Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Marketing Gods Might Be Speaking to Micky D's

McDonald's voluntarily removed their Step It! activity bands from the Happy Meal because of skin irritation.  No pain, no gain, right?  Wrong. That might just be the brand strategy gods having an intervention with the Golden Arches.

Good health will always be a tough sell for McDonald's.  In fairness, there is more pressure to change on them than most, since they are established fast food leader.  However, the more they push that position, the more consumers will recall what they already know; that McDonald's is just greasy fast food. Whether their brand managers like it or not, that is the perception and changing it will be next to impossible.

But McDonald's can be relevant to the desires of the modern consumer without trying to position itself as the Whole Foods of fast food.  Below are a few key drivers of the modern consumer that suit McDonald's quite well.

Convenience - time starved consumers want a place that can give them a few minutes back. What if each order came with an exact time that it took to prep and serve?
Value - people want good value for their dollar.  That is never going to change.
Local - McDonald's is a local in millions of communities across the world. Local doesn't have to be food sourcing.
Foodie - people love food and McDonald's is a huge part of American food culture.  A monthly rotation of special menu items could keep that menu and interest in the brand fresh.

The place for McDonald's to convince consumers of its health value is not in its advertising... marketing promotion, branded content and all the rest of it.  Reserve that for only what consumers are already convinced of.

As always, thank you for reading and for sharing.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Confessions of a Republican

Hillary Clinton campaign brushes off 1964's highly appropriate Confessions of a Republican, a sharp and urgent Lyndon B. Johnson campaign ad, remixing it for 2016 voters.  Although the original spot is more convincing and displays a greater sense of urgency, I believe the non-endorser strategy will be an piercing one for Clinton.  It's the equivalent your competitor turning your employees against your brand.    

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Find the People

Find the people that will find it interesting (appealing, useful, fashionable... insert adjective of choice) instead of finding a way to make it so. The latter is just a waste of everyone's time.

Take Care

A recipe for a reputation: take care of the customer and they will take care of you.    

Sunday, June 26, 2016


If this is the best the industry has to offer, why are these ads are so unfamiliar?  It might be consumers desire to avoid it.  A shrinking tide, sinks all ships.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

No McRespect For Marketing

McDonald's current request for marketing proposals has a clear message; marketing is an expense rather than an investment.  How else can you explain a business partner working at cost? (see: no value added).  

Their unusual request is quite telling of how McDonald's has landed in it's current situation.  As customers gravitate to something more remarkable, McDonald's is defending the their status quo of average grub for average people.  Right now, McDonald's needs its team to do their best work. However, they should realize that they will never get the work they deserve by being an unreasonable, one-sided "partner."  

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Why The Best Ideas Are Simple...

Considering our 8 second attention spans, marketers cannot expect viewers to get through the entire ad, let alone to connect all the dots.  

Simply keep it straightforward stupid.  

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Waitrose Delivers Same-Day Fresh Ads To Customers

Yesterday, the British grocery chain Waitrose, debuted a fascinating campaign that give their customers a highly unfiltered lens into the environments that their products are raised in. To do so, they will equip live cows and chickens with GoPro cameras and use the footage to run produce advertising that will run the same day it was shot.

I'm very impressed by Waitrose's effort and execution of producing live-feed or same-day produced advertising.  This time aspect to their advertising is especially critical to the credibility of the campaign and certainly a lot of brands would not make this additional investment.

Having nothing to hide, the untampered lens behind the curtain will definitely build Waitrose's credibility in terms of their food sourcing with customers...assuming of course there are not any unwanted discoveries in the process.

As always, thank you for reading and for sharing.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Nike Honors Their Polarizing Poster Boy

True to the career of Kobe Bryant, Nike's celebratory send off is notable because honors the love/hate relationship that sports fans had with their Los Angeles Laker spokesman.  Rarely does a brand unleash a  dose of honesty on consumers as Nike does for Kobe's retirement, which is a real departure from its work with their more famous pitchman.

Secondarily, Nike's tribute is equally as good at showing off a lot of cool Nike gear on its most influential athletes.

As always, thank you for reading and for sharing.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Monday, February 29, 2016

You cannot hide behind a brand

John Oliver gives a "how to" on taking the cache out of a great brand name. 

