Wednesday, December 29, 2010
A few weeks ago, I came across Aaron Strout’s blog post encouraging fellow marketing bloggers to write odes in haiku form to commemorate recent brand experiences. Although I’m a little late to the game, I decided to try my hand, and couldn’t stop at just one!
Haiku 1: Eddie Bauer
Before the onset of my first winter in Chicago, I told my grad school friends that I was going to search out the biggest, puffiest, warmest down coat to help me withstand the ungodly cold and wind. And I recently found it at eddiebauer.com--the Yukon Classic Down Duffle Coat, which has been tested to minus 30 degrees Fahrenheit! The fact that it makes me look like the Michelin Man quickly became a nonissue:
Made for the Artic.
Warmest Ed Bauer goose down--
Haiku 2: Don Ayres Honda
Don Ayres Honda in Fort Wayne, Ind. worked on my dented car last week (my fault--I was driving distracted, i.e., talking on my mobile phone when I rear-ended another car). Not only was my car ready two days ahead of the promised time, it looks brand new!
Pronto service at
Don Ayres Honda. My fender
bender is erased.
Haiku 3: Target
I know I’m not the only one with this problem! (Confession: Before becoming a debt-laden grad student, I found it hard to spend less than $100 at Target.)
Wants and needs converge
within Target’s aisles. Can’t spend
less than 50 bucks!
Get in on the fun and share your own brand haiku in the comments! Remember, haiku consists of three lines: five syllables, seven syllables and five syllables respectively.
Friday, December 24, 2010
FCC Rules to Regulate the Internet
This fiercely debated topic came to a head earlier this week when the FCC passed a controversial net neutrality order to ensure the Internet stays free and open. The limited net neutrality rules – the FCC’s first-ever attempt to regulate the Internet – focus on: 1) ensuring transparency of Internet services; 2) no blocking of lawful content, applications and services; and 3) prohibition of Internet services from discriminating against any lawful content or giving preferential treatment to certain content.
While it all may sound good and well, the rules have yet to garner much support, and rumors are swirling that Verizon is contemplating a challenge. However, it appears this was, overall, a smart step forward by the Commission. We’re following this topic closely, so stay tuned for more in-depth coverage. In the meantime, let us know what you think. Should the government regulate Internet access?
For those in need of a quick refresher, net neutrality is the buzzword used to describe the principle of maintaining unfiltered access to the Internet. Learn more about net neutrality by watching this helpful video from Engadget.
2011 Top Media Outlets
Burrelles Luce released this week its list of the top media outlets for 2011, which includes leading traditional and social media outlets in the U.S. based on circulation, visits, authority or market share. No big surprises in the area of daily newspapers: The Wall Street Journal, USA Today and New York Times once again hold the top-three spots. However, where it gets more interesting is blogs. The Huffington Post retained its No. 1 position, while Mashable moved in on TechCrunch’s No. 2 turf. The top-20 list welcomed newcomers Mediaite, Lifehacker and GigaOM, while bidding adieu to The Daily Dish, NewsBusters.org and Business Insider.
A trip down memory lane – or at least back to 2007, when Burrelles Luce first began ranking blogs – reveals that 60 percent of the blogs that appeared on the list four years ago are no longer in the top 25. Remember Perezhilton.com and Gawker? Looks like the days of celebrity gossip blogs ruling the Net are no more.
Prius Bundles Up for Its 10th Birthday
We recently gave props to Toyota for its Swagger Wagon campaign, but it appears the carmaker is due kudos for its Prius Projects effort, as well. To celebrate the earth-friendly car’s 10th anniversary (wow, 10 years already!?), Toyota, with help from agency partner Saatchi & Saatchi Los Angeles, has developed a film series that is slowly revealing the future of Prius. In the latest spot, entitled Prius Cozy, a group of hipsters gathers in a perfectly pastoral setting to outfit a Prius in a homemade sweater. The end result is a car that looks cozy enough to snuggle up to (or in, as it would be). But, the greater result may be the warm and fuzzy feeling tree huggers and space-starved city dwellers alike get when thinking about the brand.
