The peanut butter recall is expanding, and now includes some Clif bars, General Mills products, Kellogg cookies, Keebler crackers, and a swath of private label products. Little Debbie voluntarily recalled its peanut butter crackers, just in case. A bunch of brand names have vociferously declared that their products are "safe," have no connection to the culprit factory, or simply haven't been named in the recall. Are you reassured?
How many times have you been in a meeting and someone says to you, “That’s a great idea, you should take the initiative and make it a reality.” What typically happens?
Kevin Slavin has been thinking about the intersection of games and daily life for nearly a decade. As the managing director of Area/Code, he's worked with Frank Lantz to integrate gameplay into the fabric of reality using a technique they call "big games." In the following interview, Slavin discusses the thinning boundary between the game world and the real world.
Today’s playlist is about toys that inspire learning, innovation — and of course fun! These are the toys of the technological age: they are alive, they think, they perform magic. What were your favorite toys as a kid (or an adult), and what did they inspire in you?
Allstate Insurance is running a campaign in which the threats of trees falling on cars, teens nicking car bumpers, and pets trashing upholstery are portrayed by a character named "Mayhem." I think it's scary good advertising. The actor, Dean Winters, is wonderfully smarmy. He was hilariously memorable as Tina Fey's self-adoring idiot ex-boyfriend on "30 Rock," and in these spots he cheerfully promises mayhem on dark roads and in crowded parking lots. He's perfect because he's sinister in the same way that stripes threaten to clash with plaid. I get the point but I'm not scared. Which is why the critics' complaints that the spots resort to fear mongering are plain wrong. Mayhem's mischief is an expression of reality; fate (or chance) is capricious, and that's why there's such a thing as insurance in the first place. So these ads manage to tell the truth, which is 1) an immense accomplishment for the category, and 2) directionally illustrative of what other advertisers should do.
Procter & Gamble's Pantene is making a comeback with a new campaign from Grey that suggests consumers "Put it to the test." The beauty brand, which now offers products customized by hair type, named the winner of its first "Reality Hair Star Contest" with a live TV ad broadcast Tuesday on NBC's season finale of The Biggest Loser: Couples.
Today, much of the marketing world has embraced the spirit of the digital age, and perhaps the strongest evidence is that it's doing a lot of work that's not so, well, "digital." The best companies have harnessed the digital mindset and taken the shareable, ongoing, interactive, participatory nature of digital and created brand experiences that matter to people where they ought to -- in their real, everyday lives.
In the world of automotive quality, consumer perception may lag reality, sometimes by years, but it also trumps reality when it comes to determining things like resale value. Ford's resale value is up, and the latest Automotive Lease Guide (ALG) study of consumer attitude suggests public opinion is driving the change. Jim Farley, Ford's head of marketing, was on the horn this morning to talk about how Ford now tops the industry in how much it has improved in ALG's Automotive Consumer Attitude Survey. The study measures a brand's Perceived Quality Score (PQS) relative to the industry. Ford and Ford trucks are in first and third place, with Kia in the middle and Hyundai at number four.
We're treating social media like Fantasy Football, Baseball etc. Except even those feel more like the real thing. Here are some social media fantasies vs. what I believe are the realities. Fantasy: Social media shouldn't live in a silo, so we are adding these responsibilities to your existing job. Reality: Day jobs will always win and moonlighting only makes you tired. Fantasy: Let's use latest social platform X Reality: They don't actually use latest social platform X, but they've read about it on a blog.
A lot of people are excited about social media and think it could have a hugely positive impact on their brand, their marketing and communications, the insight they get, the way in which they deal with customer service and many other benefits it can bring to an organisation and to the way it interacts with and engages customers. They are right to be excited, the opportunities are great but brands should not hide from the fact that getting an engaging social media presence takes proper thought, some effort and may take time to embed.
