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