Thursday, December 30, 2010

But, did it do anything for Snickers?


The most liked spot from last year’s Super Bowl was the Snickers ad featuring Betty White. It did wonders for her career, leading to an appearance on Saturday Night Live and a role in a new sitcom. Good for her.

But the real question is, did it increase sales of Snickers? If it did, then the company sure isn’t saying so. (Goetzl, 2010)

I guess it’s better to run an ad people like instead of one that outrages them, as they did several years ago. Still if it doesn’t sell more Snickers then why waste $2 million+?

Goetzl, D. (2010, December 23). Super Bowl Ads Still Impact, Ask Betty White. Retrieved December 30, 2010, from

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Yes, advertising can sell broccoli!


In an effort to prove that television advertising does indeed work, The Television Bureau of Canada has proven our thesis that advertising can be used to increase consumption of healthy foods. Specifically, three spots they created and ran on television led to an 8% increase in broccoli sales. That’s 188,574 pounds. (Corr, 2010)

Here are the spots that did the trick if you want to check them out. I think we can all agree that they are not award winners. Yet, they worked. So perhaps they should be.

Let’s hope the folks in the U.S. healthcare sphere have taken note and are budgeting for their own future efforts. Obesity shortens life spans and increases healthcare costs. It’s time we used all the tools we have to fight this important battle. Don’t you agree?

Corr, A. (2010, December 13) Can TV Ads Really Sell Anything? Ask Broccoli. Retrieved December 16, 2010, from

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Do Women Need Their Own Sports Website?


ESPN apparently thinks so. As new data continues to pour in about the skyrocketing increase in the size of the female sports fan market and their spending potential, ESPN has decided that the time is right to launch

The site will cover both male and female sports and will provide information about training. It will also provide “Olympics coverage,” i.e. more human interest stories, since this is what ESPN’s research has told them is the gold standard for women. (Siegel, 2010)

Given that 76% of ESPN’s viewers are currently male this could be a rich source of new revenue. What do you think? Is it worth a try? Will it be a success?

Siegel, F. (2010, December 8) ESPN’s Big New Site For Women, Finally Launching Today. Retrieved December 8, 2010, from

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Will you order food that your friends “like” on Facebook?


The advantages for marketers who allow consumers to order food through Facebook seems obvious – a savings of $20,000 - $30,000, which they would have spent on building a website. There is also the possibility that the platform will allow them to better understand and communicate with customers, since it allows for two-way conversations. (Sullivan, 2010)

But what is the advantage for consumers? Is convenience enough? Or is knowing what others like to eat important?

Initial tests have showed a 10% increase in sales, and average checks that are three times higher than offline orders. Why?

Sullivan, L. (2010, November 17) Would You ‘Like’ Soup Along With That Facebook App? Retrieved December 12, 2020, from

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Magazine readership is up; but not for Newsweek.


The latest fall 2010 data shows a 1% increase in total magazine readership to 1.82 billion. But not every magazine is a winner. Those who are include: Fitness, up 23.3%, Self, up 14.1%, Men’s Journal, up 11.1%, and More, up a whopping 31%.

The losers include Newsweek, down 16.1%, and Time, down 8%. And, earlier this month, U.S. News & World Report announced that by 2011 it will be a digital only publication. Combine that with the just announced merger of Newsweek and The Daily Beast, and it seems clear that newsweeklies will soon be just a memory.

So, what will take their place? Are you reading any of the aforementioned lifestyle pubs? Or how about celeb magazines; In Touch Weekly was up 13.1%. (Sass, 2010)

Sass, E. (2010, November 16) Celeb Mags Up, Newsweeklies Lose Audience. Retrieved November 17, 2010, from

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Are you using your iPhone to buy things, or just to figure out where you’re going?


A new survey indicates that 81% of mobile users are accessing maps and directions, while 76% are checking Facebook, and 67% are banking. Meanwhile 38% of those surveyed said they had not purchased anything from their devices over the past six months.

With mobile advertising set to explode over the next few years (predictions are that it will increase by 48% in 2011) sales are expected to rise significantly. (Loechner, 2010)

Do you think you will be part of this trend? Are you already?

Loechner, J. (2010, November 4) Mobile Web For Media and Entertainment, Apps For Social Media and Music. Retrieved November 11, 2010, from

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Will you buy pistachio nuts from Snooki?


When you launch a brand with Levi Johnson as a spokesperson, what do you do for a follow-up? If you’re Wonderful Pistachios, you call Snooki and Rod Blagojevich. Hoping to build on the success of last year’s campaign, which resulted in a whopping + 233% increase in sales versus year ago, and seeking a greater focus on 20-25 year olds, Roll Inc. has decided that Snooki is the way to go.

