Wednesday, October 14, 2009

From Neanderthals to IMC

There's a tectonic shift happening in the marketing world. Next week, Forrester will release a report that recommends doing away with "brand manager" and changing the title to "brand advocate". This recommendation signifies a larger shift in acceptance of the changes the digital era has brought as we see more and more companies embracing the customer-centric IMC approach. This Ad Age article is a must read for any IMC thinker and has some great insights by Denuo CEO Rishad Tobaccowala, who shared similar remarks to us last week during the Medill Marketing Conference. Let us know your thoughts below. What will branding mean in the next few years? How do you see the digital era changing the marketing world?

--Stacy Cohen

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

'A hole' breaks through the clutter

A Nasty Commercial” - The Huffington Post

"Juvenile" - BNET

"Fast-Food Smutfest" - Advertising Age

"Tasteless and stupid" -

These are just some of the reactions to Hardee’s “Name our holes” campaign launched over the summer. No stranger to controversy, Hardee’s has a reputation for provocative commercials. Hardee’s is trying to be a guy’s guy and appeal to young, hungry dudes. So low-brow humor seems to be a fit with the brand’s desired personality and appeal to the target market.

The Holes campaign was to promote Hardee’s biscuit holes with icing. The A-hole vs B-hole commercial turns the blind taste test on its head in an unexpected and funny way. It is so simple and obvious it’s surprising that no one had done it before. It goes beyond low-brow humor to actually being witty. The commercial leads the viewer toward the joke, but the naughtiness of A-hole vs B-hole happens in the mind of the consumer. The interactive nature of wit is a pleasurable pay-off for the viewer – and they get a good laugh.

The commercial is also successful because it breaks through the advertising clutter in a way that makes consumers receptive to the message. As Beryl McAlhone and David Stuart state in their book “A Smile in the Mind”:

What a witty approach does is to focus as much on receptiveness as on what is to be received. It creates a welcome for itself. This is like persuading the goalkeeper to stand aside before you shoot at the goal.

Clearly the critics of the Hardee’s commercial couldn’t see past the so called sophomoric humor to see the commercial for the witty and clever piece that it is. But that’s okay, because the 525,700+ people that viewed the YouTube video did.

--Marina Molenda