Saturday, April 04, 2009


Everytime I hear an ad with all the disclaimers, I want to not buy what they are selling. Seth wrote about a similar subject:

Sugar-coated corporate speak

There's a new class of internet companies that collect cookie data across websites and sell compiled personal data to advertisers. This means, for example, that Mazda can run banner ads on site X only to people who were looking at new cars on site Y.

In order for this to work, of course, the companies need to get site Y to secretly sell them huge bundles of personal surfing data. You can think that this is okay or not okay, that's not the point of my post.

Check out some of the language BlueKai uses on the page of their site addressed to consumers:

It's all about choice, reward, and privacy...

In return, you, the consumer, are rewarded with the 3C's: control, charity, and content...

Charity—It gets better! When marketers pay to access anonymous data from BlueKai, you will be rewarded with a credit to donate to the charity of your choice...

BlueKai's mission is to build the world's most comprehensive registry of online preferences that is dedicated to ensuring your anonymity and privacy.

Give me a break. Is this really BlueKai's mission? I doubt it. When marketers talk to consumers like this, it's no wonder they hate us and distrust us. Wouldn't it be refreshing if they just told us the truth? They could (but don't) say:

BlueKai makes money by help advertisers show you ads relevant to your behavior and interests. We harvest the information we need by paying sites for your cookie information... this money makes it more likely that the sites you visit have enough income to survive, without having to resort to even more intrusive ads. It also keeps companies from showing you totally irrelevant ads. Most people we talk to think this is a great deal all around.

If you don't want the ads you see online to be relevant, if you don't want us to keep your cookie information on file, all you have to do is click here and we'll banish you from our database. No, you shouldn't have to opt out of us using your personal data to make money, but hey, that's life.

The direct marketing industry has a long, troubled history of sneaking around, assuming permission they don't have and making it difficult for people to opt out. This has been shown again and again to be foolish and short-sighted.

It is not just an issue for direct marketers, of course. It turns out that being direct and honest is a scalable communications strategy.

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Should Banks Advertise?

Good Stuff from the THINKing blog:


Link to THINKing

Communicating In Tough Times

Posted: 03 Apr 2009 06:08 AM PDT

I didn’t need a new Nielsen study to tell me that a financial institution can improve customer confidence through advertising. It only makes sense. If the bank has the money to advertise, the perception will be, that it has the money to pull through hard times. Could be a totally false perception, but there it is.

The study shows that,

When asked about their own banks, insurance companies and investment firms, 55% of respondents who said they had seen more advertising for their financial institution reported having “complete confidence” in the financial health and soundness of their financial company and only 18% said they had “little or no confidence” in their company. However, among those who said they had seen less advertising, only 18% had “complete confidence” in their financial company and 45% said they had “little or no confidence” in their company. Overall, a minority of respondents said they had “Complete Confidence” in their financial institutions.

So, you see, not advertising leads to the reverse perception that you are on the way out of business. Again, it may not be true, but perception becomes reality.

For a PR guy like me, the best news is that editorial coverage is more important than advertising in communicating the health of a financial institution. Here’s what the study found about factors that would increase confidence in the safety and soundness of their financial institution:

  • Reading positive stories in the press about that institution (44%)
  • Seeing regular advertising for that institution (25%)
  • Receiving regular mail or email offers from that institution (25%)
  • Regularly seeing internet offers/advertising from that institution (21%)

This holds true for any business, not just financials. Agree? Let me know.

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The Elevator

You've probably heard the term "elevator speech". If not, look it up. In the meantime, read this from

