Archive for February, 2012

Brooks Brothers’ President’s Day Promotion Dressed to the Nines

February 20th, 2012

Two criteria of a great promotion are that it be (a)  timely and (b) something that none of your competitors could pull off.  It’s hard to think of a much better example of that than this ad from Brooks Brothers, which was emailed to me on President’s Day.

Not only is it cool to be able to say that you’ve dressed 39 of 44 US presidents, it’s something that presumably only Brooks Brothers could say.  No matter what your political affiliation, there are bound to be at least a few names on the list that you admire.  In my case, I’m somewhat intrigued by the notion of wearing clothing from the same company that clothed Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt.

And their headline got me not only to write this blog post, but to check out Brooks Brothers website.

BTW, the 5 they didn’t dress are George Washington, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson (who were president before Brooks Brothers’ 1818 founding), and Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan.

I didn’t take my rating all the way up to the 14th floor only because they should have sent their e-blast a few days before President’s Day (a work day for me and many others).

Also, as smart as this promotion was,  I would like to have seen Brooks Brothers run more aggressively with it.  For example, I would have expected someone like the Wall Street Journal, Today or Good Morning America to have run a feature story on the “39 of 44 presidents” claim, but that wasn’t the case as far as I know.

Still, a tip of the top hat to a unique and clever idea.

Google’s Actions Betray Its Users and Its Brand

February 17th, 2012

“Google Inc. and other advertising companies have been bypassing the privacy settings of millions of people using Apple Inc.’s Web browser on their iPhones and computers—tracking the Web-browsing habits of people who intended for that kind of monitoring to be blocked.”

If you read that opening sentence from this Wall Street Journal article and had never heard of Google Inc. before, what would your impression of the company be?  Probably that it must be a sleazy, unethical, untrustworthy company with which you you never want to do business.

It’s been said that your brand isn’t defined by what you say but what you do.  If that’s true–and I think it is–then Google’s actions have put a significant dent in its brand equity.

This isn’t the first time Google has compromised its users’ privacy, and Facebook and others have been guilty of similar violations.  Perhaps the phenomenal success experienced by Google and Facebook has left their leaders feeling that they are someone immune from the ethical standards by which the rest of us play.  And, for the most part, their users do seem to have looked the other way rather taking these companies to task for their behavior.  I have to believe, however, that  sooner or later these serious ethical lapses are going to take a serious toll on the loyalty of their users and hence on the sky-high stock prices that Google and others command.

One of the many things Google does well is to creatively modify their logo to celebrate holidays and other special occasions.  I suggest that until they regain their ethical bearings, they modify their iconic “I feel lucky” tag to read “I feel violated.”

Target’s Grammy Ad Rates “21″ on a 10-Scale

February 14th, 2012

There was a lot of class and creativity on display on the recent Grammy Awards broadcast.  I was blown away by the performances of LL Cool J (who could not have set a more perfect tone as host), Jennifer Hudson, Bruce Springsteen, Bruno Mars, Taylor Swift, Paul McCartney and of course, the night’s biggest winner, the lovely and immensely talented Adele.  But the musicians weren’t the only ones whose creative brilliance was on display this night.  Equally impressive to me was this ad run by Target.

I find this ad to be brilliant on several levels:

  1. It was extremely entertaining to first hear the young bus-rider beautifully singing Adele’s powerful “Rolling in the Deep”, with her fellow bus-riders handling background vocals, and then to have her voice seamlessly segue into Adele’s.
  2. It very effectively sells the spectacular product being advertised–Adele’s “21″ CD.  (Anyone hearing this song who didn’t already own it and didn’t immediately plan to buy it needs to have his or her taste examined.)
  3. The placement of the ad couldn’t have smarter.  Adele had already won a few Grammys on the show, and she would go on to win all 6 awards for which she was nominated.  On top of that, only a few months after vocal chord surgery, she gave a powerful live performance of the already-iconic “Rolling in the Deep” that brought the house down.
  4. Target wasn’t just advertising a “commodity” product; its version of “21″ contains several songs that cannot be found on any other version.  Clearly, if you don’t already own “21″, this is the one to buy.

All in all, it’s hard to imagine a more intelligent piece of marketing.  I just regret that my ratings elevator only goes up to the 14th floor.