Thursday, January 31, 2013

Will men want to shave like a “real man?”

Barbasol shaving cream is launching a new campaign telling men to “Shave like a man.”  The campaign is based on the insight that 91% of its target respects real men, while 84% agreed that “it’s hard to be a real man today.”

The approach has certainly been a success for Dr. Pepper Ten, which accounted for 6% of brand sales two months after its launch and also increased sales of both the regular and diet versions of the brand during the same period. 

Barbasol promises a comedic approach too, starting with radio ads on the Super Bowl since a $3.8 million television spot is beyond its budget. 

So what do you think?  Will men respond to this approach?  Is macho in?  Do they even buy their own shaving cream? 

Mahoney, S. (2013, January 29)  Barbasol, Axe Get Mighty Manly.  Retrieved January 30, 2013, from

Thursday, January 24, 2013

So that’s why they keep sending me catalogs.

For years I have been baffled by the fact that after I buy something from a company online they start sending me catalogs.  I mean isn’t it clear that I do my shopping online?

Part of the mystery was solved when a friend who specializes in direct mail informed me that it only costs about a dollar to print and mail a catalog.  I guess when the cost is that low it’s worth the expense even if I immediately take it to the incinerator room, because one of my neighbors might pick it up and place an order. 

But a new Baynote study suggests a more obvious answer.  After analyzing consumer behavior across various retail channels during the 2012 holiday season they have discovered that paper catalogs influenced 81.9% more in-store purchases and 42.9% more online purchases than Facebook.  (Loechner, 2013)

I hope marketers are paying attention.

Loechner, J. (2013, January 21)  Paper Print Prevails For Purchases.  Retrieved January 23, 2013, from

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Coca-Cola strikes back.

I live in Manhattan, where Mayor Bloomberg fought and won a battle to ban sugared sodas larger than 16 ounces.  (Lerner, 2012)  Now all the soda delivery trucks in the neighborhood have a billboard on the back that says – “Don’t let bureaucrats tell you what size beverage to buy.”  Whenever I see one, I fantasize about spray painting over the message – “Preserve your right to kill yourself by drinking too much soda!”

At this point you’d have to be in major denial (or not too bright) to not know about the health issues that have emerged for 2/3 of our population due to the consumption of too many calories.  Recent studies have pointed the finger squarely at sugared beverages.  Sugar-sweetened drinks are the single largest source of calories in our diet and account for 7% of our total calories while providing no nutritional value at all.  (Brody, 2012). 

I have found myself wondering why we aren’t just banning them outright, and have reached the sad conclusion that their low cal substitutes must be even more unhealthy than they are.  In fact, studies have suggested that Diet Coke sucks the potassium out of your body.  (Phillips, 2010).  So there’s no easy solution here.

But, with more than a few people recommending that we now fight soda consumption with the same multifaceted approach that has been used to reduce cigarette smoking it seems clear that change is on the horizon.  So it’s no wonder that Coca-Cola has decided to react.  They’ve posted two commercials on YouTube and quite frankly I find them to be very rational.  They point out that the company is giving consumers the freedom to make their own choices.  In fact, as someone commented perhaps they should make their new tagline:  “Coca-Cola:  It’s not our fault that you’re fat.”  (Forbes, 2013)  Needless to say they’re unlikely to make any meaningful contribution to the fight against obesity.  Here they are in case you missed them.

On the other hand, there was a much more interesting editorial about the situation in the New York Times last week, pointing out that celebrities who would never dream of promoting cigarettes are thrilled to push soda.  Are you listening Beyonce?  (Bittman, 2013)

Just like with cigarettes the first step is to make drinking soda uncool.  I like that approach and hope that someone chooses to support it.  Which celebrity will step up first to do the right thing?

Lerner, G. (2012, September 14)  New York health board approves ban on large sodas.  Retrieved  January 16, 2013, from

Brody, J. (2012, October 23)  In Fighting Obesity, Drink Sizes Matter.  New York Times. pD7

Phillips, K.  (2010, January 2)  Hypokalemia: Low Potassium. Retrieved  January 16, 2013, from

Forbes, T.  (2013, January 15)  Critics Jeer Coke’s Entrance Into Obesity Discussion.  Retrieved  January 16, 2013, from

Bittman, M. (2013, January 5)  Why Do Stars Think It’s OK to Sell Soda?  Retrieved  January 16, 2013, from

Thursday, January 10, 2013

AMC/OLTL – Take 2

For those of you who haven’t been following along, here’s the background.  Last spring ABC abruptly canceled two long-running soap operas – All My Children and One Life to Live.  When the move was first announced I recommended that the brains behind the move be fired and the shows brought back. Here’s that blog:

Should ABC axe Brian Frons and keep One Life to Live?
Subsequently Brain Frons was fired and it was announced that the shows were headed to the internet.  Here’s what I had to say about that development:
One Life to Live…will live again!

In early 2012, after the internet deal fell apart, I took a look at the replacement shows and suggested that The Revolution was not long for this world – it has since been canceled. 

Can ABC Even Call This A Pyrrhic Victory?

So where do we stand now?  Well first of all, General Hospital has been terrific the past few months.  They’ve moved away from the serial killer plots and brought back many fan faves, and even a few of the best faces from One Life to Live.  As a result, ratings have hit a two-year high and GH is now the number two soap for Women 18-49. (Bibel, 2013)  And with Genie Francis’s return in February confirmed and the revival of the ever entertaining Nurse’s Ball coming up, it seems very likely that by the time the show’s 50th anniversary rolls around in April ABC might reconsider becoming a soap free network. (Kroll, 2013)

But the big news this week is that Prospect Park has revived its plans to bring AMC and OLTL to the internet.  No doubt the decision was due in part to the recent performance of GH.  But it’s also due to the evolution of online tv, which now makes the proposition that much more viable.  

Early word is that the shows will shrink to ½ hour, run 4x a week, and will have limited advertising with heavy product placement.  That approach certainly makes sense based on the extreme loyalty of viewers.  But mostly it made me smile because I had de ja vu – the first soaps, which moved from radio to tv in 1956 were actually produced by Proctor & Gamble.  How interesting it is to see things come full circle.

But the true significance of this development is what it portends for the future.  If the soaps are a success financially using online distribution they will undoubtedly usher in a new era in content development for the internet.  I like the symmetry of that.


Bibel, S. (2013, January 8)  Soap Opera Ratings: ‘General Hospital’ Hits a Two Year High in Total Viewers.  Retrieved January 9, 2013, from

Kroll, D. (2013, January 8)  Genie Francis to return as GH’s Laura Spencer.  Retrieved January 9, 2013, from

(2012, December 25)  ‘All My Children’ and “one Life to Live’ Will Return With New Format, Hire Fi-Core Writers.  Retrieved January 9, 2013, from

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Can NASCAR do for Tide what oil spills did for Dawn?

Apparently, a fire broke out on the track of the Daytona 500 last year.  Spectators were surprised when crews pulled out huge boxes of Tide to douse the flames and clean-up the mess.  P&G decided to take advantage of the opportunity and created a 15 second spot explaining what happened.  In case you missed it, here it is.

While I am not a NASCAR fan, I can’t help but be impressed by the fact that Tide was used in this critical cleaning situation.  (Full disclosure, I am a Tide user.)  As someone whose brand loyalty to Dawn began when it was used to clean oil off of baby ducks after a tragic spill, I can’t help wonder if this effort will be equally successful for Tide.  I guess only time will tell.

(2012, December 28)  Television: Starcom MediaVest P&G and Tide, Tide at daytona 500.  Retrieved January 2, 2012, from