Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I'm thankful...

For marketers who do dumb things so I always have something to write about.

For marketers who do smart things so I always have something to write about.

That the Super Bowl is still the greatest ad spectacle ever.

That new channels of communication provide more opportunity than ever for brands.

That buying a car is such a pain in the ass, it provided me with three weeks of content.

That advertising is often incredibly derivative.

That advertising is occasionally spectacularly original.

That no one complained when I quit doing "Free Idea Friday."

That people care enough to point out my mistakes and argue with me when they think I'm wrong.

For the words of encouragement.

That I've had this forum to keep me sane when work was slow.

That I've been able to keep it up when times have been busy.

That even though I sometimes struggle when staring at the blank text box, I don't feel like stopping anytime soon.

That in the one year and one day I've been writing this blog, I've had over 6,500 visitors from 82 countries who've viewed a total of 26,339 pages according to Google Analytics.

So "thank you" to everyone who has read and continues to read my ramblings from the ramshackle beach cottage. In honor of each of you, I've made a donation to Feeding America to help those who are less fortunate find the food they need this holiday season. If you are so inclined to thank me for my work, please go to the Feeding America website and make a donation of any size. Every little bit helps.

Finally, I'm thankful for a loving family, the four-day weekend, incredible food and college football (even if I expect Michigan to get crushed by Ohio State this weekend).

Enjoy the holiday. See you Monday.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Oprah bugs her audience

Yesterday, when Oprah gave the keys to a 2012 Beetle to each audience member on her "Favorite Things" show, the crowd, predictably, went wild.

It's a nice bit of publicity to build some awareness for the redesigned Beetle that will be coming next fall, but ultimately I'm not sure it's really worth the millions of dollars based on Volkswagen's stated objective for the new car.

First of all, it's been done. Pontiac gave away G6s to every Oprah audience member in 2004 creating a huge amount of media buzz. How'd that work out for the now defunct brand?

Second, women love Oprah. Women watch Oprah. But Volkswagen wants to increase the appeal of the Beetle to men, thus the new, more aggressive styling. Choosing a venue like Oprah for the first major pre-launch announcement is only going to reinforce the notion that the Beetle is not a guy's car.

Third, the actual launch is still a year away. This car's not that revolutionary. There's not that much to talk about. Starting this conversation now will have prospective buyers bored to death before the product is available.

If Volkswagen is going to increase sales to their stated goal of 800,000 units, they're going to have to be a lot more original and a lot more relevant in their marketing.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Power to the people

Microsoft is angry (What a surprise). They're angry because tinkerers and hackers are taking the amazing technology available in the Kinect device and using it for purposes other than gaming.

They need to get over it. People are always finding new ways to use existing products. It has been a big part of the innovation process. And no amount of hand-wringing and lawsuit-threatening by Microsoft is going to stop it.

If you want people to love you and your product, let them use it how they want to use it, not as you intended them to, then learn from them.