Archive for June, 2009|Monthly archive page

Taco Bell ads make the point — in poor taste.

In Ad Creative on June 23, 2009 at 12:03 pm

I recently gave Quiznos some props for marketing smarts, so  it’s only fair that I balance the scale. Because now I have a, well, beef with Taco Bell.  For years I was the smug  young writer who always knew better, always a bit more clever than the others. If people didn’t like my work, they just didn’t “get it.”  Guess I’ve finally gone to the other side. Because I find the newest Taco Bell ad annoying.

The objective was obviously to emphasize the low cost of items on Taco Bell’s value menu. So somewhere, a writer decided that it would be funny to do that by showing some guy helping himself to pennies from various “take a penny” jars  until he had enough for the item.  The ad does accomplish that objective.  Trouble is, it also accomplishes other things that they apparently decided just weren’t important.


Favre’s return no surprise. But THIS one IS!

In Media on June 17, 2009 at 11:23 am

Let’s talk about comebacks. Optimism. Desire. Energy. Sure, the return everyone is talking about is Brett Favre’s with the Minnesota Vikings. I’m all in favor of that one. Sure, the soap opera gets a bit tiresome. But he’s been a great player, and if he wants to continue–and there’s a team that wants him–he should do exactly what he’s doing. Ignore the clueless couch potatoes and sanctimonious sportwriters talking about tarnishing legends. That’s HIS business.

Favre popping up again isn’t a big surprise, but here’s one that IS: a brand new home-delivered daily newspaper is emerging in Detroit. According to this article in the Lansing State Journal, two publishers are launching a brand new daily in an attempt to fill the void left when the major Detroit papers recently cut back on the days they provide home  delivery. As you all know, the newspaper industry itself is back on its heels, trying to figure out a way to survive, let alone grow. Read the rest of this entry »

Marketing behind Quiznos new subs easy to fathom.

In Ad Creative on June 11, 2009 at 1:12 pm

Sometimes (okay, lots of times) you see a commercial for a new product and wonder what “they” were thinking. All you can say is “wow.”  (Or maybe, “shamwow.”)  We’ll talk about some of those in another post.

But other times, the premise is so simple and logical, it’s a thing of beauty. I’d like to offer as evidence those new “Torpedo” subs from Quiznos.

Here’s the Marketing 101 through Quiznos’ eyes, and I don’t even have to work for them to see it.   Fact #1: Quiznos subs tend to be a little pricier than others, especially Subway’s “$5 foot long” that is fast becoming a legend of jingle-dom. So we lose on price during tough economic times.  Fact #2: consumers in this mobile, hyperactive society find those tightly-wrapped burgers much easier to eat in the car or on the run than sub sandwiches with all those fresh ingredients to fall out! Read the rest of this entry »

Bet I could steal your “satisfied customers.”

In Agency Biz on June 8, 2009 at 11:46 am

I came across an interesting item in Chris Bell’s blog Customer Think that made me think. He points out that most “customer feedback” mechanisms are tiresome formalities. Customers usually have no real incentive to tell the truth, and the business frequently cares very little about the answer anyway.

That “how is everything?” from the restaurant server is a classic example.  Most people, even if they had just found a golf ball in their guacamole, would simply smile back and say “fine.” Most of us don’t like conflict, and after all, we rationalize, it’s probably not his or her fault!

And the server, who has been told to make this inquiry, isn’t expecting a real answer, either. Unless you send something back or demand to see a manager, it’s doubtful your comments make it to the kitchen door. Everyone just moves on, and no actual information has been exchanged. The restaurant gets a false sense of security. Read the rest of this entry »

And now a word from….

In Just Thinkin' on June 5, 2009 at 11:23 am

Quick, who sponsors the Hallmark Hall of Fame? Okay, good.  (Don’t feel bad, Britney….you were close.) Yes, that one’s a bit obvious. And it makes sense….warm, fuzzy specials by a warm, fuzzy card company.

But there are other advertisers out there missing great opportunities to sponsor, or at least run spots in, shows that would be a good fit for the product, company, or reputation.  So I’ve decided to provide a little free consulting with some recommendations.

I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here is a fairly bizarre show. But Southwest Airline’s “Want to get away?” message would work. Or perhaps since we get to see those self-absorbed celebrities confronted with things like reptiles, bees, and other “creature discomforts” McDonald’s “I’m Lovin’ It” would resonate. Read the rest of this entry »

“Hard data” from on-line ad testing? Hardly.

In Ad Creative on June 2, 2009 at 6:37 pm

To evaluate ads, don’t count on counting clicks.

An article in the June 2  New York Times explores the use of the Internet to compare ad approaches. By using different versions of ads, incorporating different offers,  and in some cases targeting different demographics, advertisers can use click results to quantify (at least theoretically) the effectiveness of   the ads, and adjust the campaign accordingly. The article details how a company called Varick Media Management used this technique on behalf of client Vespa.

It’s hard to criticize something that finally appears to provide an objective evaluation of what has traditionally been a subjective area. And yes, it might be somewhat predictable that a creative director-type like me would object. But the fact is, there are a few other things that need to be considered before ditching the creative brainstorming sessions in favor of Excel spreadsheet ad tracking parties. Read the rest of this entry »