Advertising

    New Cadillac Spots

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    I wrote Friday about the new Cadillac campaign, sight seen. My qualm was actually with the quote by Publicis’ CEO who intimated image, not car sales, was the point of the work.  I get image. It’s an important got-to-have, but it’s not the primary reason for advertising. Image and an on-brand strategy message are imperatives. Not, however, at the cost of selling.

    The Cadillac ad I watched last night on the Oscars was lovely. Of the time. Its heart was in the right place. The product manager/client made the agency show, at least, some old Cadillac cars. But how hard would it have been to show a new model at the end of the spot? Even grayed out a bit? As mentioned Friday, Cadillac’s challenge the past couple of years has been inelegant car designs. Not showing the new model car almost makes me feel, it’s still a challenge.

    Then Cadillac ran another ad introducing the Escala. (Watch the second commercial on YouTube link above.) It’s product first. Product forward. And the car design is huge. Exhilarating.  These two execution could have ben combined a la the “Imported From Detroit” spot from years ago. That would have been some ad craft.

    Peace.

     

    Proof In Advertising.

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    Advertising isn’t ineffective because it’s a dying medium, it’s ineffective because it’s ineffective. Good branding is about “Claim and Proof.” Advertising, an important, controllable means of branding, needs to follow the same “Claim and Proof” dictum.

    Toyota, a company playing defense peppered with catch-up promotions, ran an ad in The New York Times paper paper today – a perfect example of badvertising.  All claim, no proof. Here’s the copy:

    No matter who you are or what you drive, everyone deserves to be safe. Which is why the Star Safety SystemTM is standard on all our new vehicles – no matter what model or trim level.  It’s a combination of five advanced safety features that help keep you in control and out of harm’s way.  Toyota is the first full-line manufacturer to make the features of the Star Safety SystemTM standard on all vehicles.  Because at Toyota, we realizes nothing is more important to you than your safety.

    I forgot the headline and I only read it 10 seconds ago. The call to action, where one might actually find the proof, is prominently displayed below the copy — Toyota.com/safety. This ad is one expensive call to action and a lot less.  Fail!

    Who is at Fault?

    I’m not sure who is responsible for this $20,000 piece of “we’re here” advertising but everyone is to blame. The creative person who said “People don’t read long copy.” The strategist who approved it, the client who agreed and paid for it. Frankly, The New York Times should be ashamed. Isn’t someone over there watching this stuff?

    This business is easy: Find a great claim and support it with compelling proof. Compelling proof. Compelling proof. Compelling proof. Peace!

    A Google+ ad.

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    Google published a nice usable ad in the New York Times today, the visual for which is the oft used name tag with the line “Hello My Name is Dave.”  The copy started off with a little explanation of how cumbersome it would be if every time you met someone you had to tell them your name, age and where you are from.   So with heads nodding the copy goes on to suggest this would also be cumbersome every time you visited a website.  The solution, says Google, are cookies:  “tiny little crumbs of stored information to remember your previous visits.”  Doesn’t sound so bad.  And for those who don’t know what a cookie is, it’s a nice little explanation.  My mom would understand this (if she could find the URL bar.)

    In a time when privacy (which rhymes with piracy) is extremely topical, this simplified, non-judgmental explanation of cookies is, as the Brits say, quite lovely. The copy explains cookies can be shut off and provides a link to other information about privacy.  (Google Chrome has some elegant solutions, btw.)

    Google knows so much and now they seem to have conquered the science of advertising. Simple is better. One idea at a time.  Engage.  Leaders educate and this ad demonstrates both qualities.  Another Google +. Peace.

    Frank’s Red Hot Sauce

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    There is a radio campaign I’ve been hearing lately for Frank’s Hot Sauce – it’s actually red hot sauce, but my ears don’t hear it that way – and I absolutely love it.  There are snippets of video on the website which suggest the campaign may be on TV but I haven’t seen it.

    You can’t miss the radio.  It’s typical actor product banter but punctuated by line “I put that bleep on everything.”  Whatever word you think is bleeped out is up to you, but you just know it starts the “shhh” and rhymes with “hit”.  The line is delivered by a granny-sounding actress and you can’t help but giggle (out loud). Even moms of the Southern Christian Right have to twinkle a wee bit.

    The strategy is straight forward – use Frank’s on more dishes in more dayparts – but the humor is wonderfully disruptive.  It’s the best radio out there. For me, though, the jury’s still out on the TV. If the website videos are representative I think the TV will fall short.  The acting performance isn’t the same.  The surprise isn’t there.  And it almost demeans the radio. As a branding idea, I don’t see it translating in print either.  But enough darts, the radio is killer.

    If you know the agency and the creative minds behind the work, please share.   I smell a Mercury Award. Peace!  

    Insure Product Meaning

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    Yesterday I Tweeted the question “Does anyone know what the Discount Double Check is?” Everyone has heard of it; it’s all over TV.  Especially on NFL football. Aaron Rodger’s who mimes putting on a championship belt after touchdowns has sold the little dance to Allstate Insurance who has paired it with some double check insurance option and uses that as a differentiator.  I’m so interested in the humor (or lack of it), I’ve yet to figure out what the product feature means. Perhaps you do. What are we double checking and how does it work? 

    It only took AFLAC half a decade to move beyond its quacking name-onic brand device until the advertising explained to customers that AFLAC is insurance that pays out if you are hurt on the job.   