Use facts.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

E*Trade "Opportunity Is Everywhere" Is Money Wasted

E*Trade's most recent commercial, featuring Kevin Spacey and Robert Duvall, opens and closes with the marketing manta "E*Trade is all about seizing opportunity."  It's truly a rudderless statement that perfectly compliments E*Trade's overarching strategy, that "opportunity is everywhere," including but not limited to Scottrade, Charles Schwab and Fidelity.  In fact, the "opportunity is everywhere" is so exquisitely generic that it can be applied to any other business; picture Coca-Cola all about seizing the opportunity for refreshment or Amazon seizing the opportunity to buy stuff.

Juxtapose this with E*Trade's most famous work; the "E*Trade baby" advertising.  While they were adored for the cute and funny baby used, they were great advertising because the message was clear; buying stock is easy with E* easy a baby could do it.  It's a position that E*Trade worked hard to capture but is beginning to relinquish after years of search everywhere else for opportunities.  In my opinion, they should seek to rediscover the value of simplicity, particularly for a younger investor.       

That may happen soon.  Earlier this month they decided it's time to cut their losses and seize the opportunity for change by putting their marketing up for review.  E*Trade will need to look within to find it's next opportunity; meaningful differentiation.

As always, thank you for reading and for sharing.  

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

LinkedIn Search Is Like Going Fishing in a Swamp

Lately, LinkedIn is looking a lot more like Craigslist.  The floodgates have officially been opened and its job postings have been showered with subpar listings by fly-by-nighter's.  Such postings are easy to spot.  The company name is typically a generic one, their postings outnumber all the others at a ratio of at least two to one, and their message often screams something for nothing in all caps.

Left unchecked, this spam will drag down the customer experience and that of reputable clients.  There is an easy fix and LinkedIn needs to look no further than Craigslist to find it.  Give users the ability to remove or hide particular companies or job postings from their results.

The longer you subject your customers to scrap the bottom of the barrel to find what they're looking for, the sooner it will be your reputation that they begin to question.  After all, you are the company you keep.

As always, thank you for reading and for sharing. 

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The 5 cent Coke

A Coca-Cola only cost 5 cents for over 70 years.  How could that be?

Well, NPR Planet Money has the answer and on this interesting twist to the company's history with a facisinating a branding/advertising subplot.  It's definitely worth a listen and can be found here.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

A Disclaimer For All Day Breakfast

Last weekend, I enjoyed my first ever afternoon Egg McMuffin.  My visit to McDonald's for all day breakfast paralleled most of my visits to the Golden Arches; an unplanned stop where I happen to be hungry and a McDonald's just happen to be a few hundred yards away.  On that lethargic Saturday of errand running, McDonald's won out because the eggs and Canadian bacon were still sizzling well past sunrise.  And the novelty of all day breakfast didn't hurt in this decision.  

I stepped up to the counter and ordered my go-to; an Egg McMuffin and a hash brown.  The cashier, almost reflexively, quipped that hash brown were not served all day at this location and my only option was french fries and that didn't have the same appeal.

I discovered that day I should have read the fine print on McDonald's All Day Breakfast. About 10 percent of its locations exclude this deep fried delight from their all day breakfast menu because these kitchens don't have enough space for an additional deep fryer. It was an insurmountable operational challenge for McDonald's; however, the cost of disappointing a few would not outweigh the benefit of pleasing so many.       
This real problem is how McDonald's is choosing to combat this pitfall. To compensate for customers coming in for breakfast items and being let down, McDonald's is now promoting the fact that its all day breakfast service is limited.  "Menu items vary by location.  Deliciousness doesn't." is truly a disclaimer spun off into a slogan.

This slogan does more harm to the brand than good.  Although disclaimers and fine print provide a legal safety net for businesses, they incline customers to question what they deem to be true about a brand.  For McDonald's, its customers will have to wonder if their favorites are served all day. 

Branding is about creating an strong identity.  The best brands create a powerful authenticity by giving their customers a definitive identity they can know to be true.

As always, thank you for reading and for sharing. 

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Ad Blocking Uproar

Enough has been said about ad blocking already, but advertisers who are in an uproar over mobile ad blocking should remember that they've had a lot time to earn trust and appreciation for their message