Saturday, September 06, 2008

Wealthy Folks want to save too

Click on the charts to make them BIGGER:

Even Wealthy Cut Spending as Inflation, Housing Concerns Intensify

Consumers in all income segments are cutting back spending, and doing so to a greater extent recently than at the beginning of the second quarter, according to a comScore study examining changes in consumer attitudes and perceptions about the US economy (via Retailer Daily).

Spending cutbacks are being reported by a greater percentage of people in the lower income brackets: In July, 86% of those with household income under $50K per year said they have cut back spending, compared with 84% who said so in April.


However, concern is also catching up with the highest-income bracket - which showed the greatest increase in cutback from April to July: 72% of those with HH income of $100K or more said they are cutting back - up six percentage points from April.

“Even those consumers with the highest income are increasingly feeling the negative impact of economic factors and are changing their buying behavior accordingly,” said comScore Chairman Gian Fulgoni.

Inflation & Real Estate/Home Values

Inflation remains the top economic concern for most Americans - but especially so among middle- and lower-income households: The percentage of respondents indicating that inflation was their biggest concern increased by 5 points to 67% among households earning between $50,000 and $99,999 and to 70% among households earning less than $50,000 per year.


While the percentage of households earning $100,000 or more who indicated that inflation was their biggest concern actually declined 11 points during the same time period, it appears that their inflation concerns have been displaced to some degree by increasing concerns about real estate and home values, which more than doubled from April to July.

“[I]t’s particularly troubling that the upper-income segment, which represents fully 30% of all consumer spending, is now also showing a rapidly increasing concern about the downturned housing market,” said Fulgoni. “This raises the specter that this important group will further cut back their discretionary spending and cause overall consumer spending growth rates to slow even further.”

Internet Helpful in Finding Pricing Info

With consumers increasingly cost-conscious, many are turning to the internet for pricing information: Nearly three out of four consumers agreed that the internet has made it “a lot easier” or “somewhat easier” to find better, more useful pricing information.


Also, 75% of respondents agreed that the internet would become an even more important channel for pricing information in the future: 41%, “a lot more important”; 34%, “somewhat more important.”


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Grease under HER nails?

It's not just the male gender that' s fixing stuff:

Tools to Tap the Female DIY Market

You would have to be living under a rock not to recognize the DIY acronym: Do It Yourself. It's all over the home improvement sites like Home Depot, Lowes, and whatever local store advertises in your hometown. And the net isn't being shy about it, either. Search Google for information on DIY and you get 194,000,000 hits!

Back in the day, most do-it-yourself people were male. In my day, growing up in the fun Fonzi days of the 1950s, '60s, and '70s, we gals wouldn't be caught dead with a hammer in our hand. Most of us opted for aprons and Tupperware. Our dads and brothers and uncles handled the garage, the basement, and anything that required a drill or a mitre saw.

Those days are long gone. The rise of the Internet, and the decision to put off marriage and children, created an environment for women to become homeowners – and, by virtue of that accomplishment, to take up the challenge of DIY home improvements. Today, women of all ages are stepping up, wielding hammers, mitre saws, 2X4s, and more, with the eager expectation they once used for mixing bowls, cake batter, and pot roast. These are not the daughters of the women born in the baby boomer years – these are the baby boomer women, and their daughters, and their best friends. Somewhere in the 90s, women got the bug. We realized that home improvement was a lot like baking a cake. If you had the right ingredients, and you had the know-how, you could create masterpieces.

Understanding why women participate in DIY projects today can be an education in interactive marketing. After all, DIY projects are interactive, on-going, and sometimes a bit addictive. Over at, writer Margareth Montenegro writes, "With the help of home improvement shows featuring women carpenters and designers, women become informed about the type of tools needed for specific home improvement projects and how to use them."

The Tomboy Tools gals have a site designed to cater to the DIY woman, complete with home Tool Parties! I'm not sure they had to go so over the top with the pink tools, but these women are front and center in this space, and they could be your ticket to meeting high-energy women in need of ... whatever it is you sell!

At Today's Modern Woman, the forum thread flows freely, with questions about "washing superglue from your fingers," or "improving the insulation of lath and plaster clad exterior walls"! These are women asking questions of other women, and getting the right answers!

What does it mean for your interactive marketing campaigns aimed at your female customers? It means opportunity. It means tapping into today's woman's need to be independent and self-sufficient. It means being creative – sponsoring an event that invites women to learn how to reface their kitchen cupboards, and oh-by-the-way, maybe you'd like to consider some plants and flowers for your new room (if you're a florist). It means being at the next home-improvement show, even if you sell insurance! Hey, doesn't she need insurance, if she's going to be playing around with saws and hammers and that stuff? (NOTE: I am NOT one of those DIY gals; I still call it "stuff" ... but, I hang around a number of DIY gals, so ... don't dismiss me; I have influence.)

DIY is an activity much like gardening, to some women. There is a high level of accomplishment when you're done. You have a masterpiece to show off and admire; a work of art, perhaps. One that will last for decades. Unlike those cakes and casseroles of yesteryear that were gone in less time than it took to cook them.