You probably won’t find “el crappo” in Webster’s, but it does describe the current state of economic affairs. It’s also the exact verbiage used when I was emailed the suggested topic and invited to offer my insight. So, here goes, but first some background.
I run a creatively-driven, advertising and marketing consultancy geared toward small businesses. I’m also immersed in Web 2.0 marketing which I speak on and write about on a national level. (I’ve had an active blog and podcast for 3 years.) I also do something called “Marketing Therapy.” MT is the way I often begin with prospects who realize they have marketing issues, but aren’t sure how to deal with them. I’ve been doing this for the past few years and running a business, in various forms, for the past 24. During these 24 years I’ve been responsible for getting my own clients for all but 4 of them. So, I’ve survived some tough economic times, independently, for a while. Oh yeah, I should also add that I’ve had no formal business or sales training. Have I had anxious moments? Sure. But, like the guy walking the high-wire I’ve somehow managed to train myself to keep looking forward rather than down. It helps.
The way to attract customers in a bad economy is not a lot different than the way you’d do it a good economy. A bad economy just forces you to do it better. That means doing it smarter and, I think, more creatively. Because I’ve discovered in business, as in battle, the spoils don’t always go to the biggest. Often they go to the most innovative and clever.
Another thing I’ve learned about getting business is the power of patience and persistence. Even if you’re doing the right thing it takes repetition and time to produce results.
To offer a more detailed perspective on attracting customers is difficult without knowing and fully understanding the specifics of the situation. Are we talking about a law firm, or a car dealership? Is this about a branding effort, or a personal job search? But I can say this…whatever the scenario you must be clear about who your prospect is and then devise a way to get their attention in a an exciting, positive way. Then comes the fun part -- convincing them.
I was recently interviewed on BlogTalk Radio and asked about an article I wrote entitled, “No One Give a Damn About Your Product -- unless you Give’em a Reason to.” If the title isn’t obvious, it means that unless you’re selling cold drinks in a desert your product benefits may not be as obvious to your prospect as you’d like to think. And, this is where people and companies really need help. Entrepreneurs and business owners, as a rule, are passionate, ego-driven people. As a result, they tend to have a major blind spot when it comes to seeing their business or product as nakedly as their prospects do. So, besides lacking marketing expertise, they lack something equally critical to success in getting customers -- objectivity. So, if you’re looking to improve your odds at getting more customers, you might start by getting some trusted outside perspective.
I could easily write another 40 pages on attracting business, but I’ll wrap up with a story of how I landed one of my biggest clients that demonstrate some of my points.
If “who you know” is the way to get more business then Networking is one good way to know more people, right? Well, that depends. There’s no shortage of networking events that, I think, are a big waste of time. After a year’s worth of my active membership in one particular networking group I was sure that my experience was falling into that category. The organization was NYWICI … NY Women in Communication.
Yes, I know. I initially attended as a guest and thought it was a joke when I was asked to join. I was told that, yes, men could join and they’d love to have me. The female membership was close to 900. When I asked how many men were members, they said 7.
I was convinced that I had to do more networking and pondered the idea of membership for several weeks. I even talked with another male member who encouraged me to join. Did he get any business out of it? No. But he did get a girlfriend. Hmm. So, with reluctance, I joined figuring that at least I’d stand out hoping that my mere existence would act as an automatic conversation starter. At the very least, I figured, I’d get a couple of dates out of it.
Not the case. Month after month, for 12 months, I’d throw on my best suit and make the trek to the events only to be ignored by a professional sisterhood that I felt no part of. I felt like I was a wedding crasher and it was unnerving. As I discouragingly shuffled out of the final networking event of the year, regretting my $350 membership, I found myself sharing an elevator with the incoming president. Just moments earlier I’d enjoyed her impassioned speech about the importance of business integrity and camaraderie. So, as I stood watching the elevator lights count down the seconds of my membership, I suddenly turned and complimented her on her speech. With a who-the-hell-are-you glance back I quickly explained that I actually was a NYWICI member. We exchanged cards.
Now I must tell you that my business card is not your normal business card. So, when she was stopped by it, and impressed by the attention-getting creativity, her demeanor quickly warmed up. And for the next 18 floors down I found myself in the most engaged dialogue that I’d been in all year. By the time we hit the ground floor we’d talked about lunch. It took the next three months to actually have that lunch, but a month after we did I signed a contract for a very cool 2-month project that netted me $86,000.
Was it luck? That was certainly part of it. But I believe that luck was created by a synchronistic combination of smart strategic thinking, creativity and action. I also believe, that applied effectively to any business situation, similar results can be achieved.

About the Author John Follis

John Follis is President of Follis Inc. which includes Marketing Therapy. His full professional profile can be seen on Wikipedia. John can be reached at: And, for those who are curious, can view his business card.

