Saturday, March 06, 2010

Jeff, Oscar, and Hyundai


How Jeff Bridges Voice-overs Imperiled Hyundai's Oscars Blitz

Kim Basinger, Richard Dreyfuss and Others Helped Hyundai Comply With Oscars Rules at the Last Second

by Brian Steinberg

( -- Hyundai Motor America was all ready to bombard this year's Oscars with a raft of commercials -- seven different spots were locked, loaded and ready to go. With just a few weeks to go before the March 7 ceremony, however, the company was told its commercials were unfit for air.

The problem? Actor Jeff Bridges has been doing voice-overs for Hyundai since 2007. But Mr. Bridges is also a nominee for best actor in this year's contest for his role in "Crazy Heart."

Even with the new accommodation last year that finally let movie studios advertise actual movies during the Oscars, marketers still have to make sure certain ads featuring celebrities or celebrity voice-overs don't run near segments of the program that could feature those very same stars.
Actor Jeff Bridges has been doing voiceovers for Hyundai since 2007.

Trying to determine where seven Hyundai ads could run and not violate the conditions of Oscars advertising was simply too much to handle, suggested Chris Perry, director-marketing communications, Hyundai Motor America. So the automaker is keeping the ads but has enlisted seven other celebrities to read the marketing copy.

"We've been scrambling to get this thing done," said Mr. Perry. Instead of Mr. Bridges, the ads' narrators will be Kim Basinger, Richard Dreyfuss, David Duchovny, Catherine Keener, Michael Madsen, Mandy Patinkin and Martin Sheen.

Other advertisers taking part in this year's broadcast are Coca-Cola; Ameriprise; CBS Corp.'s CBS Films; The Hershey Company; JCPenney; Kimberly-Clark; McDonald's, Microsoft; Church & Dwight's OxiClean; Samsung Electronics Media; Summit Entertainment; Sprint; and Walt Disney Pictures.

A 30-second spot in ABC's Oscars broadcast costs between $1.3 million and $1.5 million, according to media buyers, close to the price for ad inventory in last year's show. With ratings increases notched by recent airings of the Super Bowl, Grammys and other big-ticket programming, advertisers are hoping the Oscars takes part in the trend.

"It seems like a lot of these shows are picking up steam," said Mr. Perry.

The hope is that, with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences broadening its best picture category to 10 nominees, a wider audience will tune in, he added. Oscars ratings have long hinged on the popularity of the best picture slate. In 1997, for example, approximately 55 million viewers tuned in to see the crowd-pleasing "Titanic" win best picture.

But in 2003, when "Chicago" won the honor, only 33 million watched. And just 32 million tuned in to see "No Country for Old Men" snare the prize in 2008. Oscar ratings hit a new low that year, down from about 38.9 million in 2007, according to Nielsen research compiled by Brad Adgate, senior VP-research at independent ad buyer Horizon Media. Oscar ratings rebounded in 2009, when the event snared approximately 36.3 million viewers.

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Look at where people are looking:

Bargain Hunters Start With Newspaper and Magazine Ads

According to a recent Adweek Media/ Harris Poll, 23% of adult Americans believe that newspaper and magazine advertisements are where they can find the best bargains. 18% believe online advertisements are most likely to help them find the best bargains. 10% say direct mail and 12% catalogs, 11% television commercials, and just 2% say radio. And, 34% of Americans believe the type of ad makes no difference when they are looking for the best bargain.

When looking for the best bargains, different age groups have different ideas of where to look:

  • 18-34 year olds are more likely to say online ads (22%) and television commercials (17%) are the best places to go
  • 35-44 year olds go online (26%)
  • 24% of those 44-54 and 33% of those 55 and older say newspaper and magazine advertisements those are media most likely to help them find the best bargain

Advertising Most Likely to Help Find Bargain - Age (Base: All U.S. adults; % of Category Respondents)







Newspaper/Magazine advertisements






Online advertisements






Direct mail and catalogs






Television commercials










< .5


None- the type of ad makes no difference






Source: Harris Polls, January 2010

Among the genders, women are more likely than men to say newspaper and magazine advertisements, and direct mail and catalogs are more likely to help them find a bargain. Men, on the other hand, are more likely to say online advertisements are more likely to help them find a bargain.

There is also an interesting educational difference in the media people believe can help them find the best bargains:

  • One-quarter of those with a high school education or less say newspaper and magazine advertisements are more likely to help them find a bargain, compared to 20% of those with at least a college degree.
  • 29% with at least a college degree believe online advertisements are more likely to help them find a bargain compared to 12% of those with a high school education or less

Advertising Most Likely to Help Find Bargain - Gender & Education (Base: All U.S. adults; % of Category Respondents)






HS or less

Some college

College grad

Newspaper/Magazine advertisements







Online advertisements







Direct mail and catalogs







Television commercials














None- the type of ad makes no difference







Source: Harris Polls, January 2010

The report concludes that, while newspaper ads are still slightly ahead of others among all adults when it comes to bargain hunting, online is not far behind. And, online ads lead newspaper and magazine ads, as a source of information about bargains, among younger, better educated consumers, who are much more attractive to most advertisers.

Please visit here for additional information about the study.

