Saturday, September 11, 2010

Classic Ad of the Week

I used to feature these on Sunday nights. For now, I'm moving them to Saturday nights.

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Death to the TV and Landlines?

I could live without both. Could you?

Landlines And Television Sets Losing Importance

According to a new nationwide survey from the Pew Research Center's Social & Demographic Trends project, reported by Paul Taylor and Wendy Wang with Lee Rainie and Aaron Smith, only 42% of Americans say they consider the television set to be a necessity. Last year, this figure was 52%, and in 2006, it was 64%.

After occupying center stage in the American household for much of the 20th century, says the report, two of the grand old luminaries of consumer technology, the television set and the landline telephone, are suffering from a sharp decline in public perception that they are necessities of life.

The drop-off has been less severe for the landline telephone. 62% of Americans say it's a necessity of life, down from 68% last year, but 47% of the public now say that the cell phone is a necessity of life.

What Americans Need (% Rating as Necessity)


% Saying Necessity

% Change 2009-2010




Landline phone



Clothes dryer



Home air conditioning



Home computer



Cell phone






TV set



High speed Internet



Cable or satellite TV






Flat screen TV



Source: PewResearchCenter, August 2010

In the case of the landline phone, the verdict does not come just from the survey, but also from the marketplace. According to a Pew Research Center analysis of government data, just 74% of U.S. households now have a landline phone, down from a peak of 97% in 2001. During this same time period, use of cell phones has skyrocketed. Fully 82% of adults now use cell phones, up from 53% in 2000. There are now more cell phones in the U.S. than landline phones.

From 1996 through 2006 a rising share of Americans saw more items on the list as necessities rather than luxuries. Since 2006, says the report, as the housing bubble burst, and consumer spending throttled down, the trend has moved the opposite way. A rising share now sees more everyday items as luxuries than necessities.

The report concludes that the dichotomy posed by the question "luxury or necessity" may be a relic. A more appropriate question in 2010 may be whether consumers consider these venerable appliances to be "necessary" or "superfluous."

The economy isn't the only factor driving these numbers, says the report. For several items on the list, the television set and the landline phone for instance, innovations in technology also seem to be playing a role.

Even as fewer Americans say they consider the TV set to be a necessity of life, more Americans than ever are stocking up on them. In 2009, the average American home had more television sets than people, 2.86, according to a Nielsen report. In 2000, this figure was 2.43; in 1990, it was 2.0; and in 1975, it was 1.57.

The disconnect between attitudes and behaviors, opines the report, may be that the TV set hasn't had to deal with competition from new technology that can fully replace all of its functions. If a person wants real-time access to the wide spectrum of entertainment, sports and news programming available on television, there's still nothing (at least not yet) that can compete with the television set itself.

Another twist to the TV story, though, comes from the flat-screen television. According to the latest Pew Research survey, 10% of the public now says that a flat-screen television is a necessity of life, up from 5% who felt that way in 2006. And according to industry reports, American consumers have bought more than 100 million flat-screen television sets since 2005.

For some items dependency increases with age, especially with the very-21st-century attitudes of today's young adults. Fewer than half of 18- to 29-year-old survey respondents consider the landline phone a necessity of life, while fewer than three-in-ten say the same about the television set.

Approximate % of Group That Considers Item as a Necessity



TV Set

Cable Service

Flat Screen TV





















Source: PewResearchCenter, August 2010

For other items, dependency decreases with age:

· The cell phone decreases in importance from 59% of the 18-29 group to 29% among the 65+ group

· Importance of the home computer goes from 53% of the younger group to 35% of the over 65s

· High speed internet is important to 33% of the younger group, increases to around 40 from 30-64, and falls off to 15% for the 65+ crowd.

The "balance of necessity" between cell phones and landline phones shifts with the age of the respondent. Among 18- to 29-year-olds, more respondents consider a cell phone a necessity than a landline phone. For those in middle age, more consider a landline phone to be a necessity. And for those ages 65 and older, those who say the landline is a necessity outnumber those who say the same about a cell phone by a ratio of more than two-to-one.

Landline Phone vs. Cell Phone (% in Each Age Group)

Age Group

Landline a Necessity

Cell Phone a Necessity













Source: PewResearchCenter, August 2010

As a June 2010 Pew Research Center report and other recent surveys of consumer behavior have shown, the deep recession that began in December 2007 has led to a new frugality in Americans' spending and saving habits, and it appears to have scrambled Americans' judgments about whether many everyday appliances are necessities or luxuries, says the report.

But one pattern is consistent across items studied. Their necessity rating was at (or very near) its peak four years ago, and has since declined. This suggests that the psyche of the American consumer is in a much different place now than it had been in the heady days before the recession, concludes the report.

For additional information please visit Pew Research here.

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A Guide...

In the form of a list.

I was reading this last weekend and decided to apply this lesson to my sales approach.

So, I now have a list which lists the steps I will go thru depending on which direction we are going to go, based on their needs.

The steps are the same no matter what the business, when I am working with an advertising client, and it's not really a mystery.

Or at least it doesn't need to be.