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Friday, April 03, 2009

Friday Night Marketing News

An hour earlier than the usual 6pm time I add this 'cause its the weekend!

by Karl Greenberg
"We have good awareness, but we also have a huge opportunity to increase loyalty and get people to enjoy it in different ways," says senior brand manager Antonio Portillo. The company developed a drink strategy -- part of the campaign -- that comprises a portfolio of drink recipes called "Hornitails" using Tequila: the Juan Collins and Hornipolitan, for instance. ... Read the whole story > >
Financial Services
by Les Luchter
Mintel Comperemedia found that the trend was clearly for banks to sell current customers on additional services. "Cross-selling to existing customers is a wise direct marketing strategy, especially as the economy makes attracting new clients difficult ... A customer who uses two or more of a bank's products likely has a deep, loyal relationship with that bank." ... Read the whole story > >
by Karlene Lukovitz
The in-banner live chat sessions are one important element of Intel's overall, intensified '09 marketing focus on online and connecting with end-users via social media in particular, Pam Didner, Intel's global integrated marketing manager, told Marketing Daily. Other end-user marketing elements will include banner advertising, IT community events and online seminars, she reports. ... Read the whole story > >
by Karl Greenberg
Jesse Toprak, head of industry analysis at says it is likely April will also be a record month for incentives. "We are dealing with very non-typical conditions so it is likely we will see very similar levels this month because we will also be figuring in the new [Ford Advantage and GM Total Confidence] programs ... There's not much chance for automakers to have the luxury to cut down on incentives." ... Read the whole story > >
by Aaron Baar
Long the dominant player in handheld games, Nintendo has seen its competition increase dramatically recently, particularly with the introduction of the iPhone and mobile gaming applications. Next week's launch of its third-generation handheld, the DSi, is a way for the company to increase its household penetration, particularly through a "pass-down" effect. ... Read the whole story > >
by Karlene Lukovitz
The program's concept ties in with findings of a recent online survey for Pure Life conducted by Opinion Research Corp. The survey found that 78% of a sample representative of the U.S. adult population thinks that it takes six months or longer to form a new habit, whereas "experts agree that it really only takes about three to six weeks," according to Nestlé. ... Read the whole story > >

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The Magic Marketing Bullet

Sorry, but there isn't one.

Read what Drew wrote:

The marketing magic bullet does not exist

Posted: 25 Mar 2009 10:39 AM PDT

16454031 We get seduced sometimes.

In the day, TV spots were sexy and everyone had to have one. Websites were the rage. Now it's social media. Are they good marketing tactics. You bet. And..equally so, good God no.

Marketing is not a one size fits all gig. Lots of agencies might love to sell you their cookie cutter solution but the fact of the matter is.... there's no marketing magic bullet.

It's a custom-designed suit sort of effort. Because no two organizations are built the same.

Every business wants to generate new business. That’s the commonality. But that’s just about all that’s the same.

Some sell high-ticket or very specialized items and services. They only need a handful of new clients to meet their goals. If you sell software for $200,000, you probably don't need too many sales to have a good year. Or, if your commission on a $75,000 sale is $35,000 -- again, you don't need to make a sale a day.

Others are all about volume. When you sell Coke, you need to sell lots of bottles every day. They have a large ability to deliver quantities of their offerings and they want the pipeline full.

This is where the “one size fits all” marketing theories fall apart.

The high-ticket/specialty client can and should spend more money per client acquisition. Their efforts need to be about honing in on exactly the right prospects. They are likely to spend more money on profiling prospects to make sure they don’t waste a lot of time talking to buyers who have no interest or no ability to buy their wares.

Once they’ve identified “the who” they can get down to telling their story. Because the numbers are small, the marketing tactics that most often make sense for them are ones that allow them to speak directly to those potential buyers and no one else. Direct mail, opt-in e-zines, topic specific blogs, niche newspapers or TV shows and peer-to-peer referrals may all be effective options. Think GPS guided missile. Very focused. Little chance of waste.

On the flip side, the volume-focused business wants to reach a much wider audience. They’re willing to catch a few undesirables in their net, as long as they can harvest a lot of prospects all at once. Because a wider group of people fit their target parameters, they don’t need to invest in a lot of prospect profiling.

They’re looking for a wide reach and frequency to encourage that initial trial. Tactics that might fit the bill for these marketers include couponing, mass media (newspaper, radio, TV, outdoor) advertising, product placement and sampling. Think shotgun. Lots of pellets, so the odds of hitting several somethings is pretty good.

So here are a few questions to ask yourself as you think about how to design your custom suit:

  • Assuming we maintain our current base of business (or assume 15% loss, etc) -- how many new sales would we need to generate to hit our gross sales goals for the year?
  • Out of 100 people/businesses (depending on what you sell) -- how many would be a good fit for us?
  • What's our sales cycle? Do people think about it for months or a minute?
  • How many new customers could we handle/service/support?
  • Can a marketing tool (blog, website, brochure, ad) sell our offering without much human intervention or do we require lots of explanation, demo, Q&A, etc.?

