Archive for the ‘Mktg – Advertising’ Category

Big Question: Will an iPhone blend?

July 24, 2015

All the hoopla surrounding  Trump’s announcing Sen. Graham’s cell phone number …. and Graham’s humorous video of ways he tried to remediate the situation by destroying his cell phone … reminded me of an ad campaign run by a company called  Blendtec.

According to George Parker of  AdScam ….

At a conference a couple of years ago. GE and their agency, BBDO, made a presentation of their new “Imagination” campaign.

After showing some nice TV spots and explaining that they’d spent $300 million on media over the last year, they proudly declared that brand awareness had increased substantially.

This generated polite applause.

image

Next up was the Marketing Director of blender manufacturer Blendtec who proceeded to blend:

  • a brick
  • some ball bearings
  • an 8 ft garden rake
  • an iPhone

He then put up a single slide showing that every time they posted a self-produced, ten dollar video on YouTube in their long-running “Will It Blend” campaign (which to-date has had more than 220 million views,) sales went up by an accurately measurable percentage.

Understandably, the crowd went nuts.  

The point being, GE spent hundreds of millions and couldn’t quantify with any certainty what they had achieved for all that money.

Blendtec spent pennies and achieved consistently significant and measurable results.

Below are the links to the Blendtec iPhone videos…  worth watching.

(more…)

Big Question Will the Apple Watch blend?

May 4, 2015

All the hoopla surrounding the Apple Watch launch reminded me of an ad campaign run by a company called  Blendtec.

According to George Parker of  AdScam ….

At a conference a couple of years ago. GE and their agency, BBDO, made a presentation of their new “Imagination” campaign.

After showing some nice TV spots and explaining that they’d spent $300 million on media over the last year, they proudly declared that brand awareness had increased substantially.

This generated polite applause.

image

Next up was the Marketing Director of blender manufacturer Blendtec who proceeded to blend:

  • a brick
  • some ball bearings
  • an 8 ft garden rake
  • an iPhone

He then put up a single slide showing that every time they posted a self-produced, ten dollar video on YouTube in their long-running “Will It Blend” campaign (which to-date has had more than 220 million views,) sales went up by an accurately measurable percentage.

Understandably, the crowd went nuts.  

The point being, GE spent hundreds of millions and couldn’t quantify with any certainty what they had achieved for all that money.

Blendtec spent pennies and achieved consistently significant and measurable results.

Below is the links to the Blendtec iPhone videos…  worth watching.

(more…)

Marketing ROI: What you get for $300 million … and for $10.

September 2, 2014

According to George Parker of  AdScam ….

At a conference a couple of years ago. GE and their agency, BBDO, made a presentation of their new “Imagination” campaign.

After showing some nice TV spots and explaining that they’d spent $300 million on media over the last year, they proudly declared that brand awareness had increased substantially.

This generated polite applause.

image

Next up was the Marketing Director of blender manufacturer Blendtec who proceeded to blend:

  • a brick
  • some ball bearings
  • an 8 ft garden rake
  • a Blackberry donated by a member of the audience

He then put up a single slide showing that every time they posted a self-produced, ten dollar video on YouTube in their long-running “Will It Blend” campaign (which to-date has had more than 220 million views,) sales went up by an accurately measurable percentage.

Understandably, the crowd went nuts.  

The point of the story …

(more…)

Big Question Will the iPhone 5 blend?

September 26, 2013

All the hoopla surrounding the iPhone 5 launch reminded me of an ad campaign run by a company called  Blendtec.

According to George Parker of  AdScam ….

At a conference a couple of years ago. GE and their agency, BBDO, made a presentation of their new “Imagination” campaign.

After showing some nice TV spots and explaining that they’d spent $300 million on media over the last year, they proudly declared that brand awareness had increased substantially.

This generated polite applause.

image

Next up was the Marketing Director of blender manufacturer Blendtec who proceeded to blend:

  • a brick
  • some ball bearings
  • an 8 ft garden rake
  • an iPhone

He then put up a single slide showing that every time they posted a self-produced, ten dollar video on YouTube in their long-running “Will It Blend” campaign (which to-date has had more than 220 million views,) sales went up by an accurately measurable percentage.

Understandably, the crowd went nuts.  

The point being, GE spent hundreds of millions and couldn’t quantify with any certainty what they had achieved for all that money.

Blendtec spent pennies and achieved consistently significant and measurable results.

Below is the links to the Blendtec iPhone videos…  worth watching.

(more…)

Pssst: Facebook is stalking you in stores ….

April 16, 2013

Why?

Ostensibly to see if its sponsors’ ads are working.

But, some skeptics (e.g. me) think that there may be other motives, too.

Here’s the scoop.

Last year, Facebook entered into a partnership with a company called Datalogix.

image

Everybody knows what Facebook does.

Datalogix, not so much.

Datalogix is a firm that records the purchasing patterns of more than 100 million American households.

When you stop by the supermarket … you probably hand the cashier a loyalty card to get a discount on your items.

That card ties your identity to your purchases.

Your sales data is sent over to a server maintained by Datalogix, which has agreements with hundreds of major retailers to procure such data.

Source: Slate

Hmmm.

Facebook and Datalogix … why the hook-up?

(more…)

Nums: What percentage of Facebook users click on the ads?

April 15, 2013

According to an AP-CNBC poll

User clicks are a critical part of an advertiser’s calculus when gauging the effectiveness of those ads and how much they’re willing to pay for them.

So, how does Facebook do?

image

Here are some survey results …

(more…)

News Flash: Sex doesn’t sell any more … say what?

March 29, 2013

T-Mobile has ditched Carly Foulkes – the pink clad hottie that’s been the star of their ads for the past couple of years.

You’re probably wondering: why the heck would T-Mobile do that?

 

image

Blame it on the market research geeks …

(more…)

Bang for the buck … err, make that $1.6 million bucks.

March 1, 2013

$1.6 million  … that’s what advertisers shelled out to be on the Oscars.

Wasf it worth it?

Here’s the AdAge recap of what some major marketers did with their time during the broadcast.

  • Chobani was a first-time Oscar advertiser with “Real is Original.” Hard to believe this was once a small Greek company.

Who else did AdAge highlight?

(more…)

No lights, no problem: Dunk (and tweet) in the dark

February 5, 2013

Oreo’s quick thinking during the infamous Super Bowl blackout generated a spontaneous twitter ad that caught the attention of millions. 

 Screen_shot_2013-02-03_at_10_29_53_PM

Anyone watching the Super Bowl this evening saw a great game — and one of the greatest embarrassments in pro sports history: a power outage that halted play for a full half-hour.

As both teams, tens of thousands inside New Orleans’ Superdome and millions watching on TV waited, Oreo came up with an idea so brilliant and bold that it out and out won the night.

(more…)

Marketing ROI: What you get for $300 million … and for $10.

January 24, 2013

According to George Parker of  AdScam ….

At a conference a couple of years ago. GE and their agency, BBDO, made a presentation of their new “Imagination” campaign.

After showing some nice TV spots and explaining that they’d spent $300 million on media over the last year, they proudly declared that brand awareness had increased substantially.

This generated polite applause.

image

Next up was the Marketing Director of blender manufacturer Blendtec who proceeded to blend:

  • a brick
  • some ball bearings
  • an 8 ft garden rake
  • a Blackberry donated by a member of the audience

He then put up a single slide showing that every time they posted a self-produced, ten dollar video on YouTube in their long-running “Will It Blend” campaign (which to-date has had more than 220 million views,) sales went up by an accurately measurable percentage.

Understandably, the crowd went nuts.  

The point being, GE spent hundreds of millions and couldn’t quantify with any certainty what they had achieved for all that money.

Blendtec spent pennies and achieved consistently significant and measurable results.

Below are links to a couple of the Blendtec videos …  worth watching.

(more…)

High frequency: You’re the asset being traded …

December 7, 2012

Punch line: In milliseconds, advertisements are being served based on your browsing habits.

Behind the every one of these ad placement opportunities is a sophisticated tracking system that allows access to the highest bidder.

* * * * *
Excerpted from New York Times’ “Your Online Attention, Bought in an Instant”

ad-impression - image from The Gaurdian

The odds are that access to you — or at least the online you — is being bought and sold in less than the blink of an eye.

How it works …

(more…)

“Trawling college campuses for political jailbait” … ouch

October 27, 2012

I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder … and that one’s perspective on marketing campaigns depends on where they stand.

President Obama’s most recent ad – explicitly analogizing first-time voting to first-time sex  — has caused a bit of a stir.

image

Dems surrogates are saying it’s clever, edgy, clutter-breaking … and well targeted.

One conservative writer said: “Obama is largely reduced to trawling college campuses for political jailbait … in the increasingly desperate hope of getting at least a few salvageable video clips out of each day.”

We report, you decide.

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Look for Mitt ads on the ‘Price is Right’ … and Dems on Springer.

September 18, 2012

The Washington Times did an analysis of Dem and GOP TV ad placements to reverse engineer their respective targets and strategies.

Here are some of the findings:

  • Republicans are at an extreme disadvantage when it comes to television advertising because Democrats watch more TV.
  • Every single genre of TV programming has a Democratic-leaning audience, with sports coming the closest to a partisan balance.
  • Sports and documentaries, have audiences that are far more inclined to vote.
  • Shark Tank,” a reality program about entrepreneurship, has only 18 percent Democratic ads, and the law-and-order favorite “Cops” is heavily Republican.
  • Venerable game shows, while barely registering as blips in modern pop culture, remain among the top destinations for political ads because of their largely older base of viewers who are likely to go to the polls.

  image

  • The Price Is Right” is second among all TV shows for Romney ads and third for spots for Obama.
  • Democrats are advertising during daytime shows watched by high numbers of unemployed people, including those who rely on welfare and other social services.
  • More generally, the unemployed watch whatever’s on at 3 a.m., or Jerry Springer’ or Maury Povich.
  • All “Jerry Springer” ads have been for Democrats. PAC Priorities USA has made 10 separate buys on Springer.
    image
  • Nearly every political ad during the adult cartoon series “Family Guy” is for a Democrat.
  • More than 80 percent of political spots during “The Young and the Restless,” the long-running soap opera, tout liberal candidates and causes.
  • Relatively inexpensive ads during daytime soap operas watched by stay-at-home moms are abundant, and are used primarily by Democrats.
  • Reality-dating programs have a skewed Democratic audience that’s below average in likelihood to vote.
  • Obama has advertised heavily on courtroom reality shows such as “Judge Judy”  whose viewers include large numbers of black voters.

