Monday, December 31, 2007
Friday, December 28, 2007
You can find plenty of smart, talented, successful people who are able to take their business only so far because of the limitations of their leadership and vision.
2) A realization
3) Stop asking questions
4) Get procactive.
Calle & Company's ASSAYS® are innovative consumer-creative invention circles not based on asking questions. ASSAYS provide your consumer groups with hundreds of incredibly comprehensive, highly consumer-creative and appealing product-based thought-leadership selling solutions instead. (You may call them data or touch-points instead) Taking yourself and the yoke of your company's belief systems out of the loop - clean sheets of paper are the order of the day here. You become the blank slate on which consumers create, invent and indelibly etch their new impressions and perceptions. By removing everyone but the consumer from the creation-loop, Assays® provide massive foresight enabling you to articulate what consumers really want before normal humans, or anyone else can articulate the need. Assays are perfect for new product, launch strategy and reinvention planning.
“Ask US no questions and we’ll tell you no lies.”
Monday, December 24, 2007
You can find plenty of smart, talented, successful people who are able to take their business only so far because of the limitations of their leadership and vision. Your organization's ability to grow is directly tied to your ability and desire to grow personally in both capacities. That is the Law of the Lid. If you want to reach new level of effectiveness in your job, raise your lid. If you want to grow your company, grow your lid. If you want to increase shareholder value, increase your lid.
In 1930, two young brothers named Dick and Maurice moved from New Hampshire to California in search of the American Dream. They had just graduated high school, and they saw few opportunities back home. So they headed straight for Hollywood where they eventually found jobs on a movie studio set. Soon, their entrepreneurial spirit and interest in the entertainment industry prompted them to open a theatre in Glendale, five miles northeast of Hollywood. Despite all of their efforts, the brothers just couldn't make the business profitable. In the four years they ran the theatre, they weren't able to generate enough money to pay $100 a month rent.
Dick and Maurice's tiny drive-in restaurant was a great success, and in 1940, they decided to move the operation to San Bernardino, a working-class boomtown fifty miles east of LA. They built a larger facility and expanded their menu from hot dogs, fries and shakes to include barbecue beef and pork sandwiches, hamburgers and other items. Their business exploded. Annual sales reached $200,000, and the brothers found themselves splitting $50,000 in profits every year - a sum that put them in the town's financial elite.
In 1948, their intuition told them that times were changing, and they made modifications to their restaurant business. They eliminated the carhops and started serving only walk-up customers. And they also streamlined everything. They reduced their menu and focused on selling hamburgers. They eliminated plates, glassware and metal utensils, switching to paper products instead. They reduced their costs and the prices they charged customers. They also created what they called The Speedy Service System. Their kitchen became like an assembly line, where each person focused on service with speed. Their goal was to fill each customer's order in 30 seconds or less. And they did. By the mid 1950's, annual revenues hit $350,000, and by then, Dick and Maurice split net profits of about $100,000 per year.
Who were these brothers? If you drove to their small restaurant on the corner of Fourteenth and E Streets in San Bernardino, on the front of the small octagonal building hung a neon sign that said simply McDonald's Hamburgers. Dick and Maurice had hit the great American jackpot, and the rest as they say is history, right? Wrong. The McDonald's never went any further because their weak leadership put a lid on their ability to succeed.
It's true the brothers were financially secure. Theirs was one of the most profitable restaurant enterprises in the country. Their genius was in customer service and kitchen organization. Their talent led to the creation of a new system of food and beverage service. In fact, their talent was so widely known in food service circles that people started writing them and visiting from all over the country to learn about their methods. At one point, they received as many as 300 calls and letters in one month.
That led them to the idea of marketing the McDonald's concept. The idea of franchising restaurants wasn't new and to the McDonald brothers it looked like a way to make money without having to open another restaurant themselves. In 1952 they got started, but their effort was a dismal failure. The reason was simple. They lacked the vision and leadership necessary to make it effective. Dick and Maurice were good restaurant owners. They understood how to run a business, make their systems efficient, cut costs and increase profits. They were efficient managers. But they were not leaders. Their thinking patterns clamped a lid down on what they could do and become. At the height of their success, Dick and Maurice found themselves smack against the Law of the Lid.
In 1954, the brothers partnered with a leader named Ray Kroc. Kroc had been running a small company he founded, which sold machines for making milk shakes. He knew about McDonald's. Their restaurant was one of his best customers. And as soon as he visited the store, he had a vision of its potential. In his mind he could see the restaurant going nationwide in hundreds of markets. He soon struck a deal with Dick and Maurice, and in 1955, he formed McDonald's Systems, Inc. (later called the McDonald's Corporation). Kroc immediately bought the rights to a franchise so that he could use it as a model and prototype to sell other franchises. Then he assembled his team to build an organization and make McDonald's a nationwide entity. He recruited and hired the sharpest people, and as his team grew in size and ability, his people developed additional recruits with leadership skill.