In addition to :15 second spots, which will run in prime, sports, and late night, the campaign includes the dubbing of Perez Hilton as the “official Wonderful Pistachios blogger”, and an invitation to viewers to create their own “edgy” commercials. Clearly courting controversy is part of the strategy. (Lukovitz, 2010)

What do you think? Is it a good idea? Did you try pistachios last year? Will you now?

Lukovitz, K. (2010, November 2). Wonderful Pistachios Goes For The Twitter Crowd. Retrieved November 3, 2010, from

Friday, October 29, 2010

How can we persuade Gen Y to put their money where their mouth is?


While Gen Y consumers (18 – 34) are more likely to join advocacy groups, attend rallies, and write to politicians, they are 15% - 25% less likely to base their actual purchasing decisions on the issues they deem to be important.

Instead they are five times more likely to purchase products perceived as prestigious, as they attempt to show others that they are successful. (Lukovitz, 2010)

So, how to we get them to buy green?

Lukovitz, K. (2010, October 21). External Validation Drives Gen Y Purchases. Retrieved October 27, 2010, from

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Can Social Media Turn Things Around For Just My Size?


Even though more than half of American women are plus-sized, with an average women wearing a size 14, sales of plus-size clothing are not bouncing back as quickly as those for the total category (+2.4% versus +4%).

Hanes has decided to try a new approach to support its Just My Size line -- increasing its use of social media. Specifically it is courting plus-sized fashion bloggers with a New York fashion event.

Just My Size already has 80,000 Facebook fans. And their research has shown that plus-sized women spend time online, so they think this is the best way for them to connect with their users. (Mahoney, 2010)

Do you agree? Would a partnership with More magazine online be a better option? Or how about one with Weight Watchers? Or do you have a different idea altogether?

Mahoney, S. (2010, October 19). Hanes Just My Size Bonds With Bloggers. Retrieved October 20, 2010, from

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Will focusing on just three markets be a successful strategy for Jaguar?


For its latest campaign, Jaguar, who seems to be on a roll with a +13% sales increase versus last year, has decided to concentrate their limited budget in their three best markets – L.A., Miami and New York. Together these markets represent 13% U.S. And, as Jaguar points out, these are heavy travel markets so their plans include a significant billboard presence in airports.
(Greenberg, 2010)

Do you think this strategy will work? Or would they have been better off sponsoring Meet The Press?

Greenberg, K. (2010, September 10). Jaguar’s Marketing VP Dishes On Strategy. Retrieved October 13, 2010, from

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Will an emotional approach work for Truvia?


What’s Truvia, you ask. It’s a zero calorie sweetener that was introduced by Cargill in 2008, as an alternative to aspartame and other artificial sweeteners.

The introductory ads were designed to be educational and informative, and convey that message. But now Cargill has decided to use an emotional approach to connect with women. While the ads are not yet available on YouTube, apparently the approach is to tell women longing for chocolate that now they can have Truvia – a healthier indulgence -- instead.

Given that 68% of people have never heard of Truvia, do you think this is a good move?

Wong, E. (2010, October 4,). Cargill gets to the Heart of Stevia. Retrieved October 6, 2010, from

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Have you scanned an advertising bar code yet?


Perhaps you’ve noticed in the past year that bar codes are popping up in magazines, posters and billboards. When I first read about the technology, I thought it would be a great tool for point-of-purchase -- to provide additional information so consumers don’t walk away empty handed when they are confused. But with only 25% of cell phones capable of scanning them, adoption has been slow.

Now comes word that Bluefly is using them in television ads! When Bravo viewers scan the 45-second Closet Confessions spot, not only can they get more information about products, they are also offered a $30 discount on a $150 purchase at (Olson, 2010)

That seems promising to me. What do you think? Will you give it a try? Have you already?

Olson, E. (2010, September 26). Bar Codes Add Detail on Items in TV Ads. Retrieved September 28, 2010, from

Thursday, September 23, 2010

RVs as guest houses?


After segmenting their users into three groups – retirees, outdoor enthusiasts (the largest user segment), and younger affluent creative types, the folks at Airstream have decided the time is right to give some attention to the final group, which is their fastest growing segment. Oddly enough though, this group is not interested in hitting the road, but rather in using the upscale vehicles for alternative often stationary purposes such as guest houses, home offices and studios.

Since the trend began with celebrities, (Johnny Depp reportedly uses his as a pool house) it makes sense that the niche campaign will focus on celebrity efforts, a partnership with Bloomingdales, home catalogues, and the now ubiquitous sweepstake. (Greenberg, 2010)

So what do you think? Will this approach strengthen the bottom line by bringing new users into the category, or backfire by alienating core outdoors and travel buyers?

Greenberg, K. (2010, September 17). Airstream Looks To Younger, Creative Affluents. Retrieved September 22, 2010, from

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Can IKEA convince families that self-assembled furniture will improve their lives?


