Thursday, December 07, 2006

Rapid Relief From Ordinary Marketing

Every marketing expert tells you you have to have a strategy. But they don't tell you how to get one. Advertising's in the dark ages. Positioning's in the ice age. And every "expert" derives their strategy using the same tools - promoting commoditization and darts thrown in the direction of "creativity" in hopes of attracting elusive consumer ears and eyeballs. So where did your product's current positioning strategy come from? Your CEO, your CMO, your VP Marketing; or did you merely inherit it when you adopted, or were promoted to your own "position?" Do you have faith in the maxim that you do it because that's the way we've always done it in the past? Are you afraid to do anything different because someone in advertising said that messages have to be consistent? RUBBISH and BUNK. Check out our web site. At least we tell you how to find a cure for commoditization. And don't believe those who tell you that others do the same thing. We've checked out the competition. If they did what we did you'd find our words on their web site. But you won't because they don't. Also check out Ad Age Writer Jonah Bloom on the advertising industry's lack of big ideas. They're simply seeking ways of saying the obvious creatively. That won't engage consumers, move the needle, all that rot you know. Now that's what blogs are for. Opinion!

Friday, December 01, 2006

The General Motors - Kerkorian Break Up

Without antagonist Kirk Kerkorian, GM will once again begin to feel good about itself. Lifting its foot from the gas pedal, GM's stock will continue to decline after a brief rise. Look for Kerkorian to reemerge with other investors including founder/executive types Warren Buffett and Sumner Redstone to force out top brass and replace with a more agile today, not tomorrow team. GM has had access to the top strategic and creative resources on the planet. Following the organizational and management mandates of gurus such as Drucker, it still takes GM five days just to acknowledge receipt of a letter to top dog Rick Wagoner while top dogs at more successful companies answer their own phones. Wagoner, and GM were recently shunned by lesser but more balanced companies such as Renault with whom alliances were sought.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Bob Eckert Vs.Isaac Larian - Head to Head Doll War Combat - Watch the video

A tale of two men who can't solve their differences with business creativity or strategy - so they resort to expensive and time consuming legal pursuits. Bob knows he plaigerized the Bratz - another classic case of one CEO's lack of business creativity; an inability to create his own multi-billion dollar brand from scratch, or identify the trend to take Barbie, the Bratz or the category the next step - oh DRATZ - no just in time licensing opportunity on the horizon! So what's beyond Barbie and Bratz? That's what the right CEO should ask. Like Coca-Cola asking me to identify future consumption drivers in soft drinks. But right now, let's just watch two linear thinking bullies slug it out in court to the delight of lawyers everywhere. So why doesn't Mattel just buy the Bratz? A little public controversy around the holidays is good for both businesses. Media dupped again! Patsies in the doll wars. Thanks for playing our game!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Calle's Carnival of Consumer Marketing - Calle For Submissions - November 20th, 2006 Deadline - "Just who are the marketing experts?"

Just who are "the marketing experts?" Do marketers at big consumer product companies actually know anything? As Suzanne Lowe writes, "Do marketers have any idea what makes one marketer more expert than another?" Are today's marketing superstars just lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time? For example, Starbucks, Nike and Coke were all businesses started by someone else - not Scott Bedbury, Sergio Zyman or Mark Hans-Richter who made the business their own. So what gives them that certain something you and I lack? Is it just that they are there, and you are not?

Friday, November 03, 2006

Cargill - Doing Good. Not So Fast - Calle's Carnival Of Consumer Marketing

Companies basic to the world's supply chain - such as Cargill and ADM innovate, then get slapped in the face by downstream beneficiaries who otherwise cling to their [old] ideas more tenaciously than their most prized material possessions. Another must read by Vihar Sheth! The nay sayers probably drive SUVs.

Vihar Sheth presents Doing Good? Not So Fast. posted at green|rising.

Who are the marketing experts - Calle's Carnival of Consumer Marketing, November 3, 2006

What a great question! Today's marketing experts are those lucky enough to ride the crest of the wave (i.e.: Starbucks or Nike) during a company's rapid growth phase - they are deemed "experts" when they are actually just in the right place at the right time and along for the ride. Is this an inflamatory statement? Not if you consider that once the business has become a mature earnings entity, these experts are unable to get the brand past the intersection of target audience and product benefit to resume rapid growth - so they chase consumer ears and eyeballs wherever they can be found.

David, what a great piece! A must read.

David Maister presents Who are the Marketing Experts in Professional Businesses? posted at Passion, People and Principles.


Thursday, November 02, 2006

Out of Office Supplies

I was called upon by Staples - you know - the office supply people, to train and motivate their outsourced sales force. Of course, I had to set the pace and lead by example - so for every one account their guys would bring in, I'd bring in 26! And I can teach you how!

The first thing we learn is product knowledge. All businesses use toners and all businesses use checks. Even though I would encourage business owners to buy cheap checks they would order designer personal checks instead.

By encouraging business owners to spend less money, they trusted me more - seeing that I was working in their best interest - and spent more! Under the four factors of impulse we call this "Indifference." It is the most powerful and most difficult sales tactic to master because you must be sincere and you must believe in the fact that, "when you help others get what they want, you get what you want."

buy cheap checks

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Madison Avenue Indicted. Advertising Implicated

The natural tendency of advertising is to grow steadily worse - that is, to grow more satisfactory to those who constitute it and less satisfactory to those who support it.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Meet The Chumash Tribe!

The Chumas Tribe in the Sequoia Nation in The Long House of The Orange Skies is part of the YMCA's Indian Princess and Indian Guides program promoting father - daughter and father - son relationships. Those of us who tell ourselves, and our children, through our actions, that we don't have time to play or listen to them, is best advised to join the program. Soon, yours will no longer be children. Time is the only thing we can't get back. Visit our tribe.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Calle's Carnival of Consumer Marketing - October 17, 2006

T presents Trusted Advisor Associates > Blog posted at Trusted Advisor Associates.

Wonderful insight and article a la Harvard Business School. Upshot: Portholes are still potholes at firms such as GM and Buick. What's needed? A new legion of managers that are really "founder-executives" in the mold of Sumner Redstone or Warren Buffett and a new cadre of best practices and systems replacing the infrastructure that's failed. GM is trying to sit on a collapsible camp chair with one broken leg. Get people who know how to create brands people want rather than managers who take what others started and attempt to make it their own.


Calle's Carnival of Consumer Marketing - October 17, 2006

Dan Harris presents China's Leading Global Brands - Are You Serious? posted at China Law Blog.


I'm going to reactivate the American Volunteer Group. Anyone want to join the AVG and help me pioneer brands in China? - Martin

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Wal-Mart Catches Flak for Holiday Christmas List Toy Site

What a great idea! Wish I'd thought of it first! But I can't find the link on Wal-Mart's site. I must be stuck on stupid. Here's the link to Wal-Mart's fantastic toyland! Fun! What a wonderful virtual merchandising unit! Anyone who says nay is a bah-humbug!

Monday, October 09, 2006

From Famous Advertising Name to Meaningless Initials

WOW! This content was up and running on Advertising Age Magazine's web site. Then they pulled the content.

Ex-marketing positioning jock Al Ries is up in arms over J Walter Thompson's name change. I've called J Walter Thompson JWT for over 40 years - so what's the big deal. At least they're still in business - and the graphics look great!
Of more importance is the inability of an advertising agency to distinguish itself. No. I do not mean "by awards." I mean in it's ability to differentiate itself from rivals. McCann-Erickson is still positioning itself as the "mental jelly fish." Go to the agency's site. Also see Jonah Bloom's column in last week's Ad Age Magazine - "Agencies Short On Real Ideas..."
No. Advertising used to be a game of finesse. There was room to spread your elbows. Agencies distinguished themselves by their founder's unique styles. David Olilvy for his Hathaway print ads; Leo Burnett for his ability to churn out the Marlboro Man and other characters; Bill Bernbach for his timely and clever turn of phrase (remember VW releives gas pains!). Those styles have all been absorbed into the mix. Marketers are the borg. Resistance is futile. The practices of the greats are now generic tools employed by the masses - employees at namesake agencies wholesaleing their time for paychecks but unable to raise the bar beyond founders (in their defense: have you ever tried starting your own business?) who converge on the same position as category rivals simply saying the same things about themselves [creatively] different ways.
Commoditization complete. Yes. JWT might loose its identity, as did Marschalk, Ted Bates and so many other greats. Madison Avenue is certainly one product that needs to reverse the effects of a mature product lifecycle. But then again, to get great advertising, clients must give agencies so much more than just a positioning statement with product features, functions and benefits to extoll.
So physician, "Heal theyself" or hire me to execute a turnaround.

