May 19th, 2013 by admin
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TV Campaign 2nd floor, 2nd floor
Don’t you just love that State Farm TV campaign where the young man interviews several cute and funny kids?
Me too. . . . except that it’s not a State Farm campaign; it’s an AT&T campaign.
This is just the latest example of clever, humorous entertainment that many people–including advertisers and the ad agencies–mistake for effective advertising.
In this case, there’s absolutely no reference to the brand or the benefits it provides until the commercial is three-quarters complete. Even then, you hear the AT&T name a grand total of one time as part of a rapid-fire voiceover that is virtually indiscernible. This campaign doesn’t sell; it merely entertains. And it does a marvelous job of entertaining. The campaign is brilliantly cast; the guy is dryly hysterical, and every one of the kids is very cute, charming and funny. But while the campaign is doing viewers a favor by providing free entertainment, it’s doing AT&T no favors.
This is what happens when ads are written by people who would rather be working on a sitcom than on an ad campaign. (To be fair, I don’t know for a fact that this is the case with this campaign, but it certainly fits an all-too-common pattern.)
And frankly, if the people who created this campaign were to ever develop a sitcom, I’d want to see it.
I just wouldn’t want to see them doing my advertising.
February 4th, 2013 by admin
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TV commercial 14th Floor
Normally I’m not a fan of TV commercials that don’t mention the brand name until the very end, but I’ll make an exception for this commercial run by Tide in last night’s Super Bowl.
The commercial is brilliant for two reasons. First, it’s extremely well-produced and fun to watch; it grabs–and entertains–its audience from start to finish. Second, and more important, the drama of the spot is focused on Tide’s reason for being: removing stains.
In other words, unlike so many Super Bowl ads, this ad wasn’t entertaining for the sake of being entertaining; it was entertaining in order to dramatize the product’s effectiveness. That’s what I call StrategiCreativity®: a very creative execution build upon a strong strategic foundation.
As I look back on last night’s commercials as a group, I’ll remember them as one of the worst in Super Bowl history. But Tide’s brilliant commercial came close to removing the stain of that memory.
January 25th, 2013 by admin
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tv commercial 12th floor
Initially I had mixed emotions about this TV commercial for booking.com, which bills itself as “Planet Earth’s #1 Accommodations Site.”
On the one hand . . . It grabs your attention and does a spectacular job of leveraging–and registering–its brand name seven times in sixty seconds, which is critical for a brand that’s relatively new to the US market. It also does a nice job of visually demonstrating the benefits it apparently provides its customers.
On the other hand . . . Much of the impact described above is due to its intentional and frequent use of the word “booking” in place of an “f word” that almost rhymes with “booking.” While I personally find this to be pretty clever, and I think a lot of people will find it entertaining, I also suspect that a lot of people will find it offensive.
So is it a brilliant idea or not? If–as I suspect–booking.com is consciously targeting younger, liberally-oriented consumers who like an edgy approach, then I think it is. However, they need to realize–as I again suspect they do–that they’ll be turning off a number of older and/or conservative consumers who will find this spot to be in extremely poor taste.
The essence of effective marketing is knowing your target audience, doing whatever it takes to thrill them, and not worrying about what people you aren’t targeting think. As the late advertising legend Hal Riney once told me, “When you try to appeal to everybody, you usually end up appealing to nobody.”
And the more I think about it, the more I think Hal would have found this commercial to be “booking” awesome!
January 21st, 2013 by admin
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The only thing worse than not being clever is thinking you’re clever when you’re not. Exhibit A: this latest TV commercial for Subway, one of the least clever advertisers on the planet.
Do Subway’s executives, or their ad agency, actually think the phrase “Turkeytopia” is clever? Worse yet, do they think their audience thinks it’s clever?
If we’re to believe this ad, Ndamukong Suh, one of the celebrity athletes featured in this spot, finds the phrase absolutely hysterical. Then again, he thinks it’s fine to stomp on an and maim opposing players on the football field, so his judgment is suspect to say the least.