Your job is to tap into that excitement – find a way to engage these women and discover what makes them tick. All of the reasons they accept the challenge of a kitchen or bath remodel, or of doing their own landscaping, may be reasons for them to buy your products or services.

As I look around my office, which was recently redesigned, btw, I see my computer monitor and my PC. Do you sell electronic equipment? Think you can sell me an update by approaching my inner electronic whiz? Think you can sell acknowledging that I'm smart enough to understand geek talk? Or, help me understand geek talk by hosting a coffee klatch with my friends, so we can all learn how to take better care of our electronic equipment? With all the home businesses today, any company able to build an interactive relationship with the woman at the top is sure to be a winner.

It doesn't matter what you're marketing. Get interactive with your female customers by acknowledging their inner need to wield their own tools. We're movers and shakers – we ladies of the 21st century. Shake us up. Move us to action. Get in the game. If you're lurking around, wondering how to do this – you're in danger of dropping the hammer on your foot. Understand that in a DIY world, you must look us in the eye, never ask where our husband is, and respect the pink in our world, but don't confuse it with softness. Pink drills make big holes, pink hammers wield power, pink tool belts just might hold the keys to your success.

As Harriet Beecher Stowe once said, "Women are the real architects of society." Join us. We like company.

(, 8/22/08)

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Website Revenue

The internet is a tool. Repeat after me, "The internet is a tool."

The internet is not a savior of any old media.

The internet is not a get rich plan.

This is from the THINKing Blog:

Newspapers’ Online Revenues Now Declining

Posted: 05 Sep 2008 10:21 AM CDT

In our last post, we talked about newspapers’ decline. Today, the industry moved into ICU. Despite recent economic challenges, online ad revenues have remained fairly stable. According to TechCrunch, online ad revenues are now in the toilet, too,

Total print ads in the U.S. were down 16 percent in the second quarter to $8.8 billion. That makes nine consecutive quarters…Don’t look to online ad sales to save the industry. Online ads came to only $777 million in the second quarter, which was down 2.4 percent from the year before. That’s marks the first decline ever in digital revenues.

In other media news:

Update: MSNBC reports that Us Magazine is losing subscribers because of a negative feature on Sarah Palin.

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Title Sponsorship

When I first read this story, I thought of a couple of a couple of Sports stadiums that sold out to corporate sponsors. At least, that was my initial thinking when the Hoosier Dome became the R.C.A. Dome. Now the home of the Indianapolis Colts is the brand new Lucas Oil Stadium.

Then I thought about how we sell sponsorships in radio, and it is a good thing, a way to get your name mentioned a lot to reinforce your brand.

Here's an example that came in my email:

WFAN partners with McDonald's for football feature
Why settle for commercial spots when you can own an entire feature withmass-appeal toa station's most loyal fans? McDonald's figures to benefit from intense interest in a contest being run byCBS Radio's WFAN-AM New York called "McDonald's Monday Morning Quarterback." New York football fans will be encouraged to call in to the Boomer and Carton Show on Monday mornings during the NFL season with their commentary on either Giants or Jets games. The winning fan wins a Slingbox Pro (a secondary promotional avenue offered by the program) McDonald's gets their not only gets its name before the fans, but on the station's schedule as well, and WFAN gets a long-term client.

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And Now a Word From Harvey

The last several days I have been featuring a series of articles from Chuck McKay on how to survive a recession. Today I have some thought's from another man with a similar last name:

Harvey Mackay's Column This Week

Bouncing back from deflating times

Failure is all too common in business. Anyone who has ever run a business wakes up regularly with nightmares about the what-ifs.

Successful businesspeople, however, know that even if adversity strikes, they can work around it. They are resilient.

In the mid-1990s, Microsoft was dominating its market and Apple Computer's sales were sagging. Steven Jobs, who had co-founded Apple in 1976, left in 1985 after a power struggle with the board of directors. Apple struggled too, until Jobs returned as CEO in 1997. He recognized the big problem and fixed it by establishing a spirit of innovation at the company. If brands like iMac, iPod, iTunes and iPhone ring a bell, you'll know what Jobs has been up to at Apple. And you will see one of the best examples of resiliency in recent years.

Tylenol currently controls about 35 percent of the North American pain reliever market. But in 1982, you couldn't give Tylenol away. A psychopath put cyanide into some Tylenol capsules, causing eight deaths. Although it was clear that Johnson & Johnson had done nothing wrong in the manufacturing of the pills, the company accepted responsibility and pulled more than 31 million bottles from the shelves at a cost of $100 million. The company also offered to exchange the capsules for tablets, taking another financial hit.

But their response, putting customer safety before corporate profit, helped restore confidence in both the company and the brand. Then-CEO Jim Burke said, "It will take time, it will take money, and it will be very difficult; but we consider it a moral imperative, as well as good business, to restore Tylenol to its pre-eminent position." Sales recovered quickly. Resilient? You better believe it.

Sure, those are two extreme examples. But if those companies can bounce back on such a large scale, they should inspire those facing smaller challenges.