Marcom This Week: From A to Zinc is compiled by the Vitamin IMC editorial team. They can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Miss your vitamins last week? Visit last week's “Marcom This Week."
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
If you missed Part One yesterday, be sure to check it out.
Biggest Flop – Gap Logo Change
Gap unveiled a new logo that it called “a more contemporary, modern expression” of the brand. The change caused controversy unlike any other rebranding efforts in recent years. News of the re-brand quickly went viral, with universal negative feedback from Twitter, Facebook and bloggers. In response, Gap quickly changed course and reverted to the original design. With falling sales in the last couple of years, Gap was struggling to stay relevant. While the logo flopped at an epic proportion, the company reinforced consumer loyalty to its age-old blue-box logo. However, consumer loyalty to a logo does not increase sales. For Gap to resurrect its reputation, it will have to dig deeper to better understand why its loyal consumer base does not translate into sales.
Feel Good Campaign – Livestrong: Chalkbot
The Chalkbot was an interactive campaign that chalked inspirational messages along the route of the Tour de France. The machine sprayed consumer-generated messages from SMS, Twitter, and WearYellow.com in yellow chalk for the world to see. Sponsored by Nike in support of Lance Armstrong and his Livestrong Foundation’s fight against cancer, the Chalkbot campaign was truly the first of its kind to spread consumers' messages of hope and encouragement in real-time.
Shameless Product Placement – Lady Gaga: Telephone
With less album sales revenue coming in to artists, many have turned to video product placements to make an extra buck. Lady Gaga’s nine-and-a-half-minute music video for “Telephone” is no exception. “Telephone” is the first of its kind for product placement in a video, featuring a laundry list of brands such as Virgin Mobile, HP, Monster, Diet Coke, Polaroid, Kraft Miracle Whip and Coors Light. It's rumored that the fee for the product placements covered the $500K price tag for the video. In true Lady Gaga fashion, the video’s shameless product placement pushes the envelope. It's become a viral sensation, nearing one billion hits on YouTube. But I have to ask the question, what did the brands get out of it?
Most Controversial – e-Trade: Girlfriend
The e-Trade babies have been a staple among Super Bowl ads for the last couple of years with amusing spots that are usually earn accolades. However, e-Trade got more than it bargained for this year with its 30-second Super Bowl spot “Girlfriend.” In March 2010, the online trading website was slapped with a $100 million lawsuit filed by Lindsay Lohan for its reference to “that milk-aholic Lindsay.” While the lawsuit was settled out of court for an “undisclosed amount,” the e-Trade brand appears to have survived untarnished with more than 6.5 million YouTube views of this commercial alone.
Best PSA – Sussex Safer Roads Partnership (SSPR): Embrace Life
Most driver safety PSA’s use scare tactics that include frightening and sometimes gory imagery to deliver their message. However, consumers are becoming more and more desensitized to this type of message. “Embrace Life” took a refreshing approach to get viewers to take action. The 1:29 spot uses images of love and family to encourage viewers to buckle up. The PSA, created by Sussex Safer Roads Partnership, was only aired in the UK, but in the past 12 months has garnered over 12 million views on YouTube.
What integrated marketing campaigns made your top 10 in 2010? Please share in the comments section!
Carrie Griffith is a student in the Masters in Integrated Marketing Communications program at Northwestern University’s Medill School and is Vitamin IMC's director of online initiatives. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Monday, December 20, 2010
From ground-breaking viral to deep consumer insights to epic failures, here is our look at the integrated marketing campaigns that made the top of our list in 2010. Check back tomorrow for the the second part of the list!
Most Buzz Worthy – Old Spice: Man You Could Smell Like
To gain relevance and credibility with younger men, Wieden and Kennedy created the “Man You Could Smell Like” campaign for Old Spice. Old Spice tapped into a deep human insight—guys want to be manly—by using a humorous, hyper-masculine character to challenge a man’s most basic insecurities and help him “navigate the seas of manhood.” The Old Spice campaign infiltrated conversations both online and offline, with an 800% increase in Facebook interaction, 140 million YouTube views, and 120K Twitter followers. Did I forget to mention that sales of Old Spice actually increased in 2010?