Read what Michelle has to say from her WonderBranding blog:

The One Very Important Thing You Can Learn From “Back to School” Marketers

Posted: 25 Aug 2010 07:24 AM PDT

I was in OfficeMax the other day and came upon a rotating rack at the front of the store offering brightly colored lists of “suggested school supplies” according to grade level.

While I could envision mothers bargaining with their kids over what they could and could not afford, I also pictured these same moms feeling slightly relieved to have a comprehensive list at their fingertips to make shopping easier.

Just about any business can do something similar:

  • The garden center that offers lists of tools for beginning gardeners, best types of flowers for shaded patios, or step-by-step instructions on planting a shrub or tree.
  • The home improvement store that features a list of everything you need (tools and parts) to fix that leaky toilet.
  • The restaurant that showcases a “chef’s secret” takeaway recipe card in a holder on the table.
  • The wine store with a beautiful wooden literature rack near the register that offers flyers on building your first wine collection, or how to figure out the quantity of wine you’ll need for a party.
  • The bank that provides a checklist of the basic financial and personal documents or copies you should place in your safe deposit box.
  • The sporting goods store that offers flyers on the equipment you need for cycling, camping or hiking.

The list for potential marketing opportunities is endless.

I wonder why more businesses don’t do this.

What business are YOU in? What kind of lists could you offer customers to make their purchasing process easier (and maybe even get them to buy more than they originally came into your store for)?

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Friday, September 10, 2010

Friday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

Click & Read:

by Karl Greenberg
Targeting youthful 25- to-35-year-olds, it uses 3D technology for in-theater, print, events and interactive elements. Honda says that on Sept. 23 it will be the first 3D advertiser in New York's Times Square. The company will have street teams giving out 3D glasses to view the spot, plus CR-Z displays, photo activity with 3D backdrop and on-site Sony racing simulators featuring Sony's "Gran Turismo 5" game, which features CR-Z. ...Read the whole story >>
by Aaron Baar
"It's got a lot of positives and a lot of challenges to overcome," Char Beales, president and CEO of the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing, tellsMarketing Daily. "All new technologies have barriers to overcome, but this one could move along quickly." ...Read the whole story >>
by Sarah Mahoney
Looks like it's time for Gen Y to start thinking about crow's feet: Procter & Gamble says it has tapped music sensation Carrie Underwood, who is 27, as its first-ever North American Celebrity Ambassador for Olay Skin Care. The endorsement is the first beauty contract for the country star, and a bit of a departure for Olay, which uses celebrities more in its global marketing than in the U.S. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karlene Lukovitz
Certainly, other operators have noted the trend-bucking success of chains with formats that focus on offering fresh, quality, better-for-you, reasonably priced menus. Examples cited by PF include Chipotle Mexican Grill and Panera Bread, which realized much of its growth last year through lunch sales driven by introducing new salads, according to the Packaged Facts report. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
The Woodcliff Lake, N.J.-based U.S. sales arm of BMW has signed a marketing partnership with Keller, who also owns other restaurants in Napa Valley, as well as in Las Vegas, New York and Beverly Hills. The automaker's cars will be part of a concierge service at French Laundry. The deal gives restaurant guests access to a hybrid-version 7-Series car. ...Read the whole story >>
by Tanya Irwin
Through Oct. 23, as Weight Watchers members and online subscribers lose weight and participate in other activities, the company will donate up to $1 million to two leading hunger-fighting organizations -- Share Our Strength and Action Against Hunger. Weight Watchers has donated more than $2 million to its charitable partners, and its members have donated over 3.5 million pounds of food to food banks nationwide during previous efforts. ...Read the whole story >>

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(9/20/10): It has been an interesting day. I had a comment come in over the weekend and then there's the negative side to this concept.

Click here for the story
and follow the links to Jessie's blog too.

Here's my original post:

In case you haven't heard... here's the scoop:

The Next Web Phenom

Andrew Mason figured out how to inject hysteria into the process of bargain hunting on the Web. The result is an overnight success story called Groupon.

At least Mark Zuckerberg wrote a few lines of computer code at Harvard before he left to launch Facebook. Now Andrew Mason, a relaxed and lanky 29-year-old music major from Northwestern, has managed to build the fastest-growing company in Web history. Groupon represents what the dot-com boom was supposed to be all about: huge sales, easy profits and solid connection between bricks-and-mortar retailers and online consumers.

Groupon, a name that blends "group" and "coupon," presents an online audience with deep discounts on a product or service. Act now, says the pitch: You have only so many hours before this offer expires. That's a familiar come-on, but it's coupled with a novel element: You get the deal only if a certain number of fellow citizens buy the same thing on the same day. It's a cents-off coupon married to a Friday-after-Thanksgiving shopping frenzy.

What's in it for the vendor -- which might be a museum, a yoga studio or an ice cream shop? Exposure. Since the resulting revenue is not only discounted but shared (typically, 50/50) with Groupon, the vendor may scarcely break even on the incremental sales. But it now has customers who might never have thought of patronizing the business. Groupon gets its offers in front of eyeballs by buying ad space through Google and Facebook and via the word of mouth of its 13 million subscribers.

