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Archive for the ‘advertising’ Category

Nike ID: Touch to colour

In advertising, Branding, Brands, denim, innovation on January 7, 2009 at 1:41 pm

Originally uploaded by distillerymedia

Shop windows always feel a bit like wasted space. Headless manequins in static poses as if frozen in fashion future. They neither say come in nor walk by but stand more simply as pronouncements of their anotomically incorrect selves. Now, window dressers have a difficult business for sure. A few like Simon Doonan are considered minor rock (sock) stars, but most are arrangers trying to simulantiously support the brand and its message while also driving traffic through the doors of the store.

That’s all to explain why I like these Nike windows. Not only do they support the idea of customization and uniqueness when everything is starting to look very safe and bland, but they actually encourage interaction. By touching the store window you can change the color combinations of the products, in effect test driving before you buy. I liked it online but I really love it as a window concept.

Sprint, Stop, Sprint

In advertising, Brands, communications, marketing, strategy on November 17, 2008 at 4:37 pm

Nothing makes me sadder than seeing clients throw their money away, even if they aren’t my clients. In particular I’m struggling with the new Sprint commericals that have been innundateing me lately. The spots are beautiful in black and white, have some nice emotional background music and CEO Dan Hesse talking to the camera — that said, they seem completely off strategy.

Let’s start with Dan Hesse.  There are traditionally two occassions when CEO’s become spokesmen.  Firstly, when the company is in dire financial straights or have just wronged their consumer (see United and Jet Blue), the second one is when the CEO is an icon which arguably adds value to the campaign (Paul Newman, Bill Gates, Lee Iacocca). I think this may be a case of finanical difficulties trumping common sense.

Secondly, most of them don’t actually say anything that is differentiated. This is a problem beyond advertising for Sprint, but if you are going to interrupt people and ask them to pay attention to you, please have something to say or at least some entertainment to offer. These spots do neither.

Part of the problem lies at the feet of the business of course. Sprint was depositioned in terms of coverage by Verizon and at&t, they lost out on the iPhone to at&t, The Gphone to T-Mobile, they have lost their hold on push-to-talk to Verizon and then their all inclusive plan was quickly countered by everyone else on the market.

At the end of the day, Sprint is in some trouble. I’d take some of that advertising budget and put it into innovation/research in order to find a differentiating proposition for the brand, rather than simply rolling out Dan Hesse.  He must have better things to do with his time.

Budget Advertising:

In advertising, communications on November 14, 2008 at 12:22 pm

Budget advertising can be problematic. When done poorly it can denegrate a brand and confuse consumers. Take this ad for, a computer optimizing software. At the end of the day it may be a failed concept, but it certainly isn’t going to help that the product only works on PCs and yet they show an Apple computer twice in the spot (three times if you count the keyboard). I realize that I may be slightly more saavy than the audience here, but showing an iBook going blue screen certainly isn’t the way to build up credibility as knowing anything about computers or how to make them work better

I feel the same way I do when I read a menu that mangles English…thinking that maybe if they would have taken 10 minutes and shown it to someone who knew what they were doing that they could have saved a lot of money.

Viagra simplifies its positioning

In advertising, Branding, Brands, communications, Consumers, marketing, strategy, trends on November 11, 2008 at 3:39 pm

Since Cialis entered into the market a few years back, Viagra has been searching for a new positioning. As Cialis started to talk about the mood using their “when the time is right” emotional language, Viagra started pushing masculinity and trotting out older celebrities to reinforce its credibility. As Cialis started being more about the relationship, Viagra became more about the man.

In the last month they seem to have tweaked their positioning again, this time more clearly marketing themselves as a solution to the mid-life crisis. While this positioning has always been available to them they seem to have avoided it in the past as either being too trite or narrowly defining. Indeed, in looking at the executions they seem to be rather obvious in taking the the traditional trappings of the midlife crisis and putting them in Viagra wrapper. The television spot that best sums up their new positioning is the recent execution when the guys shows up on a motorcycle to surprise his wife, although it is equally apparent in this spot when he gets the garage band back together.

When Brands Attack – Modern Marketing Trends

In advertising, Brands, communications, marketing, strategy, trends on October 27, 2008 at 5:50 pm

The economy is in the crapper, pocketbooks are tight, there are way too many brands in the world all competing for less money. The old terms like share-of-wallet only worked when the wallets were open and there was money in them ready to be sent out in the world to satiate our needs, wants and desires…if only temporarily.

As outlays shrink, brands HAVE to get more aggressive with their marketing to even maintain share. For that to happen, it helps if brands have been thinking about this all along.

In comfortable times, brands should still be managing their equities, building their customer base, creating loyalty and solidifying differentiation. This is all what really defines something as a brand. But as a great Warren Buffet quote goes, it is “in the times of low tide that you find out who has been swimming naked.” (Or something to that effect.)