The implicit Democratic strategy according to the Washington Times:

The more lowbrow the show, the better.

“People who are low in political information can be more persuadable,”

“If you get someone that’s watching ‘[Keeping Up With] the Kardashians,’ and they’re a swing voter, and see one or two ads,” that could make the difference because that ad may be the only political information they digest.

Sometimes I wonder if “1-man, 1-vote” is overrated …

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Dear Skechers’: “I wore your shoes and my butt’s still humongous. You lied.”

May 18, 2012

Skechers advertised its Shape-ups as a fitness tool designed to promote weight loss and tone muscles with the shoe’s curved “rocker” or rolling bottom — saying it provides natural instability and causes the consumer to “use more energy with every step.”

But, the Feds want you to know that simply sporting a pair of Skechers’ fitness shoes is not going to get you sexy curves or a toned tush.

For millions of consumers,”the only thing that got a workout was their wallet.”

Skechers will pay $40 million to settle charges by the Federal Trade Commission that the footwear company made unfounded claims that its Shape-ups shoes would help people lose weight and strengthen their butt, leg and stomach muscles.

Consumers who bought the shoes will be eligible for refunds, though it’s not clear how much money people will get.

“The FTC’s message, for Skechers and other national advertisers, is to shape up your substantiation or tone down your claims.”

Skechers says it disputes the charges and is pursuing additional studies.

Souce: Yahoo Finance

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Wake up and smell the coffee … even without the coffee!

May 10, 2012

Takeaway: Dunkin Donuts launches out-of-store sensory experience linking radio ads with a light coffee aroma spray inside commuter busses.

* * * * *

Excerpted from PSFK.com “Dunkin’ Donuts Interactive Bus Ad Sprays The Aroma Of Coffee

image

A South Korean Dunkin’ Donuts campaign is reinventing the traditional radio advertisement using unique technology and the smell of coffee.

The campaign, named, Flavor Radio releases coffee aroma via sound recognition technology.

Each time the Dunkin’ Donuts radio ad was played a light coffee aroma was released using atomizers installed on commuter buses in Seoul.

The aroma has reinforced the sensory connection and experience of the Dunkin’ Donuts brand, and has boosted in-store traffic in South Korea.

In fact, over than 350,000 people experienced the ad during the campaign, leading to number of visitors to the Dunkin’ Donuts stores increasing by 16 percent and sales going up 29 percent.

In-store sensory experience is nothing new to retailers, but now this experience has been taken out of the store and into the streets.

Edit by KJM

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Is way cool … too cool?

May 1, 2012

Last week, I had an interesting coincidence of events.

First …

I was chatting with an MSB alum who is very active in political circles about the marketing of candidates …. specifically, the impact of advertising.

To paraphrase, he said that relatively few political commercials really break through the clutter and move the needle.

He cited two as commonly regarded success models: Hillary’s “3 a.m. phone call” and McCain’s “Celebrity”.

click to view “3 a.m.”

image 

click to view “Celebrity”

image

* * * * *

Then …

President Obama slow jammed on the Jimmy Fallon Show.

Next day, American Crossroads (a GOP Super PAC) ran a “Celebrity” ad knock-off called “Too Cool”

click to view “Too Cool”

image

* * * * *

Raises an interesting question:

1) Cool move by the President to engage young folks who vote based on “cool”,?

2) Or, did Team Obama hand Team Romney a gift.

Hmmm.

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Carly goes leather: “No more Mr. Nice Guy”

April 25, 2012

TakeAway: T-Mobile reboots the its brand with an alter-ego of its well-known spokeswoman in the hopes of increasing trial.

* * * * *
Excerpt from AdAge:
“T-Mobile Talks Tough for Its Comeback, Vowing ‘No More Mr. Nice Girl’”

Carly who has starred in T-Mobile’s ads since 2010 and been dubbed by some a DVR-proof pitch personality, is trading her usual frocks for biker leather as the T-Mobile looks to halt mass subscriber defections.

image

“The pending AT&T deal negatively impacted customer satisfaction and brand perception in 2011, which is why we believe it is time to reinvigorate the challenger strategy and to relaunch the brand,”

Despite its smaller budget, T-Mobile ads have seemed to cut through the clutter, thanks largely to Carly, the only current spokescharacter for a mobile carrier who’s easily recognizable.

Ads featuring biker Carly are intended to equate the brand with speed which is the single-biggest thing consumers are looking for in their next smartphone.

Speed?  Yeah, right/

Edited by ARK
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Novel idea: Hulu promises advertisers that they’ll get what they pay for …

April 23, 2012

TakeAway: Hulu is challenging online advertising pricing by only charging for fully viewed ads.

* * * **
Excerpt from AdAge: “Hulu’s New Guarantee: Someone Watched Your (Whole) Ad”

Advertisers are generally charged when a beacon is fired as an ad begins playing. But Hulu is moving that notification to the end, meaning that and ad that isn’t completed won’t count.

“If you pay for a full impression, you will get an impression, full stop.”

The company said its completion rate for ads is 96% — extraordinarily high for online video, where the average completion rate is closer to 88% for long-form content and 54% for short clips.

“Vendors with greater video completion rates [see] greater brand lift and greater message recall.”

Though the move will cost Hulu some volume, the company’s idea is that it will be made up in higher rates resulting from competition for fewer available spots.

It also means advertisers get some partial impressions free, as a number of viewers will be exposed to a portion of the ad before they click away.

Edited by ARK

Does sex sell? Just ask GoDaddy … or, watch this year’s Super Bowl

January 26, 2012

USA Today reports …

Thirty-some advertisers will spend upwards of $230 million just for the airtime to fight for attention in the Feb. 5 game.

At stake: the eyeballs of more than 100 million Super Bowl viewers. And the urgent need to drive all of them online to find out more, socialize and tweet with friends and ultimately buy that beer, smartphone or luxury car.

Sexy ads are slinking back to the Super Bowl.

No company has used sexual imagery more shamelessly on the Super Bowl than GoDaddy.

“We set the standard of indecency,” jokes CEO Parsons, who takes special pride in being widely accused of single-handedly bringing down the tone of Super Bowl advertising.

Truth be told, the action in each GoDaddy ad is just a big tease to get folks to go online and find out more about the company that people use to register domain names and host websites.

The ploy, which GoDaddy has used for eight consecutive Super Bowls, works ridiculously well.

But. some researchers have found that spots with sexual imagery take a 10% hit in “likability” vs. ads without racy images.

They conclude that most viewers actually prefer to see ads with kids or animals.

Yeah, right.

Watch the vid .. then you decide.

        click to view video

image
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An apple a day is so yesterday … now, “go bananas” every day !

January 19, 2012

Takeaway: Forget the old adage, “An Apple a Day,” Dole wants you to make it a banana a day. As part of its “Go Bananas” campaign, Dole aims to drive more usage occasions with Americans, while making us all a bit healthier…

* * * * *
Excerpted from progressivegrocer.com, “Dole Dares Consumers to ‘Go Bananas’ in 2012

… Although nearly 90 percent of U.S. households already buy bananas on a regular basis, Dole wants all Americans to make bananas part of their daily routine in 2012. The year-long initiative aligns with Dole’s long-time goal of bettering the public’s nutritional health through greater consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables.

As the world’s largest provider of fresh produce and the top banana brand in North America, Dole is building upon the success of its “Go Bananas” campaigns in 2009 and 2010 to take America’s love for bananas to the next level. The “Go Bananas Every Day” initiative from Dole Fresh Fruit offers recipes, promotions and partnerships with 366 ways (2012 is a leap year, after all) to enjoy the ubiquitous fruit this year …

Among the ways consumers can show their banana love throughout 2012:

  • Day 78 (Mar 18): Treat your post – St. Patrick’s Day hangover with a banana, nature’s Vitamin B6-rich hangover cure.
  • Day 238 (Aug. 25): Observe National Banana Split Day. The famous dessert celebrates its 108th birthday in 2012.
  • Day 285 (Oct. 11): Trade in the nicotine gum or patch for a banana to help stop smoking

The initiative will be supported by a 12-month-long multimedia marketing effort encompassing a campaign-specific microsite, traditional and digital advertising, a sticker program, public relations, social media, a blogger and other third-party partnerships. Dole will visit select cities throughout the year to meet with food bloggers, registered dietitians, retailers, the media and other influencers to discuss the health, versatility, affordability and convenience benefits of bananas …

Edit by KJM

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“Little” brands, few ad dollars … lots of awareness.

December 19, 2011

TakeAway: Small brands overcome limited marketing budgets by growing brand awareness through support of social movements, in-store experiences and work culture.

* * * * *
Excerpt from AdAge: “How Little Brands Land Big Bang for Their Buck”

Brands built with little or no media support were once relatively rare, but they’ve begun to proliferate in recent years.

From Ben & Jerry’s, Honest Tea and Lululemon, they fascinate the many marketers who must shell out millions to get noticed.

One reason is that these success stories are often built on factors that don’t usually fit with big, established brands.

For example, some are built on substantial investments in branded retail stores and the store experience, rather than media.

Others are built on the brand’s affinity with political and social movements that can be tough for big brands to embrace.