Unlike so many dot-com rockets, Groupon is a real business. Occupying 85,000 square feet inside a rehabbed eight-story former Montgomery Ward warehouse in Chicago's River North neighborhood, the company is on track to pass $500 million in revenue this year, according to a report Morgan Stanley put together to win some underwriting business. No technology stalwart -- including Ebay,, Yahoo, AOL and Google -- grew that big that fast. At just 17 months old this April, Groupon boasted a $1.35 billion valuation when it raised $135 million, the biggest chunk of it from Digital Sky Technologies, the curious Moscow investment fund behind Facebook and Zynga. (Mason will not disclose his stake, which he says is less than 50%.) The only company to reach a $1 billion valuation faster was YouTube (now part of Google), founded in 2005 and still waiting to turn its first profit. Groupon broke into the black just seven months after inception.

Mason's model is transforming the way companies -- especially smaller ones with limited marketing budgets -- snag sales. In May Groupon sold 6,561 tickets to a King Tut exhibit in New York's Times Square for $18 apiece, little more than half the list price. The campaign brought in $120,000 at virtually no marginal cost to the exhibit; Groupon pocketed about 50% for a day's effort. The most popular item so far: a $25 ticket for a Chicago architectural boat tour sold for $12. In May Groupon moved 19,822 tickets in eight hours and split the $238,000 with the tour operator.

Groupon has charged into 88 U.S. cities and 22 countries, including Turkey and Chile. Hundreds of rivals, some with deep pockets, are springing up. With turf wars brewing from New York to Brazil, Mason has armed himself with 250 salespeople and 70 writers, many plucked from the Chicago improv scene, to concoct witty pitches for deals. "We want to do for local e-commerce what Amazon did for normal consumer goods," he boasts.

Mason's entrepreneurial instincts were already stirring. At age 15 he delivered fresh bagels purchased from a bakery to his neighbors' front porches on Saturday mornings. (Candy bars, bought at Costco, proved a better seller.) After college, Mason, a self-taught computer programmer, landed a coding gig at InnerWorkings, a Chicago firm that farms out companies' printing jobs to the lowest bidder. There he hatched an idea for a website that would examine thorny topics, such as the Iraq war and health care, by unveiling the hidden agendas of the authors behind popular articles. Mason found support in 2006 at the University of Chicago, which granted him a scholarship toward a master's degree in public policy. A few months later Eric Lefkofsky, InnerWorkings' founder, caught whiff of Mason's plans and offered him $1 million of angel capital to crank up the hidden-agenda site.

The idea soon morphed into, an online platform for petitioners to muster support for all sorts of causes. ThePoint launched in November 2007 and drew national press attention for its users' zany campaigns. One amassed 1,000 people committed to donating millions of dollars toward solving Africa's aids epidemic--on the condition that u2 front man Bono would retire from public life. Another corralled several thousand supporters of building a dome over Chicago to keep the city warm all year. The publicity helped lure $4.8 million in venture capital from the likes of Sand Hill Road's NEA. "I figured it was just a matter of time before I had my $400 million company and got my big payout," quips Mason.

But ThePoint didn't attract enough eyeballs to live on advertising revenue. One of Mason's lieutenants, Aaron With, proposed paying for popular Google search terms related to societal issues -- such as "make weed legal." Mason got traffic, just the wrong kind. Obnoxious fans of the band Insane Clown Posse, known as Juggalos, made ThePoint their online playground. As losses mounted in 2008, Mason trudged to With's house to lay off his friend. "If I was a rational person, I probably would have quit right there," says Mason.

One promising trend: Some of ThePoint's most effective campaigns banded consumers together to gain buying power. Mason began featuring a blog that offered readers a different deal from various vendors every day. Having little to lose, his investors encouraged him to pursue the strategy. Groupon -- then called -- was born.

Mason's crew of seven people each made 100 calls a day hunting for campaigns. Some days the deals would "tip" -- meaning they'd meet the minimum number of takers demanded by the vendor -- and some days they wouldn't, meaning Groupon got zilch. (Today 98% of the deals tip.) Using a 5,000-name mailing list, Groupon sold 100 $25 passes to an experience involving one hour inside a pitch-dark, soundproof tank containing skin-temperature salt water. At that point Mason knew he was on to something: "Who would think this many people would be interested in a sensory deprivation chamber?" In the next six months Groupon opened in Boston, New York and Washington, D.C., giving each city a Web page featuring its deal of the day. More than half of visitors drop in on the page because they've heard about it from friends.

Groupon's salespeople, most working in Chicago, earn salary plus commission, based on revenue and the ratio of refunds (usually negligible). Writers earn entry-level salaries commensurate with salaries of journalists, around $35,000 a year. Aaron With, now Groupon's editor in chief, oversees enough copy to fill a 190-page novel every day.

Landing a Groupon deal, even at a loss, can put a small business on the map. In March East Coast Aero Club, a flight school in Bedford, Mass., offered introductory helicopter flying lessons, normally priced at $225, for $69. The deal had to be shut down at 11 a.m. after subscribers signed up for 2,500 lessons; the club had expected perhaps 200. "I knew we had a problem when I checked in right after receiving the e-mail and 30 lessons had already been sold," recalls Philip Greenspun, the head helicopter instructor. "We look at this as incredibly effective advertising."

