If you want to see one of the reasons why shopper marketing has been carving off an ever-bigger slice of the marketing pie, just compare the number of weekly shoppers at major retail chains with the number of Americans who tune in to top TV shows. Take Dancing with the Stars and American Idol, for example.
Anheuser-Busch— whose Budweiser brand sales and image have taken a serious licking — today will announce plans to push free beer and a hipper Bud image to younger beer drinkers over the next several weeks. To appeal to the under-30 set that has ignored the brand — but is a prime consumer group for beer — Budweiser will unleash its biggest-ever national free-sample effort in trendy bars and eateries. The campaign begins Monday, with the slogan "Grab some Buds."
Taking advantage of vacant mall space, Toys "R" Us is opening 600 temporary shops—or "pop-up stores"—this fall, a move that doubles the number of its U.S. stores for the crucial holiday season. The toy retailer is super-sizing a bet it made last year when it opened 90 temporary mall-based Toys "R" Us Express stores during the holidays, many in spaces previously occupied by KB Toys, which folded in early 2009. Toys "R" Us also added holiday toy sections to its 260 Babies "R" Us locations and plans to do so again this year. "We did it last year and it worked," said Gerald Storch, chief executive of Toys "R" Us. "Our customers told us they liked the convenience of buying toys where they were shopping for other holiday gifts."
Chicago's Museum of Science+Industry (“MSI") is running a contest to pick somebody who'll literally live inside the place for a month later this year, in hopes that the winner will help promote it to the outside world. Visiting a museum is relatively cheap, easy, and offers at least the hint of a redeeming purpose, so it’s no surprise that the MSI isn’t hurting, nor are museums generally: over half of them nationwide reported attendance increases last year, and I’d bet MSI's 2 million-plus annual visitors make it one of America's most popular. But it's never too early to think about new visitors, nor too bold to consider improving on really good numbers. Bill Gates' adage that when companies realize they're in trouble it's already too late to do anything about it probably applies to museums, too.
Wildfire, makers of promotional tools for brands on Facebook, is releasing a new application that lets marketers and brands turn their Facebook Page or website in to a deal hub. The new application is called Group Deals, and it is designed to be like a do-it-yourself Groupon add-on to Facebook Pages and company websites via Facebook Connect. Wildfire users can create and define their own deal-a-day style promotions, which will allow interested brand fans to purchase the deals via their PayPal accounts.
Integrity isn't the first word that comes to mind when you think of burritos. Chipotle is out to change that with a new marketing overhaul, Food with Integrity. Though they won't be tampering with the tasty (and caloric) burrito recipe, they hope to alter the way American think about fast food and fast food advertising. Chipotle, a former subsidiary of McDonald's (the company went solo in 2006), partnered with San Francisco-based design and strategy firm Sequence to create an informative and somewhat irreverent campaign for its website and product packaging. Just click on the knotted string at the bottom of the screen, and The Chipotle supply chain appears. "While we have never sourced these ingredients to be a marketing platform, it is what makes Chipotle so different from other restaurant companies” the company’s chief marketing officer Mark Crumpacker said in a release.
Like many car brands, the once ultra-cool Jaguar has declined over the past several years, losing its luster and once-hallowed reputation for reliability. But now that the brand has been sold by Ford to India's Tata Motors, Jaguar is on the upswing, at least in terms of its promotional visibility. Jaguar announced two high-profile partnerships, one in the U.S. and one in the U.K., that signals a comeback of sorts.
For all the talk about Foursquare, one of the coolest features that gets very little buzz is the Tips area. Here, you’ll find suggestions about venues from other users of the service. And if you’re friends with a user who has left a tip, you’ll get a notification with the tip on your iPhone when you check-in somewhere close by. The History Channel has decided to make use of this feature in an interesting way.
Twitter and MySpace each announced programs last week intended to make money by giving advertisers access to their users. The approaches couldn't be more different, and I think they raise more questions about the nature and hopes for monetizing social behavior than they answer.
There’s been plenty of talk of late about “cleaning up” America’s schools. Finally, someone is doing something about it, albeit in a literal way. Procter & Gamble’s Bounty paper towel brand this week begins a campaign touting the “clean” benefits of its products that includes a philanthropic, celebrity-backed push to make the nation’s classrooms more presentable.
Walmart is buddying up with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, with a special "Lend a Paw" effort on Facebook. The promotion encourages Facebook users to go to Facebook.com/lendapaw and click on the button, triggering a $1 donation (up to $100,000) from Walmart's pet suppliers. All the proceeds go to help homeless pets, Elysia Howard, VP/marketing and licensing for the ASPCA, tells Marketing Daily. Walmart already sells products from the ASPCA Collection in its stores, from toys and tethers to kennels and carriers.