Sales slumps, production slowdowns, labor issues and changing customer preferences affect many businesses. The strong survive not because they are determined to conduct business as usual, but because they find ways to rise above the issue at hand.

Remember, you can't live life with an eraser. You can't anticipate every possible problem, no matter how hard you try. But you can resolve to face challenges as they arise. Keep your mind wide open for solutions, listen to those around and under you, reprogram your brain for success and dig in.

The last decade could have spelled disaster for envelope companies like MackayMitchell Envelope Company. Fax machines, email, instant messaging, online catalogs, online bill paying, the anthrax scare, 9/11, recession—you name it. There was one threat after another. We could have been in the tank 20 times.

But we changed our business focus as necessary, cultivated new business, and managed to survive and thrive. The same work hours may not apply, vacations for our employees were put on hold, wages held in check. It's not forever, but it's survival. We would have had a hard time telling our employees that we weren't resilient enough to provide them with jobs. It wasn't just about us. We had a lot of families depending on our flexibility. And we still do. We are always looking for ways to protect our business against the next threat, even if we haven't identified it yet.

A great oak tree grew on the bank of a stream. For one hundred years it had withstood the winds, but one day a violent storm felled the oak with a mighty crash into the raging river and carried it out toward the sea.

The oak came to rest on a shore where some reeds were growing. The tree wondered how the reeds still stood after the strong winds.

"I have stood up against many storms, but this one was too strong for me," the oak said.

"That's your problem," the reeds replied. "All these years you have stubbornly pitted your strength against the wind. You were too proud to yield a little. We, on the other hand, knowing our weakness, just bend and let the wind blow over us without trying to resist it. The harder the wind blows, the more we humble ourselves, and here we are!"

It is better to bend than to break. Companies and workers who can bend and not break have the gift of resiliency that let them bounce back from adversity.

Mackay's Moral: Don't let hard times turn into end times. Let them lead to your best times.

Miss a column? The last three weeks of Harvey's columns are always archived online.

More information and learning tools can be found online at

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Friday, September 05, 2008

Seinfield and Bill Gates

A sample of what 10 million will buy. (The amount Jerry got for the series of ads.)

Find more videos like this on AdGabber

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Friday Finals

Catch up on the latest:

by Karlene Lukovitz
Glowelle's taglines invite consumers to "Fall in love with your skin in 30 days" and "Drink in pretty." The launch campaign includes "heavy outreach" through women's magazines and blogs targeting beauty pages, celebrity and influencer sampling. ... Read the whole story > >
by Sarah Mahoney
"Retail sales are being hurt by shoppers spending less on back-to-school and by the diminishing impact of tax rebates," says TNS Retail Forward. "The signs suggest that retail spending will resume a weakening trend through the end of the year." ... Read the whole story > >
by Karl Greenberg
"We see it as a vehicle with a very electric personality, always in motion, and that is how it connects to the target customer," says the Ford crossover marketing communications manager. "That was the brief we gave, and Esquire was one of a number of partners who came back with an idea that brings the vehicle to life in an electric way." ... Read the whole story > >
by Laurie Sullivan
The ads aim to change Pioneer's image from a tech company that connects people with their favorite music and television shows, to an entertainment leader that enhances lives by making TV box disappear, leaving consumers with vivid sights and sounds. ... Read the whole story > >
by Aaron Baar
"[Health blogging] has exponentially grown over the past two years," says Fard Johnmar, founder of Envision Solutions. "Once dominated by medical professionals, the health blogosphere has grown to incorporate a diverse range of people in the United States." ... Read the whole story > >
by Karl Greenberg
It touts the chain's "Fourthmeal" late-night-snack program with a national music promotion, "Feed the Beat." The effort, in its third year, centers on a nationwide search for 100 bands who will get a month's supply of "Fourthmeals" via $500 in $5 Taco Bell Bucks while they are on tour. ... Read the whole story > >
by Nina M. Lentini
The action comes in the wake of the indictment of a former Dunkin' Brands executive on charges of mail fraud in connection with an alleged kickback scheme involving $400,000 in ad fund dollars. For its part, the company said it is satisfied with current fiscal controls. ... Read the whole story > >

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Military Marketing

When my kids were going off to college, there were plenty of military recruiters on hand, trying to sign them up for the Reserves, or Guard duty in exchange for money for school.

Here's another approach:

See All You Can Be: U.S. Army Tries Experiential Marketing
by Erik Sass
Army Guards On the theory that potential recruits are more likely to sign up if they know what they're getting into, the U.S. Army just opened a 14,500-square-foot "Army Experience Center" in Philadelphia's Franklin Mills Mall. The center will also let the Army test and refine various marketing techniques for broader use in its national recruiting campaigns.

Visitors to the AEC can participate in mission simulations and interact with online programs telling them about careers, training, and educational opportunities, such as college tuition. According to Secretary of the Army Pete Geren: "Potential recruits are afforded a unique opportunity... to virtually experience multiple aspects of the Army." This includes plenty of chances to see and handle cutting-edge (non-lethal) military gadgetry.