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Sales Steps

from my email:

Daily Sales Tip: Asking for Commitment

All of us in sales have, since day one, had it drilled into us that we must "ask for commitment" from the buyer. Unfortunately, too many of us interpret this to mean simply, "ask for the order." Thus, we feel that the only time to ask for commitment is at the end of the sale -- at the "close" -- when we ask for the Ultimate Commitment.

In reality, you should be asking for commitments at various points in a sales cycle. Why? Well, any of you who have experienced "things were going so great, why won't she call me back" syndrome will understand why.

First, if a prospect is unwilling to agree to do even the smallest request, what does that signal to you about how serious this prospect is?

Second, the more commitments you get your prospect to make and keep, the more he has invested in the deal, the more he's stuck his neck out, the more difficult it will be for him to simply walk away from it.

Think about it. If your contact has invested lots of his personal time, and gotten others to do the same (including the boss); if this investment has become a high-profile one throughout the organization, it's going to be pretty difficult for him to simply pull out and say, "we're just going to stick with the status quo," without getting a whole lot of egg on his face.

Remember, commitment is a two-way street. Too often, out of an eagerness to please, we commit to doing something for our prospects without asking for a reciprocal commitment from them. You have just as much of a right to ask a qualified prospect to invest time and effort to get you what you need as he does to ask you to get him what he needs.

Source: Craig James, founder and president of Sales Solutions (

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Friday, March 05, 2010

Friday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

There will be more updates over the weekend, 3 Saturday & 3 more on Sunday...

by Karl Greenberg
John Stanwood, Cottonelle senior brand manager, says that the Academy Awards makes sense as a property for announcing the poll results and the new product innovation because the Oscars are hugely popular with women "who are the primary shoppers for households and the target for a lot of our communications." ...Read the whole story >>
by Sarah Mahoney
"The numbers were better than expected, and given how much the weather dampened sales, the gains are really surprising," Frank Badillo, senior economist at Retail Forward, tells Marketing Daily. "Clearly, the bounce back is being driven by shoppers who had cut back on spending as a precautionary measure." ...Read the whole story >>
by Karlene Lukovitz
The group of warnings recently issued to food makers reflects the FDA's concern that not all food products labeling is in accordance with the provisions of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (which prohibits false or misleading claims and restricts nutrient content claims to those defined by FDA regulations). ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
General Motors figures the best way to convert assembly-line employees into advocates is to get them behind the wheel. Thus, GM this week is launching its "Vehicle Plant Tour," which comprises a fleet of trucks that will visit some 40 manufacturing facilities. ...Read the whole story >>
by Sarah Mahoney
Other award winners, generated by a live vote during RAMA's Innovation & Marketing Conference in San Francisco, include Ralph Lauren in the digital motion category; JCPenney for outdoor (in preparation for the launch of its Manhattan store launch) and the Home Depot for its gift card campaign. ...Read the whole story >>
by Tanya Irwin
Support for the campaign and sweepstakes includes in-store promotions, retail events and handset offers with the launch of the T-Mobile-exclusive Nokia 5230 Nuron. Upon launch of the device in the coming weeks, customers will be able to purchase the new Nokia Nuron at participating retail locations and receive a special edition soccer ball while supplies last. ...Read the whole story >>
by Staff Writers
The new syndicated report will track the marketing impact of social media in the general population and on users in five explicit social media segments. "While there is a sea of data about social media, little of it speaks to the needs of marketers, who are trying to make specific plans for their categories and brands," says Chuck Martin, Director of MediaPost's Center for Media Research. ...Read the whole story >>
P&G Uses 6-Foot Roll Of Bounty For Fundraiser

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Marketing from the Inside Out (Part 2)

This is from Drew:

5 ways to building a committed team

Posted: 26 Feb 2010 06:36 AM PST

96784066-1 If you want a powerful, profitable company -- create a powerful team. If you want to create love affairs with your customers -- create a passionate team. If you want to leave a legacy -- create a committed team.

Your team. Nothing reflects on a business owner/leader more than the team they build around them.

So in this world of disposable everything -- how do you, with genuine intention, bring that mythical team to life?

Let them have a voice: There are few things more frustrating than having no control over your environment. Whether it's how to handle summer hours, what charities your company will support or how a customer service policy should be amended -- ask them. Ask them and listen.

At MMG, 90% of the company decisions are made collectively. I toss the problem/opportunity on the table and we talk about it. When we think we've covered all the bases, we find consensus and move forward. About 10% of the time, it's a decision I feel I have to ultimately make -- but I want the team's input first. So I ask. And listen.

Don't be afraid to use the "L" word: My friend Steve Farber teaches us in his brilliant book Radical Leap that the word and the emotion love belong in business. That there's nothing wrong with loving your team, your clients and your work. In fact, I'd worry if you don't.

Make it mean something: I don't care what you do -- it has a higher purpose. Jim Collins calls it a big, hairy audacious goal. A true BHAG is clear and compelling, serves as unifying focal point of effort, and acts as a clear catalyst for team spirit. It has a clear finish line, so the organization can know when it has achieved the goal; people like to shoot for finish lines. If you don't have one....your team needs you to create one.

Celebrate the big and little wins: This doesn't have to be "send the sales force to Vegas" sort of celebrations although there's nothing wrong with those either. It can be as simple as gathering everyone together for a quick high five. At MMG, we have a drum that when someone has big news (new client, big project successfully completed etc.) -- we bang the drum and everyone comes to the conference room to hear what's up. It's about taking the moment. (And we're not always good at it either, so cut yourself some slack...but make it part of your culture!)

