Friday, December 30, 2011

Inspired advertising

Yesterday, I revealed my favorite automotive spot of 2011. Today it's my favorite for any category from any country.

If you have three minutes, watch it and you'll see why. 

You don't have to love motorcycles like I do. You don't have to be getting old like I am. 

You just have to be a fan of great storytelling, great film making, and people who have the ability to take an inspirational story and connect it ever so subtly to the brand in question.

My hat's off the the crew at Ogilvy in Taiwan for this truly memorable gem.

Happy new year to one and all.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

And the winner is...

2011 saw very few examples of great automotive advertising. Basically only two spots come to mind and both were in the Super Bowl: Volkswagen's "The Force" and Chrysler's "Imported From Detroit".

Both spots stood out in the crowded and overhyped environment. Both spots generated a lot of "buzz." But most important both spots drove sales.

Sales for the Chrysler 200 grew 113% in 2011 over the car it replaced, the Sebring

Sales for the 2012 Passat increased 29.9% over the 2011 model.

Yes, the bar for improving on the Sebring was frighteningly low. But even with the improvements, when compared to the Fusion, Camry, Malibu, Accord, Altima and Sonata and Passat, the Chrysler is mid-pack at best.

Even getting car shoppers to consider Chrysler after its recent struggles is a Herculean achievement. But actually making them cool enough to buy amidst this competition is fairly unbelievable. And that's why "Imported From Detroit" is the best Automotive spot of the year in 2011.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The first commandment of business: Honor thy offer

Here's a tip for all the business owners and managers out there:

When you've signed up with a partner to help promote your business, put a plan in place to so your employees actually honor the deal when your customers request it.

Seems pretty obvious, right? Apparently, it's not.

Last week we held our annual holiday "shopping" men's night in Madison. The night always begins at one of State Street's legendary establishments and since I'm trying to fully understand this whole social media/mobile marketing phenomenon, upon arrival I checked in on foursquare where I was pleasantly surprised to find the watering hole in question was offering $5 off your tab when you checked in.

After ordering, I asked the bartender about the deal and his response was, "I don't even know what foursquare is." Upon showing him the screen on my phone, he still had no idea about the special.

Needless to say, he couldn't help me take advantage of the promotion.

Needless to say, I was less than satisfied with that response.

Being that it was the holidays and I was with friends, I let it go. But the lesson here is pretty clear.

A lot of decisions in a business are made at levels way above the front line employees. Whether it's a daily deal offered on the web, a change or update to your product, a customer service policy or any other decision that directly impacts your customer, you must communicate with the front lines.

Nothing makes a brand or business look worse than confusion.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Chevy produces a Sonic boom

I'm a sucker for a good event. Something big, fun and brand relevant. I think this giant 3D claw game that helped introduce the Chevy Sonic in Los Angeles qualifies on all accounts.

My only issue is there doesn't seem to have been a lot of mainstream media PR generated by the stunt. There's been a lot of ink in the advertising and production trade press on the stunt, but to maximize the effectiveness, it would have been nice to find a way to make this newsworthy for local TV, newspaper and other consumer media outlets.

Still, nicely done by all involved: Goodby Silverstein & Partners, Pearl Media, and the marketing team at Chevrolet.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Customers before shareholders

One of the long-term problems with our economy is short-term thinking. Too many CEOs are worried about creating shareholder value when they should be creating value for their customers.

When you manage for increased shareholder value, you minimize investments in R&D. You value engineer products and compromise quality. You send your manufacturing to the lowest bidder. You cut your marketing expenses to the bare minimum. You do everything to maximize this quarter's profits regardless of the effects on the long term health of your company.

When you manage for increased customer value, you improve your products on a continuous basis. You ensure your products are built to last for their intended useful life. You make sure people know what you sell and why you're different. You invest in the communities that support your business. You don't let pennies get in the way of a remarkable customer experience.

You can't have happy shareholders if you don't have happy customers.

If you want to be around in 50 years, build your business to satisfy Main Street, not Wall Street.