Saturday, December 18, 2010

Be Different

In a way that matters to your customers....

From Drew:

Marketing tip #38: Beware of unintended consequences

Posted: 13 Dec 2010 05:57 AM PST

87637195As business owners, we often make decisions that at first blush serve the business well. But, as things roll out, there are consequences that we didn't anticipate and don't want.

The airlines are living this out as we speak. A while ago, to boost themselves out of the red, most major airlines instituted bag fees. A passenger must now pay an additional $25-$35 per checked piece of luggage.

I'm sure that when the airline executives came up with this plan -- they were elated. I can envision the equation on a big white board somewhere. X million bags times $25 = a TON of money.

But what they didn't think through was the consumer's reaction. At the same time they were trying to boost their bottom line, so were traveling families and business people. So rather than pay the $25 fee, people simply ignored the carry on bag size regulations and more and more people bypassed the checked luggage option.

The baggage fee has generated income ($2.2 billion for the industry combined in 2009) but it has also created these headaches:

  • Longer lines in security as people take more through the check point (and have no idea how to manage it all)
  • A jam up in plane boarding (everyone wants to get on early in hopes of snagging some overhead bin space)
  • Adding significant staff time in gate checking many, many more bags
  • Disgruntled customers who are now being forced to gate check bags with computers and other valuables that they thought they could carry on
  • More broken overhead bins due to people shoving bags that are too large into them
  • Delayed flights because people board with bags that won't fit -- and have to swim upstream to the front of the plane to do a late gate check
  • Increased dissatisfaction ratings from frustrated fliers

Maybe the money is worth it... but imagine the brand position some airline could take by renouncing fees and putting some of the convenience and comfort back into flying.

Bigger picture for us -- we need to think past the first blush advantages. Ask yourself these questions before you make a major shift in how you do business:

  • How might our customers act differently, based on this change? What are the consequences to those shifts?
  • How might this change the way we are perceived by our customers? By our employees?
  • What hidden costs come along with this decision?

What do you think -- if they would be candid, would airline executives tell you that baggage fees are worth the extra hassle, staffing, and customer dissatisfaction?

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Not the Same Old Stuff


From my email:

Marketers Discover Trucks Can Deliver More Than Food

When the Heavenly Mountain Resort in Lake Tahoe, Nev., wanted to promote its ski passes this season, it bypassed the usual advertising media like billboards, radio and print ads and instead chose a truck filled with snow cones driven by two improv actors to publicize its message.

For Heavenly, the idea to distribute snow cones from a truck was simple: "We're going to give you a little bit of the mountain," said Michael Chamberlin, the executive vice president and director of client services at BBDO San Francisco, which created the campaign for the resort.

That strategy -- pairing a brand’s message with of all things, a food truck -- has been increasingly employed in recent months, with major advertisers using trucks as rolling sandwich boards while advertising agencies issue the call to independent food truck operators to participate in brand-sponsored events.

Food trucks selling things like falafels and waffles have grown in popularity in cities like New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, and advertisers now see them as a vehicle for delivering their message directly to consumers.

"All the companies that are involved in this understand the power of this guerrilla-type marketing, being on the street, being very hands-on with the consumer that's walking around," said Beth Lawrence, the chief marketing officer of La Cense Beef, whose La Cense Beef Burger Truck has been used in many events in Manhattan since the summer.

The challenge with buying traditional media, said John Wagnon, the vice president for marketing at Heavenly, one of the properties of the Vail Resorts group, is "paying for eyeballs of people who have no interest in what you're trying to sell."

The food truck campaign is the first assignment by Heavenly for BBDO San Francisco, part of the BBDO West unit of BBDO Worldwide, owned by the Omnicom Group.

The resort's truck, outfitted with iPads and large televisions showing skiing and snowboarding films, will promote a $379 ski season pass at locations around the San Francisco Bay Area through Dec. 15.

Visitors can buy a pass at the truck itself or they can collect a card and visit a Web site for more information. The actors driving the truck will also create video content that will be posted to a blog and Facebook page associated with the campaign.

"It's like a mobile billboard on steroids," Mr. Chamberlin said.

Ms. Lawrence said that La Cense Beef started getting calls from advertising agencies at the end of the summer and credited it to the media attention food trucks have gotten, including a mention in New York Magazine's list of 25 of its favorite food trucks in New York City. According to the 2011 Zagat New York City restaurants survey, 26 percent of respondents reported eating from gourmet food trucks while 40 percent expressed interest in trying them.

In November, the La Cense Beef Burger truck was hired by Team One, a division of Saatchi and Saatchi, for a private event on behalf of Lexus. In October, it was hired by IAC to participate in the Vimeo Festival + Awards event. In June, the 94x50 agency used the truck for a private event on behalf of Nike.

"They like the brand, they like the positioning and they like the fact that the meat is coming from the ranch," William Kriegel, owner and founder of La Cense Beef, said of the grass-fed beef used to make the hamburgers sold on the truck.

At the 11th annual New Yorker festival this fall, HSBC bank used six independent food trucks to promote its first sponsorship of the event.