And some have been based on big investments in wages, benefits and fun cultures that keep employees happy — not the usual storyline for huge corporations.

The common thread through all these no-cost, low-cost marketing success stories is a good story, one that bears repeating and fares well both in social and PR-fueled traditional media.

Almost by definition, such stories are easier for bootstrap entrepreneurs to come by than, say, 65-year-old detergent brands.

All things considered, It’s still nice to have money ..

Edit by ARK

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YouTube says it’s where the action is …

December 15, 2011

Punch line: YouTube hopes to gain a greater share of online advertising spend. Yet, only 1% of ad spend is on online video vs. 38% for TV ads. YouTube bets that its global and local reach is an targeted advantage for this media outlet. So will large CPG firms (e.g., P&G) pump more dollars into YouTube?

* * * * *
Excerpted from http://www.business-standard.com, “YouTube makes the case that it helps build brands

Despite online video and commercial-skipping DVRs, companies still spend 38% of their advertising budgets on television ads and just 1% on online video. YouTube is trying to change that.

In a bid to lure TV ad dollars, YouTube is making the case to brands that online video is the best way to reach customers …

“We would love YouTube to be a much larger part of brands’ advertising budget and mix in the next year and the future than it is today,” said Lucas Watson, YouTube’s vice president of online video global sales.

… It now says it has 800 million unique viewers worldwide a month. Analysts estimate that YouTube contributes more than $1 billion to Google’s annual ad revenue and is most likely profitable.

But YouTube, now six years old, is still in the early stages of making money. Advertisers spend just $2.2 billion on all online video ads, compared with $60.5 billion on television ads …. ad agencies are only now hiring people with expertise in online video …

YouTube has to recruit new kinds of advertisers, beyond the music, entertainment and technology companies that have flocked to the site, and convince them that YouTube is a fruitful place for brand building …

Unlike television, YouTube incorporates social elements by inviting viewers to choose whether they watch, share or create their own videos about advertisers’ products.

YouTube has both global reach and the ability to target an ad to 20-something men who live near a pizza shop …

Even though YouTube is showing more professional videos so brands can avoid appearing next to unsavory homemade videos, advertisers still hesitate to spend as much on YouTube as they do on TV …

Edit by KJM.

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Forget Millennial .. it’s the Quadrennial Effect that matters.

December 12, 2011

TakeAway: Is spending cyclical? Some forecasters believe so and are predicting higher ad spending in 2012 because of the key events that happen every 4 years. The impact of these events on the economy is known as the Quadrennial Effect.

* * * * *
Excerpt from NYT: “Quadrennial Effect Could Make ’12 a Very Good Year”

The fact that several events that happen every four years will take place next year will stimulate the media and ad industries, leading forecasters said, offsetting the detrimental effects of the European debt crisis.

Events on the 2012 calendar likely to encourage more ad spending than this year include the United States presidential and Congressional elections, the Summer Olympic Games and the European Football (soccer) Championship.

Some analysts are expecting “The strongest-ever quadrennial effect” … adding  $7 billion to global ad spending in 2012.

For all its power, the quadrennial effect can do only so much in a bad economy.

Edit by ARK

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This mode of advertising is guaranteed to “bug” you ..

November 11, 2011

TakeAway: To combat DVR and channel surfing, marketers have started placing messages in the corner of the TV screen during shows … sometimes even animating the messages.

Interesting approach: build goodwill by being annoying …

* * * * *

Excerpt from AdAge: “Latest Tactic to Take Over TV: the ‘Bug’”

Marketers have long since realized they need to develop a few new weapons for their arsenal. Product placement is fast becoming passe.

One solution? Playing with bugs.

Yes, “bugs,” those TV-network logos that rest quietly in one of the bottom corners of the boob tube, are becoming ripe for promoting more than just the CW logo or the CBS “eye.”

This season, both the CW and Fox have allowed sponsors to post messages around and even in their logos.

On Fox, DirecTV has informed viewers during the first few seconds of “Terra Nova” through a display in the bottom right corner of the screen that the company helps to bring the program to viewers in “Fox High Def.”

Rising interest in the smallest corners of TV-screen real estate suggests advertisers believe viewers are growing even more resistant to their normal commercials.

“There are advertisers who are concerned about losing ratings to growing DVR playback and who want the networks to provide reach that cannot by skipped.,” ….

TV networks aren’t likely to make their bugs available without a substantial ad buy already in place.

Bing had signed up for an extensive package that included the CW producing individual videos featuring actors and behind-the-scenes talent from its prime-time lineup to air during commercial breaks.

Edit by ARK

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I hate it when that happens …

October 28, 2011

Punch line: Hate when your chips get stuck in the vending machine? You are not alone … Kettle brand launches its first, dialogue-free, national tv campaign, inspired by consumers’ passion for Kettle’s all-natural potato chips.

* * * * *
Excerpted from mediapost.com, “Kettle Brand In First National TV Campaign

After 30 years of heavy reliance on word-of-mouth advocacy, Diamond Foods, Kettle Brand Potato Chips are getting star treatment with a major new campaign that includes the brand’s first national television advertising.

The campaign, themed “Nobody Likes Kettle Chips. They Love Them,” kicked off this week with national TV spots, print ads, public relations, in-store marketing, digital display ads, online video and social media ….

The humorous, dialogue-free TV spots portray fans of the batch-cooked, all natural potato chips in everyday moments in which they are eagerly anticipating satisfying their craving for the chips, only to have their hopes dashed by various glitches.

One spot shows a boy’s crushed expression as his teacher confiscates his secret bag of Kettle Chips (and proceeds to eat them herself). In another, a man at work desperately scrounges up enough change to buy a bag of the chips; his facial expression shifts from excited to gravely disappointed as the bag gets stuck in the vending machine …

The campaign’s creative was inspired by real consumers describing their passion for the chips and “the extraordinary lengths they go to during ordinary moments to get, save and enjoy their favorite Kettle Brand chips.”

Diamond Foods reports that Kettle Brand’s U.S. sales in mass retail channels increased by 6.9% during the 12-week period ending Oct. 1, per Nielsen FDMx data …

Edit by KJM

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Somebody tell GM: ”Marketing is more than advertising!”

August 31, 2011

Punch line: What are GM’s adverting tag lines for Caddies & Chevies?

If you don’t know, you’re not alone.

So, GM is hassling its ad agencies.

Excerpted from BrandChannel: “GM Calling Agencies To Task”

Joel Ewanick was recruited as General Motors from Hyundai with expectations he would become a game-changer last year, positioning his new employer for long-term global success for its remaining brands.

But the GM CMO doesn’t think some of the advertising agencies that are supposed to help him are up to game speed yet. And he’s getting impatient.

No wonder Ewanick is a little edgy these days about the two brands.

Chevrolet has gotten stronger since his arrival, but a huge reason for that is one single new product: the Chevrolet Cruze small car, whose appeal seems based on fuel efficiency and strong vehicle features rather than buzz-worthy advertising.

Outsiders expressed concern last year with the brand’s new “Chevy Runs Deep” positioning. It wasn’t clear exactly what that message would do for the brand.

Meanwhile, Cadillac has been losing shine in the luxury-car war … and Caddy’s current “Red Blooded Luxury” campaign has been questioned.

Ken’s Take: My constant refrain to students is that marketing is more than advertising and promotion.

So, I cringed when I read the line “but … success is due to fuel efficiency and strong product features rather than buzz-worthy advertising”.  Emphasis on the “but”.

Horrors.

Success from delivering a good product rather than smoke & mirrowing a bad one.

Somebody, please tell GM that marketing is more than advertising & promotion,

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For max effectiveness, place your commercials in a program’s “sweet spot” …

April 29, 2011

TakeAway:  New research done from viewership of shows on DVRs have found that — depending on the type of show — certain placement of the ad leads to better returns for recall and remembering of the ad.  

* * * * *

Excerpted from AdAge, “Finding the ‘Sweet Spot’ for ads in your favorite TV shows” by Brian Steinberg , April 11, 2011

Analysis of second-by-second viewing data from Tivos/DVRs suggests that shows have a  “sweet spot” for advertisers — a particular moment where commercials running in the program were more effective and received better by the audiences watching them?

Among the findings…:

  • Attention paid to the ads accompanying initial segments of many CBS procedurals — including “CSI: Miami,” “NCIS” and “Criminal Minds” — is more substantial than that accorded ad breaks during other parts of the programs. …CBS’s programming is consumed …by viewers wanting to sample the opening segment of the show. …where a crime is committed (and, oftentimes, comes with gore or violence) and viewers are likely trying to see if they like the set-up or if they’ve seen the episode in the past, ….
  • Viewers of NBC’s “Law & Order: SVU” paid the most attention during the last ad break in the show.
  • Heavy attention is paid to different moments in different sitcoms. Viewers of ABC’s “Modern Family” and NBC’s “30 Rock” paid the most attention during the last ad breaks in the programs (which often come before quick, funny segments that run alongside credits), while viewers of CBS’s “Big Bang Theory” paid the most attention to the first ad break in the half-hour comedy.
  • Viewers pay the most attention to the last ad break of many serial dramas … the ad breaks that precede segments in which networks tantalize viewers by offering scenes from the next episode.

Studies also indicate that DVR users tend to focus more intently on the show they’ve recorded and may not multitask.

Edit by HH

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I spent $1 million on digital advertising … did it work?

March 23, 2011

TakeAway: With the move to digital, companies are unsure how to ensure their digital marketing dollars are being spent effectively.

Companies are spending more and more on copy testing for digital ads even with the criticism that copy testing kills creativity.  

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Excerpted from AdAge, Copy Testing Coming to Digital Marketing” by Jack Neff, February 27, 2011

As … marketers are investing more in digital, they’re bringing with them one of their time-honored processes from TV advertising: copy testing.