ESPN's "One Game Changes Everything" platform for promoting its coverage of the FIFA World Cup includes a raft of specials, films on soccer and South Africa, and ads featuring the likes of U2 (featured in a TV spot with lead singer Bono), actor Djimon Hounsou and jazz legend South African Hugh Masekela and his son, an American. John Skipper, EVP at ESPN, said at a press conference in New York on Wednesday that it is the largest promotional campaign behind a single event ESPN has ever done.
Layaway was a big hit with consumers when the economy tanked, and it still is. Kmart, which is part of Sears Holding Corp., has observed that consumers use the option—which lets shoppers gradually pay for items they want to purchase—year round. The shift reflects America's increasing focus on value, as well as careful, planned spending, said Kmart chief marketing officer Mark Snyder. But value isn't the only focus for Kmart. Using digital and social media, the retailer is prompting teens and younger consumers to shop at its stores. Selena Gomez is launching an exclusive line of teen clothing in Kmart in July, and Jones Apparel Group’s GLO jeans and accessories recently hit stores.
At a recent Chictopia meeting, among panels and discussions on fashion, retail, and the growing presence of new media, an interesting topic was raised: how should companies be approaching bloggers to promote their products? The event’s speakers, who ranged from Rebecca Stice (TheClothesHorse) to Michael Tennant (manager of Vice Magazine), had come from different backgrounds but all had experienced a deluge of marketing pitches- sometimes having little or nothing to do with their blog or publication.
Doughnuts, popcorn chicken and foot-long sandwiches are free for the taking, too. Among the chains with giveaway contests and other promotions: Subway, Chick-fil-A Inc., Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Inc. and KFC Corp. Giveaways are an inexpensive way for companies to stretch their marketing dollars during the recession. Contestants also tend to brag about the sport of entering free food contests, something that's easier than ever with social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. That spreads the restaurants' marketing message even further.
While the so-called "Twitter effect" and its impact on a movie's box office remains enigmatic at best for most studios, Lionsgate is hoping its latest social-media marketing milestone will put them one step closer to a solution. Lionsgate will become the first advertiser to sync up its sponsored brand pages on YouTube, Facebook and MySpace under one platform to promote its upcoming comic-book movie "Kick-Ass," out April 16.
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.
One of the most compelling aspects of the location-based service Foursquare is that they are increasingly enticing users to check-in to venues by partnering up to offer special deals to those who do. A person who checks-in at a coffee shop and shows the barista, may get a free coffee, for example. It’s a win-win for both the service and the venue because it gets people using the app more and gets people visiting the venue more. But what if users and venues go around Foursquare and start using Twitter for that?
Imagine crowd-sourcing the entire world before launching a product and not spending one penny for a marketing campaign. You could gain insight from reporters, analysts and consumers about the types of services that would and wouldn't work. The online audience segment you address could become your buyers. You might even determine a fair market price for the product, or gain insight into the continent where the product should launch first. And if the product happened to be a mobile phone, you could even determine the best carrier to bundle services. Even if the phone doesn't exist now, Google has proven that the market is ripe for the company to jump on in. And to think it all started with a blog post and a few Twitter tweets from Google employees.
Nikon is taking a cue from the popularity of Twitter by using the microblogging service as a launchpad for a new promotion. Yesterday, actor Ashton Kutcher kicked off the campaign by tweeting his involvement in the Nikon Film Festival, a user-generated content contest for people to submit "a day through your lens" video for the chance to win $100,000. Kutcher, who has 3.9 million followers on the service, posted a link to his own submission, a short film documenting a day he spent in Africa with his actress-wife Demi Moore.
Sometimes, we overcomplicate things by being worried about the technology part of it. Twitter and Facebook and blogs and mobile apps aren’t all that fancy. They’re just an unknown, and so people are worrying how they’ll do what they know how to do by other means with these new tools. Yes, it takes some new understanding, but at the end of the day, marketing hasn’t changed a lot. Think about the Four P’s of Marketing:
With so many advertising dollars flowing onto blogs, Facebook and Twitter, it is not surprising that the Federal Trade Commission, which is charged with protecting consumers from sneaky advertising, has turned its eye on this new medium. Spending on consumer-generated and social-networking sites reached $1.01 billion in 2008, up 25 percent from 2007, according to PQ Media, a research firm. It is expected to grow about 20 percent this year. Much of this advertising is clearly labeled. But a lot of it is paid advertising masquerading as bona fide endorsements by celebrities, well-known bloggers and even ordinary people — honest comment, free from pecuniary considerations.
True public relations is a fundamental and helpful part of the communications mix. The issue I have with the question is that it usually comes from the marketing side - those people who have been pushing messaging at us in the first place. Raise your hand if you did PR the spammy way; in that case you need to reinvent yourself and your relevance to the business community. For the rest of us - we are and have been on the value side of the conversations for a long time.