Brand-Breaking Viral Campaign – Smirnoff: Bros Icing Bros
“Bros Icing Bros” started as a website and launched into a viral drinking game that swept college campuses across the nation. The rules of the game encourage underage binge drinking, which seriously threatened Smirnoff’s brand image. Controversy continues to surround the campaign’s origin—was it a consumer-generated phenomenon? Or was it a calculated risk taken by Smirnoff to boost sales? In response to allegations of questionable guerilla marketing tactics, Smirnoff took down the website (which now states: “We had a good run Bros…”), but the game lives on.
Cause Marketing Campaign – Pepsi Refresh Project
In lieu of a multi-million dollar Super Bowl campaign, Pepsi invested millions to engage consumers in an authentic and meaningful way. With the help of TBWA\CHIAT\DAY, Pepsi launched the Pepsi Refresh Project, which provided a consumer-driven forum for everyday people to post their “Do Good” ideas. To date, Pepsi has granted more than $1.3 million to individuals and organizations that posted ideas on the website. To learn more, check out Vitamin IMC’s conversation about the Pepsi Refresh Project with Medill IMC alum David Dreyer of TBWA\CHIAT\DAY.
Consumer-Centric Campaign – Domino's: Pizza Turnaround
Domino’s Pizza tastes like cardboard and ketchup… and the company execs will be the first to tell you! In its Pizza Turnaround campaign, Domino’s took the side of the brand haters and publicly admitted that its 49-year-old pizza recipe was gross. With the help of Crispin Porter & Bogusky, Domino’s positioned its brand as a partner by listening to and involving consumers every step of the pizza reformulation process. Most marked the campaign strategy as brand suicide, but in a recessionary year Domino’s achieved double-digit same-store sales growth of 11.7% in the third quarter.
Stereotype Buster – Toyota: Swagger Wagon
When you hear the word “minivan” what thoughts immediately come to mind? For most, negative associations arise that usually involve avoidance of owning/driving/riding in one. Among the 20-30 something audience, the minivan is the antithesis of cool. Toyota took a unique approach to combat the stigma that surrounds owning a minivan by turning the stereotype on its head. The Swagger Wagon campaign makes minivans cool by featuring a quirky couple rapping about their family, day-to-day life, and minivan. While the commercial does not position the minivan as a choice car, it encourages families to laugh and be proud to drive a minivan.
What integrated marketing campaigns made your top 10 in 2010? Please share in the comments! And be sure to look for Part 2 of our list tomorrow.
Carrie Griffith is a student in the Masters in Integrated Marketing Communications program at Northwestern University’s Medill School and is Vitamin IMC's director of online initiatives. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Friday, December 17, 2010
‘Tis the Season for Damage Control
As if its logo debacle earlier this year wasn’t bad publicity enough, this week Gap launched an anti-hunger FEED campaign that touted the “Made in USA” status of the FEED-branded bags it’s currently selling. Oh, did we mention the bags are actually made in China? Ouch. But, who are the bigger victims in this latest gaffe by Gap? Try presidential niece and FEED founder Lauren Bush and the American children she had hoped to feed through the sale of her products at Gap. A recent poll by the Huffington Post shows that 75 percent of respondents would opt not to buy the bags as a result of the mislabeling.
Also taking some heat this week was eyelash growth product Latisse. Rumor has it Latisse spokesperson Claire Danes is suffering from a known side effect of the product: skin discoloration. The starlet is keeping a video diary of her experience using the lash grower, and we can’t imagine this side effect will make for good material. At the same time, the online diary could serve as a useful tool in dispelling the rumor, if it is just that. We’re staying tuned to see how Latisse handles.
Twitter: Web’s Next Golden Child?