The trucks -- Rickshaw Dumpling, Schnitzel & Things, Wafels & Dinges, Bistro, NYC Cravings and Van Leeuwen -- were wrapped almost entirely in an HSBC ad campaign and each featured a special dish created for the event. Rickshaw Dumpling, for example, created a Peking duck dumpling, while Van Leeuwen offered pumpkin ice cream to visitors.

HSBC customers who showed their bank cards at any of the trucks were given special treats like a free drink of Moroccan mint tea at the Bistro truck and a free scoop of ice cream on a waffle at Wafels & Dinges. HSBC also branded the napkins used in the trucks.

But some brands prefer to create their own food truck instead of hiring an independent operator.

To promote its new product, Heinz Dip & Squeeze Ketchup, the H.J. Heinz Company bought a used truck and added a custom kitchen that included double-stacked convection ovens, food warmers, sinks and a freezer. The truck was then branded with a custom wrapping that displayed the "Heinz Ketchup Road Trip" message along with the related Twitter handle and Facebook page address.

The company hopes to capitalize on the growing familiarity with food trucks, said Jessica Jackson, the group head of public relations and communications at Heinz North America. The redesigned ketchup packets were also a perfect fit for a food truck, Ms. Jackson said.

"Since it was really made for eating on the go, we wanted to create an environment where people could experience it on the go," she said.

The road trip began in mid-November in Pittsburgh, the company's hometown, spent the Thanksgiving holiday in New York City and will make its way to Philadelphia with a final stop in Dallas. At each stop, visitors get a free serving of Ore-Ida crinkle cut fries or Ore-Ida sweet potato fries and a packet of the Dip & Squeeze Ketchup.

The company will also give away promotional T-shirts to people who have participated in one of the social media parts of the campaign. For example, the first 20 people who arrive at the truck showing on their smartphone that they have "checked in" to the "Ketchup Road Trip" on Foursquare or who post their preference as "dippers" or "squeezers" on Facebook or use the Twitter handle @DipAndSqeeze to announce their preference are also eligible for a free T-shirt.

Most food trucks, corporate or not, use social media tools like Twitter to post their location to their followers, and now Zagat, the restaurant guide, has gotten into the game. In early November, Zagat announced a food truck Web site that features a map with the location of the food trucks that it partners with. They are also conducting a survey of the best food trucks in New York.

"Now we're starting to get calls about Christmas parties," said Ms. Lawrence, of La Cense Beef. "It's just going to continue to be on the rise."

(Source: The New York Times, 11/29/10)

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Simple Stuff

This month I was training a new radio advertising sales person that we hired.

He has a background in advertising sales for the phone book people, but radio can be a different animal.

So, I could have easily confused him with all the complications, but I tried to keep it as simple as possible and we will build on that knowledge as time goes by.

Seth Godin explains why I took this approach:


"The answer is simple"

...is always more effective a response than, "well, it's complicated."

One challenge analysts face is that their answers are often a lot more complicated than the simplistic (and wrong) fables that are peddled by those that would mislead and deceive. Same thing is true for many non-profits doing important work.

We're not going to have a lot of luck persuading masses of semi-interested people to seek out and embrace complicated answers, but we can take two steps to lead to better information exchange:

1. Take complicated overall answers and make them simple steps instead. Teach complexity over time, simply.

2. Teach a few people, the committed, to embrace the idea of complexity. That's what a great college education does, for example. That's what makes someone a statesman instead of a demagogue. Embracing complexity is a scarce trait, worth acquiring. But until your customers/voters/employees do, I think the first strategy is essential.

You can't sell complicated to someone who came to you to buy simple.

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Friday, December 17, 2010

Friday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

Click & read, unless you're drunk on egg nog. Then do it later.


Sports
by Karl Greenberg
The new site ditches short-stay functionality like ticket sales and seating (that will remain on the old site) and focuses on content and conversation. Indeed, KnicksNow.com is intended less as a traditional team site than a social media hub. It has content like videos of players and photo galleries, but its central feature is real-time Twitter and Facebook feeds from players, staff and fans. ...Read the whole story >>
Retail
by Sarah Mahoney
Lands' End says its research has found that 49% of people consider themselves to be procrastinators, and 88% still had gifts to purchase this holiday season. More than half will wait until just a few days before Christmas to purchase their last gift. And 20% love that 11th hour adrenaline, and say they will buy presents on Christmas Eve and even Christmas Day. ...Read the whole story >>
Tourism
by Tanya Irwin
The Miami-based company is the official confetti sponsor of the 2011 celebration, which is expected to attract more than a million celebrants. Carnival will also engage the crowd through billboard advertisements and a text-to-win cruise giveaway. The cruise line is promoting the sponsorship on Twitter, Facebook and Flickr. ...Read the whole story >>
Electronics
by Aaron Baar
GoPro, which makes a wearable HD camera used by sports enthusiasts to document their escapades, is launching a national television campaign shot entirely by users of its HD Hero cameras. The spots -- there are 16 in all -- show people using the cameras for a wide variety of sports ranging from skiing and snowboarding to surfing and race car driving. ...Read the whole story >>
Restaurants
by Karlene Lukovitz
Adults 50+ account for 44% of all visits made to family restaurants and steakhouses -- up from 39% in 2000, according to GfK MRI Spring 2010. AARP members visit family restaurants and steakhouses, on average, six times per month, and are 60% more likely than non-members age 50+ to eat at family restaurants and steakhouses at least once a week, according to the association's data. ...Read the whole story >>
Retail
by Karl Greenberg
Accenture says more than 25% of luxury buyers will shop for luxury gifts online, with younger customers showing the greatest desire to shop online. Mass retailers (16%) and discount stores (10%) were the next-most-popular shopping destinations, followed by specialty stores (4%), and luxury brand stores (3%) rounded out the bottom of the list. ...Read the whole story >>