Thank them in surprising ways: Again -- this doesn't have to be a grand gesture. Part of the fun of it is the surprise element. One of the goofier ones that I've done is this simple. Go buy gift cards for various places (iTunes, restaurants, your local grocery store etc.). Get enough so you have one for each person on your team. Then go buy the same number of Pringle's cans of chips. On the bottom of each Pringle's can -- write a number 1- how many ever you bought. Spread the gift cards all over the conference room table and put all the Pringle's cans in the middle of the table, so no one can read the numbers.

Call in your team and tell them (with love) how proud you are of them or congratulate them on some client accomplishment or whatever. But...set the mood and tell them why you're doing this. Then, let each person randomly pick a Pringle's can. Whoever got the #1 can gets to pick among the gift cards first, etc.

It will take you 10 minutes, but they'll remember it for much longer than that.

Bottom line -- building a rock solid team doesn't happen by accident. It is borne from love, gratitude and sharing a vision that matters. The good news is -- it costs very little and the rewards for you, your team and your clients -- is huge!

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Marketing from the Inside Out (Part 1)

From one of my clients:

Marketing to Your Employees: Say What?

Jeannine Villing
Written by:
Jeannine Villing

Tons of companies give company-branded gifts to their employees, like a jacket or shirt with the company’s name and logo. Or, if you’re Apple, you give each employee his or her own iPhone. (Now you’re talking!)

But how many companies actually market to their employees? How many companies talk about their brand to their employees and not just to their customers? How often do employees know or truly understand what the company’s brand is or know the organization’s core values?

Many organizations believe that employees know these things intuitively. And some companies probably believe that the external customer is the most important because that’s what generates direct revenue, right?

The problem with this approach is that a company’s employees are often the direct link to the external customer, the front line in the battle to project its brand. That’s why it’s always impressive to find an organization that understands that internal marketing is just as important as external marketing. Sometimes more so. Two companies who really get this are clients of ours.

The GMI Group is a manufacturer and distributor of an extensive variety of packaging products with several divisions and six plants throughout the United States.

GMI does not have a large external marketing budget. But management believes strongly in one of the most fundamental tenets of marketing — employees are the face of the company on many levels. Chris Stoler, president and CEO of GMI, uses the power of internal marketing to motivate his team to the highest levels of customer service possible. He leverages that marketing to make sure that each and every employee is working daily to live up to the company’s customer promise — to project the GMI brand.

Every quarter, Stoler focuses on one aspect of GMI’s customer promise, reinforcing its core values. And he markets this to the company’s employees in many different ways — some traditional like a company newsletter and, yes, those infamous tchotchkes, but also in ways in which many companies would not consider spending marketing dollars or time, like videos. The employees themselves are part of these programs in that they actually participate in the videos — and this participation isn’t limited to just the employees in one plant, but in all of the company’s plants throughout the country. As part of GMI’s internal marketing campaign, Stoler travels to each plant quarterly, personally talking to the employees and discussing why, as members of the GMI team, their role is critical to the company successfully living up to the promise they make to their customer’s every single day.

Another great example of believing the employee is key to an organization’s success is reflected in an initiative our client McDonald’s refers to as “employment image.” This is an important area of focus in our public relations’ efforts on their behalf. While this program certainly includes communicating externally about the many benefits of working at McDonald’s, we are also challenged to help the Owners/ Operators of these restaurants inform and engage their crew so they understand and properly represent the strong McDonald’s brand. This has involved such tools as crew newsletters and videos, as well as some unique crew kits introducing new products — all in the belief that if the crew understands the products they are making and selling, the better they can be in servicing the customer.

It’s always interesting that when you ask a prospective client to discuss their various audiences, they immediately mention external customers and other obvious constituents like shareholders and the media, but they rarely mention their internal customers — the employees.

Internal marketing takes commitment, openness and, yes, a financial investment. But as the clients mentioned above will tell you, what better way to invest your marketing dollars than on the face of your brand?

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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Avoid "Lazy Listening"

from my email:

As a salesperson, you should work to focus all of your attention on your customer and his/her needs. It's all too easy to swoop in to present a solution instead of listening to your customer's complaints and the specifics of his/her situation.

In this rush to cut to the chase, you're in danger of coming across as arrogant, and your customers end up feeling their input is unimportant and unappreciated. This understandable mistake happens for two reasons:

* You want to come off as the "expert" or "hero," showing off all your knowledge by providing the solution before your customer even has a chance to finish her thought.
* You're in a hurry and don't have the time and energy to devote to your customer.

For example, let's say you're about to leave for a week's vacation when a prospective customer calls. He starts to go into a long story about his business and all the problems he's encountered in the last five years. You realize that you have heard his story -- or at least a similar one -- many times before, so you interrupt him to give your answer to his problems. You try to end the call as soon as possible so you can leave for vacation.

In this case, even though you might have given your prospect a good solution, chances are he won't feel satisfied with the conversation. He didn't have an opportunity to tell you about his business, so he feels shortchanged.

What should you have done? Next time, embrace any information your prospect gives you, whether you believe it's valuable or not. If you truly didn't have time to talk at length with this prospect, you should have requested the opportunity to call him back after you returned from vacation. Otherwise, you should have put down your briefcase, closed your office door, and listened to him for as long as he needed.