… despite criticism that copy testing leads to bland ads that avoid risks, and that the storyboards or animatics used in copy tests don’t capture the magic production can create. …

…copy-testing houses have years of research showing copy-test results predict sales impact from ads. But expansion of copy testing to digital adds a new layer of controversy: Some critics believe tests developed for TV won’t work on digital ads.

… people close to P&G say it’s “TV testing” most of its digital ads now — video and other formats alike.

…”A home-page takeover on Yahoo can cost a million dollars a day,… The traditional thing with digital was if it’s not working, we’ll take it down. When you drop a million dollars in a day, you’d better be sure it’s working.” … “even if copy-testing squelches creativity …the world’s largest advertisers see value in doing this.”

…”All of our communications testing is designed to increase the odds of success in market, … We often conduct early learning with prototype production, increasing our ability to produce communication that really resonates with consumers.”…

… believes creative inconsistency has hurt digital ad effectiveness and applauds marketers for seeing they need to test copy. …But…”to try to force fit the old TV pretesting model into digital is kind of idiotic.”

… the context and content of where digital ads run affects how they work, …

Making small digital buys to test creative is no longer tenable for brand marketers because online survey response rates have plunged in recent years. Clicks and conversions in small tests are meaningful for direct-response advertisers, …but not brand marketers, … no links between clicks and offline sales, brand awareness or purchase intent.

…more packaged-goods clients are spending on digital copy testing, though most don’t have specific budgets for it and many are hesitating because of a lack of adequate research options. “Digital is not a single advertising medium, but rather an accumulation of media and should be addressed as such.”

“Once brands and researchers fully understand the digital space digital advertising research will become more actionable.”

 

 

 

Edit by HH

Groupon’s second mistake.. it’s response to its first mistake- offensive Superbowl Ads

March 2, 2011

TakeAway: Just because you were recently offered $6 Billion to be acquired does not mean you can do no wrong.

Groupon’s unclear response to the backlash from its Superbowl Ads was worse than the offense caused by the actual commercials. 

Groupon should take a lesson from Nokia about clear decisive message saving it from its earlier faux pas. 

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Excerpted from AdAge, “Groupon vs. Nokia: The Right Way to Respond when Backed into a Corner”  by Rosanna Fiske, February 17, 2011

When CEOs of tech and digital media companies speak, people pay attention. …everyone is listening to the titans of the tech industry.

…recent statements from two well-regarded tech CEOs made international headlines. …Groupon’s botched attempts at explaining its much-hyped and controversial Super Bowl ad. The second was intended to be far more subdued; it was surely not meant for a global audience of several hundred million — the leaked “burning platform” memo from Nokia CEO Stephen Elop.

[In case you missed it, Groupon’s commercial made light of the political and social problems in Tibet – bringing the company more notoriety, than fame.]

The Groupon fallout has many questioning the company’s maturity and ability to handle immense market pressures. …the time for brushing aside their sometimes cavalier approach to communications is long past.

What exactly has allowed Groupon’s Super Bowl ad to continue haunting the company, …concern has far more to do with a general lack of acumen in Groupon’s communications with its customers and stakeholders, rather than the visual offensiveness of its advertising.

… Groupon … can no longer rely on the goodwill of the digerati. Letting slip an errant message in an email blast is one thing; offending a good portion of 111 million U.S. consumers is quite another.

…, Groupon chose the path of least resistance, with multiple attempts at acquiescing to outside interests.

After initially issuing an apology, Groupon CEO Andrew Mason in a blog entry… attempted to explain the ads by rehashing some pre-Groupon history. … a rash decision to pull the ads. This … approach clearly affects the company’s image and reputation.

Contrast … to the skillfully-written Nokia memo. … CEO Elop eloquently expressed his concerns, comparing the company’s faltering sales and prestige to “standing on a ‘burning platform,'” while imploring that “[Nokia] must decide how [it is] going to change [its] behavior.”

Little chance analysts, investors or employees might misconstrue that message.

Mr. Elop’s impassioned plea was decisive and clear; … he delivered a superbly contrasting perspective of how to act … when your company is on the brink of international acclaim …

Also revealed … a long-held secret of successful brands: … executives appear to have their act together and explain the “how” and “why” behind their thinking.

 

 

Edit by HH

 

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E*Trade tells baby: “Just shut-up !”

February 28, 2011

TakeAway:  E*Trade has generated a lot of awareness with its talking baby ads, but is losing ground to its competitors.

Byt, awareness doesn’t lead to customers if the message is wrong.  And, for most people money is not a joking matter..

E*Trade has caught onto this and is reworking its campaigns going forward.

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Excerpted from Bloomberg Businessweek, “E*Trade Looks to Outgrow That Talking Baby,” by Ben Steverman, February 16, 2011

E*Trade may boast some of the most popular advertisements on TV, but the company still can’t make a profit. Hobbled by bad loans that blew up in the financial crisis, it’s stuck at fourth place in the highly competitive online brokerage industry.

E*Trade executives are thus trying a new strategy: While not entirely abandoning their talking baby campaign, they’re spending more than half of an increased ad budget on messages without the stock-trading infant. The talking baby ads, which began airing during the 2008 Super Bowl, have been a hit with TV viewers. Nielsen says that an ad featuring the E*Trade baby with a sneezing cat was the third most-liked commercial during the 2011 Super Bowl, watched by a record 111 million people. Because of the baby, “we have much higher brand recognition vs. the competition,” says E*Trade’s chief marketing officer.

Despite the attention, the New York-based company has fallen behind rivals in assets and new customer signups. Since the end of 2007, E*Trade has boosted its number of brokerage accounts by 9.4 percent, to 2.7 million. That’s solid growth, but much of the online brokerage industry has seen a heavier influx of assets. Charles Schwab has increased its active brokerage accounts by 13.5 percent since 2007 and TD Ameritrade has boosted total accounts by 24 percent in that period. …

… What’s holding back E*Trade may not be its offerings but its customer image, something the talking baby ad campaign isn’t improving… It’s an unusual strategy for a financial company. “How many people want to take advice from a baby?” …

Edit by DMG

 

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Mobile ads more effective than TV … ring, ring.

February 18, 2011

TakeAway: Data showing effectiveness of mobile advertising, specifically Apple’s iAd platform just released.

Folks seeing ads on their mobile devices via iAds are more likely to remember the brand, like the product and want to buy it more than those who see an ad on TV.

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Excerpted from AdAge, “Apple, Campbell’s Say iAds Twice as Effective as TV” by Kunar Patel, February 3, 2011

It’s been seven months since the first iAds — …and now that those campaigns are over, we’re seeing the first effectiveness study, funded by Apple and one of iAd’s early adopters, Campbell’s.

In it, is a fairly big claim: Those exposed to one of Campbell’s iAds were more than twice as likely to recall it than those who had seen a TV ad. …the five-week study showed that iAd consumers remembered the brand “Campbell’s” five times more often than TV ad respondents and the ad messaging three times more often.

IAd respondents intended to purchase Campbell’s four times more than the TV group and that they liked the ad five times more.

… Apple is looking for data that would persuade existing marketers to renew or increase their initial investment as well as win over new advertisers standing on the sidelines. The problem Apple is facing is for their high cost of entry — a reported $1 million minimum for first-run advertisers — many other options exist for mobile advertising, including rich-media competitors like Medialets that look and feel a lot like an iAd.

… Out of 53 million impressions, 1% of users that saw the ad clicked through and spent an average of nearly one minute perusing it. …these results for iAd also beat the marketer’s benchmarks for static banner ads.

… “This does show, in really traditionally brand metric terms, that iAd really outperformed.”… The study was put in place to validate mobile, a relatively new medium for the marketer.

The brand is struggling with preconceptions of the decades-old brand and iAd was a way to frame the brand in a new light.

…the survey could also reflect overall demographic differences of each medium, or the targeting that Campbell’s used in their iAd campaign. The iAd sample was weighted to reflect the iPhone and iPod Touch universe in terms of age, gender and income, while TV survey results were weighted for a general TV audience.

Edit by HH

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Wait a minute, you’re not a TV program … you’re a commercial.

January 25, 2011

TakeAway: With the proliferation of DVRs such as TiVo, building awareness for products and services through TV commercials is more challenging than it used to be.

To get viewers to stop skipping through the commercials, advertisers are starting to make commercials look like the shows they interrupt.

It’s tricky but effective.

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Excerpted from NPR, “‘Podbuster’ Ads, Calculated To Make You Hit Pause,” by Neda Ulabe, January 12, 2011

Call it smart advertising — or bad boundaries. You may have noticed a spike in the number of TV commercials designed to look and feel like whatever show you’re watching. They’re called podbusters, DVR busters or interstitial ads, and they’re designed to remove viewers’ fingers from the fast-forward button during blocks — or “pods” — of ads.

The advent of TiVo and similar devices can be thanked for the rise of the podbusters. About 40 percent of households have DVRs — meaning 40 percent of households can easily zip past commercials. Think of podbusters as speed bumps for ads.

Media consultant Dan Portnoy got caught while watching … the AMC drama Mad Men. That evening, he was speeding through the commercials as usual when he saw guys in ’60s fashions in a familiar-looking office, and he thought the program had started again. So he stopped fast-forwarding. What he saw looked like Mad Men. It sounded like Mad Men. But it was an ad for shampoo. …

He’d been caught by one kind of podbuster: a commercial that looks like the show. Bravo’s Top Chef employs a different variety: brief, vacuous outtakes from the real show, slotted in between commercials to make you think the program has started up again. …

There are other kinds of podbusters, too. Both Glee and 30 Rock are punctuated by commercials featuring actors from the shows. When you see Tina Fey in an American Express ad as it whizzes by on fast-forward, it’s easy to mistake it for 30 Rock — and so you stop to watch. …

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Madison Avenue’s Predictions for 2011 Ads

January 13, 2011

TakeAway: Ads have begun to make consumers work harder during the past few years.  More companies are incorporating technology into their marketing to make their promotions stand out and forcing consumers to engage with pitches in new ways.