    In both cases we knew what the company IS but not what the product DOES. They both fail the Is-Does test. The first test of marketers, and I know it sounds fundamental and silly, is to get the Is-Does out of the way. So all you self-described lifestyle brands out there, that’s way too inside baseball. It’s too markobabble. Get your Is-Does right.

    Peace.

     

    How to build a brand.

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    bosch ad

    Bosch is a brand I’m familiar with on a couple of levels. First I know the name, so that means I’ve seen it on product, in retail and probably advertising.  Second, I have brand associations, but across a couple of types of products: brakes come to mind, automotive products, some speakers.  So it seems Bosch is some sort of conglomerate… like GE. Also they feel European.

    But about 2 or 3 years ago, Bosch started advertising in my the newspaper, The New York Times. I don’t recall seeing Bosch on TV, in radio or online, just the Times.  And they have kept up the media pressure. With drumbeats. The ads are all focused on kitchen appliances. I wasn’t aware they were in that business. And the appliances are beautiful.  No skimping on the photography costs here. I cannot recite a headline or copy points, though these ads are burned into my memory. Product as hero, at its best. Here’s what I know and feel thanks to the advertising: the product design is spectacular, the engineering way above average (that’s what good industrial design will earn you) and the appliances quiet and efficient. Most important, they are now in my consideration set where once they weren’t.

    I am not a fan of awards ads and today Bosch ran one about customer satisfaction with their dishwashers.  It was a prudent choice to wait so long to do an awards ad.

    The seer in me says, Bosch is gaining in market share and the blocking and tackling they are doing – beyond excellent product design – is the cause. Old school. Peace in the New Year.

     

    Data Chunking.

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    Omnicom and Publicis agreed over the weekend to merge.  Como se unexpected? The story even made front page of The New York Times. The spin was all about big data. More people, more devices, more messages. And the best way to reach all these things is through smart use of earned, owned and rented data.

    Data companies are finding new and exciting ways to track people. And it’s only just beginning. Home thermostat apps can indicate when a person is at home, road side cameras can log when a license place passes a dinner, voice activation apps can capture when a body needs a sushi fix.

    When I pitch Twitch Point Planning to marketers and their agents I explain the offer in three words: understand, map and manipulate.  Big data feeds the understand and map components. Capture and organize data.  But as David Droga rightly says in the article on the merger (last para.), someone has to do something smart with the data. (When everyone has the understand and map tools, data will just become a commodity.) And that’s the subtext not covered in the Times article. Ad agencies are best at creating the manipulative message. Not bad manipulation, but good. Important. Heartfelt and personal. Dare I say poetic.

    I agree that marketers will do understand and map in-house. But the manipulation part, they can’t do well. For this, even for a one-on-one mobile phone ad, they need professionals. If you want to follow the money, this merger is about good old fashion creative, not chunking data. It bodes well for agencies of all size and stripe. Peace! 

    Creative that sells.

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    Not sure where I first heard the phrase “creative that sells” but it stuck with me.  Obviously, the first definition relates to selling marketer’s goods and services. It’s what marketers do: create words, pictures, sounds and motion that inspire feelings and actions to move product. But another definition of “creative that sells” exists — and it relates to agencies making a profit. An agency that puts 100 hours into developing a piece of TV, print or digital creative that doesn’t sell to the client is an agency that has to do it again. That inability to sell creative the first time out costs agencies money…and rep.  Unfortunately, creative that does sell the first time out is often safe creative. Repackaged creative. Repurposed, even borrowed creative. It feels familiar because it is familiar.

    Creative that sells (first definition) differs from creative that sells (second definition) in that the former is “wild yet fitting.”  It moves product because it is untamed and unique but appropriate when offering up claim and proof. Conversely, off the shelf creative and/or wild creative that is not fitting sells to clients but not to consumers. Great creative people know this. Great creative people know when to throw a fish back into the ocean.  It may be a great fish, just not for today. Sadly, there are a lot of seine net operators out there and it’s hurting both marketing and agencies. When an idea is right, for the right reasons, and sustains all parties, it will sell. By both definitions.

    Coming soon. Mass Communications Atomize.

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    There’s a nice piece in the NYT today by Farhad Manjoo about the evolution of luxury apps to apps that end up being affordable over time once scale is created. One example cited is Munchery, who with enough orders and resources, hopes to deliver healthier food to consumers close to the cost of junk food. Ish. The ability for scale to reduce cost is a promise of the interwebs.

    In this world, we resource and massify what is produced, yet individualize what is delivered. At scale. Logistics, as Uber likes to say, is a nice living.

    Mass communications have for decades been produced and sold in bulk. Direct marketing tried to individualize, but really only segmented. The creators of advertising have never really tried to individualize marketing communications, yet today data collection and analysis and digital content are bringing us many steps closer. The individualized creative product is still pretty awful and way too expensive. Even at retail, belly to belly selling is static; a couple of selling points used for every customer.

    We have a long way to go. With new tools like NFC (check out the promise of Invisible Media) and single user identifier not too far away, personalized selling will improve greatly. Then, so will creative. Ad agencies will have to become more fluid.

    As this happens selling will atomize – and brand strategy become more important. An organizing principle for a brand built upon what a product does well and what a customer wants most, will be the only staple.

    Peace.