporate ladder. Now, he's taking Nike in a new direction, targeting overseas expansion—and not just with the Nike "swoosh." Last week he set the ambitious goal of increasing sales 40%, to $27 billion, by 2015. To achieve that while Nike sales growth in the U.S. is slowing, he's betting on such markets as China, India and Brazil, and on their burgeoning middle classes.
The head of the Federal Communications Commission on Thursday outlined a proposal for regulating the Internet that he described as a "third way," or middle ground between "heavy-handed" regulation and a do-nothing approach that could hurt competition and leave consumers unprotected.
Facebook is preparing to launch location-based status updates for its users. But the social network is also planning to offer it to marketers, including McDonald's. As early as this month, the social-networking site will give users the ability to post their location within a status update. McDonald's, through digital agency Tribal DDB, Chicago, is building an app with Facebook would allow users to check in at one of its restaurants and have a featured product appear in the post, such as an Angus Quarter Pounder, say executives close to the deal.
Goldman Sachs may have broken the law making gazillions betting its products would crap out, the entire country of Greece is probably going out of business, and financial services brands are telling individual investors that they deserve better from their brokers. Duh. It seems like absolutely reasonable messaging until you get into the details:
Last year was the worst year ever for global luxury goods, with worldwide sales falling 8%. But in a look at the world's most valuable luxury brands, Forbes identifies 10 that are poised to thrive in better economic times. These brands, including BMW and Louis Vuitton, share some qualities that help keep them strong even when wealthy consumers are curtailing spending.
BP isn't all bad any more than Petrobras is all good. But, unlike Petrobras (and its informal boss), BP seems to have forgotten the number-one rule in marketing and management: walk the talk. BP is a victim of a disingenuous ad campaign that worked too well, and you have to wonder if its reputation will ever fully recover. Writing in HBR in 2007, reputational risk consultant Robert Eccles and his co-authors presciently noted, "When the reputation of a company is more positive than its underlying reality, this gap poses a substantial risk...BP appears to be learning this the hard way." BP doesn't yet seem to have absorbed the lesson, but other companies can surely learn from its mistake.
Digital technologies have fundamentally changed the way consumers interact with each other and, by the way, with brands. The role of engaging brand stories has not gone away. However, to truly establish loyalty and advocacy -- the holy grail of marketing in the digital age -- our marketing and brand strategies need to go beyond telling great stories. We have to make marketing focus on how products or services are actually used, not on how we hope they are used. We have to make them more useful by wrapping them in applications that increase their usefulness to the consumer.
Consumer groups have been fighting what they see as the prevalence of online tracking, where online advertising is selected for a certain user — perhaps because he once visited a company’s home page, perhaps because he showed an interest in automobiles or baby products, or perhaps because he is a middle-aged man. As opposition has intensified, companies like Google and Yahoo have adjusted their own privacy policies in response to consumer concern. Industry groups, while arguing that free Internet content depends on this type of sophisticated advertising, have issued their own self-regulatory principles.
U.S. antitrust enforcers are taking a keen interest in recent changes that Apple Inc. made to its licensing agreement with iPhone application developers and are likely to open a preliminary investigation into whether the company's actions stifle competition in mobile devices, according to people familiar with the situation. The Federal Trade Commission and the Justice Department, which are jointly tasked with enforcing federal antitrust laws, are holding discussions over which agency would hold the inquiry, these people said. Apple, the FTC and Justice Department all declined to comment.
PepsiCo is making a strong push to reach out to consumers on their turf. In the next two months, the Purchase, N.Y., beverage and snack food company plans to roll out a partnership with location-based social networking company Foursquare and to launch its own geo-targeting mobile application, Pepsi Loot. Both programs, when activated by consumers, will let the app's users know when they get close to Pepsi-selling restaurants and fast food chains, such as Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and Arby's. When they stop by to pick up a drink, Pepsi will reward them with points that can be redeemed for a free music download from artists such as Neon Trees and Katharine McPhee.
If a consumer types a brand name into the Google search box, a home-page link should -- and likely will -- appear as one of the top listings. But does the same thing happen when typing in a generic keyword relevant to that business? Say, "home repair" for Home Depot or "gifts" for Harry & David? That depends on how well they're optimized for Google. And in the case of those two examples, Home Depot and Harry & David website links don't even make it to the first page of Google, according to a recent study by Covario that evaluated the search-engine optimization health of 100 branded websites.
Is there anything creepier than a big, beer-breathed celebrity athlete exposing himself in a night club and hitting on underage girls, all the while protected by an entourage of off-duty cops? Well, yes. It’s the big, corporate sponsor — Nike, in this case — that continues trying to sell product with the creep as their role model.
Reckitt Benckiser ("RB") made ad trade headlines last week when it announced a record-setting $40 million web video buy for 2010. What shocked everyone wasn't the dollar amount but rather that the company pretty much doesn't care where the ads run. "This kind of strategy echoes planning/buying 101 back in 1970," said a comment on the news article in Advertising Age, "It's a senseless approach that abandons all facets of leveraging for optimization and efficiency." Spoken like a true technonut, I say. At risk of overly analyzing the move I wonder if it heralds a realistic approach to web advertising. Say hello to mass media 2.0?
Saw The Joneses over the weekend. This movie has kicked up a bunch of articles about stealth marketing and who's using it. As their tagline says, They're not just living the American dream, they're selling it. Now, this isn't really a new approach, brands have been using stealth marketing for quite sometime. BzzAgent created some controversy when it first started a few years back because their agents were not disclosing the fact that they were promoting a product.
In college, my economics professor used to say that the difference between too much supply and not enough is one unit. Such is the tenuous nature of economic equilibrium. But when it comes to the advertising industry, the basics of supply and demand seem to be permanently suspended. The bottom line? There are far too many agencies chasing too few dollars.
What's it take to get cut-throat agency competitors to play nice? A $2 billion global budget doesn't hurt. It's at least one reason McDonald's can get its agencies to collaborate on strategy and major messaging before releasing them to develop their own spins. But McDonald's doesn't pit them against each other in winner-take-all shoot-outs; rather, it asks clients for their best work and often goes with multiple agencies contributing to the campaign, as it did with the recent "I'm Lovin' It" update. The company sees that collaboration as crucial to its advertising success.
PepsiCo Inc. is launching a new ad campaign during Friday night's NBA playoffs meant to boost its struggling Gatorade business by getting athletes to gulp its iconic sports drink before, during, and after the game. The campaign, promoting the Purchase, N.Y., food and beverage giant's new lineup of "G Series" drinks for athletes, aims to demonstrate that Gatorade isn't just a sports drink that replaces nutrients sweated out during the game, but a system with three steps: a carbohydrate-loaded "Prime" concentrated liquid before play; the traditional "Perform" sports drink during; and a light, protein-rich "Recover" drink after.
After more than a year of consumer research and agency brainstorming, McDonald's global chief marketing officer unveiled an updated take on its iconic, 7-year-old "I'm Lovin' It" campaign today before an audience of 15,000 franchisees, marketers and suppliers.
Facebook Inc. announced an ambitious plan to get its tentacles further out into the Internet by better linking people, places and things, as it looks to turn a massive audience into a pool of well-understood consumers.
So strong was the antibusiness sentiment for the first Earth Day in 1970 that organizers took no money from corporations and held teach-ins “to challenge corporate and government leaders.” Forty years later, the day has turned into a premier marketing platform for selling a variety of goods and services, like office products, Greek yogurt and eco-dentistry.
Marketing campaigns that encourage considerable word of mouth among consumers have a greater impact on sales than more traditional forms of advertising, according to McKinsey. The consultancy argued that word of mouth is the "primary factor" behind between 20% and 50% of purchases, with a particular relevance in relation to expensive products and first-time acquisitions. It added that an advertising "overload", growing mistrust of marketing and the social media-driven shift in control away from companies and towards consumers have all encouraged this trend.
To truly capture the State and Future of Twitter and all that was revealed during its first official conference, requires additional time and space. In Part One, we examined the sociological impact of Twitter on society, the true size of the network, as well as equally exploring its challenges and opportunities. In Part Two, we’ll review and interpret streams, interest graphs, and Twitters new advertising platform.
Thanks to Internet-equipped smartphones, shoppers are increasingly using software applications to check prices at other stores without leaving the mall. Now retailers are trying to use technology to fight back.
Men are, well, men. They live in the 'now.' They are concrete thinkers that like to consummate, finish. A male axiom is "complete what you set out to do." Men are interested in power and in looking good, even more than being good. In short, that's the nature of beauty for the beast. You cannot market to men the same way you market to women. It's not a simple transformation of changing colors, fonts or packaging. Men and women are different biologically, psychologically and socially.
OK, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say something that might not make sense at first: the most important outcome of successful web analytics (or SEO effort or landing page testing, etc.) is not a better web site. The most important outcome is a better, more functional company.
Birds of a feather flock together. Or, in the Internet age, a customer's friend is a potential customer. Embracing those truisms, some big marketers, including Sprint and eBay, are turning to small start-ups to help them tap social-networking data to find would-be clients among the friends and acquaintances of existing customers, to the dismay of some privacy advocates.
I usually try to keep my critiques to categories I’ve worked in, primarily because I think it’s irresponsible for me to comment on what works and what doesn’t when I have little basis for my assessment other than being a consumer. So I initially demurred when some folks have asked for my POV on AT&T’s new campaign, Rethink Possible. But then I started wondering whether my expertise in other categories might actually shed some light on the issue — that’s when I realized that there are some instructive parallels between AT&T and fast food chains. And while AT&T has adopted some of what drives fast feeders’ success, there are a couple of important lessons it might want to learn.
Twitter will unveil on Tuesday a much-anticipated plan for making money from advertising, finally answering the question of how the company expects to turn its exponential growth into revenue. The advertising program, which Twitter calls Promoted Tweets, will show up when Twitter users search for keywords that the advertisers have bought to link to their ads. Later, Twitter plans to show promoted posts in the stream of Twitter posts, based on how relevant they might be to a particular user.
Bill Gross, the serial entrepreneur who pioneered search advertising, is unveiling a venture on Monday that aims to make money by allowing people using Twitter to bid on key words to give their posts top ranking. Called TweetUp, the service will also organize the posts according to their popularity as measured by how often readers repost them and click on links they contain.
After spending last year atop the retail death-watch list, Talbots Inc. is now a favorite on Wall Street, thanks to cost cuts and a complex financial arrangement for unloading its enormous debt. But to solidify its comeback and boost sales, Talbots must complete a merchandise and image overhaul aimed at attracting younger customers. And that's a tall order for a brand that many women think of as perfect for their grandmothers.
As wary Americans start to crack open their wallets, household-goods makers like Procter & Gamble Co., Colgate-Palmolive Co., Kimberly-Clark Corp. and Clorox Co. are cranking up their advertising, hoping to coax consumers farther out of their shells. Amid signs of an improving economy, recent survey data show consumers are more willing to splurge by eating out or buying new shoes, but the same doesn't necessarily hold for everyday household goods.
Advertising agencies and software developers on Friday welcomed Apple’s new iAd network as a potential breakthrough that could give an important boost to the small but fast-growing mobile advertising market. However, they also warned that making ads for iAd would be expensive and it was likely to take some time for Apple to demonstrate it could build a big enough market to make it worthwhile.