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Excerpted from WSJ, “Ad Execs Gaze Into 2011 Crystal Ball” By Suzanne Vranica, January 3, 2010

Souped-Up Mobile Ads: As marketers spend more on mobile ads, experts predict the ads will start to contain more elements beyond basic images and text.  “The big thing in mobile ads this coming year will be the ability to directly buy products from within brand ads,” says Eric Litman, chief executive of Medialets Inc., a mobile-ad firm based in New York.

Virtual Product Demos: Companies increasingly will introduce products with technology that creates a virtual feel for a product—such as test-driving a car.

TV Apps:
Marketers have blanketed Apple’s app store with branded mobile apps, from store finders to games. Charmin offers an app that lets consumers find clean restrooms. This year couch potatoes can expect branded applications to make their way to the TV.

Brands Get Fit:
More marketers will look to sponsor lifestyle activities, such as running, triathlons and yoga. “Those sports tie to a macrotrend in individual consumers being focused on fitness and wellness,” says Kevin Adler, president of sports-marketing consulting firm Engage Marketing Inc. Going Long:

Over the past few years, shorter ads have risen in popularity as marketers trimmed their pitches to match consumers’ dwindling attention spans. But longer ads will make a comeback, thanks to new technologies, such as Internet enabled TV’s, Microsoft Corp.’s Xbox, Apple TV and interactive features coming from cable operators, says Alan Cohen, chief executive of the U.S operations of OMD, a media buying firm.  “Creative agencies will be developing deep, long-form content as consumers engage in marketers brands as they do their favorite TV shows,” he says.

Big Government:

The ad business has seen plenty of legislation and federal oversight, including the Federal Trade Commission’s recent call for the development of a “do not track” system that would enable consumers to avoid having their activities monitored online. There is more to come.  Look for a tougher hand in areas such as Internet privacy and food advertising directed to children. Getting Real:

Brands will be more honest and open about their products as companies seek to develop deeper relationships with consumers on sites such as Facebook, says Andrew Keller, CEO of Crispin Porter + Bogusky.

Ringing Up Jingles:
Jingles—short songs used in commercials for decades—began to resurface last year, a trend that is expected to pick up steam this year. “Coming out of the Depression in the ’30s, happy music became very important,” says Susan Credle, U.S. chief creative office at Leo Burnett.Edit by AMW

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Full Article:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204204004576050141843811676.html

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Don’t change that channel.

September 13, 2010

TakeAway: With so many entertainment choices, TV faces tough competition for the attention of viewers. Even when people do watch TV, more than a third of viewers skip over commercials. 

For marketers deciding how to promote their brands, this can be troubling because TV commercials are very expensive to produce and air. 

Now, new research has examined how to keep viewers from changing the channel during commercials. 

In a very different approach than traditionally used, researchers discovered that “pulsing” repeated, brief images of the brand can significantly reduce the likelihood that viewers will “zap” it.

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Excerpted from HBS Working Knowledge, “Improving Brand Recognition in TV Ads,” by Julia Hanna, June 7, 2010

Advertisers pay millions of dollars to air TV ads that, by some estimates, more than a third of viewers skip over with digital VCRs or by switching channels or tuning out altogether.

New research by HBS professor Thales S. Teixeira offers a simple, inexpensive solution to help marketers hold on to some of those consumer eyeballs. …

Teixeira and his coauthors show that “pulsing” repeated, brief images of the brand can significantly reduce the likelihood that viewers will zap it, as opposed to showing the brand for long periods of time at the beginning or end of the ad. …

 

Theories abound as to the most effective strategy for crafting a TV commercial … There are also ideas about placing the brand early in the commercial, late (the so-called mystery approach), or early and late.

“The days when you could tell a consumer what to do are long gone,” says Teixeira. “In the 1960s, the brand was onscreen all the time with a direct message: ‘Drink a Coke,’ for instance. Today, people are searching for valuable information that is relevant to them. They also want to be entertained, and the ‘hard sell’ that turns them off can be at the level of simply presenting the brand’s logo for more than a few seconds.” …

The dilemma is that our findings show that brand images cause people to zap,” Teixeira says. “But they’re a necessary evil; without the brand, viewers can’t identify what is being sold. So how do you make an ad that includes the brand without causing a high level of zapping?” …

 

Taken alone, brand presence automatically increases commercial avoidance. But … changing the pattern of brand exposure (without decreasing the total amount of time the brand is shown) can lower zapping rates, and that a “pulsing” strategy in which the brand is inserted briefly and intermittently throughout the commercial is most effective, resulting in an average decreased zapping of 8 to 10 percent. …

 

From a managers’ perspective, altering the commercials to mimic a pulsing strategy is a virtually cost-free fix for a significant payoff, with zapping rates for some commercials reduced by as much as 25 percent in a lab experiment. If a company is paying to advertise on prime-time television during a show with an estimated 5 million viewers, 50 to 60 percent of those viewers (2.5 to 3 million people) can be lost with usual zapping rates; as many as 1 million could be recaptured by using the pulsing strategy. …

 

Will these findings influence how advertisers craft their ads in the future? Teixeira notes that there is already some evidence of pulsing in ads, as in the award-winning “The Happiness Factory” for Coca-Cola, and various automobile commercials that briefly show the brand logo of a car from various angles as it maneuvers a winding road. …

 

 

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Full Article
http://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/6322.html

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Wallet’s are opening … for consumers and advertisers.

April 19, 2010

TakeAway:  Whew.   Consumers are spending again. But this sigh of relief is not heard in the halls of the big CPGs. 

The latest recession provided private-label brands with the momentum needed to overcome consumers’ quality perceptions and induce trial. 

The result: consumers liked or were at least satisfied with the PL products. 

Now that the economy is recovering and consumers have the dough to go back to the brand-name staple goods, companies are hoping that a long-held theory – more advertising will increase market share – will ensure that consumers trade-up for their staple goods.

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Excerpted from WSJ, “Consumer-Goods Makers Pour Out Ads,” By Ellen Byron, April 12, 2010

As wary Americans start to crack open their wallets, household-goods makers like Procter & Gamble, Colgate-Palmolive, Kimberly-Clark and Clorox are cranking up their advertising, hoping to coax consumers farther out of their shells.

Amid signs of an improving economy, recent survey data show consumers are more willing to splurge by eating out or buying new shoes, but the same doesn’t necessarily hold for everyday household goods.

“In consumer staples, you saw consumers trade down” to cheaper products due to the recession, and they were “quite satisfied,” says chief executive of Consumer Edge Research.

To lure them back to premium products—and prices—brand-name manufacturers are churning out “new and improved” goods ranging from more-absorbent diapers, to specialized toothpastes to closer-shaving razors. The strategy relies on advertising to get the word out.

That’s one reason the industry’s ad spending is expected to grow in 2010. So far such spending has been running well ahead of 2009 levels, with year-to-year increases for household products of 15% in January and 11% in February …

P&G, the world’s biggest ad spender, plans a 20% increase in “consumer impressions,” or instances when consumers see its ads … and it will introduce 30% more “significant” innovations in products this year, which its CEO describes as the most in his 30-year career at the company …

The big-name marketers face the challenge of overcoming consumers’s newfound thrift. While U.S. sales of household staples have posted middling gains overall, sales of cheaper private label, or store-branded, goods, have risen more sharply.

In the four weeks ended March 20, overall U.S. sales of household and personal products increased 0.2% from a year earlier, compared with a 5.4% gain in private-label sales …

The new spending will test a long-held theory: that boosting a brand’s share of advertising beyond its market share will raise that market share. Among major household products, market share stayed the same or rose 64% of the time over the past 16 quarters when a company’s advertising reach exceeded its market share by 50% or more …

Some experts say winning over consumers will require not just advertising, but a new approach: emphasizing value.

“For many years, any hint of price was a no-no. It was all about generating emotional connections,” says chief brand strategist at consulting firm Portnoy Group:”Now you’re going to have to work harder to convince me that I’m getting much more value by trading up.. You need to show me that I’m getting more for my money, and it’s not frivolous.”

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Full Article
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304703104575174042139131092.html#mod=todays_us_marketplace

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Viral marketing at a whole new level

January 18, 2010

TakeAway:  The beauty of online ads is that companies can let consumers do most of the work. 

Once a consumer finds an interesting ad, he or she will do the company’s dirty work of spreading that puppy around to hundreds to thousands of their friends. 

Now, companies are upping the game by offering videos. This could be the best viral marketing has ever seen.

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Excerpted from NYTimes, “Online Ads Are Booming, if They’re Attached to a Video,” By Brian Stelter, November 11, 2009

News Web sites are starting to look a lot less like newspapers and a lot more like television.  CNN.com and ESPN.com are featuring video much more prominently on their home pages, often prompting visitors to press play before they begin to read … news Web sites are not the only Web sites jumping on this trend …

A major reason is commercial. At a time when other categories of advertising dollars are shrinking, video ads are booming. News sites are adding more video inventory to keep pace with the demands of advertisers, and benefiting from the higher cost-per-thousands, or C.P.M.’s, that ads on those videos command …

Video is now the fastest-growing segment of the Internet advertising market … and video ads will be the “main channel” for major advertisers seeking to increase their online spending in the next 5 years …

Some companies think of online video as an extension of TV, and others think of it as an enhancement — one that allows for interactive messages and instant feedback from viewers.

Companies acknowledge that the medium is still in many ways immature. Sites continue to disagree about the legitimacy of “autoplay,” a setting that starts videos automatically when a Web page loads, increasing the number of streams without necessarily knowing that the Web user is watching.  And, ads next to “serious” news dispatches normally cannot draw the same C.P.M.’s as lighter fare …

“The Web is fulfilling this promise of being a medium where you can enjoy video as much as you can see it on TV,” … “The difference online is, if you want to do something with it — share it, stick it on a blog, post it on a Facebook page, or mark it and save it — you can do all that. And that was never possible before.”

