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.
With the insane amount of data out there, it's tempting to skip the human element altogether and rely solely on statistics. But performance metrics alone can't tell you what motivates your audience to start a blog, share a video or post about their breakfast on Facebook. And it can't tell you the exact point when first-time moms realize their new little bundle of joy means a 54% increase in laundry, leaving them running to the appliance store. These are the types of insights that result from a consistent two-way dialogue with an audience over a long period of time.
In the age of social networks, content evolves hand-in-hand with the mode of dissemination. What matters is pass-along potential, and nothing gets passed along like humor, particularly sarcasm or the thrill of the 'gotcha' moment. Sound bites have always been part of political communication, but decisions about which bites to air used to be in the hands of at least half-way responsible and accountable editors. Now everybody has a say in deciding what gets disseminated, and everybody seems to like passing along the put-down more than the uplift. My interest, as a marketing professor, is in the way this shift is playing out in the world of brands.
NBC Universal planted these eco-friendly elements into scripted television shows to influence viewers and help sell ads. The tactic—General Electric Co.'s NBC Universal calls it "behavior placement"—is designed to sway viewers to adopt actions they see modeled in their favorite shows. And it helps sell ads to marketers who want to associate their brands with a feel-good, socially aware show.
If you’ve been in the business long enough, you come to understand there are some basic rules to follow when running an ad on the Super Bowl. Humor works best. Use animals or big-breasted women – or both. Wow people with extraordinary settings and production values. Many of the advertisers on last night’s big game followed the Super Bowl advertising playbook to a tee. And, yet, they violated some fundamental rules of advertising in general.
Republican Scott Brown's victory over Martha Coakley in the Massachusetts special election last week makes President Barack Obama an unimpressive zero for three. Since taking office, each time he's tried to help a Democrat secure an election victory -- the gubernatorial races in New Jersey and Virginia being the other two instances -- he has come up empty. It's a pretty stunning turnabout for the man named Ad Age's Marketer of the Year in 2008, when his masterful campaign infected a nation with a fever for change and the Democratic party rode his coattails to the kind of majorities in the House and Senate that all but guaranteed approval of key party policies. Now, undoubtedly, Brand Obama is tarnished. Some political analysts and consultants believe he fell victim to a common marketer mistake: being too slow to react to a new environment.
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.
Imagine for a moment that you're an iconographer. Your job is to create compelling images that convey unambiguous messages in a universal language. Now imagine that you're an iconographer for Google Maps. Your job is to create compelling images that convey unambiguous messages in a universal language -- on a canvas 16 pixels by 16 pixels in size. You need a 16x16 image that's going to say, "pub." Or "hotel." Or "Funky B&B for the young and the young at heart." How would you go about it? My friend Patrick Hofmann happens to be the iconographer for Google Maps, and what he's learned about visual information can teach us a lot across a whole raft of disciplines.
Twitter turned on its long-awaited Geolocation API today, meaning that users can opt-in to having their messages annotated with their exact locations. The significance of this is made clear by comparing it with last week's release of 500 million time-stamped Twitter messages for analysis. "You take this data, mash it up with any other very large corpus of data with timestamps," Flip Kroner of data marketplace Infochimps told us, "and you've got a web app." Today's announcement of the availability of location data means the same thing: you take this data, mash it up with any other data with location information and you've got an app. From Digg or StumbleUpon for your favorite coffee shop to political and disease tracking - there's a whole lot that's possible.
Bank of America/Merrill Lynch took out a double-page spread in the Wall Street Journal last week to deliver what it must have felt was a very important message to its current and would-be customers. Nothing. The spread was mostly black ink. A conductor's hands appear in the lower-right corner, a header reads "Expertise and resources, seamlessly orchestrated," and two lines of mouseprint explain that "understanding the score" is important to providing lots of financial services. And we wonder why: - Nobody trusts financial firms anymore, and - Newspaper ads are a dying breed
I was delighted to be the email advocate on a panel on “Creating an Environment for Viral Marketing Success,” moderated by entrepreneur and author Guy Kawasaki last Thursday. It was a virtual complement to the SmartBrief Buzz2009 event, held in Washington DC with more than 80 association executives.
By now, we've all read enough stories about ill-mannered co-workers who text during meetings, nasty bosses who idolize Simon Cowell ("I'm just being honest with you!") and subordinates who snipe like characters from "The Office" or "Scrubs."