For years IKEA’s bread and butter customers have been college students and studio apartment dwellers. Now, with furniture sales still on the decline they have hired a new agency – Oglivy & Mather, and are attempting to tap into some of the latest lifestyle trends.

Customization is a key part of the strategy, and the integrated marketing plan includes both a contest for star volunteers, and media targeting the Latino sub-segment.

But will it be enough to convince people that their furniture doesn’t have a cold European style, and isn’t appropriate just for lower-income groups? (Vega, 2010)

Vega, Tanzina (2010, September 13). A Focus on Families (and Furniture). Retrieved September 15, 2010, from

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Will positioning carrots as junk food be effective?


After two decades of growth, pre-packaged convenience veggie sales are slowing. In an effort to jump start sales of baby carrots, an alliance of farmers got together $25 million and hired Crispin Porter & Bogusky to create a campaign. They decided to skip the obvious healthy message, and instead position carrots as a cooler snack than chips, using the tagline: “Eat ‘Em Like Junk Food.” (Lukovitz, 2010)

Providing context in a comparative format is an interesting approach that just might prove to be more compelling. And given that potato chip sales surged in 2008 and 2009, consistent with the trend toward replacing meals with snacks – a much needed way to shift consumers to healthier snacks. (Jargon, 2010)

What do you think? Will you substitute carrots the next time you reach for the chips?

Lukovitz, K. (2010, September 7). Selling Baby Carrots As The Perfect ‘Junk Food’. Retrieved September 8, 2010, from

Jargon, J. (2010, September 8, 2010). How Lunchtime Is Turning Into Snack Time. Wall Street Journal. pD3.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

How do you make a grooming product macho?


Hire a NFL football player to promote it.

While I’m not usually a fan of celebrity endorsements, this approach makes sense to me. It takes a secure man to use some of these products, so if it takes encouragement from Michael Strahan to convince them that buying VaseIine for Men is ok, then why not?

Now comes word that P&G is insuring Troy Polamalu’s trademark curly hair for $1 million dollars, on behalf of Head & Shoulders. (Mahoney, 2010)

It’s a cute idea, but I’m not sure if it will sell shampoo. I guess we’ll wait and see.

Mahoney, S. (2010, August 31). P&G Insures Troy Polamalu’s $1 Million Curls. Retrieved September 1, 2010, from

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Where do small and mid-size businesses advertise?


Now that the availability of more targeted media has created additional low cost advertising opportunities for small fry, are they taking advantage? A recent survey suggests that they have. According to a SMB poll, those with annual budgets of $25,000+ have taken an IMC approach to heart and are using an average of 6.5 different media in their campaigns. And, while 26% of their budget is spent online, 16% is being spent in broadcast media. (O’Malley, 2010)

Given the sensitivity these businesses have to ROI, it will be interesting to see how these patterns evolve over time. I see some mobile in their future, don’t you?

O’Malley, G. (2010, August 24). Sweet Spot: Small Biz Uses More Media. Retrieved August 25, 2010, from

Thursday, August 19, 2010

What are cooking show viewers buying?


With over 50% of Americans watching cooking shows very often/occasionally the obvious question is – are they buying stuff because of the shows, and if so, what?

According to a recent Harris Poll, 57% viewers have purchased food, 36% have purchased small kitchen gadgets, 24% have purchased cookbooks, and 6% have purchased large appliances, as a direct result of what they have seen on the shows. Those seem like impressive results to me. If only we had non-viewer numbers to compare them to.

Loechner, J. (2010, August 13). Cooking Shows Inspire Purchases. retrieved August 18, 2010, from

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Let ad agency reintegration begin!


According to the rumor mill, McCann-Erickson is hinting that reintegration may be in its future. I say it’s about time. (Bush, 2010)

I spent most of the 80s and 90s as an account person at fully integrated agencies including a ten year stint at McCann. The holistic nature of my role allowed me to be a true partner for my clients and to explore innovative advertising programs. Then, just when media alternatives exploded, opening the door to exciting new solutions, ad agencies unbundled their media and creative services in search of greater revenues. But at what cost? How can a service business give its clients exceptional ideas when input is limited to only one part of what should be a highly coordinated effort?

Frankly, I found the year I spent as a “creative only” partner to be an exercise in frustration, with my efforts hamstrung by an unimaginative media agency. I was dismayed to see my clients getting less than they deserved, and ultimately bored by my inability to help them progress. I left the business shortly thereafter.
Reintegration will not only better serve clients, but may also help agencies to attract the level of talent they once took for granted. Amen to that.

Bush, M. (2010, August 9). McCann Talk Hints at Bringing Media, Creative Closer. Retrieved August 11, 2010, from

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Advertising or stalking? It depends who you ask.


I recently commented to someone that I thought a variety of marketers had missed a golden opportunity to reach out to me while I was redoing my kitchen. I spent months online researching everything from tiles to appliances, yet no one sent me information about these items independently, despite the fact that I would have welcomed it. And even today I’m still looking for a bronze breadbasket – so if anyone is selling one – you know where to find me.