Don't get seduced by today's hottest trend. And don't get caught up in the print is dead, TV is dead, XYZ is dead movement. The truth is...the magic bullet is knowing who you are, who your best customers are and how to best talk to them. Even if that solution isn't the shiny new thing.

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Learn from the Leader: Walmart

Saw this story yesterday at this website:

SPRINGDALE — Walmart has 21 minutes to get a customer's attention, from the time a shopper walks into a Supercenter to shopping aisles and checking out.

Customers find fewer types of products on Walmart shelves, as the company reduces inventory and changes store layouts to implement its "fast, friendly, clean" message.

Bill Simon, executive vice president and chief executive officer of Walmart U.S., delivered those points to analysts and investors Wednesday.

Simon spoke at the Morgan Stanley Arizona Field Trip in Paradise, Ariz. Simon's presentation is available at

Simon oversees more than 3,600 U.S. stores, including Walmart Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets and Marksetsides; and logistics and transportation, including 121 distribution centers.

Walmart reduced inventory, as the chain had $23.3 billion in inventory in fiscal year 2007, $23.5 billion in fiscal year 2008 and $23.2 billion in fiscal year 2009.

Less inventory in stores makes it easier to order products from distribution centers and easier for employees to restock shelves.

"It allows our associates more time to spend on a customer," Simon said.

Less inventory also makes it easier for customers to find items, Simon said.

Customers see uncluttered aisles and see signs more clearly. Walmart no longer puts pallets of pencils and paper and displays of diapers in "action alleys," the wide center aisles.

Removing the "action alley" displays means customers may cross aisles more often to shop other areas.

"You provide access and visibility for departments in the store that were previously difficult to shop, like apparel," Simon said.

Cutting inventory likely is a smart move in a down economy in which consumers lose jobs, see declining home values and lose value in their retirement accounts.

TNS Retail Forward, a Columbus, Ohio, research firm, surveyed 4,000 consumers in its August ShopperScape survey. About 75 percent of respondents reported changing shopping behaviors, including buying only essentials, shopping less often and even doing without some items.

That behavior means retail sales will remain flat throughout this year after sales grew 1.8 percent in 2008, according to Retail Forward.

Most Walmart stores have between 15 and 30 days of inventory, Simon said. Cutting inventory means logistics efficiencies, Simon said, as Walmart has not built a new distribution center in two years, despite opening more stores.

However, Walmart experienced inventory shortages some days in some areas, Simon said, and store management re-evaluated product assortment.

Still, having fewer products in a store reduces shrink, or theft; accident costs; and markdowns needed to get slow-moving or overstocked items out of a store, Simon said.

Walmart's new merchandise mix and store layouts gained praise from Richard Hastings, a Charlotte, N.C.-based consumer strategist with Global Hunter Securities LLC. Hastings does not make stock recommendations or set target stock prices, but Global Hunter Securities does.

Walmart is getting more foot traffic that was going to other stores, partly because of better merchandising and execution, Hastings said in early March.

Walmart is collecting data on how customers perceive the chain is living up to its "fast, friendly, clean" motto, Simon said, and is tying performance in that area to bonuses.

Walmart surveys about 500,000 customers each month, Simon said, and can break down data "nearly to the cashier level" to gauge what customers think.

The better the employee and store scores on the fast, friendly, clean rubric, the higher the bonus both hourly and management employees receive, Simon said.

Shares of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) closed Wednesday at $52.82, up 72 cents. The share price ranged from a $63.85 high to a $46.25 low in the past 52 weeks.

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Look for the side door

Sometimes instead of going through the front door, you need a different approach:

Daily Sales Tip: Keep the Conversation Going

Listen for opportunities in novel areas. Your clients may be holding back purchasing your typical offerings, but in dire need of one of your lesser known solutions.

When they tell you all spending has been curtailed, don't stop the conversation. Keep questioning and conversing.

Identify their top priorities for succeeding in this strange market. As they talk, listen for unusual ways you can assist them. Don't thumb your nose at minor projects. Nothing is too small to get your foot in the door and show the financial return you provide.

My philosophy is that small projects add up to big numbers, and I appreciate every one!

