Saturday, January 23, 2010

Ethnic Marketing

from my email this week:

How To Reach African-American Consumers

While some brands have done a good job in reaching African-American consumers, others have a lot of room for improvement. Cynthia Perkins-Roberts, vice president of diversity marketing and business development for the Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau, said there's an opportunity for marketers to specifically target African-Americans via cultural insights that are "baked into" creative since the beginning and not implemented as an afterthought.

Perkins-Roberts agreed with recent research that African-American households are growing in terms of education and income. She said half of African-American consumers are within the "heaviest consumer spending ages," which represents another great opportunity for marketers. Excerpts from that conversation with Perkins-Roberts are below.

Brandweek: Should all marketers go out of their way to specifically target African-Americans? How?
Cynthia Perkins-Roberts:
As with all marketing, it is important for the client to assess if the demographic target is a fit for their product from a business perspective. That said, there may be some categories and brands that are not relevant to the African-American segment. When marketers are assessing the fit, though, they should be open-minded and look beyond their current consumers (to) learn about the African-American lifestyle.

In order for marketers with established recognizable brands to maximize the impact on the African-American consumer, it is important that campaigns have creative and a strategy that is relevant to the segment. This is best accomplished when the African-American component is "baked in" at the beginning and not added as an afterthought. This practice is happening increasingly, but unfortunately not often enough. That is not to say that general-market creative never works, but as with any marketing campaign, the goal is to motivate consumers to buy goods and services. Within the African-American segment that is best achieved when cultural insights are expressed via the creative and the advertising environment.

BW: Which marketers are doing a good job addressing the demo right now? Why?
Off the top of my head, I would say McDonald's, State Farm, Ford, Allstate and Procter & Gamble brands like Tide, Crest and Olay. American Airlines and Coca-Cola seem to be accelerating their efforts as well. These marketers recognize the current market share and upside potential that the African-American segment can have on their bottom lines. They have committed dollars (to) the segment and have not only placed targeted television, Radio and print ads, but have also come up with innovative strategies to reach (African-Americans). Additionally, these marketers have successfully used their creative to show positive portrayals of African-Americans, while being both aspirational and inspirational.

BW: Do you think many brands are wary of addressing black consumers because they're afraid of getting it wrong and thus offending them?
That may have been the case several years ago, but now there are too many examples of brands that have marketed to the segment successfully and reaped benefits for their efforts. Marketers who lack familiarity with the segment can align with talented agencies, researchers and consultants that can help them connect their brands with the black consumer.

BW: What are the biggest misconceptions about the African-American market?
The misconceptions are:
• Because African-Americans speak English, cultural nuances or psychographics don't exist or play a role in their marketing decisions;
• That general-market campaigns work just as well as targeted campaigns to motivate purchases;
• That African-Americans have low incomes and lifestyles that are often negatively portrayed in the media;
• That there is only one way to reach the black consumer (what is that one way?), so segmentation is not necessary;
• Failure to understand that the majority of African-Americans are bicultural, straddling two cultures -- theirs and that of the mainstream U.S. society.

BW: Are many of the differences between the African-American market and the white market due to socio-economic factors? That is, does an African-American person making $200,000 a year have more in common with an African-American making 1/10 of that or a white American making the same amount?
The African-American making $200K may have a similar appreciation for certain material things --education, clothes, homes, the arts, as the white American making the same amount, but there are important cultural, historical differences. First, one who makes that type of salary is mindful of the obstacles he's had to overcome to get to and remain at that level. Second, African-American households at that level are the exception, with other family members (parents, siblings, cousins) often still living at a different level, linking the higher-earners to whence they came and reinforcing their culture, heritage and aspirational goals.

BW: Do you expect any surprises in the 2010 Census related to African-Americans?
I think we will be surprised to see what I consider the increasing "development" or value of the African-American population segment. We know that there will be population increases (approx. 13.4%) surpassing the general-market growth, but I think we will all be surprised to see the jumps in educational attainment, income and the number of affluent African-American households. Another surprising fact will emerge, that almost half (47%) of African-American consumers are within the heaviest consumer spending ages of 18-49. The combination of the "spending age" and "more money to spend" represents great opportunities for marketers.

BW: Can you tell me about your new Web site and what you hope to achieve?
CPR: (which goes live in two weeks) is a website spearheaded by the Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau in collaboration with over 25 companies including media, agencies, advertisers, research companies and marketing consultants to create a comprehensive source for the latest stats, insights, research, case studies and programming options for the black consumer. There's been nothing like it before. Marketers are often hard-pressed to find data on this population segment and this seeks to help fill that void. My primary goal is to elevate the conversation and to help marketers have enough information to at least begin to make informed decisions about "why?" and "how?" they can reach today's black consumer.

(Source: Brandweek, 01/14/10)

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It's not Just....

what you think it is.



Social Media.

There are a lot of things going on below the surface.

Let these words from Seth settle on your brain this weekend:

In between frames

Scott McCloud's classic book on comics explains a lot more than comics.

A key part of his thesis is that comic books work because the action takes place between the frames. Our imagination fills in the gaps between what happened in that frame and this frame, which means that we're as much involved as the illustrator and author are in telling the story.

Marketing, it turns out, works precisely the same way.