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Full Article
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/11/business/media/11adco.html?_r=1&ref=media

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Companies turn to product-specific soap operas to engage consumers

January 15, 2010

TakeAway:  I’m not sure if product-specific soap operas or webisodes are aimed at providing work for struggling actors and actresses, creating another way for studios to get advertising revenue, or engaging consumers. 

While I do think there is some benefit offering enhanced versions of commercials online so that consumers that want more info can get it, I think it is farfetched to say that products require actors in order for consumers to engage with the brand. 

And, if that is the case, maybe the brand may need more than a webisode to solve the problem.

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Excerpted from NYTimes, “Shows Online, Brought to You by …,” By Stuart Elliott, November 24, 2009

… Actors are finding new ways to stay in the public eye in the form of Web series, also known as webisodes. Almost all such Web series are being created specifically for advertisers, borrowing a strategy from the early days of radio and television when shows like “The Kraft Music Hall,” “The Bell Telephone Hour” … that entertained Americans while selling cheese, phone service …

Webisodes — part of a trend called branded entertainment — are growing because marketers feel compelled to find new methods to reach consumers in an era when the traditional media are losing eyeballs, ears, hearts, minds and perhaps other body parts to the Internet …

Among the major brands proclaiming “brought to you by … ” online are Maybelline cosmetics, which is sponsoring Ms. Bushnell’s Web series, “The Broadroom,” available at maybelline.com/thebroadroom, and ConAgra Foods, which is sponsoring a daily show, “What’s So Funny?,” on yahoo.com, peddling products like Healthy Choice and Marie Callender’s!

The goal is to “extend our reach,” said media director at Clorox, and attain “a higher level of engagement” than is possible through tactics like running 30-second commercials that interrupt episodes of conventional TV series …

When developing branded entertainment, “the entertainment part has to come first” … otherwise consumers will dismiss it as “pushing a product” …

Shows should have an episodic, TV feel but be digestible, in portions sized appropriately for online viewing — typically three to seven minutes each …

Some consider webisodes “the flavor du jour” … but sponsors are signed “before we shoot a frame” of a Web series …

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Full Article
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/24/business/media/24adcol.html?_r=1&ref=media

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Attack ads – companies’ ads talk the talk, and competitors demand proof that the products walk the walk

January 11, 2010

TakeAway:  Due to the increasing competition for consumers’ dollars, negative advertising is at an all time high. 

Companies are responding to this wave of aggressive advertising by demanding that competitors cough up the proof behind their claims. 

But, do attack ads actually work? 

In at least some cases, the answer is no: attack ads may lead consumers to abandon not only a competitor’s product, but also the entire product category. 

Has this new focus on negative advertising caused companies to lose their perspective on the consumer market?

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Excerpted from NYTimes, “Best Soup Ever? Suits Over Ads Demand Proof,” By Stephanie Clifford, November 22, 2009

… Companies that were once content to fight in grocery-store aisles and on television commercials are now choosing a different route — filing lawsuits and other formal grievances challenging their competitors’ claims. Longtime foes like Pantene and Dove, Science Diet and Iams, AT&T and Verizon, and Campbell Soup and Progresso have all wrestled over ads recently.

The goal is usually not money but market share. Companies file complaints to get competitors’ ads withdrawn or amended.

The cases themselves might seem a little absurd — an argument over hyped-up advertising copy that not many consumers take at face value. Pantene has attacked Dove’s claim that its conditioner “repairs” hair better, and Iams has been challenged on one of its lines, “No other dog food stacks up like Iams.”

Dueling advertisers, however, argue that these claims can mislead consumers and cause a pronounced drop in sales. Since advertisers are required by law to have a reasonable factual basis for their commercials, their competitors are essentially demanding that they show their hand.

The increase in these actions may be a reflection of the dismal economy: in recessions, when overall spending lags, advertisers must fight harder for customers …

The number of complaints over ads from competitors … is on track to set a record this year … 

Defending claims made in ads sometimes requires delving into minutiae. The Pantene-Dove case centered on whether Dove Therapy repaired hair better than a Pantene conditioner. To defend its conditioner ad, Dove supplied a study measuring the combing force required by treated hair, a study on breakage in a 200-strokes-per-tresses test, and had an expert defend its decision to use the “wet combing” method rather than “dry combing” …

How brands will deal with their competitors’ advertisements is an increasingly important component of the overall marketing strategy … must explore lots of permutations, whether it’s offensively or defensively … But, as with all attacks on competitors, these disputes run the risk of persuading consumers to avoid not just a rival’s product, but the product altogether.

Last fall, Campbell Soup started an ad campaign that said its Select Harvest soups were “Made with TLC” while labeling Progresso soups, from its rival General Mills, “Made with MSG.” Progresso responded with its own campaign, and then both companies complained to the advertising review division, which recommended withdrawal of some ads from both sides … The damage was already done …since then, unit sales of wet soups at both companies have declined every quarter. A UBS analyst attributed the drop largely to the advertising battle …

“They’re navel-gazing and they’re not thinking about what consumers want to hear — they’re just talking at conference tables about how to strike back or how their integrity has been affected” …

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Full Article

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/22/business/media/22lawsuits.html

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Marketing that goes down the toilet … literally.

October 30, 2009

TakeAway:  Very little is off limits anymore when it comes to marketing. 

Making all marketers proud, the “adults wipes segment”  is getting more graphic and more descriptive.  YIPES.

I’m a proponent of good benefits advertisng, but this one makes me very, very queasy.

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Excerpted from NYTimes, “Adult Toilet Training, From Madison Ave.,” By Andrew Adam Newman, October 20, 2009

Toilet tissue advertising traditionally has featured fluffy clouds, cherubic toddlers and Mr. Whipple … But the ads remained steadfastly oblique about what consumers do after they tear along the perforated line.

With the prevalence these days of commercials for erectile dysfunction drugs and risqué network programming, however, tissue brands also are growing more frank … 

Cottonelle just launched a new commercial and a new Web site, CottonelleInstitute.com, to highlight not just the brand’s Aloe & E toilet paper but also its new flushable moist wipes … With both products, the brand is breaking with tradition, trumpeting not softness but rather that it is “dermatologically tested” for sensitive skin.

“Dry toilet paper is generally thought of as being a functional product, and a lot of brands in the category talk about strength and softness,” said a brand manager for Cottonelle wipes. “But we are reframing the Cottonelle brand as a personal care brand, which is a much more emotional space.”

… and the brand is pitching both rolls and wipes in one advertisement, in the hope of increasing the use of wipes, which are purchased by only 25 percent of households, many of which use them only on what she called “select usage occasions” … 

Getting adults to use more wipes in the bathroom … requires marketers to engage in a sort of toilet training with grown-ups, and Cottonelle and other brands apparently think cultural taboos have relaxed enough to do exactly that …

The wipes segment has been fast growing with only modest marketing support … and marketers say the growth of wipes does not cannibalize sales of toilet paper, because consumers tend to use them not as a replacement but an added step …

Charmin also is pitching its wipes … as complementary to rolls, and has launched a new campaign … that includes a video “product demo” …

“It’s a pretty straightforward way of speaking to consumers and letting them know how best to use the products together to get cleaner,” said a Charmin brand manager. “To my knowledge it is the most clearly that we have laid it out so far.”

Edit by TJS

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Full Article
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/20/business/media/20adco.html?ref=media

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Great moments in marketing … an old guy pitches GM’s “bring it back” guarantee … huh?

September 22, 2009

Ken’s Take: I don’t usually take positions on ads, but I can’t resist on this one.  More “Take” below…

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BrandChannel, Should GM and Citi CEOs Take To The Airwaves?, September 17, 2009

With consumer confidence low, GM plans to reform its image and resuscitate itsbrands.

Two months after declaring bankruptcy, GM has rolled out a new ad campaign featuring government-appointed chairman Ed Whitacre.

In a 60-second spot, Whitacre declares the brand revived, and goes so far as to brag, “We win.”

The ad shows Whitacre walking through what looks to be GM research and development, shiny new cars decorating the scenery. Whitacre invites consumers to test a new GM model — though none are shown — and promises them a 60-day-money-back guarantee if not fully satisfied.

GM seems to be taking a gamble by personalizing its products with the very leaders the public holds responsible for their failure. Consumers may dismiss the ads as just more lies and empty promises. On the other hand, they may find the sight of executives stepping up to the plate a refreshing act of responsibility.

GM has made a miscalculation: Consumers are looking for action, not words.

GM should spotlight their fleet of competitive vehicles in advertisements. Instead, they’re undermining the quality of their product by placing the spotlight on their 60-day-money-back guarantee.

Full article (with a link to the commercial):
http://www.brandchannel.com/home/post/2009/09/17/GM-and-Citigroup-unveil-new-ad-campaigns-to-resuscitate-brands.aspx

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Sidenote:

“Ad agencies can do a real disservice to clients by pitching CEO ads. It’s an easy way to land a client, because it’s very flattering to the CEO. And most CEOs have big enough egos that they cannot imagine appearing in the ads might be a bad idea. They just think the agency is brilliant for recognizing their own brilliance.”

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Ken’s Take II: (1) My wife literally asked “who’s the old guy?  He looks almost dead.”  Perhaps Whitacre thinks he reeks credibility. I bet most folks find him more creepy than credible.  (2) Re: substance: I disagree with the article.  It’s a bold move to shift product quality risk from consumers back to the company — where it belongs  (3) Re: unintended consequences: How many folks will simply take 60 day joy rides in GM cars? Hmmm

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Marketing focus: “What is the bigger job this brand does in a consumer’s life?”

September 8, 2009

Many big marketers are cutting back on ad spending this year … total measured ad spending for the first six months of ’09 has dropped 14.4% compared with the first six months of 2008.

