Friday, March 30, 2012

Nissan takes on Bollywood

It's Friday. Time for a little fun. This is a 4:20 Bollywood style commercial for Nissan in India.

Unlike the JLo music video spot for Fiat, I find it utterly charming.

Given that my entire exposure to Indian culture is the two hours I spent watching Slumdog Millionaire, I'm not sure how effective the spot will be. But I enjoyed the time it took to watch it, which is more than I can say for most :30 second ads.

Now if Nissan would only make spots this entertaining in America.

Here's a link for more information about the film and how it was developed.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Shelby loses power

Two days ago, Shelby American sent out the press kit for the new Shelby 1000 to reporters around the world. In it was this photograph that demonstrated the incredible accelerative powers of this 950 horsepower beast.

There's only one problem. The wheels were not elevated by horsepower but by photoshop.


When an editor at USA Today challenged the authenticity of the photo, Gary Patterson, Shelby American VP, came clean admitting it was fake.

And now at the car's debut at the New York Auto Show, the story won't be about how fast this $200,000 limited edition Mustang is, it will be about the picture.

Shelby and Ford lost a great opportunity to continue to build momentum for their brands because they broke the one unbreakable rule of marketing:

Don't ever, ever, ever lie.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

One-dimensional branding

The problem with most people in branding is they tend to overcomplicate things.

It's easy to do. Brands are living breathing entities that evolve as our culture changes. They adapt as competition arises. And brands are made up of a sophisticated set of attributes, values, benefits, symbols and features.

Issues arise when marketers try to differentiate every aspect of their brand. They operate as if unless everything about the the brand is different – the promise, personality, look, feel, heritage, etc. – they won't be successful.

Pretty soon they have an unfocused product and a muddled message.

The best brands, however, differentiate along just one dimension. They own one thing that makes them unique and special.

Target differentiates with design while offering price, convenience, service and selection that matches Walmart.

Ben & Jerry's differentiates on personality while offering quality, flavor and variety equal to other super premium ice-cream brands.

BMW differentiates on performance while offering cars that are as safe, comfortable, efficient and stylish as any other in its category.

If you want a strong, successful brand, ask yourself this question: What's the one attribute of your brand can you accentuate and use to differentiate you from your competition in a way that's meaningful to your customers?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

This message isn't going down smoothly

From yesterday's post where the message was controversial but relevant and effective we go to the opposite end of the spectrum.

An online ad so obviously stupid and offensive I have no idea who could have created or approved  it.

There's no escaping the message here. This is not a case of, "oops, we didn't know 'goes down' meant that!" And there's no way you can construe her reaction as anything other than horror.

To their credit, Belvedere is owning this incredible lack of judgement:

"My name is Charles Gibb and I am the President of Belvedere Vodka. I would like to personally apologize for the offensive post that recently appeared on our Facebook page. It should never have happened. 

I am currently investigating the matter to determine how this happened and to be sure it never does so again. The content is contrary to our values and we deeply regret this lapse. 

As an expression of our regret over this matter we have made a donation to RAINN (America's largest anti-sexual violence organization."

Good for Mr. Gibb. My guess is the digital media agency and digital marketing manager will be fired over this.

Creativity may be celebrated in advertising, but it's judgement that separates the professionals from the hacks.

Monday, March 26, 2012

The power of crisis

A few years ago I wrote a post about how times of crisis make innovation possible. Apparently the same is true for marketing.

Take a couple of minutes to watch this video about a campaign produced by Leo Burnett/Detroit (the first agency smart enough to hire me, back when it was known as Darcy, McManus & Masius).

If the library weren't facing extinction they would never have developed such a risky campaign. They would have developed some motivational messages about the importance of books. Maybe quoted Jefferson or shown how the library is also important to underserved populations in the community. All important messages, none however would have been motivating.

By being willing to risk enraging huge swaths of the population they got people to notice.

The best part about this campaign is that it wasn't just a "hey look how clever we are" effort. It was built from the product out. It used the conventions of the category in an unexpected way. And, it did so without massive budgets and carpet-bombing the media airwaves.

Every advertiser, whether their budget is $1,000 or $1,000,000,000, can learn from this effort.

Well done.