Remember, even if you hear the story all the time, it is unique and personal for each customer. Instead of interrupting your customer with your standard solution, let him have the floor and explain his problem. Only then can you proceed with the process of finding a solution for whatever ails him.

Source: Paul Cherry, founder of the sales training firm Performance Based Results (

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Thursday, March 04, 2010

Thursday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

Cars, and adult diapers....

by Karl Greenberg
John Maloney, VP marketing communications for Volvo, tells Marketing Daily the company teased the effort with short videos this week and will follow with a second wave during the summer and an experiential tour. "Last year for S60 we took cars to VIP events at key dealers several months before they were on sale. We will reprise that." ...Read the whole story >>
by Karlene Lukovitz
Supplements shown by the tests to have polychlorinated biphenyl levels above the "safe harbor" consumption limits set by Proposition 65 include ones produced by Omega Protein, Now Health Group, Inc., Pharmavite LLC (Nature Made brand), Solgar, Inc. and TwinLab Corp., according to the lawsuit, which also names CVS, General Nutrition and Rite Aid Corp. ...Read the whole story >>
by Sarah Mahoney
All the new bodycare products -- which include shower gel, body scrub, body lotion, hand cream and lip balm -- are organic, and certified by Ecocert, one of the world's leading organic certification organizations. (The products are based on apple juice, sunflower seed oil, almond seeds, jojoba and beeswax, and sold in recyclable packaging.) ...Read the whole story >>
by Aaron Baar
Virgin Mobile USA will promote the updated plans with a multifaceted marketing campaign that will include print, online and out-of-home advertising. The company will also include its message on coffee cup sleeves in 30 of the most trafficked airports nationwide. The sleeves read: "Take It To Go ... The Internet that Is." ...Read the whole story >>
Packaged Goods
by Karl Greenberg
The campaign comprises TV, print, digital and grassroots efforts, with the message that Depend "lets me keep my condition invisible so I can stay visible," per brand manager Blake Boulden, who says the company found that peoples' fear of being "outed" as incontinent can lead them to withdraw from social activities. ...Read the whole story >>
by Tanya Irwin
The company attributes the economy-bucking performance to factors which ensure an even better performance in 2010 and 2011, says Don Montuori, publisher of Packaged Facts. "Chief among these factors is the human/animal bond, which is an excellent insulator against recessionary cutbacks, and the 'pet parent' sentiment has never been higher." ...Read the whole story >>
Debt Plagues More Than One-Third Of U.S.

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Who Could Ask for Anything More....


Remember the jingle?

Al Ries coments from AdAge:

The Toyota Production System is world famous for its focus on "continuous improvements." With all those improvements continuously taking place, why has Toyota suddenly found itself in deep trouble?

You might have your own theory, but here is mine: "Modelitus."

There isn't just one Toyota production line. There are dozens. Currently the company produces 18 different Toyota models. Starting prices range from $12,605 for the Yaris to $65,970 for the Land Cruiser. In addition, Toyota makes three Scion models sold in showrooms adjacent to Toyota showrooms as well as 15 different Lexus models.

In total, Toyota Motor Corporation produces 36 different models, up from 18 a decade ago.

Thirty-six models? It's one thing for a company's engineering staff to continuously improve one model. But 36? And what about all the new Toyota models currently on the drafting boards?

Then there's the often-misunderstood notion of what a model is. Take the Toyota Camry, the company's most popular model.

What's a Camry? The buyer has a choice of two different engines (2.5 or 3.5 liters), two different transmissions (manual or automatic) and three different trim packages (LE, SE and XLE). In all, there are 10 different types of Camrys rolling down Toyota production lines, not counting interior or exterior colors, of course.

Why so many models?

A dealer-driven business
Like many businesses, the automobile business is dealer-driven. Whatever the dealer wants, the dealer ultimately gets. Dealers know best, goes the thinking at headquarters. They interact with customers and prospects every day. And what do dealers want?

Dealers want to have a vehicle that's suitable for every prospect that walks in the door. From cheap two-door sedans to expensive four-door sedans, SUVs and sports cars. Plus an array of trucks, of course.

Hence, the full line.

Modelitus makes sense from the dealer's point of view. The more models on the showroom floor, the greater the sales and the greater the profits. True. Which is why Ford markets 14 different models of cars and trucks. And Chevrolet markets 15 different models.

But modelitus doesn't make sense from a marketing point of view. How do you get a prospect to walk in the dealer's front door? You need to stand for something in the prospect's mind.

And that's extremely difficult when you market a full line of vehicles under one brand name. That's why most automobile brands are saddled with nonsensical marketing slogans.

  • Chevrolet: "An American revolution."
  • Toyota: "Moving forward."
  • Ford: "Drive one."
  • Honda: "The power of dreams."
  • Nissan: "Shift__the way you move."
  • Hyundai: "Think about it."
  • Acura: "Advance."
  • Infiniti: "Inspired performance."
  • Kia: "The power to surprise."
Dealers have always been difficult. Years ago, when I was working on the introduction of the Peugeot 404 in the U.S. market, the dealers wanted us to increase their margins and advertise a high price for the car.

Why? So they could offer big discounts to prospects.

But from a marketing point of view, it made more sense to advertise a relatively low price for the car so we could get more prospects into the dealerships in the first place.

Two schools of thought
In automotive marketing and in marketing in general, there are two diametrically opposed schools of thought.

