Thursday, January 27, 2011

Ad Campaign FTW

I recently came across this wonderful ad campaign in Daily Dawdle. The link to the original website is here.

It's aptly titled "Life's Too Short for The Wrong Job." For a promotion, it does a great job of conveying the message of what their company offers, but I'm not sure about the locations- it looks they were everywhere. I also think they were targeting hourly workers, but I can't be sure. It's a fun campaign. I just don't know if it did what they wanted.

You can catch the rest of them on the websites listed above.

Danke! (for visiting)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Christina Aguilera - FAIL

I recently wrote an article for my school's blog on branding and used Christina Aguilera as an example.

You can check out the article here OwenBloggers or read below. It combines 2 of my fav things: marketing and pop culture.

Selling More than Albums

If you listened to pop music during the 90’s, then you’ve heard Christina Aguilera’s music.  She has been wildly successful with 4 Grammys and more than 43 million albums sold.  When she first appeared on the scene, people thought she was another Britney Spears copycat with her bubble gum pop music.  Later, Aguilera was able to generate her own buzz and establish herself as a pop icon with a different sound.  Her sophomore album, Stripped, could best be described as raw and provocative.  She dyed her normally blonde hair dark, wore risqué clothing, and shook her hips while singing about getting “Dirrty.”  The album was a hit and even though she greatly changed up her image, it was accepted by her fans.  

Her most recent album, Bionic, was another re-invention of Aguilera.  This time, she dyed her hair platinum blonde, wore skin tight cat suits in promo shoots, and her first single told of “kissing all the boys and girls” on the dance floor.  Unfortunately, the recipe was a failure and Bionic was certified a flop; Aguilera isn’t even going to tour to promote her album. To make matters worse, media outlets complained that Aguilera was trying to be too much like Lady Gaga with her party attitude and crazy clothes.  Aguilera has spent more time defending her Lady Gaga look-a-like style than selling singles in the past 6 months. 

With all the bad pop music on the radio today, why was Aguilera’s album a failure?  Since the release of Stripped, Aguilera’s life has changed dramatically.  She got married, had a child, and took a few years off to be with her family.  Clearly, Aguilera’s main focus is no longer the club or party scene.  She’s probably had more early mornings than late nights and, like most new moms, hasn’t seen a non-cartoon movie in ages.  The problem with the new album is that Aguilera isn’t being authentic.  Nowhere in Bionic did she mention life as a married woman or a new mother.  She certainly has other things in her life besides her family, but no one thinks that those things are clubbing and promiscuity.  Perhaps if Aguilera was a tabloid staple like Lindsay Lohan or Britney Spears, she would have had a better chance of selling herself as the party type.  There is a discord between the paparazzi images of her with her son or now-former-husband and the image she tried to sell with Bionic.  

Aguilera is the example of a failed branding effort.  Like a parent trying to wear youthful clothing so that they would still be considered cool, Aguilera tried too hard to be something she wasn’t.  Branding is about not just selling a product, but selling you.  Aguilera’s story exemplifies the dangers of deviating too far from yourself for a brand or of misbranding in general.  This has the potential to be an issue for everyone, even if we all aren’t trying to sell albums.  The goal is to align who you are with what you hope other people to see. 
Now sure how to determine your brand?  First, write down 3 key characteristics you feel best describe how you want others to perceive you.  Next, ask your friends what 3 key characteristics they would use to describe you and compare.  Maybe you will learn that people think you are very serious, but you had humorous as a characteristic.  If you see a discrepancy, try to reconcile your brand.  A good place to start is to find out why people think this about you.  It’s not about changing who you are, but figuring out how others see you and what you can do help them see you the way you want them to.  So, if you are Christina Aguilera and you want people to believe you stay out all night in a club, then you may just have to do that.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Health care and Social Media

Pharma and other heath care companies are usually quiet when it comes to social networking. To date, the best effort I have seen is from Humana (insurance company). They actually aren't present on the social networking sites, but they have built some great online content in the form of informative and interesting videos about healthcare. You can catch those here.

But, there are hundreds of companies out there that participate in health care. A recent article from BNet reports that Pfizer is making it's move into the world of social media with an active facebook page. (Some companies like Genentech have facebook pages, but no content.) Additionally, they have a blog for their scientists. Understandably, pharma companies are hesitant to enter a world where the content and messages can be generated by the customers. On the other hand, this is why being a part of social networking is so crucial. Most companies use it to connect with their customers and get feedback they wouldn't otherwise hear. The though part about pharma and healthcare participating in these forums is the lack of regulation.

Right now, the FDA and other government regulators decide what companies can say and how they can say it. The best example of this is the recent commercials for the birth control pill, Yaz. The original commercials aired, but apparently were found unclear by the FDA. So they had to release another commercial to straighten things up.
Check out the commercial:

Other errors or instances of misinformation have much more severe repercussions for the company. Fines are good example. Given the sensitive nature of their communication, Pfizer is taking great strides in connecting with customers while trying to maintain some level of regulation. As the article notes, they have launched a playbook for employees to help them make informed decisions about responding to customers and posting content. There are no re-shoots for social media so let's hope it works.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Marketing Humor

Check out The Chive, a photo-blog, for some good ol' fashioned marketing humor. (Note: there are a few unsavory words on 2 of the captions.)