Marketing is what happens in between the overt acts of the marketer. Yes you made a package and yes you designed a uniform and yes you ran an ad... but the consumer's take on what you did is driven by what happened out of the corner of her eye, in the dead spaces, in the moments when you let your guard down.

Marketing is what happens when you're not trying, when you're being transparent and when there's no script in place.

It's not marketing when everything goes right on the flight to Chicago. It's marketing when your people don't respond after losing the guitar that got checked.

It's not marketing when I use your product as intended. It's marketing when my friend and I are talking about how the thing we bought from you changed us.

It's not marketing when the smiling waitress appears with the soup. It's marketing when we hear two waiters muttering to each other behind the serving station.

Consumers are too smart for the frames. It's the in-between frame stuff that matters. And yet marketers spend 103% of our time on the frames.

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The Magic Words

from my email:

Daily Sales Tip: Ask For The Order!

In my experience, I have found that rarely do prospects ask, "Where do I sign?"

Without being prompted to buy, they are far more likely to say something like, "I want to think it over," or "I want to get another price," which effectively terminates the interview. Leaving the close of the order to the volition of the prospect opens the door for almost certain failure. After all, in the mind of your prospect, if you really wanted to sell something, wouldn't you just ask for an order?

If you work on commission, you probably already realize that you can't afford to spend all the time laying the groundwork and then not ask for the order. Through the course of your presentation, it's likely you've completely sold your prospect. However, if you don't ask them to buy, you might as well have never opened your mouth. If selling is the way you intend to make your living, you'd better start asking people to buy.

Source: Sales consultant/author Roy Chitwood (

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Friday, January 22, 2010

Friday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

More updates coming this weekend...

by Karl Greenberg
It's a tall order to replace infomercial superstar Billy Mays, who died last year, but on Thursday TeleBrands, which markets a whole roster of "get two now and I'll throw in the third for free" products -- and used Mays as a ptichman -- hit the Big Apple to hold auditions. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karlene Lukovitz
Key to restaurant growth will include continued stress on value, convenience, expanded menu options and sustainable practices (including locally sourced and better-for-you offerings), as well as expanded use of online/mobile/social media capabilities and marketing efforts. ...Read the whole story >>
by Sarah Mahoney
Target Corp. says it is spending $1 billion in the coming year to renovate its stores, scaling back its expansion plans. Much of the remodeling focuses on expanding what it calls its P-Fresh format, adding almost all of the perishable and food items now available primarily at its Super Target stores. ...Read the whole story >>
by Aaron Baar
Samsung is taking its customer service practice interactive with a new Internet program, Samsung Product Support TV. The live-streaming "channel" will be hosted and produced by the consumer electronics company to help people better understand and get more out of its products. ...Read the whole story >>
by Tanya Irwin
A 45-foot-long tour bus featuring colorful tropical images of Hawaii began its trip in Phoenix this week and will visit 11 additional cities. "American Idol" season three top three finisher Jasmine Trias of Oahu was at the Phoenix kickoff and will also make an appearance at the close of the tour in Los Angeles. ...Read the whole story >>
by Sarah Mahoney
Sears is unleashing a series of new TV ads starring NFL quarterback Brett Favre, and while his comic timing may not quite be equal to rival Peyton Manning, he's got that deadpan thing down cold. "We haven't decided yet if we will be on the Super Bowl, but we'll be on heavily during both playoff games this weekend, as well as on post-game shows," says Sears' Karen Austin. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
"Harley-Davidson is not a discretionary purchase to our [loyalists]," says CMO Mark-Hans Richer, who adds that while boomers are Harley's sweet spot, "the challenge is to think about who are those other customers we might enjoy a relationship with? It transcends age, gender and race; we are a counter-culture brand, so our strategy is to have more relationships with more people and more different kinds of people." ...Read the whole story >>
Study: 2/3 Of Marketers Invest In Social Media

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Football , Business & Harvey

Living in Indiana, this is a big weekend for us. Our beloved Colts are just one win away from playing in next months Superbowl in Miami.

Harvey MacKay, wrote about this time of year in his weekly column:

Harvey Mackay's Column This Week

Business and football share a formula for winning

For about six weeks every year, beginning in late December and continuing through early February, football fans get the ultimate fix: the college bowl games, NFL playoffs, and finally, the Super Bowl. It's an interesting study in winning and losing that separates the champs from the also-rans, even though the also-rans worked mighty hard to get to those games in the first place.

I was fortunate to be able to attend the BCS championship football game between Alabama and Texas, which brought back a lot of memories of legendary Alabama football coach Paul "Bear" Bryant. He used to say that members of a winning team needed five things:

  1. Tell me what you expect from me.
  2. Give me an opportunity to perform.
  3. Let me know how I'm doing.
  4. Give me guidance when I need it.
  5. Reward me according to my contributions.

Nurturing employees according to Bryant's five steps works for any organization, with particular emphasis on the second point: Give me an opportunity to perform. Once you've hired a potential superstar and that employee understands what you expect, it's time to let the player carry the ball. Coaches can't play, but a better-coached team almost always comes out on top.

Bear Bryant retired with 323 wins over 38 seasons, one of the most successful careers in college football. He took 29 teams to bowl games and led 15 to conference championships. He loved to win. He lived to win.

