Friday, April 22, 2011

This should be fun

Product placement in movies and television is big business, providing billions on dollars in funding for production. Just about every television show and movie has a deal with someone that either pays for or provides product for the movie. If you see a branded product on the screen, it's probably been paid for.

It's a deal that benefits both sides and for the most part it's pretty harmless.

Does anyone really care that Chevy spent a pile of cash to be the featured car in Transformers? Or that Reese's Pieces served as alien bait in the opening act of ET? Probably not. But it's a process that's becoming ever more prevalent and thus satirist and documentarian Morgan Spurlock of Super Size Me fame, has decided put his spin on the subject with Pom Wonderful Presents The Greatest Movie Ever Sold.

Like pretty much every other marketing tactic, I don't have a problem with product placement unless it's badly done. So I'm interested in seeing this to get a better understanding of the process and practices.

And, if the reviews are to be believed, laugh out loud a few times.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Innovators integrate

As the economy improves, more companies are looking to create innovative new products to generate top-line growth and increase their market share. But when it comes to innovation, not all companies are created equal.

As this recent article in Businessweek points out, some companies are better than others at innovation, and the companies that are good have a few things in common.

While it's pretty obvious that having a balanced portfolio of projects, a clear set of priorities, tools for analyzing your progress, and a way to automate the process are all important ingredients for successful innovation, I’d add one more item to the mix that may not be so obvious: INTEGRATION.

The most successful innovators create teams consisting of research, design, engineering, manufacturing, marketing, sales and other necessary disciplines and physically locate them together. By putting all the players in the same room to do the development work, they can tackle any issues quickly and solve problems together rather than just throwing things over the wall or sending email grenades and hope everything works out.

In today’s hyper-competitive marketplace, you only get one chance to impress your customers, so your product has to be right, right out of the box. Having an integrated team working on projects from start to finish increases speed to market and enhances your probability of success.

And at the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Pepsi has it backwards

I thought the point of advertising was to convince people to actually buy your product.

Apparently I was wrong.

According to Ad Age, Pepsi has just signed a deal with IntoNow, a social media service that allows users who download the iPhone app to share an announcement of what they're watching on TV with their friends via Facebook and Twitter. The app uses an audio recognition program to sample the soundtrack of what you're watching identifying the show and episode, then posting that information to your account. Pretty cool, if you want everyone in your social network to know you enjoy watching reruns of Mr. Belvedere.

Of course it didn't take Pepsi, that brilliant early adopter of social media technology, long to incorporate this into their marketing arsenal. If viewers tag this new Pepsi Max commercial, they will receive a coupon via text message for a free bottle of Pepsi Max and that information will be posted to their social media accounts.

Now, I know this is just a form of digital couponing. A way to leverage mass media viewership into actual behavior.

But what does it say about your advertising if you have to pay people to make it work?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

There are no new ideas

Thirty years ago, John Moschitta was known as the Fedex fast talker.

Today, he's Mr. Nonstop for Jet Blue.

Aside from the fact that the direction lacks the artistry of the Joe Sedelmaier original and that Mr. Moschitta looks a little cramped in that middle seat, it's a funny idea, just not a new one. Nonstop is relevant in business travel, especially if it means I get to spend less time next to a guy who yammers on and on and on and on...

How do I know it's not a new idea? Because we stole it 28 years ago when we hired Moschitta to emcee the Caddy awards show in Detroit.

After sitting through an interminably long show the previous year, a few of us thought it would be a great idea to have him read the show's credits and speed things up. It worked. The show went from nearly four hours to just a shade over two.

Needless to say, I had a lot of friends that night.

Monday, April 18, 2011

GM fires back

On Sunday, I received this reply to Friday's post from Joel Ewanick, CMO of Global Marketing for General Motors.
Thanks, we will need a little luck! 
Hyundai has a fantastic and fresh lineup! Honda is going to keep fighting, Ford is on a rocket ship ride, VW has aspirations of world domination. And well, Toyota is Toyota! 
On the bright side Chevy just sold 1.1 million vehicles Globally, the best 1st quarter, ever. It's a start! With some hard work, good planning and a little luck maybe we have a decent year!
Keep Wishing us luck! 
Sent from my iPhone 
Once I got past the abundance of exclamation points, a couple of things struck me about the note.

First, 1.1 million in global sales for Q1 is a solid number. My guess is this includes fleet sales as well as retail. But either way a 4+ million unit year for the Chevy brand would be a success in any era.

Second, unlike the Detroit of my youth that dismissed foreign competitors as nothing more than a cheap imitation of the real thing, there's no denial here. As they say, admitting you have a problem is a first step to finding a solution.

Finally, I like that he's not afraid to have a little fun with me. This clearly wasn't a canned response from the corporate PR department. And if I was a little snarky in my commentary, he's entitled to be just a little facetious in his response.

Well played, Mr. Ewanick. Well played.