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Just Do it... Differently

from Drew:

Marketing tip #93 When you should zip...zag

by Drew McLellan

We are creatures of habit. Even as marketing professionals who are supposed to be creative, innovative and "out of the box" thinkers. There are some SOP (standard operating procedures) that are tied to most aspects of marketing.

You'll recognize some of these... (By the way...not saying I agree with these)

  • B to B advertisers should choose talk radio over top 40 stations
  • Non profits should sent out an appeal letter between Thanksgiving and December 5th
  • You have to drive traffic back to your own website
  • You should focus on the value proposition in your marketing

But, we're not the only ones who know these golden oldies. Our audiences do to. And so do our competitors. Which often makes it a snore.

Sometimes if you can find the courage (and sell it internally) -- taking a different direction and zagging when you should zig gives your effort a freshness and element of surprise that can be very influential and action inspiring.

Take this video by American Express. They're trying to get consumers to join their cause marketing effort called Take Part. The campaign is encouraging people to donate their time and/or dollars to charities. They can also vote to decide which charities win financial support from Amex.

Now...conventional wisdom would be to do a campaign that touched the hearts of the audience. Inspire them to action. Nothing wrong with that approach but a bit expected. Which is why I love what they did instead. Take a look.

By using a very trendy celebrity who plays a character we really don't want to be anything like (but find funny), AMEX was able to make their point in a very fresh way. It's the polar opposite of the PSA featuring the Indian who is so dismayed by litter than he sheds a tear (from the 70s).

We expect the tear. We don't expect Sue.

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Last Minute Shoppers


Just because it's a week away, and retailers have had Christmas stuff in their stores since July 5th, doesn't mean Americans are done shopping...

Majority of Holiday Shoppers Still Have Gifts to Buy

Hard to pass up holiday sales helped motivate holiday shoppers a little earlier this year, though most agree they still have quite a dent to make in their list. According to the National Retail Federation's 2010 Holiday Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, conducted by BIGresearch, the average person had completed 49.5 percent of their holiday shopping by the second week of December, up from 46.7 percent at same time last holiday season.

"It's well-known that at least half of the shopping that occurs during the holiday season happens during the last few weeks, making the final stretch of utmost importance to retailers," said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. "With the big day falling on a Saturday this year and a lot of shopping left to be done, retailers will continue to push aggressive promotions in the weekdays leading up to it, hoping to remind shoppers they only have one more weekend to shop."

According to the survey, 37 million people (16.9%) had not even started their shopping as of late last week, lower than the estimated 42 million people who said so during same point last year. Additionally, 22 million go-getters (10.1%) say they have already finished, up from 8.6 percent who had finished by this time last year. Though they started the season with a bang, men admit to having completed slightly less than women at this point (48.5% vs. 50.4% respectively).

It seems many shoppers are well aware they only have one big weekend left to shop. According to the survey, most holiday shoppers (32.4%) plan to complete their list prior to Saturday, December 18. Though, Friday, December 24 (11.9%) is expected to be the second busiest day between the 18th and Christmas Day.

Of the people who say they have used their smartphone to shop this holiday season, more than one-quarter (26.0%) have used the phone to make an actual purchase. Nearly one-third (32.5%) are specifically using their phone to receive text messages with special offers and 34.6 percent are reading what their peers are saying in customer reviews. It seems locating store hours or locations (50.7%) and perusing their options by browsing for gifts (60.2%) are the most popular ways shoppers have used their phones thus far.

"Just as we saw with the emergence of Internet shopping, mobile shopping, too, is already starting to catch on in terms of being a generator of sales for retailers," said Phil Rist, Executive Vice President, Strategic Initiatives, BIGresearch. "Tracking down mobile coupons and reading customer reviews remain extremely popular options for shoppers as they look for the best price, product and even store location."

Department stores can expect the larger share of traffic over the next few weeks (38.4%), though online retailers (37.6%) and discount stores (36.5%) will also be popular shopping destinations for last-minute shoppers. Electronics stores (19.4%), clothing or accessories stores (18.8%) and outlet stores (10.8%) will also see their share of procrastinators in the coming days.

When it comes to gifts that have been bought so far, most say they have purchased clothes or clothing accessories (43.9%). Though books, CDs, DVDs, videos or video games (38.1%) have also been popular purchases. Consumers also bought toys (35.3%), gift cards (29.9%), consumer electronics (21.3%), food or candy (20.0%), and home d├ęcor (15.2%).

When asked which payment method they have used the most, four out of ten (40.9%) have used their debit or check cards most often. Nearly one-third (31.1%) have used their credit cards and nearly one-quarter (24.4%) have used cash. A mere 3.6 percent have relied on checks.

