Friday, July 16, 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. 

Packing 'em In
For those who think sports franchises are just a money making machines. Think again. Yesterday, the Packers released their financial statement which shows labor costs are increasing much faster than revenue. 

Now, I don't think you can convince pro athletes and their agents to take a pay cut, so it's up to the Packers to pick things up on the revenue side. They've already raised ticket prices and you can only charge so much for a beer and a brat. So what's an NFL franchise located in the smallest market in the country to do to remain competitive.

Here are a few thoughts:

Little Lambeau Tailgate Experience 
Search the web and you'll find there are thousands of unofficial "Packer Bars" everywhere. Lets take that idea to another level and share the quintessential game day experience with the masses. Create a chain of "Tailgate" experiences where, for $15 bucks a piece, fans are welcomed by flag-waving teenagers into parking lots across the country. They can set up grilles, drink Brandy Old-Fashioneds, yell at people hired to dress like Bears fans, play that bean bag toss game and listen to the pregame show on their car radios. Instant, low-overhead, high-margin revenue.

Toyota Frozen Tundra
License the nickname of Lambeau Field to the struggling auto maker for a cold-weather version of their popular pickup. Features would include built in gun rack, bungee cords to hold the cooler in place in the bed, Packers flag in the driver's window, and of course cans of green and gold Rust-Oleum for your very own custom paint job.

Packaholics Anonymous
It's no secret that Packers fans love their beer and their brats. This leads to a medical condition known as gutteus maximus. Why not open a chain of Packers themed health clubs where fans can work off the extra weight gained on game days? Membership would also include emotional support programs for those days after losses and a hotline for fans who can't stop obsessing about the battle for the left tackle position.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Out of the mud and into the weeds

There's a new spot on TV and it talks about how American's did great things years ago. It shows stock footage of a momentous event in our history. It talks about how the product being advertised is proof of how America is still great.

If you thought I was referring to the Jeep spot I wrote about a few weeks ago, you'd be wrong.

It seems that Goodby and the new marketing team at GM have used the same exact strategy to create their big new launch for Chevrolet.

Can you say, "Oops?"

It's a good spot. And it's nice to see Ewanick try to revitalize Chevy's image by reestablishing Corvette as America's premiere sports car. But to have a spot based on the same strategy, same copy platform and eerily similar visual metaphors as Jeep is, shall we say, unfortunate.

Already the web is awash with howls of derision, cries of plagiarism, and buckets of ridicule. Not the start Ewanick needed after unilaterally pulling the account from Publicis and awarding it to Goodby. Certainly not the start I expected.

Clearly, GM is the Charlie Brown of marketing. It's starting to feel like matter how hard they try, they'll never succeed in kicking the football.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

What's the benefit, Kenneth?

Just because you can design a feature into a product or service doesn't always mean it's a good idea. Every category seems to be locked in a features arms race, offering their customers more for less.

Well, more isn't more if I don't want it. It's just a waste. 

How many features are there on my mobile phone that I never use? How many channels come through my cable that I never watch? 

Don't just give me more. Give me features that actually provide a benefit or don't give them to me at all. 

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Much ado about one percent

Kraft debuted it's new iPad app yesterday and it does everything you'd expect it to.

It's targeted at parents with children age 6 - 12 and includes recipes, videos, a shopping list feature and games. It looks well designed – maybe a little busy for my taste – and easy to navigate. Well done.

I love the iPad. I participated in the pre-release hype. I've played with one and can't wait to get one for myself, and I have no doubt its importance as a marketing tool will grow. But the fact that Kraft's app development was the first news item on today struck me as much ado about very little.

To date, Apple has sold a little over 3 million iPads. That's less than 1% of the U.S. population so we're not talking about a mass marketing vehicle here. Kraft is right to be developing programs that connect its brand to its customers on emerging platforms like the iPad, I just wonder if it's really the biggest story in marketing this week.

Monday, July 12, 2010

No story. No sale.

Last night I saw this spot for the new Lexus LFA and it intruiged me enough to want me to learn more about the car.

Here's what I found out. About 10 years ago, the engineers at Lexus apparently got tired of being known for creating perfectly boring, luxury automotive appliances so they started work on a supercar. And that's what the LFA is.

A beautiful carbon fiber body sculpted over a 560 horsepower V-10. Incredible handling. Massive brakes. Hand-built to your exact specifications. And if the spot is to believed, it sounds fantastic. This is a spare no expense paean to automotive excellence.

This is not surprising. When Toyota digs in and decides to do something right, they generally do. What is surprising however is the price.

At $375,000 base, this car is at least 20% more expensive than a Ferrari 599GTB. Now, I know it's faster (.1 second 0 – 60) but at the end of the day, it's still a Lexus, a brand with no performance heritage. When you buy a car like this, you're not just buying numbers. You're buying a connection to its lineage. Your 599 comes with world constructor's championships, Fangio, and Mille Miglia's standard.

You have to explain why you paid that ungodly sum for the Lexus. You don't for a Ferrari, Porsche, Aston Martin or Lamborghini. And no amount of excellent advertising is going to make up for that.