But this is not how the companies that sell basic supermarket staples the American public purchases by the palletful are going about marketing in this recession.

For example, General Mills … is spending 16% more on marketing than it did in ’08. “In an environment where you have consumers going to the grocery store more often and thinking more about meals at home,we think that is a great environment for brand building, to remind consumers about our products.”

General Mills purveys homey comforts—Cheerios, Wheaties, Progresso Soup, Hamburger Helper.  It does  intensive research that aims at wreathing a kind of grandiosity of purpose around everyday products: “What is the bigger job this brand does in a consumer’s life?”  This question is threaded through an exhaustive process—including videotaped interviews with key customers — that ultimately boils the marketing message of key brands down to simple story lines. For Hamburger Helper, it’s “One Pound. One Pan. One Happy Family.”

General Mills has long built evocative stories around simple products … believing that  “marketing is a business in which the best story that’s most aggressively deployed wins”.

excerpted from Business Week, How General Mills’ Marketing Pays Off, July 16, 2009
http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/09_30/b4140067532922.htm

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Inside that magazine: a video clip … hmmm, interesting idea.

September 1, 2009

Ken’s Take: An interesting play.  Nice use of technology to drag print into the current century.  CBS should get nice buzz. My bet: still too expensive for it to become a common promo device … but, costs keep coming down.

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Excerpted from WSJ: Video is invading a new medium: print. Aug 20, 2009

In a marketing stunt to promote its fall TV series, CBS is inserting thousands of tiny screens in copies of Entertainment Weekly.

The screens measure two and a quarter inches diagonally and play about 40 minutes of clips from new and old CBS shows.

The reader/viewer can push a spot on the cardboard insert that holds the screen and watch a clip of the sitcom “Two and a Half Men.” Push another to see a preview of the new crime-investigation spinoff “NCIS: Los Angeles.” Another delivers an ad for PepsiCo Inc., which is helping fund the promotion.

The player is much like the chips that play music in some greeting cards and magazine ads and is rechargeable.

This isn’t the first time magazines and technology have teamed.

In 2005, CBS embedded People magazine with singing sound chips to promote an Elvis Presley miniseries.

Last year, the cover of October’s Esquire magazine splashed blazes of electronic ink … that flashed with messages and an illusion of a car on the road.

Full article:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125073451546645129.html?mod=djemMM

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Ad agency: "We think you should put the CEO in the commercial" … CEO to ad agency: "You’re hired"

May 15, 2009

Excerpted from Brandchannel, “Risky Business: When Personalities Promote Brands” by Mya Frazier, April 20, 2009

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Including marketers—or any other employee for that matter—as brand representatives in marketing campaigns raises a bevy of questions, especially considering the propensity for real people to get into trouble.

Think Kate Moss snorting cocaine in a British tabloid and the immediate scrubbing out by H&M, Chanel and Burberry of the supermodel’s image in ads. Or consider Kobe Bryant. Or Michael Vick. Or Michael Phelps. The list of brand representatives falling prey to their own humanity goes on and on. It’s why fictional brand icons, from the Pillsbury Doughboy to Tony the Tiger, remain so popular in the history of advertising.

By branding around execs and other employees, brands might save money… however, CEOs and marketers are not the most trusted people these days.

It’s certainly arguable that the inclusion of employees is an inherently risky venture, though perhaps not in the trainwreck style of Moss.

The popularity of celebrity spokesmen (think William Shatner for Priceline.com or Dennis Haysbert for Allstate) remains relatively steady, perhaps for the degree of separation from the company. After all, if a scandal erupts, most consumers understand that despite being held up as the personification of the brand, the celebrity isn’t the brand.

However, using a marketer or other employee is an entirely different beast. It’s the ultimate merger of person and brand. They embody the company more completely simply by being an employee. He or she also bears a level of responsibility and accountability for corporate actions, especially a brand’s environmental impact, particularly if the campaign carries a green message.

That’s perhaps why when employees such as marketers are held up publicly as the stewards of a brand, critics are even more emboldened to attack.

The inclusion of “real” people—such as Apple’s Steve Jobs, Sprint’s Gary Foresee or the Body Shop’s late Anita Roddick—arguably brings a level of authenticity to ad campaigns in a way the no-name commercial actor can’t. But striking the right tone is not easy.

“Consumers demand more authentic connections with brands. Authenticity is one of the six drivers of brand credibility in my book. Transparency is another one, and in a transparent environment consumers can quickly vet out what the CEO believes and stands for anyway, so the executive might as well be proactive.” 

Building trust, of course, is key. And when claims of going green are made, consumers can sense when brand representatives are coloring the truth.

Edit by NRV

Full article:http://www.brandchannel.com/start1.asp?fa_id=474

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Employees Are Becoming the Newest TV Stars

May 8, 2009

Excerpted from Forbes, “Forget Celebrities. Employees Make Compelling Ad Stars In Tough Times” By Helen Coster, Apr 17, 2009

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A few employees who haven’t lost their jobs suddenly have a new one: advertising.

At a time when consumers are distrustful of big companies and their leaders, marketers are putting employees in ads in an effort to make their brands seem more transparent and trustworthy. These ads, from companies like Ford Motor, ExxonMobil, and Alabama Power, among others, are geared to make customers and employees feel better about these companies. Honda Motor Co. features at least 30 employees, including Chief Executive Takeo Fukui, and a few luminaries, including race car driver Danica Patrick, in three seven-and-a-half minute online films dubbed “Dream the Impossible” …

Nationwide Insurance is taking a similar approach with its new TV, print and radio campaign called “I Am On Your Side.” The TV ads feature Nationwide claims adjusters and customer service representatives talking about their experiences on the job. In one spot, property claims representative Terry Medley talks about how people prepare for a “prize fight” before they talk to an insurance adjuster. “We wanted to come across as authentic and genuine,” says Nationwide spokesman Michael Switzer …

[T]he TV spots … mark a sharp departure from the company’s previous ad effort. Themed “Life Comes at You Fast,” it featured celebrities such as Kevin Federline and Fabio showing the bad things that can happen to people when they aren’t prepared.

In some cases, marketers hope to demonstrate that by treating employees well, they will do good things for customers too. A current print ad from Verizon Wireless talks up innovation by touting its training programs for employees, including Philip Morisky, who is pictured teaching his son how to ride a bike. The tagline: “Our people. Our network.”

Companies tend to trot out employees as spokespeople when the economy or the company is in trouble. “Because of the financial crisis, there’s a growing anger about big companies in particular … People think that CEOs are overpaid, that big companies don’t respect the environment. … This is the natural reaction of some companies to say: “We’re on the consumers’ side. We’re not the enemy.”

Will people really buy more cars if they relate to the Average Joe in a Honda ad? “I think in the long term [they will],” says Honda’s Center. “It’s always controversial when you do institutional advertising but, as a marketer, you have to be able to juggle a couple of balls. One of them is to sell products and generate revenue in near term while continuing to build the foundation your house is standing on. That’s why we’re doing these things, even in these tough times.”

Edit by SAC

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Full Article:
http://www.forbes.com/2009/04/17/honda-nationwide-ads-cmo-network-employee-ads.html?feed=rss_leadership_cmonetwork

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Making Money in Magazines: Is It Time for a New Pricing Model?

May 6, 2009

Excerpted from New York Times, “In Switch, Magazines Think About Raising Prices”, by Stephanie Clifford, April 13, 2009

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Most big magazines’ subscriptions cost on average little more than a dollar an issue. But now, as they consider the decline in advertising and the success of magazines that have increased prices recently, some publishers are wondering whether they can raise their prices without losing subscribers.

“We’re realizing that the product is undervalued,” said the chief marketing officer of Hearst Magazines, which raised cover prices on more than half of its magazines last year and plans to raise subscription prices this year.

Publishers have long set low subscription prices and have even lost money doing so, assuming that the real money came from ads. Subscription revenue was gravy.

It is a “model where magazines essentially try to gain as many subscribers as they can and allow advertising to pay the bills.”

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“Think about the cost of a movie ticket. Think about the cost of your subscription for cable television. Think about the cost of going to a sporting event,” Mr. Clinton, the Hearst marketing chief, said. Those industries, he said, “have kept pace in passing on more of the cost to the consumer, and the consumer’s willing to pay for it.”

The Economist is leading the charge on expensive subscriptions, and its success is one reason publishers are rethinking their approaches. It is a news magazine with an extraordinarily high cover price — raised to $6.99 late last year — and subscription price, about $100 a year on average.

Even though The Economist is relatively expensive, its circulation has increased sharply in the last four years. Subscriptions are up 60 percent since 2004, and newsstand sales have risen 50 percent, according to the audit bureau.

“We get more money out of our readers than advertisers, and that’s a very different model,” said senior vice president for marketing in the Americas at the Economist Group. “We’ll never discount the kind of content we have.”

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The Economist’s readers, it could be argued, are professionals who can afford price increases. But one of the most popular and expensive mass magazines, People, has also been raising its prices without losing readers.

The subscription price for People has risen about 5 percent, to $104 a year, in the last four years. The cover price has risen 21 percent, to an average of $4.09 . In that time, People’s subscription and newsstand sales have both increased slightly.

“Our strategy right now is to maintain a premium price on both sides of the equation,” said the president and group publisher of Time Inc.’s (People’s) style and entertainment group.

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Interestingly, whether consumers pay $5 or $50 for a subscription does not affect their perception of the magazine, according to a study conducted four years ago by the media consultant Rebecca McPheters.

Given those findings, the price a consumer pays should not matter to advertisers, since it does not affect the reader’s attitude toward the magazine–“the fact is, the pricing comes as a result of what the consumer is willing to pay.”

Given the economy, it may not be “a propitious moment to launch this,” said Victor S. Navasky, chairman of The Columbia Journalism Review, but “to the extent that the publication is aimed at a segment of the population that can afford it, why not?”