Activity areas include a command and control center (headquarters), the interactive career center and vehicle simulators for the Apache helicopter, Black Hawk helicopter and Humvee. There are also gaming areas featuring the U.S. Army's official game, "America's Army," on Xbox 360 pods and networked computers.

In some ways, the AEC is simply an extension of the recruiting game concept, according to Edward Walters, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Recruiting and Retention, who said "the Army has had great success with experiential marketing and communications, including the America's Army game and the Virtual Army Experience."

While the Army didn't say so explicitly, the emphasis on nifty technology and interactive, self-directed experiences seems to cater to young adults used to controlling their media environment, who may be leery of the traditional "hard sell" used by human recruiters. (The main human interaction comes from Army soldiers simulating their real roles.)

Despite the war in Iraq, all branches of the military have generally been able to meet their recruiting goals in recent years--but often by the barest of margins. The task is especially daunting for the Army, which has some of the highest recruiting targets. According to the Department of Defense, in July all the branches made their recruiting goals, with the Army aiming to recruit 10,000 people, the Marines 4,094, the Air Force 2,541 and the Navy 4,200.

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Online TV Viewership numbers

Yesterday, I was meeting with a client that has been in business for over 50 years and he was surprised that people listen to the radio through their computer.

So he asked his employees and nearly everyone of them have either listened to a radio station or watched a tv show on their computer recently.

More and more people are doing it all around you, (Click on the charts to make them BIGGER):

Online TV Viewership Doubles in Two Years

Online TV viewing has been steadily gaining in popularity - nearly one-fifth of American households that use the internet watch television broadcasts online, double the online viewership levels of 2006, according to a study by The Conference Board and TNS.


Among other findings of the study:

  • The top two destinations for online broadcasts are the TV channel’s official homepage, accessed by 65% of viewers, and, accessed by 41% of viewers.


  • Nearly 72% of online households log on for entertainment purposes on a daily basis, and one in ten cites entertainment as the most important internet activity.
  • Most consumers do not like a set schedule: Being able to watch broadcasts on their own time and at their convenience are the top reasons users tune in online. Other reasons include avoiding commercials and portability.


“Most consumers are pressed for time and require flexibility in their daily schedules and TV viewing habits,” said Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center. Accordingly, they’ll continue to turn to the internet in greater numbers, she said.

Other findings from the TCB/TNS survey:

  • The top methods for viewing broadcasts online are streaming video, used by 68% of online TV viewers, and free download, used by 38% of viewers.
  • The top 5 types of shows viewed online are news, drama, sitcom/comedy, reality shows and sports, with user generated content following close behind:
    • 43% go online for news, 39% watch drama shows, 34% view sitcom/comedy shows, 23% watch reality shows, 16% view sports, and 15% view user-generated content.
    • Other categories attracting viewers include previews, additional content from favorite shows, soap operas, and advertisements.
  • Among online TV viewers, almost nine out of ten watch online broadcasts at home. About 15% say they watch internet broadcasts in the office, and 6% watch TV online from other locations, including the library or a friend’s home.

“The shift from appointment TV to content on demand is well underway,” said Michael Saxon, SVP, Brand and Communications, TNS. “Fundamentally, consumers expect content to be available when they want it, and on the screen of their choice - TV, PC, or mobile. For consumers, PCs enhance content on demand from simply time-shifting to place-shifting.”

About the survey: The Consumer Internet Barometer is based on a quarterly survey of 10,000 households. A unique sample is surveyed each quarter. Return rates average 70%, which ensures highly representative data. Data is weighted as well to reflect the latest US household demographic information. This survey was conducted during the third quarter of 2008.

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20 Random Advertising Questions

From the New York Times recently:

The New Breakfast of Champions?

IT is time again to ask 20 questions about advertising, marketing, the media and popular culture.

¶Did Michael Phelps agree to appear on boxes of Kellogg’s cereals like Corn Flakes and Frosted Flakes because the Kellogg Company promised that Tony the Tiger would change his famous growl from “Grrrrreeeat” to “Eiiiiiiggght”?

¶After being described as a “graffiti artist” in an article in Business Week magazine, will JCDecaux — actually, a company that specializes in outdoor advertising — start selling billboards marked up with graffiti in trendy galleries?

¶How many viewers of ESPN rubbed their ears in disbelief after an announcer promoted the program they were watching by declaring, “The State Farm Home Run Derby, brought to you by State Farm, proud sponsor of the State Farm Home Run Derby”?

¶Did the folks at the Cover Girl division of Procter & Gamble who came up with TruBlend makeup know about a coming series on HBO, “True Blood,” which features a make-believe synthetic blood called Tru Blood?

¶Will the Nixon watch line, sold by Billabong International, ever run campaigns with themes like “It stops after 18 and a half minutes,” “Wear one with a respectable Republican cloth coat” or “I am not a clock”?

¶How many complaints did Kao Brands get about an advertisement for Ban deodorant, which proclaimed that its ability to protect from “stress odor worries” means that “job interview butterflies will be captured and killed”?