Source: Sales trainer/author Kendra Lee (

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Thursday, April 02, 2009

Thursday Night Marketing News

Mini lap tops & Mini Burgers in the news from Mediapost:

by Sarah Mahoney
The company will follow the very-pink poster with print ads - with "Britney Spears for Candie's Only at Kohl's" spelled out in diamonds - that use a collage of photos, with Spears modeling items from the company's apparel, footwear, swimwear, intimates and accessories lines. TV spot with Spears are scheduled for the summer, promoting the back-to-school line. ... Read the whole story > >
by Karl Greenberg
Gary Flake lost the biggest innovation war on the Web to Google but he learned something: "The first companies in an industry must be willing to destroy their existing business to create something new; they must destroy their own business before someone else does." This can apply as easily to automakers as to media companies. ... Read the whole story > >
by Aaron Baar
The partnership will include product-placement in the film (though it's unknown whether the phones will actually transform in the film). LG will also launch a multi-faceted marketing campaign -- which will include television and print advertising -- around the film's release in June. LG will also use the movie to launch a limited-edition Versa phone. ... Read the whole story > >
by Karl Greenberg
Prior to reading this item please don ear-buds, go to your favorite music player and cue up Abinoni's Adagio for Strings, Chopin's Piano Sonata #2 (funeral march) and Mozart's Requiem, in that order. Good, now take a Xanax and let's talk automotive sales for March. It's bad. ... Read the whole story > >
by Karlene Lukovitz
In addition to the young's greater time spent online, patterns reflect a decline in younger consumers' readership of Sunday newspapers that carry coupon FSIs, suggesting that CPGs have an opportunity to build loyalty with younger consumers, in particular, with coupons delivered online during this tough economic time. ... Read the whole story > >

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Fresh Ideas


Mini bars in MinibarBar lets patrons serve themselves from personal mini bars
Food & beverage

No waiting at the bar at this new Amsterdam establishment, where guests
serve themselves from their own mini bars. Customers can select a beer
bar, champagne bar or mixed bar, in one of several sizes.

BoxNeighbourhood pickup spots for package deliveries
Life hacks

PickupZone is a network of local neighbourhood pickup points that let
consumers get their packages when it's convenient for them. Dry
cleaners, convenience stores and others serve as pickup locations.

Office spaceOffice space rented out by the desk
Marketing & advertising

Desk Space Genie helps businesses make a bit of money from their
unused office space and enables cash-strapped freelancers and other
small businesses to become more established.

Interior shot of a Lucky Voice roomFree karaoke for 'Worthy Workers'
Lifestyle & leisure / Non-profit, social cause

Through its new "Worthy Worker Mondays" program, Lucky Voice is
offering two hours of free karaoke singing to nurses, firefighters and
others "who dedicate their lives to the greater good."

TelegramNovelty telegram service, $4.70 worldwide
Telecom & mobile

We've already seen companies that transform emails into paper
letters; now, an Australian contender has resurrected the classic

Paracord braceletBelts and bracelets double as survival gear
Fashion & beauty

Helping consumers be prepared, SurvivalStraps are paracords
disguised as bracelets and other accessories. In an emergency, a
bracelet can be unraveled to up to 26 ft of military grade nylon cord.

Woman parking bike in rackFull-service bike station for commuting cyclists

Brisbane's Cycle2City offers its cycling members secure bike
parking, air-conditioned locker rooms, showers, laundry service
and free classes at its in-house repair shop.

Detail of screenshotDecision-making site offers customised advice
Life hacks

Tapping into the wisdom (and aggregated data) of the crowds,
Hunch is a brand-new decision-making tool that gets to know the
user first and then offers customised suggestions.

Drawing of someone moving boxesMore ways for consumers to rent out unused space
Homes & housing / Marketing & advertising

The proverbial ink had barely dried on our story last week about
Spareground, the site that helps UK consumers rent out unused
space, when we were alerted to not one but two similar services.

A white MinglestickElectronic business card forges online connections
Life hacks

Similar to the cute Pokens we covered previously, the MingleStick is
a keychain device that serves as an RFID-powered electronic business
card. This one is for the business crowd.

Icon for mine magazineCustomised magazine from Lexus, Time & Amex
Media & publishing / Marketing & advertising

Three partnering brands are letting consumers create their own
personalised magazine. Dubbed "mine," the free mag invites readers
to choose editorial content from five of eight select publications.