Apple, the maker of popular gadgets, is getting into the business of selling advertising, ratcheting up its rivalry with Google. On Thursday the company gave a preview of a new version of the basic software for its mobile devices, including the iPhone. The software has a built-in advertising system, meant to be used by the developers who have created the more than 185,000 applications in Apple’s App Store.
It was such a long time ago when AT&T ditched its original Saul Bass logo that the discussion about it happened not on Brand New, but on Speak Up. In 2005. One year before the launch of Brand New and, also of importance, nearly two years before the iPhone launch. All this to say: Has it really been that long? But also: Didn’t this happen, like, yesterday? Either way, a lot has changed for AT&T, having risen as the heaven where the iPhone lives to also being the hell where the iPhone dies in the clogged lines of its 3G network with all of its hope placed in the hands of Luke Wilson. No more. Yesterday, AT&T launched a new brand campaign that introduces the theme of “Rethink Possible” and tries to do what few other companies — like Nike, Target and Apple — can, drop the name from the logo.
As Tiger Woods prepares to tee off at The Masters on Thursday, the humbled athlete is not the only one counting the cost of his fall from grace. The 34-year-old golfer’s reputation as a clean-living and dedicated sportsman and husband was undone when his infidelities were spilled across television, newspapers and internet sites in the wake of a mysterious car accident at his home in late November. Mr Woods’ success on the course had enabled him to line up lucrative sponsorship deals off of it, with brands including Accenture, Nike, Gillette, Electronic Arts and Gatorade signing him up to lucrative sponsorship deals. Some estimates suggest that the arrangements made him the world’s first sports star to make $1bn in career earnings.
AT&T is undertaking an ambitious rebranding effort under the banner "Rethink Possible" that includes a redesign that updates its trademark logo. The new theme attempts to position AT&T as a lifestyle company and elevate it from the recent ad sniping with rival Verizon. "Rethink Possible" will inform all advertising from the country's fourth-largest spender going forward.
Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a fan of Google. This isn’t a post to describe my personal affection for a corporate entity, but it is an attempt to describe one element that I find particularly appealing. Don’t Be Evil. This phrase is Google’s infamous, informal corporate motto. I love it. Not only does it help reinforce my romantic, naive teenage dreams that I could become the next Richard Branson or Bill Gates just by doing good in the world, but it also helps prove that in the new business world, evil is bad for business.
In and around last week's New York International Auto Show, Ad Age got in front of marketing leaders at some of the world's major car brands, including Jim Farley, group VP-global marketing and Canada, Mexico and South America operations, Ford Motor Co.; Scott Keogh, CMO, Audi of America; Chris Perry, director-marketing and acting head of marketing, Hyundai Motor America; John Maloney, VP-marketing and product planning, Volvo Cars of North America; and Jack Pitney, VP-marketing, BMW of North America. We asked them how they intend to market through the economic recovery, how they are evolving their global-marketing strategies and what's yet to come.
Mr. Yospe was not a screenwriter, not a producer, not even a studio executive. No, Mr. Yospe was a lawyer with the firm Manatt, Phelps & Phillips. He was meeting with the writer-producer Roberto Orci, who co-wrote “Transformers” and “Star Trek,” to talk about how to include brands in “The 28th Amendment.”
Although March Madness still has a weekend to go, advertisers are already gearing up for June and July Jubilation. The 2010 World Cup, to be held in South Africa from June 11 to July 11, has attracted a lengthy list of blue-chip sponsors seeking to capitalize on the global passion for soccer — or, as they say outside the United States, football. Marketers are starting to disclose details of their ads or, in some instances, introducing elements of their soccer-centric campaigns.
Customers may not know it, but senior executives are counting on them to help reinvent, reposition, re-ignite and regain brand relevancy. They are helping businesses and brands take swings for the fences that actually have a shot at going out of the ballpark. They are not just joining the conversation but fully taking notes, leading to action and big outcomes that are driving their businesses and brands forward. So, while Tiger and Toyota are grabbing too many recent brand headlines, three other companies are paving the way for others who want to make a serious brand-pivot.
Hulu is everyone's favorite provider of TV on the web, but it's facing an ideological battle over its future. On one side are its network backers, which would like Hulu to become a paid service. On the other is the advertising community, which would like to keep Hulu free as a test-bed for new targeted-ad formats that can't be skipped. It's an important issue, because any debate about Hulu is a debate about the future of purely ad-supported TV, which is increasingly becoming an endangered species.
It didn't take long for Julie Liu -- late 20s, smartphone-addicted, constant Googler -- to get hooked on the online review site Yelp. Where to eat Friday night? Read some reviews by random anonymous diners. Oh, that looks good. Book a table online, show up, eat. But after Liu and her sister opened Scion restaurant in Dupont Circle, they saw Yelp from a different angle. Liu said Yelp's salespeople phoned repeatedly, telling her that if she advertised on the site, negative reviews would move lower on Scion's page and positive reviews would move up.
Simply put, if marketers are counting on their agencies to lead them into a world of changing consumer behaviors and media habits, they should think again. As digital-marketing channels multiply, agencies are struggling to figure out their own businesses, and a recent Forrester study suggests that marketers may need to force their agencies to evolve rather than wait for them to do it themselves. Ad Age got a peek at the 16-page study, called "The Future of Agency Relationships," for which Forrester spent nearly four months interviewing agency and marketing executives.
Rupert Murdoch has declared surrender. The future defeated him. By building his paywall around Times Newspapers, he has said that he has no new ideas to build advertising. He has no new ideas to build deeper and more valuable relationships with readers and will send them away if they do not pay. Even he has no new ideas to find the efficiencies the internet can bring in content creation, marketing, and delivery. Instead, Murdoch will milk his cash cow a pound at a time, leaving his children with a dry, dead beast, the remains of his once proud if not great newspaper empire. I used to work for Murdoch at his American magazine TV Guide. I respected his balls. It is a pity to see them gone.
MediaPost reports that Apple's next next big thing, after iPads invade the world next weekend, will be iAd, a mobile advertising platform to be debuted April 7. Coffee dates and patent suits aside, this could be the true Apple-Google battleground.
From the moment it was the first premium beer imported into the U.S. after Prohibition up until the middle of the last decade, Heineken lager was a fast-growing brand fueled by its social cache. But that seems like a long time ago now.
Executives at Allstate, known, after their famous slogan, as “the ‘good hands’ people,” are looking for a few good advertising ideas — and are making that clear in attention-getting fashion. Three top managers of the Allstate Corporation came to New York from the company’s Northbrook, Ill., headquarters to make a presentation to senior sales executives from dozens of major media companies. They were joined by a surprise guest: Dennis Haysbert, the actor and Allstate spokesman. The message, delivered by the Allstate leaders on Wednesday under the title “The New State of Allstate,” was this: Help us advertise more effectively by developing, for all types of media, better ways to tell consumers that Allstate sells protection, not just insurance.
Attention: fast food marketers – you’re wasting half of your advertising. But I’m not talking about the waste that John Wanamaker was referring to in his famous quip about not knowing which half of his advertising was being wasted. I’m talking about the average of 48% of people who say there’s a big difference between what you promise in your advertising and what they experience at your restaurants.
Don't act too surprised if, some time in the next year, you meet someone who explains that their business card isn't just a card; it's an augmented reality business card. You can see a collection and, at visualcard.me, you can even design your own, by adding a special marker to your card, which, once put in front of a webcam linked to the internet, will show not only your contact details but also a video or sound clip. Or pretty much anything you want. It's not just business cards.
There's something desperately wrong with consumer brand marketing. We all know it. The brand-building talent and expertise that created the CPG manufacturer are gone. Marketers with the ability to identify an unmet consumer need, develop a product to meet it, create a brand, and then lead it to market dominance are missing. Product managers with a fear of ambiguity have replaced the creative, forward-thinking brand builders. Our biggest consumer brands are now managed by nerds.
It was not that long ago when Madison Avenue believed that Web video — also known as webisodes, online video and Web series — would replace television, or at least put a big dent into the ability of TV to reach consumers. Now, however, as more marketers turn to Web video, many are increasingly doing so along with — rather than in place of — television.
Slate ad critic Seth Stevenson tries out a Google service that allows you to run your own commercial on national TV for as little as $100.
The day when commercials are indistinguishable from the programs they support finally arrived -- just before 10 p.m. Eastern last Thursday night. That's when an ad for Dr Pepper ran after NBC's insider-y sitcom "30 Rock," making use of recurring character Dr. Spaceman, played by comic Chris Parnell. In the spot, which was paired with a more-traditional TV commercial for the soda, Mr. Parnell's fictional medical practitioner decried boredom and told viewers how drinking Dr Pepper could banish it. A few moments later, viewers saw the credits roll for "30 Rock." Staffers from "30 Rock" were not involved in the creation of the commercial, according to a person familiar with the situation.
Digital-marketing companies are rapidly moving to blend information about consumers' Web-surfing behavior with reams of other personal data available offline, seeking to make it easier for online advertisers to reach their target audiences. Advertisers say the push could enhance their ability to target ads at specific types of consumers, but it is drawing scrutiny from Congress, federal regulators and privacy watchdogs, who are already concerned about the use of Web-surfing data.
Computer users searching online for information say they are “Googling.” Commercials running in states like Michigan and Ohio suggest that shoppers go “Krogering.” But what will investors make of a campaign that proposes they start “Vanguarding”? The campaign, scheduled to begin this week, turns the Vanguard brand name into a verb, the better to help potential customers remember the company’s mutual funds and other investment products.
Allergan and Medicis Pharmaceutical are the Coke and Pepsi of vanity medicine. Allergan makes Botox Cosmetic, the well-known injectable anti-wrinkle treatment. Medicis markets Dysport, a competing anti-wrinkle shot, in the United States. The Food and Drug Administration has approved both drugs to smooth skin furrows between the eyebrows. And now Medicis has introduced a new marketing campaign that pits Dysport directly against Botox, essentially issuing a Pepsi challenge for the wrinkle wars. The campaign is even called the Dysport challenge.
In need of an image makeover after an aggressive acquisition spree, Hewlett-Packard is launching its first corporate advertising campaign in more than five years. The company, which consumers know primarily for its printers, says it is seeking to recast itself as a broader technology concern with a campaign featuring, among others, rapper Dr. Dre and stand-up comedian Rhys Darby, star of the HBO series "Flight of the Conchords." A person familiar with the matter estimated that the eight-week campaign will cost $40 million.
American Express is using the celebrity-studded Academy Awards TV event on ABC to give one of its new programs a star turn: the company is promoting its cards by urging consumers to "take charge of making a difference." At American Express, card "membership" was long touted for its privileges. Now it comes with responsibilities too.
"Good taste" is rarely used to describe great advertising, but Domino's is going to town with it. It just announced that it has doubled its quarterly profits after telling its customers that it had fixed the taste of its pizzas. It didn't "improve" things or follow any other standard operating procedures of the marketing world; in fact, it violated some of the basic tenets of advertising, such as telling the truth. Critics lumped it into the category of "mea culpa ads" (such as the billboards London's Evening Standard newspaper ran last year apologizing for the crappy quality of its content). Domino's went one better, though, by running documentary-style spots of consumers likening the crust to "cardboard" and topping to "ketchup." It was called extreme and even bizarre. Comedian Steve Colbert got in on the commentary.