¶Couldn’t the marketing department at Fox Searchlight, a unit of the News Corporation, have come up with a more compelling reason to see the movie “Street Kings” than describing it in ads as “directed by the writer of ‘Training Day’ ”?

¶How many readers were misled by an ad for the novel “Chasing Darkness” by Robert Crais, published by the Simon & Schuster unit of CBS, because it described an accused murderer being linked to a series of “grizzly” deaths rather than “grisly” deaths?

¶Why does a print ad for the Hummer division of General Motors carry the headline “Achieve solitude” when the accompanying photograph depicts a man, a woman and a dog?

¶Did someone who oversees advertising circulars for Target intend to pay tribute to the actor and onetime rapper Mark Wahlberg by referring to the chain’s Market Pantry line of food as “Markey Pantry”?

¶Now that Estée Lauder has brought out a line of cosmetics for the fall called Chocolate Decadence, will the Hershey Company start adding lipstick to its Kisses?

¶When customers at a bar order drinks made with Sailor Jerry Spiced Navy Rum, does the bartender ever pull rank and serve them Admiral Nelson’s Premium Spiced Rum?

¶Was a recent review for the media services part of the Bank of America advertising account the reason that the Omnicom Group and the Mediaedge:cia division of the WPP Group appeared in a legal notice in The Daily News as among the companies for which the bank is holding “unclaimed property consisting of cash in the amount of $50 or more”?

¶How many readers of an ad in the Ladies’ Home Journal from the Frito-Lay division of PepsiCo noticed that a photo caption describing potato chips as containing less than 1/12th of a teaspoon of salt — “that’s less than a serving of wheat crackers” — led to a footnote describing potato chips as “not a low-sodium food”?

¶As consumers increasingly look for bargains when they shop, does Georgia-Pacific regret discontinuing its lower-price line of paper products that was sold under the Coronet brand name, best recalled for jingles in which Rosemary Clooney sang, “Extra value is what you get when you buy Coronet”?

¶Did anyone reading Variety notice that an ad saluting the publicist Warren Cowan after his death, which listed many of his famous clients, gave a new heritage to the producer David O. Selznick by referring to “David O’Selznick”?

¶Was a new fragrance named Ralph Lauren Notorious inspired by a preppy who dared to wear white after Labor Day?

¶And now that Ralph Lauren has introduced Notorious, will Donatella Versace introduce a fragrance named Wholesome?

¶Will a soda called Pepsi Lemon N.F.L. Kickoff from the Pepsi-Cola Company division of PepsiCo inspire a soda from the Coca-Cola Company called Coke Lime N.B.A. Tipoff?

¶How soon will it be before a lanky swimmer wearing eight gold medals around his neck and a tiger-striped Speedo tells an advertising columnist, “You ask a lot of questions for someone from Brooklyn”?

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New Ad Campaigns

One of my favorite emails each week is this weekly update on some of the latest ad campaigns:

LaDainian Tomlinson eats Campbell's Chunky soup. Tiger Woods walks on water. Cellulite couches. Let's launch!

CFRB 1010, a Toronto-based radio station, launched a guerilla campaign that mimics the hot issues debated on-air. Radio debates include topics such as "Don't gay couples have the right to be as miserable as straight married ones?" and "Is Toronto a world-class sports city, at losing?" The "We Need to Talk" campaign posed equally provocative questions on the streets of Toronto, including a "should panhandling be illegal" sign being held by a panhandler and an "art or vandalism" sign affixed to a wall covered in graffiti. See the elements here, here, here and here, executed by zig.

More than 400 TV characters of past and present can be found in a promotional ad campaign for the 60th Primetime Emmy Awards. "Where TV Comes Together" is one big giant Where's Waldo. I recognized most, but not all characters represented. I scanned the back rows the closest to see how many faces I could recognize. I found two of the four "Golden Girls," Blanche and Rose, but they were next to each other. The collage premiered in People magazine's Sept. 15 issue and will also run nationally as a two-page spread in Entertainment Weekly's Sept. 26 issue. An answer key (thank you!) can be found on the Primetime Emmy's Web site. Another print ad highlights TV's favorite fashion icons, such as Jennifer Aniston, Farrah Fawcett and Joan Collins. See the ads here and here. WONGDOODY created the campaign and handled the media buy.

What do your ideas look like? According to a great TV spot from Invesco PowerShares, they are small and large versions of you. The 45-second spot follows a man inside his own brain, a circular lecture hall where his ideas on investing are transformed into little people that look just like him. Except for one grand idea of his, which resembles a giant, who should be let out. Good luck finding an exit. Watch the ad here. Euro RSCG Chicago created the campaign and handled the media buy.

