The most unusual & insightful marketing predictions EVER

I am what many may refer to as a pop culture savant. How else would you describe someone who co-wrote a trivia book entitled Off the Top Of Your Head? The book was essentially a release for myself and two friends (Tim Stanton and Rich Romig) who grew tired of firing one pop culture trivia question after another at each other and decided to put pen to paper.

Don’t bother Googling the book – it never went anywhere past the manuscript stage but it was cathartic to my co-scribes and yours truly for sure. I can tell you we did submit it to Games Magazine to gauge their interest and were told it was “too difficult.” We took a lot of pride in that response.

But that was then, as in a thousand or so years ago and this is today which leads me to the most unusual & insightful marketing predictions EVER. Continue reading

Enough Already With The "Alien" Advertising!

Remember the movie Alien? Or was it Aliens? I can never remember which was the first one.

Doesn’t really matter…

You will surely remember this classically-grotesque scene:

What is truly amazing to me is the fact that, well there are a quite a few things that are amazing to me about these Cars.com spots:

1. Someone in some ad agency conceived of this idea/concept and someone else – probably an executive creative director and others, saw the concept and green lighted it to send to the client. 
2. Someone, or a group of people, at Cars.com saw the concept and green lighted it for production.
3. The first of the two spots above actually ran during this year’s Super Bowl. So someone at Cars.com green lighted the agency to spend millions of dollars to air this commercial AFTER green lighting how much money to actually create and produce it. 

Can someone point me to the nearest wall so I may bangeth my headeth against it… over and over and over. 

Of course Cars.com is hardly the first and unfortunately will not be the last brand/advertiser to utilize the “Alien” advertising method. 

Think about it… what other examples do you know of where a brand/advertiser used this method?
And what do you think of it?

Did you like these spots for Cars.com? 

If so, what did you like about it?

Named one of the Top 100 Influencers In Social Media (#41) by Social Technology Review, I am a freelance writer/blogger currently looking for full-time work. I have worked on some of the biggest brands in the world and have over 20 years experience in advertising and marketing. I live in Philly and can be reached via email,TwitterLinkedIn or my website. 

You Call This Advertising?

Let’s face it, in today’s world, advertisers and their agencies are faced with enormous challenges when it comes to getting their brands, products, services and wares noticed.

The need to be creative, to be different, to stand out was always paramount to success but now, thanks to social media, digital advertising and all the good stuff that goes with it, the bar has been set very high.

We already know that  many, if not most, consumers feel like they are subjected to too much advertising and simply don’t trust the advertising they are subjected to in the first place.

Ok, so we (those in the advertising circle) know we have to rise above the every growing amount of clutter to get noticed.

And I’m sure the folks at DraftFBC Buenos Aires had every intention of drawing attention to their client when they conceived and ultimately created this spot below but…

And you know maybe I’m a little over sensitive right now what with my kids recently losing their grandmother but…

Well you be the judge:

Like I said maybe I am being over sensitive right now but to me this commercial is an example of an agency trying to be edgy just for the sake of being edgy.

I mean what’s more edgy than watching a grandmom get blown away in a hail of gunfire during a bank heist?

And trust me, I am one prone to push the proverbial envelope as I don’t like “same old, same old” by any means. 

Maybe this is a cultural thing? Maybe Americans view grandmothers in a different light than they do in South America? Maybe that’s why this bothers me so much.

What did you think?

Did you like it? Why?

Did you not like? Why?

Commercial Or Movie?

I have long held the belief that many ad agency creative directors are frustrated filmmakers. Seriously, I think many of them have secret and some not-so-secret desires to make movies… big, theatrical productions on an epic scale.

I think many of these same creative directors prey on the fact that, like them, many of their clients, share the same desire to be “in the movies” or as close to it as possible. Hell, let’s face it, we ALL would love to make movies/be in the movies, right?

Hell, I have my hand raised… I want to make movies, write for movies, be in the movies and all that jazz. I have even penned a few scripts and actually had one movie which I co-wrote created and released. It was called 9th & Bay and here’s the trailer for it just in case you were curious, I know you were…

But… when it comes to advertising, whose goal I believe, is still to move products off store shelves, in a matter of speaking, I can never understand why so many TV spots are made as if they were being made to be shown in a crowded theater as opposed to your living room.

