Monday, December 30, 2013

Subway's Simplfied Advertising Proves Successful

Over the weekend, I was struck by Subway's latest advertisement, which was pitching the all new Big Hot Pastrami sandwich.  What's interesting about the Big Hot Pastrami ad is that it's essentially a carbon copy of Subway's avocado advertisement from the summer of this year.  But Subway has an excellent reason for undervaluing creativity and repetitively going back to the same well - they know it works.    

In both ads, Subway's recipe for success is simple - have a purpose and be very clear about it.  In each ad, the viewer knows what's being advertised within the first five seconds of the commercial.  They don't waste time telling a convoluted story or setting up failed punchlines.  And the goal of each ad never strays from telling the viewer a factual statement about what's new at Subway.  

I think its safe to say that neither Subway ad will win big at Cannes or find itself memorialized on the end-of-year best lists; however, Subway provides strong evidence of the greater value in clarity and purpose over creativity and hype. 

As always, thank you for reading and for sharing. 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Dirty Details

Last night, as I was driving along Interstate 90 on my way back to Cincinnati, I stopped at a Love's travel stop near the Ohio-Pennsylvania boarder.

At Love's, I noticed some great marketing in an unlikely place - a urinal.  At Love's, employees write the date directly on the urinal cake before they change them (similar to the one below). This serves as a great advertisement to its customers that their restrooms are clean and a point of pride for the brand.  It's dirty detail is a great example of Love's executing its brand strategy of "Clean Places, Friendly Faces."

As Love's proves, the dirty details provide some of the best opportunities for marketers to differentiate themselves. 

What other examples have you come across of a brand that's executing it's strategy in the most unlikely of places?  As always, thank you for reading and for sharing.  

Monday, December 23, 2013


Marketer's don't make people believe anything.  They understand what they believe and build their brands around that.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Cheap Clicks

Adweek recently posted their top 10 advertisements of 2013.

End-of-year lists and countdowns really equate to nothing more than cheap clicks for the publisher, it's interesting to see how the advertising industry celebrates itself.  The ads are judged more as one-minute movies than marketing campaigns - creativity and entertainment are paramount while commercial and branding success is an added bonus.

Perhaps this misguided mindset contributes to the often short high-life of a chief marketing officer, the tumultuous client-agency relationship and the overall disdain consumers have for advertising.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Bad Marketing Behavior

Stretching the truth in search of a viral hit is eerily similar to the behavior of marketers who over-hype their offering.

Whether the goal is clicks or sales, long term it erodes reputations and eventually equates to a loss.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Art For The Sake of The Sale

Stuart Elliot of The New York Times recently penned an interesting article on the rising trend of marketers utilizing the work of artists in their advertising campaigns.  While this tactic has typically been reserved for marketers targeting an older, more affluent demographic, more brands are artfully crafting their campaigns to customers in their twenties and thirties.  Elliot cites American Apparel, Gap, Chanel, Lincoln, Jaguar, Red Bull and Samsung as more youthful-oriented marketers that have an infusion of art in their marketing campaigns.  

But Elliot also pinpoints a major problem at the crossroads of art and commerce - at what point does using art as a marketing tactic just become tacky?  Kevin Kearney, the managing director of Alldayeveryday, said “it’s totally fine to do if it’s done in a tasteful way," and the partnership is both beneficial for the artist and the brand.   

While there are definitely brands who can pull off such a feat (independent film companies come to mind), there are many more that cannot - but not for a lack of trying of course.  It's simply not who they are; the pure pursuit of art is not part of the fabric of the brand.  Therefore, the formula is flipped upside down and it's no longer 'art for the sake of art' but rather 'art for the sake of the sale.'  The end game becomes the beneficial image that can be created with it.  The art itself is relegated to the role of a medium.

Thus, it would seem that the point where this tactic turns distasteful should be traced all the way back to the marketer's motive. 

Monday, December 2, 2013

Running With The Pack

I opened up my email this evening and counted over 25 "cyber-Monday" email offers.

While cyber-Monday is good for online retailing on a macro level, on a mirco level, it presents a big challenge for individual brands to stand out.

The good ones will find a way to differentiate their brands, even amid the noise of cyber-Monday.

What have you seen this cyber-Monday and black Friday that's worth sharing?