Airplane on tarmacJob contest lets bloggers become pilots
Marketing & advertising

AirAsia recently launched a "So You Wanna Be a Pilot?" contest, by
which it's offering 10 people the chance to become a pilot. No
experience necessary; all contestants must do is submit a blog entry.

Frozen yoghurtEco-friendly yoghurt shop
Food & beverage / Eco & sustainability

Adding further differentiation to the frozen yoghurt industry is Sno:la,
a Beverly Hills-based shop that bills itself as a socially conscious

Envelope with pink slip'Camp' for laid-off professionals
Life hacks

Founded in January, LaidOffCamp organizes free, ad-hoc gatherings
of unemployed and nontraditionally employed people who want to
share ideas and learn from each other.

Hand holding a chartHealth tracker provides comprehensive view of health
Life hacks

A new application from California-based Health Analytic Services
takes a comprehensive approach that aims to help users track virtually
everything that has an effect on their health and wellbeing.

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Wasted Money?

I saw this comentary from Mediapost and agree:

Wasting Money On Advertising
Gray Hammond

There are a few basic ways to waste money on advertising:

  • Spending too much. [In reality, this almost never happens, despite the CFO's suspicions.]
  • Spending too little. This actually happens a lot. Several polls have shown that at least one-third of marketing managers believe their resources are insufficient to meet their agreed-upon goals. Fifty GRPs is the minimum level to reach the target once a week.
  • Spending too quickly. This is easy if the budget's too small. The best media planners understand the purchase cycle and accordingly "drip" the dollars over time. And a new brand needs time to become known; a "big splash" with no follow-up will be forgotten.
  • Spending at the wrong time. "You can't sell snow tires in July," as the old saying goes. You have to advertise when people are buying; only huge resources can change an established spending pattern. We know an ad agency that improved a retailer's sales simply by changing the media timing, without changing the budget by so much as a penny.
  • Spending off-target. This happens a lot, too. A media plan designed for efficiency [rather than effectiveness] will save money but can miss the primary target's eyes and ears. A poorly positioned brand or a misunderstood target audience will yield waste, no matter how good the media plan is.
  • If your creative sucks, anything you spend is wasted.
  • Forgetting the PR. History shows that the strongest brands have combined advertising [paid media] with PR [earned media] in a virtuous cycle that builds credibility with awareness.
  • Forgetting the POP. You spend money on advertising, channel bribes and packaging, so make sure to connect the dots inside the store. Most consumers shop without lists; most lists are not brand-specific [e.g., they'll say "mayo", not "Hellmann's"]. The best POP will win the sale.

There is widespread executive ignorance of what advertising can achieve. Many non-marketers hope that advertising can quickly drive sales. This only works sometimes, and hardly ever is there a direct cause and effect. Simply by focusing on advertising, they overlook the rest of the marketing and sales mix. Most executives forget competitors' actions when assessing the effects of their own advertising.

This ignorance breeds unrealistic expectations. I've lost count of the number of new brand plans I've seen that target a 10% share in Year 1, but I've only ever seen one brand actually achieve this.

Most people don't realize that about 80% of all advertising is defensive. The bigger your share, the more defensive your ads are: everybody on the planet who's ever going to try your product has already done so. You have to encourage repeat purchase, and ward off the blandishments of your competitors. But you have to maintain your fortress walls. As our accountant once said, "In a recession, the winner's the one who loses least," meaning we're all in retention mode now, not acquisition mode. Preserving the existing customer base is more important [and profitable] than wooing new customers.

Even "everyday" products need to remind people to buy them. In the U.S., milk sales continued unchanged for 12 months after ads were pulled. So far, so good: everybody drinks milk, right? But suddenly sales fell at a nauseating rate. Advertising restarted, but it took another 18 months to pull out of the dive.

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New Ad Campaigns

Time for our weekly update from Amy:

Burgers. Quasi-naughty flings. Death. Dog poop. Let's launch!

Commemorating UNICEF's 2009 Tap Project and World Water Week (March 22-28), Publicis in the West placed melting ice sculptures shaped like children throughout Seattle. The "Ice Children" were on display at Westlake Center alongside a sign asking passersby: "What happens to children when the water runs out." "Each day, 4,200 children die from a lack of drinking water," continues the sign. The sculptures, seen here, here and here, aimed to raise funds and awareness for clean drinking water. Optimedia handled the media buy.

