Archive for June, 2011

Let’s Be Frank: Harris Bank’s Ads Are Off-Key

June 6th, 2011

The essence of effective branding is to have a good story to tell (i.e., good strategy) and to tell it well (i.e., good creativity).  Harris Bank’s TV campaign has neither.

Unfortunately, this is just one of thousands of campaigns that are wasting advertiser (and shareholder)  money.  The problem:  the advertiser either doesn’t offer any unique benefits, or it does but its agency doesn’t know what they are or how to convey them.

In the case of the Harris campaign, there is absolutely nothing being conveyed to make you think that this is a special bank.  The only spoken words–and they don’t appear until the very end–are, “You can see it.  Harris can help make it happen.”  Oh really? How?  What is it about Harris that makes it better able to help than the other thousand-plus banks I have to choose from?

And even if they did have a compelling reason for you to believe that the bank is special, you probably wouldn’t remember what bank they’re talking about.  You only hear its name twice, again at the end of the spot.  And  it’s not like there’s a dramatic build-up that has you sitting on the edge of your seat dying to learn who the advertiser is.

The only good thing about the campaign–and the only reason I noticed it in the first place–is that it features a song by one of my two favorite New Jersey-born singers.  Unfortunately, its lyrics  are  mostly irrelevant to the campaign’s ostensible message.  (“I’m so in love!” Seriously?)

Actually, next time Harris would be better off just playing a 30-second video of Frank Sinatra singing.  That wouldn’t tell us any less about the bank than we already know, and it might make us like them just a bit more.

The Ultimate Weiner Joke

June 2nd, 2011

If it’s true that politicians are the ultimate marketers, then Congressman Anthony Weiner of New York just might be the worst marketer in the country .  Mr. Weiner is getting exceptionally negative news coverage these days due to a compromising tweeted photo that he says (a)  may or may not be of him and (b) was tweeted from his Twitter account by a hacker.

If we assume for a moment that the pathetic photo is not of him, the congressmen must still be faulted for appearing to be guilty by :

  • Failing to notify the authorities that his account was hacked.
  • Failing to state “with certitude” that the photo is not of him.
  • Answering virtually every media question with a style so disingenuous and evasive that he comes across as an actor parodying the stereotypical dishonest politician.
  • Exhibiting an extremely testy and dislikable demeanor.

If, of course, it turns out that he is in fact the person  featured in the tweeted photo, the congressman is additionally guilty of being both a pig and a liar.

I have absolutely zero inside knowledge, but based solely on Congressman Weiner’s behavior in front of the cameras, there is no doubt in my mind that the photo is in fact of him, and that the reason he didn’t involve the authorities is that he knew that this would come out in an investigation.  I also suspect that as the facts come to light over the next few days, that Congressman Weiner will be forced to resign and that his political career will be over.

Anthony Weiner was considered to be a viable candidate for the post of Mayor of New York City in the next election.  If he is guilty of being “the man in the boxers,” then it’s good for New Yorkers that they realized now, rather than later, that he lacks the integrity required for the job.  And if it turns out he really is innocent as he claims, then the manner in which he’s botched this public relations nightmare demonstrates that he’s neither smart nor savvy enough for the job anyway.