Now comes the opposite point-of-view, from a Zappos customer who felt the company’s persistent efforts to sell him shorts, after he put his search on-hold, were downright creepy. (Learmonth, 2010). He mentions receiving ads for five days after his initial search on a wide variety of sites. And is now thinking of joining a ‘do not track” list should one become available.

It’s definitely a fine line that advertisers will need to learn how to navigate if they are to respond to consumer requests for more relevant advertising online. In the meantime, I imagine there will be disappointment from both sides.

Learmonth, M. (2010, August 2). The Pants That Stalked Me on the Web. Retrieved August 5, 2010, from

Thursday, July 29, 2010

But is Mustafa moving product?


Isaiah Mustafa, Old Spice pitchman extraordinaire, is winning advertising awards, breaking YouTube records, and spawning massive amounts of viral videos, but is he selling any Old Spice?

Yes he is. The brand began to reverse share losses as soon as the campaign began airing in February, and sales were up 95% from mid-March to mid-June. They’re up 106% from mid-May to mid-June, which suggests that results are accelerating in sync with the campaign. It will be interesting to see what the sales figures look like for July, since 100 million people viewed the personalized videos in the first six days that they aired. (Neff, 2010)

While some have suggested that success lies at least partially with an aggressive couponing campaign that has been running simultaneously with the effort, I disagree. This campaign began with a brilliant consumer insight, i.e., many men use whatever soap is in the shower. This led in turn to the decision to target women, to convince them to buy the product for their men, and thanks to a very cheeky bit of creative (a tip of the hat to Wieden & Kennedy) a legend is born. I for one, can’t wait to see how things turn out. Stay tuned!

Neff, J. (2010, July 26). How Much Old Spice Body Wash Has the Old Spice Guy Sold? Retrieved July 28, 2010, from

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Venus Williams was a Girl Scout? Really?


Well it all depends on how you define being a Girl Scout.

Despite the fact that a new campaign from the organization identifies her as a scout and features her as someone who shares Girl Scout values, i.e. athletic prowess and business sense, the company’s website discloses the fact that Venus was a scout for a week. So, she attended one meeting? Was this a life altering event for her? How could it have been? She certainly didn’t have time to earn any badges or change the world.

To make matters worse, the feedback on the GS blog suggests that people are confusing her with her sister Serena, whose notorious outburst during last year’s US Open earned her an $82K fine for inappropriate language and behavior. Talk about spokesperson misstep.

Baar, A. (2010, July 7). Girl Scouts Campaign Highlights Impact. Retrieved July 21, 2010, from

(2010) Girl Scouts Celebrate African American History Month. Girl Scouts of United States of America website. Retrieved July 21, 2010, from

(2010) What did you do today? Girl Scouts Blog. Retrieved July 21, 2010, from

Thursday, July 15, 2010

What are working moms doing for lunch? Shopping online!


When I worked in advertising, I used my lunch hours to run errands, often shopping for toiletries and other necessities whenever I had a few free moments. Apparently, in the interests of time, activity has moved online as working moms seek ways to fit 27 hours of activities in every 24 hour day.

In fact, 84% of working moms report that they spend between 15 minutes and a hour a day shopping online; mostly during the hours between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Fridays. (Loechner, 2010)

That makes a strong case for delivering online ads to them during those hours. Need may be the primary driver of purchases, but 60% have also responded to email offers, with three out of four subscribing to email alerts.

That sounds like an opportunity to me. Do you agree?

Loechner, J. (2010, July 15). 84% of Moms at Work Spend Between 15 Minutes And An Hour A Day Shopping Online. Retrieved July 15, 2010, from

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Time to break out the Dawn detergent.


According to a recent ranking of ad effectiveness, Dawn detergent has risen to the top of the list with its prescient effort linking the product to cleaning wildlife soaked in oil. The cause –related message, which includes a $1 donation per bottle, was launched on April 7th, timed to coincide with Earth Day on April 22nd. But 13 days later the BP rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, and the campaign took on a whole new meaning and urgency. (McClellan, 2010)

This campaign is not a new direction for them. The pivotal role that they played in the clean-up from Exxon Valdez in 1989, put them on my radar screen. Then a helpful gardening maven at Union Square told me to use diluted Dawn to clean the bugs off my Jasmine plants. Is it any wonder that I have been a loyal customer for as long as I can remember?

But at this point, the highest compliment that I can give them is that I don’t mind the forced donation. The Gulf needs all the help it can get.

You can view the commercial here:

McClellan, S. (2010, July 6). Dawn Ultra’s Oil Spill Cleanup Spot Crowned Most Effective Ad. Retrieved July 7, 2010, from

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Say good bye to the line between advertising and content.