Cocaine - The Energy Beverage

Memo to: ReDux Beverages, LV, NV - Have you ever seen rats on sugar water in a cage with a wheel? They run themselves to exhaustion, and death. Your target audience may be "informed" but still, most lack the discipline required to avoid your product. Have you ever heard the saying, "Hurry up and hire the teen ager before they forget they already know everything." How do you sleep at night? Why don't you just peddle porn?

My comments: Few. Deserves: None. Buzz: Zero ... And it will go away.
But what do I really think?
Assessment 1)
Clever name. Nice package, but incorrect delivery system. My sources tell me you are supposed to use a straw.
Assessment 2)
Vice package. Gangster name, but let's see how the distribution pipeline votes. Do they have a conscience, or are they just in it for the money, like any pimp.
Assessment 3)
Maybe they should just put a sugar powder in a straw and sell it to kids like a penny-candy. Yes, kids are "informed." You know the marketing maxim about "hooking 'em while they're young." I call it "environmental conditioning." Is this grounds for a law suit?
This is the wrong kind of social marketing.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Pete Blackshaw Suggests "Listening-Centered Marketing"

I applaud the concept of listening-centered marketing. But here's the fly in the ointment - which means listening-centered marketing is years away. Marketers are not good sales people - and every marketer will tell you they already are listening to the consumer - either through diary panels, voice-of-the-consumer web site feedback, etc.

So here's the 411 at major consumer product companies.

When you say the word "sales" to a marketer at a company such as Kraft young marketers get whiplash so quick they are to point their finger to "that department over there." Oh those young MBAs. So compartmentalized - one will never fly over the cuckoo's nest. Do you really think the Marketing Director, risen from these ranks, has ever lowered him or herself to press the flesh, and the palms of ten thousand of their own customers in trailer parks across America who worship NASCAR and Country Music while devouring Kraft Mac & Cheese and Oscar Mayer Hot Dogs swilling microwaved day-old Maxwell House the next morning? In your dreams...and only from behind that focus group mirror so sanitary are they.

They never get the exposure in sales required to realize that the best sales people are the best listeners. Every marketer should go door to door and do door to door sales for a year, throughout the Midwest, as a requisite to their post. I don't care what you sell. Quill Office Supplies, Merchant Services for First Horizon, Costco Memberships, whatever! They would emerge completely different people. And much better marketers.

I knew someone once who ran the TWA [Trans World Airlines] account at Ogilvy & Mather Advertising in New York. I asked her what she thought of country music. She said she thought it was for a bunch of red neck hicks. I asked her what she thought of NASCAR. She thought, and said she thought NASCAR was for...people who liked country music.

Some days later TWA went out of business. When I caught up with this young hotshot in the post mortem of agency purges and layoffs I reminded her that because of her own personal prejudices she had denied her client access to the most popular form of music and the most popular spectator sport in America - that's why TWA went bankrupt - a complete inability to relate and connect with customers. Had she gone door to door, hearing George Strait emanate from countless screen doors, business history would be entirely different.

You think that's corny?

"Thank you for flying Southwest Airlines today. By the way, if there's anything you need today, y'all make sure you let us know ... right after we land."

Yes. That's actual flight attendant dialogue. Thank you Herb Kelleher for infusing the industry leader with listening-centered marketing. I'm listening!

Corona Brewery Says Grind It In Deeper

If I said what I wanted to say I would be judged politically incorrect. As the creator of Cold-filtered Miller Genuine Draft for Miller Brewing I can say that people drink to address the need state of "to party" or "to relax." The question remains. In which activity is she engaged?

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Execs: Integration Key to Boosting Traffic, Sales

According to Steve Grubbs, CEO of Omnicom Group's PHD USA on Marketing Vox.

I say nothing beats a great positioning. In the never ending quest for always-on-the-move consumer ears and eyeballs, positioning" remains the most highly under-utilized tool by manufacturers, marketers and their advertising agencies. Some may disagree. Yes, we know, you do have the best positioning since sliced bread. But taking a parity position and spreading the butter to new media won't make amends for companies such as GM or Ford and "me-too" product line positioning strategies. Gone, lost or forgotten is the art of taking a stew in a can and spinning it into "the soup you eat with a fork" for Chunky Soup, or taking a woman's cigarette and uniting it with the image of a cowboy.

Then again, if you make a positioning that works too well, you spend less money with your ad agency. That would be counter productive don't you think.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

On The Outside Looking In

Have you ever been on the outside of a company looking in - or trying to get in? Here's a great cartoon!

Madison Avenue To Clients: You Reap What You Sow

To:All Consumer Packaged Goods Clients
From: Madison Avenue

Subject: Advertising That Sells.

Dear Clients:
Have you ever heard the saying garbage in, garbage out?

No?! Then let's cut through the mustard [not the clutter] here.

It is the client's responsibility to provide leadership and direction if you want advertising that sells.

It is our responsibility to turn that into a campaign.

Do not blur the lines and hold us accountable for both.

As long as manufacturers scratch consumer motivations no more deeply that their product's consumer functions, features and benefits - targeting this week's flavor of consumer demographic or consumer ear and eyespot - your advertising will remain bland and tasteless. A commodity. We can not turn a sow's ear (very similar products) into silk purses.

You say your product is different? No, it is not.

All shampoos and conditioners promise "model beautiful" hair.
All detergents promise to do the cleaning job better and faster.
All orange juices claim to taste "most like the orange."
All ground roast coffee claims superior flavor and aroma.
All toothpastes promise whiter teeth, cavity prevention, gum care, tartar control and fresher breath.

If you want rich, robust and proprietary insights, it is a client's responsibility to generate them. Put them in your positioning statements and we will turn your stews into top selling soups you eat with a fork [Chunky Soup].

Maxwell House may have been good to the last drop. Folgers may have been mountain grown. But both employed the same idea - and not a big one - that each had the richest flavor and aroma. Parity in. Parity out. Two brands saying exactly the same thing different ways. What a waste of resources. A pissing match ending in a highly price-driven commodity category. A draw. What did copying ever get you in school?

Thank God Procter & Gamble sourced Calle & Company for rich, robust and proprietary consumer insights!

Calle & Company realized that heavy ground roast coffee consumers- the 24% of the audience that account for 85% of category volume - consume caffiene for the "Control" rather than "Sensory" selling dimensions - caffiene offers in the morning day part.

Heavies drink coffee because caffiene helps them "work and play well with others." Heavies drink caffiene when they get to work to socialize, but also because the caffiene "helps them see things others miss (kind of prophetic)." And heavies drink caffiene on Saturday and Sunday morning because if their spouse, girl or boy friend trys to get them to say or to do something before they have that first cup of caffiene in the morning, that usually starts an argument that lasts two or three days.

So, for them, "the best part of waking up is "caffiene" in their cup." But we couldn't say caffiene, so we said, "Folgers" - which now enjoys a 34 to 17 share lead over Maxwell House. That's advertising that sells!

If you are a heavy ground roast coffee consumer, you can relate.

And that is the guidance clients must provide to advertising agencies if you want break through advertising that sells. Only Madison Avenue's whores take awareness and recognition campaign money.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

McCann-Erickson Mental Jelly Fish Watch

It has now been 93 days since we first noticed reknown advertising agency McCann-Erickson positioning itself as "Mental Jelly Fish." Certainly a differentiating strategy in a sea of sameness. Does the firm not employ a PR firm or internet clipping service to alert them to the Mental Jelly Fish Watch?

