Friday, April 20, 2012

Friday ramble

A few random thoughts on a cool, rainy Friday morning.

Why does the Food Network have so many ads for bad food on it? Last night alone I saw ads for candy bars, flavorless microwave meals and fast food restaurants. Apparently people who watch Food Network cook as often as people who watch porn have sex.

So VW/Audi bought Ducati for $1.12 billion, just a few dollars more than Facebook paid for Instagram. In both cases the amounts were described as pocket change. I have to get pockets that big.

Why did the NFL start its own network when ESPN seems to cover every little detail of the league 24/7/365? Who's ready to watch the NFL draft next week in prime time?

In an effort to increase his engagement with fans, LeBron James just hired SapientNitro to handle his website and social media presence. Now the only thing bigger than his ego is his ad budget.

Hulu is adding four original programs to its line up. Apparently, we don't have enough to watch between all the channels on our cable, satellite, Youtube, Netflix and more. Time to update your song, Bruce.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Nibbled to death by ducks

The broadcast networks are worried. According to this article in the New York Times, it seems that viewers are disappearing rather than just shifting from network to network as they have in the past.

Competition changes over time. It's not always the big guy across the street who you have to worry about.

ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox have hundreds of direct competitors in the cable networks and on-demand viewing options as well as the added complexity that DVRs throw into the equation.

They are also competing with websites, smartphone apps, game consoles, books, kids activities and more. Unlike most businesses the networks don't want money from us, they want time, and there is almost unlimited competition in that space.

The networks' most difficult competitor may not be their direct competitor.

The same is true with just about every business.

Ford competes directly with Chevy, Nissan, Toyota, Chrysler and other manufacturers to sell new cars, but given that over 50% of the people in this country will never buy a new car, it could be argued that used cars are part of the competitive set.

Democrats compete with republicans for votes. But in most cases voter turn out is well below fifty percent. So the biggest competition might actually be apathy.

If you spend too much time studying "the competition," you may miss the real things that stand in the way of your success.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The more things change...

Here's a newsflash...

Frequency is important in advertising.

In a new study by Nielsen published in something called Mobile Commerce Daily, ad recall and purchase intent increased when people saw an ad on their smart phone and tablet as well as on TV compared to people who just saw one :15 second ad on TV.

Even though the new digital evangelists would like you to believe this compounding effect is a new phenomenon created by the brilliance of mobile platforms, this is how advertising has always worked.

In the olden days before these magical devices, we put ads on television and radio, and newspapers or other relevant media to increase reach and frequency. Over the years as advertising media has evolved, the principles haven't.

The goal has always been to reach people with a relevant message at the times and places that have the most impact.

While new technology makes this easier and hopefully more effective than ever, what isn't new is the principle behind the behavior.

It's not rocket science. It's advertising.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Real klassy Sears

So this is what Sears has become.

A retail chain so desperate for attention that they're willing to throw away what little brand equity they have left to hook up with the Kardashians.

Sears is not the first mass retailer to collaborate with a celebrity designer. But in the cases of Target with Jason Wu and Kohl's with Vera Wang, their co-conspirators have actually accomplished something and gained a level of respect in the fashion industry.

Who's wearing anything from the Kardashian Kollection (yes, it really is spelled with a K) other than a few reality stars and "celebrities" whose fame will be lucky to outlive a fruit fly?

I may be wrong. There may be some fans of Kourtney & Kim take..., Keeping up with..., and their other "work" who are willing to rush to the mall for this stuff.

But if aligning with the Kardashians and spelling Kollection with a K are the best ideas Sears has to klass up their image, they might as well kall it kwits and klose their doors.

This isn't going to save them from Walmart, Target, or anybody else who has a real brand position.