At first Kroc sacrificed much. Though in his mid-fifties, he worked long hours, and eliminated many frills at home including his country club membership. During his first eight years he took no salary and personally borrowed money from the bank and against his life insurance to cover the salaries of key people he wanted on the team. His sacrifice and leadership paid off. In 1961, Kroc bought exclusive rights to McDonald's for $2.7 million and proceeded to turn it into an American institution and global entity. The lid in the life and leadership of Ray Kroc was obviously much higher than that of his predecessors.
In the years Dick and Maurice attempted to franchise McDonald's they managed to sell only 15 franchises, only 10 opened restaurants. Their limited leadership and vision were hindrances. For example, their first franchisee, Neil Fox of Phoenix, told the brothers he wanted to call his restaurant McDonald's. Dick’s response was, "What...for? McDonald's means nothing in Phoenix?"
On the other hand, the leadership lid in Ray Kroc's life was sky high. Between 1955 and 1959, Kroc opened 100 restaurants. Four years later, there were 500 McDonald's. Today, the company has opened over 21,000 stores in over 100 countries. Leadership ability - or more specifically the lack of leadership ability - was the lid on the McDonald brothers’ leadership effectiveness.
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Monday, December 10, 2007
Thursday, December 06, 2007
Invited to one of their store's latest grand openings I had an opportunity to query southern California's Regional Manager about the firm's concept. Either unwilling or unable to explain the idea I departed more than certain that this was not "The Neighborhood Market" the company's materials proclaim. You have to be friendly, especially if you are the boss.
The store also sells and sends mixed signals. Dropped in family neighborhoods I found shelves stacked with 2-pack potatos more suited for empty nesters and samples of staple macaroni and cheese to be so bland as to turn off young Kraft and organic addicts. Little loaves of bread sold for a buck but only contained enough slices for about 2 and 1/2 sandwiches. The food's not good (performance flavor profiles are off), it is mis-packaged versus target audience needs and the management's tight lipped. With first hour sales of $3,600, I expect initial average tickets around $38 during early trial rush, tapering down to $28 as age sets in. A far cry from industry standards and the mark required to cover overhead. Staples such as meat are way to expensive and deals appeared few.
Life expectancy from one who assisted in the US expansion of companies such as Entenmann's and Fererro USA...less than 24 months, about the same as Tesco's CEO and CMO on this venture.
-- Archbishop Helder Camara
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
Monday, December 03, 2007
Thursday, November 29, 2007
The first I mentioned was "Walking Actors," the 1/2 of the US population employed by service and information based industry - hence their need for products and services that make them a better them - a huge chunk of the population that's little understood.
Now I'd like to introduce you to another "Culturally Influential 'Developmental' Consumer Group" we can recruit for use in developing new products, services, positioning strategies, media properties, content, etc.
Let's call them the 'THUMB TRIBE' referring to the masses of young people around the world that use mobile phones for texting, email, entertainment and mobile phone conversations. They've grown up in a world that is dynamically different from the one we lived in. What kind of cars do they want? And what gadgets? They don't even use computers - computers now percieved as going the way of B&W television. At what point do their childhood toys and t'ween technology devices merge? And what future outcomes do they, and marketer-manufacturers expect?
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Monday, November 26, 2007
Next, if you don't stimulate consumer minds to think beyond the realm of their current existance they will only reconfirm what you, and they, already know, which will leave your startegy and execution a day late and pound short.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
He was also one of the last great pitchmen to get it right - reinforcing the message that Charmin was "soft" a product feature with multiple benefits that later took the category's back burner as consumers looked beyont cost-of-entry softness to hygiene in their sanitary products. Similarly, disposable diapers moved from keeping babies drier to enabling the Pampers brand to expand the franchise by first focusing on a newborn and infant's 'development' into toddlerhood with Pampers Phases Developmental Diapers created by Calle & Company in 1982.
For me, as an advertiser, the sadness in Mr. Whipple's passage is that we have gone from pitchmen with a product-based punchline drilling a product, brand or category's features home - to adpeople raised on television and internet (viral) entertainment who now strive to create ads that do little more than that - and ignoring a product's reason for being as a persuader.