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Go Daddy Commercial

Go Daddy commercial for the superbowl that didn't make the cut.

Martin Calle on Social Media & Social Marketing

Professionally and personally, I have some thoughts I'd like to share on Social Media and Social Marketing. Let me know what you think.
One: Marketers will always thirst for consumer ears and eyeballs wherever they can be found, hence marketers divert ever increasing sums from traditional to "new media."
Two: The number one fear in America is, guess what? Public speaking. Not only do we fear talking to other live human beings, we have blogs to use to express our "true feelings" to others. Isn't the irony of that sick? I always thought that had to be done face to face. If we don't perfect that craft our society's next step is underground with the Morlocks. Step into the sun and talk to someone face to face! Otherwise, what form of "introvert" will social media produce? We use the computer to learn and to communicate while advertisers interupt us, but do we also use the contrivance of television and the internet to escape "physical" contact and communication? No. E-harmony success stories do not disarm my fears.

Wood's Gone Wild: Tiger Woods & Your Dad's Old Car

I like Tiger Woods. He is a dream endorser, but suggesting that he's the band-aid attracting younger buyers to Buick is too much! Click the link. Read the article. Here are my comments to Ad Age Writer Rich Thomaselli:

Whose hype are you believing? Tiger Woods - "the magician helping Buick shake its image as an old people's car?!" Buick's Marketing Director must wine and dine you really well.

I was hired by General Motors, The Buick Motor Division and McCann-Erickson to revitalize Buick's image and positioning. Long ago Tiger was supposed to be "the man." He is! But as long as GM keeps making cars that "look ten years old before they are new" no one is going shake Buick's image as an old person's car.

That's GM's fault. They have a tenacious cling to old fashioned ideals and styling cues that matter to...well, only people at GM.

But McCann-Erickson has contributed to the brand's demise as well as to the ad industry's "reputation problem" highlighted in Matthew Creamer's current Ad Age Cover Story "Just Make It Stop..."

Do you remember McCann's, "It's the fine line between sport and sedan" for the Buick Regal? No one else does either. What dreck, as the Germans would say. What consumer ever asked for "a fine line between sport and sedan"? It's strategic and creative dribble. (Oh yeah. Go to McCann's web site. They have a picture of "Mental Jellyfish" on their home page.) The job was to sway those who otherwise purchase Honda Accords, Toyota Camrys and Ford Tauruses to Buick. My God!

Our research found that most competitive purchasers wouldn't recognize a Buick even if it ran them over. They perceive the brand's product lines as little more that rental fleet fodder. So GM should immediately stop selling the product to fleets. It dilutes the brand's equity. Oh yeah. I forgot. Then they'd go out of business because mostly fleets buy Buicks.

That's not McCann's fault. The brand's invisibility is not due to a lack of impressions. They have spent lavishly!

It is because GM clings to outdated styling cues that matter only to those at GM and their aging Midwestern buyers market. In fact, the division's 110 question long battery needs segmentation questionnaire is skewed to the wants and needs of this audience - not younger East and West Coast spenders. Bottom line. You have to make something that someone wants to buy. And Buick doesn't. So drop that study.

Yes, the Regal is a nice looking car. When we portrayed the vehicle unbadged, as a potential Porsche entry to the US mid sized car market, audiences went wild! Then they saw those horrible front and back end styling cues and sneered "Buick." "I knew it."

Tiger Woods is the cream of the crop as far as endorsers go. But you can't stick him on a brand like a band-aid and create a miracle. As long as GM, or Buick, makes cars that look like old people's cars, they will remain old people's cars.

Preceding a presentation at GM headquarters I was approached by Buick's strategy head. She let me know that I had many friends in the room. She also let me know that no one was going to turn Buick, or GM around single handedly. But somebody should.

That Porsche Regal is still in the wings. I have the strategy all mapped on paper ready to go. Projections indicated annual sales of 250,000 units - not including fleet sales. Will I have any takers? Or will they give me the John DeLorean prize?

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Advertising Agencies Short On Real Ideas

Masterful. Simply Masterful. Hats off to Advertising Age Magazine's columnist, Jonah Bloom for summarizing Madison Avenue's decline so succinctly.

There was a time when CEOs went to advertising meetings and advertising meetings contained use of the word "sales." But the ad agencies couldn't stand the heat so they had to get out of the kitchen. So CEOs stopped going to advertising meetings and advertising meetings started using the phrase "generating awareness and recognition" which is Greek for "if we through enough stuff against the glass, something might stick." And thus began Madison Avenue's downward spiral and the implementation of "pay for performance" advertising. Madison Avenue's copywriters and strategists were given the liberty to dig heir own graves.

Ten years ago it had gotten so bad that the 4As (The American Association of Advertising Agencies) had to close the career page (the place where ad agencies could post jobs and candidates could post resumes) on their web site. In its place, for a short time, ran a sign that read: "Due to the miserable economic conditions on Madison Avenue, the AAAA has closed the career page. Because it is unlikely that this condition will change anytime in the near future, the AAAA has elected not to make an investment to upgrade or republish the career page."

So read Jonah Bloom's column. Wonder why advertising agencies can make messages so fun, and underlying messages (the big ideas based on rich, robust and proprietary insights) so bad. Visit McCann-Erickson's web site. See the "mental jellyfish" yourself. If a picture is worth a thousand words, would you hire this agency? And if you did, why would you stay? Yes I like Leo's pencil. I used to work there too and hold it in reverence. But the doodling is too symbolic. Account groups and clients argued for months over who would pay for original research to "ferret out" the big idea. Since no one paid, strategy flew by the seat of the pants of the highest executive - which is not a big idea - nor in anyone's best interest save those in their chair - and paid handsomely to do so. And if you are new or coming up in the industry at Coke or P&G do not become redirected by obfuscation or side issues such as media selection and social marketing. So you make a bad buy. So what? Wayne Gretsky says, "You miss every shot you never take." And I'd like to add that if you are not making mistakes you are not learning. If you are not learning, you are not growing. Social Marketing? Chase consumer ears and eyeballs wherever you find them. My view is that television and computers are for learning, or to escape. But they are singular experiences - anti social - for every moment in silence engrossed in some show or pinned to some blog is a moment we are not actually talking to another human being.

Jonah? You accused ad agencies of being commoditized and homogeneous. Vanilla. You are correct. That is the problem. What is the solution? Owner-executives. Not home grown. Not industry grown. Mavericks. How do you find them? They are few and far between. But don't call recruiters. They seek the "classically trained." Those in the industry loop and those just graduated still in the process of learning everything for the first time themselves. So pay attention clients. You'll have to find owner-executives yourselves. A wise, and rich man once told me that, "Life is a matter of exposure. The more you expose yourself to, the more likely you are to succeed." So find those as different rather than as alike you as possible. And I don't mean irreverent creatives who shun suits. I mean those with ideas to which you are violently opposed because "we" [you] cling to our ideas more tenaciously than our most prized material possessions - which can vanish when we can no longer wholesale our time for a paycheck because an account was lost or sales plummeted. (Let me tell you about IBM's founder who retained the man who made a $600,000 mistake sometime) In collaboration with this difference is the strength of bigger ideas. It's genetics. The bigger the differences between two, the stronger and more beautiful the offspring. Thanks for the stimulation Mr. Bloom. I'm tickled.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Calle's Carnival of Consumer Marketing - September 26, 2006

Dave Lorenzo presents "The Five Habits That Make You More Money"

Dave's recommendations are right on the money! His recommendations are all very obvious. So why don't we do them? As my dad taught me, "Sometimes the best answers are so obvious, they're not obvious." Way to go Dave!

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Friday, September 22, 2006

Calle's Carnival of Consumer Marketing - September 22, 2006

Steve Faber presents Internet Ad Revenue Growth Slower – Is That Indicative of Something Bigger? posted at Debt Free.

