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Nike is parting ways with 11 top executives in the face of an employee survey pointing to sexual harassment in the workplace. Facebook is reorganizing into three divisions to put senior management eyes closer to the work areas that have been a little lax in the security department. It seems that firing and reorganizing are the reflexive methods of apologizing for public company problems. Other typical tactics include NYT and WSJ apology letter ads and training days (see Starbucks).
Customer-facing business change is best served cold. Not right away. Business change needs to be properly thought out. Not knee-jerk. Poorly thought out change can be more disastrous than the disaster. Nike needs to live its shame for a while. As does Facebook. They need to publish and discuss what they’ve found and how they are going to deal with it. Most PR people will tell you to do something quick and put it to bed. I disagree. Companies need to spend more time living, learning and grieving. Glossing over big mistakes is a big mistake.
Act like a human and you can come back from it. Endure the shame, study it, heal – then move on.
Tags: facebook, nike, nyt, pr disaster, starbucks, whats the idea, whatstheidea, WSJ
Consumption of full sugar drinks is down 25% and Coca-Cola is feeling it. Michael Bloomberg take a bow. It was front page news in the NYT today that Coca-Cola is getting behind a pig push to reduce obesity and they’re doing so by educating people that the main culprit in obesity is inactivity. They’ve started a group called GEBN, which is an acronym for GEBN. Their PR peeps are pushing hard, taking the obesity, which leads to diabetes, very seriously. It’s good business.
If you’d read What’s The Idea? before you know I follow Coke and cut my teeth in the business thinking about their big brand idea REFRESHMENT – an idea a decade ago replaced by “happiness,” a non endemic money suck. Well, refreshment plays to the new Coke PR idea of #physicalactivity in spades. Yes one can be refreshed by simply sitting in the sun and dehydrating, but the best refreshment comes from activity. So does the best narrative.
The NFL “Play 60” is behind activity, certainly Nike is… but no one owns the “peak experience” moment (and product) Coke does.
I love that Coke wants to finds inactivity and obesity. It’s part of their core brand promise. But it doesn’t have to be a PR onslaught or lackluster Twitter campaign, it can be just good old advertising.
Tags: Cokes old new idea, fighting obesity GEBN, michale bloomberg, NFL play 60, nike, peal experience, PR campaign for cokes fight against obesity, whats the idea, whatstheidea
Coca-Cola, one of the world’s great marketers, is in a category under attack. I love the brand but don’t love what it does to consumers who misuse the product. That is, drink it in excess while living a sedentary lifestyle. Those who make sure the calories that go in are negated by the calories burned are those with healthy body sizes.
Coke ran a print ad today suggesting 4 ways to mitigate its high sugar, high calorie sodas. 1. Offer low calorie beverages. 2. Provide proper nutritional labeling, 3. Help people get moving and excercise, and 4. Don’t advertising to kids.
The traditional Coke bran plan — Wieden+Kennedy and current brand management aside — has always been about refreshment. (Happiness is the new idea is happiness.) Refreshment is best served in video and print when it’s hot out. Active sports people used to be ownable, not so much anymore; thanks to Nike and Under Armour and hundreds of other marketers. Frolicking on beaches and at picnics, were good refreshment images. Bright sunny days.
Coke can use its advertising today in a more positive way if it focuses on refreshment — showing scenarios of active people exerting themselves. That should be a fundamental brand plank. Enough flowers pooping more flowers and musical whimsy choreographing beetles. Coke refreshes. It is best when refreshing people who are fit, who crave refreshment and exert themselves. Or who at least aspire to exert themselves.
Coke is growing outside the US because in developing countries people don’t overeat. They walk and do manual labor. Come on man! Let’s get back to why people need Coke, not sell it based upon what shareholders need. Peace!
Tags: Advertising, coca cola, coke, coke brand management, coke brand managers, coke’s happiness campaign, nike, refreshment, soda marketing, under armour, whats the idea, whatstheidea, wieden+kennedy
Do you have a favorite sneaker brand? What is it and why.
I love Converse Chuck Taylor All-Stars, though I have to look to see how you spell Taylor. Black, high tops. I like the style, the weight, the cost and for me they are a roots product. As for my basketball sneakers, frankly Scarlett I don’t give a damn. Probably more often than not I buy Nike, but that is more a function of what’s at the store. I want to pay $50-100, I want them to last and not smell after a few months (good luck with that) but my allegiances are not strong.
I watch a lot of sports. You’d think the advertising would have made an impression on me. I recognize the Michal Jordan logo and like Michael Jordan. That said, I have no interest in buying his shoes over any other. That’s like 50 billion dollars of advertising later. Why am I not a Nike or Jordan fan? You tell me. I suppose it is because they have not built anything meaningful in to the design, and patented it, that I care to invest in. They have a great creative shop in Wieden+Kennedy. The ad craft is wonderful (I still love Mars Blackman) however there is nothing as a consumer I can tell you from a product standpoint that differentiates the sneaker beside the logo. (Not like nfinity with its “designed for women” cheerleading sneaker, for instance.)
Do you have a favorite sneaker? If so, please tell me why. Peace!
Tags: air Jordan, cheerleading sneaker, chick taylors, converse chuck taylor all-stars, mars blackman, Michael Jordan, nfinity, nike, roots product, Sneaker brands, whats the idea, whatstheidea, wieden+kennedy
Under Armour is introducing two new sneaker designs (May I call them sneakers?) this week in an attempt to increase its share of the $22B athletic footwear (sneakers) market. A market, by the way, that was only about $3B in 1993. The TV campaign handled by Twofifteen McCann and Digiteria for digital offers a lot of smart tactics: the director of Friday Night Lights, a YouTube takeover to reach the younger buyers, limited distribution to build demand, Cam Newton, and an idea that ties sneakers to sports action – Footsteps. As smart as these tactics are, they feel like a pastiche of forced-together marketing tools from an Effie Awards Annual. I suspect they will work, however.
