Friday, January 18, 2013

Flying blind

Now that they've emerged from bankruptcy, American Airlines have launched an extensive rebranding effort as you would expect.

Yes, they have a very nice new logo.

Of course, FutureBrand also did an excellent job designing their planes.

And the launch commercial from McCann is nicely conceived and beautifully crafted.

Speaking about the campaign, Darryl Lee, Global Chief Strategy director at McCann is quoted in Ad Age as saying, "The idea of it was to bring back the wonder of air travel." Here's the problem with that; the advertising doesn't create wonder, the experience does.

Unless American has changed what's at the heart of their brand – their service and the overall experience – all this work is just window dressing.

Does this mean they shouldn't have created a new logo and ad campaign? No. It's a lovely campaign and if their flights match peoples' schedules and aren't significantly more expensive than other options, I'm sure it will sell a few tickets.

If, however, they haven't changed any of the important things about flying – the terminals, the ticketing, the meals, the legroom, etc. – they shouldn't expect either the perceptions of their brand or the fortunes of their business to change in any meaningful way.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The NRA misfires again

I'm not going to talk about the politics of this. That's not what my blog is about. And whether I agree with them or not, were I advising the NRA, I'd have told them not to run this ad.

First, the underlying premise of the argument is significantly flawed. The secret service has provided protection for the children of every president since William McKinley as they could obviously be a target of those hoping to undermine presidential power and national security.

Second, the ad shifts focus halfway through bringing in the issue of tax fairness as some example of hypocrisy. This only muddies the waters.

Third, and most importantly, this speaks only to their core audience of gun owners who are worried about an erosion of their second amendment rights. In this debate, the people who need to be convinced are non-gun owners and others who don't see a need for civilian versions of military weapons and magazines that hold 30 rounds or more to be in the hands of anyone other than police and military.

In targeting the president and his children, the NRA has given gun control advocates a gift which they will use to paint the NRA as extreme and out of touch with mainstream America. It's lousy strategy wrapped in poor execution. 

If they keep it up, they'll lose this fight.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Borrowing interest. Growing Equity.

Coca Cola is back.

The brand that is the world's leading manufacturer and distributor of sugary liquids has produced yet another spot to make you forget all about that and just smile.

There's a lot to like here: Great stories, excellent repurposing of a pop/rock classic, the simple documentary style of the film, and just the right amount of product and brand to let you know who's sponsoring the message.

I like that Coke isn't trying to get me to join a movement or like them on Facebook to vote or nominate the next crazy person. I can just enjoy the spot then the next time I'm at the convenience store maybe I'll remember the feeling it gave me and reach for the red and white can instead of the blue one.

Let's face it. There's no rational reason to buy cola. It's tasty but not necessary for life, and yes, when consumed in mass quantities, it's not very good for you. This spot makes you forget all that and just smile.

For a low investment, low involvement purchase like Coke, it's perfect.

Monday, January 14, 2013

CBS can't stop progress

CNET, the powerhouse digital publication for all things tech, released its "Best of CES" last week and one of the nominees was the Dish Hopper with Sling, the auto ad-skipping DVR from Dish Network... until it wasn't.

If you visit their Nominee Page now and scroll down to the very bottom you get this statement:
The Dish Hopper with Sling was removed from consideration due to active litigation involving our parent company CBS Corp. We will no longer be reviewing products manufactured by companies with which we are in litigation with respect to such product.
If anyone ever wondered about the impartiality of the press, wonder no more.

Clearly someone at CBS said to the publisher of CNET, "Hey, these guys are trying to break our business model. You can't give them an award." And the publisher of CNET, liking his job very much, said "No problem."

By making CNET pull its nomination, CBS is now allowing the Hopper to play a role in the erosion of two of its businesses. Not only is the Hopper a threat to the ad-supported revenue model the network was built on, but its sudden exclusion from the Best of CES list brings into question the most important asset CNET has, its editorial integrity.

Millions of people have trusted CNET for what was believed to be impartial reviews of technological gadgetry. I used it last week when deciding which new television to buy. Yet, if its editorial independence can be so easily undermined by those on the business side of the publication, how can anyone trust anything they write?

CBS needs to stop trying to make time stand still and begin to create a new reality in which traditional advertising and appointment viewing are no longer the be-all-and-end-all of network television. Pulling petty, vindictive stunts like this hurts their brands much more than it will slow the advance of technology that is coming whether they like it or not.