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Wednesday, August 12, 2009
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Friday, June 26, 2009
Around the world, parents send their children "care packages" loaded with fresh undies and comfort foods. In Japan they love to include copious sugar-fried study fuels, so Nestle jumped on board with the Japanese postal syste to create mailable Kit Kat bars with inscription areas and a space for postage. The candygram won the Media Grand Prix at the recent Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival. Kit Kat in Japanese is Kitto Katso, and it means "surely win".
What I'm not clear about is what the other 58% of Pringles are made out of (recycled bike spokes or something) and how you get a Kit Kat through the mail in a country as hot as Japan without making those fresh undies look like the morning after.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Keeping with the smart phone theme I've been on recently, I got a tweet from Sam of O&A Radio fame and my first thought is of all those Nazi slaves working for Bayer back in the day. What the hell does that mean, you ask?
Well it seems that Sam was at the NYC Apple Store when a CNBC reporter asked him about the release of the new iPhone 3GS. Snark alert. In the most sarcastic way possible explained he was switching over to iPhone because of all the great features that one day might work, and because he was tired of all his calls going through with his existing phone, and was looking forward to dropping between five and $700 on it.
Here's the link to the recording.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
I do not have a smart phone, but I need one and the question has been, iPhone vs. BlackBerry. I've come to no conclusion, but this certainly doesn't help Apple's case. "People were saying the Palm Pre would be the iPhone killer. ... nope, turns out that AT&T will be the iPhone killer", according to @brickworkz.
I've come to no conclusion on iPhone vs. BlackBerry, but first I'll have to see what flaming hoops my current provider will want me to hop through to terminate my current service. And if anyone wants me to test out a Palm Pre, I'm wide open.
My point is this: I used to work for a stand-up dude with a steady reputation in promotions, and somewhere near the top of his list of things that made him crazy were promotions that didn't support the brand. "Why the frak is my bank giving away iPods? What does that have to do with banking?" Unless they're quietly nodding to the mindless hours in line they'd like to help you kill, I'm not sure either. His point remains, if you're going to give something away as an incentive to purchase Energizer over Duracell, or a Whopper over a Big Mac, make it something that supports the brand, like dipping sauce, or a small appliance that eats batteries for example.
Today and today only, I see this awesome Verizon promotion. A fleet of branded yellow cabs in NYC will be offering 99 cent cab rides. Think of it as a 95% off coupon for your commute, courtesy of Verizon and McCann Erickson. Thanks guys, now take this cab to Vermont.
It's cool, but how does this support the brand? Verizon has prepaid 99 cent a day cellular plans which no one knows about, and this kind of guerilla tactic makes a deeper connection to the value the company is offering for just 99 cents. Sad you missed it? Good news then. On the 3rd (of June 2009) they're giving away 99 cent ice cream. As BrandFreak points out, it will likely be about 99 degrees by then, so they should consider a 99 cent dry cleaning promotion as a follow up.
I promise you, this is a real ice cream menu, and somewhere some poor population is forced to choose between Garlic Amaretto and Bacon Ice Cream on hot summer days.
Monday, June 1, 2009
How does it work? It's a ball, attached to a chain. Oh, attached to a time lock. How cool is that?
The Study Ball is a prison-style, steel ball-and-chain that stays on as long as you need to keep you focused on your task. Weighing in at 21 lbs, it's possible to lug around, but why bother. Unless your office begins to fill with smoke, you're not likely to lug this thing around voluntarily.
Friday, May 29, 2009
Now let's look at that body copy. This eye-eating abomination (not sure exactly how it functioned) suggests that smaller type size encourages focused viewing behaviour while giant large type encourages scanning. Also shorter paragraphs tracked better in research than longer ones. Ever been on a date with a chatty drunk? They're not that much fun. So why are you philabustering on your layout. Learn to trim the fat. Just the facts. Snag the eye. Drive them to the web for more information. Sites like Lowbrow and One Sentence have always been great for understanding the need for berevity in story telling. Twitter is another great disciplinary tool for staying on point and keeping it short.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Here's some stuff you need to know about children and advertising I want to pass on courtesy of the National Institute for Media and the Family. In 1997, $1.3 billion was spent on television advertisements directed at children. Counting all media, advertising and marketing budgets aimed at children approached $12 billion (McNeal, 1999).