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Steve makes two conclusions here that I couldn't agree with more.

1) What Ford desperately needs is brand loyal, long term customers. I would like to say that that is acquired by making products desired by more people. Obviously, the best practices employed to determine what people want are not working well enough to raise the bar and sell more cars.

2) Ford needs to make sure they [young people] become Ford customers for life. How do you do that? I walked into the Genius Bar at an Apple Store the other day. My 80 gig iPod wasn't working. I was the last appointment of the day. It was 9 PM down at South Coast Plaza. I was tired. Apple's resident Genius Jason was tired. He took one look at my $400 iPod and said, "You know what? I'm just going to give you a new iPod because you've already been here once today." GOLDEN! I am now an Apple Computer devotee for life! I had always purchased PCs before. But you better believe my next and every subsequent computer will be an Apple.

Now that Jason knew he had done the right thing he continued to explain the rationale behind his move. "We take more time to build and test an Apple. They cost more because we build them to work as well on day one as they will work on the last day. They cost more, so we figure the people buying them will be responsible and take care of them. So we figure that when something goes wrong, it's our fault. Here's your new iPod."

Man. What an experience.

Reminds me of another story of the man who bought a turbo diesel Mercedes. Twenty years later, the car would not run. Turbo charger problem - so he took the car to the dealer. The dealer put a brand new $3,500 turbo charger on the twenty year old Mercedes. The following month the owner came back to the dealer and purchased a brand new Mercedes. Don't you think that dealer made his money back from his "small" gesture of goodwill? THAT'S HOW YOU BUILD BRANDS. Found on page one of BUILDING BRANDS FOR DUMMIES.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Branding BlowOuts. Now Innovation Impotence Too

Well, you already know my view on branding. It's something you do when you have a lot of money and don't have anything important to say, kind of like Blue Cross Blue Shields "Power of Blue" branding campaign. I thought Big Blue was IBM? Well, plagiarism never worked in school either, but some branding expertly making six figures for no reason at Blue Cross Blue Shield.

Anyway, on to Innovation Impotence. You know Innovation and the Creativity Economy are supposed to be the hot new buzz words given Business Week Innovation Editor Bruce Nussbaums tick on the subject GET CREATIVE August 5, 2005. Accordingly, two years ago, according to a Boston Consulting Group Poll, 97% of CEOs said they were disappointed on their innovation return on investment. As Jeff Goldblum said in the movie Independence Day, "Ooopps." This year that number is reportedly down to 64%. The dramatic turnaround is attributed to better PR awareness. People were listening.

Yet according to McKinsey & Company the consumer products industry has lost its glow. Revenue in the US $2 trillion packaged goods industry is flat and executives want to know where the growth is going to come from.

So as Clara Peller said in those venerable Wendy's commercials, "Where's the beef?" Consumer packaged goods innovation is still, for the mostpart, nowhere to be seen on the horizon. Why?

Because business leaders misuse the term innovation, throwing it back and forth as if saying the word makes it so. Lets look at innovation at The Home Depot who is currently running an Innovation HomeShow 06 in all of its stores. Is this innovation? With hundreds of innovations on display? No! Because manufacturers assembled merely because they have updated old products does not constitute innovation. In fact, making the old new has never been considered an innovation. It's just a necessity. Hence, these innovations fail to change the rules of the game and generate incremental profit and volume. Though newly designed, LG and Maytag's numbers are still flat. On the upside, better displays, the newest models and more knowledgeable sales associates have helped The Home Depot and Lowe's appliance sales teams chip away at perennial go to department store Sears.

Memo To: GM & FORD

There is a saying in sales that says, "No one quits when you're making money." So what's wrong at GM and Ford? Obviously they're not making money. How do you make money? Obviously, by making products that people want. But how do you make products that people want? Obviously, the best practices employed to determine that aren't (best practices.) Have you ever taken a look at something such as GM's 110 question long battery needs segmentation questionnaire? Worthless. There are two other ways to make money. Money makes money, and people make money. These companies need new people.

Halo products Solstice, Fiero, Reatta, Corvette should be the norm - the cost of entry rather than the exception. So keep firing strategic leaders who say there is a market for people who want ugly cars (such as the Chevy Lumina). They don't. Remember that when you think you are great, you are only good - When you think you are good you are merely mediocre. Stop making stupid decisions such as putting the last of the V-8s in the ugliest Chevrolet's ever designed (Caprice)- and then, when they didn't sell, conclude that American's no longer wanted V-8s. No - Americans no longer wanted ugly cars (looked like a big upside down bath tub - self respecting New York cabbies didn't want them either). Abandon trademark styling queues. No one cares what tail lights are on a Cadillac versus a Chevy - except Cadillac and Chevy. Stop advertising that only talks to GM about GM. Kudos to Nissan's Versa for positioning itself as the cure for claustrophobia. At least "that's" talking to consumers. Abandon design quirks. Consumers told us the problem with GM cars is that they all look ten years old before they're even new.

There's nothing wrong with Pontiac's Solstice. It's interior is unremarkable by today's standards. It's only remarkable to GM. It's Jimmy Durante nose is awkwardly unusual and beautiful. Stop positioning your divisions in quadrants. No one wanted an Oldsmobile (the division lost its consumer reason-for-being pinned hopelessly to one of the corporation's brand positioning quadrants like a tail on a donkey. Oldsmobile's death was like watching a worm dry up on hot concrete - you could have picked up and saved the worm by moving it, but you didn't). Stop abandoning platforms. As soon as Mark Hans-Richter leaves the Solstice will go the way of the Fiero and Reatta. I call it the John DeLorean Effect. Big company's hate individual success because it can't be duplicated by others.

So stop confusing motion with progress GM and Ford. Everything you are doing is just window dressing for board members and accountants. Just stick to the facts. Make products someone wants. And remember, no one quits when they're making money.

Required Reading - John Maxwell on Leadership

Required reading for every C and Board Level Executive.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Gillette's Rusty Image

Gillette. It sounds like the French name for a dilettante or a dandy. What we'd call a sissy. All soft. Not hard and strong. Now technological leadership is why the brand wraps itself in science fiction imagery. Who else could put 4,5,6,7,8,9 or ten blades in one shaving head? Ridiculous. But doesn't Gillette's CEO realize that only 3% of men over 18 find science fiction appealing? Why not target the 1% of us that listen to jazz? Obviously the brand is having trouble relating and resonating with its core audience. Are we sure this is a man's brand? NYC firemen are our role models today ... men's men ... not Gillette Fusion's Captain Kirk and Jean Luc Picard. (Do they shave in the 24th Century?)

So maybe it's time for an extreme makeover.

Option 1)

Bring in Leo Burnett and The Marlboro Man. Cowboys are always rough, tough, big and strong and sexy too!

Option 2)

Package razors and razor blades like hand tools. Men like tools.

Option 3)

Choose new colors. Corvette Yellow and DeWalt Black says big and strong - and men like tools.

Option 4)

Position razors as tools, not as personal care or health & beauty aids. Did we say men like tools?

Option 5)

Burl razor handles like pocket knives. Make the blade and handle foldable. Real men carry pocket knives. Offend business people who can't take knives to work or the airport. You have to stand for something and executives are not your core audience anyway. Only 30% of Americans graduated from college. The rest of us don't work at Procter & Gamble or J. Walter Thompson Advertising. We're out hunting real turkeys, watching pro bass fishing, thumbing through Bow Archer and Field & Stream.

Option 6)

Create a razor called "The BackStroke." Put blades on both sides. After all, swimmers, actors and gay men shave hair from their entire body.

Kraft CEO Slams Company, Trims Marketing Staff - September 18, 2006

Rosenfeld's Internal Memo Takes Aim at Bloated Bureaucracy

For the full text article click the link in the title above. My take, emailed to Kraft CEO Irene Rosenfeld and Advertising Age Magazine writer Stephanie Thompson follows:

To:Stephanie Thompson

Advertising Age Magazine

Subject: Response to your article published September 18, 2006

Kraft CEO Slams Company, Trims Marketing Staff
Rosenfeld's Internal Memo Takes Aim at Bloated Bureaucracy

I couldn’t agree more with Kraft CEO Irene Rosenfeld. Kraft’s marketing department has long been populated by what head hunters call “the classically trained” – young bureaucratic MBAs who, whenever the word “sales” pops up, point their fingers across their cubicle to “that department over there.”