Facebook, the world’s biggest social network, is selling more ad spots to big companies like Wal-Mart Stores, Procter & Gamble and PepsiCo. But the site’s pages are also home to countless ads from smaller companies that can be funny, weird or just plain creepy — those suggesting you are, say, eligible to get a free iPad because you are exactly 26 years old, or entreaties to see what your offspring would look like if you had a child with a celebrity.
The seemingly continuous commercials during the coverage of the Winter Games on the networks of NBC Universal gave a new meaning to the term “snow job.” It was as if every spot showed snow, or ice, or both, in which skiers, skaters and snowboarders cavorted. That made it difficult for ad-weary, ad-bleary viewers to distinguish the commercials from the actual coverage of the Vancouver Olympics. Perhaps that was the sponsors’ fiendish intent: to perpetrate the ultimate blurring of the line between advertising and content.
Magazine executives spent much of last year telling anyone who would listen that they were taking their brands digital. Their message this year: Print rules. Five leading magazine publishers have pitched in on a multimillion-dollar ad campaign touting the "power of print." They say nearly 1,400 pages of the ads will be sprinkled through magazines including People, Vogue and Ladies' Home Journal this year.
Sears Holding Corp. has undertaken a huge task: To completely revamp and relaunch approximately 450 Kenmore appliance models. The move is part of a larger effort for the home appliance brand, which is sold exclusively at Sears. Right now, the changes are rolling out on washing machines, and soon, on refrigerator units. Kitchen appliances will follow later this year. The goal is to contemporize Kenmore, an 83-year-old, iconic American brand, said Betsy Owens, Kenmore vp and general manager. Female consumers, primarily, saw Kenmore as a brand that their grandmothers and mothers bought, but that didn’t necessarily speak to them, Owens said. So to update the brand and its image, a new television, in-store and social media campaign was launched.
Like many retailers, the North Face has been having trouble luring shoppers into its stores. The company, which sells outdoor apparel and gear, is about to try a new tactic: sending people text messages as soon as they get near a store. Advertisers have long been intrigued by the promise of cellphones, because they live in people’s pockets and send signals about shoppers’ locations. The dream has been to send people ads tailored to their location, like a coupon for a cappuccino when passing a coffee shop.
Some small businesses are experimenting with new Web-marketing services that integrate social media. While entrepreneurs say they've seen some positive results, some of the services carry hefty fees and their long-term value remains unclear. Start-ups like Groupon Inc., LivingSocial, BuyWithMe Inc. and IMshopping Inc.'s NimbleBuy let merchants offer one-day promotions, sometimes requiring a minimum number of customers to participate in order for the promotion to be valid.
One thing I learned from my days in traditional advertising is that a brand doesn't exist on shelves—it exists in the hearts and minds of people. Your brand is the sum total of perceptions about your product in the heads of your relevant audience. If that's true, then online media are the most important place for your brand image to be established, defended and grown. This is where your offering comes face-to-face with your audience and where its responses can be measured, shaped and—if need be—countered in real time. This is where perceptions can be built, person by person.
Consumer package-goods companies found a rare point of agreement at the Consumer Analyst Group of New York conference this week: the need for continued increases in marketing support. Marketers battling private label from Kraft to Procter & Gamble and General Mills promised bigger investments in advertising, in-store promotion, shelf signage, coupons and packaging. Hershey and Heinz, which have lagged the package-food industry in marketing spending, are racing to bridge the gap. Heinz CEO William R. Johnson noted "the industry's renewed focus on innovation and marketing in response to the challenge of store brands."
Richard Saul Wurman is an architect and graphic designer known for sparking debate. In 1984 he founded nonprofit TED and began holding annual events to stir up conversations about technology, entertainment and design. More recently, Wurman is appearing in Web videos to create chatter about a new topic: emissions, cars and the hope for a cleaner environment. Nissan Motor tapped Wurman and other thought leaders in December as part of a year-long marketing effort geared to make more people aware about the impact of emissions on the environment. Wurman and other luminaries, including Swedish designer Marcus Eriksson, appear on in videos a Web site called Journey to Zero that many might miss as being a message from Nissan.
Recently many of Belgium's top agencies, both large and small, set up a virtual roadblock on their websites to collectively protest the injustice of new-business pitches. I'm waiting for our CMO compatriots to call in the cyber strike-busters. The protest was organized by the Belgian ad trade group called the Association of Communication Companies, or ACC, which has proposed a set of ground rules for clients and agencies to voluntarily follow in support of more civilized new-business pitches: limits on the number of bidders and resources spent; clearer, better defined decision criteria; commitments to communicate and reach conclusions quicker; protections for agency spec ideas. You get the drill. Typical European socialist stuff.
Think of someone you know who is graduating from high school in 2010. Maybe it’s your younger cousin, or a niece or nephew. Perhaps it’s your son or daughter. Or perhaps it’s some young folks in your town you may know. Take a minute to think about someone you have watched grow up for the past 15 or so years. Furthermore, let’s acknowledge that your young high school graduate represents, quite literally, the “18” in the coveted “18-35 demographic” that many marketers are constantly trying to reach. Now think about the fact that the high school graduating “Class of 2010” was born around the time that Netscape Navigator arrived—the time when the Web was born.
The bowls are getting bigger and steamier, but the soup spoons are going away. Those are among the biggest changes Campbell Soup Co. is making in decades to the iconic labels and shelf displays of its condensed soups—the company's biggest single business, with more than $1 billion in sales. The changes—expected to be announced Wednesday—will culminate a two-year effort by Campbell to figure out how to get consumers to buy more soup. Condensed soup has been a slow-growing category in which budget-conscious consumers have little tolerance for price increases.
Kraft Foods expects to realize annual pre-tax cost savings of at least $675 million by the end of 2012, some of which will be used to further increase advertising and consumer spending as a percentage of revenue, chairman/CEO Irene Rosenfeld reported during the company's Q4/year-end fiscal 2009 earnings call on Tuesday. The global food giant increased advertising and consumer spending to 7.2% of net revenues in 2009, versus 6.7% in 2008, she pointed out. The increased advertising support for key brands, including the Philadelphia Cream Cheese "Spread a Little Love" and Miracle Whip "We Will Not Tone It Down" television campaigns, have been "extremely well received" and effective at building the brands' franchises, Rosenfeld said.
NBC calls it "the world's biggest focus group." With an estimated 185 million unique viewers over a 17-day period, the Olympic Games provide a special audience microcosm, and one that NBC believes will be particularly useful for measuring new-media consumption habits and trends. NBC touts all the different platforms it is bringing to bear for the Games, which began Friday in Vancouver. Viewers can watch on the network, NBC Universal's many cable channels and NBCOlympics.com. They can download clips to their iPhones and receive mobile updates on a favorite skier or figure skater.
Procter & Gamble, the consumer goods company behind products such as Tide and Pampers, hopes the Olympics will help it score with penny-pinching shoppers. The Cincinnati company rolled out a $10-million ad campaign Monday, integrating corporate and brand messaging, to win over consumers watching the 2010 Winter Games. The goal? To convince shoppers to buy its premium products. TV and Web ads, themed "Thanks, Mom," announce P&G's efforts to subsidize travel costs for every mother of a Team USA athlete.
With Americans tightening their belts, BMW AG is parking "the ultimate driving machine" in the garage, at least for a while. The auto maker for years has promoted the power and performance of its cars using that slogan, one of the longest-running and most well-known in the auto industry. But now the company is switching gears. On Friday, it was launching an advertising campaign that focuses on the joy the company says comes from owning its vehicles and suggests BMWs are safe for mothers and children. One print ad uses the tagline "Joy is Maternal"—a departure from past promotions that touted horsepower, handling and acceleration.
I came to the conclusion today that marketing is destroying the internet, and a part of the reason why many companies are struggling online.
General Electric, for one, still believes in advertising. As the Olympics begin, the company is introducing its biggest campaign ever aimed at consumers. Called Healthymagination, it publicizes G.E.’s role in the world of doctors and hospitals. In the United States alone, G.E. expects to spend more than $80 million this year on the campaign. Its role in health care is technical: G.E. makes and sells medical devices, like machines that measure bone density and perform M.R.I. scans. But the advertising focuses on the personal.
Advertising agency of the future sounds a bit like horse drawn carriage of the future. I’m not saying for certain that there won’t be agencies in the future, only that the future doesn’t necessarily need agencies. Just like the future doesn’t need printed news but it needs journalism; the future needs commercial communications, but who creates them, the agency or the brand or someone else, is unwritten. And though the future of the agency is unwritten, I have real doubts that agencies will survive or should survive.
PepsiCo ditched the Super Bowl this year to make a major social media play. Instead of spending money for ad time on the Super Bowl, it's relying primarily on digital initiatives to spread the word about its Internet-based Refresh Project contest and charity campaign. The cause-marketing effort is a good one. Word is spreading through traditional media, online networks, social media and celebrity chatter. But I believe Pepsi made a big mistake in giving up its long-held Super Bowl ad real estate. A more integrated media approach--one that included the Super Bowl--would be a savvy play for Pepsi. And such integration is something top marketing executives need to keep in mind in their rush to embrace digital initiatives.
Julian Barnes observed that "when you buy a newspaper in America, you watch your country disappear". If you work in advertising or marketing, you can pull off a similar trick: just buy a copy of the Financial Times or The Economist and "watch your discipline disappear". Anyone exposed to current business publications would be forced to conclude that the best means of creating business value and growth lies in mergers, balance-sheet manipulation, takeovers, outsourcing, off-shoring, downsizing, tax-avoidance, restructuring, leverage ... Anything, in other words, that does not involve the tedious business of finding out what people might want and then providing it profitably over time within a relationship of deepening trust.
We've seen and heard this commercial a thousand times, the one with the flawless model posing in an ad for facial-blemish cream... an extremely powerful cleaner that removes every trace of dirt in one effortless wipe... the picture-perfect baby modeling the 100% waterproof diaper. In these scenarios, there's not even a hint of a single red spot, a stubborn stain, or a bedraggled mother. This is the story of the past 50 years of commercials, and they all have one thing in common: perfect brands in perfect environments. But there is a strong case to be made for imperfection. Nothing is ever perfect, and even when it appears to be so, we are subconsciously looking for the flaw. Because our point of connection lies in imperfection--it's what makes something unique and, ultimately, authentic.
Be afraid, Madison Avenue. Be very afraid. That seems to be the message in the aftermath of the crowded, frenetic advertising bowl that took place inside Super Bowl XLIV on Sunday. Among those commercials consistently deemed most effective, memorable and talked-about, many were created or suggested by consumers — or produced internally by the sponsors — rather than the work of agency professionals.
Microsoft is getting cozier with Madison Avenue. The software company is partnering with advertising holding company Interpublic Group in a deal that will make Microsoft the go-to ad technology provider for the U.S. offices of ad giant's agencies, including McCann-Erickson, Deutsch, Hill Holliday and The Martin Agency. Microsoft, of Redmond, Wash., slashed its undisclosed rates, so that its ad server Atlas will become the default technology to deliver ads and analyze their performance.
Panicky poultry, a battered Betty White and a series of violent ads for Doritos provided plenty of laughs during Sunday night's Super Bowl, even with the weak economy prompting several heavy-hitting advertisers to sit out the Big Game.
