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. http://chumash-tribe.blogspot.com

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.

Trackback: http://trustedadvisor.com/trackback.php?id=3

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.

Trackback: http://www.typepad.com/t/trackback/6402507

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! http://toyland.walmart.com/ 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?