One school believes you win by offering prospects every possible option. As a result, the vast majority of companies today are focused on "more." More models, more variations, more flavors, more sizes.

That's why there are six types of Saltine Premium crackers, seven types of Grey Poupon mustard, eight types of Windex glass cleaner, 11 types of Thomas' English muffins, 16 types of Listerine mouthwash, 26 types of Pantene shampoo, 32 types of Gatorade sports drink and 42 types of Crest toothpaste.

Left-brain management thinks, "Let's not make the same mistake Henry Any-Color-as-Long-as-It-Is-Black Ford made. Let's not give the prospect any reason not to buy the brand."

Most of this product proliferation is harmless, but not when it involves highly engineered products like automobiles.

The second school of thought, one definitely in the minority, believes you win by narrowing your focus to build a powerful brand that can ultimately dominate its category.

In his book "Inside Steve's Brain", Leander Kahney tells what happened when Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1997. At the time, he found the company's computer offerings totally confusing. There were four major product lines: Quadras, Power Macs, Performas and PowerBooks, each with a dozen or so different models.

"What I found when I got here was a zillion and one products," Jobs would later say. "Why would I recommend a 3400 over a 4400? When should somebody jump up to a 6500, but not a 7300? If I couldn't figure this out ... how could our customers figure this out?"

So he drew a box with four quadrants. Across the top he wrote "Consumer" and "Professional." Down the side, he wrote "Portable" and "Desktop."

That was it. Four machines to cover everybody.

When you have a simple product line, your clarity of vision rubs off on potential customers. They tend to trust you to know what is best for them.

Apparently Apple's simplification is working for them. The company's share of the computer market has almost doubled, and even today, Apple still has only nine computer models in its product line.

One model vs. many
In 1908, Henry Ford made three car models, the R, the S and the T. The following year, much to the consternation of his salesmen, he announced that in the future he was going to build only one model, the T.

Salesmen, according to Ford, thought that "even greater sales might be had if only we had more models."

One hundred years later, sales people still think the same way: More models equal more sales. That's true in spite of the success of products such as the Ford Model T and the Volkswagen Beetle.

For 18 years in a row, from 1909 to the year 1926, the Ford Model T was the No. 1 selling car in America with an average market share of 43.4% (the following year, Ford discontinued the Model T in order to convert its production lines to its new Model A).

By way of comparison, Toyota's share of the U.S. market last year, all three brands and 36 models combined, was 19.5% in cars and 13.9% in trucks.

Well, you might be thinking, there were a lot fewer car brands in Henry Ford's day. That's not true. There were hundreds of automobile brands in the early 1900s, which is consistent with the way any new category develops.

Early on, for example, there were hundreds of brands of personal computers. Now just a handful are left.

Losing focus at Toyota
Toyota is the leading car brand in America. It's one of the first brands consumers think about when considering a new car. It's also perceived as the highest-quality entry-level brand.

Last year, Toyota sold more cars in America than any other brand by a big margin. It led the No. 2 brand, Honda, by 47% (that will surely change this year).

  • Toyota: 938,468
  • Honda: 638,465
  • Chevrolet: 616,803
  • Ford: 486,599
  • Nissan: 458,653
  • Hyundai: 325,667
The biggest mistake Toyota made, in my opinion, was getting into the light-truck business. It's difficult for a brand to be considered the best "car" brand as well as the best "truck" brand.

And sure enough, Toyota's overwhelming success in cars didn't translate into trucks. Here are U.S. sales of light trucks last year:

  • Ford: 954,054
  • Chevrolet: 721,809
  • Toyota: 557,743
  • Honda: 406,596
  • Dodge: 360,568
  • GMC: 253,053
Consider Chevrolet and Ford, the two dominant American brands. In the past, Chevrolet was usually considered the best American "car" brand and Ford was usually considered the best American "truck" brand.

Sure enough, last year Chevrolet led Ford in cars by 27%. And Ford led Chevrolet in trucks by 32%.

It's a teeter-totter. When one side (trucks) goes up, the other side (cars) goes down. And vice versa. You can't be all things to everybody.

That's one reason why Toyota should have focused on "cars." But there's another reason, too.

A line of retreat
Marketing strategy is like military strategy. When attacking a strong enemy, it's always wise to give them a "line of retreat." You don't necessarily want to box them in a corner where they will fight to the last man. That way, both sides are likely to take enormous casualties.

What made America's island-hopping strategy of World War II in the Pacific so deadly was the lack of a line of retreat for the enemy. At Iwo Jima, for example, there were 26,000 American casualties as compared with 22,000 Japanese casualties, virtually the entire force defending the island.

By staying out of the truck business, Toyota could have given the big American brands a profitable line of retreat.

Instead, Toyota launched a full line of both car and truck models, forcing its American competitors to fight back with huge discounts. Both sides suffered, although the American brands suffered the most.

Blowing up the corporate balloon
Most companies are focused on expansion. When asked what legacy she hopes to leave at Xerox, new CEO Ursula Burns said recently: "It's all about growth. It's all about getting bigger."

Blowing up a corporation, as Toyota and many other companies have done, is like blowing up a balloon. The end can come at any time. Keep blowing and sooner or later the balloon will burst. Not because of an overall failure, but because of some minute imperfection in the balloon itself.

Financial services in the case of General Electric. Credit default swaps in the case of A.I.G. Unintended acceleration in the case of Toyota.

