Friday, June 11, 2010

Free Idea Friday

Ideas are easy. Execution is hard. Every Friday I will share an idea that's been rolling around in my head that I have neither the time nor the where-with-all to execute. Remember, it's free, so take it for what it's worth. 

Taking the Subway to Germany
A few weeks ago, we discovered Pretzel Rolls at our local supermarket. 

Made with pretzel dough, these rolls taste just like pretzels, slightly salty, sweet, yeasty and delicious. So I started thinking about the kinds of sandwiches you could serve on these rolls and came up with these. 

They might make a nice limited time addition to the menu at Subway.

I think I've been living in Sheboygan too long.


Thursday, June 10, 2010

This is just dumb.

According to this article in the New York Times, there's a memo circulating at GM telling its employees to stop using the word Chevy when referring to Chevrolet.

In it the authors of the memo say,

"When you look at the most recognized brands throughout the world, such as Coke or Apple for instance, one of the things they all focus on is the consistency of their branding. Why is this consistency so important? The more consistent a brand becomes, the more prominent and recognizable it is with the consumer."

Um, did anybody tell them that Coke is short for Coca-cola? And how much more recognizable can the Chevrolet brand get? I know that when I was working on Chevy back in the '80s, unaided awareness was 99%.

This forced consistency is the worst kind of brand "management." What Chevrolet needs is someone to actually define the brand in a clear and meaningful fashion.

Forcing everyone to stop saying "Chevy" ain't gonna do it.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Truth in advertising?

Back in 1990, Dudley Moore starred in a movie called Crazy People about an advertising executive whose work work wildly successful because it did something no other advertising had ever done: tell the truth. The ads created in the film included the headlines "Buy Volvos. They're boxy but they're good", and "Metamucil, it helps you go to the toilet."

I wondered how long it would take for life to imitate art and in this case it was only 20 years.

All I can say is, it's about time.

Having worked on Huggies developing product demos, this spot is a breath of fresh air. No blue liquid being poured into some special absorbency zone. No animation of stretching leg holes. Just a twist on an old product, a fun satirical spot and a truthful theme: "The coolest you'll look pooping in your pants."

I'm sure someone at the agency said, "The client will never buy that."

Thankfully no one listened.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Advertising can't fix everything

BP has an image problem.

Though it stems from the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig, the lives lost, and the thousands of barrels of oil that are pouring into the gulf every day, the real cause is their own incompetence.

BP has mismanaged this from the very beginning.

They waited too long to take responsibility for the mess, initially trying to shift blame to suppliers. Their people spoke extemporaneously issuing such gems as "I want my life back" and "Louisiana isn't the only place that has shrimp."

And now they've created a series of print ads and TV spots like this one, to tell everyone how sorry they are and how hard they're working.

Too late.

This is all just so much spin. You can feel the PR pros all over it. It's disingenuous and insulting to the people who have been irreparably harmed by this crisis.

The only thing BP can do now is shut up and fix the problem.

No TV spots. No print ads. No photo ops. No talk show appearances.

Stop the oil flow, clean the water, restore the beaches, pay people for the harm they've endured due to your negligence. If BP does the right thing, the stories will get out and they can slowly earn a reputation as a responsible company.

But if BP continues dragging its feet and doing just enough to "demonstrate" their concern, they will fail.

Monday, June 7, 2010

A star is (re)born

Sorry today's post was late. There was a problem with blogger this morning. I hope it's worth waiting for.

Betty White is busy again with movies, a new television series and several other commercial projects. She credits the Snickers Superbowl ad and legions of Facebook fans with reigniting her dormant career.

She’s not the first actor to have her career reignited by advertising. Ricardo Mantalban’s delivery of the line “soft, Corinthian leather” helped get him the job as Mr. Roarke on Fantasy Island.

Richard Dreyfus made his debut in this commercial for AMC Javelin in 1968.

And this spot for Volkswagen sold more Nick Drake albums than it did Cabriolets.

So can advertising create stars as well as sell products? Just ask that “Hey Verne” guy.