Archive for the ‘Advertising’ Category

Is the Future of Brand Building Mobile?

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

Over Thanksgiving my cousin and daughter talked up an iPhone and Android game called Angry Birds.  It’s a very simple game where you launch birds from slingshot to take out egg-stealing pigs hiding behind various structures. Simple in concept…and absolutely addictive.  Believe me.

On iPhone it sold something like 12 million copies for $.99 largely through viral word of mouth and has been the best selling app for many weeks. More interesting, from a brand-building perspective, the game is free on Android and supported by advertising.  The game’s maker Rovio is reportedly making approximately $1 million per month just from advertising and it has already hit over 8 million downloads.

The ads, for things like search engines or cosmetics, are pesky but since the game is so fun and addictive you just skip over them and keep playing. To be sure, you do notice them.  And, hey, if they keep the game free why not? Do they work? Probably too early to tell, but I were a media buyer and wanted to get eyeballs on my message, I would definitely not want to pass this one up.

As smartphones become more and more pervasive, 20 million downloads will seem like nothing. Future games will be in the 100s of millions of downloads globally – turning them into powerful vehicles for building brands. Rovio has cracked the code for how to do it with games.  In this video, put together by Google’s AdMob team, Rovio CEO Peter Vesterbacka offers some interesting insights on how it’s done. Is this the future?

The Power of Multichannel Marketing

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

The power of video gaining viral legs can create incredible visibility for a brand. One of my personal favorites – the Evian roller babies – brought this brand back to life for me after moving it to the passé section of my mind sometime in the 90s. However, even though I loved the video, I still haven’t been motivated to pick up a bottle. I just smile when I see the logo and pay heed to the creative talent who developed the video.


Interestingly, Evian started running the ads on TV a few months ago. Apparently the sales pipeline thinned out from the online push and they’re trying another approach.

This week, SymphonyIRI released the latest sales data for Old Spice body wash, the product that has risen to the number one most viewed video spot thanks to the muscular Isaiah Mustafa sending messages from the shower.

Bad news Mustafa – sales are down. Apparently these past four weeks, the campaign has been running without a corresponding coupon, leaving consumers less motivated to purchase. Sales have dropped 30-33 percent since the buy one, get one free sales promotion ended, giving Mustafa quite a bit less muscle on his own.

This serves as an important reminder that motivating target audiences to take action requires more than an entertaining video. Today, capturing a consumer’s attention takes a minimum of 3-5 touch points from multiple sources. Companies must create 360 degree campaigns which reach their targets in all the places they are engaged — media, blogs, point of purchase, social networks, online video sites, events, etc.  And there has to be a compelling call to action and/or incentive. For the general consumer, coupons are particularly hot right now as the recession has conditioned us to look for ways to save.

Regardless of your target audience, the importance of having a multichannel marketing plan is imperative. A one legged stool just won’t stand up. Unless of course your only goal is to be the number one viewed video and have people smile at your water bottles. And let’s not forget – viral isn’t a given, so even this goal has no guarantee.

What brands do you think are the best success stories when it comes to multi-channel marketing? Failures?

The Power of Massive Hype

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

The Wall Street Journal today is reporting that the vast majority of Toyota accidents were the result of…driver error. Not sticky brake pedals:

The U.S. Department of Transportation has analyzed dozens of data recorders from Toyota Motor Corp. vehicles involved in accidents blamed on sudden acceleration and found that the throttles were wide open and the brakes weren’t engaged at the time of the crash, people familiar with the findings said.

The early results suggest that some drivers who said their Toyotas and Lexuses surged out of control were mistakenly flooring the accelerator when they intended to jam on the brakes.

What’s even more fascinating is how the grievance count suddenly shot up once people heard about the problem. Actually, we didn’t just hear about it, but were barraged by a non-stop, relentless news cycle involving electronic media, print and online media outlet and social media buzz.  Did the hype – not problems with Toyota – lead to the jump in complaints?  I’d say that looks like a pretty safe assumption.

toyota grievences

A similar case of hype leading to mass hysteria is the latest (albeit flawed) Apple iPhone.  While it’s a nice device, there is very little that’s truly new or groundbreaking. If you already have an iPhone or an Android device, there’s not much reason to run right out and buy one.  The rational response would be to hold off until your natural upgrade cycle comes around.