Al Ries is chairman of Ries & Ries, an Atlanta-based marketing strategy firm he runs with his daughter and partner Laura.

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New Ad Campaigns

from Amy:

Steve Jobs takes my advice. Tropicana provides Vitamin D in many ways. Let's launch!

Colorado restaurant chain Hapa Sushi launched its first TV campaign in five years. Three chefs insult unknowing customers in Japanese. "Did she find those clothes in a ditch," says a chef in the first ad. "Hello ditch-lady. You're so smelly," continues his cohort. Watch it here. It gets worse, aside from the obvious racial stereotypes. Three women are mistaken as men in lady clothes in another ad, shown here. A man dining alone on a Friday night gets the brunt of insults like, "No girl eat with captain of ugly team" and "Say hello to your computer, virgin." See it here. Each ad ends with, "If we insult you, it will be in English." How refreshing. TDA Advertising & Design created the campaign and handled the media buy.

Country pride proves to be time-consuming for a pair of Canadians crossing the border into the United States. A U.S. border patrolman thoroughly inspects a couple's car in "Border Crossing." And by thoroughly inspect, I mean he takes the entire car apart."You folks weren't in a rush, were you?" says the patrolman to the couple, both wearing Team Canada hockey jerseys. The ad supports the Canadian sporting goods store Sport Chek. Watch the ad here, created by Bos, Toronto and directed by Wayne Craig of Holiday Films.

Tropicana brought edible and absorbable Vitamin D to residents of Inuvik, located in Canada's Northwest Territories. The town's 3,500 residents live in darkness for weeks each winter. Tropicana paid a visit 31 days into the darkness, coinciding with Inuvik's annual Sunrise Festival. "Artic Sun" chronicles the visit, as the brand brought 1,200 cartons of orange juice and a 36-foot wide helium balloon that emitted 100,000 lumens of light. The sun rose in Inuvik, to the delight or workers and schoolchildren alike. The balloon gave off almost the same amount of illumination almost provided by the sun. Incredible. Watch it here. The "Brighter Mornings for Brighter Days" campaign is running in English and French throughout Canada. BBDO Toronto created the spot, directed by Samir Mallal and produced by Film Group and Radke Film Group.

The Special Olympics launched a great PSA educating viewers to "See the athlete first." "Skeleton" begins simply with a set of CG-animated skeletons playing basketball. With each dribble, organs, veins and muscles begin to form. An athlete makes a basket. It's Mario Ogunbowale, a 21-year-old Special Olympics athlete from Milwaukee. BBDO New York created the ad, seen here.

Knock me over with a feather. There's a woman voiceover in two of the three latest iPhone ads. Proof positive that yes, women own and use iPhones. I've only been hoping for this day since 2007. This is big. A woman videos her son's first steps, sends it to the family, then has a conference call to discuss the video. See it here. Another mother is able to feed and entertain her kids prior to a flight... and turn off the living room lights. Watch it here. A male iPhone owner tolerates being on hold because he's able to check email, pay bills and play games. See it here. TBWA/Media Arts Lab created the campaign and handled the media buy.

New York City is hosting a weeklong, official Academy Awards celebration that culminates with an Oscar viewing cocktail party at Alice Tully Hall. Proceeds from the event benefit the NYC & Company Cultural Foundation. The Film Society of Lincoln Center is playing NYC-themed Oscar-winning films like "Annie Hall," "Raging Bull," "The Godfather," "West Side Story" and "Dog Day Afternoon." Bus shelter, newsstand, phone kiosk and taxi cab ads support the events, showing Oscar, Manhattan's skyline and classic movie quotes such as "I'll have what she's having" from "When Harry Met Sally," and "Leave the gun. Take the cannoli," from "The Godfather." See ads here, here and here, created by NYC & Company.

The Super Bowl had Mancrunch and The Academy Awards has Ashley Madison. These are inexpensive ads, created in-house, rejected by CBS and ABC, respectively. The infidelity dating site (these things exist?) submitted the ad, a poor spoof on "Avatar," to ABC, which rejected it. The ad will, however, air during the Academy Awards in Australia. A man is getting cozy with a sexy female from a different species. "This couple is married. But not to each other," flashes onto the screen. The man's wife catches him in the act, with his secretary. "You should have used," concludes the ad, seen here.

In the world of medical marketing, this ad was initially deemed too racy to run. Yet ads talking about erections lasting for more than 4 hours faze no one at this point. Go figure. MicroMass Communications created a self-promotional campaign using the slogan, "the way to engage." The ad features a seated, naked woman peppered with smaller photos of a child on a swing, two women hugging and a woman in red lingerie. See the ad here. Would you deem it racy?

Random iPhone App of the week: Movie Gallery launched DidjaC, a free app that helps indecisive movie-watchers choose a film. An instant recommendation appears before an iPhone users' eyes by shaking the phone. Sure, you can also select a specific genre, but where's the fun in that? Users can get full movie details, find out information on upcoming DVD and Blu-Ray releases, and watch high-resolution trailers for more than 10,000 movies. Download the app here.

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

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The Right Way

to make that follow up call.

From my Art Sobczak archives:

Don't Place the Nuisance Call


Think about those prospects that you just KNOW should be
buying from you, but you've come up empty thinking of new
ways to approach.

Or perhaps you have customers that buy from you now, and
your job description says you need to call them every
month or so, but you feel awkward saying, "Well, I was
just checking in with you to see how it's going."