It's been said that everyone has a double somewhere in the world. Now Coca-Cola is testing that theory with a new promotion for Coke Zero inviting people to find their own doppleganger via Facebook. The Coke Zero Facial Profiler app on Facebook invites users to upload their photos to a database the beverage giant is compiling to match people's faces using "next gen facial recognition technology." The Profiler effort continues the ongoing campaign theme that no-calorie Coke Zero tastes just like the real thing.
Back in May, Mike Bender and Doug Chernack, a pair of screenwriters in Los Angeles, got together for lunch. Bender told his friend about a trip back home where he noticed a particularly embarrassing old family photo on his dad's desk. "I've got plenty of those in my house," Chernack remembers responding. And so the idea for Awkward Family Photos was born with the mission of "spreading the awkwardness" by collecting those snapshots that make us wince.
Heather Hernandez walked into a supermarket with a stack of coupons last month and walked out with $160 worth of groceries, for which she paid $30. “With the economy right now everyone wants to make their dollars go further,” said Ms. Hernandez, a stay-at-home mother in Houston who clips and files coupons with the meticulousness of an accountant. “I see all kinds of people using coupons. I see teenagers using coupons. I see grandfathers using coupons.” It may be the digital age, but when it comes to pinching pennies, most consumers are opting for a method that is well over a 100 years old: the paper coupon.
You're a contestant on "Top Chef," the top-rated food show on cable. You have a limited time to pick your ingredients in the hopes of outcooking your fellow chefs. The clock is ticking, and the verdict of the judges is looming. Whole Foods Market Inc. to the rescue. That's the story on Wednesday nights, when the show features scenes of the contestants rushing into a Whole Foods and scooping up armloads of produce, picking out fancy cuts of meat or exotic fish, and chatting with store employees. The Austin-based natural food chain has become the official grocer for "Top Chef," Bravo's 6-year-old hit show. And Whole Foods gets plenty of exposure from the show, which draws about 2 million viewers a week. The cost to Whole Foods? Nothing beyond the food the contestants use for their dishes and the inconvenience of having a camera crew shooting inside a store.
What happens when a social media strategy takes off faster than expected? TGI Friday's found out this month when, after just six days of media support, its new marketing character, Woody, achieved a Facebook promotional goal expected to occur over almost 30 days. The momentum swell that initially buoyed the brand online, in fact, threatened to drag it down -- until some quick thinking helped save the day.
We try so hard to build the first circle. This is the circle of followers, friends, subscribers, customers, media outlets and others willing to hear our pitch. This is the group we tell about our new product, our new record, our upcoming big sale. We want more of their attention and more people on the list. Which takes our attention away from the circle that matters, which is the second circle. The second circle are the people who hear about us from the first circle.
JetBlue suspended sales of its unlimited-flight pass Wednesday, saying it had to do so because of strong demand. JetBlue debuted its $599 "All You Can Jet"promotion Aug. 12, a deal that garnered nationwide attention for offering customers all the flights they could take between the airline's 56 cities starting Sept. 8 and ending Oct. 8.
According to a recent eMarketer report, Twitter - so far - isn’t all it’s cracked up to be for the marketing industry. Only 8% of those in the advertising world feel that Twitter is effective for marketing to their audiences - partially because of the lack of knowledge and awareness that the general consumer has around Twitter. Research from LinkedIn showed that while over 80% of advertisers knew Twitter, only 30% of consumers on the Web were familiar with the micro-blogging tool.
I've spent a few columns this week looking at innovative usages of social media by big brands. Along the way, I've noticed many companies fail to fully capitalize on these efforts--they are not promoting their Facebook, Twitter, iPhone apps and other alternative platforms to their loyal customers as much as they could.
The sly marketing folk at Moonfruit have been able to secure Twitter's number 1 trending topic just by offering 10 free MacBook Pros as prizes over the next 10 days, the prize being selected at random from all tweets containing #moonfruit.
U.K. furniture retailer Habitat has sparked consumer backlash and negative publicity for using the unrest in Iran to drive Twitterers to its website. Keywords -- called hashtags -- such as "Iran" and "Mousavi" were added to Habitat's Twitter messages so that people using those search terms would be driven to view the retailer's online offers. One of the inappropriate tweets read, "HabitatUK: #MOUSAVI Join the database for free to win a £1000 gift card."
While supermarkets have been urging customers to think greener by buying local produce for years, in a sign of the times, Safeway says it is launching a new initiative that also promotes locally grown produce as a way to boost California's sputtering economy. What's more, in order to do so, the Pleasanton, Calif.-based grocery giant is taking a swipe at fast-growing farmer's markets.
There has been a flurry of giveaway promotions put on by franchised brands recently. We’ve all heard about national chain efforts, such as Denny’s Grand Slam Giveaway, the Quiznos Million Sub Giveaway, UnFry Day, KFC’s grilled chicken giveaway, and National Doughnut Day promotions put on by both Krispy Kreme and Dunkin’ Donuts. But, smaller chains also have gotten into the act, giving away among other things, free pretzels, free ice cream and free tacos. Some campaigns have been more successful than others; though, the definition of success seems to depend on who is asking and who is answering.