Nike+ launched a TV, outdoor, print and online campaign in Europe called "Men vs Women." Promoting Nike Running, the TV ad is overflowing with familiar sports figures like marathoner Paula Radcliffe, dancer Sofia Boutella, tennis ace Roger Federer and NBA player Tony Parker, whose wife, actress Eva Longoria, also makes an appearance. The spot pits men vs. women in an effort to recruit runners to join, a community where runners can track their progress. Whichever sex runs the most kilometers wins. With Paula Radcliffe on our side, there's no stopping us! See if you can spot her in the ad, seen here. My favorite part of the ad is the final leg of the race, with one man and woman fighting for the win. Print ads, seen here, here, here, here, here and here, promote Nike sneakers, apparel and the Men vs Women challenge, using copy such as, "trounce the girls in comfort" and "stability leads to victory." 72andSunny created the campaign.

This ad gets me excited for baseball season and my New York Mets. Jose Reyes, shortstop for the Mets, stars in a TV ad for Under Armour. The ad promotes Under Armour's new Heater baseball cleat while showcasing what Reyes does best: steal bases. In the ad, Reyes successfully steals two bases, while wearing a form-fitting blue Under Armour shirt. "If I get a good jump, I'm a take two bags," says Reyes. Watch the ad here. Shilo produced the campaign, which was created in-house.

MARS is launching its first new candy bar in more than 20 years. Called Fling, the new candy is sold solely in California. Launching a new line of candy makes sense in this down economy, given that brands such as Cadbury, Hershey's and Nestle are reporting an increase in sales. The print and TV campaign plays off the candy's name and low caloric content (85 per finger), using the tag line, "naughty, but not that naughty." The TV spot follows a woman into a dressing room, where it appears that a man awaits. She slips off her dress and the viewers see an overheard shot of the dressing rooms. In one room, a man is struggling with a pair of jeans, while the woman tries on a dress and eats a Fling. See the ad here. Print ads continue the flirtatious tone, with headlines like "Pleasure yourself," "Your boyfriend doesn't need to know" and "Try it in public." The background of the ads are light pink and black; the copy is written in dark pink, which becomes difficult to read in some ads when it collides with the two background shades. See the ads here, here, here, here, here, here and here. I wrangled up some samples and they're really good. I shared them with my co-workers, and one male colleague was thrown off by the packaging. I gave him a single-packaged "finger" to which he responded, "What's this? It looks like a tampon." BBDO created the campaign and MediaVest handled the media buy.

Da Vinci never saw this coming. This viral simultaneously turns my stomach and impresses me. Minneapolis-based artist Phil Hansen has painted the Mona Lisa using burgers and burger grease, to promote the Roastburger from Arby's. The time-lapsed video, part of an online campaign created by Fletcher Martin, watches Hansen and his greasy hands create a heart-clogging masterpiece in 90 seconds. As the Mona Greasa takes shape, a URL is prominently displayed at the bottom of the video. brings viewers to a site for Arby's "never fried, never greasy" Roastburgers. Watch the masterpiece unfold here.

When you have Padma Lakshmi sitting on a stoop with her dress hiked up, seductively eating a large hamburger, you cross-brand that burger and get more bang for your buck. Carl's Jr. refers to it as the Western bacon six-dollar burger. Hardee's calls it the Western bacon thickburger. Most viewers will call it the "who cares, there's an attractive woman scoffing down a big hunk of meat," burger. The spots refer to her as an author and culinary expert. But no mention of her job as host of Bravo's "Top Chef." I wonder why... Since I'm a stickler, I have the 30- and 60-second spots, for both Carl's Jr. and Hardee's. You're welcome. See the ads here, here, here and here, created by Mendelsohn Zien.

Monuta, a funeral company in Holland, wants the living to think about their funerals. Buried or cremated? Church service or simple family gathering? The company interviewed young and seemingly healthy individuals and asked them what their ideal send-off would resemble, and what you have are three people describing their wishes. Touching, yes, but still über creepy. See the spots here, here and here. THEY created the campaign and handled the media buy.

Suite Sole, a sneaker boutique in Charleston, SC, came up with a unique way to advertise its store and curb residents' dogs at the same time. The company installed branded doggie bag dispensers in the neighborhood near its store with the idea that people love sneakers and people love dogs. The combination of sneakers with dog poop, however, does not leave people feeling warm and fuzzy. See the dispensers here and here, created by Hook.