The irrational response, fueled by months of breathless expectation by media and bloggers, along with Steve Jobs’ showmanship at launch, resulted in the thousands upon thousands of people waiting in line to drop down their hard-earned money on a device virtually the same as what they already have. Say what? My take, is the hype created a form of temporary insanity on a mass level, perhaps akin to the way mobs work.

Another example is designer handbags among teenage girls. Although somewhat tempered of late by the recession, my daughter went through a phase where she simply had to have expensive purses.  Working a minimum wage job, she would save pennies to get the latest Dooney & Bourke offering. I would see her purses and just couldn’t understand why she along with many other teenage girls would pay so much for what amounted to a fancy label. Hype and peer pressure are the only explanations.

As a PR person, I’m aware of the influence of hype and therefore largely resistant to its influence.  I counseled friends to buy Toyotas when the sales crashed earlier this year, and tend to avoid overhyped, overpriced Apple products.

But I am fascinated by the incredible power of hype to shape people’s behavior.

To no small degree, this is what marketing, advertising and PR people dream about and strategize endlessly to achieve. Get enough hype, and you have just hit the lottery.  So what’s the magic formula?  Still working on that one, but I’ll let you know once I figure it out.

Using Your Industry Leadership

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

Ok, so I don’t mean to be on a blogging rut focused on analyzing advertisements but I saw this commercial a few days ago and it struck me as an example of a smart way to use your industry leadership. In one of their latest commercials Lysol is positioning one of their employees as a key spokesperson. He’s not just any employee but Joe Rubino, the Director of Microbiology for Lysol Products. He introduces himself and then proceeds to give tips on how to kill the H1N1 virus in your home … oh and by the way…one of the tips is to use Lysol disinfectant spray and cloths.

My first thought is, “Wow, so Lysol has a Director for Microbiology? That’s pretty cool!” And then my second thought is, “Wow, so they care enough to show consumers how to make sure their home is safe from the H1N1 virus?” This ad represents a good example of how to not only use but to substantiate your position as a leader within your industry. Lysol is not only reinforcing their leadership position but also coming across as experts who really care about the consumer. They are doing this by not being in the consumer’s face about how great their product is, but by using a strategy of offering helpful tips on how to keep your home safe.

Where Lysol is missing the mark – and maybe this campaign has been out for a while and I missed it – is in timing. H1N1 is very close to becoming irrelevant. The threat is still there but nothing like it was a few months ago. Lysol may still be within the window, but much of the impact from an effective campaign is being lost with the onset of spring and the decline in flu virus. Well there’s always next year…

Super Bowl XLIV Ads a Wise Investment

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

Committing to buying a spot in the Super Bowl is always a big risk due to the vast sums of money at stake.  For those with the wherewithal to pull it off, a big splash around the Super Bowl may generate more buzz than a year’s worth of mediocrity.

The year’s game, featuring one of football’s biggest stars in Peyton Manning and the feel good story of the past year in the New Orleans Saints, was the most watched TV show in the United States ever with 106.5 million viewers.  With all the entertainment options people have now compared to when the previous record was set by the MASH finale in 1983, this is an amazing accomplishment.  (more…)

The Advertising Superbowl

Friday, February 5th, 2010

Ok, I know there’s a football game going on as well, but for me, it’s all about the commercials. Anyone remember the Bud Bowls of the late ‘80s-early 90’s? I see the unveiling of these multimillion commercials, that often represent an entire year’s worth of advertising budget, as the biggest event of the year. I love watching the commercials in real-time but I will also Tivo the Superbowl and then fast forward through the game to get to the commercials. I wonder if anyone else does that since it probably does seem to be a bit backward. Ok ok, “My name is Stephanie and I’m a total advertising/marketing nerd.”

When I started my PR career, I was taught to always ask the question…why? So… why are these companies investing in this type of advertising campaign now? Why did they choose the Superbowl? Why did they take this direction with their commercial? Why are the putting all their eggs in one basket with this huge multi-million dollar commercial? Why did the choose the spokesperson/actor they did? Why, Why Why?? And the after all the why’s…I’m dying to know…how are they going to follow this up? What’s their plan to leverage and continue the momentum started with this commercial? Will they engage social media strategies and if not…why? Yes, lots of questions! I know!!

So anyway, come Sunday…I’ll be eagerly watching the Superbowl…but I’ll be the only one getting snacks during the game, so I can be at full attention for the commercials!

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