As dangerous as it may be to generalize, it is probably safe to say that few folks think of Marcel Proust as they watch the Super Bowl. But for the advertising bowl that took place inside Super Bowl XLIV on Sunday, it was one long remembrance of things past — with candy bars, mobile phones and beer bottles standing in for madeleines. Nostalgia is a critical component of the pitches from sponsors on Super Bowl Sunday. After all, the best way to appeal to a mass audience of 100 million or so Americans is usually to fill spots with paeans to the past along with catchy music, stars, special effects, talking babies and endearing animals.
Charging into the Super Bowl for the first time, Kia Motors is discovering that buying a 30-second ad during the game, which will air on CBS this Sunday, is opening a few doors, namely a deeper relationship with a very big company: Google. Google is working closely with Kia and nearly all Super Bowl XLIV's 40 Super Bowl advertisers, offering them exposure far beyond the TV. The marketers that are paying up to $2.8 million for each 30-second spot can upload the ads on Google's Super Bowl Ad Blitz page, as they have in the past. But this year Google has added even more features including social media buttons that will make it easy for viewers to pass them along or "tweet" them on Twitter.
NBC has embraced a novel twist on the user-generated content phenomenon: it plans to broadcast more than a month's worth of athlete generated content, or "AGC," via Vancouver Olympics programming over its cable stations and web sites. I can't help but think such a decision comes from the same ideology that gave us a Jay Leno comedy show in primetime: unscripted programming is cheaper to produce than scripted entertainment, while ad rates are determined by viewing eyeballs, so the profit margin is potentially higher for shows that are even marginally based on reality. And since NBC paid $2 billion just for the rights to broadcast the 2010 and 2012 Olympics, it has every incentive to repurpose that AGC wherever and whenever it can.
$560 million and counting in 17 days — that's how much donors have given to 40 U.S. charities surveyed by the Chronicle of Philanthropy. Why the outpouring of cash? It's not just because people are dying. Innocent people are dying by the hundreds of thousands every day under the most horrific circumstances, but we don't see $560 million pouring into any of their causes in two and a half weeks. It's not because people are buried alive. People are buried alive every day by the scourge of AIDS and malaria, and literally in diamond and precious metals mines, but we don't see half a billion dollars materializing overnight for these causes.
Just days before the Super Bowl, when media outlets are abuzz about all the commercials consumers can expect to see in the big game, the folks of Gastonia, N.C., a small town 25 miles west of Charlotte, are opening their newspapers to find an article about one company that will be sitting on the sidelines this year: Pepsi.
My first exposure to the term "social media" came courtesy of Ted Leonsis, former VP of AOL, back in 1998. At the time, I was one of the leaders of Procter & Gamble's first interactive marketing team, and Leonsis was briefing us on a new tool called ICQ ("I Seek You"), created by an Israeli company AOL had just purchased, Mirabelis. What Leonsis put on our lap was akin to instant messaging on steroids. He had no clue how P&G might take advantage of this curious tool. There was no "ad model," per se, and he even had doubts whether advertising was appropriate. He just thought we needed to internalize its capabilities -- what with tens of millions of global consumers, mostly teens, using an insanely wired and networked desktop device with so many hieroglyphic style icons, it would make your head spin.
There certainly will be advertising winners (and losers) on Super Bowl Sunday but let's hope that the Monday morning quarterback chatter doesn't obscure the larger shift at hand for marketers this year. 2010 will be the year of the "platform" for advertisers. Unlike a website, banner, Facebook application or 30-second spot, a platform is an always-on digital environment that allows brands to run specific or multiple programs. The goal is to meaningfully engage consumers on multiple levels.
The mea culpa and brand-saving by Toyota Motor Corp. began today, as the embattled carmaker launched a public relations defensive on all fronts -- print, TV and social-media networks -- in a bid to salvage its image in the wake of the 2.3 million vehicle recall.
Though there's still widespread disagreement of just when the industry will put the recession firmly behind it, one thing's clear: Whenever it happens, marketers had better be ready. Forward thinkers such as Allstate, Walmart, New Balance, Macy's, Procter & Gamble, McDonald's and Bank of America are already paving the way to recovery by spending on marketing and product innovation, cementing relationships with new consumers and rewarding loyalists who stuck by their brands during the bad times. They are also creating products and messaging that bridge from recession to recovery.
Decades ago, consumers were invited to “be sociable, have a Pepsi.” Now the brand wants to invite consumers to help Pepsi support social causes — and will use social media like Facebook and Twitter to help spread a message. Pepsi-Cola is formally introducing on Monday an ambitious campaign named the Pepsi Refresh Project, aimed at doing well by doing good. The brand is dedicating at least $20 million through the end of the year for donations to local organizations and causes proposed by the public in realms like health, arts and culture, the environment and education.
NBC Universal likely won't turn a profit off its broadcast of the Winter Olympics this year, but it hopes the research it performs on the event's massive audience might generate additional ad revenue in the days and months after the last gold-medal hockey skate has left the ice. The media giant, in the midst of parent General Electric's transfer of majority ownership to Comcast Corp., intends to ratchet up its examination of Olympics viewers' media-consumption habits, building off a big test it performed during the 2008 Summer Olympics broadcast from Beijing.
There is a lot of talk today about word-of-mouth, social media and all the technologies that surround them. But have you ever wondered why consumers talk? It turns out that understanding why consumers choose to communicate is rooted in the cognitive psychological sciences. Before you nod off, read on, because this just might make you think differently about your marketing. The brain is designed not to think.
Buying Super Bowl ads has helped catapult companies like online brokerage E*Trade Financial, Internet job board Monster.com and video site Hulu into the public eye. That's why several little-known advertisers—including mobile pay-TV firm Flo TV, information provider KGB and vacation rental service HomeAway.com—are forking over millions of dollars to appear on this year's Big Game broadcast.
There's a war going on in the business of sports. On one side are the sponsors that pay millions of dollars for their brands to bask in the publicity surrounding certain teams and events. On the other: a growing number of companies that crowd into the spotlight without paying—sometimes by bending, or breaking, the rules.
Normally China's internet censorship is a topic of hot interest for the Human Rights crowd at the State Department, but the fate of Google.cn in China should be watched closely by marketers, too. If the search site does disappear from the mainland, more is at stake than just paid search opportunities. Google is a key player in drawing advertisers to online media. The web -- and particularly the growing number of social networks -- have found the U.S. company to be a key catalyst for online marketing efforts.
At its height, NBC was the very model of what a television network should be. With iconic programming, enviable ratings and spectacular business success, the peacock network delivered plenty of laughs along the way with “The Cosby Show,” “Seinfeld” and “Friends.” Nobody is laughing anymore. Today the network is in shambles, brought down not just by the challenges facing broadcast television — fragmenting audiences, an advertising downturn — but also by a series of executive missteps that have made its prime-time lineup a perennial loser and, most recently, turned its late night programming schedule into a media circus that threatens the lucrative “Tonight Show” franchise.
After years of bidding up fees for the rights to televise sports, U.S. media companies are putting on the brakes. Richard Carrion, a member of the International Olympic Committee's executive board, said the organization is seriously considering delaying until next year the bidding for the U.S. media rights for the 2014 and 2016 Olympics because of the ongoing struggles of broadcasters hurt by a rocky advertising market.
Oscar Meyer, which has two of the most famous advertising jingles, is pushing them to the side as it introduces its biggest campaign to date. After more than 125 years in existence, the brand is spending more than $50 million on its first campaign to extend across all of its meaty products: bacon, hot dogs, premade sandwiches, bologna and sliced packaged meats. The brand wanted to emphasize its name beyond just a few well-known products, said Sean Marks, director for marketing at Oscar Mayer, a division of Kraft Foods.
On Dec. 13, Accenture decided to end its six-year sponsorship of Tiger Woods. The next day, Roxanne Taylor, the global consulting firm's chief marketing officer, presented the concept for a new ad campaign to Chief Executive Bill Green. Amid salacious headlines about the golf superstar's alleged extramarital affairs, the new campaign, based on an idea Accenture's ad agency already had on hand, was put on a fast track. It would replace images of Mr. Woods with a lineup of animals pictured in ways designed to jibe with Accenture's longstanding slogan: "High Performance. Delivered."
By now many marketers have probably played around Foursquare or Gowalla or know someone who has. For the uninitiated, these are location-based mobile applications that allow people to "check in" from stadiums, bars and bookstores and compete for "mayorship," collect badges and share tips. They are practical, addicting and lots of fun. Users of these services number in the hundreds of thousands today. That's small by national advertiser standards, but it's significant for many local advertisers, which are offering discounts to frequent visitors and offers to people who are physically nearby. This is a trend in local marketing worth noting because it promises to give national advertisers the opportunity to conjure up or attach to an emotion among smaller niche groups.
Special K, the 54-year-old Kellogg brand, has in recent years aimed at women with its “Special K Challenge,” which recommends replacing two meals daily with cereal and curtailing snacking to lose up to six pounds in two weeks. The popularity of the plan led the brand to expand to nine flavors and develop noncereal products like frozen waffles, protein bars, crackers, shakes and powdered drink mixes that can be substituted for cereal at mealtimes or eaten as the two daily snacks the plan permits. Despite all those products to sell, a new series of Special K commercials, by the Chicago office of Leo Burnett, part of the Publicis Groupe, features none of them.
In a manifesto-like e-mail message sent last month to all Google employees, Jonathan Rosenberg, a senior vice president for product management, told them to commit to greater transparency and open industry standards. Rather than hoard knowledge to exploit it, he wrote in “The Meaning of Open,” share it and watch Google and the entire Internet prosper. With the Chrome browser, however, Google’s inclusive principles are being put to the test: a new version of the browser allows, one might even say encourages, users to stop Google ads from appearing. How Google got to such a position speaks to the inherent dynamism (or is that chaos?) of business on the Internet.
A year-end flurry of ad spending helped moderate steep declines at some newspapers and magazines, and has fueled an uptick at others, raising hopes for a recovery in 2010. Still, following a brutal 2009, when scores of publications closed or made drastic cutbacks, publishers remain wary of declaring an ad rebound as marketers selectively reopen their wallets. Publishing executives attribute the recent influx of ad money in part to marketers hurrying to spend the remainder of their annual ad budgets after doling out those funds sparingly earlier in the year amid fears of an economic collapse.
If you threw me on a desert island (one with internet connectivity) and said that I could use only one website, it would be Gmail. For the last five years Gmail has become the most indispensable tool in my communications and productivity system. I've even found a full-fledged Twitter client, Twitgether, that integrates into Gmail. My use of Gmail is unorthodox in that I also use it as a massive database -- a backup brain. For years now I have been e-mailing myself articles that I think I might need later. Along the way, Gmail gives me a preview of what the algorithmic, personalized future of advertising and media will undoubtedly resemble.
Yesterday we posted the first five digital-marketing predictions from Millward Brown and Dynamic Logic, which looked at mobility, geo-location, viral marketing, gaming and online display. Today, we bring you the final five. And we want to know -- do you agree? What do you think will be the big issues of 2010? Here's the rest of the predictions for 2010.
