Archive for April, 2011

T-Mobile Rates an “L” for “Laziness” (and “Lobby”)

April 29th, 2011

When I was in my late twenties, I was a Marketing Director for a very large family-owned consumer products company.  The septuagenarian owner/CEO of the company, while an absolutely brilliant businessman, had a hard time appreciating truly novel, breakthrough marketing ideas.  Instead, he preferred what he considered to be the “safety” of knocking off marketing ideas that appeared to be successful for other companies.  Once, in the middle of an important meeting, he took a competitor’s magazine ad out of his suit pocket and asked, “Why can’t we do this?” I responded, “With all due respect, sir, because they’re already doing it.”

I can’t prove it, but I have a hunch that the CEO or VP Marketing of T-Mobile recently asked their ad agency, “Why can’t we do advertising like Apple?” And the result is this shameful knockoff of Apple’s classic “Mac and PC” ad campaign.  I’ve seen several ads from this campaign, and I can’t recall a single thing these ads have said.  I’m too busy wishing I were watching a “Mac and PC” ad…and thinking that I would never patronize a company that can’t think for itself.

Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but in marketing, it’s also the surest sign of creative and strategic laziness.

Oh My! Lord & Taylor Leverages Its Name Brilliantly!

April 28th, 2011

Here’s my first criterion for a classic ad campaign:  if you take your brand out and insert a competitive brand in its place,  the campaign doesn’t work nearly as well.

On that count, the new ad campaign for Lord & Taylor knocks it out of the park (or at least the mall).  “Oh My Bloomingdale’s!” just doesn’t resonate like “Oh My Lord & Taylor!”

What’s more, the inherent drama of the “Oh My Lord” phrase piques your curiosity and begs the question, “What’s all the excitement about?”

Of course, none of this will matter if Lord & Taylor doesn’t deliver on the implication that its offerings will really wow the customer.  But assuming that there’s substance to match the style, then it’s fair to say that this “Oh My!” campaign is perfectly “taylored” for its brand.

Miller Lite Campaign Lite on Humor…and Intelligence

April 27th, 2011


It’s hard to believe that Miller Lite was once supported by one of the most humorous and effective advertising campaigns in history.  Sadly, that was the 1970s, and since then the quality of this brand’s advertising has plummeted along with its share of the light beer market.

Their latest campaign–based on a “Liteguard Training” theme–might represent a new low for the brand.  I defy you to watch this and find anything that makes you smile, let alone laugh out loud.

More important, the campaign is as devoid of  logic as it is humor.  As with prior ads like “Skinny Jeans”, the campaign suggests that other light beer drinkers don’t care about taste, and that they need to “man up” by drinking Miller Lite.  This is absurd on two levels.  First, no man–even a light beer drinker–would admit to not caring about taste.  Second, no one who has ever tasted Miller Lite would describe it as having a lot of flavor.  Does it have a teeny bit more than some other light beers?  Perhaps.  But enough more to base a marketing strategy on?  Hardly.

I’m a big fan of humor in advertising if the humor is used to reinforce a smart marketing strategy.  I’d love to see Miller Lite’s agency give that a shot.

While they’re at it, I’d also love to see them use humor that is, you know, humorous.