EA Sports launched a series of TV spots promoting the Tiger Woods PGA Tour 09. "Walk on Water" is definitely my favorite. Dispelling an apparent game glitch that was posted on YouTube and featured Woods blessed with the ability to walk on water, the spot follows Woods in real life, as he's faced with the predicament of having his ball resting on a lily pad. No problem. He takes off his shoes, rolls up his pants, walks on water, and hits his ball, which lands in the hole. Watch it here. Woods is off his video game in "Hard Day." He quickly improves, however. See it here. The final ad, "Tucker," stars a young gamer hammering out explicit rules that his opponents must follow. Watch the ad here. Wieden+Kennedy Portland created the campaign and handled the media buy.

Campbell's Chunky soup launched a print, online and TV ad campaign starring San Diego Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson. And only him. This is the first time in 10 years that the company is featuring just one player in its campaign. That means the players' moms are out, too. The campaign launches today, coinciding with tonight's Giants vs. Redskins game. Creative consists of footage of Tomlinson on the field and eating Chunky soup following a hard day's work. See the TV ads here. Print ads feature close-ups of Tomlinson chowing down along with copy such as, "We put the protein in the pro." See an ad here. Young & Rubicam New York created the campaign.

If only cellulite removal was this easy... Nivea went to South Beach during Miami Fashion Week and brought along some custom-designed sofas. The furniture was displayed at an event supporting swimwear designer Shay Todd's new collection. One half of the sofa is dimpled, much like a cellulite-laden thigh; the other half is smooth and cellulite-free, every bikini wearing woman's fantasy. See a sofa here, created by TBWA/Chiat/Day New York.

Effen vodka launched an outdoor ad today in front of Wrigley Field that simply states "Break Effen Curse." Cubs fans know all too well that the ad references the infamous curse of the billy goat. As a suffering Mets fan (but not suffering as long as Cubs devotees), I feel their pain. See the ad here, which is part of the "Effen is a Five-Letter Word" campaign. Euro RSCG Chicago created the ad and MPG handled the media buy.

Acura launched a TV and print campaign promoting its luxury sports sedan, TSX. The campaign uses a new theme, "A New Generation Has Arrived," and targets Generation Y consumers. Spots are airing on network and cable programming, and trail young hipsters throughout a night on the town. See the ads here and here. Print ads, seen here and here, are running in Wired, Rolling Stone, Sports Illustrated, Dwell, Paper and Paste, and spell out the differences between old and new luxury alongside shots of young, good-looking people partying. RPA created the campaign and handled the media buy.

Amy Corr is managing editor, online newsletters for MediaPost. She can be reached at

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Stick it Out

Here's the next part in Chuck McKay's series:

Accelerate Your Advertising and PR – Surviving the Recession – Part 3 of 7

This is a photo of a Boeing 747-200. This aircraft requires 219,000 foot pounds of thrust to get airborne, but only 100,000 foot pounds to cruise at altitude.

Think of your ads as the jet engines which power your company.

As soon as you remove the thrust, you've grounded your campaign. And that's a shame, since it typically takes four to six months for a campaign to start producing solid results.

Conclusion: Do not interrupt your advertising during tough economic times.

Study after study has delivered the same results: companies who pull in their resources and hunker down to ride out the economic uncertainties fall way behind when things get better.

Those same studies show that companies who aggressively pursue revenue in good times and bad leapfrog over their competitors in the following years.

This may take a certain amount of faith, because the evidence that your plan is working won't be available for months. If you're getting a bigger share of a shrunken pie, it may appear that you're standing still. At least, for now. When the pie grows, your share will grow, too.

Think of it as buying market share at a discount.

There are two reasons your dollars go further in slow times.

First, when you're one of the few voices still speaking to the market, your share of mind increases.

Second, when you're one of the few active voices, all of your media representatives will suddenly become VERY negotiable when it comes to rates.

The average recession in the U.S. has historically lasted eleven months. We're half way into this one, so during your negotiation be sure to lock in those new, lower rates for a full year. (Longer if the media will allow it).

What does advertising do?

No matter what the economy, aggressive advertising can:
  • Generate immediate sales
  • Upsell current customers
  • Provide new leads and prospects
  • And, don't overlook the long-term benefit: the more people feel familiar with you, the more likely they are to choose to do business with you.

    The strength of your advertising, and the revenue which results from it, will depend largely on your focus up to this point.

    Direct response will be less effected by the economy than will image advertising. The more transactional your messages have been (full of facts and details), the more you can expect business to continue.

    But, if you've been using brand-oriented messages (service and commitment based), don't change them, since they tend to pay off better the longer you use them. (Remember, only 100,000 foot pounds of thrust to remain airborne). You will, however, want to create an additional transactional package to generate immediate cash, and to cover today's operational costs.

    Focus on Value – and on family values.

    At times of economic uncertainty, people tend to “cave.” They spend much more time at home with their families.

    Consider using family scenes in your ads where possible. Dump the rugged individual image. Extreme sports and adventure are bad images during a recession.

    Do your ads cultivate a trust factor?

    Is the ad about you, or about your customer?

    Are you talking directly to your customer?

    Are your claims credible, or full of hype and sensationalism?

    Do you make a claim with full intention of backing it up, or do you know you'll have to explain that claim because people will not understand the weasel clauses?

    Can you use someone else's credibility?

