Friday, July 20, 2012

Friday funny

When you don't really have anything to say, make it funny.

"The Best Offer of the Year" --> lame.

John Cleese --> awesome.

I'm not sure whether this spot will sell many DirecTV subscriptions, especially given their loud and public battle with Viacom, but it's giving my DVR a workout so I can pause, study and enjoy all the funny bits in each and every scene.

Would it be more effective with a real reason to call and subscribe? Yes.

Did it put DirecTV on my radar screen? Definitely.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Burger King steps in it

Yesterday, I wrote that consumers are not in control of your brand, you are. And today some idiot, who I'm assuming no longer works at Burger King, has proven me right.

"Wait, what?" I can hear you saying. "One post on an obscure social sharing site of an employee standing on two bins lettuce just destroyed any possible goodwill and momentum BK may have gained from its multi-million dollar relaunch."

At a business like Burger King, your employees, not your advertising, are the face of your brand. You rely on them to make sure the customer has a great experience on every visit so they come back for more. Thus, as a brand manager nothing is more important than the hiring and training of good employees.

Yes, this moment "went viral" thanks to consumers who felt compelled to share this ghastly image. But if Burger King management had been doing their job in the first place, consumers never would have had anything to share.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

You are in control

Marketers today are fond of saying, "Consumers are in control."

This is bunk.

Yes, thanks to social media consumers can now choose to share content and write whatever they want about your brand.

Thanks to technologies like Tivo and satellite radio they can avoid your ads.

Thanks to the internet they can also compare prices and shop more retailers for the same item putting more pressure on margins.

But when it comes to your brand, you are in control.

You create the message. You decide the media. You plan the promotions. You set the tone for the conversation.

Consumers are only in control if you give them the keys and let them take the wheel.

Marketing hasn't changed. It has only become more complex. It's still about creating a message that resonates and getting it in front of your potential customers at a time and place that's most relevant to them.

Brand management has never been more important than it is right now. Just because it's harder doesn't mean it can't be done.

Monday, July 16, 2012

The more things change...

If you think your business is competitive these days, try the car business.

In the compact segment alone, there are more than 20 competent choices for a new car buyer.

Enter the 2013 Dodge Dart, driving full-speed into a field that includes perennial favorites like the Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic and Ford Focus as well as fearless challengers like Hyandai Elantra, Chevrolet Cruze and VW Jetta.

The Dart is an important car for Fiat/Chrysler. There's a lot of volume in this segment. In many cases an inexpensive compact is the first new car experience buyers have with a brand. Thus the first impression can make or break future purchases of Chrysler products. And finally, Chrysler needs to sell a lot of these high mileage vehicles to achieve ever more strict CAFE standards.

With all this riding on the Dart nameplate, it's no surprise that the Chrysler marketing folks have fallen back on the most overused marketing strategy in automotive history: hyperbole.

"How to change cars forever" is a pretty bold promise for a car that has four wheels, four doors, burns gasoline and doesn't fly.

Claiming the Dart is "a ground breaking car" takes a lot of guts when you consider this about the three features touted in the spot:
  • The stated 41 mpg is lower than that of the Chevy Cruze Eco.
  • GM, Ford, BMW and Nissan introduced smartphone apps two years ago.
  • You'd be hard pressed to find a car without a touch screen display at the highest trim levels of any category.
The only thing that separates this spot from the overheated automotive introductions of years past is the wry tone, which is hardly a new advertising technique.

So while the Dodge Dart may be a fine car. It's going to have trouble living up to the promise made by its advertising, something it has in common with just about every other small car Detroit has ever launched.