Thursday, October 29, 2009

Are Mobile Coupons the next big thing?


We have been hearing for a while that mobile advertising is about to take off, and perhaps here lies the key; after all coupons are very popular these days. In a recent HipCricket study, 47% of recipients of mobile coupons remember the brand and 94% remember the offer.

So, Sprint has joined with Screenvision to offer subscriber discounts on drinks and snacks at more than 500 movie theaters nationwide. In addition, the technology also supports a loyalty program, and allows users to download content, music, trailers and games. (Sullivan, 2009)

And in return, users only have to give up their privacy, since databases will keep track of purchases, and presumably share the information with anyone willing to pay for it. Is it a fair trade off? What do you think? Have you redeemed a mobile coupon yet?

Sullivan, L. (2009, October 28). Sprint Delivers Mobile Coupons for Movie Theaters. Retrived October 28, 2009, from

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Have you watched an ad at a gas station lately?


Have you watched an ad at a gas station lately?

How about a grocery store or a mall? Or even an elevator? In 2009, Advertisers will spend $2.6 billion on digital out-of-home advertising. The industry is expected to grow +15% over the next 4 years and 42% of agency and brand managers have reported that they plan to increase expenditures. (Sass, 2009)

The reason is pretty clear. Digital out-of-home advertising reaches 67% of Adults 18+ every month. But, that doesn’t mean that it’s effective. Personally, I can’t recall a single ad that I saw while riding an elevator, even though I was a captive audience.

What about you? Do you recall seeing ads in these unusual places? Did they stimulate a purchase?

Sass, E. (2009, October 16). Survey: 42% of Marketers to Increase DO Spend. Retrived 10/21/09, from

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Is Yahoo Blowing it?


Yahoo’s reinvention may have hit a snag. It started out with the high profile hire of Carol Bartz, which was followed by a redesign of their home page and the addition of customizing features. But, at least one user – my nephew Steven – noted the change but didn’t necessarily find that it enhanced his experience as a user.

Now comes word that brand perception has fallen steeply since September 28, 2009, when a $100 million advertising campaign was launched to tout the new capabilities. Bummer.

What do you think? Have you noticed the change? Is it an improvement?

Walsh, M. (2009, October 13). Survey: Yahoo Campaign Dampens Perception. Retrived October 14, 2009, from

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Do Pistachio nuts make you feel sexy?


For its first broadcast effort, the pistachio industry has decided to go with kinky sex as a strategy. Yes, the $15 million campaign will include dominatrix, beauty queens, and Levi Johnston, soon to be seen in Playgirl, talking about “using protection”. (Horovitz, 2009)

Yikes. All I really need to know is if they are safe to eat now, and that they have taken steps to make sure the salmonella contamination never happens again.

What about you? Do you prefer whips and chains?

Here’s the youtube link so you can check it out.

Horovitz, B. (2009, October 4). Pistachio industry bets on ‘sex sells’ mentality with ads. Retrived October 7, 2009, from

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Advertising & the Obesity Crisis


While there is no proof that advertising leads to greater consumption of unhealthy foods, enough people believe that it does that calls for censorship, starting with the campaign currently running in support of high-fructose corn syrup, are on the rise. (Lazarus, 2009)

First amendment issues aside, there is proof, based on the broadcast ban of cigarette advertising in the 70’s that censorship efforts tend to backfire. In the case of cigarettes, the move of serious amounts of money from television to more cost efficient print resulted in greater product awareness and more efficient campaigns. (Calfee & Ringold, 1990)

Perhaps the answer lies in attempting to harness the strength of advertising in a positive fashion. VERB, the CDC’s effort against childhood obesity, which encouraged children to play with a ball, blog about their activities, and pass it along, generated impressive results. First year awareness levels were 74%, and both the amount and length of activity increased. (“VERB: CDC’s Youth Campaign, 2008)

Sadly, the effort was halted in 2006 due to lack of funding. Why not require the producers of high-fructose corn syrup to provide funding for the effort much as cigarette companies are now funding anti-smoking campaigns?

And while we’re at it, according to 9/30/09’s Wall Street Journal, fewer than 10% of US high school students are eating the recommended 5-9 servings of fruit and veggies a day. (AP, 2009) Sounds like a job for McDonald’s if you ask me.

What do you think?

Lazarus, D. (2009, September 30). Let’s limit our intake of corn-syrup ads. Retrived September 30, 2009, from,0,6909971.column?track=rss

Calfee, J. & Ringold, D. (1990). What would happen if cigarette advertising and promotion were banned? Advances in Consumer Research. Volume 17 pages 474-479. Retrived September 30, 2009, from

(2008, May 20). VERB Campaign Case Study, National Social Marketing Centre. Retrived September 30, 2009, from

Associated Press (2009, September 30). Kids Eat Few Fruits, Veggies. Wall Street Journal, pD2