How else do you explain this?

Jeezus are you kidding me? With its Austin Powers/James Bond look, feel and sound to the repulsive scene of the lead actor pulling the bottle of beer out of his mouth in a moment of one-upsmanship with his fellow prestidigitator  to the Pulp Fiction-esque dance scene near the end – hey it reminded me of Pulp Fiction, sue me – someone please explain to me what this has to do with beer and the selling thereof.

That’s a minute and 30 seconds of my life I will never get back thank you very much. I can just imagine what the cost was to make it.

Maybe this is just another example of a brand having so much money and so much brand equity that it can pretty much do whatever the hell it wants and if it wants to create a TV spot to enter into Caanes and other award competitions, so be it. If we sell beer, great. If not, oh well… at least we made this rad cool spot.

Oh and for the record, I don’t drink beer or any other form of alcohol for that matter but I can assure you that if I did watching this commercial would not make me want to run out and buy a 6-pack.

One last thing… what do you think this guy in the spot does for an encore? Surely his date will be expecting him to raise the bar – no pun intended, next time, right? Wonder how much that spot will cost?

Mascot Mayhem – Just Brand It Baby

FADE IN
Smoke-filled Madison Avenue boardroom, circa 1951…

Ad Man#1: “Ok, what do we have for options for mascot for our client’s new sugar flaked cereal?”

Ad Man #2: “We have Katy the Kangaroo, Elmo the Elephant, Newt the Gnu and Tony the Tiger.

Ad Man #1: “That’s it? Christ. They suck. None of these will ever work. How bout something like Frosty the Frog?”

Believe it or not a conversation very similar to that probably occurred. And, believe it or not, those were the actual choices for mascot for Kellog’s Frosted Flakes. In fact, Katy the Kangaroo actually made it to store shelves along with Tony but disappeared quickly as the big cat blew her away at the cash register.

Obviously the rest is advertising/pop culture history, but you can just imagine the look of shock and disbelief on the looks of the Kellog’s executives when their ad agency handed over Tony the Tiger.

“What the hell does a tiger have to do with cereal?!?!?!?!”

How about these three iconic mascots?

You don’t think there were just a few raised eyebrows in the boardrooms and conference rooms when the given ad agency hit their client with these ideas?

Of course there were…

But in the end it didn’t really matter which mascot they chose. Well, almost…

Here’s my point:

I think far too often companies/clients get too bogged down in creating the perfect mascot.

As someone who works in advertising, I know full well the power of the push. The power of a well-conceived, cohesive, all-encompassing advertising push or blitz.

You think the first time people heard and saw Tony the Tiger they immediately welcomed him into their respective homes and kitchens?

Of course they didn’t.

I guarantee they thought and said the same thing the Kellog’s execs said:

“What the hell does a tiger have to do with cereal?!?!?!?!”

But over time… a period of significant advertising time, and having been beset and besieged in a way by all the different mediums (print, TV, radio,) — all featuring this large, talking feline the American public not only welcomed him, they embraced him.

That my friends is branding. At least one example of it…

Company/Client selects a mascot/symbol. Advertising agency then begins process of endearing and embedding this mascot, this symbol, this brand — into the psyche of consumers.

Pretty soon, said entity will become the proverbial household name. And all the people in Adland sing and dance in joyous merriment.

Well, something like that…

Til next time…

This Brand Is Your Brand…

One of the definitions of the word “icon” is the following:

“A representation or picture of a sacred or sanctified Christian personage, traditionally used and venerated in the Church.”

Well in the Church of Advertising when your brand, your logo, your identity can be altered without impacting your bottom line or in fact increasing it… you have truly reached icon status.

Such is the case with the candy bar that helped thrust the word “nougat” into our everyday lexicon… Snickers.

Here’s the iconic image we all know and love:


And here are just a few of the truly fabulous examples of what a brand can do, and how much fun one can have when a brand reaches the grand high exalted level of icon.




An Epic Enigma

If a great Ad Campaign never sees the light of day, did it ever really happen?
 

Along the lines of the classic conundrum “If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it…” you know the rest.
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