In our discussions about what will happen in the digital marketing industry during the next 12 months, one overarching trend emerged: The basic rules of brand building are just as important for innovations in the digital space as they are for traditional forms of communication. Using new technology won't in itself bring success; your digital communications still need to be creative, engaging and relevant if they are to cut it during the second decade of this century. Here are the first five of our top 10 trends for 2010.
When asked what his title as president of Google’s sales operations and business development means, Nikesh Arora answers: “I’m basically responsible for the business side.” At Google – whose engineers can sometimes be accused of being on missions unconnected with the bottom line – this means working out the future of advertising in the digital economy Google helped create.
The economy may continue its gradual recovery next year, but advertising is expected to show the influence of the recession through 2010. Don't expect a letup in the rough-and-tumble sales pitches that hit the airwaves, Web and magazines this year, as advertisers like Campbell Soup and Verizon Wireless, owned by Verizon Communications and Vodafone Group, took direct aim at their competitors. Advertising executives expect such barbed comparison ads to continue. Other companies, meanwhile, will be showing their softer sides. In the bleak aftermath of the recession, many marketers think consumers will respond to brands they perceive as giving back to the community.
Madison Avenue gave a nod to grim economic realities in this year's crop of ads, but also pitched plenty of escapist fare—both inspired and goofy. The industry was struggling through one of the worst business climates it has seen in decades. Global ad spending plummeted 10%, according to ZenithOptimedia, a media-buying company owned by Publicis Groupe. Cash-strapped advertisers cut the fees they pay their advertising firms, and tens of thousands of ad jobs were lost. Some of the country's largest firms, such as WPP's JWT, were forced to close once-thriving outposts in markets such as Chicago. Well-known agencies such as Cliff Freeman & Partners ("Where's the Beef?") were forced to close shop completely. From reviews of major campaigns and interviews with advertising executives, here are our choices for some of the best and worst marketing maneuvers of 2009.
As we begin a one-year celebration of the ANA's 100th anniversary, we have created the Marketers' Constitution, which contains 10 essentials of marketing for the next 100 years. Its purpose is to ensure that our industry continues to thrive and contribute to the growth of the U.S. economy and to the well-being of our society.
Popular culture, including TV shows such as "Mad Men," would have us believe the practice of marketing in an ad agency is a straightforward exercise, calling only for understanding the customer, coming up with a big idea, then creating something interesting and relevant to engage consumers. Not quite. Marketing organizations today are under the gun as never before -- from a media landscape growing increasingly convoluted and a fleeting consumer universe to the mounting pressure of accountability for any marketing dollar spent. Today's new universe demands a different approach to the design and execution of any marketing effort. And yet, little intellectual brain power or emotional energy is being invested in improving the fundamental marketing process.
Snapping a 23-year streak on the gridiron, PepsiCo's beverages will sit out Super Bowl XLIV, as the soft-drink and snack giant puts its advertising muscle behind a new cause-related marketing program. The move is an about-face for Pepsi, which was the biggest advertiser on last year's broadcast of the big game and has long made the National Football League championship the centerpiece of its marketing strategy. Pepsi has used the event, TV's priciest showcase for ads, to launch splashy spots starring celebrities such as Britney Spears, Cindy Crawford and Ozzy Osbourne.
The economy appears to have begun recovering after the worst recession in half a century. But businesses ranging from shoemakers to financial services to luxury hotels don't expect American consumers to return to their spendthrift ways anytime soon. They see consumers emerging from the punishing downturn with a new mind-set: careful, practical, more socially conscious and embarrassed by flashy shows of wealth. Much as the 1930s shaped the spending habits of an entire generation, many companies now anticipate a shift in consumer behavior that persists even after jobs and growth get back closer to normal.
Verizon Wireless made clear from the start that its Droid smartphone was designed to put pressure on Apple, the maker of the iPhone, and AT&T (T), the exclusive U.S. iPhone carrier. As part of a $100 million marketing push, Verizon Wireless enumerates several ways it believes the Droid outperforms the iPhone. Yet analysts say the Droid and other devices that sport the Android operating system may also take a toll on Research In Motion, the maker of another smartphone, the BlackBerry. "It's clear there's been a lot of marketing at Verizon around the Droid, so that is going to hurt RIM," says Raymond James (RJF) analyst Steve Li.
Magazine publishers are taking a mulligan. After letting the Internet slip away from them and watching electronic readers like the Kindle from Amazon develop without their input, publishers are trying again with Apple iPhones and, especially, tablet computers. Although publishers have not exactly been on the cutting edge of technology, two magazines — Esquire and GQ — have developed iPhone versions, while Wired and Sports Illustrated have made mockups of tablet versions of their print editions, months before any such tablets come to market. Publishers are using the opportunity to fix their business model, too.
How Ashton Kutcher is pioneering a new kind of media business, bridging Hollywood, technology, and Madison Avenue. Really.
Weighed down by lackluster programming and declining ratings, NBC has been a problem for many different people: programming honchos Kevin Reilly and Ben Silverman; NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker; GE chief Jeff Immelt; and even one-time top-rated late-night comic Jay Leno. Now the hot potato is soon to be passed to Comcast -- which, oddly enough, doesn't see the broadcast network as a burden at all.
We are witnessing a profound change in the media and advertising industries due to the emergence of social media. Companies that did not exist ten years ago, like Facebook and Twitter, have captured significant share of the attention economy from traditional publishers. Underscoring this trend is the fact that at the same time that Businessweek was selling for less than $5 million (plus assumption of debts) to Bloomberg, Foursquare’s pretty cousin Gowalla drove up Sand Hill road and collected $8.4 million for a minority stake. Amidst this disruption, media companies are chasing after “their” audience in order to continue to broker the attention of that audience to marketers. But just at the moment that media has mastered the art of blogging, search engine optimization and CPM yield management, they are now faced with a new set of consumer behaviors that elude their programming faculties: mobile devices, location-based services and the social graph.
Nike is changing directions to go places it's never gone. But the floor leader directing this isn't legendary co-founder Phil Knight– as well-known for his ego as his vision. It's his unassuming, hand-picked replacement, Mark Parker. After four years as CEO, Parker is growing Nike from a brand that you slip on your feet or pull over your shoulders to one that follows you off the field into your life of digital socializing and New World hobbies.
Mobile marketing has been an interesting space ever since my time working at Bell Labs in the days of the 802.11A platform. Its promise was glittery then and now it's taken on a new level of interest, as measured by the near frantic rate of acquisitions and VC investments in this space. All this new energy can't be explained by the technology alone; the notion of proximity marketing has been kicking around for four years or more. What's different this time around is that mobile marketing breaks previous marketing models because the message is inextricably linked to the device it's delivered on. That's new. In the past, the device via which the marketing message was delivered, a TV for example, was irrelevant to the message itself. Welcome to Mobile Marketing 3.0. In the mobile marketing 3.0 world, hardware, technology, real-time interaction, community are all mashed up to deliver a marketing experience I'll call Extreme Marketing UX. The device is not irrelevant here but is what helps propel the action since the phone is part of the experience itself.
It's the year 2015. The compact device in my hand delivers me the world, one news story at a time. I flip through my favorite papers and magazines, the images as crisp as in print, without a maddening wait for each page to load. Even better, the device knows who I am, what I like, and what I have already read. So while I get all the news and comment, I also see stories tailored for my interests. I zip through a health story in The Wall Street Journal and a piece about Iraq from Egypt's Al Gomhuria, translated automatically from Arabic to English. I tap my finger on the screen, telling the computer brains underneath it got this suggestion right.
The Web is changing before our eyes. Traffic to almost every major media and portal site has been in a free-fall since September 2008, according to Nicholas Moerman, a planning intern with Proximity in London. This begs the question: If we are spending more time on the Web, not less, just where did our attention go? The answer is, unsurprisingly, social networking sites. According to Moerman's analysis, they buck the trend. Social networking is on a tear. Other than Google, few sites loom larger today in brokering traffic and attention flows than Twitter and Facebook. The New York Times reported recently that Twitter will soon become one of its top 10 traffic drivers. Facebook alone grabs 25% of the entire Web's page views, according to an analysis by Perry Drake of Drake Direct.
AOL is putting the finishing touches on a high-tech system for mass-producing news articles, entertainment and other online content, the linchpin of Chief Executive Tim Armstrong's strategy for reviving the struggling 25-year-old Internet company after Time Warner spins it off next month. Mr. Armstrong's goal is to make AOL, which has been losing visitors and revenue, a magnet for both advertisers and consumers by turning it into the top creator of digital content. He hopes to do so in part by turning some media and marketing conventions on their ear, and potentially blurring the lines between journalism and advertising.
More consumers flooded the nation’s stores on Thanksgiving weekend in search of bargains. But with retailers dangling rock-bottom prices and consumers only biting at less expensive merchandise like small appliances and winter clothes, the average amount spent by each shopper declined from last year.
US retailers were on Friday unleashing a traditional barrage of post-Thanksgiving holiday shopping promotions, with the National Retail Federation expecting 134m Americans to head for the stores. This year, however, the retailers have reinforced their traditional efforts with an array of social-networking weapons including Twitter, the micro-blogging website. Retailers including discounters Target and Walmart, and department store groups Macy’s, Kohl’s and JC Penney have used Facebook pages to publish the “doorbuster” and “early bird” deals traditionally announced in newspaper advertising inserts on Thanksgiving, the day before “Black Friday” – so called because it was once the day on which retailers’ ledgers for the year moved out of the red and into the black.
Attention shoppers: It might pay to just sleep in this Black Friday. The conventional wisdom is that the most stupendous bargains of the year are to be had on the Friday after Thanksgiving. But the marketplace has become so packed on that crowded shopping day that some retailers are shifting their strategy. Deals on certain products are likely to be just as good, perhaps even better, in the days and weeks after Friday. In this economy, retailers need to stand out — and some of them are betting they can do so by offering bargains later in the season. Also, while chains are not discounting as deeply as last year, they know the primary way to get penny-pinching consumers to spend is to keep the deals coming all season long.
I can all but guarantee that someone you know and care about is planning to go shopping on the day after Thanksgiving. You need to intervene.
When Sir Martin Sorrell, Executive Chairman of the WPP Group and for two decades arguably the most powerful individual in advertising, appeared on The Charlie Rose Show last May, the conversation was more remarkable for what he didn’t say than for what he did say.
Bad news isn't bad wine. It doesn't improve with age. According to Bain & Co, 80% of CEOs think their brands offer a superior experience, but only 8% of their consumers agreed. AOL seemed to have gleaned that fact. AOL's running man (logo) had already run off the cliff, revealing a brand that was desecrated, unoriginal, normalized and downtrodden. The business goal of any brand is to create more users, new users or new uses by continually innovating to add value to customer's lives. AOL CEO Tim Armstrong needs to ask himself: What is AOL's true brand ambition? What does he wish his AOL brand to be capable of achieving? With great brands come great benefits -- including higher customer loyalty, increased opportunities and elevated profits.
Consumers are generally cautious heading into the critical holiday shopping season, with preseason trends suggesting that electronics sales may be solid while sales of apparel, particularly women's styles, could get pummeled. Spurred by the release of a hot videogame and earlier-than-usual promotions on televisions, U.S. shoppers spent 6.1% more on electronics in the first half of November the month, through Nov. 14, than a year ago, according to a recent analysis from MasterCard SpendingPulse, a unit of MasterCard Advisors.
