Friday, May 14, 2010

Real men don't exfoliate.

It seems that body wash is everywhere now. Axe, Old Spice, Gillette and others are all selling overpriced liquid soap in wasteful plastic bottles on the promise that guys will get clean, smell great and get the girl.

But what if you're a company like Dial, with a product that's 60 years old and still does the job?

You can leverage your position and heritage of your original product in a way that makes the whole male grooming craze seem just a little silly. Here are a couple of ideas that do just that (click on the images to see them full size).

And because the real benefit of being clean is all about attracting that certain someone...

A little juvenile? Maybe. Memorable? You bet.

My thanks to Charles Destinon, art director extraordinaire, for his help developing these concepts.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Research impedes innovation

If you're afraid to fail, you'll never succeed. That's why most research gets in the way of success rather than expediting it.

Focus groups are filled with people who only know the world as it is, not as it could be. If you show them a game changing product or communication, most in the group will respond "I've never seen anything like that before. It's different. I don't need it. I don't like it."

Great ideas change the way the world works. That's why they make people sweat. They force people to alter their behavior and move out of their comfort zones.

If you know you have a great idea, don't let the fact that it makes people uncomfortable stop you. Otherwise we wouldn't have cars, the telephone, television, personal computers or just about anything else we enjoy today.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Nothing to see here

The new ad campaign is out for Cadillac and because the spots themselves say so little, there's not much I can say about it except that the people in Cadillac's marketing department and at BBH are out of ideas. See for yourself at Cadillac's YouTube channel.

Oooh, look at the sexy quick cuts.

Wow, that sheet metal sure is shiny.

Man, they really designed the crap out of those graphics.

How about that hip indie music?

And then there's the tagline. "The Mark of Leadership"

I'm sure this is a veiled reference to the classic Cadillac ad, The Penalty of Leadership, but this entire campaign with it's millions of dollars of production does far less to position the brand than that one black and white ad.

These ads are devoid of ideas, derivative in their production, and destined for the dustbin. Lets hope Mr. Ewanick gets this sorted out quickly. Cars this good deserve better advertising.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Your customers are not your brand.

Yesterday, JetBlue launched a new website using real people to share their experiences aboard the airline. It's a beautiful site that does a great job of making the JetBlue's customers look their best while they tell their stories.

JetBlue is just the latest of many marketers who've enlisted their customers to become the face of their marketing. Ford, Dove soap, Jockey underwear and others have all used this strategy as a way to help connect their brand with their customers and add credibility to the message. I used this techniques a few years ago with Mercury Marine to help convince Yamaha outboard owners that Mercury had a superior product.

The challenge in doing this is you can't shoot a few people and assume that's going to do it for you. Testimonial campaigns require multiple executions with regular refreshes. Anyone can find a few satisfied customers to talk about their product, especially when you pay them.

It's easier now thanks to high definition video so record interviews from several angles for a fraction of the cost of using 16mm film cameras and you don't have to stop to reload.

The other challenge with testimonials is to make sure you do something to your videos to make them stand out, otherwise it's just more people talking. Ford uses Mike Rowe effectively, JetBlue puts the interviewees in the seats and uses the color blue well, and Jockey shows people in their underwear.

With the proliferation of consumer created content and testimonial campaigns, it's imperative that yours is more than just nice words from satisfied customers. The videos need to capture the essence of your brand so people remember not just the message, but who it's from.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Lies, damn lies and statistics

As I was reading articles on this morning, I came across this ad for USA Today and I wondered: do all advertisers think we're that dumb?

While there may be more paper copies of USA Today than The Wall Street Journal out there, I have just one question, how many of you have ever paid for a single issue of USA Today much less a subscription?

Yes, USA Today is widely circulated thanks to all the hotels that lay it on their guests' doorstep every morning. This statistic doesn't take into account all the people who step right over that free copy of McPaper on their way to checkout.

This got me thinking.

Advertising has been using statistics since the birth of the industry to "prove" product superiority.

99.44 percent pure. 31 EPA mpg HWY. Four out of Five Dentists. 99% Customer Satisfaction Rating.

Everyone knows these claims are cooked in some way, yet some continue to try to cram them into their ads. Even Google.

This online video demonstrates Chrome's speed in a fun and interesting way. But at the end of the day is it enough to convince people to go through the trouble of downloading the program and switching over from Internet Explorer, Safari, or Firefox? My guess is no.

Statistics don't drive brands. Emotions do. So if you want to be successful, stop trying to drive your brand with mere facts and find a way to connect on a level that really matters.