Back in the day, advertisers who sought to align their creative more closely with content were told that advertising and content were “church and state,” and the two would not be allowed to meld. Boy have things changed. Thanks in part to research that shows both recall and purchase intent are increased when ads are placed “in context,” collaboration is now being encouraged.

Case in point, as HBO’s “Entourage” begins their seventh season, they have asked advertisers, particularly those in the first position in the pod to align their creative with the show by relating their ads to specific scenes and storylines.

So much for editorial integrity. But does it really matter?

Friedman, W. (2010, June 28). WGN Pushes Ad Messages With ‘Entourage in Context’. Retrieved June 30, 2010, from

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Can advertising make people healthier?


People often rant about the evils of advertising, and how it forces people to buy things they don’t really want. I say prove it. Advertising is just a communications tool, and its power can be harnessed for good or bad purposes. I just wish it would be used more for the former.

A good place to start is by addressing the obesity crisis. But how do we do that when 76% of people say they know that what they eat affects their health, but only 36% consider their diets to be healthy? (And don’t forget the fudge factor.)

The first step, as always, is to understand the target. A recent segmentation study has identified six distinct groups based on attitudes toward wellness. They are:
The I Give Ups (24%)
The Strugglers (14%)
The Immortals (16%)
The Fitterati (16%)
The Fact Finders (15%)
The Heath Gurus (15%)
(Banikarim, 2010)

While the data has not been crossed referenced with health issues, it seems fairly likely that the first group would be the one most in need of encouragement; and given that it’s the largest, a good place to start.

Research shows that this group is overwhelmed by the amount of things they need to do to get healthy. That suggests simplifying the information they are being given, and providing it in small sound bites with easy to follow changes might work.

What do you think? Does this seem like a good direction? Or would we be better off addressing another segment – like the Fact Finders – and encouraging them to become advocates?

Banikarim, M. (2010, June 18). Weighing In On Health: Marketing Behavior Change. Retrieved June 23, 2010, from

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Do you “like” a brand on Facebook?


It appears that there may be hope for successful advertising in the social networking space after all.

According to a recent study, 50% of Facebook users click on Facebook ads to “like” a brand. Are you one of them? 37% learned about a new product or service from a social networking site. How about you? Or are you part of the 32% that has recommended a product/service/brand?

49% of respondents have also indicated that they would like more printable coupons. Is that on your wish list? (Loechner, 2010)

Loechner, J. (2010, June 16). Social Media Driving Consumer Behavioral Changes. Retrieved June 17, 2010, from

Thursday, June 10, 2010

“Nah, we don’t got that.”

June 10, 2010

For several years Staples used the tagline: “Yeah, we got that,” and they actually did. When I needed paper and ink and blank CDs, I could pretty much pop into any store around town and pick up what I needed. But, recently I noticed that more often or not, the item I was looking for was out-of-stock. My first thought was that they were simply seeking to move traffic to their website, so I looked for the items there. No luck.

Now comes word from the CEO that they are transforming their business, selling more private label products, and focusing on services, where inventory needs are low and margins are better. (Mahoney, 2010).

Great. So where do I go now to get staples when I need them?

But perhaps more importantly, does it make sense to jettison a brand positioning that led to so much success?

Mahoney, S. (2010, June 2). Staples Focuses On Growing Tech, Services. Retrieved June 9, 2010, from

Thursday, June 3, 2010

TNT and Curves -- a match made in heaven?


TNT wants to boost its female-driven dramas, and Curves wants to boost membership. Together they have created a “Strong Women Challenge.” TNT hopes viewers will identify with the characters on its dramas. Curves hopes women will work out three times a week for the six week length of the promotion.

The “wow” tactics for the effort include “Try Us Tuesdays” at Curves, when non-members will be welcome; and a sneak preview of TNT’s new drama “Rizzoli & Isles,” where women will be encouraged to sign up for workout teams based on the women portrayed in TNT shows. (Friedman, 2010)

Given that recent studies show that 40% of people prefer exercising with others, and that a nudge as minor as a voicemail reminder can be effective in motivating non-exercisers. The idea may have potential.

What do you think? Is this a better fit than AFLAC and Toy Story 3?

Friedman, W. (2010, June 1) TNT, CURVES’ “Woman Challenge’ Push Health, Character Bonding. Retrieved June 2, 2010, from

Thursday, May 27, 2010

How motivating can a free snack be?


Passengers boarding a recent Horizon Air flight from Seattle to Portland were treated to some free snacks courtesy of Creative Labs, a consumer-electronics company. In addition to chips, pretzels, and chocolate, the branded boxes also contained messaging directing consumers to text, email and check the company website to enter a contest and receive additional rewards.

The Seattle to Portland route was specifically selected based on the knowledge that fliers of that route tend to be techies, making $100,000+ a year. (Bush, 2010)

Do you think they’ll bother to check out the sponsor? Or will the only winners be the airlines who no longer supply food, and the snack manufacturers, who may pick up some new customers via sampling?