Friday, November 16, 2007
"Mr. Calle: I just wanted to thank you for your commenting on our post in the [Ad Age Magazine] Small Agency Diary, "Don't Let ROI Mean Removal of Innovation." We write what we believe first. Secondly, we do hope to start real discussions and appreciate what we learn when certain people contribute. Your comment got us to talking/thinking. Much peace, Eric J. Henderson"
I think I'd work for Eric either for free or for food. Thank you Eric. That was nice and heartfelt. APPRECIATED. - Martin
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Out this month: Calvin Hodock's 'Why Smart Companies Do Dumb Things' (Prometheus Books)
EIGHT RECURRING ERRORS IN NEW-PRODUCT FAILURES1. Marketing misjudgementProcter & Gamble stumbled going up the Citrus Hill in 1983. Smart marketing managers mistakenly thought they had identified a key dynamic: Citrus Hill was a better-tasting orange juice. Taste buds didn't count. They got beaten on the battlefield of trade promotions. Two cartons for $5 was what orange-juice lovers really wanted. P&G pulled the plug on Citrus Hill in 1992. 2. Positioning poisonThis can be defined as much ado about nothing with insignificant product positioning -- think dry beer from Anheuser-Busch or Bayer Women's, a combination aspirin and calcium tablet. Both are solutions to problems America does not have. This also can be positioning that confuses the consumer, or when the positioning benefit and the product are not in sync. 3. Dead-on-arrival productThink of the Pontiac Aztek, possibly the ugliest car ever; Vioxx, a pain reliever with the potential to cause heart attacks and strokes; blue and chocolate french fries, introduced by the Oreida unit of Heinz; and the X-Type, a cheap Jaguar that looks like a Taurus. Enough said. 4. Competitive delusionBe careful not to underestimate the competitive response. Beware of testosterone brands that are cash cows or sentimental businesses. Quaker Oats, for example, annihilated upstart Total Instant Oatmeal. It was a predictable response from a company that is oatmeal personified and an authentic brand icon in American culture. General Mills blithely ignored that. 5. Defective marketing researchMost failures are heavily researched, but the marketplace votes thumbs down. Much of the activity is justification research. Innovation teams go to research departments and say, "We need to do such and such research to reinforce what we are doing." The researchers morph into obedient wimps. 6. Fatality in frugalityThis is when new products must be marketed with play-and-pay budgets. The cheapskate strategy does not work. Two common examples: skipping research steps to economize and introducing a product with an anemic media budget. 7. Calendar innovationIn the rush to be first, companies can misjudge the market. That's how Motorola blew $6 billion on the failed Iridium phone. There were problems with the product, service and support, but the launch date was sacrosanct. It never sold more than 10% of what it needed to break even. 8. Marketing dishonestyPontiac Aztek research was heavily edited and modified to please General Motors management. The bad taste of Crystal Pepsi was ignored. Two forecasts for Campbell's Souper Combo surfaced -- one predicted failure, and the marketing department disregarded it. Nobody told Apple's CEO that the Newton had more than 1,000 documented bugs at its launch.
EIGHT GUIDELINES TO HELP CMOS IMPROVE THEIR INNOVATION BATTING AVERAGES1. Stamp out marketing amnesiaEstablish a knowledge base of past innovation on a category basis, including both successes and failures. The data and information should be developed and updated by outside sources with no ax to grind. 2. Leverage value-added marketingHire a research director who knows how to develop and steward a value-added research department that has management's respect. Such a person will not be easy to find. In marketing research's embryonic days, pioneers such as Alfred Polite and Ernest Ditcher presented their research findings to boards of directors. Today's market research is often never seen by the board. 3. Challenge assumptionsEvery new-product failure had a rosy sales forecast. Marketing people can, and do, either consciously or unconsciously cook the books with deceptive numbers to make bad new products look good. CMOs must focus on the assumptions behind the numbers and challenge them. Nothing should be taken at face value. Form an alliance with the chief financial officer in this effort. 4. Reinforce the unvarnished truthBefore a CMO reviews a new-product plan, key players -- manufacturing, marketing, finance and marketing research -- must review the plan and verify that the assumptions are correct, balanced and not distorted. Differences must be resolved before the plan moves forward. This mitigates the "creative number crunching" that comes with optimistic assumptions. 5. Press the kill buttonFrederick the Great said, "The mark of a great general is to know when to retreat and how." CMOs must have the courage to kill carefully nourished new products when evidence warrants it. Innovation teams may try to beat the system, because their love is blind. But should we move forward with America's next great new product, Kool-Aid pickles? 6. Assign accountabilityRobert Lutz, GM's styling and design czar, observed that the company had trouble figuring out who was responsible for the ugly Aztek. Accountability is elusive in the innovation game because marketing people are moved around the chessboard too frequently. The new product's champion should follow it out the door at launch, assuming ongoing responsibility for a specified period. 7. Realize that one size does not fit allCorporations assume that any M.B.A. from a top-tier school qualifies for a brief tenure in new products. Nothing could be further from the truth. In the rotation process, too many square-peg brand managers are forced into round holes. CMOs should put only their most creative people in complex new-product positions. 8. Attend ethics boot campThe innovation team should attend ethics boot camp early in the development process. This should include everybody, even the ad agencies. Manipulating the forecast for a new product is unethical. It cheats the shareholders even more than it cheats the public.
