Friday, December 31, 2010

Ready Made New Year's Resolutions

Why bother trying to come up with meaningful (and creative!) New Year's Resolutions when you can simply choose from the company that makes a living off resolutions all year round?

Presenting the most powerful of its branding tools, the Lululemon Manifesto:

Go ahead! Pick one for 2011.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Holidays Bo, the Obama Dog!

Generally, I'm not fond of email marketing.

With all the ease of personalization online, nobody still seems to have gotten the message that emails should be customized for the client, and not just one standard email blast to everybody on the mailing list. (I'm looking at you American Eagle; I don't care men's jeans are on sale; don't email me!)

But the White House emails have it right, without even having to customize.

  • They send it only about once a month or so.
  • The messages are general enough to apply to everyone. Mostly "universal" values like family, healthy lifestyles, hard work, helping each other are presented, and political agendas (where differences arise) as well as issues relating to particular groups (race agendas, senior's issues etc) are avoided.
  • They are always personally signed by Mr. or Mrs. Obama or Biden, depending on the topic. Sure, I know the President isn't sitting there, writing me an email, but it's nice to have "Barack Obama" under "Sender" in my inbox.

A nice example of this is the holiday greeting I got from them this morning:

Good morning,
The holiday season is one of my favorite times of year at the White House. The White House truly feels like the “People’s House,” as folks of all ages from across the country pass through the halls enjoying the beautiful d├ęcor and celebrating the history here at every turn. More than 100,000 visitors will come to the White House this holiday season, and we wanted to give everyone a chance to share in the magic of the White House during the holidays. This year’s White House theme, Simple Gifts, is a celebration of the simple things that bring joy during the holidays, like spending time with family and friends and serving those in need in our communities.  And it’s a reminder to us all, particularly in these trying times, that some of the greatest gifts in our lives are those that don’t cost a thing. On behalf of Barack, Malia, Sasha, and Bo, I wish you and your family a very happy and healthy holiday season. 
Michelle Obama

First Lady of the United States 

Aw! Happy Holidays to you too Bo and the Obamas! And my readers of course! =)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Stealth Up-Selling

In my vast experience as a shopper, I have seen many tricks for "upselling." Suggesting, hinting, cajoling, discounting- it goes on.

The other day at Footlocker though, really stuck with me.

We were buying a pair of running shoes. When the employee got the right size for us, he let my cousin try the right shoe on- as is.

For the left shoe on, he had already stuck on an insole (worth $19.99) while he was still in the back. He did not mention anything about it to us. But as soon as my cousin tried the left shoe on, he could FEEL the difference.

Of course, he asked why the left one felt better. The salesperson, conveniently waiting for this question, launched into an explanation of the awesomeness of the insole.

Needless to say, we bought the insoles with the shoes.

Letting the customer experience the difference- the product benefits- without acting like it is an "upsell" - can be much more effective.

Thank you for the photos in this post.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The New Agora

What are people buying online?
It turns out, absolutely everything.
And in larger quantities often than in store.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Mmmm..The fragrance

Personally, I've always thought vodka smelled and tasted the equivalent of nail polish remover. That's the reason people "chase," mix, or hold their breath, isn't it?

Chambord, the gods of fancy black raspberry liquer, recently introduced their Black Raspberry Flavoured Vodka. From the one time I've tasted it, it was heavenly and even the smell wasn't too bad.

But then I got this, in my September issue of Marie Claire:

To market their vodka, Chambord took a page out of the eau de parfum books. With the regular ad, they included a little "peel to smell" section. While it looks a lot like a beautiful perfume bottle, it doesn't have the same fragrance.

Yes, it smelt like black raspberries, but it obviously also smelt like vodka... which... isn't too appealing. In fact, my entire magazine had a bitter, alcoholic, hard-night-of-partying feel to it the rest of the time.

The smell of pure vodka isn't necessarily something I want to think about when looking at such a pretty ad.

I guess neither did others, because in my October issue, Chambord had taken out that section and replaced it with delicious black raspberry vodka related recipes.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Comcast Uses Twitter Much Better than Me

Everybody knows I've been bitching non-stop about having to start a Twitter account for class.
I've never really seen the purpose behind Twitter, the value of the connections, or how I can really use it besides writing annoying posts about every detail of my life all day long.

However, I just read about the coolest Twitter page ever (and it's old news, but new to me):

Comcast, a Rogers type company in the USA, has a Twitter account where they constantly monitor the conversation people are having about Twitter. Comcast waits for  complaints to come by, and just like a regular customer service line, they help solve the problem for the customer via Tweets.

Purpose? Hell yea. Value of the connections they make? Yes. Innovative use of Twitter? Of course.

Not to mention, the power of having these public conversations in front of a live Twitter audience all the time. Unlike phone calls, now everybody can see how great you are at customer service.

And of course, being able to turn disgruntled customers into brand champions, as their Twitter accounts are now full of Comcast related conversation.

Why isn't everybody doing this?

Monday, September 20, 2010

"Warning: Sideways Design May Blow Your Mind"

The folks at my favorite magazine says "Warning: Sideways Design May Blow Your Mind" on the topic of this week's Rethink issue. And they're right.

It blew my mind.