The brands that are successfully playing offense are doing so on product differentiation. To simply scream louder and behave as a schoolyard bully will not win you points in this market. Playing the trump card that you have been holding will.

Apple is aggressively going after Microsoft by not just using product differentiation but now using Microsoft’s own advertising against them. Clever, witty, truthful and Apple has built up the equity and credibility over the last few years to play some hardball.

Progresso is going on the offense against Campbell’s with full page ads noting that they have no MSG, whereas Campbell’s does. Taking one product advantage, leveraging it and making it matter. This is how brands play offense. Campbell’s retort that Progresso tastes watery by comparison is subjective and sounds less authentic. Ironically, General Mills owned Progresso likely only removed MSG from their soups after previously being attached by Campbell’s sub-brand.

Dunkin Donuts is going after Starbucks with a taste test campaign touting its better tasting coffee. In this case the claim works better since the perception is that Dunkin Donuts is also cheaper. Whereby cheaper and better tasting always sounds better. Dunkin is also still perceived as an underdog which generally get more traction out of aggressive marketing.

Bottom line: when times are tough and money is tight you have to have clear product differentiation supported by a strong brand. Consumers aren’t going to take a lot of risks with their limited resources and therefore want to be more confident and have a clearer rationale for purchase.

Why yes, Scottrade, I am crazy!

In advertising, Brands, communications, marketing, strategy on September 29, 2008 at 11:34 am

Picture 9

Originally uploaded by distillerymedia

Digital ads are the wave of the future and here to stay. But there are still problems with placement and the ability to actively manage them when they are completely out of touch with what it happening with active content.

As an example, I’ve attached a link to a Scottrade ad that asks if I’m feeling great about the market.  The market is down 600. The answer is not so much.

Who Cares That They Have Seinfeld…The Story is Gates.

In advertising, Brands, communications, Consumers, marketing, strategy on September 8, 2008 at 2:34 pm

The Interweb is abuzz about the new Jerry Seinfeld Microsoft ads.  Crispin has been working on these for awhile and there was much talk about how odd of a choice Jerry Seinfeld was and how it simply showed that they were are out touch as a company. Having worked with them for a couple of years I’ll say that to criticize Jerry Seinfeld is missing the point entirely.

The spots to date aren’t about Seinfeld, they are about Gates.  To me they are working to humanize Gates, Microsoft and deflect the goliath label they have been afixed with. All while pointing out that the future may well be created by those who have brought us here to date.  Yes Google has done some amazing stuff in a short period of time, but if we look at what Microsoft has pioneered it’s pretty incredible.

Badvertising: Ortega, Fire Your Son and Hire an Agency

In advertising, Brands, communications, marketing on September 3, 2008 at 2:49 pm

Taking the World in Stride

In advertising, Consumers, marketing, strategy on June 25, 2008 at 2:57 pm

Still looking at the backstory for all of this between client meetings and calls but… this is fun! Looks like Stride Gum underwrote a 39 country trip in exchange for some fun viral video and solid street cred. We’ll be seeing more of this type of unproduced work in the future as budgets are axed and clients look for ways to cut through the clutter. Frankly, I’m not even going to try to hide my jealousy, I want some of that action!

hat tip: laughingsquid

WaMu: Please Fire Your Copywriters

In advertising, Branding, Brands, communications, Consumers, marketing, strategy on June 14, 2008 at 7:49 am


Originally uploaded by distillerymedia

Dear WaMu,

There are a few issues with rebranding that I’d like to bring to your attention. First of all, there is little that you can do to distract people from the fact that your stock and business are in the toilet. In these situations most companies take the predictable approach of working to reaffirm their commitment to their consumers and to regenerate trust. You, dear WaMu, have decided to go in a different direction.

You’ve tried to brand what you are calling a “Whoo hoo!” moment. What they heck is a “Whoo hoo!” moment?! It continues to make me believe that you are opening a line of red-light massage parlors and yet, it seems as though they are just banks.

I get the fact that you are a nicer bank. One that historically has given really big loans to people that didn’t necessarily deserve them. That was really nice of you even though it doesn’t seem to have worked out so well. And even if that isn’t quite what you were getting at here, you have to remember that you are a freakin’ bank! Unless your ATMs add zeros to my account you probably aren’t going to elicit a Whoo hoo from me.

This strikes me as the result of a bad focus group laddering exercise where someone says they want a bank that makes them feel happy. The moderator asks, ‘what does happy feel like?’ and they say ‘joy.’ The moderator probes, ‘what does joy feel like?’ Eventually someone says “Whoo hoo!” and WaMu starts printing posters.

And don’t even get me started on the stupidity of spending money to put arrows right outside the bank. It’s as if you’ve discovered a segment of mouth breathers who only stare straight at the ground when they walk and didn’t notice that they were right next to a WaMu. If this is how spend your own money in a crisis I’m not sure it’s the safest place for my money.