So effective that Mason claims Groupon now has 35,000 companies clamoring to be on its roster. Only one in eight applicants makes the cut. The winners must already be getting kudos at online review sites like Yelp, CitySearch and TripAdvisor, and the deals must offer a substantial discount from normal prices and not be similar to other promotions regularly offered by the vendor.

One problem with the Groupon model: Anyone can replicate it. More than 200 copycat sites have sprung up in the U.S., with another 500 overseas, including 100 in China. The competition isn't bashful. Many sites closely mimic Groupon's copy and graphics. One Russian site, called BigLion, ripped off Groupon right down to the fonts and colors. (While he probably has grounds for a suit, Mason says going after a startup in Russia isn't worth the effort.) In China a copycat has begun operating at, using the same graphical interface. "Groupon is looking at this as a winner-take-all situation, but they may find it tough to sustain their position in every market," says Andrew Razeghi, a marketing professor at Northwestern's Kellogg School of Management.

LivingSocial, Groupon's closest rival in the U.S., raised $40 million since launching its service in July 2009. Chief Executive Timothy O'Shaughnessy thinks his Washington, D.C. outfit has a long-term edge because it puts a full-time salesperson in each of the 50 cities it's in. Groupon has people in about half its markets. "You're dealing with a lot of small merchants whose business is their life," says O'Shaughnessy, "For them being able to work with a real person is a big deal."

Big players lurk, too, including Twitter, now with over 80 million users and 70 million tweets a day. In June bought Woot, a site that offers one piece of discounted merchandise a day. "This space is bound to attract somebody big; there's just too much money involved," says Lefkofsky, Groupon's largest shareholder. "We think we have a big lead."

Being the first mover has its advantages. "Groupon" is now part of the lexicon of online shopping. But Mason is protecting his flanks. To take on more small business clients, he just announced plans to feature more than one deal per day in most markets. An algorithm will mete out the offers by weighing customers' past purchases and geographic locations. A hockey fanatic from Chicago's far North Side wouldn't receive a deal for half-price yoga lessons in the city's South Side Hyde Park neighborhood.

Mason's other strategy: consolidation. In May he bought Berlin's Citydeal, a group-buying site with 600 employees serving 80 European cities (the price wasn't disclosed). Mason says he may strike again overseas but that "it's tough coming in from outside and figuring out local consumer habits."

Mason has the capital to expand -- profitably. He estimates that a metro area like Chicago should yield 20 deals a day; that implies nearly 5,000 retailers per city per year, up from the 250 in most cities now. Groupon now posts 100 deals per day in the U.S. Mason figures he can increase that number by 50 every month to reach 400 come January. Against that quadrupling of deals he plans to boost his sales staff by 80% (200 people) and his writing bullpen by 100% (70 people).

As for spending himself to perdition, as did many dot-commers before him, Mason's not sweating it: "There's never been anything -- radio, TV, newspaper, whatever -- that could generate small business sales so quickly."

Groupon is on pace to pull in $1 billion in sales faster than any company in history. This list excludes investment holding companies (which tend to be preassembled before formally launching) and those built mainly through mergers or acquisitions.

Groupon’s Greatest Hits

The best marketing pitches start with a breezy message. Here are some of Groupon’s catchiest ...

Item: Five Yoga classes at Cityoga in Indianapolis
Retail value: $71.25
Groupon price: $25
Units sold: 544
Wisecrack: "Yoga is unique in that it is the only medieval physical-fitness art that does not involve firing crossbows at a Grendel."

Item: Custom T-shirts at Little Shop of Crafts in Manhattan
Retail value: $30
Groupon price: $15
Units sold: 572
Wisecrack: "Drive mere mortals mad with the world's most obscure joke, which science has proven to be Mr. Belvedere's head superimposed on the Mona Lisa with a word balloon proclaiming, 'Everybody say, "YATTA!"'"

Item: One-hour photo session, including full-resolution photos on CD from Robert Goold Photography in San Diego
Retail value: $250
Groupon price: $59
Units sold: 898
Wisecrack: "Before photography, the only way people could preserve their most treasured memories was by forcing everyone around them to stand completely still for days at a time."

Item: Two 60-Minute Jump Passes at Sky Zone (a trampoline-filled entertainment center) in St. Louis
Retail value: $25
Groupon price: $12
Units sold: 2,228
Wisecrack: "Though it prohibits us from bench-pressing cars, gravity is the best thing for getting water out of the sky and the only thing keeping football stadiums from floating away. Escape its omnipresence with today's Groupon."

(Source: Forbes, 08/30/10)

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How to Become a Winning Sales ACE -- and avoid getting shot down!
by Waldo Waldman, The Wingman
If you want to test the true character of a person, see how they respond to adversity.

Watch how they handle the pressure of a lost sale, an angry client, or a difficult boss. What do they say? How do they act? What is their emotional state? Do they freeze up and get angry, or do they buckle down and increase their focus and commitment?

The same holds true for those who would assume the mantle of leadership in business. When adversity hits, how they respond in the market will determine their ability to stay in business and win. Leadership – both on a personal and organizational level – ultimately drives the actions taken amidst crisis and change.

Today's economy is full of adversity. I call them "missiles of business and life." It seems we are being fired at every day. Rising costs of fuel, shrinking budgets, demanding clients, and a lack of qualified (and loyal) employees all create an intense and constantly changing environment. As soon as we think we defeated one missile...BAM! Another one is fired. As soon as profits start coming in...BAM, another competitor enters the fight.