Bush, M. (2010, May 24). Ad-Supported Food Lands on Horizon Air Flight. Retrieved May 26, 2010, from

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Aflac Take 2


After finally acknowledging that viewers may recognize the Aflac duck, but still don’t know what the company does, the folks at Aflac are making some changes. First, they put the account in review. Now, they’ve arranged a summer blockbuster tie-in with Toy Story 3.

The tailored spot, featuring the Aflac duck mixing with Woody and Buzz Lightyear, will run in-cinema and in theater lobbies. In a nod to the growing importance of the Latino market, Aflac will sponsor People en Espanol’s screening of Toy Story 3 in five key Hispanic markets. And, they are also hosting a special screening of the movie for the children at the Aflac Cancer Center in Atlanta.

Other bells and whistles include a Toy Story/Aflac co-sponsored NASCAR car, a sweepstakes with a Hollywood trip for the grand prize, network, cable and online airings, and print ads in Parents Magazine. The end game? According to spokesperson Jon Sullivan “We are trying to reach families this summer with the family movie that everyone will see. As families see this movie, we want them to be thinking of protecting their family’s future with Aflac.” (Irwin, 2010)

What do you think? Will this be the effort that finally works?

Irwin, T. (2010, May 18). Aflac Partners With Disney For ‘Toy Story 3’ Retrieved May 19, 2010, from

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Will dialing become obsolete?


This just in from Amsterdam – a radio ad for a local restaurant that does the dialing for you. At the end of the ad, instead of giving listeners the reservations phone number verbally, the spot broadcasts the tones that communicate the phone number. All the listener has to do is hold up their phone and ta da. They are connected. (Corr, 2010)

Interesting. Now if they could only beam you directly to the restaurant so you don’t get lost in the maze of streets with long unpronounceable names on your way.

Corr, A. (May 3, 2010). Hungry? This Radio Ad Dials Your Dinner Reservation. Retrieved May 13, 2010, from

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Another reason agencies need to perfect long-form content.


This week Kraft Foods began running two – to – three minute videos in movie theaters. Prior to the cinema debut of Alien Field Trip, the video had recorded 47,000 views in three weeks on YouTube. After the weekend, views leapt to nearly 124,000. (Lukovitz, 2010)

It probably didn’t hurt that the video includes a contest for free field trips. Now that’s synergy!

Lukovitz, K. (2010, May 3). Kraft Cinema Program Debut Drives Interactivity. Retrieved May 6, 2010, from

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Another target to ponder.


Are you single, or do you know someone who is? You are not alone.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, singles spent $2.2 trillion in 2008, a 30% increase since 2003. (Newman, 2010).

The travel industry, which has always penalized single travelers has woken up to the situation and is now experimenting with singles only cruises – with no supplemental fees, and sponsoring dating blogs.

Perhaps it’s because they have realized that 57% of singles are under 45, and 40% are under 35, which places them squarely in most advertisers’ primary target groups.

Or it could be that they're still not filling the beds. Reaching out to a new target should help.

Newman, A. (2010, April 19). The Power of One. Retrived April 29, 2010, from

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Radio Stages a Comeback.


Forecasts for U.S. adverting spending in 2010 are on the rise. Barclay’s Capital is now predicting yearly increases of 5.5% for the industry, due to larger expenditures in the automotive and political categories. (Loechner, 2010)

But the most interesting news is that radio spending, which has been declining for years, is now forecasted to increase by 7.4% in 2010.

Why? Radio stations are local, highly targeted, and 77% of adults listen daily (including 80% of adults 18-34). (Loechner, 2009).

Clearly it was premature to count this “old” medium out. Is a rebound for newspapers on the horizon too?

Loechner, J. (2010, April 16). Radio Leads Way For Bounce in Ad Forecast. Retrieved April 21, 2010, from

Loechner, J. (2009, November 9). Radio Dominant Audio Device. Retrieved November 9, 2009, from

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

It’s time to lose the maps.


I don’t know about you, but I was pretty darn tired of seeing all those Verizon and AT&T map ads. This was a perfect example of what began as a good idea turning into a confusing mess, as each company tried to one up each other. So it comes as a relief to hear that AT&T has decided to move on.

The ambitious rebranding effort they are launching on the Masters, dubbed “Rethink Possible,” seeks to change consumer perceptions of AT&T from a telecommunications company to an innovation company. With yearly media spending estimated at $1.87 billion, they certainly have the funds to do it. (Patel, 2010)

But, I have to admit. I was kind of hoping they’d bring back “Reach out and touch someone.”

Patel, K. (2010, April 8). After Bruising Ad Battle, AT&T Looks to Rebrand as Lifestyle Company. Retrieved April 14, 2010, from

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Will Vitaminwater be successful with a segmented approach?


