Friday, January 27, 2017

If Mom's won't love Barbie, what about Dad's?

Full disclosure, I played with Barbie dolls growing up and would have no problem letting my kids play with them.

In Fall 2015, when Mattel launched a new campaign focusing on empowerment, I posted this blog and you can see my students didn't have a problem with Barbie either.  Plus they loved the commercial as did I.

Since the company has said that Barbie's worldwide sales were up 16% in the last quarter vs. previous year, I am a bit surprised that they are walking away from this strategy so quickly, and are instead reaching out to Dads. (Mahoney, 2017) 

While there is no doubt that men are doing far more parenting than they used to, I never played dolls with either of my parents, so the commercials strike me as contrived.  And the idea of turning halftime into playtime reminded me of an old Scotts Turf-Builder spot that urged men to use the break to run out and fertilize their lawns.  Yeah, like that worked.

Overall I find the campaign far less empowering than the previous one, more about dads playing with their daughters than empowering them, which is a missed opportunity.  Real dads want their daughters to be CEO's.

Check out the spot here and see what you think...

Mahoney, S. (2017, January 24)  With New CEO Aboard, Mattel Aims Barbie At Dads.  Retrieved January 27, 2017, from

Friday, January 20, 2017

It's about time Chipotle hired a new agency.

As a former light user I have been following the Chipotle story closely.  I loved their introductory ad and began eating there after seeing it on the Grammy's.  But their second ad "Scarecrow" made me never want to eat again.

Then came the health scares.  I haven't been back since.  But I am fascinated by the fact that heavy users have not returned to the fold either.  Clearly freebies didn't do the trick.  Nor the video they brought out last summer, which seemed to be completely tone deaf and more than a little confusing and boring. 

So now they are going to start fresh with Venables Bell & Partners.  (Coffee, 2017)  Sounds like a good idea to me.  But I think they have their work cut out for them.  My classes have wondered whether it is even possible for a restaurant chain to carry fresh local sourced food, and have suggested closing stores until they can get it right.  Yikes.

Here's the previous blog with all the links and a comment...


Does Chipotle's new video make you want to eat there again?

After a series of food contamination incidents that began last summer and extended through this March, Chipotle's same store sales for 1st Q were down 30% and its stock was down 35%.

In May they started offering freebies after realizing that their heavy users weren't coming back.  Here's the blog I wrote then...

I haven't heard if it's working, but this week they released a new four minute video that they are hoping will help.  Development of the video began 18 months ago, before the problems started.  It goes back to the brand's initial positioning and message -- the superiority of Chipotle's fresh natural ingredients over typical fast food. (Lukovitz, 2016)

If you haven't seen it yet, you can check it out here...

I have mixed feelings about Chipotle's past video efforts.  I voted their introductory ad, which aired on the 2012 Grammy's best ad of the year.  It's a great example of superior storytelling and since it persuaded even me to give them a try, it's no surprise that sales increased by 23% in the first half of that year. 

Here's the blog and video...

But, I thought their Scarecrow video, released in 2013, was an epic fail since it reminded me of Soylent Green and made me never want to eat again. 

Here's that blog and video (the link to the video still works) ...

So, what do you think?  Does the new video work?  Is it successfully conveying the brand positioning?  If you stopped eating at Chipotle, will it make you want to start again?  If not, what will?

Lukovitz, K. (2016, July 6)  Chipotle Releases New Video; Faces New PR Challenge.  Retrieved June 7, 2016, from

Coffee, P. (2017, January 19)  Chipotle Picks Venables Bell & Partners, MullenLowe Mediahub To Help Turn Its Brand Around.  Retrieved January 19, 2017, from

Friday, January 13, 2017

I still can't believe this "Camp Gyno" video cost only $6,000 to produce.

Of course it helps that the professionals from BBDO and Hayden 5 who created it worked for free.  And it appears that it was a one day shoot.  (Which is also amazing.)  (Wasserman, 2013)

But when you consider that the average production cost for a :30 second video is $350,000, and that even the all type commercial that launched Lucent Technologies cost $50,000 to produce, it is quite extraordinary.

Is it any wonder that SheKnows bought HelloFlo in March because they are a "viral content machine?" (Monllos, 2016)

In case you missed it, you can check it out here.  It currently has 11.8 million views on YouTube.  Wow.

Wasserman, T. (2013, August 28)  How a $6,000 Video Got 6 Million Views and Launched a Business.  Retrieved January 12, 2017, from

Monllos, K. (2016, March 31) In Acquiring HelloFlo, SheKnows Media Is Getting a Viral Content Machine.  Retrieved January 12, 2017, from