The missiles will come and you will be fired upon. It's not a matter of if, but when and how often. The key is NOT to get shot down!

In fighter combat, the best pilots who are able to adapt to adversity and change are called ACES. They prepare relentlessly and are the most focused and committed under pressure. They are the respected and accomplished leaders in their squadrons because they don't run away when fear knocks on their door. They buckle down and ultimately take action.

The right action.

Read the rest here

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Thursday, September 09, 2010

Thursday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

Click & Read:

by Sarah Mahoney
To market its new "Trivial Pursuit: Bet You Know It" game, Hasbro has rounded up some of YouTube's biggest stars for an online interactive Trivial Pursuit tournament. "The interactive game on YouTube is a first for Hasbro," Donetta Allen, a spokesperson, tells Marketing Daily. "It's also the first time that YouTube channel stars have been tapped for an interactive game on the channel." ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
Gene Brown, VP marketing at American Suzuki, tells Marketing Daily that the AllPoints program has brought in 40,000 unique visitors both through the Suzuki Autos web site and the brand's social sites. "It's about the brand's personality rather than just the facts," he says. "A brand needs to be more than the sum of its parts, and this lets us tell more than just a product story." ...Read the whole story >>
by Karlene Lukovitz
Major soda brands continue to pump up marketing investment as they vie for share within the still-soft carbonated soft drinks category. The latest moves include Pepsi's announcement that it will expand the scope of its buzz-generating Pepsi Refresh Project next year, and new "Ridiculously Bubbly" TV spots from Dr Pepper Snapple Group's 7Up, timed to support the brand's new reformulation and packaging. ...Read the whole story >>
Financial Services
by Karl Greenberg
People are ditching credit cards for debit, gift and prepaid cards, according to a new study by Javelin Strategy & Research. The study says the pain of the recession has produced a risk-averse, cash-hoarding "cautious consumer" and that more consumers are paying cash instead of incurring future debt with plastic. ...Read the whole story >>
Financial Services
by Tanya Irwin
"We naturally look for ways to increase Visa's connection to the NFL at both the league and team level," Andrew Woodward tells Marketing Daily. "Our relationships with 13 NFL teams provide ongoing opportunity to reinforce Visa preference and acceptance. Fans will find Visa branding at all team payment terminals within the stadiums, including concession areas and team shops." ...Read the whole story >>

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New Ad Campaigns

Our weekly, clickable update from Amy:

Breakfast ads. Naughty Volvos. Breaking up is easy when you use Sprint's unlimited data plan. Let's launch!

Love and water balloon fights make me smile. Holiday Inn combined the two in a music video for Kyle Andrews' song "You Always Make Me Smile." The song was used back in May as part of the brand's "Stay You" campaign. The song went over so well that Holiday Inn and its agency McCann Erickson New York formed a record label called StayU Music to produce, promote and make some money from the song. The video, shot at Brigham Young University, features Andrews singing his song in the midst of a massive water balloon fight. More than 4.000 students tossed 120,000 water balloons. How fun was this making of a music video? I enjoyed the end scene when Andrews shook the excess water and broken balloon pieces out of his guitar. See the video here.

School is back in session, making breakfast the "it" meal of the day. Jimmy Dean launched a trio of ads promoting Jimmy D's, its line of breakfast foods for kids. Its lovable Sun character has gone from friendly father and officemate to heroic, mask-wearing cape-crusader, saving kids from destructive characters like Slow-Motion Man the stopwatch, DimWit the broken light bulb and Crabby the crab. Each villainous character attempts to sabotage a student who hasn't had breakfast in "Anthem." Sun saves the day by rapidly throwing breakfast food at them. For sluggish kids who didn't eat breakfast, their reflexes are rather impressive. Watch it here. Basketball drills can be arduous when you've skipped breakfast. "Slow-Motion Man" is counting on this. Sun appears in time with turkey sausage in hand. Sun then crows like a rooster, which sounds more like an imitation of Scooby-Doo's signature speak. See it here. A kid hates science class because he's constantly prodded by Crabby the crab in the final ad, seen here. A turkey sausage corn dog is thrown his way, and now he wants to be a scientist. TBWA/Chiat/Day Los Angeles created the campaign.

"Does your breakfast make you amazing?" ponders an ad for Quaker oatmeal. The spot shows a handful of early risers: a teacher readying her classroom, a man stretching before he runs, a girl and her father heading for ice skating practice and a construction worker sitting high atop a beam. Each started their morning out the same way... with Quaker oatmeal. "Morning starts and changes everything. It's a clean slate. A fresh start... Wake up and be amazing." Watch the ad here, created by Juniper Park.

Weetabix cereal comes in a new flavor: chocolate. This news is so exciting, it has the family animals talking. And not in a creepy Quiznos way. "Happy Breakfast" launched Saturday during "X Factor" in the United Kingdom. A cat, dog and hamster awake to the sounds of a family eating chocolate Weetabix, which is both nutritious for adults but chocolaty to appease the kids. The animals, complete with British accents, discuss this shocking combination. The hamster is so surprised that he falls from his toy and the dog sits at his master's feet, encouraging him to eat up! See the ad here. WCRS, London created the campaign, directed by Ben Dawkins of Stink, London.