Speaking of questionable judgment, who thought it was a good idea to feature Suh–the NFL’s dirtiest player with numerous off-the-field mishaps as well –in this commercial? Generally speaking, the rule of many hapless advertisers seems to be, “If you don’t have a creative idea, use a celebrity.” As it is wont to do, Subway was so lacking in creativity that it decided to use three celebrities in this spot. Thus, not only is the commercial totally lacking in cleverness, it’s also unnecessarily expensive.
I’ve always liked Subway as a provider of reasonably healthy and tasty fast food, but I’ve never understood why they can’t get it together from an advertising standpoint.
And if Subway doesn’t like the opinions I’m expressing, they can Suh me.
November 16th, 2012 by admin
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TV commercial 14th floor, 14th floor
The best commercials are the simplest, and it doesn’t get much simpler than this TV commercial for the iPad Mini.
No announcer. No claims. Nothing but 28 seconds of pure entertainment and 2 seconds showing the brand name. Yet you know within the first few seconds that this must be an iPad commercial. Which means you’re probably going to want to watch it through to the end, since Apple commercials are always imminently watchable. In this particular case, even the last note of the commercial is well thought out–the perfect finishing touch.
What I love most is how brilliantly–and incredibly simply–this spot conveys that the Mini does everything the regular iPad does. They don’t tell you that. And they only demonstrate one feature of the product. Yet it leaves no doubt that, as their print advertising cleverly claims, the Mini is “Every inch an iPad.”
And this commercial is every second a masterpiece.
October 16th, 2012 by admin
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Your brand is much more about what you do than what you say, and not many companies embrace that notion more than Red Bull.
For years Red Bull has done an impressive job of reinforcing its edgy, high-energy brand image by sponsoring a variety of edgy, high-energy publicity initiatives, but they really topped themselves with their sponsorship of daredevil Felix Baumgartner’s recent space jump from a height of 24 miles.
I mean, what could possibly be a better way to bring to life their tagline of “Red Bull Gives You Wings”?
What’s so admirable about this is the risk they were willing to take, and I’m not talking about the reported $7 million they spent on the program over the past several years. I’m talking about the damage that might have been done to their brand equity had Mr. Baumgartner’s jump had a tragic outcome.
However, this is clearly a smart company willing to take smart risks. They obviously knew that the scientists and engineers planning the jump knew what they were doing, so that the risk–while not zero–was not irresponsible. And they also knew that companies that aren’t willing to take smart risks aren’t likely to earn above-average returns.
As happy as I was for Mr. Baumgartner for his safe–and impressively upright–landing, I was equally happy for Red Bull. Theirs was a brilliant collaboration, and they both certainly earned their wings–not to mention the financial and other rewards they’re likely to reap in the months and years to come.
August 20th, 2012 by admin
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Advertising 14th floor
There’s an absurd mini-controversy brewing about whether Michael Phelps will be stripped of any of his medals because some Louis Vuitton ads in which he appears were leaked before the Olympics. (This will soon blow over, as it’s clear that neither Phelps nor Louis Vuitton intentionally violated the ban on pre-Olympics advertising.) Lost amidst all this needless angst is the fact that the above ad is absolutely brilliant.
When I saw it in last Thursday’s Wall Street Journal, I was was struck first by the elegance of the photo, and then by my curiosity over the “mystery woman” pictured with Phelps. When I read the fine print and learned that it’s Larisa Latynina–the woman whose record for 18 career Olympics medals Phelps broke–I could not have been more impressed. Talk about a classy idea…and a classy execution.
In almost all cases, I’m critical of ads that require you to read the fine print, simply because almost no ad is capable of getting a meaningful percentage of readers to do that. I’m also critical of ads without large, clean, creative headlines and, even more so, ads without prominent mention of the brand name or logo. However, when you have a stunning, provocative photo–and when that photo prominently features your highly recognizable product–it turns out you can be effective without a headline and without a large logo.