Industries worldwide are transforming as the economic upheaval takes its toll. It's affecting both leading brands and challengers in nearly every category.
I’m taking a break from the series on brand value creation for a post on a topic I’ve been reading a lot about lately — saying “thank you.” For people in general, service providers specifically, and companies, communicating sincere gratitude, it seems, is a lot more complicated than you might expect.
If you haven't been living under a rock lately, you've probably heard a lot about Twitter, the free micro-blogging utility that allows members to share short messages, or tweets. Twitter has suddenly become the digital arena for people to observe and engage in pop culture. Demi Moore saves lives on her Twitter page, and Lindsay Lohan publicly breaks up with significant others on hers. It's also a place where brands can interact with consumers directly, to either reinforce strong relationships with their loyal bases or attract new followings.
Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz has been talking a lot over the past two weeks about Yahoo and how it competes against Google and Microsoft. Each time she does, I feel like she’s digging the hole even deeper for Yahoo’s prospects in search. Rather than communicate a clear search strategy — which you’d better have if you’re in a war against Google and Microsoft — she resonates mixed messages that Yahoo can ill afford to send.
There is Ally Bank: “A better kind of bank.” And A.I.U.: “A unique franchise.” And — really — Redneck Bank: “Where bankin’s funner!” All are new names and new slogans for old companies with big worries and, in some cases, even bigger image problems.
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.
Most appeals to donate blood treat the subject as if it was a matter of life and death -- and, often, to be sure, it is. But a new campaign is taking a different tack, on the theory that a light-hearted approach may attract more donors.
Greeting cards that talk or play music have been around for a while now, so it seems natural to see those capabilities extended to the floral bouquet. Sure enough, global florist FTD has just released a line of floral arrangements that deliver a spoken message along with the flowers.
Elevator pitches, 30-second spots, viral videos, strategic PR, the brand called "you." Today’s commonly accepted view is that great brands are great at telling us their interesting stories. That’s a misguided view. In reality, we use our interaction with brands—their sceneries, props, set decorations, scripts, and actors—to construct our own stories, ones that we want to tell about ourselves. And since we define ourselves both according to what we identify with and what we reject, and given the abundance of marketplace choice, we now choose interactions which we feel will produce the best story possible. And we reject the others.
If I believed everything I saw in ads, I'd believe that oil companies are dedicated to protecting the environment, tobacco companies want to help me quit smoking and the Sham Wow is the second coming of sliced bread. Yeah, right. The whole "say-whatever-they-want-to-hear-and-we'll-sell-'em" mentality that still rules some corners of the marketing and ad industries just doesn't play anymore. Consumers are smart. They know when you're gaming them, when you're using a snake oil ploy just to make a sale. And, guess what, they're not buying it.
Joe Rospars, the man behind President Barack Obama's new-media effort during his election, said the campaign didn't win because it used the latest technology. Rather, its secret was a holistic approach -- one easily copied by regular marketers -- that integrated digital tools into the overall strategy.
There aren't too many places where Walmart isn't dominant. The digital realm is one of the relative few, but not for long, as it ramps up a host of programs to vault the chain -- which has already distanced itself from value retailers in the offline world -- further ahead in the online one.
Once again Microsoft’s ad strategy is off-base. Their newest ad criticizes Apple for being expensive by “documenting” one woman’s quest to find a laptop that meets her needs for under $1000.
Clarins Group is trying to remake its American face. Next month, the upscale French beauty brand will begin opening spas inside department stores, eventually reaching locations across the U.S. New products, counters and services are also in the works, and Clarins will increase its efforts to woo Hispanic women -- all part of an effort to revamp Clarins's classic French image in the U.S.
What does Pepsi need to tell you in a given day? They want you to enjoy their product. They want to remind you that it’s very refreshing, or crisp, or whatever else you might think about when you think about a soft drink. So, let’s say you hear that message today. They say, “Pepsi is a great drink for these first few days of spring.” You hear it, smile, nod your head, and maybe buy some Pepsi. Then what?
A prototype e-mail system being tested at Stanford University later this year will radically change how users specify where their messages are supposed to be delivered. Called SEAmail, for "semantic e-mail addressing," the system allows users to direct a message to people who fulfill certain criteria without necessarily knowing recipients' e-mail addresses, or even their names.