Christmas Day itself will largely serve as a day for consumers to cook (45.6%), visit friends and family (66.0%) and watch TV (52.8%), but nearly one-quarter (24.1%) will browse the Internet as well. NRF has revised its holiday sales forecast to 3.3 percent, or $451.5 billion, up from the original 2.3 percent expected increase.

(Source: National Retail Federation, 12/15/10)

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Gifting

from SalesDog.com:

The Salesperson's Guide to Gift-Giving
by Tina LoSasso
Finding the perfect gift for family or friends is no small chore. Business gift-giving is even more challenging. While you may be able to get away with Starbucks gift cards for your staff, thanking your clients for their business requires more time and thoughtfulness. How do you go about selecting exactly the right gift for that important client? Here are some time-honored rules of thumb:

• Thoughtful gifts will earn you huge dividends. If you're working a large account, check your notes on the key players. What are their hobbies? Do they golf, cook or play sports? For example, if you know someone loves to fish, send him a book on fly-fishing America's rivers.
• The ultimate in thoughtfulness is a gift you make yourself. This is especially true around the holidays. Unless your customer is a Martha Stewart type, she probably has little time to make much of anything. Gifts of homemade cookies, candy or preserves will be greatly appreciated. Packaging is important with homemade presents, so make them look pretty!
• Women love chocolate. In this case, think quality, not quantity. A small box of exquisite, handmade truffles will be appreciated far more than a big box of run-of-the-mill chocolates. Gourmet coffees and teas, crystal items and potted plants are usually a hit. A saleswoman may send more personal items—aromatherapy candles, a spa kit—to her stressed-out female buyers, but salesmen should not be so familiar. Sorry guys—that is life. You are not in the club.
• Men love gadgets, toys and food. Think of the latest electronics, or a clever desktop novelty. High-quality pens, nuts or jellybeans also score highly with men. Cigars are a great idea if you know he smokes them. Once again, think quality, not quantity. It's far better to send a few of the very best than a box of duds he will throw away.
• Think regional. Consider sending a gift from your region of the country: Ghirardelli chocolate from San Francisco, smoked salmon from the Northwest, cheese from Wisconsin, citrus fruit from Florida or California, authentic Cajun fixin's from Louisiana, or barbecue sauce from Texas. Cleverly packaged, these unique local gifts (and you) will be remembered far longer than a generic tin of cookies...


SalesDog 2701 Loker Ave. West, Ste. 148, Carlsbad, CA 92010
Tel: 760-476-3700 • Fax: 760-476-3733 • Web: www.SalesDog.com

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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Thursday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

Click & Read:


Restaurants
by Karlene Lukovitz
The suit, which asks for class-action status, was filed Dec. 15 in California Superior Court in San Francisco on behalf of Monet Parham, a mother of two residing in Sacramento. The action is bound to raise the already high level of public debate about food marketing to children in the context of nutrition and obesity issues. ...Read the whole story >>
Automotive
by Karl Greenberg
Lexus is, for the first time, talking to consumers about a new vehicle within the realm of Microsoft's Xbox gaming platform. The luxury division of Toyota Motor is going after a new customer for Lexus by promoting the new car, a dedicated luxury marque called Lexus CT 200h, through a partnership and integration in Xbox 360 system and the "Halo:Reach" game. ...Read the whole story >>
Electronics
by Aaron Baar
"At Global Research, the mission of our scientists and engineers is to redefine what's possible," company representative Todd Alhart tells Marketing Daily. "GE is a technology company. We have a compelling technology story to tell, which we do in many different ways." ...Read the whole story >>
Financial Services
by Tanya Irwin
State Farm is continuing its quest to connect with younger consumers with the sponsorship of a popular social game on Facebook. The Bloomington, Ill.-based insurance company is launching a six-month ad campaign within the game Car Town that includes branded missions, virtual item giveaways and new State Farm-branded promotions that let players earn bonuses of virtual currency. ...Read the whole story >>
Food
by Karlene Lukovitz
Among the ads cited as deceptive by the FTC were Activia's TV ads featuring actress Jamie Lee Curtis that say Activia is "clinically proven to help regulate your digestive system in two weeks, and a DanActive TV ad showing a sick-looking boy perking up after drinking the yogurt and that states that DanActive is "clinically proven to help strengthen your body's defenses." ...Read the whole story >>
Retail
by Sarah Mahoney
With stores already offering big sales on some of the season's hottest items, shoppers are biting. But a new survey from the National Retail Federation reports that the average consumer has only crossed off 49.5% of her list. (That's up a bit from last year, when the average person had only finished 46.7% of holiday shopping.) As a result, the Washington, D.C.-based trade group expects retailers to crank up the price cuts in the season's final few weeks.< ...Read the whole story >>
Automotive
by Karl Greenberg
But the next best thing, says Kerri Wise, are vehicles blessed (or cursed, based on one's perspective) with a polarizing style. Think Nissan Cube, PT Cruiser, Ford Flex, Dodge Charger, or even BMW's Chris Bangle-designed E65 7-Series saloon from 2002. "It's love it or hate it; they are both avoided and loved because of styling. They create buzz and move up the consideration lists." ...Read the whole story >>
by Wayne Friedman
Marketing executive Karen Sortito, 49, who came to prominence for her ground-breaking, multimillion-dollar product marketing deals for a number of James Bond movies in the 1990s, died Monday of cancer in New York. ...Read the whole story >>

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One Size Fits No One


Labov and Beyond, a Fort Wayne based agency posted this on their blog this week.