By the age of two, my children are all able to call out McDonald's, Zoo and Home Depot logos. The average child watches as many as 40,000 commericals a year, and can't tell the difference between commercials and regular TV shows. What I can say is my guys know when the really good, really short little shows are lined up and perk up for commercials so they can bow to the alter and play "need it, want it".
Simply put, children influence parental spending, so all advertising now aims at children to increase "nag factor". I've pointed out in the past how marketers target the young to create brand loyalties and children don't just influence spending on kids toys and food - it's everything from carpets to cars. A lot of adult products are being paired with kid-friendliess (oh, and billions of dollars) to influence the young to pressure the old to part ways with their money.
We're all familiar with the use of cartoon characters and toys to draw attention to all kinds of products, but I was surprised to learn there was a Sports Illustrated magazine for Kids. And I was really surprised to know there were ads for Minivans in it. Come join me in my slack-jawed awe at these tidbits of information.
- databases of child customers are being built from information gathered on Internet sign-ups and chat rooms, from electronic toy registries at stores like Toys 'R' Us
- in-school news briefs force kids to watch commercials in school
- budget cuts draw advertisers like food brings racoons, offering cash for access to students
- in-school news briefs force kids to watch commercials in school
- Promotional licensing of products aimed at kids which include media pitches
- Do you have any idea how many Children's TV and radio networks there are?
- Children's toys are starting to carry product placements (Barbie™ dolls with Coca Cola™ accessories for example)
- almost every fast food chain now has give-away programs including promotional merchandise (McDonald's™ "Happy Meals, etc.)
Monday, May 25, 2009
One of the most important things for everyone working in advertising and marketing to remember that no one ever points out is if you are not the ideal target for a product, you have to pretend you are. I was recently in a brainstorm for pet food, and I was the only person in the room who didn't actively hate animals. Somehow the brainstorm turned out to be a complete success because this crowd was able to bury their feelings and emote like they were the end-consumer.
Here's one I just made up. It's called Positive Visualization. Pretend to be a different person, a split personality; tell yourself you are that person and act like it. You're going to need a heavy suspension of disbelief, and a certain level of gut maturity that allows you to method act till the clock runs out. Your opinions and insights are going to match the target consumer because you are one, and you know how important your opinion is.
Friday, May 22, 2009
To my knowledge, free sampling is a popular mechanic for generating product trial and has killed no one this year. But here's the secret truth about free sampling - the thing they don't tell you. When marketers offer free samples they're hoping to cannibalize you away from whatever brand you're already using, stealing away your loyalty by changing your preference, AND they're hoping you'll unconsciously purchase their product faster than your normally would, even if your need for it isn't totally immediate! Wait, that doesn't sound all that evil either.
Okay, so what do vending machines and free samples have in common? Last time you checked, your relationship with your vending machine was "you eat my money, I'll eat your snacks". Well meet the BooBox. Belgian designers Fosfor have created a machine that spits out different trial-sized samples of good. It can even handle chilled items.
Both marketers and actual people are always looking for more experiential ways to generate trial and move samples from cargo van (A) to shopping list (B). To date the delivery has been fairly one-sided, either through direct-to-home mailings or interception teams in stores or on the street. Delivery systems like the BooBox put the sampling decision in the consumer's hands, but unlike calling or emailing for a redemption, the pay-off is almost immediate. All you do is send out a text on your phone and they fire back an PIN number for free goods. Boo(m)! A more interesting vending and sampling experience signed, sealed and delivered.
So where's the evil? You fell right into their hands.