Business is a lot like football. In business, there's really no playoff system or championship series, but there are plenty of winners and losers. I think Bear Bryant's formula for recruiting players is not unlike recruiting top talent.

He demanded plenty from his players, starting with the recruiting process. "I don't want ordinary people," he said. "I want people who are willing to sacrifice and do without a lot of those things ordinary students get to do. That's what it takes to win."

Hiring well is critical to success in business. I don't want ordinary people either. I want employees who are willing to go the extra mile and who understand that customer satisfaction may require some sacrifice. I'm looking for people who want to win as much as I do. And I am willing to share the spoils of victory with my players.

Just like there are many skill positions on a football team, your business team needs people with a variety of talents to be able to compete. You need:

  • visionaries, who see the long term;
  • leaders, who define the mission and motivate others;
  • implementers, who make things happen; and
  • infrastructure builders and supporters, who keep the operation running.

In order to compete, you must have players to fill all those slots. Sometimes, skills overlap. Sometimes, you need someone with a special skill. Don't be afraid to call in the "special teams." In football, they often are the difference between winning and losing. Recruit help if you find a weakness.

A good coach preaches cooperation and teamwork. Players run drills and practice situations until they can play their positions in their sleep. They put on their "game faces" and charge onto the field with every intention of winning. Coaches reassess their game plan halfway through to make sure things are still working, and make adjustments if necessary. They make substitutions to strengthen a position.

Your business and your employees should be doing exactly the same. You don't have to be a football fan to see the wisdom in their thinking.

There's one other tidbit of Bear Bryant's wisdom I want to share with you. "Never quit," he said. "It is the easiest cop-out in the world. Set a goal and don't quit until you attain it. When you do attain it, set another goal, and don't quit until you reach it. Never quit."

Winners never quit, as the saying goes, and quitters never win. Take some advice from a winner. You may not end up with a fancy trophy or a Gatorade bath, but the rewards will be just as sweet. Winning feels good.

Mackay's Moral: (borrowed from another special football coach, Vince Lombardi): "Winning is not a sometime thing; it's an all time thing. You don't win once in a while, you don't do things right once in a while, you do them right all the time. Winning is habit. Unfortunately, so is losing."

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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Play with Price

In the United States, we usually pay what the price tags says we should pay. In many other countries, they expect you to dicker a bit.

Sure we may do that when we are buying a car or a house, but what about other items?

Look at this from

Don't Let This One Get Away!

One notable effect of the economic downturn is the marked increase in consumer frugality. Marketers near and far are in hot pursuit of savvy pricing strategies that prod wary customers into buying.

Well, here's a tactic that some researchers say is worth a try: "steadily decreasing discounting" or SDD.

In a recent study, these researchers worked with a kitchen store to offer promotions of wine-bottle stoppers. They employed both SDD and a hi-lo pricing strategy, a much-used tactic in which sellers set relatively higher everyday prices but offer frequent price promotions.

  • In one test, the hi-lo strategy offered the stoppers (regularly priced at $24.95) at 20% off ($19.95) for three days and then returned them to full price.
  • In a separate test, the SDD promotion offered the stoppers at 30% off the first day ($17.45), 20% off the second day and 10% off the third day ($22.45).

Results: The hi-lo tactic increased sales by 75%; SDD increased sales (averaged to $19.95) by 200%.

The researchers offer another example of how SDD might work for you. Say you sell a television for $999 (regular price). Using hi-lo, you might discount it to $799 for a week. However, "[o]ur research supports the use of an SDD tactic," the researchers state, "in which the TV is discounted to $799, and then ... the retailer offers at least one additional sale [price], such as $899" before returning it to the regular price.

Why does SDD encourage consumers to buy? "Higher future price expectations and greater anticipation of inaction-regret appear to be the underlying mechanisms that lead to the effectiveness of the SDD tactic," the researchers conclude.

The Po!nt: Say it with SDD. Employing a pricing tactic like this one, which creates a unique sense of urgency, may encourage wary consumers to buy more immediately.

Source: "Ending a Price Promotion: Retracting It in One Step or Phasing It Out Gradually," by Michael Tsiros and David M. Hardesty. Journal of Marketing, 2010.

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The Power of 3

from my email:

Daily Sales Tip: Focus Your Presentations

For most sales presentations, less is more. In communication circles, this is sometimes referred to as the "Rule of 3." Most people tend to remember things in groups or sets of three. One mistake many sales representatives make is giving the audience far too much information and detail -- most people simply can't remember it all.

Most presenters are far better off by identifying the three most compelling reasons for buying their product and focusing the presentation on those.

If there is vital information you can't cover in this first presentation, use that information as a reason for your prospect to schedule another appointment or demonstration.