Consider how it applies to your business:

Customization wins

Looking back at 2010, I’ve read several stories about how cable television is losing ground to high-speed internet services. People kept their cable tv, even in a recession, until recently. Now, people will keep their internet service, and let the cable go. Others, who can afford cable, just don’t have it anymore.

For me, I no longer have cable tv. I love Mad Men, so I buy the episodes on iTunes and watch them on my iPhone. I watch 30 Rock on Hulu. I watch Nova and American Masters on PBS.org. I listen to Sirius radio and listen to terrestrial radio shows I like on podcasts when I have time. I don’t have a landline phone at my house because everyone in the family has a cell phone.

What does this mean to us in the sales channel? It means customization is king. People aren’t buying cable because they have to pay for a lot of channels they don’t watch. People buy satellite radio when they could get regular radio for free because they can choose the types of music they like and almost act like their own program director. People don’t have a landline phone because people can call individuals directly with cell phones and aren’t limited to when they are at home.

No matter what business you are in, consider what your customers can customize. Consider what your distribution channel can control. Don’t make big packages available that throw in a bunch of things you can’t sell on their own. It’s not value added if the customer doesn’t see, or want, the value. Offer choices and let people customize as much as they can. If you really can’t move something unless it’s included with something else, then why have it at all?

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New Ad Campaigns

Amy's latest:

Holiday gifts that save lives. Kia Optima: the car your child dreams about. Let's launch!


1Not having your eyesight checked regularly can mean the difference between finding a mannequin or dead body in a dumpster. You decide. Richmond Optometry launched four amusing TV ads illustrating how easily a harmless item can be mistaken for something harmful. And vice versa. Each story is told through a Phoropter, the machine used by an optometrist that contains different lenses to test your eyesight. A hunter sees two different things through his lenses in "Buck." The first sighting is a large buck; in reality, it's a man gathering wood. See it here. "Dumpster" is my favorite ad. A doctor asks his patient what image is clearer: that of a mannequin in a dumpster, or a dead body. Love the police sirens playing in the background. Watch it here. An innocent trip to your backyard could result in a homeowner picking up a garden hose -- or a garden snake. See it here. Eye drops and superglue should not be packaged in similar bottles. The end result would be open and shut. Watch it here. Red Urban Canada created the campaign.

2"Happy Honda Days" is back with a trio of TV ads and a fun Facebook app. The animated voice of the Honda spokesman has been morphed into an average-sounding voiceover, coupled this year with holiday music from Vampire Weekend. Honda promotes its Civic and Accord brands using stop-motion visuals, tacky Christmas sweaters and one extremely catchy song. Watch "Civic" here. "Accord," seen here, uses the same catchy holiday song along with ice-skating lovebirds and cross-country skiers. "People Movers" shows the remaining fleet of Honda vehicles plus snowboarders, shoppers and kids dressed as snowflakes, reindeer and presents. See it here. Be sure to check out Honda's "NaughtyOrNice-a-tron" app that patiently combs through a year's worth of status updates, friend approvals and "likes" to determine whether you've been naughty or nice. It was fun to see old status updates pop up and get fed through an archaic-looking data cruncher. Plus, I came out nice. RPA created the campaign and handled the media buy.

3War Child, an organization that helps families torn apart by war rebuild their lives, launched two humorous videos demonstrating how bad holiday gifts can save lives. In "Holiday Heimlich," a piece of sushi becomes lodged in a man's throat. He attempts the self-Heimlich using three chairs in his apartment. No luck. He makes his way to an ugly statue of a tiger, still partially wrapped, which dislodges the sushi. I'm shocked he made it that long without passing out. See it here. A woman hanging holiday lights falls off a ladder in "Holiday Mishap." The sound that rouses her is "Jingle Bells" sung by a meowing cat. A singing cat pillow broke her fall. Watch it here. "Bad gifts don't save lives. War Child gifts actually do," concludes both videos. john st. created the campaign, directed by Jon Barber of OPC.

4The Partnership at DrugFree.org, formerly known as the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, launched two TV spots and a Facebook app that tackle the problem of prescription drug abuse among teens. "Today" depicts a typical day in the life of an average teenager, from meeting a new friend, getting a drastic haircut, having their first kiss, or beginning a new job. The spot turns serious when an alarming statistic is shared: "Today, 2,500 kids will abuse prescription drugs for the first time. And tomorrow, some will wish they hadn't." Watch it here. "Surgery" shows a teenager on an operating table with a massive incision in his stomach. Initially, viewers believe he's simply being operated on, but it's revealed that the teen is actually operating on himself. "Every year, 2 million kids play doctor by taking pills not prescribed to them," says the voiceover. See it here. A "Reality Check" Facebook app is pretty freaky. It streams live tweets that mention prescription meds. As tweets pour in, prescription meds fill an adjoining box. Users can scroll over the pills to learn about sedatives, stimulants and prescription drugs, and why teens abuse them. TBWA/Chiat/Day New York created the campaign.