Here are my favorites (all family friendly):

Ah, The Chive. Making things funny since yesterday.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Speaking of logos...

Check out this excellent article on Starbuck's new logo.

Is this new change like when Gap tried to update their logo in Oct 2010? Or is it something better?

Here are some comparisons:


Personally, I like it. If anything, it shows that they are not only expanding their offerings, but accepting that their offerings have become more than coffee. I don't always go into Starbucks for coffee and I think this logo represents that trend and direction for them.

(The Starbucks logo is registered trademark of Starbucks, Inc. I am just borrowing it!)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Need a Logo?

As an individual you may think you don't need a logo, but just like a business you need something to help people remember you by. This is especially helpful when job searching or starting your own consulting business. Right now, I am in the internship search process so building my own logo has been on my mind lately. My research led me to some cool websites that will do logo design on the cheap so I want to share them with you.

Some examples:
Logo Design Works - Portfolio

Logospire - Gallery

Creattica - Home Page

The best part is all the things you can use your logo for...
- Custom USB drives
- Business Cards
- Watermark your resume
- Email signature
- Cover letter header

In the meantime, I'm just counting down the days until my logo arrives...

Friday, January 7, 2011

Forbes: 2011 Brands Set for a Comeback

Ah, the infamous Forbes "in pictures" article. This one is about the 10 brands that will make a 2011 comeback. Let's check them out...

1. Planter's Peanuts - the Pistachio of 2011

I really love the current Pistachio adds of 2011 with Ocho Cinco and Snooki, among others, cracking their nuts. I am not sure if Mr. Peanut is going to see the same fun revitalization of their image. They have Robert Downey, Jr. as the voice of Mr. Peanut for the upcoming ads, but it doesn't make the fact that he's a peanut with a monocle any more fun. Check it out the commercial here. (The video has been on youtube almost 2 months and I haven't seen it until now.) With that not-so-viral video they aren't looking to a make an Old Spice type comeback for 2011. It just wasn't that fun to watch again and again.

2. Chevrolet - America!

Chevy is a comeback brand for a different reason. They are coming back from the brink of financial ruin and need to change their image in the eyes of Americans post-bailout. With Toyota still limping from their 2009-2010 brake fiasco, they have a chance to gain some market share with their greener line of cars. On the other hand, I think Nissan might give them a run for their money.

3. Infusium 23 - Cult brand, really?

I guess this hair care product has been on the shelf for 86 years! It sounds like all they need is some marketing, any marketing, to remind consumers that they're out there. Their campaign is different for a hair care brand; they're going for a nostalgic feel to remind consumers of when their mothers used the product. It's an interesting take on a product that is mostly advertised using youthful models with fabulous hair, not moms. We'll see if it works!

4. Little Debbie - Worst Snack EVER

Little Debbie tastes fabulous, but i ignore them in the grocery store since they are so unhealthy. Like Infusium 23, they just need to remind consumers of their existence to see a boost in sales. To keep  that going though, they should start offering some low fat or all natural products.

5. Pert Plus - No Marketing, No Sales

Not much to say here. They haven't put money into marketing in last 5 years. It makes sense the people would switch brands or reach for other products in that time.

6. La-Z-Boy - Now in Pink

I think this is will be a really fun and effective campaign. I wish they had thought of it sooner. If anything, it's just a great line extension to a product that is already in many people's homes. I think the tag line should be, "La-Z-Boy, now with less arguing."

7. Levis - For Everyone

Check out their newest campaign, called Go Forth, here. Surprisingly, this is the same campaign that brought us the O' Pioneers commercial last year. I'll be intrigued to see what they do differently this time around besides just air a commercial that wasn't really understood. Here is a link to the newest ad. Additionally, iMedia Connection named Levis one of the best social media campaigns of 2010. Check out the article here with some info on how they managed to nab 2.1 million facebook friends.

8. Sure - Raise your hand!

I clearly remember the Sure commercials from 10 years ago so I'm excited they're bringing them back. I don't know if they'll do the same "raise your hand if you're Sure", but I think it's worth a shot. The commercials were memorable after all. Check out a clip here to remind you what we have been missing all these years.

9. Quaker Oats - Blah to ?

The challenge here: make Quakers Oats less boring. Their ads are going to focus on the healthy aspects of Quaker with an exciting flavorful twist by showing scrumptious Quaker breakfast combinations. One question, is there anyway to make the Quaker less boring? If so, they need to figure it out.

10. Jimmy Dean - Giving up on the Sun guy already?

Maybe. Their new campaign is targeted at mom's. The idea is to keep them from battling their kids in the morning when it comes to breakfast aka the Morning Villains. 

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Supa Cool Website

Check out

It's a website of keynote and power point presentation examples. Their goal is to bring inspiration and design to those usually boring presentations. I think they nailed it.

My favorites are:
Storytelling 101

Changing the Face of Type