But it’s not their fault. Kraft’s culture expels “founder-executives;” those few who create brands and mentor the young. The personality just doesn’t fit corporate America – hence the role of consultants – those who can provide an unfettered dose of experience. Irene Rosenfeld may have laid a few marketers off – but then again, Irene must put into place the mentors whose creative and strategic innovation leadership enables the young to flourish. I know Irene Rosenfeld realizes that “LET’S GET GOWING” is a two way street.

One reason people fail to innovate in companies is because managers are uncertain as to whether new directions will help or hinder a company’s goals and objectives. Without mentors, someone who knows how to create and build brands from scratch, the young resort to bureaucracy for corporate survival. They must “fake it till they make it.”

What am I looking for? I remember an Ad Age article about one Procter & Gamble Chairman; I believe it was my friend Ed Artz, who sat one Sunday evening a month in his kitchen - with the head of his HR - to discuss the performance of his top 200 managers. Can you imagine how much more effective Ed or John Pepper would have been had they sat down with each of those 200 managers for a three to five minute impact meeting themselves! Who better to set the pace and lead by example!

But bureaucracy aside, I’ve found and worked with a number of Kraft founder-executives and alums who as author Jack Kerouac said, “Flew over the cuckoos’ nest” before moving on.

• Open Pit’s Group Brand Director Karen Scott for whom we pioneered barbecue’s thick and spicy segment. The thick & spicy segment grew at 66% while the baseline brand retained a 3% growth rate.
• Kraft Dairy Group’s Marketing Director Roger Harrison for whom we restaged Breyers as The Full-Of-Fruit Yogurt setting record profit and volume gains highlighted in Kraft’s Annual Report.
• Marketing Manager Eric Shultz for whom we repackaged both Kraft Mayonnaise and Oscar Mayer Hot Dogs. After Eric’s departure it took Kraft 12 years to implement recommendations to repackage Kraft Mayonnaise in wide mouth jars so that people making potato salad could actually get a large spoon into the jar and put hot dogs in zip-lock bags – both moves that expedited product usage, purchase frequency and shelf velocity.
• Jell-O Strategic Marketing Director Cindy Sila for whom our new product concepts registered a 100% top two box intent to purchase score – yet have yet to live their billion dollar interactive consumer sales day. (interactive confections are the fastest growing segment of a $24 billion industry)

This is a short list of Kraft clientele that includes lots of work for Irene Rosenfeld’s contemporaries – including ex-Kraft Chairman Bob Morrison. But, “the good die young” at Kraft. I know that Irene Rosenfeld realizes that in leadership “it is only in raising others that we ourselves become leaders.” So more importantly, Irene Rosenfeld must figure out how to hire and retain older top marketing/mentoring talent rather than the classically trained bureaucratic fresh fruit and corporate carrion on which headhunters feast - for it was one of those who asked me to remove the word “squiggly” from a new product concept I created because it was “too salesy.” The new product I created: Halloween and party favorite Jell-O Jigglers.

Thank you.
Martin Calle
Calle & Company

Friday, September 15, 2006

Gillette: Dull Blades, Not Dim Wits

Gillette's tagline has always been, "The best a man can get" but it should now read, "Men who confuse motion with progress." No wonder parent P&G is disappointed with their recent business acquisition and performance of top management rumored due for a shake up.

Not long ago (remember when razors had only two blades?) I met with Gillette's head of technology, research and product development. He introduced me to their next "innovation," a three blade razor. It wasn't long before I quipped, "Boy, I can't wait to see your introduction of razors with 4,5,6,7,8,9,and 10 blades" - a comment which drew a frown - for there you have it. I had hit Gillette's business strategy square on the head. I laughed. But no one needs razors with 5,6,7,8,9,or 10 blades as evidenced by Gillette's dramatic slowdown. That was nearly 15 years ago sitting on the top floor of Gillette Headquarters in Boston.

Technological window dressing (Gillette Fusion's Star Wars/Star Trek/halosphere approach) so prevalent in the brand's campaigns for latest launch Fusion will not engage the brand's warp drive. Maybe the brand should go back in time, not forward, and simplify - mornings are already so complex with Folgers being the best part of waking up. The company needs to find new consumer needs or "selling dimensions" that are more relevant and resonant to heavy users - Here is the true opportunity to innovate. Would that be Damascus steel rather than a light saber? Damascus is an ancient process of folding steel in visible and controllable patterns to produce the sharpest blades as found in Saracen swords. Looking back rather than forward might inject some caffeine into consumer engagement. Didn't those guys have tougher beards anyway?

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Calle's Carnival of Consumer Marketing - September 14, 2006

Jody DeVere presents Female Energy Needed To Sell Cars? posted at Ask Patty - Automotive Advice for Women.

You got that right! So many brands have female skews yet no female at the helm. Two of the brightest I've met are Marina Shoemaker and Paula Travenia. Paula runs communications research for Buick and Marina drives strategy for GM corporate.

The last time we met was following a project to redress McCann-Erickson's brand positioning strategy for the Buick Regal - a product line and brand that GM feels has the greatest challenges, and the greatest opportunity - on paper it's the same car at the same price point as a Camry, Accord or Taurus, yet lags far behind leaders for several reasons including way outdated styling cues that ruin the overall feline effect. Paula's last counsel to me before making that presentation was "don't worry, you have a lot of friends in the room, but no one is going to save General Motors single handedly."

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Calle's Carnival of Consumer Marketing - September 14, 2006

Chuck Russell presents What Exactly Is Dealer Invoice posted at buyanauto.

Buying an automobile via a dealer has been problematic for consumers and car manufacturers now for many years. Consumers don't like going there and manufacturers don't like being tied to 5 and 10 year contracts with dealerships that cost millions to build. Not only do consumers not understand dealer invoice - most consumers in studies for General Motors found that the bread and butter vehicles; Honda Accords, Ford Taurus and Toyota Camry perform so well that they are literally perceived to be commodities. Made so well that a consumer could go to Costco, plunk down their American Express Card for a down payment and authorization to hit their card every month for $289. Stored in Costco's vast parking lots we found that no one needed dealers - and that was 12 years ago.

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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Hot: Toyota FJ Cruiser


Directory > Words > Dictionary

a·dap·tion (a-dăp'shun) n.
Roget’s II: The New Thesaurus, Third Edition. 1995.


The act of making suitable to an end or the condition of being made suitable to an end: accommodation, adaptation, adjustment, conformation. See CHANGE.

Procter & Gamble's well recognized creative and innovative thought leader, Calle & Company has launched a new process joining its stable of creative, high profile business and brand development solutions often touted by Harvard Business School.

the process takes advertising campaigns and positioning strategies that don't work and teaches the dog to hunt. Contact the firm for more information.

Monday, September 11, 2006

McDonald's Exclusive - McD's hunts for marketing chief

Good morning.

Board of Directors. Who should McDonald's select as the new marketing chief? Someone with organizational restructuring and cost cutting experience? Someone adroit at new restaurant design and menu planning? Someone sophisticated at testing new ideas like taking employees out of the loop, developing kiosks and other real estate points of distribution? An insider? An outsider? A technician? Or a visionary? A business architect? And for how long should their input have an impact?

Dick and Maurice McDonald were great restauranteurs - but lousy business men. They never sold more than 15 franchises and only 10 became restaurants. One owner asked to call his restaurant McDonalds in Arizona and was told "no" because "McDonald's doesn't mean anything in Arizona."

Then along came a visionary named Ray Kroc who made ice cream equipment for the two brothers. He was also a real estate visionary who could foresee a nation, a world of McDonald's restaurants. So he hired his real estate buddies at significant discounts and promised them a piece of the company. Today, McDonald's is the largest real estate owner on the planet, aren't they?