    The concept is known as endorsed mailing. You send a letter endorsing another business to your customers, and he does the same for you with his. Select your endorsement partners with care.
    If the other business is trusted by his customers, you'll be perceived as trustworthy, too.

    Or, work out deals with other businesses to stuff their flyers into your merchandise bags. Of course, you'll reciprocate.

    Or, get three or four other reputable companies together and share the cost of printing individual offers on card stock, then mailing them all to your own lists. This one is known as “marriage mail.”

    Focus on your existing customers.

    Focus on media that you've proven will provide a sufficient return on your investment. This is not the time to experiment with ideas that might work to attract new customers. New customers are more expensive.

    Instead, apply the 80/20 rule, and invest whatever you need to keep your 20 percenters very happy with you.

    Cut money out of any project that you can't prove return on investment (like trade shows, for instance), and use those funds to increase direct marketing to every customer in your database.

    PR is golden.

    Got positive quarterly results to report? Won any industry awards? Have a fabulous customer service story? Call your local media and share the news.

    What's interesting about your story? If it's positive growth during a recession, financial editors will want to know how you did it. If winning your national award draws attention to your local business, most editors will want to play up local pride. And human interest stories always make great content – especially on a slow news days.

    Public relations has two wonderful benefits: it's much more credible than advertising, and it's free (other than the investment of your time, and a few postage stamps or phone calls).

    In summary:

    When times are good, you should advertise. When times are bad, you must. But, don't be reckless about it. Make every dollar count, now, to pay off in multiple dollars over the next few years.


    Chuck McKay is a marketing consultant who helps customers discover you, and choose your business. Questions about helping your business thrive during an economic recession may be directed to

    More from Chuck on Monday Morning!

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    Thursday, September 04, 2008

    Fresh Ideas

    From my email, some ideas that others are implementing that may stimulate your own ideas:

    Springwise newsletter | New business ideas for entrepreneurial minds

    It's time for your weekly fix of entrepreneurial ideas! Our latest issue is now online. Here's
    a quick run-down of the promising new businesses featured on Springwise this week:

    Gift-giving simplified through a prepaid plan
    Life hacks

    Spontaneous gifts are generally well-received. But it's hard to find the
    time to shop & ship, let alone to remember to send an attentive
    something "just because." A Brazilian startup offers a simple solution.

    Upgraded popsicles, Mexican style
    Food & beverage

    Could popsicles be the new cupcakes -- a humble, traditional treat
    upgraded to an exclusive foodstuff with attractive margins? Time will
    tell. A North Carolina company is paving the way with Mexican paletas.

    Motorcycle hearses offer a (life)stylish final ride
    Lifestyle & leisure / Transportation

    Little has changed in how we typically honour the dead. A few new
    hearse options have popped up in recent years, however, that offer the
    biker crowd a way to give loved ones an unconventional last ride.

    An Etsy for artisanal food
    Food & beverage / Retail

    Consumers interested in handmade goods already have online
    marketplace Etsy to help them find new treasures, and now Foodzie
    aims to bring similar capabilities to the food lovers of the world.

    In the Philippines: free phone love with a viral twist
    Telecom & mobile / Marketing & advertising

    Regular Springwise readers no doubt remember Blyk, the free mobile
    operator that targets 16- to 24-year-olds with its ad-funded service.
    A similar concept recently started in the Philippines.

    Grocer lets customers direct its community giving
    Retail / Non-profit & social cause

    Customers at Waitrose supermarkets are offered a token each time
    they shop that can be inserted in any of three Perspex tubes -- one for
    each of selected local charitable groups.

    Intention-based shipping in the Arab world

    When we wrote about Texas-based uShip, we noted that there were
    few -- if any -- equivalents on other continents. As if on cue, a company
    with a similar model entered beta in the United Arab Emirates.

    A renter's guide to Portland's green buildings
    Eco & sustainability / Homes & housing

    GreenRenter aims to connect owners of green buildings with tenants
    who might want to rent them. Very useful, since a building's level of
    sustainability isn't always easy to judge from the outside.

    Weeknight clubbing for the 9-5 crowd
    Entertainment / Lifestyle & leisure

    With schedule-bound partiers in mind, Toronto's Gladstone Hotel
    recently launched a weekday alternative that lets revellers get to bed
    on time. In Belgium, After Work Parties are targetting the same crowd.

    Crowdsourcing a make-it-yourself restaurant
    Food & beverage

    A new restaurant project has joined the crowdsourcing fray: Arne
    Hendriks is asking fellow members of Instructables to participate in
    creating a restaurant in Amsterdam.