5A child's racecar bed takes him on a whimsical journey over the Golden Gate Bridge, on a beach, past a spaceship, train and medieval knights in "Sweet Dreams," promoting the 2011 Kia Optima. His storybooks come to life when his closet opens to reveal an open road full of amazing characters. When the boy drives through a tunnel, he emerges from the other end as an adult driving a Kia Optima. "No one ever dreamt of driving a midsize sedan... until now," says the voiceover. Certainly not your typical car commercial. I didn't expect the end product advertised to be a mid-sized sedan. Watch the ad here, created by David&Goliath.

6Proximity Chicago launched Chair-Free Chicago, an initiative aimed at residents who use chairs and traffic cones to block off a public parking space they shoveled out. ChairFreeChicago.org provides signage that Chicagoans can use to declare their neighborhoods chair-free zones, as well as flyers that can be placed on items in the street. These flyers are quite funny: "Free!!! Please take me home, I'm all yours," says the flyer, seen here. Flyers range from Minneapolis Mad: "It's just so gosh darn snowy here in Chicago, if everyone started saving spaces, why, we wouldn't have anywhere to park!" to New York Mad: "Consider yourself a selfish prick, you selfish prick." Saying the New York flyer is stereotypical is beyond an understatement. New Yorkers are not as bad as they're made out to be. Check out full flyers here and here. Signs and flyers can be downloaded for free, while sturdier options can be purchased.

7American Standard Heating & Air Conditioning launched "Tongues" back in October, but it's perfect for the holiday season since it pays homage to "A Christmas Story." The ad shows a boy sitting inside his home on a stairwell. His tongue finds its way to the railing... and promptly gets stuck. His mother is brushing her teeth upstairs and hears his cries for help. Naturally, she touches the faucet with her tongue, and she, too, is stuck. "When inside feels more like outside, it's time," says the voiceover. Watch the ad here, created by Carmichael Lynch.

8Anorexia is a serious disease in Mexico, yet it's not perceived as one. Comenzar de Nuevo, a nonprofit that raises awareness about anorexia, ran a bus shelter campaign in Mexico City in an effort to educate a broad range of people about the disease. Plates of oversized food, like a jumbo shrimp, extra-large strawberry and piece of pasta, are coupled with a tagline: "A person with anorexia sees everything much bigger, except for their disease." See ads here, here and here, created by Dieste.


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

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Turn off the Tech?

from Pat Mcgraw:

2 Key Ingredients to Profitable Sales

Posted: 07 Dec 2010 06:00 AM PST

Cheers

Searching for ways to attract more first time buyers and motivate current customers to buy more on a regular basis?

Don’t fall into the trap that so many businesses fall into on a regular basis – don’t get fixated on shiny objects like CRM or Marketing Automation or social media…

Focus on the basics. Get back to the simple life. Remember, great businesses existed before computer technology and the web…and they really can exist in today’s world because great businesses focus on three main factors.

Know your target audience. My grandfather ran a liquor store when I was a kid. He knew the people in the neighborhood on a first name basis. He knew their likes and dislikes. He asked them questions and listened for the answers before he placed product orders – then, when the customer came into the store, my grandfather would ask them to try the product and let him know if they liked it.

Consistently offer a unique, valuable solution to an unmet need. Ever watch Cheers? You know what brought Norm and the gang together in that bar every day? It was the experience. You can get a beer at any bar in town – but you can’t get that warm feeling of community without an owner working hard to make you feel special. So the next time you find yourself less than enthused by a customer’s demands…

Notice that there is no focus on technology in these two very basic concepts. It’s about people working with people. Talking and listening. Responding in a unique way that delivers value.

People buy from people. They buy from people they trust. People they like.

Sure, there are times when we order products from a company – because we’re in a hurry. But most of us enjoy personal interaction with a friendly individual that makes buying fun.

What about you? Do you like going to a store where you are treated like a customer – or do you like being treated like a person?

Next time you start thinking about spending all that money on technology or hiring staff that can run your blog, Facebook page and Twitter account…ask yourself if that’s the best way to invest your resources or if you need to get everyone focused on the people you are trying to serve.

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Wednesday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