Please don’t try this at home, however; unless your product is as distinctive as a Louis Vuitton bag, and your art director and photographer are as gifted as the people who created this ad, going without a strong headline and strong logo is a sure route to a complete waste of your advertising dollars.
So just sit back and appreciate the above ad for being as much an exception to the rules of advertising as Michael Phelps and Larisa Latynina are to the sports of swimming and gymnastics.
August 19th, 2012 by admin
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Customer service basement
As I’ve said many times before, your brand isn’t about what you say; it’s about what you do. And based on this story (courtesy of Seth Godin’s blog) of how Progressive Insurance treats its customers, it’s hard to imagine a company doing a more inept job of brand management.
I realize that a lot of people like Progressive’s “Flo” advertising campaign. (I can only assume these people are also big fans of Gallagher and Carrot Top.) Not only have I never been a fan of the campaign’s low-brow, unsophisticated humor, it’s always led me to suspect that the people running Progressive’s marketing department have questionable judgment. Sadly, those suspicions have been confirmed by this story of how Progressive has treated the family of Katie Fisher.
This story tells you two things about Progressive: they’re heartless, and they’re stupid. Heartless because of the way their actions have dumped salt on the emotional wound that Katie’s death caused her family. Stupid because the $75,000 they’re trying to save pales in comparison to the cost of the deservedly horrendous publicity they’ve generated for themselves.
Here’s hoping that Progressive’s management will wake up and not only decide to make good on the money they owe the Fishers, but throw in an extra $100,000 or $250,000 as payment for the badly-needed wake-up call.
It would certainly be the progressive thing to do.
June 28th, 2012 by admin
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TV campaign 14th floor
Over the past several years, State Farm has wasted tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars on mediocre advertising. (See my posts in 2011 and 2009.) Fortunately, a little over a year ago they hired a new ad agency (DDB Chicago), and the result has been one of the strongest ad campaigns in any product category.
My favorite ad from the campaign is “Jake from State Farm” , which I never tire of seeing even though it’s been on the air for about a year. The writing, casting and acting are simply perfect. If they gave Academy Awards for commercials, the people who play the husband and wife would get my vote for Best Actor and Best Actress. And whoever created such lines such “I’m married. . .Does it matter?….You’d do that for me?” and “Well she sounds hideous!” would be up for a Best Writing award.
What I especially love is that you hear the brand “State Farm” five times in 30 seconds, and the phrase “It’s Jake from State Farm” has become part of the popular culture. In other words, there’s no question who the advertiser is. . .or that they’re offering such good policies that at least one customer was motivated to contact them at 3:00 am.
And if five brand name mentions weren’t enough, the campaign also wisely leverages the brand name with its “Get to a Better State” tagline.
Clearly, the state of State Farm’s advertising could not be better.
May 26th, 2012 by admin
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TV commercial 14th Floor
Great marketing is essentially great storytelling, and that’s certainly the case with this commercial from Suburu. This spot was extremely well-written, well-cast and well-produced.
First it grabs you with the visual of a 4-year-old girl who’s apparently about to take the car for a spin. It holds you with great acting–especially by the 4-year-old–and finally makes you smile when you see that little girl suddenly transformed into a 16-year-old who has just received her license.
This spot oozes empathy. What parent can’t relate to the father stressing about having his teenager make her first solo drive? And what human being can resist the charms of the incredibly cute 4-year-old, or the subtly confident smile of the attractive young woman she’s become?
Normally I’m not big on commercials that don’t mention the brand name until the end, but I’ll make an exception here. My rationale: the spot is ultimately about safety, and since Suburu has successfully positioned itself as a safety-oriented brand over the years, I suspect that most viewers recognize this as a Suburu commercial. In addition, because the spot does such a great job of holding your attention throughout, it’s hard to miss the Suburu brand at the commercial’s end.
I can personally attest that there’s no feeling quite so special as being the father of a daughter. And there are few things that capture that feeling as powerfully as this superb thirty-second piece of storytelling from Suburu.