Toyota has announced three major recalls covering a total of eight million vehicles globally since October 2009. The recalls are for defects that have been associated with 52 fatalities and 38 injuries so far. Not surprisingly, the business media and notable Toyota experts are starkly pessimistic. We looked at 108 Wall Street Journal articles discussing Toyota during February, 2010, and found that 106 were negative to Toyota. In a recent column by Dennis Seid, Jeffrey Liker, an economist and author of The Toyota Way observed that the hearings and the resultant lawsuits could severely damage the company in many ways.
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.
Today, as the globe struggles with an historic economic decline, it's time for a new revolution. I'd like to advance a hypothesis: Today's great competitive challenge isn't going from Good to Great. For people, companies, and countries, it's going from great to good.
Most of the marketing rules we lived by just five years ago are practically obsolete. The industry has faced more changes in the last five years than in the previous 50. Let's face it, there's no point in improving broken legacy models. Since necessity is the mother of invention, let's not waste this recession and instead use it to rethink how we go about branding in this new decade.
"We do have a conscious say in selecting the narrative we will use to make sense of the world," writes New York Times columnist David Brooks. "Individual responsibility is contained in the act of selecting and constantly revising the master narrative we tell about ourselves." Brooks' explanation about choice of narrative can apply to leaders seeking ways to navigate our recession. The relentless tide of bad news may tempt those in charge to adopt a pessimistic view point, but leaders owe it to their followers to spread optimism. Without excluding reality, leaders need to inspire not simply hope, but also resilience. Storytelling can help in this effort. Here are some suggestions for crafting your own story to make sense of adversity.
The action figures for James Cameron’s “Avatar” started appearing in stores last month. The movie won’t be out until December, but the toys have their own multimedia selling point: an “augmented reality” feature. This phrase has become one of the pervasive buzz concepts of 2009, and as is often true in such cases, it seems to describe a variety of manifestations from the practical to the pointless to the pie in the sky. Very broadly, augmented reality can be thought of as an inversion of the venerable “virtual reality” buzz concept. Instead of plunging us into a completely digital environment, augmented reality means placing digital things into the regular old world. Those things might be bits of information or renderings of imaginary objects. And they, of course, aren’t really in the real world at all — they just appear to be there if you filter your gaze through the proper screen.
Balloon Boy, Kanye West and Lady Gaga Walk into a bar. Bartender says, "Hey, wait a second -- how old is that kid? You can't bring a kid in here!" Lady Gaga says nothing and just tries to keep a poker face, but you can tell she's pissed that the kid is getting all the attention. Kanye West says, "Yo Bartender, Imma let you finish, but ..." -- but then the bartender, fumbling with his cellphone, says, "Actually, hold that thought, I've gotta get a TwitPic of this!" First, though, he starts to tweet "Balloon Boy, Kanye West and La" -- but before he can finish, I grab the phone out of his hands and smash it to the ground while screaming, "Stop it!! For the love of God, just STOP IT!!" On Monday, I published a column about how the rapid dissemination of misinformation through Twitter and other real-time social media is increasingly causing a "general derangement of reality" that's "becoming more and more endemic to the way we consume information and communicate -- and think -- now." And that that social-media-enabled nonsense filtered back "through the prism of the worst of the old media -- particularly cable news channels and talk radio" -- is making us all a little bit nuts.
With apologies to Andy Samberg of “Saturday Night Live,” JWT never thought it would be on a boat. But a client, Royal Caribbean, looking to add a sense of urgency to its advertising, decided to take a team of six JWT employees on three weeklong cruises this summer. The employees, who call themselves JWT@Sea, are creating a series of quick-turnaround TV commercials that show couch potatoes the fun they are missing as it happens. “Our challenge is to make people feel and understand that it is O.K. to take that weekend vacation,” said Michael Stoopak, business director of JWT N.Y. (or, as he prefers, president of JWT@Sea).
Have you been following the branding imagery coming from Louis Vuitton lately? There's a pretty severe "aspirational traveler" thing going on, first with print ads featuring folks like Keith Richards, Sean Connery, and Mikhail Gorbachev on the road, seated next to their Vuitton bags, and now a shot of former astronauts staring into space (and lots of videos extending the images into purposeless movies on the company web site).