Friday, March 11, 2011

Okay, now it's blogworthy

Yesterday, Chrysler fired it's "new media" agency because of a profane tweet one of its employees posted on Chrysler's corporate feed.

Chrysler also issued a statement apologizing for the tweet...

"Statement in Response to Inappropriate Tweet from @ChryslerAutos

This morning an inappropriate comment was issued from the Chrysler brand Twitter handle, @ChryslerAutos, via our social media agency of record, New Media Strategies (NMS). After further investigation, it was discovered that the statement was issued by an NMS employee, who has since been terminated.
Chrysler Group and its brands do not tolerate inappropriate language or behavior and apologize to anyone who may have been offended by this communication. Furthermore, the Company has set in place appropriate steps to ensure that this does not happen again."

The problem with the tweet wasn't the inappropriate language; not in today's culture and not while your signature TV commercial features a misogynistic rapper who's famous for dropping the f-bomb. My guess is most of their 8,000 followers actually appreciated the humanity behind the tweet. After all, who hasn't sworn at someone who cut them off.

The real problem with the tweet is the contempt it shows for the city of Detroit and its people by the employee of the social media agency who posted it.

Chrysler's campaign "Imported From Detroit" is an homage to all that is good with the city. Yes, it's tough, gritty, but the underlying message is that the people here are good, hard-working, honest, creative and any communication that comes from Chrysler creating dissonance with that, undermines the credibility of the whole campaign.

If their partners aren't smart enough or disciplined enough to understand that, then they aren't good partners.

Chrysler did the right thing.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Just for fun

One of the best things about advertising is that sometimes the work is just plain fun. This spot promoting reruns of the Simpson's on Sky TV is about as fun as it gets.

Come Home To The Simpsons from devilfish on Vimeo.

Great idea, great execution. Not much more to say about this except enjoy.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Touched by god

137 guitars, amplifiers and other items owned and used by Eric Clapton will be auctioned off today by Bonhams Auction House.

Estimates range from $300 to over $20,000 depending on the item, the highlight of the auction for me being the 1957 Fender Twin that he used throughout the 90s, including the recording of the album From The Cradle.

The auction is a fund raiser for the Crossroads Centre for drug and alcohol addiction founded by Clapton and even in today's economy should raise a fair bit of money.

While the value of other rock stars' memorabilia has faded, Clapton's continues to be desirable to such a degree that even a "Blackie" replica strat is expected to sell for a huge pile of cash.

Have there been better guitar players? It's debatable, but Rolling Stone Magazine says there have been three. Have there been bigger stars who've sold more records? Definitely.

Clapton's gear retains its value because his legend is so strong.

Clapton's has a mythology that most brands can only dream of. From his humble beginnings as a 17-year-old prodigy banging around the clubs of London, to his early work with the Yardbirds where he earned the ironic nickname "Slowhand," to the appearance of graffiti in 1968 on the wall of a London Underground, to his collaboration with great rock and blues artists of every era, Clapton's value has grown while staying connected to his blues roots.

When it comes to retaining long-term value, Clapton's brand is one worth studying whether you're a multi-national corporation or even Justin Bieber.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Moving on up

Volvo CEO Stefan Jacoby wants Volvo to stand for something again. Awesome.

He's smart enough to know that whatever Volvo stands for must be rooted in it's heritage of safety. Yes.

He's knows that the safety of today is not the safety of the '70s and '80s. Holy *#@&, this guy gets it.

And finally, according to a story in Ad Age...

"Volvo is not seen as true luxury in the U.S. or even in its home market of Sweden. The brand is viewed as more "premium," along the lines of what Buick has tried to stand for in the U.S. That is changing under Mr. Jacoby, who said Volvo must stand for luxury globally, and he is going to push products, features and designs that can compete head to head with BMW and Mercedes-Benz without copying either one."

Uh oh.

He's right Volvo isn't a luxury brand, but they're not going to become one by trying to be one.


Okay, hear me out.

BMW is a luxury brand because it's "the ultimate driving machine."

Mercedes is a luxury brand because it's "engineered like no other car in the world."

Lexus is a luxury brand because of their  "relentless pursuit of perfection."

These brands stand for something differentiating and relevant in the consumers' minds and use that as a platform on which to hang their luxury features and designs.

You can't do it the other way around. Just ask Infiniti, Acura and Lincoln. They all struggle to be true luxury brands because none of them stand for anything.

So my advice to Volvo? Don't talk about luxury. Don't show your product in luxurious environments. Don't get caught up in a luxury feature arms race.

Focus on what safety means today, be the best at it, and make it meaningful, adding the features, performance and quality to compete with Mercedes and BMW then Volvo will become luxury.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Old Spice man exposed

The success of the Old Spice commercials is due to more than just the great concept, writing, art direction and casting. It's also a result of the "how'd they do that?" magic of the actual production. The seamless transition from scene to scene appears to be impossible and it's a big part of why people watch them again and again.

If you've ever wanted to know how they made it happen, here's your answer.

Sometimes learning the secret behind the magic often ruins the trick, but in this case it makes it even better. Great advertising is the result of a great insight, original concept and flawless execution, and this campaign succeeds on all three counts.

One can only hope they keep it up.