Monday, October 28, 2013

Kohl's Christmas Push

Michelle Gass, Kohl's leading marketer, recently outlined the retailer's plan for the holiday season in an interview with AdAge.

Gass disclosed that Kohl's marketing have "an element of surprise, disruption and social engagement" and that when looking to "connect with her or him, we're looking at it very specifically day by day."  And this doesn't count for a surprise either.

It's really the same jargon that you'll read from every retailer this season.  They're all going to make a big push.

But there has never been some giant consumer movement demanding more "brand engagement campaigns."

The question retailers should be answering is what will they do better this season, not what will they be doing more of. 

This is what will get them response that their looking for.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Will Its New Strategy Keep Glad Fresh?

Glad, a leading brand in food storage and protection, is launching a new marketing campaign to fight food waste.  The "Love Food More, Waste It Less" campaign reminds consumers that 25 percent of all food purchased goes to waste, a fact that lends itself nicely to the Glad brand. Obviously, if food can stay fresher, longer, then it has more time to be eaten.  

The centerpiece of the Glad campaign is an online pledge called Save It Sunday.  Sunday is a metaphor of sorts for the rare occasions that busy families will sit down to a home cooked meal together. Afterward, any leftover food is preserved in a handy Glad container.

There is no doubt that Glad makes a really useful product.  But I wonder if this campaign will do their product justice.  Is "fighting food waste" the strongest position glad can take for their brand?  Do consumers care enough about this ideal that they will turn to Glad?  I think the missing piece of this campaign is how the macro-concept of "food waste" affects the individual consumer.

Glad's new campaign could become really strong if they put a dollar figure on how much the average consumer (or family) spends on food that they don't eat.  Glad could hammer home their position with an advertisement where a mother dumps out large stacks of cash from a Glad garbage bag onto a kitchen table.  They could supplement this visual with an online calculator that consumers could use to figure out their own dinner-table opportunity costs and then urge them sign and share the pledge.   

Furthermore, I wonder if the "Save It Sunday" campaign could tied back to the Glad brand better than it currently is.  Glad has always positioned itself around the idea of food freshness; but "Save It Sunday" truly lends itself to the concept of convenience, not freshness.

By saving it with Glad on Sunday, your next meal is ready-and-waiting for you; wherever and whenever you may choose to eat it.  It's a perfect fit for our too busy, out-of-time, on-the-go lives.   

If it's homemade and convenient, Glad was the missing ingredient.

As always, thank you for reading and for sharing.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Richard Montanez

The story of Richard Montanez is one that you should know.  Conviction and belief is always step one. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Google Advertising Gets Personal

Google has always been mindful of the its own power, which is why early on, the guys who created the search engine adopted "don't be evil" as the company's creed to live by.

However, judging from some of it's actions lately, that creed may have died a long time ago.  It was recently decided in United States District Court that Google was (at best) guilty of misrepresenting its privacy settings or at worst, stealing private user data.  Now, following in the footsteps of Facebook, Google has decided to sell user endorsements made online to advertisers.  The forthcoming update to its terms of service policy will mean that the names and faces of Google+ users could be used in paid advertisements anytime without their consent.

According to eMarketer, social advertising is a $9.5 billion industry.  However, in order to create better and more effective advertisements for the brands who buy them, Google and Facebook must defy the trust of their user base.  Similarly, the brands that choose to rebroadcast word-of-mouth with social advertising programs are at high-risk of tarnishing the goodwill that was once created in the first place.   

Google and Facebook, both desperate for growth, are essentially selling word-of-mouth buzz as a commodity.  In the long term, they will only devalue their particular brand of word-of-mouth marketing into more junk marketing that's notoriously known not to be trusted.

The new advertising program begins on November 11.  Google+ users can opt out of this intrusive program here.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Dodge Leaves Itself In The Dust

Adweek described the new Dodge Durango ad campaign featuring Will Farrell in his beloved Ron Burgundy character as "hilariously stupid."  Then they said it was "destined for greatness."

I have no doubt that the Dodge ads will be a viral hit.  It will be seen by tens of millions of people over the next few weeks and our favorite degenerate anchorman will incite lots of laughs.

It's a really great advertisement...if you're selling tickets to an Anchorman sequel.  But if you're Dodge, it's a different story.  Nothing about a car resonates from the message specifically designed to sell them; rather, it's the antics of the anchorman that steal the show.

And that's a "hilariously stupid" way to advertise your brand.     

As always, thank you for reading, sharing and giving your feedback. 


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Why These Brands Don't Taste Right

Kat Cole, President of Cinnabon, lives an incredible story.  In the short span of 17 years, Cole ascended from her role as a waitress at a Jacksonville, Florida Hooters to the Chief Operating Officer of Cinnabon.  Last week, Duane Stanford of Businessweek profiled Cole and her Cinnabon brand.    

Cinnabon is an great brand; its name is synonymous with the delicious warm and gooey treat. But one sentence of Stanford's analysis should give marketers pause; "Licensing now accounts for more than half the chain’s revenue."  In fact, a Cinnabon-logo can be found on 72 different products found on grocery store shelves as well as on products served up in fast food restaurants like Burger King.

If you're looking beyond the next quarter's income statement, it's easy to understand why this is a red flag.  Cole admits that an "over-the-top, sensory experience" is the magic that makes the Cinnabon brand special.

Licensing can kill that magic.  It takes something special and remarkable and turns it into something more ordinary.  Starbucks and Krispy Kreme are two brands that have taken a similar path and learned this lesson hard way.  Slowly, they altered the special experience surrounding their products. 

Although Cole disagrees, I fear Cinnabon will also learn the hard way.   

Interestingly, one of Cinnabon's licensing partners, Burger King made headlines by announcing a healthier french fry.  Officially dubbed "Satisfries," the new option is said to pack on 40 percent less fat and 30 percent fewer calories than what rival McDonald's is serving up.   

Burger King, unlike Cinnabon, is a brand that's lost its throne because it lost its focus.  Burger King's Satifries provide further evidence of a brand with an identity crisis.  If the company wants to be know as healthy, it cannot sit somewhere in the middle.  A brand cannot build a reputation for being healthy simply because it serves Diet Coke (especially when that no-cal Coke is with a bacon and onion ring-laced burger.)

Similarly, by offering Satisfries for free in kids meals but charging an extra fee to adults, Burger King has essentially nullified the impact Satisfries will have.  The message to customers is that you'll make your kids eat them because they have to, but, given the choice, you know don't want to. 
The smart brand marketer understands that customers decide on "healthy" issue before they every step foot into a Cinnabon or a Burger King.

As always, thank you for reading, sharing and sending your feedback.