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Archive for the ‘trends’ Category

We feel fine

In trends on December 6, 2008 at 7:35 am

I’ve sat around this morning playing with, pondering, thinking about wefeelfine, an interesting new web site. What makes it so special? Well…nothing…and everything of course.

Like much of the web, I’m sure there is some usefullness embedded in there somewhere. Like an international geopolitical minute by minute poll of our collective feelings. Perhaps at some point one could track future births by backtracking to the feelings of amorousness on a given day nine months prior. Or they could redirect counseling call centers to accept more distressed calls from New Mexico because they are feeling down.

In the meanwhile, it serves a a personal broadcasting and twitter like forum except they are just random comments, from random people about their feelings, all culled from the Internet rather than posted. By taking the comments out of context it feels like a poetic synapse firing away in the dark.

I feel…like it’s pretty cool.

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.

Can you have a brand resurgence while a business is in decline?

In Brands, communications, Consumers, marketing, strategy, trends on October 28, 2008 at 3:03 pm


Originally uploaded by distillerymedia

I bemoaned the passing of Polaroid’s Instant Film a few months back which will cease making it’s namesake product shortly.  I was further saddened when, at a party I hosted a few weeks ago, I pulled out my camera to realize that some of my film had started to turn bad. I felt like it was the end of an era.

The economic model never really made sense (over a buck a photo) in the digital age and of course they were an environmental disaster…but so much fun. And the people having their picture taken always seem to have more fun.

SwissMiss cheered me up today by posting POLADROID. A free app that lets you recreate your favorite images as if they were taken on the spur of the moment, with money to burn and free of life’s cares. Personally, I think all photos should look like that.

As for Polaroid, I hope someone can buy the license and figure out how to bring prices down while keeping the technology around so the brand may continue in its current form.

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.

Trends Cause Trends

In trends on June 11, 2008 at 10:40 am

roadtrip feet

Originally uploaded by heathre

I’m not a big fan of futurists and trendspotters. I’ve listened to them, read them, even set out to hire one or two. The rub is that they tend to be great at spotting things early (at best), or telling me what I already know to be true (at worst). Few seem to be able to contribute to the next phase of the discussion which begins with “so what” and ends with “and how.”

For instance, gas prices are rising. YES. This will disrupt holidays, vacations, the great American road trip. YES. But what about the 10 year view? What will take their place and what will happen as a result?

Here are some things that I’m thinking about.

Kids in sports. The SoccerMom and MiniVan dad are going to have to question the return on investment of going to all of those games and running back and forth to practices. There will be other trade-offs made first. Mom & Dad may forgo date night. Dad won’t get a new pair of shoes even though he could really use them. The kids will come first in these occasions. But…over time I predict that the extracirculars that have become part of the over-scheduled generation will be cut back. This will lead to more family time and also more independent time for kids.

I’m also thinking about the weakness of the dollar (which yes, is a major component of rising gasoline prices). As folks start to cut back on pleasure travel what effect will this have on how Americans view the global community in which we all live. When study abroads are questioned, when people don’t venture out of the country because airlines have raised prices and don’t go on roadtrips because gas is too high, how do you learn about cultures that aren’t familiar? On the web people tend to seek out opinions that mimic and reinforce their own. Television is no better window to the world since most of the world appears through the cable box to be either hungry and poor or power hungry (neither of which aren’t true). And yes, more people from other countries will come to the states because it is more affordable but it doesn’t have the same effect to meet someone from another place as it is to be a stranger in their place. So the question becomes: do rising gasoline prices and a weak dollar actually weaken our understanding of the world and reinforce the isolationism that may have caused a couple wars to begin with?

Would You Like Some Abstinence Pants with Your Chastity Belt?

In Branding, Consumers, strategy, trends, Uncategorized on June 2, 2008 at 4:03 pm


Originally uploaded by distillerymedia

Never one to miss a chance to cash into a trend late, K-Mart has launched its teen-oriented Abstinence Pants. Unlike traditional methods of padlocks and attack hamsters, K-Mart has opted to write messages on teenagers behinds in really small font so you have to look really closely. No word yet as to whether they will come packaged with En Vouge’s 90’s hit single, “Never Gonna Get It.”

Automotive Monogamy

In Consumers, trends on May 29, 2008 at 11:10 am

As a firm believer in the anti-trend and a photography lover, I’m drawn to the photographic project of aptly named Matteo Ferrari. In an age when consumer goods are often renewed as frequently as the sweater box is brought out from under the bed, it’s great to see the faces of those drivers who have stuck with their car over the years. What other product categories have fostered such loyalty and become such a definitive and emotional part of the users identity?  Watches, jewelry, furniture perhaps…but the list isn’t long.

hat tip to new favorite CupOfJoe

One Laptop Per Child – V2

In strategy, trends, Uncategorized on May 23, 2008 at 10:33 am

Beautiful new prototype for the OLPC XO-2 was released recently. Designed by Yves Behar, it gets my heart all aflutter with its dual touch screens, vertical, horizontal or dual user options. I fantasize about it being a super cool little notebook, Kindle and PSP all in one. I know, I know, it’s for the kids but…I want one anyway. Buy one, give one to return shortly as well.

hat tip to Contagious and LapTopMag

Because Sometimes You Need a Drink

In Branding, Brands, communications, Consumers, marketing, strategy, trends, Uncategorized on May 22, 2008 at 7:59 am


Originally uploaded by distillerymedia

Growing up in Ohio I remember how the first day of hunting season would clear out a classroom. All the same kids who complained about an 8am school bell were suddenly out in the woods at 5am. I, predictably, would be in class.

Well, my guess is that those same schoolmates are sending out a rousing ‘hell yeah’ in response to Miller’s decision to issue camo-cans this year. You think it is a little extreme? Hunters have been known to cover their bodies in imitation deer piss so as not to be given away by their scent. That’s a little extreme. This makes total sense.

hat tip to adfreak and plaid

What If Hillary is Pushing A Third Party?

In trends, Uncategorized on May 20, 2008 at 4:47 pm

Hillary Clinton 1

Originally uploaded by Angela Radulescu

I recognize the absurdity of this question on the surface. The Clintons built the modern democratic party, right? Why would they turn against it? Well, they may if they truly see that as their chance to win. They feel alienated by Howard Dean and rue the day they installed him at the DNC. They feel as though they still have the best credentials in a general election and the ability to connect with women, blue collar voters and moderates. This still may be a long shot but it might explain why they are still in the race taking advantage of the press coverage and trying to build momentum. One would have thought it crazy for Joe Liberman to go it alone as well after the party turned on him just years after being its candidate for Vice President.