Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Quality Matters

Image Credit: Starbucks Blog
Click on image to enlarge

In my earlier posts I had mentioned the importance of copy in ads and the increasing influence of social media. Imagine my surprise when I read that my favorite coffee brand is making ample use of both in their latest marketing efforts to combat the launch of McCafe.

Take the above ads for example. According to New York Times, "Starbucks is putting up new advertising posters in six major cities. To further spread its message, it is trying to harness the power of online social networking sites by challenging people to hunt for the posters on Tuesday and be the first to post a photo of one using Twitter." I am told that there are many more social media initiatives lead by copy-filled ads in the pipeline.

McDonald’s advertising campaign is reportedly worth more than $100 million in television, print, radio, billboard and web ads with a launch strategy of "all coffee's the same, so you might as well buy the cheap stuff." This is where Starbucks is stepping in with facts about their quality, which I should add is way superior. The new Starbucks campaign is telling a story with a generous helping of words and they are recruiting you and me to spread it online. Old-time copy heavy advertising coupled with today's viral marketing can be a formidable marketing mix.

We should be happy because:

1. Both Starbucks and McDonald's are doling out the big bucks for their marketing endeavor. That's gotta be good for the economy, right?

2. Their respective ad agencies can now breathe easy.

3. Competition will eventually lead to better products at a better price.
Happy Java-ing!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Relevance is the Soul of an Advertisement

Click on image to enlarge

Source: http://www.adoholik.com/ Via [adsoftheworld]
Agency: JWT London, UK
Creative Directors: Nick Bell, Russell Ramsey, Howard Wilmott
Art Director: Mark Norcutt
Copywriter: Laurence Quinn
Photographer: Mike Russell
Account: John Mitchell, Nick Jackson

Lengthy is out. Brevity is in. Email is out, IM is in. Expressing yourself within 140 characters via Tweeter is in. Attention span of the average consumer is fast decreasing. Time is the new currency - proclaimed JWT, as part of their revamping efforts in 2005. They also started "one-line brief" where the account managers compress a three page-long brief into a line and presents the same to the creative group. This practice led to hilarious situations and plenty of confusion. Glad we came out of that one. Sometimes information helps. And then there is too much information. How do we strike the balance?

Keep it relevant. If "Brevity is the soul of wit", as the Bard would like us to believe, then "Relevance is the soul of an advertisement". And of course, credibility is every bit as important. As I have said earlier, nothing speeds up the failure of a bad product like a piece of good advertisement. Simply put, you don't want people to know how bad your product is. Anyway, let's go back to relevance.

Being relevant should not be confused with typical idea-killers like "making the logo bigger" or "mentioning the brand name thrice" or "listing benefits". Relevance do not stifle creativity. Take the above Kit Kat ad as an example. They have even showed the product for crying out loud!

As we move towards digital advertising, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) becomes one of our most important tools and relevance the key factor. If the right words and the right tags are not used, wouldn't we find ourselves lost in a sea of digital information? CDA, a digital communications consultancy carried out a study that revealed the importance of both keywords and carewords in SEO. Keywords being the short precise words used to search for a particular information and then carewords being the more descriptive words on the webpage itself which invoke action.

Traditional media may have been kinder towards lack of relevance but there is no place for irrelevant ads in the future. Consumer profiling is becoming more specific and advertisers are choosing their images and words with care. True, mindless ads will still exist but it will get that much harder for them to sell the goods.