So who to hire next? Not another real estate guru. Donald Trump isn't available. Not another cost cutting management and organizational titan. Not an adman or marketer adroit at 30 day promos and new products.

McDonald's needs a transportation authority to take it the next hundred years because roads are obsolete. The problem is not in generating an incremental usage occasion for a BigMac or QuarterPounder (which by the way I invented for the firm while at Leo Burnett in Chicago). I can do that. The problem is how to get more people to McDonald's faster. Think "increase frequency and velocity" globally. Boston can finish their Big Tunnel Project to alleviate traffic congestion, but anyway you slice it, a human behind the wheel will create a bottleneck, even if Southern California's famed 405 became 20 lanes each way, there would still be road rage and traffic snarls. The problem isn't the road, it's the people.

So McDonald's needs to find a heavy hitter with government transportation and auto industry ties. An infrastructure hardscaper. Someone to take the company accross the next century's goal line. Someone who can do with roadways and cars what Ray Kroc did with real estate. He hardscaped the landscape. So are you looking for a hardscaper, or a cosmetic landscaper? Because a Wall Street darling won't cut the mustard.

While I was at Burnett I was asked by the company Chairman what I thought about client Philip Morris' acquisition of Kraft. Since I structured the deal (it was my concept) I said that Phlip Morris was making the deal to reduce profit dependency on tobacco. He looked at me as if I was a crack pot - or on crack - but as a pragmatic futurist I know intuitively how to read trends and the writing on the wall. Tobacco was ten years from going down. The Kraft acquisition (before tobacco became a target) reduced Philip Morris tobacco profit dependency from 96% to 46%, set the stage for young execs such as Betsy Holden and Roger Deromedi to lead the firm and craft (no pun intended) Kraft's IPO and PM to continue to flourish. Thanks Hamish Maxwell! Growth and creating opportunity for others is my ambition.

Advertising Humor

Driving down a dirt road in the middle-of-nowhere Wisconsin, Leo Burnett and I saw this sign tacked to the side of a general store.

"We sell worms with fish appeal."

Best ad we never wrote. 1969.

Red Meat Marketing

Attention producers and chain grocery store owners: Do you want to depict the virility of red meat in advertising? Portray your product on a red, not white background. Advice: Compliments of Leo Burnett, personally, 40 years ago. My advice: Go with it. The past is often forgotten.

The American Flag & Patriotic Links - September 11 ( 911 )

I will say nothing to avoid cliche. I title this picture "Today"

Links to other Patriotic and Historic sites:

The Flag of the United States

Flag rules & regulations

Founding Fathers - American Flag

Flag Etiquette - Courtesy of USA Flag Site
American Flag Info - USA Flag

American Flag Protocol.

Rules for Display of the American Flag

Display Outdoors

Over the Middle of the Street
It should be suspended vertically with the union to the north in an east and west street or to the east in a north and south street.

Flown at Half-staff
Should be first hoisted to the peak for an instant and then lowered to the half-staff position. The flag should be again raised to the peak before it is lowered for the day. By "half-staff" is meant lowering the flag to one-half the distance between the top and bottom of the staff. Crepe streamers may be affixed to spear heads or flagstaffs in a parade only by order of the President of the United States.

Flown on the Same Halyard with Non-Nation Flags
The American Flag should always be at the peak. When the flags are flown from adjacent staffs, the flag of the United States should be hoisted first and lowered last. No such flag or pennant may be placed above the flag of the United States or to the right of the flag of the United States.

Suspended Over a Sidewalk
The flag may be suspended from a rope extending from a house to a pole at the edge of the sidewalk, the flag should be hoisted out, union first, from the building.

From a Staff Projecting Horizontally or at an Angle
The flag may be projected from the window sill, balcony, or front of a building, with the union of the flag placed at the peak of the staff unless the flag is at half-staff.

In a Parade with Other Flags
The flag, when carried in a procession with another flag, or flags, should be either on the marching right; that is, the flag's own right, or, if there is a line of other flags, in front of the center of that line.

With Non-National Flags
The flag of the United States of America should be at the center and at the highest point of the group when a number of flags of States or localities or pennants of societies are grouped and displayed from staffs.

With Other National Flags
When flags of two or more nations are displayed, they are to be flown from separate staffs of the same height. The flags should be of approximately equal size. International usage forbids the display of the flag of one nation above that of another nation in time of peace.

With Another Flag Against a Wall from Crossed Staffs
Should be on the right, the flag's own right which is the viewer's left, and its staff should be in front of the staff of the other flag.

Display Indoors

From a Staff in a Church or Public Auditorium on a Podium
The flag of the United States of America should hold the position of superior prominence, in advance of the audience, and in the position of honor at the clergyman's or speaker's right as he faces the audience. Any other flag so displayed should be placed on the left of the clergyman or speaker (to the right of the audience).

From a Staff in a Church or Public Auditorium off the Podium
Custom and not the flag code hold that the flag of the United States of America should hold the position of superior prominence as part of the audience, in the position of honor at the audience's right.

Used to Cover a Casket
It should be so placed that the union is at the head and over the left shoulder. The flag should not be lowered into the grave or allowed to touch the ground.

Other than being Flown from a Staff
The flag should be displayed flat, whether indoors or out. When displayed either horizontally or vertically against a wall, the union should be uppermost and to the flag's own right, that is, to the observer's left. When displayed in a window it should be displayed in the same way, that is with the union or blue field to the left of the observer in the street. When festoons, rosettes or drapings are desired, bunting of blue, white and red should be used, but never the flag.

Never fly a torn or tattered flag.

Friday, September 08, 2006

The Creativity Economy?

What prevents a company from following the path of marketing reinvention, creativity and brand innovation? The inability of managers to assess whether an innovative idea will advance an organization's goals or take it off course.

Calle's Carnival of Marketing Personalities - September, 8, 2006

Peter Kua of RadicalHop hits the nail right on the head - personalities are critical to explosive business growth and marketing success - and you can't beat positive word-of-mouth advertising.

Our slant: If you go through life, without becoming a character, you haven't really lived life yet. If you've lived through it, then you've earned the right to talk about it," passionately according to Dale Carnegie

See: Peter Kua presents 3 personalities critical to explosive business posted at Business. Innovation. Passion.

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Calle's Carnival of Social Marketing - September 8, 2006

Social Marketing Carnival guest Nedra Weinreich, President of Weinreich Communications, hits Social Marketing right between the eyes. See Nedra Weinreich presents: Social Marketing vs. "Social Marketing" Smackdown posted at Spare Change.

Thanks Nedra! We've stamped your hand. Feel free to re-enter the carnival at any time.
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Thursday, September 07, 2006

Daniel Letranova: Innovation & Multiculturalism

Daniel Letranova posts interesting thoughts on connections between innovation and multiculturalism: that innovation is strengthened by the influence of outside mix.

In writing, Daniel said: I saw your post on the BusinessWeek Nussbam blog and wanted to send you a link to my blog. I'm focusing on the area where Innovation and User Experience overlaps. I'm convinced that the future of innovation lies in multi-culturalism and this is why I have begun to publish my blog in English, Spanish and French. I studied P&G from afar and wrote a book that covered it among the other companies that were featured in the BusinessWeek article, (April 24, 2006), where they nominated the World's Most Innovative Companies. The book is called Innovation Strategies of the worlds most innovative companies.

Thanks Daniel. I have worked with the companies you've studied, now recognized as the world's most innovative companies, for 60 years - providing rich, robust and proprietary consumer innovation insights. My take on multiculturalism and innovation is tied to genetic principles. Whenever you cross two of anything that are most unalike, you produce stronger offspring than if you had crossed two that are very alike. Opposites attract. And Calle & Company's culture is very unlike the firms mentioned. Maybe that is our appeal. I never asked.


Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Calle & Company Speculative Advertising For Miller High Life

Life, Is My Favorite Beverage

Just Ban Technology

Maybe the Mennonites and the Hutterites have it right. Just ban technology.