Source: Sales consultant Dean Goettsch

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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Thursday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

I almost forgot to add this post tonight:

by Aaron Baar
"Any football enthusiast fondly remembers the original Super Bowl shuffle," Caralene Robinson, Boost's director of marketing, tells Marketing Daily. "It was iconic, and funny; it was a classic. We thought it would be a great way to boost awareness for Boost since we're a new Super Bowl advertiser." ...Read the whole story >>
by Sarah Mahoney
While it's hard to get the nation's tastemakers to agree on much, food experts at the 35th Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco have pronounced the top five food trends for the year ahead: Good-for-you foods, coconut, gluten-free, exotic citrus, and nostalgic foods. ...Read the whole story >>
Packaged Goods
by Karlene Lukovitz
"Through a Dog's Eyes" follows the acclimation process that occurs as several individuals with disabilities receive service dogs. It also documents the canine teaching methods and recipient/dog matching process used by Jennifer Arnold, founder of Canine Assistants, one of the largest service dog organizations. ...Read the whole story >>
by Tanya Irwin
The survey revealed that 90% of respondents have incorporated some level of greenness into their daily lives -- 8.8% are completely green, while most are aspirationally green. To help lead green lives, respondents cite the Internet as the best source of information on green products and practices. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
Ford has put its Taurus sedan in an online interactive game that extends USA Network's "White Collar" show, in which Taurus also takes a star turn. The game highlights Taurus and its on-board technology in a video rather than in animation, a narrative that parallels the structure of the TV show. ...Read the whole story >>
Packaged Goods
by David Goetzl
Talk about grassroots marketing. Scotts Miracle-Gro has a deal with Major League Baseball to sell seed blends and fertilizers akin to those used on the fields at iconic venues such as Fenway Park and Wrigley Field. The arrangement is part of a broader link that pitches Scotts as an "official lawn care company" of MLB. ...Read the whole story >>
Bank Survey: Small Biz Optimistic

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Is it Tiger Time Yet?

Last night in my email was a link to this from the blog:

It’s What You Do Next That Counts

A Lesson from Tiger Woods from the series What Not To Do

by Lou Pierce

Big Idea Company

TIGER small ad

I couldn’t help but cringe. There it was. On the very weekend that Accenture announced it was parting ways with Tiger Woods, was this print ad in the Harvard Business Review.

The ad shows Tiger hovering over his golf ball which is precariously perched on the edge of a rocky cliff. The message is clear: We all get into trouble from time-to-time. But, “it’s what you do next that counts.”

Ironic? You bet. Here’s this phenomenal athlete who has an uncanny knack for getting out of trouble on the golf course, but is seemingly helpless to do so in the trickier world of public relations. But, is Tiger really helpless? Or, is the situation just hopeless?

I’m not chiming in here to beat a dead horse. It’s obvious that Tiger Woods’ ongoing saga is bad for golf and bad for him. But, if there’s anything good to come of this, it’s a lesson in public relations.

Tiger Woods is arguably the best professional golfer in history. But, like all of us, he is human and therefore prone to embarrassment when things go wrong. There’s no doubt that he will eventually return to the golf course and earn more championships and titles before retiring. But, in the meantime he’s done everything he can to make the mess he’s currently in, as messy as possible.

Forget the small cadre of idiots who say that Tiger as a brand will be back someday, bigger and better than before. Those people are either in denial or maneuvering for a job on Tiger’s new brand-building team. Yes, he will resume his rightful place as the world’s greatest golfer – there’s utterly no doubt about that. But, the Tiger brand? Well, that will never be the same.

Why does this matter to me and to you? Well, it matters if you are in the public relations business. And you’re in the public relations business if you represent a large organization, a small business or an individual performer or political candidate. It matters because there are important lessons to be learned from this saga and the way it has evolved.

Here’s the first lesson: As a carefully-crafted public brand, Tiger Woods never had the option of keeping the sordid details of this public incident to himself. His deal with the public, is to be public. And He’s profited greatly from this arrangement. But now that people are curious about what’s happened and demand to know more, he has withdrawn without comment. This, in turn, has forced the media to fill the void with sometimes questionable information from other sources. It’s tawdry, and getting more tawdry.

Can Tiger Woods erase all of his public relations problems simply by making a statement, a fairly detailed statement that includes contrition and remorse? No. He can’t. Not in this case. Evidence that his public image is contrived and wholly at odds with who he really is has become overwhelming.

But he can minimize the damage. He should choose his place and time, admit to his failings just once and in fair detail, and then enter into a clinic or program of some kind to demonstrate his commitment to changing – though I don’t know if there is such a thing for philandering. If he doesn’t do something like this soon, things will continue to spiral out of control.

Here is the second lesson: The Tiger Woods brand was built upon a contrived set of characteristics that were completely inconsistent with who he really is. We all know that now. So, what can his handlers do? Can they ask for forgiveness? Yes. But, the shear scope of his inconsistent behavior is breathtaking. Is every woman who has “confessed” a relationship with Tiger Woods being honest? We’ll never know. And, until Tiger talks, we’ll never be in a position to form an objective opinion. Confirm it all. Deny it all. But talk, Tiger. Talk.

Finally, here is the third and most important lesson of all. It’s not about Tiger. It’s about our profession as public relations executives: like any profession, great public relations people have choices to make. In the legal field, for example, there are plenty of attorneys who, for ethical reasons, will not defend someone whom they know to be guilty. This is not to say that they would deny anyone a fair trial. It’s just to say that they would not feel good about themselves if they defended someone whom they know to be guilty. In our field, we too have choices to make. When we find ourselves lying, rather than ‘spinning;’ when we support and enable ongoing and egregious behavior because we make good money by doing it, something is wrong.

