Friday, January 11, 2013

Are they nuts?

According to Ad Age, Psy will be cracking Wonderful Pistachios gangnam style at some point during the Super Bowl.

Here's my question. Does the celebrity campaign actually build the Wonderful brand or just sell pistachios?

On the surface it doesn't seem any different from Planter's branding peanuts, but it is different for a couple of reasons.

The product is not any different than I can purchase in bulk in the produce section of my supermarket. The packaging isn't incredibly convenient nor does the brand make any other promise to differentiate their nuts from those I currently enjoy. Are they fresher? Tastier? More sustainably raised? Anything?

The other challenge is the brand name itself and the way it's used. "Wonderful pistachios" is exactly how I feel about the nuts I buy in bulk. To be honest, when I first saw these spots I thought they were for a grower's association, not a consumer package goods company. It wasn't until I looked more closely at the package and saw the heart in the logotype that I realized these pistachios were from the same company as Pom Wonderful.

They're going to shell out (badumbump) $3.5 million dollars for thirty seconds of airtime on the Super Bowl, pay Psy a healthy fee, and spend a few bucks on production. Personally, I'd try to do something with my product to give people more of a reason to choose it over the bulk alternative before I spent that kind of money.

As the lead brand in the category, doing things to grow the category makes sense. If they had a product that actually differentiated itself, however, that media spend would be a lot more effective.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Chevrolet charts a new course

In news that surprises absolutely no one, Chevrolet has a new tagline today.

Chevy Runs Deep, their previous slogan, always felt like more of a placeholder instead of the foundation for the communications. It never really drove the message and unified the campaign around a single thought, which is the whole point of a tagline.

So today Chevrolet debuts Find New Roads


There's a lot in those three words.

On the surface it says "Explore" harkening back to the brand's glory days of See the USA in your Chevrolet without tying it to a specific geography, thus making it appropriate for a global theme.

There does seem, however, to be other ways to interpret the theme depending on how it is executed.

Find New Roads encourages those who develop products for Chevrolet to look for new ways of doing things, thus setting the expectations for car buyers that Chevy will offer unique and innovative products.

Find New Roads exhorts those in the market for a new car, to look beyond Toyota or Honda and open their minds to Chevy, a brand they may have ignored for a generation.

Find New Roads implies a never say die attitude.

Both functionally and emotionally there seems to be a lot of richness in these simple words. 

How successful this theme is will only be known over time. 

Taglines are only as good as the context in which they are presented. If the product is great, the TV spots are great, the print ads are great, then Find New Roads will join See the USA, Baseball Hot Dogs, Apple Pie and Chevrolet, and The Heartbeat of America in the pantheon of the brand's communications all-stars. 

If not, in a few years the agency will be back at the drawing board.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Something smells at Nissan

When I read on Autoextremist that Nissan was introducing a signature scent at the Detroit Auto Sh... I'm sorry, North American International Auto Show, I thought it was a joke.

But no, a cursory Google search confirms that indeed, if all goes as planned, soon every Nissan dealership will be bathed in a trademarked fragrance called, thé vert oriental and will evoke the smell of a "Chinese spring harvest."


I know other marketers use scent to help sell their products. Sandwich shops bake bread on premise to help stimulate the palate. There's even an organization called the Scent Marketing Institute that will be hosting its ScentWorld conference next month in New York.

I have no problem if Nissan wants its dealerships to smell good. I just don't understand why they're telling us about it. What benefit do they get from taking the focus off the cars and shifting it to an esoteric marketing tactic that has nothing to do with the product experience? Especially since it opens them up to ridicule from critics?

Nissan needs to focus on the product, not the marketing if they want people to take them seriously.