Monday, November 12, 2007
No wonder revenues in the industry are flat and executives continue to wonder where new growth will come from. As Casey Stengel said, "Is this as good as it gets? Or is this all you got?"
Saturday, November 10, 2007
2007’s debuts didn’t disappoint, although the host country’s penchant for bizarre city cars is starting to look rather less eccentric as public perception shifts in their favour.
Friday, November 09, 2007
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
As the consumer products industry decommissions its fleet of focus group facilities you will have to find an alternative source for quick, more creative and accurate consumer learning. Why is the focus group being decommissioned by the likes of Procter & Gamble? Because you can't get tomorrow's business results with yesterday's business practices. Success in today's innovation driven CMO thought leadership environment requires something far different and more agile.
After forty years of focus group immersion, business management experts couldn't agree more acknowledging focus groups are headed for the business boneyard. Because of their presence in leading consumer packaged goods companies, McKinsey, Bain, Boston Consulting, Booz Allen and Calle Company make a well-positioned assessment reporting that despite solid balance sheets and healthy profit margins in the US $2 trillion consumer packaged goods industry (the focus group's principal consumer) revenues are flat (a trend lasting decades) and executives are wondering where new growth will come from. So focus groups are no longer the consumer learning experience once revered during their 1970's heyday - but hey, that's when focus groups were new and marketers didn't know things.
What's wrong with focus groups? Plenty.
Focus Groups are based on yesterday's "question-based marketing" data acquisition and measurement approach - methodologies fraught with pitfalls and poor traditions. For starters,
1)To steal a line from attorney Atticus Finch in To Kill A Mockingbird, "You can't ask a question you don't already know the answer to" which is why so much research only reconfirms the things that you already know (boring and not creative) - resulting in your reinvention of other people's light bulbs and wheels.
2)Next, by default, whenever you ask a question, the answer comes AFTER something else has already happened. By default you will be a day late and a pound short - caught reacting to something that's already been done rather than being proactive and innovative.
3)You can't ask the right question. Because whenever you ask a question you don't get "the voice of the consumer" you get the voice of the inquirer through the question being asked, a form of bias that has always led marketers astray - pontificating to themselves, about themselves and wondering why their positioning, marketing, advertising or new product isn't more effective.
Calle & Company's ASSAYS® are innovative consumer learning circles not based on asking questions. ASSAYS provide your consumer groups with 10,000 incredibly comprehensive, highly creative, and consumer-appealing product-based thought-leadership selling solutions instead. Taking yourself and the yoke of your company's belief systems out of the loop - clean sheets of paper are the order of the day here. You become the blank slate on which consumers create, invent and indelibly etch their new impressions and perceptions - massive foresight enabling you to articulate what consumers really want before normal humans, a focus group moderator, or anyone else can articulate the need.
To learn more about ASSAYS ® Consumer-Creative ® Invention Circles contact Calle & Company at future@CalleCompany.com, or dial 714 244 9511.
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
Monday, November 05, 2007
And it's about time. Dawn Hudson and Indra Nooyi knew long ago, exactly at the time I created the concept of Baked Lays Potato Chips (sold $310 million in first ten months domestically) that in the US people want a combination of high health and high pleasure in foods, positioning and communications messaging. What's healthier than fried chips? Baked Chips. Which chips are most fun? Lays. So there it is. Baked Lays. I did the same combination creating Healthy Choice in the early eighties for ConAgra when I learned this adroit truth for the first time - supplying the agency creatives with the ammunition they needed to launch a multi-billion dollar brand. But Dawn's major US initiative was "health and wellness" headed up by VP fiend Patty Wolff. So given that they already had the answer, how'd they miss the boat? Blame it on Indra Nooyi. At the time I launched Baked Lays, Indra insisted people just wanted lower calories and less fat. So she launched Wow! Chips with olestra (a P&G supplier idea) that couldn't even fill the pipeline with $29 million worth of product. And in beverages, they just keep slipping below the zero calorie line. Can you have a beverage that provides negative calories? That's part of identifying future consumption drivers in soft drinks.
