Friday, March 15, 2013

More of the same

Well, that was fast.

Commonwealth is no more. Goodby is leaving Detroit. And McCann now controls 100% of the Chevrolet business in the U.S. and around the world.

This news is not that surprising. In fact, it was inevitable once Joel Ewanick and GM parted ways.

The only question that needs to be answered now is, "Will the work get better?"

Chevrolet marketing and advertising has been suffering through a miserable dry spell. Nothing created by either agency was particularly effective or memorable. Even with a new Malibu, Sonic, Cruz and Spark, Chevrolet is selling fewer cars this year than both Toyota and Ford.

Will having all the work consolidated under McCann change that?

We shall see.

What I do know is that GM needs to settle its marketing and advertising issues quickly so it can concentrate on the business of selling cars.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Yes, it's our fault

The trouble with academics is they occasionally confuse correlation with causation.

That's the case in this study in which researchers have determined that food advertising causes obesity.

Food advertising, when done well drives preference and purchase intent. What causes obesity is consumption, specifically over-consumption and a diet that includes too many unhealthy options.

A billboard for a Big Mac Extra Value meal doesn't make people fat. The fact that some choose to make it a staple of their diet makes them fat.

A commercial for Mountain Dew doesn't make people fat. The fact that many people in urban neighborhoods don't have access to grocery stores makes them fat.

A coupon for Palermo's Pizza doesn't make people fat. The fact that a two-toed sloth is more active and burns more calories than most people, makes them fat.

There are a lot of contributing factors to the deteriorating health and increasing waistlines of the American people. Food advertising is the least of them. 

Unfortunately it's the easiest target.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The long view

Most marketers are more interested in becoming a brand than building a brand. They trot out a new campaign every year hoping that the latest one will finally stick.

Branding doesn't happen overnight.

It's not the result of one great ad, product or charismatic executive.

Brands are built over time. They are the result of meticulous planning, flawless execution and a bit of luck.

I know we all want to get rich quick. We all want the stock market to reward last quarter's performance. We all want a big bonus this year. Unfortunately too often those things happen at the expense of the long-term health of the brand.

That promotion you're planning to reduce inventory will cheapen customers' perceptions of your brand, making it harder for you to charge full-price after it's over. Cutting your R&D budgets so you hit Wall Street's expectations will make it harder for your products to be competitive next year and the year after that. Staffing your front-line sales force with minimum wage temporary workers will ensure your guests have a mediocre experience at best, giving them little incentive to come back.

Every action has a consequence. Focusing on the long-term consequences of our actions is how great brands are built.