Twitter is flush with cash after receiving $200 million in funding this week, valuing it at $3.7 billion. With 175 million registered users, the platform appears to be following in the footsteps of Facebook in its pursuit of World Wide Web domination. However, these big numbers aren’t adding up quite yet. This is because Twitter is still figuring out how to turn itself into a profitable business. It’s expected the web start-up will end the year with nearly $50 million in revenues – approximately $.29 per user. This is a far cry from rivals Facebook and Google, which generate around $2-$3 per user and $25 per user, respectively. However, with only eight months of ad service under its belt and former DoubleClick CEO David Rosenblatt joining Twitter’s board of directors, the company’s future appears promising.
“Go down your gullet, just like a mullet”
This week, our pick for ad of the week goes to Pepto Bismol. Or, rather, the star of its holiday campaign: Ken Jeong. Best known for his comedic roles in "Knocked Up," "The Hangover" and "Community," Jeong has set his sights on eradicating holiday party under-indulgence this season by introducing the power of Pepto to partygoers with sensitive stomachs. What the commercial lacks in taste and sophistication, it makes up for in awkward dance moves and strange lyrics. Go ahead, click replay a few times – it’s worth it. But, we’re not so sure we can say the same for Jeong’s career.
Marcom this week: From A to zinc is compiled by the Vitamin IMC editorial team. They can be reached at email@example.com. Miss your vitamins last week? Visit last week's “Marcom This Week."
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Wondering what Northwestern's IMC program is all about? Follow Gwynne Rowe's (IMC '11) posts throughout the coming year as she provides a student's perspective.
By Gwynne Rowe
Whoever said grad school would be easy? I’m not sure if anyone ever said that, but if they had, they certainly weren’t a master’s student in Integrated Marketing Communications at Northwestern. My first quarter at IMC has been the most academically challenging and rewarding program that I’ve ever taken on. During orientation and pre-orientation, current students warned of the rigors of the IMC program. However, I took their advice somewhat lightly, having enjoyed good grades and the other perks of undergrad maybe a little bit too much!
As the first week – I take that back – as the first days of classes passed and I suddenly had enough homework and reading to keep me busy from dawn until dusk, I realized I should have taken those now-5th quarter students’ advice more seriously. While everyone was worried about Statistics before classes started, we were now also faced with Finance. Finance! As someone who had enjoyed a college career virtually math-free and three years in the work force successfully dodging numbers (for the most part), I was suddenly confronted with Finance. Why hadn’t anybody warned me about that?
The workload wasn’t the only thing that was different from undergrad. I was now surrounded by extremely bright peers from many cultural, educational and career backgrounds. Instead of sitting passively back in class, my classmates engaged with each other and the professors. And—the best part of IMC—everything that I was reading, discussing, and learning was extremely valuable and interesting to me. Sometime after the panic of midterms had passed, and the shock of walking out into fresh air after leaving the library at 11:30 at night wore off, I realized how much I had already learned and how the concepts from each class were coming together to form the base of my IMC education. Several projects, papers and presentations later—it was finals week. Like midterms, I was still anxious and panicked at the prospect of final exams. However, unlike midterms, I felt better prepared and even slightly confident!
Now that I’m on winter break, I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed doing nothing so much. There were times when I doubted myself and didn’t know if I would make it this far, but with the support of my fellow IMC’ers and the professors who told us again and again not to panic, I made it. Now I’m ready for next quarter. I have a game plan, and I know what to expect – I hope!
Gwynne Rowe is a student in the Masters in Integrated Marketing Communications program at Northwestern University’s Medill School and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Monday, December 13, 2010
I couldn’t help but smile and laugh recently when a friend posted the “Cleveland Response to the Lebron James Nike Commercial” on my Facebook wall. Only weeks before I had written about Nike’s original commercial and how I thought Nike meant for its controversial nature.
The ad highlights NBA basketball superstar Lebron James satirizing the criticism he took for signing with the Miami Heat this offseason. Nike suffered a barrage of media criticism for underscoring a touchy subject too soon after it boiled over. I think that this controversy was exactly what Nike wanted because it follows its trend of trying to stir up controversy to bring attention to its name. And it doesn’t care what kind of attention it is.
