Archive for July, 2009|Monthly archive page

New boss to GM agencies: no cash for clunkers!

In Ad Creative, Agency Biz on July 26, 2009 at 11:47 pm

Once again, the ad copywriter in me is perplexed. Yes, I believe there are far better ways to trigger behavior-influencing emotions than by simply listing product features. Still, one line in a recent Ad Age article made me laugh.

The article dealt with the trepidation GM agencies are feeling as they await the final verdict on their work and  futures after early criticism from new company Vice Chairman and marketing head  Bob Lutz. Someone familiar with his so called “old school” point of view issued an ominous warning.

“He favors beauty shots of products in ads and talk about the vehicle’s differentiating features,” the former associate said.

Oh, no. Not differentiating features. Anything but that! Read the rest of this entry »


“Effective” frequency? How about “offensive” frequency?

In Ad Creative, Media on July 17, 2009 at 1:21 pm

In the world of media planning, “effective frequency” describes the minimum number of times a TV spot must be seen by an individual within a certain period of time for its message to make an impression.  It seems to me (and I’ve taught media courses) that there is  little science and a great deal of guesswork in arriving at a number. The starting point is typically three, but that number can vary widely for all kinds of reasons. many of them arbitrary

My TV watching is probably about average in amount. But if I am to believe that media planners are doing their jobs well,  certain ad campaigns must have “effective frequency” numbers of approximately 7,253.  They aren’t necessarily bad commercials. But I CAN’T STAND SEEING THEM ANY MORE!

For starters, let’s talk Alltel. Perhaps you’ve seen the spot in which good old Chad is led by an androgynous child up to his family, scavenging in an amusement park. The big payoff line is  “Billy, I found you a new retainer!”  I’ve come to inadvertently recite the dialogue along with the characters.  Another Alltel spot is less annoying, but only a little less overexposed. Chad helps a group of superheroes to stay connected inexpensively with “My Circle.” Read the rest of this entry »

Word of mouth counts–regardless of the mouth.

In Research on July 14, 2009 at 10:12 am

New Nielsen research shows that 90% of consumers trust the recommendations of friends when researching a purchase. Very natural, of course.  But the research also shows that 70% of them trust the on-line recommendations of complete strangers. I have a little more trouble with that one.

If I was considering a Toyota Prius, I might ask for an opinion from someone I saw driving one. But somehow, on line it’s just a little different. In person, I can use all kinds of input to help evaluate the credibility of the opinion. If an auto mechanic said the Prius was very reliable, I’d put some stock in that. But if a member of the Chinese gymnastics team told me it was roomy, well…maybe not so much. CB061456

But when I’m on line, I don’t know who is commenting. Maybe  that bad review is from a disgruntled owner who never changed the oil, blew an engine, and blamed the car. And maybe that favorable review was posted by the owner of a Toyota dealership whose “opinions” are just another form of marketing. Read the rest of this entry »

“Wise” guys pitching a good promotion!

In Memorable Marketing on July 10, 2009 at 2:37 pm

I love marketing tie-ins with sports. Tonight in New York, a great one is scheduled. The Wise Potato Chip people have arranged for everyone at the Reds-Mets game to get a small bag of chips on the way in, and, after the second inning, “crunch” in unison to set a Guinness World Record.

This one’s kind of fun. although I’ll bet the stadium cleanup crew won’t think so as they’re picking up 42,000 little potato chip bags  from under the seats. I like the fact that one of the smaller regional brands is attempting to get visibility with a unique tactic that will cost, in total, less than Frito-Lay spends running a few prime time TV spots. I”m just disappointed they didn’t wait for Chipper Jones to come to town.

And I’ll even ignore the fact that chips are so often promoted on the  basis of their “crunch.” Do you really buy them based on “crunch”?  I just like the taste, and as long as they’re not too stale to crunch, I’m happy. (But maybe that’s just me; if crunch matters to you, let me know!) Read the rest of this entry »

Save a newspaper – eat a Big Mac!

In Media, Research on July 8, 2009 at 4:00 pm

All in all,  it was a pretty interesting article. Granted, it was reporting the results of research conducted by a newspaper organization. But I’m glad to hear any good news about newspapers, so it was good to hear that newspaper readership is growing sharply in developing countries. (And also that in this country, combined print and on-line newspaper readership  is up, as well.)

But it contained a line that stopped me:  “More adults read a newspaper every day than people eat a Big Mac every year.”  Trying to process that comparison, I felt like quoting that Monte Python character: “My brain hurts!”  I mean, I guess it’s impressive. Lots of people eat Big Macs, right?

Well, yes. Except for those who don’t have a McDonald’s nearby. Or don’t like McDonald’s. Or do like McDonald’s, but not Big Macs. But then again, we’re talking about a whole year, compared to a day. And basing it on people as opposed to the more limiting adults on the newspaper side of things. Read the rest of this entry »

B2B marketers zoom in…and miss the big picture?

In B2B Marketing on July 1, 2009 at 1:17 pm

Warning to marketers, especially in the B2B arena: the newest thing is NOT automatically the biggest thing. In trying to get our clients past the “commodity” status so common in many industries, we have developed a rabid desire to get and stay “ahead of the curve.”  As a result, it seems like the bulk of today’s news items and blog posts focus on emerging trends, with headlines like “32% of B2B decision makers on Twitter” or “Company X uses social media to gain biz.”

Well and good; we all should stay up to date on the newest tools in our arsenals. But I’m afraid that, in our competitive urgency to leap into the future, we are leaving a pretty big flank unprotected. I have a sneaky suspicion that that “32% of decision makers” had just heard the term so much that they had to check it out. Once.  And that some progressive exec at Company X  used its name in a “tweet” and a customer actually noticed. Read the rest of this entry »