Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Social Network - Play by the Rules

Image via Tom Fishburne: Marketoonist
Every brand, big or small is jumping on the social media wagon thinking it to be the solution to all their problems. What they sometimes forget is that it's not the media which holds the key to great branding, it is how they use that media.

This pic depicts a facebook page for a brand (the cartoon is by Tom Fishburne) and brilliantly sums up the problem that brands high on social media face today. Why should I "like" a page and get updates on my feed if the brand had nothing to offer other than talk about how great it is? Wouldn't you hide the feeds or even block a real person like that?

Right from the start of print ads, engaging the consumer was the most viable part of any campaign and it hasn't changed since then. Brands should find a way to promote themselves not just by bragging about benefits but also offer an incentive to the consumer to make sure she interacts with the brand via the facebook page. Remember that the entire web is vying for her attention and each brand is just a click away!

Social media has done much to humanize brands, more than we ever thought possible. So if your brand was a person and his benefits were say like personal attributes, try building a personality people genuinely like.

1. Don't be shy, rude or boastful.
2. Treat your facebook fans like friends.
3. Be accessible.
4. Have a sense of humor.
5. Share. Don't just dump information.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A Step Back in Time

This framed poster hung from the walls of the Sporting Eagle Saloon beneath the streets of Havre in north central Montana.

On the third day of my week-long Montana trip, my fellow journalists and me took the "Havre Beneath The Streets" historical tour which essentially consisted of a set of business establishments from the last century, linked by narrow corridors. Of all the things on display, this poster caught my eye as I wondered about the advertising business in those days. They didn't have photoshop to enhance the rosiness of the woman's cheeks and neither could they google the tagline to see if it has been used before.

On the other hand, clients had to be satisfied with the basic layout. I bet the art director wasn't told "I thought we decided on a brunette....and while you change her hair color do you mind changing the color of her bow? The pink doesn't do it for me."

Also, going by the size of the logo and the product placement, I would think that the oft-heard request of "make the logo bigger" is a pretty old phenomenon. Well, as they say some things never change!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Talking Rainbows, Boulders and Trees

Click on image to enlarge. Source: popsop.com
"High fructose corn syrup" is the new ingredient to watch out for. Move over "trans fat". It's fructose that we hate now. Food and drink labels all over the nation are being scanned for the F-word.

According to onenews.com "People are concerned that high fructose corn syrup is more harmful or more likely to cause obesity than sugar, perceptions for which there is little scientific evidence. The shift has caused a slump in soft drink sales and a rise in sales of juices and teas, which are perceived as healthier than soda. The nation's makers of high fructose corn syrup are even asking the government if they can start referring to the sweetener as "corn sugar" to change perceptions."

Fighting the sudden decrease in demand, PepsiCo's Sierra Mist Natural (lemon-lime soda) is floating a new campaign consisting of TV, print, digital, radio and OOH. A little bird tells me the budget is 4x the quarterly spend. They
have added "natural" to the name and also modified the packaging design. All fine strategies.

Soda ads usually go for humor, hot models/celebs, computer graphics etc. Sierra Mist Natural's campaign is unlike anything you have seen before. They feature talking boulders, trees and rainbows for starters.You can view some of their ads at popsop.com. It's funny and interesting till you reach the tagline - "The soda nature would drink, if nature drank soda." Wait a second, what?

What does that even mean? This is a case of a good product, good execution and plenty of advertising dollars being overpowered by a kooky tagline bordering plain stupid. I don't know how it will impact sales, but as far as creativity goes, it could have been so much better.

Friday, September 24, 2010

30 Rock raises a pertinent question: Why does Geico have so many spokespeople?

I am relieved. So it's not just me. Last night's premiere episode of 30 Rock had both Liz and Carol wondering why Geico has four spokesmen.

Here's how it goes: we have the Gecko with a cockney accent, the confused and sometimes angry caveman, the stack of money with googly eyes (yeah, creepy!) and of course,  the fake Rod Serling guy. Why do they need so many characters and so many concepts? I can't figure it out...can't say I haven't tried though. Maybe this is exactly what they want, everybody talking and wondering. With a considerable media budget and a motley of accents, attitudes and ideas, maybe stickiness is what they are after. If so, they have got the right ad mix.

Also, no matter how good a commercial is, it becomes repetitive after a point so brands sometimes take on new scripts with the same spokesperson. If that too gets boring, a brand new spot is released.

Geico on the otherhand has multiple spokespeople at any given time, taking the variety to another level. But sometimes quantity affects quality and that is why not all Geico commercials are engaging or funny.

If it's a strategy, it needs to be stream-lined. Maybe have just two spokespersons at a time. Saves advertising dollars, keeps us guessing and doesn't take away from the visibility.

On a personal note, I am not too fond of reptiles but find the Geico gecko exceptionally articulate and funny...the rest of them I don't get so much. As far as their service goes, I am a satisfied Geico customer. Guess that says it all.

Related post: http://thebusinessofadvertising.blogspot.com/2009/02/geico-gecko-strategy-which-makes-sense.html

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Kindle vs. Ipad

via Creativity Online

Comparison straight up! This in-house web film from Amazon takes it up a notch.