Tiger Woods will be back. The new Tiger Woods will be awesome – the world’s greatest golfer. He will bring with him television ratings, fans and lots of momentous new achievements. But, it will be a new Tiger Woods. The endorsements will be limited to his field of expertise. They will not include financial institutions or other types of businesses that require consumer confidence and transparency. He will live rich and live well – as he deserves. His handlers will even develop and exploit a new image of Tiger – one that is consistent with reality. And, that will be both ethical and fine. After all, ‘it’s what you do next that counts.’

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New Ad Campaigns

from Amy:

Muffin tops. Don't tailgate without Ritz crackers. Snowball fight. Let's launch!

The AICP is promoting the 2010 call for entries for its 2010 AICP Show & Next Awards with a trade campaign urging the advertising and marketing industries to make art, not clichés. In other words, quit using babies and puppies in creative elements, especially in digital and social media channels. Aim higher. The entry Web site,, serves as a hub for industry hopefuls to submit their creative work, and watch a video filled with babies and puppies to learn how to stop the use of clichés. Did I mention that the logo is a baby with a puppy face? Precious. There are a lot of fun things available on the site, including a video game where users equipped with a rocket launcher must blast puppy-riding babies out of the sky, and a cliché ad machine maker that lets users make their own ad using clichéd pictures, products, music and themes. And don't forget to send away for a free T-shirt. Deadline submissions are Feb. 26 and March 12. VCU Brandcenter created the campaign.

Now pretend you didn't read the above post about using babies in ads. But this ad supports Gerber -- it's not like puppies can be used. "United Babies" launched Jan. 15, coinciding with the "Beautiful Baby Contest" on "LIVE! With Regis and Kelly." The spot will run exclusively on the program as part of Gerber's sponsorship of the contest. The spot is a mash-up of cute babies and toddlers waving, clapping and eating. The messy eating part is a bit unrealistic. These kids have perfect food beards. The ad highlights the importance of good nutrition, especially at an early age. "The nutrition children get in the first 5 years can affect their health forever," says the ad, shown here. Draftfcb New York created the campaign.

DieHard puts its car batteries to the test. For its reemergence into the ad scene, the brand used the juice from its Platinum car battery to run a microphone, speaker and lights used by comedic performer Reggie Watts. And the car still starts, too. See the ad here. I prefer this DieHard ad from 1975, where a car was left on a frozen lake for three months, and started up in April, because it was outfitted with a DieHard battery. Y&R Chicago created the campaign and MPG handled the media buy.

Coca-Cola launched two TV spots, "Snowball" & "Finals" during "American Idol." A melting icicle starts a chain reaction that results in an athlete losing his bottle of Coke and a massive snowball fight in the Athletes' Village during the Olympic games. One man has his heart set on replacing his Coke while his buddy is intent on retaliation. Soon athletes from all countries are involved in the snowball fight as the main character nears his target: a Coca-Cola vending machine. He's several feet away from mission accomplished when a ginormous snowball takes him down. The spot closes with our athlete sitting down with his bottle of Coke, only to have it knocked away, again. See it here. I love "Finals." Think of it as "Gulliver's Travels" meets "Night at the Museum." A student falls asleep at his desk while studying for finals. He's dangerously close to sleeping through his exam when his textbooks come to life. Soldiers, Indians and warriors band together and fire their tiny weapons at him. No movement. Same result when an airplane drops its bomb. It's not until Benjamin Franklin, Leonardo da Vinci and Cleopatra fly above the man's bottle of Coke to help release the cap that he's awoken from his slumber in time to take a sip and run to his exam. See the ad here. Wieden + Kennedy Portland created the campaign.

The W Network in Canada is launching a Canadian version of "How to Look Good Naked," a TV series hosted in the U.S. by Carson Kressley. The show teaches women how to look and feel good about themselves with their clothes on or off. The outdoor campaign running in Toronto and Vancouver heavily emphasizes being comfortable sans clothes. A naked, pear-shaped woman stands next to a giant pear, covering her crack, with copy stating, "Learn to love your pear shape." A woman with an apple bottom stands next to a large apple and similar copy. See creative here and here. Pear- and apple-shaped bodies are basically out of one's control, but the muffin top, however, is controllable. The third ad has a naked lady sitting on a blueberry muffin, advocating her to love that muffin top. Buy pants a size bigger and you won't have a muffin top. Done! See the ad here. Zig created the campaign.

The Advertising Council and the American Red Cross launched a PSA ASAP following the devastating earthquake in Haiti. The simple, yet effective PSA was filmed in the White House Vermeil Room and features First Lady Michelle Obama encouraging audiences to go to, call 1-800-RED-CROSS or text "HAITI" to 9-0-9-9-9, which automatically donates $10 to the American Red Cross. Watch the ad here, and donate.

Ritz crackers have their very own "Tailgate" marching band. Who knew? A tailgating party is taken over by a marching band whose instruments are shaped like Ritz crackers. The circular portions of drums, cymbals, trumpets, tubas, trombones and saxophones all resemble Ritz crackers. A tailgater kicks a football and former New York Giants running back Tiki Barber catches it. I didn't see that one coming. "Open for fun," closes the ad, seen here. Euro RSCG New York created the campaign and MediaVest handled the media buy.

Peugeot launched a TV spot called "Perfect Day," promoting its Crossover 3008 with grip control technology. A husband and wife are driving through snow, rain and mud with ease. An aerial shot reveals the couple is going around and around in one big circle, mimicking a record. See the ad here. BETC Euro RSCG, Paris created the ad, directed by Psyop, with visual effects handled by MassMarket, Los Angeles.