Every year we go to our cabin in the high Eastern Sierra Mountains. Plenty of trout, exploring old mines, ghost towns and petroglyphs - but No television, No radio, No Cell Phones, No Computer, No Internet, No Laptop, No access. No Technology. In fact, after 60 years we finally got a land line phone to that place because my wife's aunt and uncle are getting old and something might happen. Yes, at 10,000 feet plus, elevations that dwarf the popular, crowded Vermont and New England ski destinations I favored as a teen, THE CABIN is that remote.

Rather than replace human socializing by going one-on-one with insulating personal use products that promote antisocial behavior such as television, iPods or GameCubes or GameBoys, we begin to talk...and talk more. We get up with the sunrise and watch the stars at night searching for shooters and satellites in a sky lacking light pollution, and air pollution. There are no televisions, no cell phones, no connections, except our own. The Milky Way is as clear as can be.

By the end of two weeks and evening chats and entertainment over cards, backgammon and board games we return to the urban sprawl of LA or NYC vowing to put the television away.

That lasts about two weeks. Withdrawl symptoms force my children to return to and another session of popular runescape at:

Back To school

It's back to school time and many students can't wait to get reacquainted with teachers and friends. For others, the outlook is darker. Many students are not so happy about returning to school. Forget about complaints about getting up early or homework. That's just the surface symptoms. What's beneath the iceberg?

A new study released by Calle & Company indicates the reason is something the company calls AA - not alcoholics anonymous - but "Anticipation Anxiety." The sense of despair experienced by children is brought on by a feeling of being unable to anticipate what is going to happen. They don't know what's going to happen next. They don't know what to expect. That's the symptom.

The cause is busy, or lazy parents who do not adequately prepare their children for what to expect - not just the day before school - but on an ongoing basis. The failure to pass down valuable life experience increases the odds that otherwise bright children will not achieve their fullest potential.

The cure is spending more time with your kids and an equal amount of time with teachers and school principals - asking them what's coming up next, expecting and inspecting the school curriculum, enabling the children to see this daily interaction as a leadership example and translating that to a home agenda is the cure. Just going to parent teacher meetings, open school nights or PTA meetings won't cut the mustard like it did in the 50s. But then again, families were tighter units back then because families did spend more time together.

Coach Attacks & Player Abuse - Public Service Announcement (PSA)

This post documents coach attacks and player abuse. Adults attacking children participating in sports. By leaving comments here, and leaving links, you can help us police criminal acts and child abuse.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Extend Ad Reach Beyond Google With Pheedo

I recently discovered a way for blog publishers to extend their reach and ad revenue beyond Google AdSense and AdWords with Pheedo

The company is developing a code snippet for blogger users. Link to their RSS feed for instant updates.

Good Morning Thinkers

Innovation Leader Joyce Wycoff posts an interesting article on Sam Walton's 10 Rules for success.

Here are eight indispensible others I've found true over the years that are easy to remember: AABBWWKC stands for:

A - Have a great attitude.
A - Maintain a great attitude.
B - Be on time.
B - Be prepared.
W - Work a full day.
W - Work your territory properly.
K - Know where you are and know where you are going.
C - Take control.

If you do not succeed, it is because you CHOSE not to work all eight of these steps every day. And that's a fact.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Calle & Company Carnival Of Consumer Marketing

Welcome to our carnival wherein we wish to roast in good jest the consumer product marketing industry's common sense, good taste and concern for our needs. Categories for our carnival include: Advertising Campaigns, Marketing Opinion, Emerging Trends, Rants & Raves, Pics & Pans, What's Hot What's Not, Professional Comment, Tongue In Cheek Insights. We welcome your additional suggestions.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Innovation Investment

Why are 97% of today's CEOs dissappointed with their i-ROI (Innovation return on investment)? That depends on what you call an innovation. Managers very often confuse motion with progress, viewing any product, service, technology, or process that is new or different as an innovation.

For example, The Home Depot was first to market french door refrigerators with water in the door. An exclusive distribution agreement with manufacturers gave The Home Depot a proprietary six month advantage over rivals. Yet, The Home Depot failed to realize an incremental profit.

The innovative refrigerator design failed to fuel a higher replacement rate or first time purchase velocity.

Considered a remarkable "improvement" by the manufacturer, updating technology for technology's sake is merely seen as keeping up with the jones by consumers - which explains why revenues are flat in the $2 trillion US consumer goods industry- and why CEOs wonder where the new growth is going to come from. CEOs should be interested in exploring processes that can turn mature earnings companies back into rapid growth businesses.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

McCann-Erickson & InterPublic Group

McCann-Erickson, one of the world's premier consumer product advertising agencies is verging on senility regarding the company's own branding efforts. Click to its web site and what do you see? MENTAL JELLYFISH. If I was a client with hundreds of millions tied up with this firm I'd run for the door.

Life Takes Visa

Speaking with Amanda Gleason of finance blog youngandbroke got the wheels turning about credit card marketing the other day.

Life takes Visa is very appropriate.

98% of Californians are one paycheck away from not making their next mortgage payment.

Diners Club and American Express were the first credit card companies. Both initiated retail credit card operations in 1958. American Express later repositioned their product as "the green card" because (like an immigrant) it gave consumers permission, for the first time, to live beyond their means.

"Membership may have its rewards," (American Express) but who wants to be a member of this club? The rise in credit card usage coincided with America's abandonment of "the gold standard." Prior to 1958, Congress was not allowed to spend more money on domestic and foreign operations than we actually had on hand - stockpiled as gold bullion in the vaults at Fort Knox, KY.

Now that the government can spend itself into debt, so can the rest of us. So much for financial accountability, responsibility and integrity. Almost everyone spends more than their flow, Maybe Visa's copywriters tried out other tag lines such as, "Life Requires Visa."

Financial stress is the #1 reason most people get divorced today. We no longer live on the "gold standard" (what a great ironic metaphor). This is a debtor society.

Thanks for your rich, robust and proprietary insight Visa! The US divorce rate was significantly lower prior to 1958.

Famed ad agency McCann-Ericson's motto is, "The truth well told."

Does McCann-Erickson handle the Visa account? Who knows, but check out their web site. (mental jellyfish!?)

Thursday, August 31, 2006

My Blog Experience To Date

I know a lot about marketing, and not much yet about blogging. So I went to simonworld to learn what to do. Good direction...but, recommendations to join the TLB Ecosystem left me out in the cold. They have no innovation, creativity or business community. Similar carnivals seem hard to find. I went to technorati as prescribed to gain assistance but find their customer assistance to be slower than molassas. Their search box doesn't work. Updates are slow. Link counts are incorrect...though sites are linked to mine...the list could go on. I was denied publisher and associate status by text link ads - why know one knows. etc. etc. Still if you crave marketing and innovation data unavailable elsewhere I will persevere on my site.

The Matrix Effect - Can You Sell A Fan?

The Matrix is a film in which protagonist Neo (Keanu Reeves) sees a reality behind a curtain to which the rest of us are blind.

The film describes a world in which the Matrix is an artificial reality created by sentient machines -rather than marketers- in order to pacify, subdue and make use of the human population as an energy source by growing them and connecting them to the Matrix with cybernetic implants. (Sounds like big company marketers trying to find strategies that cajole and control or grow consumer audiences to try and buy their products with dollars being their energy source.)

The movie contains numerous references to philosophical and religious ideas, the hacker subculture, and homages to Hong Kong action movies, Japanese animation and cyberpunk.

But if you are a big company marketer, at say Microsoft, Nestle, Procter & Gamble or Johnson & Johnson, can you see behind the veil of consumer needs and category attributes that, for all you know, account for all consumer perceptions in your business?

For example, Colgate, Procter & Gamble and other oral care product marketers already know that there are only five category attributes that account for all consumer perceptions in their business. They know that there are only five reasons you brush your teeth: for whitening, cavity prevention, breath freshening, tartar control and gum care. No one at P&G cares which agency has the account, as long as the one they choose talks about any one or any number of those category attributes.

