Friday, November 30, 2012

General Mills is Charmed

For anyone who wants to tell me that Twinkies went bankrupt because people are eating healthier, I offer the following counter argument:

According to Ad Age, Lucky Charms is now one of the top 10 selling cold cereal brands with 45% of its consumption coming from adults. The brand is doing so well among grown ups they've even created this TV spot targeting them.

I'm not sure if this is a good thing or a sign of the apocalypse.

It does, however, make one thing perfectly clear: there's a big market out there for convenient, sugary, nostalgic foods with little or no nutritional value.

Anybody want to pass me a Ding Dong?

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Making Gilda Matter

On the heels of yesterday's debacle that is the Gilda's Club name change announcement (how bad is it? Just look at the comments on their Facebook page) I offer the following unsolicited advice.

What is the real issue with furor over the name change?

By revoking the name of the inspiration behind Gilda's Club, the directors  broke their trust with their core constituents. After all, if they can turn their backs on Gilda, will they really honor all the other principles and promises of the organization?

When a brand's contract is broken, the brand itself is broken. It won't fix itself.

You could just say, "Never mind" and do nothing hoping that sooner or later everyone will just forget this whole unseemly mess. That strategy will leave the brand in a weaker position in the long run.

This is a bad public relations faux pas, but it provides a unique opportunity to harness the passion Gilda's Club advocates have shown. The club's directors can use it to benefit the club and strengthen Ms. Radner's legacy, but they must act quickly, honestly and sincerely.

So here's the plan.

Step 1: Hold a press conference with as many Gilda's Club members as possible in attendance. The board's director should step up to the microphone and say, in no uncertain terms "We made a mistake. We will never remove Gilda's name from our doors or any aspect of this organization." Don't blame anyone else. Don't cite any research that tries to explain why you had planned on making the switch.

The rest of the press conference should be a retelling of Gilda's story and some words from other members who were inspired by Gilda. Take a few questions, but again, own the decision.

Communicate the same on all social media platforms.

We are a very forgiving people. When people make mistakes and own them, we are quick to embrace them. When they make mistakes and hide or worse yet, cover them up, the results can be disastrous. See Nixon, Richard; Clemens, Roger; et al.

Step 2: Create a PSA to run on local television that communicates the Gilda's Club mission and close with the original logo and a tag underneath that read "Cancer Support Community"

Step 3: Do as many local, regional and national media interviews as possible to raise awareness for Gilda's Club, explaining the organization's mission, vision, values making Gilda's story the centerpiece of your story.

Step 4: Host a grand rechristening party at Gilda's Club where you can show a long format video about Ms. Radner and her inspiration for the club. The party should be a celebration of her life, her legacy and the people you've helped. Bring in some star power: get Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd or Jane Curtain to talk about working with Gilda.

Step 5: Create a long-term plan and with a signature annual event designed to keep Gilda's name and legacy alive. The brand only matters if you make it matter. Her legacy has faded over the years because you've allowed it to do so.

You never have a better moment to create a brand fan for life then when you fix a problem for them. And you do have a problem. Fix this right and you can re-establish Gilda's legacy for generations to come. If you'd like some help, call me. I'll do it for free. This organization and Ms. Radner's inspiring story are too strong an asset to let fall by the wayside. If I can help in some small way, I would be honored.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

It's always something...

This is what happens when well intentioned people dip their toes into the marketing pond.

Gilda's Club in Madison, Wisconsin along with several other regional chapters are changing their name to Cancer Support Community because, according to their executive director,
One of the realizations we had this year is that our college students were born after Gilda Radner passed. As we are seeing younger and younger adults who are dealing with a cancer diagnosis, we want to make sure that what we are is clear to them and that there’s not a lot of confusion that would cause people not to come in our doors.
This is a stupid reason to change your organization's name, especially to something generic and purely functional like Cancer Support Community.

There's nothing unique about the new name, nothing memorable, nothing ownable.

Not to mention they're tossing aside the reason they exist in the first place.

A few years after Gilda Radner died of ovarian cancer in 1989, her husband Gene Wilder and Joanna Bull, Ms. Radner's therapist, helped to found the first Gilda's Club in New York City, as a place where women, men and children living with cancer could build a social support network to supplement their medical care. It's a great and moving story.

Throwing out this story because it's been 25 years since Ms. Radner passed away is ridiculous.

Ford didn't change its name after its founder passed away and the brand is still relevant.

I'm fine if you want to add Cancer Support Community as a modifier to the name the name Gilda's Club. A lot of brands do that.

The directors of the club would do better to make sure people know Gilda's story and use it to attract people to their red door. It's a huge asset to the brand and one they're tossing aside because they don't care enough to make it meaningful.

And that is shameful.

Thanks to my friend Yi Shun Lai for the tip on this one. You can read her thoughts on life, writing and other subjects on her blog, The Good Dirt.