Random iPhone App of the week: It's like being at the casino, without being surrounded by smoke. Foxwoods Resort Casino launched a free application where users can play Foxwoods-themed games with play money. The app also gives users access to a 24-hour concierge service that provides access to Foxwoods reps who can answer questions about the casino, its services, book rooms or spa treatments. Users can even take virtual visits to hotel rooms, restaurants, retail shops and spas. Mullen and Aurnhammer created the app, available at the App Store.

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

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False Buying Signals

From my email:

Daily Sales Tip: Living with Problems

I'm often asked, "What's the biggest mistake you see salespeople make?" I answer, "Whatever they do to lose the sale!"

Seriously, there is one pattern I've witnessed with clients over 13 years. They sometimes assume that a customer with a problem is a customer who is committed to acting on the problem.

I tell this story in my seminars to make this point. A client of mine presented a new product to one of his customers and the customer said, "This is great. I can't stand the product we're using. I hate it." The salesperson worked up the sale value and figured he had a pretty good opportunity in front of him. He told his manager of this newfound opportunity and the manager, knowing this customer well, said, "Don't get too excited. The guy you called on has hated the product he uses for 10 years."

One of two things is likely going on:
-- The person who hates the product has no authority to change; or
-- He has no personal motivation to change that overrides his hating the product.

For example, if the new product costs twice as much as the product he hates he might choose to live with the problem and save money. Or, it could be a big hassle to change even to a better performing product and he concludes that right now the better performance is not worth the hassle to get it.

The salesperson's mistake is in thinking that "hates product" equals "committed to change." Fundamental to this story is the salesperson really doesn't know what the problem is.

If you or your salespeople stumble like my client did just remember that it isn't a problem until the customer says it is, and often there's more to the problem that they need to learn. Also, someone has to authorize making a change. The person who hates the product has to live with it if he's not the one authorized.

Source: Marketing consultant Mark Sellers (

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Wednesday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

I admit it. I like the Kaplan TV ads. Here's more from Mediapost:

by Karl Greenberg
Distance learning has had a boom as people spend money to boost their marketability. "People are rethinking what they have been doing and what they want to do in the future: gain skills, finish a degree or get advanced degrees, so there's huge interest," says Kaplan's Linda Mignone, adding, "The first quarter is a time when people are thinking about what comes next." ...Read the whole story >>
by Karlene Lukovitz
Coke couldn't have scripted better responses: Students laugh and jump, pass the Cokes and gifts around, and even thank Coke as they hug the vending machine. But the footage is "all real students and real reactions," according to Christy Amador, digital marketing manager, Coca-Cola global interactive marketing. ...Read the whole story >>
by Tanya Irwin
"There are some who are criticizing us for continuing to call on Labadee with vacationing guests, knowing that less than 100 miles away people are suffering,' says Betsy O'Rourke, Royal Caribbean's senior VP, marketing. "We gave a lot of thought to that very question: Is it appropriate for us to continue business as usual at this destination?" She compared it to New York City after 9/11. ...Read the whole story >>
by Sarah Mahoney
Such deals are also proof that to some degree, celebrity endorsements are more or less recession-proof. "We haven't seen much of a dip in the amount of deals our clients are doing with the celebrities in the last year," says Davie Brown's Matt Fleming. "But they are being much more careful about the celebs they are going after, and paying much closer attention to image and conduct clauses in contracts." ...Read the whole story >>
by Aaron Baar
"This sounds like it is more about market share than health," says nutritionist Marion Nestle. "Whatever marginal nutritional difference they have can't possibly matter to health. This seems to me to be part of the ferocity of food marketing these days. If you can't sell the foods on their own, tear into your competitors and see if that can generate sales." ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
The company is combining a three-stage print and online campaign, breaking serially this month, in April and July, with a promotion that offers free mountain bikes, valued at $25,635, to the first four riders, which the company calls "oddvertisers" willing to get a tattoo, a branded wedding, or a name change reflecting the Titus Cycles name. ...Read the whole story >>
Sunkist Teams With Dick Vitale For Contest

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Social Media Control

Somehow those three words don't work well together. Drew explains:

Social media = letting others in

Posted: 18 Jan 2010 11:32 AM PST

88012995 Over the past few months, I have been delivering quite a few presentations on social media to groups (conferences, conventions etc.) of business leaders.

One aspect of embarking into the waters of social media that seems to give most of them some sort of tick is the idea that you have to relinquish some control.

You can't take advantage of the connectivity, reach and viral nature of he beast without also being willing to connect, reach many people and let others share. It's like wanting to enjoy the sensation of flying over the water in a boat at high speed but without the engine noise. It' the "other people" part of social media that provides its power.

Here's what I think of as social media's price of admission:

You have to be willing to spotlight and amplify other people's voices:

Many business owners seem to want to mute their employees and customers. That doesn't work in social media. Not only do you need to "let them" talk but you need to invite it. You have to allow comments. You are the topic of conversation somewhere. This is just about allowing it to happen (and encouraging it) in your digital home.