For months, my Maclean's subscription came looking like the one on the left:

And suddenly, this week's copy, with a theme of "the people and ideas that are changing everything" came with a completely changed cover (pictured right).

Landscape, instead of portrait!

What a brilliant way for a magazine to get cheap, quick and easy consumer attention!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Nissan Melts Consumer Hearts

A reader and dear friend shared this ad with me today:

Do-good-feel-good, cause marketing AND cute, cuddly things!

It's quite an emotional-advertising punch.

And while the ethics, the science, and the psychological bribery might all be questionable, it is without a doubt highly effective:

I will forever get warm fuzzy feelings about Nissan.

Like it?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Talking Like the Pros

I found this floating around the web:

My thoughts, though:
If advertising talked to people the way they talk to each other, nothing would sell.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Leave Maslow Alone!

My best friend recently showed me an article, describing how, a team of psychologists released an updated version of Maslow's hierarchy of needs:

Parenting and finding/keeping mate? That's it? Where did self-actualization ("man's desire for become everything that one is capable of becoming.") go?

Do we spend billions on entertainment products, craft supplies, hobby equipment, technological gadgets, music, books...and not be interesting in self-actualization anymore?

Simply telling people they should just throw all this out the window, stay home, mate and make babies... is not a revised, updated version of Maslow, it's a pre-Maslow, outdated mindset of the world. 

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Take A Break, Overworked Americans!

Royal Carribean, a cruise company, has recently come up with the following marketing campaign:

The ad is based on really interesting research that finds that yearly, 459 million vacation days are wasted because people don't take up on them. 

It's clever because Royal Carribean has figured out one of the key causes that people do not  use their services and they are going to convince people otherwise first.

This type of "obstacle removing marketing" has to convince us to change our habits/thoughts/ideas first, and only then can we consider the product.

It is a very difficult thing to do, considering people's dislike to changing anything so the campaign has to be really, really convincing.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Why we buy expensive $#!T

I've just finished reading a really interesting book on fashion marketing, and one of the key ideas I came away with from it is that the reason people enjoy purchasing specific brands has changed over the years.

In the 80s and 90s, you would buy a fancy handbag or an expensive shirt, and really want the brands and logos plastered all over it. This is because this was the days of "showing off," and brands were a signal to other people of your wealth and success.

Louis Vuitton, famous for plastering its logo all over, has these "non-logo-ed" bags in their Fall '10 collection.

In the 21st century though, it's starting to be "tacky" to be a walking billboard. Instead, we are onto the time of "personal satisfaction," where a subtle, expensive item (with no visible logo) give us satisfaction because we are internally excited that we can afford to own it

It helps our self-esteem, gives us a "boost" to walk around with it, even if other people have no idea.

The book doesn't give reasons for this, but I can think of a few:

  • The 90s witnessed the "individualistic" generation, with a push for "be who you want to be" ideas, which is against the face of identical logos on all products
  • This individualistic idea also spread to a move towards "mixing and matching," where people would no longer dress head-to-toe in the same brand. They would wear many brands, and this made the logo idea look over the top, with too many logos on one person.
  • There has been the new idea of "affordable luxuries," with people "treating" themselves to cheap luxuries such as fancy coffee, expensive lingerie, a branded hair band etc. This gets people used to the idea of "personal satisfaction" and they can then apply it to bigger purchases. 
  • The new millennium has really brought issues of social justice to the floor, and showing such "loud" support for the Big Guys can be seen as politically incorrect.

Whatever the reasons, to me, it seems somehow a nicer reason to buy expensive things. =)

Thank you for the pictures.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Gluing Together Opposite Ideas!

Here's my recent favorite print ad campaign, from Gorilla Super Glue. Gorilla, it seems, can even glue together powerful ideas that are polar opposites in today's society. This clever theme, requiring little graphical work, and boldly capturing attention, seems to be destined for awesomeness. Simplicity of a powerful idea.

Check them out for yourselves. What do you think?

Thank you adsoftheworld for the photos.

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Joneses: Selling "The Perfect Family" Brand

I just watched this a little known movie from 2009 called the Joneses.

It's about the "perfect family" that move into a new neighborhood- except it turns out that they are not a real family. They are simply a new marketing vehicle used by companies to market products.

"They're not just living the American Dream. They're selling it."

Word-of-mouth advertising has always been one of the most effective. 

Opinion leaders are the new big thing in marketing. 

It has given rise to all sorts of new marketing techniques: whether it be the celebrity casually wearing a certain brand, or bloggers that get free goods to try and write about their opinions.

This movie takes it one step further, by posing the idea that an "average family" using their "cool factor" for marketing. An innovative, albeit slightly scary idea. 

What do you think?

Is this our future here? 

Sunday, August 22, 2010


In the summer of 2008, there was an explosion of a certain type of blog posts. The most famous was David Archey's 33 Logos in 33 Minutes, where he photographed the 33 brands that announced themselves as soon as he woke up.

It quickly became really popular, hundred of bloggers announcing the brands that surround them, with variations like Creative's Beef's humorous Friday Night in Brands and the Marketing Student's Branded Day in the Life of a Gen Y. Of course, this was social commentary, but I couldn't help but notice that many bloggers received praise for being around local, organic brands instead of the "big guns."

The message here, in all obviousness:
Welcome to a "brandwashed" society.