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

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Wrapping up our 3 days series of sales training emails from Craig:

Hi Scott,

Today I want to go over the third step in the 3-step
formula to constructing your sales conversation with your

The first two steps, which we covered already are:
educate... and inform... and today the final step we'll
talk about is "entertain."

First of all, why do you want to entertain your prospect?
After all, you're not a comedian or an actor, and they
haven't paid money to see you perform, right?

Well... that's true. Bug when I say entertain, I don't
mean entertain as in "stand up comedy routine" entertain.
I mean entertain as in "engage your prospect in a positive
and enthusiastic manner."

Meaning, you want to put a smile across your prospect's
face. You want to be the bright ray of sunshine in their

See, when people feel good about the energy coming out of
you, they are relaxed and very receptive to what you have
to say. And they feel good about you, which is the most
important thing, when you're trying to sell something.

After all, could you imagine buying something from
someone you don't feel good about?

No way, right?

So, how do you entertain your prospects?

Well, today I'm going to tell you how to NOT entertain
them, first. And then in my next tip I'll show you how to
actually entertain.

You don't entertain them by being funny. And there are
two reasons for this:

One, what you think is funny may be irrelevant or even in
bad taste to your prospect. And two, when it comes to
money, people are dead serious about opening up their

You want to be taken seriously and meaningfully. You
want to have value. People aren't usually cracking up over
jokes when they're making buying decisions, now are they?

Most of the time I see people trying to use humor and
it's all wrong. They're cracking jokes, not creating a

Save your jokes for your friends, but be dead serious
with your prospects.

Like I said, next time we'll cover how to entertain. But
for today, just...

Go sell something, Craig Garber

P.S.: Only Five Days Left to get your hands on this
month's issue of Seductive Selling and this month's Audio
Success CD, where a niche marketer from the UK reveals how
he entered his niche and how he's worked his way to the top
of the market in it, in this 78-minute interview! Get your
FREE copy at

Bring it, baby... bring it!


Check out ALL the King's products at

Got a difficult question? Just ask me, baby!

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Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Wednesday Night Marketing News

Clickable Headlines:

Health and Beauty Aids
by Les Luchter
The Shootout will feature award-winning BBQ Pit Masters from around the country competing for prize money. Prilosec OTC has also teamed up with local Walmart stores to hold in-store events the Wednesday or Thursday before each Shootout. The sessions will feature cooking demonstrations, food samplings, autographs from drivers, a chance to win tickets to that weekend's race, and heartburn screenings. ... Read the whole story > >
by Karl Greenberg
Reinaldo Padua, assistant VP/Hispanic marketing Coca-Cola North America, says the effort is intended to create "a more personal connection" to Hispanic consumers. "Through 'El Lado Coca-Cola de la Vida,' we found the voice of the brand again. People reminded us that Coca-Cola is about optimism, quiet confidence, leadership, fun and wit. This led us to create an updated call to action: 'Destapa La Felicidad'," he says. ... Read the whole story > >
by Sarah Mahoney
"Consumers want to know the story -- the narrative behind a sustainable product," says Laurie Demeritt, president and COO of the Hartman Group. "For marketers, it's important to remember that sustainability claims are markers of quality, and product narratives help. The more you can tell people about how it's made, the greater its appeal." ... Read the whole story > >
by Aaron Baar
"Consumers are naturally skeptical, and the green labels might not mean as much as these companies might think," says Retrevo's Andrew Eisner. "It looks like [these companies] have got to be doing a better job of educating consumers. If they can't educate them, they're going to have to drop prices." ... Read the whole story > >
by Karlene Lukovitz
Not surprisingly, of the subgroups identified based on their current financial status, those most likely to report eating less nutritious food as a result of cutbacks are the two groups hit hardest by the recession: those who are "down and out" (65% eating less nutritiously) and those "on the edge" (59% eating less nutritiously). Among a third group, "hold-outs" -- mainly young people with low incomes -- 45% report eating less nutritiously. ... Read the whole story > >
by Karl Greenberg
The campaign includes a new spot that airs on Fox's "American Idol" on April 8. Print begins today with a full-page ad in USA Today. The effort, under Ford's "Drive One" brand mantra, "captures the car as the star," says the brands' marketing manager. "It is really touting the best-in-industry quality, fuel efficiency, and safety of Ford vehicles." ... Read the whole story > >

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