Well, as soon as I saw the Cleveland response video (created before Lebron's Cleveland "homecoming" game in which he scored 38 points against his former team), Nike’s true genius became clear to me. The video was a perfect example of the type of publicity I suspected Nike hoped would surface as a response to its ad. It features snippets of the original ad, including five Nike “swoosh” symbols in just over one minute. It even spoofs the well-known Nike slogan surrounding James, “We are all witnesses,” with a final frame that reads, “Quitness,” mocking Lebron’s decision to “quit” on Cleveland. Most importantly, the video is entirely consumer generated, so it does not carry the common connotations that a corporate-created ad would. This makes people more likely to watch and enjoy it because they don’t feel like they are being persuaded.
Over the past few weeks I have watched the reaction to this ad very carefully and with the release of this response video, I think I can confidently say that Nike’s PR team is a step ahead of all of us. While we are all too busy arguing about how inappropriate these ads are, Nike is laughing at us for generating all this free PR for it. Nike doesn’t care if it tests boundaries or touchy subjects because it knows the brand loyalty it has built will keep its customers' trust. Nike completely understands its consumer, and, for that, I applaud them.
Joshua Brower is a senior in the undergraduate Integrated Marketing Communications program. Upon graduation in June, he will be taking a position working in sales at Zimmer Corporation. He can be contacted at email@example.com.
Friday, December 10, 2010
Zuckerberg Pledges to Give Away Fortune
The Giving Pledge, which invites the wealthiest individuals and families in America to publicly commit to giving the majority of their wealth to philanthropic causes, added Facebook-founder Mark Zuckerberg as a signatory this week. The effort – the brainchild of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett – also added AOL co-founder Steve Case and investor Carl Icahn to its roster, along with 13 other billionaires. While initially suspected to be a publicity stunt, the Giving Pledge highlights the trend of billionaires opting to give away greater amounts of their wealth to philanthropic efforts earlier in their lives. We respect Zuckerberg and the other signers for their commitment to giving back, but also applaud the effort as a great reputation management tool. Reputation management seems to be top of mind for the young Zuckerberg, who announced his first major charitable gift on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” in September: a nearly $100 million donation to public schools in Newark, NJ.
Kevin Bacon’s Biggest Fan
After viewing Logitech’s latest commercial for the first time last week, we thought, “Wow, that guy does a great Kevin Bacon impersonation.” Come to find out, it is Kevin Bacon. In this humorous spot from Goodby, Silverstein & Partners for Logitech Revue with Google TV, Bacon plays his biggest fan, reminding us of some of the actor’s most memorable roles – and hairstyles. Great play by Logitech. It may take a few views before remembering what the spot is advertising, but it’s worth watching multiple times.
Yelp No Match for Family
An exclusive AdAge/Ipsos Observer survey revealed that consumers consult family members for advice before making major purchase decisions. Family beat out friends, professional reviews and online reviews in nearly every product category. With nearly 90 percent of respondents stating that family recommendations had an impact on purchases, it appears marketers have a big job ahead of them: getting in the conversation. This may come as a surprise to marketers who have spent recent years investing in social media strategies in an effort to seamlessly enter the conversation.
Marcom this Week: From A to Zinc is compiled by the Vitamin IMC editorial team. They can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Miss your vitamins last week? Read Dec. 3rd's “Marcom this Week."
Monday, December 6, 2010
If customer satisfaction is the key to businesses increasing profits how is it that some companies are missing the boat?
It seems highly intuitive that if you understand your customer – and I mean know your customer – you will not only increase sales, but repeat sales. It costs less to market to a customer you already have but much more to acquire a new customer. There’s a direct link to higher customer retention, increased average spend, higher margins, and lower marketing costs when customer satisfaction is important to a company. But for every business doing it right, there are handfuls of others failing to see the light. So what is keeping businesses from taking a more customer-centric focus?
1. Maybe they think they are.
Companies might think they know who they’re marketing to; they often think they know us. Take Johnson and Johnson, for example. The company launched a TV ad campaign for Motrin in 2008 that was aimed at “moms who wear their babies,” referencing the growing popularity of baby carriers and the pain associated with them. The “Motrin Mom-alogue” created a nasty backlash and outraged moms vented their anger online. Johnson and Johnson found itself quickly pulling the commercial. (Check out this funny spoof. It actually got more views than the original Motrin ad.)