I've always said that these are some of the toughest calls
to place. Because, it requires creative thinking and lots
of sales pros don't want to think that hard.

Except the best sales pros. I bet you're in that group.

Lazy sales reps, or those or don't know any better, are
content calling to "just touch base," or to "see if
there's anything on your desk I can bid on."

These approaches are reactive, provide nothing of value,
can be viewed as nuisance calls, and leave you open to
being treated as a simple vendor who can be manipulated
into a price war.

Calls to regular customers, and to prospects you're
clinging onto should always contain something of
value...something that lets the customer feel
you are contributing something useful by calling.

Keep in mind that your regular customers are someone
else's prospects. If they feel they are being taken for
granted by a sales rep who simply calls and says, "Do you
have an order for me?", might eventually fall for the
wooing of a competitor who is creative enough to dangle
something attractive in front of them.

Also keep in mind your prospects are likely buying from
someone else, and won't budge unless they see some value
in what you have.

So, what to do?

Here are just a few ideas to spice up these calls to
position you as a value-added resource, and not just a

Begin with "YOU"
A good way to begin these calls is by saying something

"I was thinking of you,"

"I heard some interesting information, and you immediately
came to mind," and,

"When this news came out, I thought about you..."

Industry News
Perhaps you have some news they might not
be aware of. Or, maybe they are aware of it, and you have
something to help them take advantage of it. For example,

"Ms. Prospect, you probably are familiar with the new
regulations regarding the reporting of waste disposal. We
developed a way to make that less of a headache for
companies in your situation, and I'd like to ask you a few
questions to see how much of a problem you anticipate this

New Policies at Your Company
If you change restrictive policies that would enable you
to do business with people who didn't qualify in the past,
call them again. For example, if your minimum order
size has been dropped, or, you're now carrying a line
that they asked for before and you didn't have it, or
you've lessened credit requirements. And with regular
customers, calling with changes to their advantage is
always welcome.

New Regime at Your Company
This can be effective for those accounts you haven't been
able to break because of legitimate, real objections they
had. If, for example, new management has cleaned house
and improved quality, decreased errors, etc., call again,
since you're now selling a new company. Also, these can
be spun into reasons for calling existing accounts.

New Capability
If you have products or services that deliver results you
weren't able to before, that is always a good reason to
call. Just be sure you are positioning them in terms of
results to the listener. Not, "Hey, we have a new product
and we think it is great."

New You
Maybe you fell to pieces and self-destructed on a
previous call. Since then you've acquired more skills and
confidence. Maybe you've come up with new ideas, or a new
strategy. And here's the best way I know for you
personally to come up with great value- added reasons for


Have a brainstorming session with your colleagues.
Invite customer service, production, advertising, marketing,
operations...anyone who knows your products and
services. Make it a game or competition. The goal
is to fill in the blank:

"The reason I'm calling is ____."

The main rule is that what goes in the blank must be
perceived by the listener as something that they would
view as valuable and interesting to them.

Believe me, I've done this many times with clients in
training sessions and we come up with 20, 30 or more
great ideas to use.

So get creative, get working, and you'll find yourself
converting more of those prospects collecting dust in
your follow-up file, and you'll provide more value and
sell more to existing customers.

Go and Have Your Best Week Ever!


Contact: Art Sobczak, President, Business By Phone Inc. 13254 Stevens St.,
Omaha, NE 68137,
(402) 895-9399. Or,

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Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Wednesday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

Click and read:

by Karl Greenberg
Ford's Connie Fontaine says the new recruits are local-market creative types. "These are people who are working in areas like Web design, graphic design, musicians, architects. In Detroit, it's someone who co-owns a photography and video-art house. His partner is not only a renowned photographer but also owner of a Detroit clothing store, so it's a cool mix of people." ...Read the whole story >>
by Tanya Irwin
The drug maker suggests that certain online communications, such as Facebook and Twitter posts, should be judged not one by one, but as a group of individual comments. That would enable pharma companies to participate in those sorts of social-media sites without having to balance benefits and risks at every 140-character turn. ...Read the whole story >>
by Aaron Baar
"We understand that music is a critical part of how people work out and train in our clubs," CMO Dennis Cary tells Marketing Daily. "Our new marketing approach is designed to actively support and encourage our members to achieve their fitness goals by providing music as motivation." Initially, the company will use the song downloads as an incentive to lure new members. ...Read the whole story >>
by Sarah Mahoney
But for the most part, consumers will focus on practical financial goals, including paying down debt and beefing up savings. The NRF's survey reports that while a smaller percentage is expecting refunds, 43.9% of those who are getting bucks back from the IRS say they plan to reduce family debt, down from 48% in 2009. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karlene Lukovitz
The injunction bars Curves and its franchisees from "airing, broadcasting, publishing or disseminating" in the U.S. the commercial titled "Something New" in "any form or in any version or in any medium" (including but not limited to television, cable television, print and the Internet) "during the pendency of this action." ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
What would have been the biggest fight in recent years won't happen because its two principals couldn't agree on drug-testing procedures. But that failure has spun off two big fights that are generating record levels of marketing activity, including major sponsors and HBO's largest-ever promotion around a pay-per-view (PPV) fight. ...Read the whole story >>
At The 4A's: Unilever VP Big Fan Of AOR Relationship

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Control Your Brand

From Marketing Profs:

