Davis Thinking } analysis and interpretation
Omni Hotels and Starbucks Coffee recently announced a joint promotion featuring scented stickers on the free copies of USA Today distributed to guests each day. The top of the sticker reads “start your day with a freshly brewed cup of Starbucks coffee” with the instruction to “peel here.” When the top sticker is peeled off, the bottom sticker emits a blackberry scent and the copy reads “paired with a fresh muffin. Available at Omni Hotels.”
The connective tension between town and country is nothing new. It’s been with us since the rise of the novel in 18th century England, and it has defined much of the imagery of the good life in America since we settled and populated our world with agrarian communities and then revolutionized them with industrial complexes. Our ability to move between these two worlds signals the entrepreneurial and intellectual wherewithal to get off the farm, as well as the centering sensibility to escape the concrete jungle, leaving the city behind, when we need to find greener pastures. The "town and country" society set is America’s version of the English landed gentry. They can go anywhere and do anything.
This history of PR is well-documented, and this film, based on the book "The Father of Spin," tells the story succinctly. The problematic question, of course, is whether the origins of an industry shape its forever. How much of this early "propagandist" mindset still drives PR firms, or have they embraced the type of transparency they often advise corporations to exhibit today?
The democratizing power of the Web shows itself plainly in this mashup of U2's anti-war anthem and George Bush's State of the Union address. One consumer voice, enabled by easily available technolgy, can undo (or at least challenge) White House spin and speechwriting.
The Pleo "life form" dinosaur toy from Ugobe is impressive for its natural movements and purported ability to learn and develop "emotions" based on environmental inputs. The greater feat, though, may be the marketing of the toy. The company missed the key holiday sales season to perfect some key features -- and now must make aggressive sales goals off-season. A heavy Internet and word-of-mouth strategy is underway. Will it work?
With millions upon millions of views, it's fair to call this a classic now. The lesson remains true: leave room for the consumer to think, interpret and create meaning for themselves and they will love you. Or be Microsoft (or most other big marketers) and overcommunicate your way into confusion worthy of laughter and lackluster sales.
A favorite song, a mixing board, some public statements from Sony, and a consumer with an opinion. Is it organic, or is it Microsoft?
Smart, ironic, sexy, playful...self-reverential, self-referential and self-promotional.
Maybe, but solid brand strategy and management might be a more tangible and, frankly, smarter move for England’s monarchy. Why? Because Queen Elizabeth II is a brand in and of herself. Look no further than to the movie The Queen and you realize her majesty is an iconic brand in her own right.
After reviewing a recent study by The Nielsen Company, I began to think about how advertising dollars are spent; carefully and calculated, or if the philosophy of “it worked 10 years ago, it will work next year” was the “strategy.” For decades the mantra for companies who invest the big dollars to advertise has been to “get the most eyeballs for the buck.” There are a few big events each year when the marquee spenders drop big coin to deliver a message or promote a product to a worldwide audience, but what is the plan of action for the other 99% of the time? If you are in tune with the media world, you know that it is in one of its greatest states of flux. The proliferation of user generated content, DVR’s responsible for skipping commercials and ad-free radio for a fee have thrown how companies spend their ad dollars into a frenzy – the old traditionalists not willing to make the leap to the Web, and the new inventive leveraging social networks to drive awareness and appeal from the bottom up.