After a sales volume decline of 22% last year, Vitaminwater has decided to take a new approach. (Bauerlein, 2010)

First they targeted New Yorker’s with a local campaign focusing on individual neighborhoods.

And now they are targeting binge drinkers by touting the brand as a hangover cure, on the NCAA finals no less.

Which leaves us with two questions: 1. Will the FTC allow it? 2. Will it work? Time will tell. What about you? Do you plan on buying a bottle of Vitaminwater the next time you pick up a six-pack?

Bauerlein, V. (2010, April 5). Vitaminwater, the Day After. Retrieved April 6, 2010, from

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Everything old is new again.


This just in – Iconoculture, a trendspotting firm, that tracks online chatter says that many Gen Y consumers are “home artisans”, and are embracing hobbies ranging from gardening to sewing. How retro!

What about you? Do you know anyone born between 1977 and 1994 who knits?

Mahoney, S. (2010, March 30). Spring Cleaning: Gen Y Dirties Its Hands. Retrived March 31, 2010, from

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Are women more persuasive then men?


According to a recent AdWeek Media/Harris Poll, 48% of Americans believe a male voice is more forceful selling a product or service in an ad, while 46% believe a female voice is more soothing. (Loechner, 2010)

If the ad is trying to persuade someone, it’s pretty much a wash – 20% give the edge to the female, with 18% saying it’s the male.

What do you think? Which one makes you want to buy something?

Loechner, J. (2010, March 24). Forceful, Soothing or Persuasive Voice: Which to Pick For Ad? Retrieved march 24, 2010, from

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Metro Sexuals vs. Machos; Part II

For your reference, here are links to the commercials discussed in the previous post.

Prof. Lehrer

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

It’s metrosexuals versus macho men.


Dove’s introduction of Dove Men+Care has created quite a stir, at least within the industry. The recent launch of this line for men with sensitive skin has prompted competitors to tout the superior manliness of their own products. Old Spice is urging women to get their men to stop using “lady-scented body wash”, while Gillette is saying “Just because it says it’s for men doesn’t mean it is.” (Neff, 2010)

It’s an interesting debate. And where men net out will likely depend upon their own self image. My husband for one, rejected the Dove Men+Care proposition in its entirety, based on his belief that he needs a strong soap. (Ok, he is an Irish Spring loyalist.) But, I know several men with sensitive skin, who were already using Dove products before the launch.

Which group are you a part of? Do you relate to the Dove Men+Care positioning? Or are you sticking with a more macho brand?

Neff, J. (2010, March 8). Male Call: Marketers Jump of Men’s Grooming Trend. Retrived March 10 2010, from

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Can an iPhone app sell MRI machines?


GE has taken their “Healthymagination” campaign to the web with a content-rich website, a mobile app, and social networking.
Saying that: “From a digital perspective the difference between business-to-business and business-to-consumer is starting to vanish”, they are betting that breaking medical information into small bites, and delivering it to iPhones, will ultimately lead to more sales of high tech imaging equipment to their key customers -- doctors and hospital administrators. (Mahoney, 2010)
What do you think? Will such an indirect approach be effective? Will consumers influence doctor/hospital purchasing?

Mahoney, S. (2010, February 25). GE Launches Consumer Web Initiative. Retrived March 3, 2010, from

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Empower consumers for better results.


As we seek to increase the effectiveness of online advertising, research has shown that the biggest single reason for a lack of response is the fact that the ads that are being served are not relevant to the viewer.

While companies are activity seek ways to alleviate this problem by tailoring ads to consumer preferences, privacy issues are a concern, and positive results have not yet been achieved.

Now along comes a simple solution – let consumers choose.

A newly completed Publicis study shows that when consumers are given the opportunity to select the ad they want to see from several different categories, 68% are able to recall what brand was advertised, versus 14% for a standard pre-roll. (Mandese, 2010)

They don’t say how many went on to buy the item. But, the first step in the process is recalling the ad, so this does represent a step in the right direction.

So, what do you think? If you can pick the ad that you see, will you be more likely to act upon it?

Mandese, J. (2010, February 23). Pool Makes Splash At IAB: Reveals User-Selected Ads Five Times More Effective Than Pre-Roll. Retrieved February 24, 2020, from

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

BMW is joy.


Time to kiss “the ultimate driving machine” goodbye. According to the folks at BMW, research has shown that their emphasis on power and performance is out of step with the latest consumer concerns – safety and value.

The new campaign, which began last week, features real car owners, rather than the cars themselves; and focuses on the joy that comes from owning a BMW.
Jack Pitney, Vice President of Marketing for BMW North America, says “We hope to really add some humanity to our brand.” (Kellogg, 2010)

Not a bad idea given what we know about the importance of emotions in buying decisions. What do you think? Will they be successful with this new approach?