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    Thursday Night Marketing News

    Clickables from Mediapost:

    by Karl Greenberg
    Chrysler and General Motors are seeing a silver lining in incentive programs that both companies launched to move 2008 inventory. General Motors is extending its "Employee Discount for Everyone" effort, and Chrysler will extend its "Shop Till You Drive" push. ... Read the whole story > >
    Packaged Goods
    by Sarah Mahoney
    The ads are timed to be part of the brand's 100th anniversary in 2009, and the company hopes the supermodel's appeal will build on the legacy of makeup artist Factor, who worked on such famous faces as Joan Crawford, Bette Davis, Rita Hayworth and Katherine Hepburn. ... Read the whole story > >
    by Laurie Sullivan
    Alltel plans to use existing television spots to promote the sweepstakes scheduled to run on sports-related media channels. Beginning this week, consumers will see online and print ads marketing the campaign. ... Read the whole story > >
    by Karl Greenberg
    "It's a celebration of the game," say Brian Jennings, executive vice president of consumer products and retail operations for the N.Y.-based NHL. "It's how the league wants to speak to the fans about the hopes, the possibilities and anticipation of the start of the season." ... Read the whole story > >
    by Karlene Lukovitz
    "The ground is littered with high-profile efforts that have, to be kind, underperformed - McDonald's salads, Aquafina Essentials and Atkins Bars, to name a few," points out Jayne Eastman, managing director for strategic brand growth consultancy Henry Rak Consulting Partners. ... Read the whole story > >
    by Sarah Mahoney
    On the heels of New York's Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, the Minneapolis-based retailer says it will offer the "trendiest and most affordable products from its designer partners across home, fashion, accessories and beauty," with an average item price of $25. ... Read the whole story > >

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    Back to Sales Basics

    From the Marketing Minute:

    Need to boost sales?

    Posted: 04 Sep 2008 04:25 AM CDT

    63299921 I hope you'll forgive me because on the surface this seems incredibly obvious. But I've found that the more obvious something is, often times the more often we ignore it completely.

    Are you frustrated with your sales results? Feeling dazed from repeatedly running into the same brick wall over and over?

    What are you measuring?

    1) Are you creating a daily sales plan? Do you know who you're going to call/contact when you walk in the door in the morning? My good friend Cory Garrison says if not, you might as well head back to the coffee shop for another cup.

    2) Are you taking the time to only pursue those potential customers who would be a perfect (or near perfect) fit with your company?

    3) Are you setting and posting in a very public way, your sales goals for the month? I have to say, I resisted this one for years. It felt money-centric and somehow I had it in my head that it was incongruent with our client-centric focus. But the minute we defined specific sales numbers by month, we paid more attention, sped up our internal billing process and increased our average month's revenue. All because we paid attention.

    What's that expression? You get what you measure.

    • Are you measuring your sales every day via a daily plan
    • Are you measuring who/what the perfect customer is for you and carefully aiming for them?
    • Are you measuring monthly sales goals?

    How did measuring what matters to you change your sales cycle?

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    The Subject Line

    First Impressions Count.

    In person.

    Over the Phone.

    In an E-mail.

    Read more:

    You Bored Me at Hello

    In a post at the Marketing Interactions blog, Ardath Albee discusses the potentially calamitous effects a bad first sentence can have on your email campaigns. She highlights typical errors with some actual examples:

    • Presuming a recipient knows—and respects—you : "I wanted to share with you the success of our [Company] program which allows marketers to tap an influential group of [Company's] readers for product sampling and reviews."
    • Using a probable falsehood to guilt a reader into responding: "I've been trying to contact you regarding your interest in the business implications of social media."
    • Talking about a company's goals, not those of the customer: "If [Company] has its way, every last one of us will be communicating with video as naturally and regularly as we now use email and our phones, no matter what industry we work in."

    "All of them are speaking AT me, not WITH me," says Albee, who notes you can expect two basic responses:

    • Disinterest. "You’re gone from my mind immediately with no residual value for you to build upon," she explains.
    • Dislike. If sufficiently annoyed, a subscriber might not even bother to tell you about it. Instead, she'll remember the bad impression you made, and block future messages.

    The Po!nt: It's about them, not you. Let your subscriber know from the first line that they're about to read a message that appeals to their expressed interests. "Don’t try to sell me at hello," says Albee.

    Source: Marketing Interactions. Read the full post here.

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    Purpose..What's yours?

    I often get comments from businesses that I am selling to that I am not your typical media salesperson. To me that is good, because typical is generic, bland, and forgettable.

    Due to my background in and out of media, sitting in several different chairs and roles over the years, my perspective is different from anyone else that I work with. 6 years ago, I returned to this business with a purpose:

    "To help business owners and managers make smart, wise and profitable decisions regarding their advertising and marketing."

    Now, granted I earn my living when people buy from me, so there has to be a financial factor in there too. However Drew over at the Marketing Minute put it into perspective:

    Why do you exist?

    36608632 As you walk through the hallways of your company today...stop people at random. Everyone from the CEO to the part-time mail room clerk and everyone in between.

    Ask them this:

    Why does this company exist?

    Note two things:

    1. How many different answers you get
    2. How many times you make money

    A company that exists primarily to make money cannot hope to build loyalty among customers, employees or even vendors. Of course, you should be profitable -- but that shouldn't be why you exist.

    You make money so you can keep fulfilling the reason you exist. Unless of course....everyone in your company thinks it's something different.

    Then, sadly...the only mission/vision you all agree on is...that you should make money. Can you say "uh oh."

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