International Business Machines and a handful of other major marketers, including casino operator Harrah's Entertainment and software giant Microsoft, are experimenting with developing ad campaigns based in part on what consumers are chatting about on the Web. For decades, advertisers have relied heavily on sometimes-dated consumer surveys and focus groups to provide grist for their ads. Now, some are using new technologies to scan the Web for key words to find out what consumers are—and aren't—saying about their brands.
Some 300 attendees gathered at the Saatchi Gallery last week for Ad Age sibling Creativity's technology conference, Creativity and Technology, were treated to musings on bleeding-edge digital communication from Europe's top talent in advertising, technology and design. Speakers ranged from agency creatives and technologists to writers such as Adam Greenfield, author of "Everyware" and head of design direction at Nokia. Here are a eight takeaways from the conference if you missed it.
Here's something I've been thinking about for some time now. You see, there is this company. It publishes over a hundred RSS feeds and several email newsletters, but not a single blog. The only conversations this company entertains are the ones it starts itself or is subpoenaed into. Conversations it doesn't like, it tries to silence.
The Future of the Social Web is here today and we’re learning that engagement is not a matter of if or when, but to what extent, how and what value can we deliver and derive from it. The Social Web is much more than a window into information and interaction, it is a completely transformative medium that is changing how we forge relationships, interact with one another, and distribute and discover information. In many ways, the online social revolution is reminiscent of the Industrial Revolution. Access to free and expansive media platforms and distribution channels has democratized influence and shifted the power of authority from those who previously controlled the media to those who disseminate it.
A growing number of big marketers have circumvented the middleman and launched their own mainstream media and entertainment properties. The revolutionary development has moved them into direct competition for audiences with traditional media companies. But are these projects just novel anomalies, as some suggest, or a powerful trend that will ultimately reshape the media business? Ad Age editor Jonah Bloom addresses the issue in his talk at the ANA annual conference in Phoenix.
Have digital and social media leveled the marketing playing field so much that scale is losing its power?That this prospect has big marketers increasingly worried -- and smaller ones pleased -- was clear at the recent Association of National Advertisers conference in Phoenix. But while much evidence points to a leveling effect, plenty also points to scale remaining a powerful and even growing force in marketing.
Whether you think digital agencies are "ready to lead" or not, failing to bring a digital mindset to marketing and communications challenges is no longer an option. Yesterday, Ben Malbon tweeted a quote by Garrick Schmitt from the Razorfish FEED 09 Report: "Brand marketers neglecting digital is akin to showing up to a cocktail party in sweatpants." This reminded me of the Shel Silverstein poem and illustration above (which Johanna helped me to track down). The digital age is here. And it's permanent. This means that regardless of whether your career has been labeled digital or not, it is essential that you bring a digital mindset to all of the work that you do. This is beyond tools, platforms, and capabilities. This is a new way of understanding our world that changes every aspect of our work.
Shocked -- again. That's how I felt when I saw in BusinessWeek yet another example of marketing being totally misunderstood. An article titled "At Amazon, Marketing Is for Dummies" said, "Instead of lavish ads and splaying its logo everywhere, it invests in technology and distribution -- and the results are startlingly effective." Last time I checked, product and distribution are two of the essential pillars of marketing. What the article didn't say, but should have, is that Amazon has built its business without much advertising. So? This stands in stark contrast to the dot-bomb when hundreds of companies were created, and CMO became the title du jour. The prevailing "get large or get lost" wisdom drove companies toward publicity stunts, Super Bowl one-offs and multimillion-dollar sweepstakes and away from anything resembling marketing strategy. Brand-building gave way to branding. Marketing became soft, and credibility faded. Here we stand, on the verge of economic recovery, with brands having nowhere to go but up. Marketing should be leading us through growth, but it's not. And we all have a role to play.
With Google's Social Search experiment, Bing's integration with Twitter and Yahoo!'s partnership with One Riot, social search clearly has both potential and momentum. But what will social search look like, and will it help us search better? And if it will, how?
Are crises predictable? That's what most economists are thinking about these days. The great Hyman Minsky spent a lifetime building a model of macroeconomic crisis, striving to do exactly that. I spent an afternoon building, presented for you here, a tiny model of microeconomic crises: how industries crash and collapse. Our subject? Why media just might be the new Wall Street.
Flip, the Cisco-owned maker of pocket-sized camcorders, wants to go mass, and it's hoping its first, multimillion-dollar ad campaign, launched today, will establish it as a lifestyle brand. For a company that has previously eschewed big media buys in favor of grassroots marketing, it's a new strategy. But there's a lot at stake for the player that invented the sub-category of dummy-proof, affordable camcorders priced around or below the $200 range. For starters, it needs to quickly capitalize on the market's growth before it tapers off, thanks in part to competition from video-camera-enabled smartphones.
In a push to expand its digital advertising empire to cellphones, Google has agreed to acquire AdMob, a fast-growing mobile advertising start-up, for $750 million in stock, the companies said Monday. AdMob is one of the top sellers of banner ads on iPhone applications and Web pages that can be retrieved from mobile phones. The acquisition could help establish Google as an early leader in the small but rapidly expanding mobile phone advertising business.
Companies approach social in one of two ways: The first way, companies experiment with little order or goals, the second way, companies have clear goals and intend to invest in a deeper relationship.
A group of 1,200 marketing and advertising executives at the 99th annual conference of the Association of National Advertisers in Phoenix are anxious about the economy--but many see opportunity as they look toward 2010. Executives from Walmart ( WMT - news - people ), McDonald's ( MCD - news - people ) and MillerCoors on Friday spoke about how their companies, which sell "value" products, have profited from the recession and changes in their businesses. The takeaway message from these executives: Don't be too distracted by fads and trends--stay focused on customers and the brand basics.
A year ago, 1,200 executives in marketing, advertising and the media attended an annual conference that by coincidence took place a month after the financial crisis began. Together, they stared into the abyss, wondering what conditions would be when — or if — they met again. The sky has not fallen, at least so far, and most of those executives are now gathering for the 2009 conference. Many of them are saying, “What a difference a year makes.” Others, however, are wondering, “What difference does a year make?”
Have you seen anything lately that you thought was a creative approach to a consumer business? I'm talking about something that isn't a social networking or mobile business, but instead is an established product or service that is extending its brand in a way that puts competitors on the defensive. While speaking at a recent event, the moderator asked my co-panelists and me if the pendulum had swung too far toward short-term returns rather than long-term marketing and new product development. We collectively agreed that while improving analytics and financial discipline is a good development, marketers are currently shortchanging the creative side of the equation.
If it seems like you’ve been hearing a lot about crowdsourcing lately, it’s because you have. Crowdsourcing is one of those buzz words, like synergy or viral that people are throwing around now to cover just about anything. According to Wikipedia, the term was coined in a June 2006 Wired magazine article by Jeff Howe. My first experience with the concept came when I participated in The Beast, the Alternate Reality Game tied to the Steven Spielberg movie, A.I., back in 2001. As a member of the 6,000+ strong Cloudmakers group, I joined fans from across the world to solve puzzles and interact within this fantastic fictional world. We worked together to create a ‘collective detective’ that competed against the puzzle makers, not against each other, and it was brilliant. And now crowdsourcing is very much in vogue.
Google's Android software will soon be powering Motorola phones, but for the 11-year-old Internet giant, advertising is still king. Google beat analysts' estimates last quarter, thanks to brisk advertising sales. In October the company announced that its third-quarter revenue increased 7% from the same period last year, to $5.94 billion. Net income rose 27% to $1.64 billion. Google accounts for roughly a third of all online ad spending in the U.S.
A recession seems like a funny time to move your product mix upscale, but Kimberly-Clark Corp. has been doing just that of late, focusing more on premium and super-premium offerings and brands such as Cottonelle, Viva and Huggies Pure and Natural, while watching distribution of its Scott value brand shrink. It's a bold strategy to zag upscale as most of the market, including archrival Procter & Gamble Co., have been zigging more toward value products and private-label sales have been rising.
The right conversation strategy answers two big questions: What meaningful content will attract sufficient conversations with the right people? And, how will you jump-start conversations and keep them alive? When people are starved for time and already engaged in many conversations, jump-starting new and meaningful conversations is the big challenge of marketing today. Just building a website, writing a blog or posting videos on YouTube doesn't mean sufficient numbers to impact ROI will find them organically, much less take the time and energy to converse with you. By definition a conversation requires others to be present and participate -- otherwise you're talking to yourself. Perhaps therapeutic, but no way to make a living.
They're off! Although trick-or-treaters are still days away from ringing doorbells, the nation’s retailers are already starting their mad dash toward the Christmas finish line. The efforts to stimulate holiday feelings ahead of schedule are, of course, a result of the dire economy, as retailers remain anxious about the parsimonious mood among shoppers. The National Retail Federation predicts that Christmas sales will decline 1 percent from Christmas 2008 — not as bad as last year, when retail holiday revenue fell 3.4 percent from 2007, but still not in positive territory.
With Apple posting record profits last week, thanks in large part to brisk sales of its iPhone, it may seem downright crazy to mount a smartphone challenge at all, let alone one that takes direct aim at the iPhone. But that's just what Verizon, Google and Motorola are doing. With a teaser ad from Verizon zeroing in on the device's perceived shortcomings, such as its lack of a physical keyboard, the triumvirate is beginning a big push for Droid, the flagship device of the Google-backed Android operating system. So far, industry observers are unmoved by the buzz and give the Droid long odds in its bid to become the next ubiquitous handset.
Microsoft Corporation regularly asks PC users for feedback about its products. But after the debacle with Vista, the operating system nobody liked, the company and its advertising agency, Crispin Porter & Bogusky, realized that the concept of consumers as an intrinsic part of the development process could be an effective selling point for the Vista replacement, Windows 7. And so was born a campaign, getting under way on Thursday in six countries, carrying the theme “I’m a PC and Windows 7 was my idea.”
Social media advertising has stumbled in its current form, and needs new choreography. That’s the blunt message that media consultancy Media Link has for MySpace. Media Link has been advising MySpace since August, following a major executive shakeup at the troubled News Corp. unit. That message might as well be aimed at the entire social media landscape, which generates a disproportionate amount of ad impressions but commands such low prices that some in the industry even speculate it could hinder an expected online advertising recovery.
The world’s largest media markets will return to growth in 2011, according to the latest advertising spending forecast, but with only a “meagre” recovery as emerging markets take a greater share of global ad budgets.
Even for Hollywood, where long odds and high stakes are staples of storytelling, the plotline is a doozy: A couple of old business rivals facing the threat of a lifetime agree to put aside their differences and join forces on a half-baked experiment that makes them laughingstocks. (We're thinking Jack Nicholson and Warren Beatty.) And who do they put in charge? A young guy, a newbie to the biz. He promptly cleans house and hires an even younger guy who's halfway around the globe. These renegades throw out the rule book -- and they pull it off. Their idea kills. The naysayers feast on crow. This pitch meeting would not end well. Cue Ari Gold: Nobody'll believe it, not in a million years. Are you nuts? Get the %*#$ out of my office! Yet this is the tale of Jason Kilar and a company called Hulu, costarring the heads of NBC and Fox, with guest appearances by Andy Samberg, Tina Fey, Jeff Bezos, and Walt Disney.
