This morning I read an obituary about a man named Harry “Bud” Hildebrand, who owned and ran a sporting goods store for over five decades in a less-than-fashionable suburb of Chicago. By all accounts, the store enjoyed tremendous loyalty, and the reason seems clear: Mr. Hildebrand understood that he was in the business of making customers happy.
Archive for January, 2009
Yesterday I was driving to a client meeting in Chicago, and within the space of two blocks I passed two great examples of branding. The first was an optical shop I passed while driving on Division Street. The store’s name: d/vision. The logo was very cool, and the only assumption I could make based on a clever name and an attractive logo was that this store must have some very stylish designs. And when it’s time for me to shop for new specs, I won’t have any trouble remembering what street the store is on!
The other day a friend of mine said, “I love that new commercial where Lebron James joins the Cleveland Browns.” I then asked him, “Whose ad is that?”, and he was stumped. When I told him it was State Farm Insurance, he said, “Really? I’m seen it several times, and I had no idea it was a State Farm ad!”
It never ceases to amaze me how stupid smart people can be. Ty, Inc., the ultra-successful makers of the Beanie Babies, presumably has some pretty bright people running the show. But the way they have mishandled the controversy over the launch of their “Marvelous Malia” and “Sweet Sasha” dolls sets a new low in corporate ignorance and arrogance. And it puts a huge dent in Ty’s credibility and brand equity.
I’m a big fan of Go Daddy’s services. I use them for both of my websites as well as this blog. Their prices are extremely reasonable, and–amazingly–I virtually always get a live voice, within no more than a minute or two, whenever I call their support line.
I drive an Audi, and I love it. In fact, it gave me cause to create my first and only vanity plate: HAUDI. (It’s not so much a vanity plate as it is a friendly greeting to my fellow motorists!) But as smart as the folks at Audi are when it comes to designing cars, they just exercised some surprisingly poor judgment from a communications standpoint.
I was just bored to tears–once again–by a commercial I’ve seen seemingly thousands of times and yet don’t understand. It’s a State Farm commercial about fans anticipating and preparing for the upcoming Sunday NFL games. The inane lyrics say things like “Hey Mr. Sunday” and “Lookin’ kinda fun day”. Huh?!?! The spot ends with people in the stands holding cards forming the State Farm logo–I think. I qualify that last statement because–despite repeat exposure–I have only a hazy memory of this exceptionally unmemorable commercial.
In the spirit of giving credit where credit is due, I just saw an excellent commercial from a company I blasted in a recent posting: Burger King. The ad was for a new, apparently very hot-and-spicy sandwich called the “Angry Whopper”, and it’s superb. First of all, I love the product’s name. The word “angry” is unexpected, edgy, full of personality, and–to use my favorite word–provocative. The visual shots of the product look very appetizing, and the end of the spot–featuring a customer who has just taken a bite of his Angry Whopper filling his mouth under the ice machine–is not just funny but strategic. I love the fact that the last thing you see is a powerful reinforcement of the product’s #1 benefit.