But if you were them, could you sell a fan to a consumer? Category concensus has it that all fans are sold to either cool or comfort people. But what other things can a fan do that might alter the competitive landscape of the category - if you wanted to innovate a breakaway positioning that would sell an incrementally greater number of fans with year round rather than seasonal appeal?

Where would you look for an answer? In alternate ABSTRACT DIMENSIONS promoted by innovation consultant Calle & Company

Fans, with brand names such as Vornado and Blizzard can do many other things. They reduce stress, provide comforting sounds, mask urbannoise, are less clinical and dehumidifying than air conditioners, improve interpersonal relationships and help you party, or relax (need states). Fans facilitate conversation, an exchange of ideas. Fans improve the human condition and don't always have to have some arctic ice imagery, violent weather brand names or tropical breeze positionings. Carrier air conditioners are called Weatherbeaters, but are also antiperspirants and deodorants for the soul, they make you smell sweet and help you put on a sunny disposition. Wouldn't Garrison Keeler of Praire Home Companion be an excellent spokesperson? Oh, there are so many other things a fan could do for just one enlightened marketer choosing to look behind The Matrix Effect.

New Marketing Dictionary

With over 70 years of big company marketing and innovation experience I've come to learn that the best answers are always so obvious, they're not obvious. Journalist and feminist leader Gloria Steinem said, "When I got there there was no there there." To get there today, a marketer must strip away the veneer of what they think they know, information on which their category operates for example (something Business Week Innovation Editor Bruce Nussbaum calls the Commodity Knowledge Economy) and operate with the lowest common denominators.

For example, a brand is nothing more than something that someone started that caught on -branding is something you do when you don't have anything important, or highly differentiating to say. A category is nothing more than a bunch of brands all hanging around on a street corner all saying and doing the same things about themselves different ways. Anyway, you get the point. To innovate, you must remain humble, even if you are number one. Otherwise arrogance will blind you to the open mind required to create a different future.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Oh Fishsticks!

Here's an easy one. Last year hot California (and rapidly expanding) eatery Wahoos sold more fish tacos (a delicious warm corn tortilla containing beer battered fried fish, crunchy cabbage and sauce) than the Gorton Fisherman sold fish sticks. Consumer trends and preferences aside, Gorton's President said recipe dissemination of fish tacos by his firm were probably one of the worst things he'd ever heard of - even though the recipe's popularity would dramatically increase purchase frequency. Anyone want to take him to dinner, buy him a cervesa and demonstrate the use of a slice of lime?

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Innovation? There was no reply at all

How important is innovation to a consumer product company. It is very important given Wall Street's new found ability to factor innovation into the determination of corporate valuation using measures such as patents and power of patents. But if innovation was stirring such a buzz, why isn't anyone listening at consumer product companies? What are we talking about?

We phoned CEOs at the top 100 consumer product companies asking, "who is the leader in charge of innovation driving the growth of the company." In 97% of the phone calls no one was quite sure. I guess no one got the memo on that one. Responses ranged from a disinterested, "He has 17 direct reports - which one do you want to talk to," to "You want Al in product design." Oh, I see...Al in product design is responsible for the innovation driving the growth of a multi-billion dollar consumer products organization. This is true grist for the Michael Moore, Roger & Me or Oliver Stone antagonist documentory film engine. Next.

No wonder the US$ 2 trillion consumer packaged goods industry is losing much of its glow despite solid balance sheets and healthy profit margins. Revenues and market values are going flat, and executives are wondering where the growth is going to come from according to top business consultatant McKinsey & Company and remember, let's not confuse motion with progress. Replacing the old with the new, turning a mop into a Swiffer, is not an "innovation." The update has failed to sell an incrementally greater number of "mops" or caused people to clean their floors more often. Just like old fashioned Lysol, cleaning implements tend to stay in cupboards and closets, out of sight and out of mind, and often purchased only when on sale.

Pot Calls Kettle Black

Consumer giant Procter & Gamble, the world's largest advertiser, who has long dominated retailers with its strong brands, is now taking it up the ass from Costco The August 21 issue of Advertising Age reports that to earn the right to sell Tide (the detergent category's #1 brand) at Costco, Procter & Gamble must specially formulate the product for distribution to Costco's standards. This is like the child telling the parent what to do and P&G Chairman & CEO A.G. Lafley must be fuming. When did he loose the strategic high ground to retailers?

When young, Costco, like any other retailer, would have cow-towed to P&G just to earn the right to sell its covetted brands. Now the shoe is on the other foot. With nearly equal sales (P&G $57 billion & Costco $52 billion) P&G has lost the advantage. The eye of the tiger that enabled P&G to dominate mass marketing (a core competency) with the invention of soap operas to sell its products has given way to an era wherein it will not be long before other retailers demand P&G make the same concession across other categories. Are Board and C-level executives across the packaged goods industry loosing sleep? If not, you'd better sell your stock.

The tail is wagging the dog and Procter & Gamble must innovate new forms of distribution; new product delivery systems to regain the advantage. Chasing consumer ears and eyeballs wherever they can be found, especially on the internet. will not resolve this prickly marketing issue.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Coca-Cola & Pepsi Explore New Beverage Concepts

Coca-Cola and Pepsi are at wits end trying to create new beverages. Health and wellness directives at the companies are up against the wall due to growing consumer obesity and FDA concerns. Two places not to look: new age and suppliment beverages have already been done. It's not the carbonation that makes a soft drink a soft drink. It's the corn syrups. New age beverages were originally soft drinks without corn syrups - perceived by consumers to be a healthier and more thirst quenching beverage. But corn syrup salespeople at ADM and Tate & Lyle Americas are crafty sales people, and now even new age beverages contain corn syrups. So much the better for Coke and Pepsi because if you take away the corn syrups you dont have a product to sell to vital bottler and fountain accounts accounting for 65% of the two soft drink giants sales - and neither manufacturer wants to leave a bottler or fountain account high and dry - they'll switch sides. As regards herbal suppliment beverages: Who wants to take on Red Bull. Just buy the company. Who will win the Red Bull challenge? Coke or Pepsi?

Monday, August 21, 2006

Automotive Consumer Insights: The Differnce Between Bentley & Rolls Royce

Automotive research conducted by international innovation and marketing strategy consultants Calle & Company explains why one millionaire spends $380,000 for a Rolls Royce and another spends the same $380,000 for a Bentley. Apparently, Rolls Royce owner's perceived confidence is extenal and must be worn on the sleeve to scream "look at me" while a Bentley owner's confidence is all internal and needs no external exclamation - understated elegance - the people with the most money simply don't show it. The same can be said of General Motor's Cadillac versus Buick owners.

Cereal Giant Merger Rumor

An unsubstantiated report has it that cereal giant Kellogg is considering the acquisition of Post cereals from Kraft Foods The move would be all up-side for Post brands that have long suffered from freshness issues versus Kellogg's much higher shelf velocity.

Put Your Money Where His Mouth Is

William Shatner. Toyota did.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Conversation Starters

Looking for the perfect innocuous one liner to greet strangers? Open any door for them and say, "Welcome to the Ritz-Carlton! Enjoy your stay!" Word of mouth marketing gets a smile every time. My favorite Ritz-Carlton is the Ritz-Carlton Buckhead in Atlanta.

Best Comeback

Customer Service is the buzz word of the day at retailers such as Costco, The Home Depot and The Gap The next time an over eager retail sales associate approaches to ask, "how may I help you," ask them for $10,000 to get through the rest of the week.

Best Business Card Title

"Knower of all things." Any takers?

Advertising Leadership

According to leadership mentor John Maxwell and Ford Motor Company founder Henry Ford, "failure is an opportunity to begin again more intelligently." When Thomas Watson founded IBM, one of his employees made a mistake that cost the fledgling firm $600,000. Board members pressed for a dismissal. Thomas Watson retained the employee saying, "why would I want to fire the man and let all of that experience go to a competitor? I just paid $600,000 to train him."

Advertising is a learning experience.