2. It’s expensive.
You don’t get to know your customer overnight. It takes money and resources and a long-term approach. Companies willing to make the investment – engaging in qualitative research studies and focus groups, providing online forums, monitoring social media, and encouraging customer feedback both good and bad—seem to be on the right track. Quantitative data is important but it also depends on what data you have, how you got it, and how you want to use it – all things that need to be taken into consideration before you do the research.
3. Right solution, wrong implementation.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solutions are one way that companies can better manage their interactions with customers, both new and existing. CRM software can be the backbone for many sales and marketing teams but just because you have it doesn’t mean you’re using it correctly.
In the technology industry, for example, a sales team should use its CRM software as a tool for recording and uncovering sales, upcoming IT projects, potential issues, key contacts, purchasing timeframes and any other insights that can lead the sales team to better position IT solutions to their customers. There are some companies out there that are simply using their CRM solutions as an online rolodex, and that’s not getting to know your customer – unless you just need their telephone number.
4. You have the wrong customer. A recent article in Time magazine, "The Rise of the Sheconomy," revealed a shift in focus for marketers in seemingly male-dominated categories like electronics and car tires. Why the shift? According to the article, women make 85% of the buying decisions in their household. Not only are more women climbing the corporate ladder and outpacing their male counterparts in the education arena, they are making money and spending it! Women are increasing their buying power – 45% of money spent on consumer electronics and 58% of money spent online came from the female market.
Studies have shown that women are also more loyal customers – win them over and you have a potential life-long customer whereas men are harder to retain. Companies like Best Buy and Midas International have started to focus their efforts on marketing to women after discovering that a lot of women were buying tires, electronics, or other products typically marketed towards men. Understand the female mind, capture her heart, and increase your sales and customer retention.
Friday, December 3, 2010
Celebrating the Digital Decade
As the Digital Decade comes to a close, The One Club announced this week its favorite One Show Interactive winners from the past 10 years. From Burger King’s Subservient Chicken to Dove’s Evolution campaign, these works showcase how the real and interactive worlds were seamlessly brought together. The decade of digital may represent the successful launch of the first branded viral video and the birth of online social engagement, but what will its legacy be 10 years from now? And, what does the next decade have in store for us?
View the top 10 digital campaigns.
Groupon, Meet Google
Google is expected to make a staggering $5.3 billion bid for Groupon in the near future, a move that at first seems intuitive, as Google hasn’t had much success making a name for itself in online social technology. (Remember Google Buzz? We didn’t think so.) This acquisition could also serve as a remedy for its local advertising problem, an issue it attempted to solve by offering to acquire Yelp for $550 million in late 2009.
However, some industry experts are calling Google’s near-record-setting offer an act of desperation. Next in line to acquire Groupon would be Google’s arch nemesis, Facebook. The two sites have established a symbiotic relationship, and Facebook’s acquisition of Groupon would only strengthen its growing online advertising prowess. It seems likely that Google’s bid is merely to ensure Facebook can’t get its hands on Groupon. This especially seems probable when you consider that Groupon’s popularity peaked around the end of summer and has since dropped off substantially.
In related news, Groupon wasn’t the only discount email company making headlines this week. Its rival LivingSocial is reportedly in talks with Amazon to receive an investment of up to $150 million.GM Falls Down
Vitamin IMC’s campaign pick of the week is General Motors’ heartfelt, but not too heavy-handed “Thank You (We All Fall Down)” commercial that aired over Thanksgiving weekend. The 60-second spot created by Goodby, Silverstein & Partners is a tribute to iconic American entities – GM, included – that have fallen hard, only to rise up and stand tall once again. A reminder that, perhaps, those things worth fixing are never broken beyond repair.
Marcom This Week: From A to Zinc is compiled by the Vitamin IMC editorial team. They can be reached at email@example.com.