Twitter. Facebook. Blogs. Let's face it: It's nearly a full-time job just to keep up with these new media tools, never mind to learn them well. But how can you use them to strengthen your current career or, even better, to build yourself into a brand? Though most experts agree there's no substitute for face-to-face networking, using social media tools can help you become a thought leader in your space and even drive customers to your business.
Sunkist is using everything from break dancing grannies to basketball phenom "Baby Jordan" to show that it is "12 ounces of awesome." The new brand repositioning, which targets trend savvy teens and young adults, broke this week.
When life seems bleak, is the chance to win big money enough to spark hope for a brighter future? I think quite a few food companies are tapping into this idea, because I've gotten a lot of contest notices lately. Dreyer's "Taste of Recovery" contest has some Great Depression history behind it, too.
Adopting a new company name isn’t enough. If an organization is really proud of its new moniker – and it ought to be – then promoting the new identity with all its important constituent publics is a necessity. Here are the steps that a proud company should follow in letting its publics know who exactly it has become:
If today's frugality and shrinking markets are the new normal, are marketers ready for it?
One of the best ways to grow your blog, is to leave it. What I mean by this is leaving comments on other blogs is a great way to create value for others, and ultimately grow awareness for your own blogging efforts. But not all blog comments are created equal, and here's some of the tips I've learned over the years for writing great blog comments:
Ford, a longtime sponsor of Fox's "American Idol," wants to get tushes in the cushes -- not just to watch the show but also to drive a Ford Fusion or Fusion Hybrid. The company, which has had a major presence on "Idol" since launching the Ford Focus back in the early years of the century, is dangling the show's finale as a carrot to get people to showrooms.
Reaching consumers is both easier and more complex as outreach options proliferate. With the growth of cable and satellite, TV channel availability has more than tripled since 1990. And while traditional vehicles are still vital, more immediate and ubiquitous media are taking a hold. Online and mobile video viewing is exploding and time-shifted TV is growing. Market-leading retailers are learning to embrace new media technologies, incorporating them into the promotional arsenal even as paper coupons enjoy a resurgence of interest.
Unilever is taking a seat at the table with Time Inc.’s “Dinner Tonight.” The food giant will advertise seven of its brands across the publisher’s popular franchise which runs monthly in Cooking Light and daily at MyRecipes.com. The strategy is indicative of Unilever’s new approach in dealing with media partners. Like many in the packaged goods arena, Unilever has been challenging key publishing partners to take campaigns beyond their magazines.
Chains are resorting to giveaways or less-than-$1 menu items. And they're getting smarter about engineering lower-priced but still-profitable items, though some say the cheaper food tastes that way.
To promote the first full-length theatrical film launched under its year-old Disneynature documentary label, the Walt Disney company is offering to plant a tree for every U.S. ticket it sells during the movie’s first week of release.
What do Toby Keith, the Professional Bull Riders Association and Monster Jam have in common? Fans and trucks. Ford has made reaching those fans central to marketing its F-150 pickup for years. Whether by giving fans a chance to be roadies for a Toby Keith concert for a weekend or win tickets to a bull-riding show, the company has activated its associations with those events, and similar ones in complementary categories with promotions dangling new trucks and experiences.
The "Bank of Opportunity" is giving its customers yet another opportunity to save money during the recession. Bank of America on Tuesday officially introduced Add It Up, a program that offers its online customers cash back when purchasing from over 270 Web retailers.
FedEx Office (formerly known as Kinko's) is extending a helping hand to job seekers today: free resume printing. Customers can print up to 25 black-and-white copies of their resume at any of the company's 1,600+ stores across the United States.
To provide relief at the meat case during these challenging economic times, Cargill is teaming with grocery retailers to meet consumer need and demand for value with a new promotional program focused on budget-friendly, ground beef family meal solutions.
During a Q&A session following a speaking engagement in Chicago on Wednesday, I was asked for my opinion of Denny's Grand Slam Giveaway Super Bowl promotional spot by an executive in the audience. "Do you think it was a success?" he asked with a hint of skepticism in his voice. "I really don't know," I replied. "I have no idea what 'success' means to Denny's. I hope it means a sustained increased in profitable sales that exceeds the $5 million cost of the promotion." I went on to express my doubts that a one-off sales promotion with no follow-on behavioral incentives or cues would have that effect.
Watch out for texting mannequins later this week at Grand Central Station. n a bid to show off its stylish side in the run-up to Fashion Week, Sony will position well-outfitted "live mannequins" on New York streets accessorized by its sleek, colorful and tiny Vaio P-series computer.