Friday, November 30, 2012

Say Hello to Generation Edge

Last summer after a discussion about the psychological differences between Baby Boomers, Gen X and Gen Y, a student asked me what comes next.  My answer was that while I didn’t know yet what the next generation would be called, we would all know soon since the oldest members of the group were already 18.

Well the brand consultancy “The Sound Research” has apparently named them “Generation Edge.”  While we’ll have to wait awhile to see if the name sticks, the information emerging about these children of Gen X parents is already fascinating.

The cynicism of their parents and the effect of early life events which includes September 11th and the financial collapse of 2008, have apparently rubbed off on them.  They are less entitled than their predecessors (Gen Y) and understand that life will not be easy; they are defined by their ability to roll with the punches, and they share the rebellious tendencies of their parents.  (Baar, 2012)

Of course since they are seriously outnumbered by Gen Y their impact will be somewhat muted, much as their parents were forced to follow in the footsteps of the larger Baby Boomer generation.  But still as they reach adulthood, advertisers will have to think about using a more realistic approach to reach them than the one that appeals to the idealistic Gen Yers. 

It should certainly be interesting to watch.  

Baar, A. (2012, November 19)  On Edge: The Next Generation Explained.  Retrieved November 22, 2012, from

Friday, November 23, 2012

Does it make sense for Ocean Spray to use their popular spokespeople to fight the government?

Since 2005, Ocean Spray has been running a campaign that features two guys in a bog.  It’s been a big hit with the public and according to Ace Metrix, which measures ad effectiveness based on consumer surveys about persuasion and watchability, it is among the top five brands in its category this year. (Lukovitz, 2012)

So imagine my surprise when I saw that Ocean Spray had decided that not only was it good policy to fight the NYC ban against the sale of sugared beverages over the size of 16 ounces, but chose to do so using their spokespeople.  I have to wonder what they were thinking.  Suger-sweetened drinks are the single largest source of calories in our diet; type 2 diabetes is increasing by epidemic proportions; and they want to be exempt from the ban because cranberries are healthy if you don’t add sugar to them?  It boggles the mind.  (Brody, 2012)

But what puzzles me more is why they would take their comic duo and put them in this video.  What do you think?  Will they be able to use these guys in their advertising again after this?
Lukovitz, K. (2012, November 14)  Ace Releases Brand Of The Year ‘Watch List’.  Retrieved November 22, 2012, from
Brody, J. (2012, October 23)  In Fighting Obesity, Drink Sizes Matter.  The New York Times.  p. D7

Friday, November 16, 2012

Can Richard the Cat Convince You to Get Out the Hammer and Nails?

I was in a “Teaching with Technology” Conference at NYU last spring, when a speaker noted that you can tell when your online network is working because people will start posting photos of cats.  His statement got a big laugh, probably because everyone recognized that it was true.

Apparently this lesson was absorbed by Home Depot who has decided to introduce a feline spokescat for the holiday season.  Perhaps they were encouraged by recent positive sales results to take a chance, or they could have been reacting to data which has shown that icons appear to be an effective way for companies to connect with people in the social media space.  Either way it seems to be a bold move. (Vranica, 2012)

You can expect to read Richard’s sarcastic comments about his inept family’s home improvement disasters on Tumbler, and BuzzFeed‘s home page will be Home Depot orange next week.  Tweets can be found @RichardTheCat and content is planned for Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Foursquare.  (Zmuda, 2012)

It all sounds like fun, but I’m not sure it will inspire me to tackle those home improvements that I have been putting off.  What about you?

Anderson, M. (November 13, 2012)  Home Depot 3Q Results Edge up, Beat Street’s View.  Retrieved November 16, 2012, from

Vranica, S. (March 26, 2012)  Knights, Pirates, Trees Flock to Facebook.  Wall Street Journal p B1.

Zmuda, N. (2012, November 14)  Home Depot Adopts Feline Holiday Mascot.  Retrieved November 16, 2012, from

Friday, November 9, 2012

Can an in-flight safety video persuade you to go to the movies?

If you fly Air New Zealand soon you may get the chance to see something unexpected.  In place of the standard in-flight safety video which seems designed to put people to sleep, they are currently running a Hobbit-themed video featuring hobbits, elves, and even a cameo appearance by director Peter Jackson.  The promotion includes a chance to win passes to attend the world premiere of “The Hobbits.” (Russell, 2012)

But, what’s more interesting to me is the idea of turning a forced exposure into an entertainment/marketing opportunity.  I am reminded of a flight attendant I once had on an American Airlines flight, who added a bit of shtick to the standard message.  She got my attention, made me laugh and perhaps most importantly got me to tune into her speech instead of ignoring it as I usually do.

If you haven’t seen it, here it is below. 

So what do you think?  Is it a win win?

Russell, M.  (2012, November 7)  ‘The Hobbit’ Takes Over Air New Zealand’s In-Flight Safety Video.  Retrieved November 8, 2012, from,

Friday, November 2, 2012

What happens when Duracell offers relief to people who don’t need it?

It sounded like a no-brainer.  With people increasing dependent upon electric devices, why not create a traveling exhibit designed to go to the scene of emergencies and provide a much needed opportunity for people to power up.  (Neff, 2012)

But, as they say the devil is in the details. 

Perhaps it’s because Duracell is located in Bethel, Conn. and is now dependent on a back-up generator themselves.  But all you had to do was watch some of the non-stop TV coverage of Superstorm Sandy to know that the only area of lower Manhattan that didn’t lose their power was Battery Park City, thanks to the fact that they are on a Brooklyn power grid.  So Duracell sending their “Power Forward Community Center” there was an odd decision.  One can only imagine that turnout was poor, and photo opps, which were undoubtedly the point of the effort were non-existent.

So what happens when an effort to build good will fails?  Will anyone even notice?

Neff, J. (2012, October 31)  Duracell Brings Charging Stations to Battery Park After Hurricane Sandy.  Retrieved November 2, 2012, from

(2012, November 1)  Downtown Will Have Power by Saturday, says Con Ed.  Retrieved November 2, 2012, from