You have to be willing to be imperfect:

You need to be willing to be imperfect (like Dominos). You need to be transparent and that takes some courage. But let's be honest here. Everyone already knows you're not perfect. And...will actually respect and love you all the more for just admitting it. It's not how or whether you screw up. It's what you do next that matters.

You have to be willing to let others change your direction:

Viral means letting go. It means tossing an idea or program out into the social media space and inviting other people to pick up the ball and run with it. Sometimes, they go where you think they'll go...and sometimes they'll surprise you.

I'm pretty sure the FourSquare folks (a location based social network) hadn't anticipated that Marcus Brown would create the International Day of the Toilet -- and encourage his worldwide network of friends to all create "water closet" venues on Foursquare. The interesting thing is -- will FourSquare shudder at the news or help promote the idea?

There are plenty of other things you need to do to create a successful social media presence. But...if you can't swallow these three, don't even get started. Social media is nothing if it's not about inviting other people into the party.

Which of these three is toughest for you?

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My Bologna Doesn't have a First Name anymore

From one of my clients, Villing and Company:

Sausage Strategies: Marketing Gambles by Dominos and Oscar Meyer

Thom Villing
Written by:
Thom Villing

I heard a shocker today. Oscar Meyer is retiring the longest running jingle in advertising history. Sing along with me. “I wish I was an Oscar Meyer weiner…” Yeah, you know it. It’s been part of the advertising landscape since 1953. Now, Oscar Meyer says that the jingle is too restrictive because their product mix is much more than hot dogs and baloney.

Dominos Pizza has been shaking up the ad world lately as well with their interesting strategy involving a brutally candid presentation of negative consumer opinions about the quality of their product.

Although the situations are quite a bit different, they have a common theme. Risk.

“I am torn as to whether this is a good marketing strategy or the recipe for disaster”

Oscar Meyer’s risk is not as significant as Dominos but it does raise some interesting questions about when strategic considerations offset the incredibly high level of equity in a brand asset like the wiener jingle. I can understand why the strategic considerations would take precedence, but for my part, I would love to see them try to reconcile this conflict so we don’t lose such a valuable icon from the golden age of advertising.

When I first heard about Dominos plans a few weeks back, I was intrigued. Now that I have seen the actual commercials I am torn as to whether this is a good marketing strategy or the recipe for disaster. If you haven’t seen the TV commercials or online video, they show Dominos executives watching focus groups in which their pizzas are described as tasting like “cardboard”, their sauce like “ketchup” and one participant claims it’s the “worst excuse for pizza I’ve ever had.” All of this was, of course, the set-up for a new campaign touting their new and improved pizza recipe.

My first reaction was to applaud their amazing candor and refreshing honesty. But then I started thinking about the risks involved. Andy Fuller, the newest member of the Villing team said it best. “Definitely a huge risk, but I can understand where they’re coming from. They changed their core product, but trust in that product was already so low it led them to believe no one would give it a chance. It looks like they figured the only shot to build trust was to develop a sort of mea culpa campaign in which they showed the changes were the result of consumers’ suggestions. They’re trying to build trust by implying consumers are the ones who built this pizza, not necessarily Domino’s. I think Microsoft is taking a similar angle with their “I’m a PC, and Windows 7 was my idea” campaign.

The major risk, of course, is, if in the end, people try the pizza and still don’t like it.”
The famed adman Tom McElligott once said that the best advertising should make you a bit nervous… should make the palms sweat a little. I’m guessing there is some serious wringing of hands going on at Dominos right now as they wait to see how the new campaign fares in the ultimate focus group: the consumer marketplace.

If you enjoyed this article or would like to receive your own personal "subscription" to Villing & Company’s News & Views, click here to get free updates by e-mail or RSS.

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Time Wasted?

I sometimes wonder if the Internet is helping or hurting our productivity as salespeople.

The answer? All depends on how you use it.

Email is essential in my work world.

Social Media has opened doors that were previously locked tight.

But there are some dangers too as outlined in this piece from

Fighting the Time Bandits
by Michael Dalton Johnson
Work eight hours a day. That's it. The rest of the day is yours.

You can get a lot done in eight hours. In fact, eight hours is an eternity. If you don't believe this, fly coach for eight hours seated next to a crying infant. You'll get a keen understanding of just how long it is.

Consider the time you devote to productive work as your "Golden Eight." Golden because time is indeed money especially if you are in sales.

Working a solid, focused eight hours can be difficult. Every day time bandits knock on your door. Members of this mob include personal phone calls and texting, bull sessions with co-workers, checking personal email, looking for lost things, (Highly productive people have clean and well-organized desks.) personal errands, long breaks and longer lunches...the list goes on.

It all adds up. Research shows that, on average, salespeople waste two hours a day. This works out to be a startling three months a year! How much can you sell in three months?

By far the biggest time bandit is the Internet. While the web is an indispensable business, communication, education and research tool, it is also highly addictive. Like most addictions, it can devour your precious time, energy and productivity and, by extension, your income.

Take it from a recovering Internet addict, if you are serious about increasing your productivity you will avoid these Internet time bandits:

Social Networking. Sure it's fun to share photos and news with friends and family but it also diminishes your productivity. Do it after hours.

Online Videos. That hilarious video of the cute little kitten playing ping pong is a must see... but not during the Golden Eight you've devoted to work.

News and Blogs. Offering lively writing, lots of photos and tempting links to other sites and news items, these are powerfully addictive. Stay off them during work.