Fact: Most people never click on web ads. And that poses a problem for marketers who want to know if their display ads are working. Google, though, is starting to provide an answer. In a bid to build a brand-advertising business, the search giant is using its vast trove of data culled from search queries and web traffic to measure the effectiveness of brand advertising. The system, called Campaign Insights, has been in beta test in the past year with marketers like PayPal and Simplexity and beginning today, the company will start offering it to its bigger advertisers in the U.S. and U.K. Ultimately, like Google Analytics, Google will offer it to all of its display advertisers for free.
The imminent publication of Forrester’s new report on the challenges facing clients - “Adaptive Brand Marketing: Rethinking Your Approach to Branding in the Digital Age” is a welcome turning of the spotlight toward client organizations. Without question agencies of all sizes, shapes and persuasions need to get their collective acts together and transform into leaner, more agile, more creative, & more technology- and data-fuelled businesses. The best in the business are no doubt all plotting how they can come out of this recession leaner, meaner, quicker, better. But that’s kind of pointless unless clients adapt too.
The attention dashboard is rapidly emerging as the online hub for sharing and discovering information, connecting us to people, content, and events in real-time. According to research, we’re already spending more time in social networks than we are in email. New studies are only fortifying these findings, documenting an increase time spent specifically in Social Media and blogs. In fact, the Nielsen Company reports reports that time spent on social networks and blogs accounted for 17 percent of total time spent on the Internet in August 2009. Most notably, but not surprising, however, is that this discovery represents nearly triple the percentage of time spent using Social Media just one year ago.
How Sean Maloney and brand guru Deborah Conrad are helping Intel's first carpet-dweller CEO reengineer the company once known as Chipzilla -- and free the bong.
Image is everything to luxury fashion companies. Preserving prestige is what sets brands such as Gucci and Hermes apart from Gap and H&M. But that same elitism is keeping certain luxury brands from engaging in social media, one of the most powerful forms of marketing at the moment. Luxury fashion companies are known for setting trends when it comes to their products, but their media preferences are surprisingly dated. Most prefer to simply buy ad space in publications where they can present--and control--their image in glossy two-page spreads. While traditional media will remain an important advertising vehicle for high-end fashion companies, social media needs to be part of the marketing mix too.
Sheraton is giving away free nights in dozens of its locations as part of a campaign to promote the $6 billion it has spent on renovations. It's a missed opportunity to do more for its brand and business. Staying at a Sheraton has always been a hit-or-miss proposition. I don't know if the differences in facilities are due to uneven franchisees and/or poor central management, but I can attest from personal experience that some Sheratons have been shockingly terrible, and others have qualified as just stunningly OK. An overhaul has been long overdue, and it's a really good thing. But the project is incomplete; less than half of the hotel's locations have been updated.
I was watching Stephanopoulos yesterday morning and I saw this IBM ad. And I thought, "hey, I've seen that guy somewhere before." And sure enough, he's in a Castrol Motor Oil ad. I think it's the same guy, right down to the wrinkles in his forehead. Does this matter? Maybe what happens in an ad for Castrol Oil stays in an ad for Castrol Oil. Or do actors have "transmedia" properties? Do they carry anything with them between ads? Here's what the "meaning transfer" theory says.
This might be the most subtle yet important shift that marketers face as they deal with the reality of new media. Marketers aren't renters, now they own.
Some of the most iconic companies of our time -- Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, Twitter -- attracted millions of users practically overnight, by unleashing what's known as a "viral-expansion loop." In plain English, they grew because each new user led to more users. The trick is that each of these businesses created something people really want and then made it easy for customers to happily spread their products for them to friends, family, and colleagues.
It doesn't matter much which marketing publication you pick up or which industry trend piece comes across your desk, it is simply impossible to miss the constant attention being paid to shopper marketing these days. No one should be surprised. With 72% of shoppers deciding what to buy in-store, the marketing world is acutely aware of the importance of the "last mile" and the ultimate moment of truth. Today, clients and agency folk alike are rushing to shopper marketing, searching for the experts and digging for the insights that will lead to stronger commercial programs and real marketplace advantage.
The financial markets' collapse and a growing distrust of global leaders both public and private has increased the importance of thinking strategically about communications and its impact on reputation. Government officials, political candidates and all those operating in the public realm are increasingly asking how they can measure with greater certainty the dynamics that drive their communications performance. With upcoming battles in the US on climate change, healthcare, Supreme Court confirmations, financial reform and a new Middle East peace initiative, among others, there is ample opportunity to evaluate communicators’ ability to drive public opinion. The corporate sector has been measuring the impact of communications and reputation for some time, using the results of these analyses to determine how their allocation of resources and themes affect financial outcomes such as stock price, P/E ration, revenues and profits. The earliest iteration of measurement centered on clip counts and evaluations—the most basic tenets of media relations—but has since evolved to include more robust scientific metrics. This is spurred by the diminishing effectiveness of traditional advertising. One recent survey revealed that only 13% of respondents believe advertising claims.
Ten years ago the chairman of MIT's Media Lab, Nicholas Negroponte, commented that any company that describes itself as an "agency" is doomed. He's right. Agencies -- as middlemen between media owners and brand owners -- are today merely commoditized suppliers and not the creative business partners our predecessors once were. Agencies, simply, are not as important as we used to be.
For more than 100 years, marketing has largely operated as a push paradigm. We create messages and funnel them through the media to reach stakeholders. Push remains viable. However, with time on social-networking sites and search engines rising, we need new ways to engage and reach people multiple times across different sources. That, according to the Edelman Trust Barometer, is when consumers will trust what we have to say. That's what the "power of pull" is all about.
The cover story of the most recent issue of Wired addresses how Craigslist rose to dominate classified listings, in spite of (or perhaps because of) how little it has changed, and the quirkiness of the business. The real customer experience lesson though, can be found in a follow-on blog post written by the story's author, Gary Wolf. In it, he muses, "Why, given the site's notorious shortcomings, has nobody ever succeeded in taking business away from it?" He writes about how many local newspapers have tried to embrace local listings, such as the Bakersfield Californian. When you look at their apartment-for-rent page, you immediately see the problem — the classified listings are sandwiched between giant banner ads and overwhelming navigation options. And this speaks to the fundamental issue facing the mass media today — it doesn't know who its customer is.
Practically the only thing guaranteed that social media will kill is your free time. Maybe it will kill your real-world social life too, but that's only if you choose to have an intimate relationship with your computer, at the pure neglect of the world outdoors. While it's popular and tempting to say that social media is poised to eliminate core business elements, such as marketing, public relations, or advertising, the truth is that the latest Web tools are simply infrastructure, to be used well. More traditional departments in business, and the third party vendors who provide their services, will need to adapt to a changing world, but they aren't going anywhere.
A new mindset is needed. There’s been a great deal of discussion of late both here and in other forums about the blurring lines between advertising and editorial and the implications for both relationship building and sales. As a measurement geek (or queen, which ever you prefer) my response is generally – who cares what you call it, focus on the results. Is what you're doing selling stuff, saving money, or making you more efficient? Great, do more of it, and less of the stuff that isn’t generating revenue.
In 2008, the only advertisement any marketer could talk about was Cadbury's drumming gorilla. The advert was made for television but was also viewed millions of times on YouTube. Agencies were delirious at the crossover success to the video sharing site. Here, finally, was proof that traditional agencies could conquer the web with old-school marketing skills. Gorilla scooped the grand prix in film at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival. By June this year, Cannes was a very different festival. For a start, the Croisette - normally packed with partying ad men - was deserted as agencies stayed away to nurse their shrinking budgets. But in any event, rather than television adverts winning awards for online work as Gorilla had, it was the online campaigns that impressed the judges across every category.
I'm sure I'm not the first one to tell you: We're in a recession. The doom has advertisers hanging signs along the lines of "Will Work For Food" on their agency walls, and marketers continue to face facts and figures like these, from Forrester's 2009 Global CMO Recession Survey: 71% of marketing budgets have been reduced this year, and more than half reported reductions greater than 20%. Now here comes the curveball: I think this might be the best thing that has happened to our industry in decades.
There is a vital lesson buried in the August 19, 2009 Jet Blue announcement that they were suspending sales of the $599.00 "All You Can Jet" promotion they'd debuted only seven days before. Any student of Behavioral Economics could have predicted that an "all you can eat" approach would inspire vastly different behavior than if Jet Blue had charged a lower fixed fee plus $1 per mile. Similarly, over a decade ago when AOL switched to a usage-independent flat price, connection time increased four times more than they anticipated. "All you can eat" is an entirely different price than "very, very cheap."
There was an attention drought for the longest time. Marketers paid a fortune for TV ads (and in fact, network ads sold out months in advance) because it was so difficult to find enough attention. Ads worked, so the more ads you bought, the more money you made, thus marketers took all they could get. This attention shortage drove our economy. The internet has done something wacky to this situation.
The signs are everywhere. The New York Times is close to bankruptcy. Magazines are dying in droves. The music industry is trying anything to make a buck. The TV networks are wondering if they can keep selling increasingly expensive space in return for an increasingly smaller audience that time-shifts its way out of having to watch the ads. Meanwhile, business plans that held the words "advertising funded" are being rewritten, while multitudes of newspapers and content sites are closing down because of lack of income.
If you love to hate ads, you might enjoy two new books that train their sights on modern marketing. The first makes the case that advertising as we know it is about to be obliterated. The second suggests that we should all dance a gleeful polka on its grave.
Media consumption is changing. You don't need me to tell you that. But you may be unaware just how much it's shifting as we embrace "the stream." What's the stream? It's a way of consuming content as a continuous feed of brief bits, singles, 10-minute videos, tweets and status updates. It reflects the societal shift from analog to digital. And it's a natural fit for the web, where attention spans are minuscule.
After years of calling the shots, the traditional Mad Men of advertising -- the creative types who cooked up memorable sell-lines like "the ultimate driving machine" -- are increasingly sharing the spotlight with, you guessed it, the nerds. Or as Jon Bond, a co-founder of Kirshenbaum Bond + Partners, which has done work for Target and Panasonic, says, "If we were in India, it would be as if the untouchables had suddenly become the ruling class." What has allowed the lowly quants to sit at the same table as the advertising Brahmin is a new way of thinking about the creation of desire.
Why should we fear Google? There's an easy, obvious answer to that, particularly if you're a media or marketing person: because Google is killing us. It is, duh, blatantly steamrollering the business models of countless business sectors, from Madison Avenue to print media. (Despite all the Bing hype, it appears that Microsoft's refreshed search engine -- er, decision engine -- isn't making a dent in Google's dominance.) Annoyingly, it's a cute monopoly -- with a cute logo, a cute motto ("Don't be evil"), cute executives and a cute corporate culture -- that bewitches a lot of people into somehow doubting that it's a monopoly, and prompts even otherwise cynical media people to be unnecessarily polite about it.
The newly reformulated Powerade contains "ION4," and the branding emphasizes the secret code for this new concoction at the expense of the name of the product. I'm not sure that’s such a smart thing to do.
The march of technology has disrupted the implicit contract that has driven the media business for a hundred years or more: Publishers/programmers provide quality content; advertisers help subsidize the content and, in return, get to show commercial messages to audiences; and consumers enjoy the content and accept the ads that subsidize all or some of the cost.
