Recently Car and Driver posted an April Fools Day blog entry claiming Ford was bringing back the Escort – and I bought it hook line and sinker. Why did I fall for the gag? Because an increasingly out-of-touch and all-too desperate Detroit has been so enamored with its familiar formula of nostalgic branding that the absurdity of an Escort reintroduction didn’t seem outside the realm of possibility.
Tag: Bryan Oekel
Admittedly I’ve never had much use for the GAP, other than the fact it inspired some of my favorite Saturday Night Live skits (“Lay off me I’m starving”). But its newly designed logo seems to be leaving branding experts and fans alike starving for a bit more.
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.
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.
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.
When I shot the picture of this little guy lounging in his highchair watching cartoons, I thought it was adorable. And admittedly, I still do. But simultaneously it terrifies me, because it foreshadows a new type of digital divide that will be created by mobile devices and the introduction of augmented reality.
The inevitable economic recovery is arguably just around the corner. Yes, it’s always too far ahead. But at least there is light at the end of the tunnel. Obama says it’s a “long way off,” likely to cover his own posterior. However, the IMF and the Fed are cautiously optimistic. And, with few exceptions, the Dow has been relatively flat in recent weeks. I don’t want to jinx it, but it feels like we’re at the bottom of a very steep hill to climb rather than falling off of a cliff. The recovery -- albeit likely a slow one -- is coming. It’s just a matter of when. And the world, including marketing, may never be the same.
The new iPhone with video - coupled with GPS, compass and future iPhone applications - ushers in the Brave New World of augmented reality. And mobile marketing, which until now has been a relative afterthought for brand marketers outside of Japan, is about to go gangbusters.
“Quantiphobes” be forewarned. Marketing metrics are about to move to the forefront. The predictive power of advanced statistical analyses used to calculate risk in the credit and insurance industries for years are quickly becoming an integral part of marketers’ jobs. According to an Association of National Advertisers survey conducted in partnership with Interbrand, 80 percent of CMOs and senior marketers say the board and C-suite are increasingly demanding that marketers be more accountable. And marketers should welcome the change.
There are plenty of reasons for doom and gloom in Detroit. But the Blue Oval continues to be a glimmer of hope for the U.S. auto industry in terms of its financial outlook relative to GM and Chrysler, quality on par with Japanese manufacturers, sexy engineering, Toyota-beating hybrid technology and social media marketing savvy.
Pop culture is a constant, complex data stream unfolding in real time all around us. And you can watch it flow by in text and pictures at Digg Labs using its Stacks, Swarm, BigSpy, Arc, and Pics.
The evolution of data visualization software is merging data and art, and allowing us to convey and digest complicated information in exciting new ways. But used irresponsibly, these technologies have the potential to usher in a new wave of “data porn,” where the dazzle trumps the data.
Social media platforms, blogs, smart phones, online video conferencing and a host of other technologies will facilitate revolutionary changes for brand research and innovation. Many companies are already leveraging these technologies for more traditional types of data collection, such as survey research. However, few have taken advantage of the real opportunity these technologies collectively provide: crowd-sourced research models for consumer-driven innovation.
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.
Or more accurately, Xylitol sweetener junkies.
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.
Yesterday’s over-the-top launch for the 2009 Dodge Ram at the Detroit Auto Show didn’t go quite as planned.
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.
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?
Megan Meier, a 14-year-old girl from an exurban area of St. Louis, recently committed suicide over an online MySpace prank instigated by her adult neighbors. Her crush on a boy that never existed in the real world pushed a troubled girl over the edge.
Consumer Reports claims $8 billion was lost last year on unused gift cards. The industry's auction and trading leader responds here first.
Considering we’re dedicating an entire week to Noam Chomsky videos, this might not be a popular opinion amongst my fellow UE bloggers or its readers. But lately I’ve been a bit more optimistic that market forces and our good old fashioned love of money will actually help save our “Planet in Peril.”
After much procrastination, my wife and I finally bought her first new’ish car. I’m on crutches because I’m a klutz, and we needed a vehicle with an automatic transmission that I could drive while I recover. So the timing was right for somewhat selfish reasons.
Dear “Nip/Tuck” producers:
I’m not talking about your political leanings, but your brain and your way of thinking. Take this test on BrandWeek’s blog to find out. You might be surprised. I was.
Ah, our fascination with celebrity. I’m quite sure it’s responsible for my past post, Colbert as Case Study, being my most-viewed blog entry to date. And 24-hour cable news wouldn’t be in business these days without it. And without 24-hour cable news, our Nation’s hero, Stephen Colbert wouldn’t be on television. (Well, at least his alter ego wouldn’t take to the airwaves…um, I mean basic-cable waves).
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.
Our good friend Ted Haggard needs your help. After his fall from grace for entirely heterosexual acts with a male prostitute while totally not amped up on crank, ol’ Ted has decided to go back to school.
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.
Growing up I was somewhat of a daredevil - or arguably just a little stupid. Doing less-than-intelligent stunts on everything from skateboards, BMX bikes, go carts, mini bikes and eventually mountain bikes and motorcycles, put me in the hospital more times than I’d like to remember. Oh, and there was a shopping cart incident (don’t ask).
No, not the lil’-minded leader of our great nation. We’ve given him enough chances. I’m talkin’ ‘bout “Lil’ Bush,” the animated series on Comedy Central.
Wow. It doesn’t get much classier than this. I must admit, I’m not the target audience for team-branded coffins or urns from Major League Baseball. Mainly because I still have a pulse, but also because I’m not a huge sports fan. However, going to the grave in a receptacle plastered with your team colors seems a bit extreme.
There are many, many reasons why I love PowerPoint. It’s intuitive…it helps make eloquent and impactful arguments…and pardon my dorkiness, but it can be downright fun to use. But I also hate PowerPoint. While it can be a very um…powerful tool, I believe it has dumbed down corporate culture.
Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. I learned this the hard way when I was about 10 years old and found out I could stand up on the frame of my bicycle with no hands.
There are few people I despise as much as Dick Cheney, but Carlos Mencia makes the shortlist.
I have a confession. In the late 80s when I was too young to know any better, I was a headbanger (Not really me, but you get the idea). Thank god I was only in the fifth grade, too young and naive to even realize Rob Halford of Judas Priest was gay, let alone old enough to have full say in my style of dress and haircut. Otherwise who knows, I may have been the only fifth grader that looked like this .