Kellogg, A. (2010, February 13) BMW Touts ‘Joy,’ Value in New Ads.
Retrived February 16, 2010, from

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Trying to sell computers? Reach out to African-Americans.


A recently released study of African-Americans showed that while population had increased by 10% from 2000 to 2008, buying power increased by a whopping 55% to $913 billion.

It also indicated that they spend a proportionately higher percentage of their income on technology products. In fact, 31% of their discretionary income ($39 billion) is used to buy computers, cell phones and electronics.

Finally, the same study indicated that African-Americans spend more time weekly online (18 hours) than watching television (15 hours). (Loechner, 2010)

It’s a perfect combination -- a more qualified prospect, with a specific media skew. Can a targeted campaign be far behind? Which computer company do you think will be savvy enough to capitalize on the opportunity first?

Loechner, J. (2010, February 8) African-Americans Major Influence in Tech, Media and Buying Power. Retrieved February 9, 2010, from

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Real Beauty for Men?


Can a brand that has made a strong connection with women do the same with men? Dove is about to find out.

In 2006, Dove kicked off its award-winning “Real Beauty” campaign, targeting women, to great fanfare, with a 45-second spot on the Super Bowl. The much talked about spot, and the even stronger viral effort that followed, led to several years of double digit sales increases until momentum slowed. (Fawcett, 2007)

Stand by for the new “Dove Men+Care” line making its debut with a similar 45-second spot aimed at men in this Sunday’s Super Bowl. (Corr, 2010). Will men want to buy body and face washes that offer cleansing and moisturizing? The success of Axe body washes suggests they will. So, the big question is how will Dove make that all important emotional connection with their new target? Tune in Sunday, and find out.

Fawcett, A. (2007, January 2). Consumer Packaged Goods Marketer of the Year: Unilever’s Dove. Retrived January 3, 2007, from
Corr, A. (2010, February 2). Out To Launch. Retrived February 3, 2010, from

Thursday, January 28, 2010

You can’t argue with success.


Stand by for another round of creepy e-trade babies in this year’s Superbowl.

Why? According to e-trade, they saw a 19% increase in online applications following last year’s game. They didn’t say if that covers the $3 million they paid for the placement, not to mention the cost of producing the commercial. But, in addition to the application increase they also saw an 86% increase in unique prospects visiting the site in the week following the game. (Steinberg, 2010)

I’m convinced. Are you?

Steinberg, B. (2010, January 25). Why This $3 Million Baby Is Back on the Super Bowl. Retrived January 27, 2010, from

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Margarine wars? Time to reach for the butter.


Proving that they learned absolutely nothing from the recent soup wars which proved to be a lose lose for both Campbell’s and Progresso, Unilever’s Promise margarine has decided to take on rival Smart Balance with the claim “we think natural tastes better.” Excuse me, but what’s natural about oil filled with additives? (Baar, 2010)

Apparently the folks behind this idea don’t watch Alton Brown’s Good Eats show on the Food Channel, because he did an admirable job explaining in his Defense of Butter episode that the only natural product in this category is butter. And they clearly haven’t read Michael Pollan’s book In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto, because if they had they would have already switched to butter.

Well this misguided effort ought to turn even non-watchers and non-readers into butter converts in no time flat. I’ve already made the switch, have you?

Baar, A. (2010, January 19). Unilever’s Promise Takes on Smart Balance. Retrived January 20, 2010, from

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Try it, you’ll like it.


This just in from Lipton – Hugh Jackman has been signed to a three-year global deal with Lipton Ice Tea in an effort to get Brits to try drinking their tea cold.

According to Lipton, 53% of UK consumers claimed they did not like the taste of ice tea without even trying it. The tagline for the campaign? “Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it”. (Thomas, 2010)

I don’t know which disturbs me more, people making uninformed decisions or another celebrity pushing a product that they have no direct connection to. What do you think?

Thomas, J. (2010, January 12). Pepsi backs Lipton with Hollywood A-lister Hugh Jackman. Retrived January 13, 2010, from

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Out with the Superbowl, in with cause-related marketing.


In a surprise move, PepsiCo announced that after 23 years of sponsorship, their beverages – including Pepsi would be sitting out the 2010 Superbowl. (Vranica, 2009)

The reason is that they are shifting their strategy to one focused on cause-related marketing, and the proposition can’t be properly explained in a :30 second commercial. The strategy shift is even more interesting when you consider new research which says 50% of teens, 40% of tweens (9-12) and 20% of kids (6-10) have bought an item tied to a social cause. (Hurley, 2009)

What do you think? Will this be an effective strategy for a soft drink to capture a new generation?

Vranica, S. (2009, December 17). Pepsi Benches Its Drinks. Wall Street Journal, p. B11

Hurley, B. (2009, October 29). Find A Cause, Show Real Commitment. Retrived 1/7/10, from