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Electronics
by Aaron Baar
To promote its reboot/sequel "Tron: Legacy," Disney is proclaiming "The Game Has Changed." In touting its new, high-priced electric razor, the SensoTouch3D, Philips Norelco believes the same thing. And while a connection between a high-tech, special effects-filled film and an electric razor may seem thin to the outsider, it nevertheless led to a movie tie-in. ...Read the whole story >>
Retail
by Sarah Mahoney
Whole Foods Market says it is offering free shipping on its holiday gift boxes to soldiers deployed overseas. Sears--already a big military supporter through its Heroes at Home program--recently launched a "Baking for the Troops" program to send cookies to military personnel. And longtime supporters --like Pitney Bowes, with the Holiday Mail for Heroes it sponsors through the American Red Cross -- are ratcheting up their efforts. ...Read the whole story >>
Beverages
by Karlene Lukovitz
With consumers more concerned than ever about sugar and calorie consumption, leading beverage marketers' quest for the perfect, natural low- or no-calorie sweetener continues. The latest news: PepsiCo is "very, very close" to launching a lineup of products that will represent a taste breakthrough, chairman and CEO Indra Nooyi revealed during a Beverage Digest conference on Dec. 13. ...Read the whole story >>
Packaged Goods
by Aaron Baar
"Pepto has generated an incredible pop-culture relevance ranging from multiple references to our recognizable 'Pepto-Bismol Pink' color to inclusion in humorous news stories and social media conversations regarding upset stomach," says Nathan Fox, brand manager. "This allows us to execute a tongue-in-cheek strategy." ...Read the whole story >>
Financial Services
by Tanya Irwin
The goal of the videos is to show how the Milwaukee-based company can help provide financial security over a lifetime, no matter what the circumstances. The videos are part of the insurance company's "A Foundation for Life" campaign, which broke in August with TV, print and online and was created by Minneapolis-based Olson. ...Read the whole story >>
Automotive
by Karl Greenberg
Chrysler hasn't had a top-to-bottom redesign of the Chrysler 300 sedan since the vehicle was re-introduced in 2004. The slightly retro sedan was huge when it came out, and it made then-rising designer Ralph Gilles a star. The brand new 300 will be for the 2012 model year, meaning it rolls into showrooms later next year. But guess what. You can see it now. Parts of it, anyway. ...Read the whole story >>
Retail
by Karl Greenberg
High-end kitchen major appliances brand Thermador has a tough job in this economy: even wealthy people are reticent to spend big on trophy stoves. Thermador is hoping to keep the fires burning with the largest campaign in its history. The effort, "Real Innovations for Real Cooks" launching next month, centers on a product-demonstration, cooking-show-style Web experience at Thermador.com. ...Read the whole story >>

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Why Low Prices, Discounts & Deals are Deadly

Some companies use them all the time.

But if price and discount was all you have to offer, you are either limiting your potential, or killing off your business.

Laura Ries explains:

Coupons, Groupon and Cocaine

Coupons001

These days marketers are going in exactly the wrong direction.

The recession has caused a lots of companies to panic. And when companies panic, they print coupons and throw up sale signs. Look in your mailbox, your email inbox or your newspaper and you will see what I mean. Everybody is having a sale.

But does this coupon-sale-discount strategy work?

Yes and no.

Yes, in the short term coupons, sales and discounts do work. Discounts bring in customers and ring up sales. But the short term is not the only thing that needs to be considered when building a business and brand.

Coupons are like cocaine. The first time you do it, it is the best feeling in the world. But over time it takes more and more of it to achieve that same feeling. And then you need it just to function. You are a cocaine addict. From the mug shots of Lindsay Lohan and others we know how personally destructive cocaine is, yet we fail to realize the similar brand-destroying danger of coupons.

Cocaine
Think about it. The effects of coupons, sales and discounts are exactly the same as cocaine. The first time you get a discount card in the mail you are elated! Wow! 10% off, 20% off, 2-for-1! You might rush out to the store and take advantage of the offer. But next time you drive by that store you think, I’ll just wait and see if there are any more coupons coming. Next time you drive by that store you get mad since you forgot the coupon. Eventually you refuse to step into the store without a coupon.

Try checking out of one of these stores without using a coupon and even the sales clerk looks at you like a pathetic loser. Nobody pays full price here what’s the matter with you! She may even reach down to pull out a coupon of her own to give you.

Coupons and discounts do one thing every well. They teach consumers that your regular prices are too high. A lesson consumers learn very quickly. Once they think your regular prices are too high, they won’t buy from you until given a discount. And desperate companies are too quick to oblige.

High-low pricing is devastating to the consumer’s opinion of your brand. It’s also devastating to your bottom line. If you are giving away the merchandise, you aren’t making any profits.

You might be thinking in this economy what other choice do I have? My competition is doing deals so I have to do them too.

Wrong. Its peer pressure. But Mom, all the other kids are doing cocaine so I have to do it too. No parent would buy that argument. And no marketer should either.

What is even scarier is that there is excitement surrounding the rise of coupons. Look at the recent love affair with Groupon. A recent front page article of Advertising Age magazine proclaims “Suddenly, Everyone wants to be on Groupon.”

Suddenly, everyone wants to damage their brand by undermining its position with Groupon! Great.

Many marketers make it even worse by thinking that Groupon can help their brand and don’t acknowledge any downsides. Instead of a Valupak delivered in your mailbox, Groupon is an electronic coupon delivered via the internet.

It is new? Yes.

Is it a cheaper form of discounting? Probably.

Do consumers like discounts? Yes.

Do discounts build your brand? No.

Do discounts damage your brand? Yes.

For local and small businesses, the rise of Groupon is seen as the obvious answer to the decline of the Yellow Pages. The marketing dollars for local businesses used to be predominately spent on a listing and an ad in the Yellow Pages. And for decades, this approach was enormously effective.
Of course, today the internet has made the Yellow Pages obsolete.

So how do you build a business whether you are Joe, the Plumber or JC Penny? It comes down to basic marketing philosophy.

