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Archive for June, 2011|Monthly archive page

Quaker State promo either brilliant or silly. YOU decide!

In Memorable Marketing, The Marketing Microscope on June 28, 2011 at 8:37 pm

Simple. Start using Quaker State when you get your car’s oil changed for the first time, keep using Quaker State throughout its life, and drive it until you hit the magic 300,000-mile mark. Then, voila – QS will give you a check for the Bluebook value of your car. Not  to BUY it from you, just a reward, in the form of a check for whatever it’s worth at that point. That’s the whole promotion.

The positives? For consumers, it offers a little extra dough, though not much and only after a LONG while – just for choosing one brand of oil consistently, which probably doesn’t matter very much to them. For  Quaker State,  it reinforces the perception that the product helps your car last longer, so it’s “on strategy.” And it doesn’t risk much, since  very few people will keep one car that long, and 300,000-mile cars tend not to be worth much anyway. People who DO are the dedicated car buffs, and if it helps them choose Quaker State each time, that’s great.

The negatives? Well, for one thing, most people realize all the things I just said. And they just might roll their eyes and say,gee, my reward for driving this hunk of junk that long is whatever pittance someone says it’s worth at that point? BIG DEAL.

So I can’t decide. It makes strategic sense, but it is so low-risk for the company, how exciting can it be for customers? I suspect they could have offered a new car (okay, up to $20k) for anyone who made it.  Or why not make it 400,000 and give them an exciting new sports car, or vintage Corvette or something.

Bottom line is, I like things that are different enough to be interesting, and somehow relate to the selling premise. Both those apply here. But somehow it just aims so low…..

What do YOU think? Let me know. Hey, if we make it to 10 comments, I’ll give the poster of comment # 30 a great prize!  (A quart of Quaker State. And a plastic funnel I’ll guarantee for, oh  your next 100 oil changes!))

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A little neighborly advice for State Farm.

In Ad Creative, Just Thinkin' on June 28, 2011 at 12:02 am

Insurance can be a tough sell. And the “old gray ladies” of the biz like Allstate and State Farm can be excused if they are a little desperate in their desire to stop losing share to the Geicos, and Progressives of the world.  For a product no one ever wants to actually have to USE, it’s tough to beat a good price story, especially when it’s built around internet or phone call convenience.

But it seems to me Allstate and State Farm are both are trying to tackle the “younger customer” with what they consider edgier or hipper campaigns. Allstate’s “mayhem” is growing on me. And the other night, I saw Dennis Haysbert use that word in an attempt, at least, to tie their two very different campaigns together.

State Farm, however, is a little lost. They continue to run their traditional “adult’ campaign that, while not exciting, at least rings true, tugs at the right strings, and provides a pretty straight ahead “demo” of the company’s famous tag line.

Not so in their “youth” campaigns. It appears their only strategy here was “let’s put some young people and millenial story lines in our spots, then they’ll think we’re cool and buy from us.” Sorry, but I am not convinced that some slacker saying “State Farm is there” in order to get the girl from  the apartment upstairs or a new hot tub to materialize says anything meaningful about your product. Nor does the mean-spirited boyfriend/girlfriend tiff featured in another execution.

Yes, you need to appeal to a younger demographic. But does someone who is  finally accepting the responsibility to purchase insurance really willing to buy it from a big name company that is suddenly trying to look like the life of the toga party? (An even newer campaign appears to depict State Farm customers as deranged goofs who would squander the money they supposedly saved on things like falcons. Another knee-slapper.)

State Farm, I know you need to appeal to a younger demo. But a closer look at what those people really think and feel would do far more for the brand than lobbing superficial executions in the general direction of the caricatured image you apparently have of them.

Insurance may not be fun. But it is most assuredly not silly, either. And a campy Bob Barker appearance is no substitute for a real point of difference.