Wieden + Kennedy New York launched its first work for Delta Air Lines, called "Keep Climbing." The brand campaign consists of TV, print, outdoor and transit ads that describe the company's commitment to improving the flying experience for consumers, because let's face it; flying is no longer pleasant. It's downright stressful. "Lift," shot in black and white, shows luggage being organized and the building and testing of airplane parts, while the voiceover, Donald Sutherland, describes real-life flying issues: "No liquids, take your shoes off, cost-cutting and route cancellations." But Delta has your back. "We're not just building a bigger airline. We're building a better one." See it here. A little bit of human touch is added to "Human Factor." Bad weather, congestion and high oil prices affect all airlines; it's the people who work and embrace the industry's challenges that help conquer them. Watch it here. Print and outdoor ads, seen here, here, here and here, state the obvious like the importance of customer service, for example: "Customer service shouldn't fluctuate with the price of oil."

A submarine takes in water. Dr. Jekyll prepares a potion for his latest patient/victim. Would you believe these two ads have financial undertones, promoting State Street Global Advisors' SPDR ETFs? Me, either. In "Submarine," alarms sound and crew members frantically race to stop water from pouring inside the vessel. Things look grim until the plug is lifted. A young boy was playing with the sub in the tub, unaware of any danger until he heard the joyous crew member screams as he was drying off. In other words: do you know what's inside your investments? Watch it here. "Never make an important investment unless you know everything about it," says the voiceover in "The Good Doctor." A woman watches as her physician prepares a mysterious green concoction. He gives her the drink as his assistant calls, "your next patient is here, Dr. Jekyll." Will she or won't she drink the elixir? See it here. The Gate Worldwide created the campaign.

Breaking up is hard to do, unless you have Sprint's $69.99 unlimited data plan. A woman is thorough in her message delivery in "Restaurant." She brings her boyfriend out to eat, and breaks up with him in person and by phone call, text and email. And she changes her Facebook status to single right before his eyes. Some people are just cruel. Watch it here. An injured football player is informed by email that he's out for the season. His sports doctor, who's sitting right next to him, says he'll be dropping the athlete from his fantasy football roster ASAP. Ouch. See "Injury" here. Goodby Silverstein & Partners created the campaign, directed by David Shane of O Positive Films.

Contrary to popular belief, the Volvo S60 is a naughty car. The company created a set of online videos earlier this year, filmed at Volvo's proving grounds in Sweden, proving it. The first video tests the car's stability control. The driver maneuvers away from poles in the road with plenty of time. But not naughty enough. Next, a life-sized, fake elk is placed in the road. The car outmaneuvers the animal. Again, not naughty enough. The car then takes on moving Volvos barreling down in its direction. Crisis is again averted. Watch it here. The next video tests the Volvo's traction control. The car winds in and out of slalom poles with ease. Fine China, a goldfish and gumball machine are then added to the mix. The goldfish made it; the gumballs were not so lucky. One-upping that feat, the car goes through the same slalom poles again... this time backwards! See it here. Arnold Worldwide and EuroRSCG 4D created the campaign.

Random iPad App of the week: Flexfolios is an iPad app created by Emmanuel Faure and Antoine Verglas. The App, targeting photographers, talent reps, model agents, stylists, architects and creative directors, allows users to digitally organize and display mixed-media portfolios and campaigns. Users can customize individual portfolios by uploading music, videos, PDFs, word docs and excel files to accompanying photos or picture files. The App costs $14.99 in the App Store.

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

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The Real Objection

from my email:

Daily Sales Tip: Isolating the Objection

Instead of answering an objection you must first isolate and question it. Let's take two of the most common ones -- "Your price is too high," and "I need to speak with, talk to..."

If your client says, "Your price is too high," you should respond with:

"I can understand that, and let me ask you a question: If this price was exactly what you were willing to pay, is this (your product/service, etc.) the solution you would go with today?"

Now that you've isolated the objection you will see if price really is the only objection. Any answer other than "yes" and price isn't what is stopping your prospect from moving forward (which means you have more work to do to find out what is).

Same thing with the "I've got to speak to, talk this over with...." objection. You should say:

"I can totally understand that. And let me ask you, if you did speak with (the other person) and they said whatever you thought was fine with them, what would your decision be on this today?"

Again, any answer other than "yes" and that objection is just a stall. Answering it will get you nowhere.

Do you see how this works? The whole point of questioning and isolating the objection first is to uncover what is really holding your prospect back.

And until you find that out, there will be no deal.