First and foremost though, one must ask if footwear is a business Under Armour wants to be in. I say no. And I’ve said so before in WTI. Sunglasses? No as well. UA founder Kevin Plank, in his heart knows this. He owns a franchise that is now being diluting. You can’t keep sticking the same tea bag in new water. The company already owns fast twitch muscle, form fitting wicking shirts but will lose that ownership as it takes its eyes off the ball. Wicking sneaker tops? Not so sexy. Lindsey Vonn. Oh yeah.
Mr. Plank’s next move should be into form fitting shorts and shirts for the fashion conscious market. Leave the kicks to Nike. Or start a new footwear endemic company This is one brand extension that might sell some shoes near term, but is going to turn Under Armour into a brand in decline overall. And it’s sad. Stop playing with feet! Peace.
(Picture from NY Times.)
Tags: digiteria, Effie awards, Friday night lights, kevin plank, Lindsey vonn, marketing tactics, nike, sports marketing, twofifteen mccann, under armour, whats the idea, whatstheidea, wti
I don’t see action sports being a good fit for Nike, even though its a nice revenue stream today. According to a New York Times article today, the segment is underserved and Nike wants a piece. When Nike bought Hurley, I thought it a great idea, but one to roll as a separate brand. Using Nike to go head-to-head with O’Neill, Billabong and Quicksilver, not so much.
They are spending big — hiring 72 and Sunny, big name athletes on the action sports circuit, hot videographers and commercial directors, but it all feels a little “all hat no cattle.” The tactics are right, but the business idea wrong. I may have said the same back when Nike moved into golf, but then they tied their swoosh to Tiger and it worked. Now they want to extend to skateboarding, surfing and snowboarding. Sure, it will spike, but long-term it will diminish the brand. Nike should have put wood behind Hurley. Water culture people (frozen or warm) are fickle. They create style, they don’t get it out of a box or pad/pod.
Google’s culture of technological obesity (gobbling in every direction) is not dissimilar to this overstep by Nike. Chill with the kicks, the golf, and the apparel. Enjoy global growth. And back away from the table. Water sports will water down the brand. Peace.
Tags: 72 and sunny, billabong, Brand Planning, googles culture of technological obesity, hurley, new york times, nike, nike swoosh, o’neill, quicksilver, Tiger Woods, water sports, whats the idea, whatstheidae
I love Under Armour. I do. It’s an amazing, important brand. If the company didn’t invent compression shorts, it certainly gets credit for it. The story is great, the product meaningful, and the company with its Baltimore provenance has people rooting for it. Sports apparel is a category alone in its ability to push through the recession and Under Armour is leading that growth. Under Armour owns the “hard body.” But image-wise, it’s operating in a competitive field with players spending a lot more money. Gatorade and Nike were first to hard body. Though all three focus on the flesh, sinew and sweat, Under Armour focus should be on the packaging (of that body).
Women’s Sports Apparel
Now Under Armour is amping up it targeting of women, who account for only 25% of sales. It is doing so by extending with the “I will” and “Protect this House I will” brand idea. Don’t get me wrong, the imagery and music is rousing and I love Lindsey Vonn, but the brand idea is not tight enough to slap a pair of balls on some women’s training footage and make a lasting Under Armour product statement. Were I women watching the spots, I’d be inclined to go out and buy some Gatorade.
Under Amour’s Focus
Under Armour also brand extended into sneakers, cleats and sunglasses — a couple of moves which have hurt serious brand development. There is an amazing, ownable brand idea waiting for Under Armour to claim. It has made to order brand planks, all of which can be mapped to its DNA…and it is unique to the category. Write me for the idea, if you haven’t figured it out already. Peace.
Tags: brand idea, Brand Strategy, gatorade, I will, Lindsey vonn, nike, protect this house, under armour, whats the idea, whatstheidea, womens sports apparel
R/GA is a bold leader in the digital marketing area. As all advertising and marketing shops move toward the middle — toward the strategy — only one digital shop aspires to be the agency of record: R/GA. Most digital shops rue the fact that they don’t get a seat at the big table, R/GA wants the table. And they make quite a case. Their entrée is the “platform.”
In a video by Nick Law, R/GA’s chief creative officer (thankfully, he’s not goofily titled), he says advertising needs to move “from metaphors that romance a brand to seductive demonstrations of a brand platform.” Agreed. Were he to have substituted the word “strategy” we’d be in perfect agreement. The word platform, you see, is a euphemism for website (and other digital stuff residing on the website). Brand strategy is hard to put a price tag on and websites and digital assets are easy estimate.
Mr. Law is correct campaigns come and go. He’s right that tactics need to feed the brand strategy. He’s right that utility and community are the source of sales growth and retention. And he’s certainly not being disingenuous in suggesting that something needs to hold and tie all the brand building work together. So I’m going to cut him some slack and not argue the noun platform and favor a more verb-like version of the word.
In the video Mr. Law refers to one of R/GA’s most famous successes Nike+. “Nike+ is a platform fueled by campaigns” he says. Nike+ was first a product and it’s growing into a branded utility. Is it growing into a platform? You tell me.
These guys are the real deal. And as good marketers they are trying to create a new language for the marketing world. As I said, bold.
Tags: Brand Strategy, branded utility, marketing platforms, Nick Law, nike, RGA, whats the idea, whatstheidea