Do you build a brand by:

1) Standing for something in the mind of the consumer?

2) Offering coupons and discounts?

My answer should be obvious, you build a brand by standing for something in the mind.

If you are Joe, the Plumber you might be the leading plumbing company in your area, you might be the 24-hour plumber focused on fast service, or you might be the high-end plumber focused on custom work, or you might be the plumber focused on commercial jobs or you might be something else that is focused and clear.

In any case, Joe needs a good name and a strong, unique visual. He needs to verbalize his focus so his customers can pass along his message. He needs to put his message on his truck, website, business cards. He may also need to advertise his message and credentials.

Many small businesses today are desperately looking for an easy replacement to the Yellow Pages. So they have jumped on Groupon as the Holy Grail.

I’m sorry to tell you, but Groupon isn’t the messiah as the hype promises. To me it looks more like coupons in sheep’s clothing.

Coupons don’t build a brand, they destroy it.

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Holiday Sales Are Bad for Business


When I meet with a client, say a heating and cooling guy that has been advertising specials and coupons, I usually ask them if they want to be known as the "low cost coupon guy" and most say no.

Here's why, from Business News Daily:

Holiday Bargains May Not be Good for Business


Slashing prices may seem like the only way to bring bargain-hungry customers through your doors this holiday shopping season, but in may be detrimental to your business in the long run.

That’s the conclusion of a researcher who says that when businesses continue to give away profits, they are selling out their own future.

“When a brand goes on sale, it gives away part of the profit margin needed to invest in future innovation and quality,” said Sheri Bridges, associate professor of business at Wake Forest University. “This affects the consumer’s satisfaction in the long run because the company cannot afford to develop the newer and better products we all want.”

Bridges contends that if firms keep giving away margin they will eventually have to reduce the quality of their goods and services.

“Too many brands think the only way to get and keep customers is by cutting prices. In reality, consumers are more interested in high value than low prices. Value is a function of the bundle of perceived benefits offered at a given price. Apple doesn’t discount its products, but it’s still one of the hottest electronics brands around.”

Continual price-cutting conditions consumers to wait for sales before making purchases and sends a message that, in the company’s eyes, the brand is not worth full price.

“Selling products at a discount is like paying someone to like you,” Bridges said. “Good marketers know that sales aren’t necessary, if you’re providing the right value to the right customer.”

By Jeanette Mulvey, BusinessNewsDaily Managing Editor

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The Rules Have Changed

from my email:

Daily Sales Tip: The Changing Approval Process

Many decision-makers no longer have the ability to sign-off on the same level of expenses or purchases that they were once accustomed to. This has significant ramifications.

The ego issue. Picture yourself in the executive office, perhaps a VP of Sales or Marketing. Until last year you could approve any purchase under $20,000. Now, you need to get approval from a purchasing committee for any expense over $5,000. Although you understand the philosophy behind this policy, it is challenging to deal with because in your eight-year history with the company you have never made a poor buying decision.

The buying committee. You may now have to deal with buying committees, and if you're not careful, you won't even get the chance to meet them. That means the decision to use your product, service or solution could be vetoed.

No approval. Some purchases simply won't be approved because of the extent or nature of the expense. Even though your solution may benefit the company, the organization may choose not to move forward simply because they know they won't get approval for the expense. It's not fair but it is a fact of business.

Once again, this means that you need to ask more questions to uncover the approval process. Be sensitive to the decision-maker's position if you discover that they no longer have the authority to sign-off on your product or service. Look for ways to help them facilitate their decision.

Source: Sales consultant/author Kelley Robertson

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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Tuesday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

Click & Read:


Retail
by Sarah Mahoney
"What's really alarming is that lower-income households are even less likely to have a spending plan," Greg McBride, senior financial analyst at Bankrate tells Marketing Daily. "It's also worrisome in that it isn't a surprise -- people know December is coming, but still don't make a budget." ...Read the whole story >>
Restaurants
by Karlene Lukovitz
Continued high employment suppressed overall restaurant industry traffic recovery in the third quarter, with traffic showing a 1% decline, according to NPD Group. However, there were positive signs during the quarter, and the researcher expects traffic to grow by 1% in both Q4 2010 and first quarter 2011. ...Read the whole story >>
Retail
by Tanya Irwin
Ikea launched the contest as part of the company's "Life Improvement Project," an initiative designed to educate, inspire and empower people to improve their lives at home, as well as the lives of others in their community, says Christine Scoma Whitehawk, communications manager, Ikea North American Services, LLC. ...Read the whole story >>
Automotive
by Karl Greenberg
The luxury brand will race its V-Series performance sports cars in the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) World Challenge GT Series. The program returns Cadillac to the arena after a three-year absence. The company will compete in the upcoming SCCA World Challenge GT Class with the CTS-V Coupe. ...Read the whole story >>
Automotive
by Karl Greenberg
Toyota has had to ask for vehicles back en masse for minor fixes in recent weeks, the latest coming Monday for brake light switch brackets on its Sienna minivans. But that hasn't killed people's ardor for the brand. The automaker has taken the top spot in as the most-considered auto brand among new-car shoppers in Kelley Blue Book's Market Intelligence Brand Watch study. ...Read the whole story >>

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