Source: Business consultant/sales trainer Mike Brooks

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Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Wednesday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

Click & Read:

elling Baby Carrots As The Perfect 'Junk Food'

by Karlene Lukovitz
The integrated TV, online/social media and outdoor branding campaign supports new packages that look more like chip bags than veggie bags and carry the "Eat 'Em Like Junk Food" tagline, as well as school vending machines installed next to those of traditional snack brands. ...Read the whole story >>
by Aaron Baar
The company and the agency are deepening the connection to the game, offering up many of the vases, lamps, bowls and other decorative objects that were trashed in the shoot for sale on eBay. "It's a part of a trend to have a little piece of memorabilia that comes with something that you like," says Heat's John Elder. "Movies are doing it, TV shows are auctioning things off, we figured why not a commercial?" ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
The show, via web video company Digital Broadcasting Group (DBG) and actor Seth Green, follows a 20-something, L.A.-based man whose daily pursuits -- what he wears and eats, where he works and whom he dates -- will be determined by audience voting. The guy will drive a Fiesta and, since Sprint Nextel is also a sponsor, use a Nextel smartphone. ...Read the whole story >>
by Sarah Mahoney
While it's certainly no emblem of marketing sophistication, Life is good's happy logo is familiar to optimists everywhere. Since its start selling t-shirts in dorms and at street fairs, brothers Bert and John Jacobs have turned the trademark smiley face into a $100 million business. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
The effort includes Spanish TV spots shot as short documentaries showing Toyota street teams handing out the decals in target cities in the U.S. In the ads, people put the decals on things like cars, bicycles, and food trucks, or whatever transit they have when they show up for the decals. ...Read the whole story >>
by Tanya Irwin
Hain Celestial Group's Earth's Best is marking its 25th anniversary by sponsoring thousands of Playdate Parties nationwide. Qualifying parents will receive product samples and coupons valued at up to $90 from the Melville, N.Y.-based company as well as planning tips to host their party for up to nine guests. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karlene Lukovitz
The integration of online and offline marketing data will enable levels of targeting never before possible. But to get there, marketers and their suppliers will need to overcome data infrastructure, quality and privacy challenges, points out a new white paper from the Winterberry Group, Acxiom and Netezza. ...Read the whole story >>

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Undercover Boss?

CBS is bringing back the show Undercover Boss that had a successful but limited run earlier this year.

Perhaps you should do your own version as Pat McGraw explains:

Focus on the CUSTOMER

Posted: 03 Sep 2010 05:48 AM PDT

The ‘customer service’ rep on the other end of the line was not solving my problem – there was a charge on my phone bill for a service I never authorized or approved and the rep was telling me that he could remove the charge this month but I needed to contact the mysterious business and handle the issue myself.

When I asked how this could happen in the first place, the answer left me with the feeling that anyone could contact my phone company and tell them to bill me through their system – and they would.

When I called the mysterious company, the rep informed me that I had submitted a completed online form requesting the service. When I denied his claim, he told me “Well, I can see it right here on my screen.”

In both situations, I asked to speak with a supervisor because the Tier 1 reps were just reading policy off a screen. They were not concerned with me – they were concerned with doing their job which was to push me off their phone.

In both situations, I waited for 15 minutes and never had anyone get back on the line with me – no rep telling me the supervisor was still on his/her way, and no supervisor asking how they can help.

In both situations, they had a record of my request to speak with a supervisor and my telephone number. In both situations, I never received a call back.

My phone company had, until that moment, an increasingly stronger change to grab my families cell phone business – but they blew it. They almost motivated me to become one of those ‘wireless phone only’ people because I really don’t need a land line.

So the point of all this is simple – when was the last time you shopped your own business? Do you have processes in place that provide positive customer experience – or do you have processes in place that are designed for your own comfort and happiness?

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There is a reason we ask for signatures on contracts. Or at least an email confirmation.

Read more from Harvey Mackay:

When a handshake isn't good enough

By Harvey Mackay

Agreements prevent disagreements. If you are a regular reader of this column, you have likely heard this before. It's one of my core beliefs, yet it's amazing how many people don't heed this advice.

I recently received an email from one of my regular readers in Louisville, Kentucky. He wrote: "I have seen it happen so often, especially in real estate. Both the seller and buyer agree on a price, terms, conditions and usually it will be a simple smooth closing ... I have seen many deals that were lost where the attorney or the client start playing games of demanding things that weren't in the contract (after everyone agreed) or they say they will 'walk.' As you know, this happens in almost every business, if not by the boss, then a manager or employee. Most of the time it is NOT the money that motivates this action -- it is the excitement of 'Winning Always,' to outsmart others, to get the upper hand. These people are never satisfied with a simple win/win."

While this statement may resonate with a lot of people, the bottom line is once you have a deal, you can't change the rules in the middle of the game -- unless the rules themselves were unethical. And shame on you if you originally agreed to shady terms.

Every now and then you will find yourself dealing with one of those slick types who says he doesn't want a contract and "your word is good enough." Maybe yours is, but his usually isn't.

I've learned a few lessons the hard way. In my early business days, I had a handshake-deal with a man I hired. He agreed that he would not seek other employment for two years. After a year, what he thought was a better offer came along, and he was gone. He said that he remembered that we had agreed on only one year. How could I prove he was wrong? I couldn't.

I always strive to come to an agreement and then put it in writing. Now when I make a deal with anyone, I send a letter the same day in which I:
  1. Thank the person profusely for their courtesy, and
  2. Spell out the terms of our agreement -- "As I understand our agreement, I have agreed to do this ... and you have agreed to do that ..."
This minimizes any confusion. I don't usually ask for any acknowledgement other than to make sure they received the letter. It's just a nice, friendly, little reminder ... and a useful record if there should be any misunderstandings later. You'd be amazed at how helpful this little exercise is. Pale ink is better than the most retentive memory.