Shopping. The Internet is open 24 hours a day. Shop before or after work hours.

Surfing the web. There's a lot out there to see. It's interesting and entertaining but a pointless drain on your precious time.

All That Other Stuff. Online games, auctions, adult sites, chat rooms, job sites, dating sites, vacation and travel sites are all major workplace no-no’s.

Carpe Diem! Each morning take a few moments to write down what you want to accomplish that day. This does not have to be an hour-by-hour work plan. It can simply state the work activities that will give you the highest return on your time. Allow yourself a little flexibility, but follow your plan.

You'll be on your way to much greater productivity. You'll enjoy the feeling of knowing you've put in an honest and productive eight hours. You'll look forward with much greater appreciation to the 16 hours left for rest, relaxation, friends, family and maybe a little time on the Internet.

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Tuesday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

from my email to your eyes:

by Karl Greenberg
A spokesperson says that Smart is looking at national marketing programs to tout the leasing deal. "We have done a little national advertising in the past, primarily in print and some digital. And dealers have been advertising. We have dealer co-op material in queue to promote this program; they will advertise in their markets so will we, and we are looking at a national approach, most likely digital." ...Read the whole story >>
by Tanya Irwin
The two companies will launch the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express and the Starwood Preferred Guest Business Card from American Express, set for release in the first quarter of 2010. These two new cards will provide members in Canada the fastest way to earn Starpoints towards free hotel nights as well as free flights. ...Read the whole story >>
by Aaron Baar
Pioneer Electronics is looking to take some of the guesswork out of its products with a new marketing strategy that breaks the company's in-vehicle entertainment and navigation products into four different levels, allowing people to determine which products best fit their needs. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
A just-released survey found that shoes and dress boots trump other accessories women favor to define a look. Jewelry is the working woman's second-most-popular embellishment, with 52% saying they finish their looks with necklaces, earrings and bracelets, per Mintel. After that are things like purses, belts and scarves, which less than one-third use to complete or change their work styles. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karlene Lukovitz
According to a new report on fast food trends from food service consultancy Technomic, Inc., 41% of 2,000 people interviewed in November said that their idea of places offering "fast food" has expanded to include fast-casuals such as Panera and full-service restaurants that offer carry-out and curbside service. ...Read the whole story >>
Little Debbie Not So Little Now

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Boomers are ..

not a bunch of old folks who are stuck in their ways.

Last summer, I visited an Aunt & Uncle in Maine and saw a cousin of mine who I haven't seen in a dozen years. All of a sudden I realized she was now 60! Yet she still has the same attitude she has always had about life, just with a few more experiences to back it up. Check this out from Mediapost:

Make It Experiential
The 18-to-49 age group has been the Holy Grail since the 1950s. Today, the baby boomer generation makes up about one-third of the U.S. population but it controls three-fourths of the wealth. It wields $2 trillion in annual buying power. Nevertheless, frustration is mounting because the $275 billion ad industry still gears only 10% of ads toward 50-plus customers.

So How Do You Connect?

Marketing communications should be easy to read and be experiential in nature. They should reflect and understand the values of this demo and positioned as a gateway to desired experiences. Values and motivators for this group include:

  • Autonomy and self sufficiency (independence/participation)
  • Social connectedness (relationships/friendships)
  • Altruism (opportunity to share wisdom and ability to do for others: family, community and country)
  • Personal growth (gain knowledge)
  • Revitalization (need to rejuvenate)

The more ads and sales approaches that reflect the product or service is in harmony with these values and motivators the higher the success rate.

Aging-related changes like reduced vision need also be considered. For example, as we age, we need more light to see, pastel colors become distorted and blend to dark, etc. Large font, serif type, vivid colors, etc. are recommended.

We See What We Want To See

There is also evidence that communications that take a "less is more" approach to this demo are more effective. Presenting your company or product in a manner that is more suggestive than descriptive allows the target demo to subjectively interpret the message based upon his/her needs, values and motivators.

Most marketing and sales center on customers' objective identities (demographic and psychographic) and research shows that a product's message succeeds when it connects with a customer's subjective identity (allowing for individual interpretation). Brilliant messages and sales presentations not connecting with the subjective mind are usually unproductive.

Stories Work Well

Another good communication tactic is the greater use of story-telling techniques. Stories are generally quicker to arouse emotions than straightforward propositions about a product's features. Think Hallmark cards. They surpass most in using stories to present its products.

Today's customer universe is age-weighted toward midlife values. Resistance to emotionally neutral information (mainly processed in the left hemisphere of the brain) increases in midlife. Receptivity to emotionally enriched information -- such as stories -- increases in midlife. Storytelling has become an important part of market strategy. Whoever tells the best story and tells it best will most likely win.

Jim Gilmartin has emerged as one of America's experts on improving marketing, sales and service to baby boomer and senior customers. He is a frequent source for journalists writing on these lucrative markets. Jim is president of Chicago-based Coming of Age, Inc. (, a marketing/ad agency, PR and training firm specializing in helping clients increase market share and profit in baby boomer and senior customer markets. An author of hundreds of articles on these rapidly growing and lucrative markets, Jim recently co-authored "Market Smart: The Best in Age & Lifestyle Specific Design." Reach him here.

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