Edit by DAF

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Full article:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/13/business/media/13circ.html?ref=media&pagewanted=print

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Fixed Fee Flexibility – Firms Change Pricing Strategies

April 20, 2009

Excerpted from WSJ, “Firms Try Alternative to Hourly Fees” By Simona Covel, Apr 2, 2009

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For decades, marketing firms, accountants and other professional-service companies have all billed nearly the same way — by the hour, or, on occasion, with long-term contracts. But the recession is chipping away at that tradition, with companies forced to adopt performance-based pay and fixed prices in an effort to retain and attract clients.

The billing changes affect a broad swath of businesses, including marketing, advertising, accounting and recruiting. Even a few law firms have recently begun to talk about moving away from the billable hour, a hallmark of the legal-fee structure.

In recent months, advertising and communications company Button Worldwide began offering its clients an alternative to its regular billing after a few clients requested that the company cut monthly retainers for continuing work … Instead of a retainer, Button clients could use a pay-for-performance model where the company earns money only if it secures publicity for a client …

As the economy wavered this past summer, clients of Geary Interactive Inc. began balking at the $100 to $135 hourly rates charged by the digital marketing agency. To please clients and attract new ones, the agency started reducing its fees on a case-by-case basis — with a twist. 

The reduced fees are now approximately $80 per hour, but Geary added a contractual bonus to be paid at the end of a certain time period if its marketing campaigns met or exceeded a client’s goalsThe move also has meant a shift for a staff often accustomed to thinking about longer-term goals such as brand development. “There’s a higher sense of urgency,” Mr. Roell says …  

Edit by SAC
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Full Article:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123862458936679977.html

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Nothing Fishy About It … McD’s New Ad is a Hit

April 9, 2009

Excerpted from AdAge, “Behind McD’s Weird Filet-O-Fish Ad” By Eleftheria Parpis, March 11, 2009

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Chris Edwards, evp and group creative director at Arnold, tells a good fish story about scouting locations last year for a garage in which to film a McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish commercial.

The agency team knew going in that the spot would center around a novelty singing fish mounted on a wall. When they found just such a fish proudly displayed at one of the houses they were considering, they knew they’d found the perfect location.

“They had one of the singing fish hanging on their wall … I knew we had picked the right place.”

Today, the McDonald’s spot in question — in which the catch of days’ past sings a techno-driven “Gimme back that Filet-O-Fish!” ditty to a nearby guy chowing on said sandwich — is a legitimate viral sensation. It has garnered more than 300,000 YouTube hits in little more than two weeks.

The team … also seems to have picked the right tune, a catchy, if absurd, song that has led to DJs remixing the track and fans using it as a ring tone.

“It’s definitely the casting and the music,” said Edwards of the buzz the ad has received, including consumer-generated spots posted on YouTube featuring people singing the song while ordering …

The concept for the spot, explains Edwards, came out of the challenge of producing a commercial that could be used in both English and in Spanish. “It was tricky because you can’t rely on dialogue,” he says, and a singing fish would allow for any idiosyncrasies that can occur in dubbing …

Mark Carlson, senior creative director at McDonald’s, said the company traditionally advertises its Filet-O-Fish during the season of Lent with offbeat humor. Of the spot, he said: “We decided it was harmless and that it fits into the personality of the product. We took a risk.”

Carlson said it’s too soon to say whether that risk will pay off, but noted the company usually sees at least a 24% rise in sales of the sandwich during the yearly push …  “There seems to be a lot of viral interest beyond the traditional spot … Because it’s a little different, it stops you in your tracks. It is one of those songs that really sticks in your head — for better or worse.”

Edit by SAC

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Full Article:
http://www.brandweek.com/bw/content_display/news-and-features/retail-restaurants/e3i71419f4d58d0cd4c43fe847f012e10b3?imw=Y

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Hyundai: Lose your job? Bring it back …delivers big results

March 5, 2009

Excerpted from New York Times, “Hyundai, Using a Safety Net, Wins Market Share”, by Nick Bunkley, February 5, 2009

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In the midst of an industry-wide slump that has pushed some competitors to the brink of bankruptcy, Hyundai spent $3 million to tell Americans watching the Super Bowl how to say its name correctly.

The company’s market share nearly doubled last month as sales rose 14 percent, the largest year-over-year increase that any big automaker has posted in the United States since last May.

* * * * *

One reason for the jump in January appears to be Hyundai’s new marketing strategy of promising to let buyers return their vehicles, at no cost in most cases and with no penalty to their credit rating, if they lose their job or income within a year.

“To their credit, they struck at the core of what’s bothering people, and that’s obviously uncertainty . . . It’s just the fear and the uncertainty that’s holding people back.”

“It gives them a whole new audience — people for whom it would have never popped up on their shopping list.”

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Sales of the Hyundai Sonata, a full-size sedan that costs less than $20,000, surged 85 percent in January, making it one of the country’s top-selling vehicles. And Hyundai sold more passenger cars last month than Chrysler, which has four times as many dealers.

Edit by DAF

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Full article:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/05/business/media/05auto.html?_r=2&ref=business&pagewanted=print

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Is That Ad Targeting You? Web Ad Aim Improves

March 4, 2009

Excerpted from WSJ, “More Web Ads Improve Their Aim” By J. Vascellaro and E. Steel, Feb 5, 2009

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As marketers scale back their ad budgets, some new technologies that make it easier for marketers to track the impact of their online advertising are gaining ground.

Products based on these technologies — such as customized ads that show different products to different users, Web ads hidden inside links in text, and online coupons — are part of what is called “performance-driven advertising.” That’s because the products aim to improve and more precisely measure how a particular ad performs.

While no one format is likely to emerge as a silver bullet for marketers seeking to use their ad dollars more efficiently, the advertising industry is betting on these technologies to increase online advertising spending …

Internet retailer Overstock.com is becoming a big user of performance-driven ad products. The company is planning to spend about 20% of its overall marketing budget for this year, on personalized ads from Choicestream, which makes product-recommendation software, says Overstock Chief Executive Patrick Byrne.

To devise the personalized ads … Choicestream relies on data the retailer provides about what customers browse and purchase on its site. Choicestream uses the data to select what personalized products and offers to insert into Overstock ads as they appear to potential customers browsing the Web … While Overstock hasn’t had much luck with online display advertising in the past, the new, personalized ads drove a sevenfold increase in clicks on the ads and a threefold increase in sales relative to other display ads

Internet giant Yahoo and Teracent … offer customized ad products similar to Choicestream’s … Companies like Choicestream, Yahoo and Teracent hope to steal some thunder from search advertising, which remains one of the biggest and fastest-growing ad formats. Since search ads are related to what a person is searching for on the Web, consumers often find them more relevant than other ads, and advertisers typically find them more cost effective.

But as budgets tighten, other formats that can prove they are worth their price are gaining momentum too. Coupons Inc., which makes software to help companies create and distribute online coupons … has seen a recent surge in interest from advertisers looking for more cost-effective online marketing options …

Committed revenue for the year at Vibrant, which creates in-text ads, has doubled from a year ago … In-text ads appear when a computer user hover a mouse over links that appear in the text on a Web page.

The new ad formats are winning over some big marketers. Over the past year, auto maker Chrysler, whose brands include Dodge and Jeep, has shifted its online-ad spending away from lifestyle sites to sites … toward performance-driven products like Vibrant’s in-text ads. Chrysler is also continuing to spend on search ads …

Chrysler says the shift has paid off: The percentage of total retail sales attributed to online leads rose two percentage points in 2008 from the prior year.

Edit by SAC

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Full Article:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123379182761749823.html

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J&J lets the blogosphere tail wag the Motrin dog …

January 30, 2009

Background: J&J ran an Motrin ad with an irreverent tone to identify with young moms and the back pain associated with lugging infants in baby carriers. But it struck the wrong cord with some and drew fire on Twitter and from a small cadre of “mommy bloggers” — the most vocal members of the demographic J&J was trying to woo.

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Excerpted from Ad Age, “Crashing Motrin-Gate: A Social-Media Case Study” by Jack Neff, November 24, 2008

At first glance, it looks like J&J’s Motrin was chastened by the power of social media when it yanked a Motrin ad campaign…’Motrin-gate’ proves the power of social media for marketers as well as how quickly marketers can be forced to buckle to a relatively small but vocal minority of people…

J&J might have been a tad hasty in pulling down its ad. In doing so, it bowed to a vocal flash mob that represents a tiny fraction of moms…And despite a storm of media attention, the ad … received less exposure than one 30-second spot on a cable news network.

On the one hand, so-called Motrin-gate proves the power of social media for marketers. On the other, it proves how quickly marketers can be forced to buckle to a relatively small but vocal minority of people who can create “flash floods”…

Yet, not that many people ultimately paid attention…about as many people saw the ad without turning to social media in outrage … as saw it during the week after it broke … most online buzz about Motrin-gate was either positive or neutral in tone toward J&J and the ads…

If Motrin’s brand managers were not just listening to the market, but accurately measuring it too, they might not have been so quick to panic and pull the ad” …J &J should have kept the campaign in place, apologized to critics in whatever medium they had used to complain, and used the opportunity to engage in dialogue…

Corporate marketers already knew about the power of mommy bloggers…They are buying ads, they are engaging women online. They are sponsoring trips, sending you even MORE free stuff. They are paying for YOU to consult for them. … You have their attention. You have the power”…

 

Edit by SAC

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Some may argue that J&J was too fast to react to the mommy bloggers with the Motrin Ad controversy.  As the article notes, not that many people actually paid attention to the controversy and the resulting buzz was for the most part was neutral if not positive.  However, it is unclear what damage may have done if the ad had not been pulled and as this controversy proves, the influence of small, yet vocal groups such as Mommy bloggers is not to be underestimated. 

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