One more piece of advice: If the terms are important enough, make sure your agreement has some legal standing. Sometimes disagreements can't be settled amicably or easily, even with a written document. A good lawyer will make sure you are protected.

In a litigation-happy society, clear agreements often prevent small disagreements from becoming big ones. Unless you have time and money for an extended lawsuit, take the time up front to spell out the details. Your lawyer can anticipate scenarios that perhaps you haven't considered.

One last word of caution: Always make sure you know whom you are doing business with. You can save yourself plenty of headaches by using your head from the outset.

Several men are in a golf club locker room when a cell phone rings. A man answers the phone. "Yes, I'm finished with my game so I can talk. You're out shopping? And you want to order those new carpets? Okay ... and they'll include the curtains for an extra five thousand? Sure, why not?"

The golf buddies start to laugh.

"You want to book that week-long cruise? They'll hold the price at twelve thousand? Sounds good to me. How about two weeks? If that's what you want, okay by me."

The buddies start to wonder where he's been hiding the money.

He continues: "And you want to give the builder the go-ahead for the house addition? Seventy-five thousand if we say yes today? Sounds fair -- sure, that's fine."

Glances of amazement all around.

"Okay, see you later. Yes, love you too," says the man, ending the call.

He looks at the other men and says, "Whose phone is this anyhow?"

Mackay's Moral: A solid agreement keeps a meeting of the minds from becoming a clash of wills.

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Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Tuesday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

Click and Read:

by Sarah Mahoney
Just in time for Fashion Week, Macy's is unveiling a new celebrity-loaded campaign to promote its exclusive brands. Themed "Find Your Magic At Macy's," the new effort continues to draw on Martha Stewart, Jessica Simpson and the other famous faces behind its brands, but also plugs the retailer's special events, from the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade to fireworks to flower shows. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karlene Lukovitz
Memo to Burger King's new owners: Check out the "warmth" factor while strategizing about how to better differentiate BK from McDonald's. According to a new study, consumers' perceptions of a brand's warmth, in particular, along with perceptions of its competence, heavily influence both their purchase intent and loyalty. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
The new look -- a more mammalian, "about to pounce" sensibility -- reflects the aesthetics of new design chief Ikuo Maeda, who joined last April. Maeda has introduced his own concept to evince the "Kodo" look: the sleek Shinari four-door, four-seat sports coupe. ...Read the whole story >>
by Tanya Irwin
The Stratham, N.H.-based retailer is launching the global campaign, with the theme "Nature Needs Heroes," in conjunction with its new Earthkeepers collection. Made with materials like recycled rubber and recycled PET (one and a half plastic bottles are used in each pair of Earthkeepers boots), Earthkeepers product is one of the company's leading and fastest-growing product collections. ...Read the whole story >>

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Race and Research

I don't like being lumped into a big group.

Most folks don't.

Yet researchers continue to lump us together.

A common "Target Demo" for broadcasters are adults age 25-54.

In my own family, I have myself, my son, two daughters, and three son-in-laws that are in that demo. There are three others in my family that are borderline with that demo.

But if you look at the trends and ways to create patterns, it makes sense, allowing for exceptions to all the research.

With all of that in mind, here's some info on consumer research and buying habits:
Consumer Spending Influenced by Cultural Differences Whites and Asians have the largest incomes, and generally have more disposable income than Hispanics or Blacks to spend on consumer goods and services. However, cultural and lifestyle factors introduce variations in spending by category, according to data from the New Strategist Who's Buying series based on Bureau of Labor Statistics cited in the 2010 Retail Business Market Research Handbook.

Asians and Hispanics, for example, outspend other races/ethnicities on groceries. Both cultures favor cooking with fresh ingredients, some of which are exotic and can be more expensive than common canned or frozen ingredients. In addition, Hispanics tend to have larger households that include extended family members, driving up their grocery bills.

Asians outspend other races/ethnicities in the consumer electronics category. This is a cultural difference: Many Asian countries are leaders in technology, and their higher-than-average spending may be to keep up with the trends they hear about from their homelands.

Non-Hispanic Whites and Asians dominate spending on jewelry, a category that is largely dependent on having disposable income.

Hispanic spending on toys and games and sporting goods is second only to non-Hispanic Whites. Hispanic families have more children than families of other races/ethnicities. In addition, Hispanics are the youngest ethnic group and are more likely to be in the early stages of starting a family, when spending on toys and games is at its highest.

(Source: Research Alert, 08/20/10)

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What Maybe means

From Seth Godin:

Better than nothing (is harder than you think)

Most of the time, particulary in b2b and luxury sales, the competition is nothing.

"I will buy this treat or I will buy nothing, because I don't really need anything."

"I will buy your consulting services, or I'll continue doing what I'm doing now on that front, which is nothing."

None of the above.

"I will vote for you or I'll do what I usually do, which is not vote."

"I'll hire you or I'll hire no one."

While you think your competition is that woman across town, it's probably apathy, sitting still, ignoring the problem... nothing.

Stop worrying so much about comparing yourself to every other possible competitor you can imagine and start comparing yourself to nothing. Are you really worth the hassle, the risk, the time, the money? Or can't the prospect just wait until tomorrow?

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