Commoditization may be the biggest threat facing agencies and media companies today -- yet we hear precious little about it, and few can articulate a strategy to combat it.
Micro-blogging phenomenon Twitter Inc. hasn't figured out how to make money, but that hasn't stopped Web giants Google Inc., Yahoo Inc. and Microsoft Corp. from racing to establish real-time search capabilities. The growth of Twitter has fueled expectations that real-time search could drive Internet advertising to new heights by allowing marketers to target relevant ads at consumers interested in breaking events, hot topics or their favorite celebrities. Some proponents argue real-time data and search could develop into a billion-dollar market.
I want to Bing. I want to be Binged. I want to hear the Binging bells from a million laptops ringing the news that there might be an alternative to Google's dominant bong. So I was only too delighted to hear that two TV ads have already emerged to do the Binging ringing.
I’m well aware that I have been painting myself in a corner - or rather, I fear that media and journalism are: I’ve been arguing that charging for content online - news content - is futile and that print as a vehicle for advertising and a source of profit is unsustainable. Thus, online advertising is our only hope. But advertising will decline. For I’ve also been saying that the internet enables direct relationships among companies and customers: Your product is your ad and customer your ad agency. It’s only when that doesn’t work that you need to advertise. Advertising is failure. Welcome to the chaos scenario.
In my last column, I proclaimed search to be going out of business. So what comes next? The answer lies in the question "why?"
According to former Vice President Al Gore, the importance of sustainability doesn't just apply to the environment. It also is key to the future of advertising. "It really comes out of the environment, but in my opinion the key theme of this century really is sustainability," Gore said. "This theme of environmental sustainability has become a part of our culture, it's a part of our discourse, and I'm very optimistic that it will soon be a part of our policy."
You have to love - or at least pay attention to - Digg’s new advertising system enabling users to vote on ads: The more that users digg an ad, the less the advertiser pays. That’s a reversal of advertising but it’s the way advertising probably needs to go: The better your relationship (which springs from a better product and service), the more your customers will market it for you, the less you’ll have to pay to market it. That is the ideal. Advertising is failure.
When I first got into the ad biz and during my college studies the big thing that was repeatedly hammered into my young, impressionable mind was the need for every ad and ad campaign to have a "concept." A concept was that big idea, that creative aha that would simultaneously capture the consumer's attention and drive home a key benefit of the brand being advertised. And in the world of interruption based marketing, that makes sense. And to a lesser degree, today, it still does. But here is the rub. Here is the big thing that I think many of my fellow advertising folk haven't quite figured out. In the world of social media and web based marketing, you don't need a concept. Why? Because social and by and large digital isn't an interruption based communication platform. It's invitation based.
Advertising almost always wants to be upbeat, the better to jolly consumers into, well, consuming. So it is startling to see a spate of campaigns invoking some of the most downbeat times America has ever endured: the desperate decade that began when the stock market crashed in 1929 and continued through the Great Depression.
With social networks like Facebook transforming the way companies communicate with consumers, it's time for the ad industry to get its head out of the sand.
Let’s face it - unless you are YouTube or Hulu, you are looking for ways to build audience and streams to capture more in-stream advertising dollars. Nowhere is this truer than in the news market where CNN, the leading online news site, has a 1.2% market share in streams (Nielsen), and is selling-out 100% of its video advertising inventory. While media companies continue to pursue traditional audience development strategies, such as video SEO and social distribution, they must also pursue the underexploited opportunity of “internal syndication” of video content.
In the midst of financial apocalypse, the gadflies and gurus of the global marketplace are gathered at the San Francisco Hilton for the annual meeting of the American Economics Association. The mood is similar to a seismologist convention in the wake of the Big One. Yet surprisingly, one of the most popular sessions has nothing to do with toxic assets, derivatives, or unemployment curves.
Companies are working fast to figure out how to make money from the wealth of data they're beginning to have about our online friendships.
For more than 100 years brand marketers have largely focused on push - a mix of tried-and-true tactics that include paid and earned media. However, that was before the Attention Crash, which is changing the economics of digital marketing. The endless supply of content is taking a toll. It has forced consumers to make hard choices about where and how they spend time. Today people are browsing less and going deeper into a small number of sites. The exact mix of destinations change. What they have in common, however, is that they are all useful.
There are no rules about creativity. Which made constructing our list of the 100 Most Creative People in Business a tricky task. We looked for dazzling new thinkers, rising stars, and boldface names who couldn't be ignored. We avoided people we've profiled in the recent past. We emphasized those whose creativity addresses a larger issue -- from the future of our energy infrastructure to the evolution of philanthropy to next-generation media and entertainment. So read on. Enjoy. Quibble. Complain.
Lately, I've been thinking a lot about the utility of ad placement on social media sites, and whether it's the most enlightened way to monetize services like Facebook or Twitter. I'd posit that there are two broad, and somewhat mutually-exclusive schools of thought on the subject: one looking forward, and the other back.
Have you seen Starbucks new campaign? The one designed to remind you of the "Starbucks story?" From the announcement video to the ads themselves, Starbucks is making the first mistake of modern advertising - they're telling you when they should be showing you.
There’s been lots of talk about the “death of advertising” and the increasing ineffectiveness of the media. There’s a tremendously well-researched, insightful and informative Bob Garfield post in Ad Age, with lots and lots of numbers supporting his version of “Apocalypse Now” for the ad industry. There’s no doubt that there’s agency layoffs, and client cutbacks and fear and uncertainty. So who am I to be the bearer of even an ounce of good news for the ad industry?
The mad men of Madison Avenue are really mad these days, creating a spate of angry advertising campaigns that seek to channel the outrage, frustration and fear felt by consumers hit hard by what some are calling the Great Recession.
Last fall, Google released a new Web browser called Chrome that is speedy, elegant, and reliable. Just ask the 1.42 percent of people who use it.
There’s been a lot of talk lately about monetizing social networks. MySpace has swapped out much of its senior leadership with talent more experienced in marketing. Facebook is floating plans to launch an ad network someday. Both services already put ads on their sites, sell sponsorships, etc. Most, if not all, of these kinds of efforts focus on using social networks as glorified channels for branding. Companies hope to sell things by paying to put their brands in front of consumers as they’re on their way to, doing things at, and planning to leave their networked communities. How is this any different than putting up billboards on the way to the fair? Is it possible that the true value of social networks could be derived from seeing them as places?
The legendary advertising innovator David Ogilvy created an enduring organization using culture, integrity, and charm.
In light of rising childhood obesity rates and the general confidence in supermarket sales, Disney, the world’s top licensor, is steadily making the push to realign its brand with a healthier image, targeting kids with fruits and vegetables instead. The savvy marketing move appears to be working too, as sales of the Disney Garden line were up 70 percent in 2008, a trend that can at least partially be attributed to consumer attitudes about the products.
One of my pet peeves is the elevation of corporate mascots and celebrity spokesmodels from sales promotion tactics to brand strategy. Only now I'm thinking that in certain circumstances, they really are one in the same. Almost. Consider Geico and Priceline. Both businesses offer pretty generic, unsexy products (insurer and travel agency, respectively) that compete primarily, if not solely, on price. Good luck trying to attach emotional or other intangible attributes to such brands, right?
TV is experiencing a fundamental shift. And it is not just because of the recession or the transition from analog to digital broadcasting (now slated for June), both of which are putting pressure on future growth. TV is going digital in all aspects -- from its infrastructure and its content-distribution models to its advertising and audience measurement models.
Remember back in the Paleolithic era of the Internet, when people said things like "paradigm shift" and "information superhighway"? Back about that same time, it was the informed wisdom that "content is king."
Brands aren't simply brands anymore. They are the center of a maelstrom of social and political dialogue made possible by digital media, said Unilever Chief Marketing Officer Simon Clift, who warned that marketers who do not recognize that -- and adapt their marketing -- are in grave peril.
Perhaps no word in the marketing lexicon has been abused as much in the past six months or so as “value.” Marketing messages of this stripe are one strategy for addressing the fact that consumers are loath to open their wallets these days. But they’re also only one alternative to cutting prices. It seems like marketers aren’t exploring others.
Marketers have spammed, lied, deceived, cluttered and ripped us off for so long, we're sick of it.
In just a little over 10 years, Google has built a business that is impossible not to admire. In fact, its success begs the question -- what would Google do (WWGD)? Media pundit and thinker Jeff Jarvis tackles this question head on with a new book by the same title. In "What Would Google Do?," Jarvis breaks down Google's practices into 12 distinct rules and then applies them to aging industries like media and advertising.
A new executive brief by IBM Global Business Services, based on an in-depth study by the Institute's research team, reports that to compete in the new era of advertising will require a fundamental change in media and entertainment companies' capabilities. The study findings show that four trends are raising the bar for consumer-centric marketing: consumer adoption of new distribution formats, a shift in advertiser spending, the digital migration of platforms and the emergence of new capabilities due to game-changing moves by both new entrants and existing players.
Why spend $10,000 to do a photo shoot for a magazine? After all, all your profit is in the ads. Sometimes it seems like people who build websites and magazines that take the high road aren't paying any attention at all to conversion and revenue and manipulation.
Last year, marketers seemed to be slow to change their messaging in response to the yet-to-be-formally-declared recession. During the holidays, retailers responded to slowing sales largely by promoting deep discounts in email after email. However, since the turn of the calendar, I've seen retailers adopting a variety of tactics to coax sales from their recession-wary customers:
Life today can be complicated. The accelerating pace of innovation, ideas and technology, and the pressure to keep up with it all in real time can make just getting by quite an effort. So, people don’t have the time or attention to go out of their way to understand things that are confusing. In fact, the more complicated something is, the greater the need for simpler ways of understanding it.
The Super Bowl hype is blissfully long gone, and lazy media outlets can no longer reprint press releases and dissect multi-million dollar wastes of time and money. The lesson of these ads is simple. Putting on a show is expensive, time-consuming and quite fun. And it rarely works.
Despite the mostly weak display of conceptual and copywriting prowess (if you can call it that) that was this year's crop of Super Bowl ads, one ad that stood out in the mind of this creative director as being particularly useless was the Alec Baldwin shill for NBC/FOX's Hulu online video platform. What a lost opportunity.
In 2018 we will look back with bemusement at the industry before 2010, when most advertising meant ads - brief, static bits of promotional info on TV video, Web sites, radio, paper or big flat outdoor posters. These repetitive ad messages were everywhere you went, and people quietly tolerated them and went about their day. Before 2010, most ads offered little opportunity to complain, ask questions, collect more information, meet the people involved, or play a game. How ridiculously boring, really.
Marketers are using digital and video technology to reach shoppers at the moment that matters most.
Almost three decades ago, the UK's number one hit record at the start of the new year was 'Brass in Pocket' by The Pretenders. "I gotta have some of your attention," sang Chrissie Hynde. That refrain proved very popular with teenage girls back then. Companies are desperate to command our attention, too. But it is getting harder to persuade people to pay attention.
The post-agency era is upon us. With staggering speed and efficiency, consumer preferences and digital technologies have coalesced to create a broad and deep cultural demand for direct relationships. In this disintermediated market, do we need go-betweens at all?
Ask a dozen advertising agencies for advice on marketing in a downturn and the chances are that each will begin with a lecture on the dangers of cutting budgets. Even for those having to do more with less, however, there are lessons to be learned about how to return stronger.