Brand or Get Branded

"You've heard the branding gurus' mantra," says Jane Schulte, author of Work Smart, Not Hard! "Brand or be branded. Well, it's true. If you don't go about the process of creating a personality for your company, one will be created for you." She outlines this process for ensuring your brand doesn't happen by accident:

  • Start with two lists. One should contain words that describe your company's current personality; the second should describe the company you want to be. They might be similar lists; in this case, they'll help you to focus on consistency as you grow. If they differ, you can make a conscious, concerted effort to move toward the brand you envision.
  • Determine what your company looks like. From Web site design and taglines to colors and logos, make choices that work together to build your brand.
  • Reinforce the brand throughout your organization. "It cannot be an act," says Schulte. "You have to make sure, just like your mission statement, that you can easily carry [it] off in everything you do, from marketing [to] advertising, client service and employee relations." And give your team the resources they need to make this happen—otherwise, they'll devise ad hoc solutions that might send the wrong message about your brand.

The Po!nt: "[A]ny time someone comes into contact with your company, whether … through written materials or personal communication," reports author Jane Schulte, "its intended personality [should come] through every single time."

Source: Article submitted by Jane Schulte.

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Bigger Than You

from Growthwire:

Dr. Carmen Kavali, Kavali Plastic Surgery

When we think about the types of businesses that benefit most from strong consumer marketing effort, categories like retail, entertainment, and automotive usually come to mind. This month’s exceptional marketer, Dr. Carmen Kavali, illustrates how professional services – even medical practices – benefit significantly by building market-wide brand awareness.

Dr. Kavali has built a strong brand around an emotional idea: a metamorphosis for body, mind, and soul. Her logo, website, and on-air radio marketing work together to reinforce this idea. She’s even branded one of her practice specialties “The Mommy Makeover” around this holistic idea of change and growth.

The emotional thrust of her marketing distinguish her practice in a marketplace that is extremely competitive and, like most other sectors, feeling the impact of shrinking consumer spending. The branding is tasteful, relevant, and creates desire (while remaining well within the bounds of medical marketing canon). Her radio advertising, which is targeted toward her adult female client base, is a powerful and cost-effective tool for bringing this emotion to life on a daily basis. It’s built broad market awareness that other local practices can’t match.

Dr. Kavali’s proactive growth strategy has yielded enviable success. As a recent letter to Cumulus put it, “In a few short years, my brand has become something bigger than just me.” — a key point for all professional practices, medical and non-medical, alike.

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An exercise

from my email archives, Jim Meinsenheimer:

So What

I'm going to take you to a place you've never been.
Well, I've never been there and I'm assuming you haven't

You see in sales we do a lot of assuming and guessing
about our customers. These are challenging times for
most salespeople and I believe it's time to challenge
our assumptions about our very own customers.

Why put yourself into your customer's shoes when you
can get inside his head?

Are you really selling what's important to your customers
or are you assuming you are?

Shouldn't you know for sure? I think so!

What I'm proposing is an exercise for you in creative
thinking. The results of this exercise could very well
change how you think about your customers and have an
incredible impact on your selling results.

But you have to do some homework first.

Here's what I want you to do.

Prepare a list of all the features and benefits for one
of your best selling products.

List all the features and benefits whether big or small.

Keep expanding these lists until you can't think of any
more features and benefits.

Now, you're going to do something very few, if any, of
your competitors have ever done before.

This isn't for the weak and the meek.

It's for those of you who have the word success etched
into your mind.

What you're going to do next, is to consider this product
from your customer's viewpoint.

That's right, you're going to explore your customer's

Have you ever dealt with a sales person who gave you more
information than you needed?

Have you dealt with a salesperson who talked about the
product features she liked most?

Have you ever thought to yourself during these times
"So what," which translates to "that's not important
to me."

Of course you have and unfortunately so have your
customers thought "So what" when you're doing your
sales presentations. Now don't get defensive on me,
I'm really trying to help you.

Do you really know what's important to your customers?
Or are you guessing at best?

Do you have a clearly defined Unique Selling Proposition?
Do you even know what this is?

Well now you can know for sure, with a little sweat
equity on your part.

Here's what I want you to do.

Identify 3-5 good customers and ask them for their help
and advice.

Sit down face-to-face with them with your list of features
and benefits.

I suggest doing the features first and then the benefits.
On a single sheet of paper type the words "So what!"

Ask your customers to react to each of the features and
benefits you read to them. If they don't have any reaction
tell them to say "So what."

Think about the possibilities here. You can validate what
you believe to be important to your customers or learn
what they believe is truly important.

You'll probably discover some hot buttons you were
unaware of.

You'll probably discover what sets you apart from your

And in doing this exercise with 3-5 customers you might
even discover your Unique Selling Proposition from your
customer's perspective.

And guess what it says about you to your customers.

It says you care.

It says you're trying to raise the bar.

It says you're not taking anything for granted.

It also says your relationship with this customer isn't
based on your assumptions.

It also means your customer won't be thinking "So what"
because he'll be thinking "So - Wow!"

Jim Meisenheimer | 13506 Blythefield Terrace | Lakewood Ranch, FL 34202 | 941-907-0415

You can start selling more today and everyday when you
employ my common sense selling skills based on practical
ideas that get immediate results.

You can get more information about my sales tips and
selling strategies and subscribe to this newsletter at:

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