Thursday, November 01, 2007
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Friday, October 19, 2007
Procter & Gamble Global Marketing Officer Jim Stengel talked about consumers, creativity and CMO tenure in an interview in a recent Strategy & Business Reader from Booz Allen Hamilton titled "CMO Thought Leaders: The Rise of the Strategic Marketer." You can access more of his thoughts here http://www.strategy-business.com/cmoreader ... But here's what I have to say ...
Well Jim, Thanks for hitting the nail on the head...again. Back in 1980 - 1982 Calle & Company was proud to be the very first new product and product positioning company to let Pampers and Procter & Gamble know that disposable diapers didn't just stand for dryness. By pioneering and repositioning Pampers as "Pampers Phases Developmental Diapers" in the very early 1980's we introduced size five to hour glass shaped disposables and convinced moms that being a toddler was just another "phase" in the "development" of a newborn or infant. And that was just the beginning of extending the brand's equity, arresting over $1 billion in toddler migration to Kimberly-Clark Pull-Ups that year. What we found curious was that by the end of the 80's P&G had dumped the initiative, or sent it into hibernation, until recently, apparently rediscovered again.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
Back in the day, advertising sold stuff. Today, advertising is created to generate awareness and recognition - representing a different goal than "selling." There is nothing wrong with generating awareness and recognition via advertising as long as you realize it sets the bar lower than if the goal was to sell stuff. You must also realize that generating awareness and recognition is agency-speak for, "if you throw enough stuff against the glass some of it might stick." Does this distress some of you to hear this? Do you want to disagree? It should and you will. Remember, I was there at the dividing line. I can pinpoint the date time and location where and when new agency pitches stopped using the word "sales," replacing that word with the lesser goal of just generating "awareness" and "recognition." I had been in over 600 new business pitches prior to that date, and over 900 since - that's over 1500 new business pitches - and the real number is probably higher. Generating awareness and recognition is a far easier target to hit full of lesser promise that gives an agency and client now uncertain of the target to do and say whatever they wish. So in the end advertising chronicals such as Ad Age, AdWeek, BrandWeek and all the rest wonder why consumer packaged goods have become commodities, why retailers (think about that term re TAILERS) now wag the (manufacturer) dog, why agencies are paid less, why agency compensation declines, why agencies must merge to keep their heads above water.... The only cure is to put the promise of sell back into the strategy. To stop trying to be all things to all people and just be who you are. Ask yourself, "what is your product's reason-for-being?" Is your answer the same as everyone elses? Ask yourself, "why is your product focusing on features and benefits, the lowest cost-of-entry common denominators in any category - rather than a higher and more compelling Special User Effect whose whole is greater than the sum of its parts? That is what advertising used to do.
Monday, October 08, 2007
Friday, October 05, 2007
The ad man is a dying breed because what companies once did with their brains they now do with brawn. Take an article out of this week's Advertising Age Magazine for example.
Procter & Gamble wants to sue Kimberly-Clark over its ads that show bricks in purported Pampers. Why is Procter & Gamble "Thick as a brick?"
The marketers and management no longer know how to turn lemons into lemonade. Or to poke fun at themselves and have a good time. In essence, they've become the creative morlocks (the race of sub-humanoid creatures that moved underground in that H.G. Wells classic The Time Machine).
Why not just run with the joke started by Kimberly-Clark? Produce a rebuttal ad that replaces the brick with a baby. In the background you hear New York City construction sounds...maybe a few of those famous cat calls too. Then the voice over cuts in on a close up of the baby and says something seemingly apologetic like "Pardon our appearance while under construction." "Pampers." Cute. Cut.
Thinking further, the decline in business creativity also coincides with A.G. Lafley's tenure as Procture & Gamble's Chairman. On his watch retailers (the tail) wagged the dog for the first time in history. Costco so much as told P&G that unless P&G made a special formula Tide for exclusive Costco distribution Costco would not sell P&G detergents in their stores.
An that's the consequence of not being able to create highly differentiated products and product positioning strategies. And there's nothing the linear-thinking, straight-forward problem-solving quant-jocks can do about it until one of them morlocks decides to poke his or her head back into the creative sunlight founded by the earliest "qualitative pioneers". Do a Google search on that term!
There is something else that gets in the way of today's companies use of creativity in business. It's called "Search Satisfaction." People in companies, such as Procter & Gamble's legal/brand marketing brick layers stop looking for better answers once they've found a solution they like. (Hey, let's sue them!) So they don't look any further. Search Satisfaction also afflicts doctors who stop looking for a diagnosis once they've found an answer that fits the symptoms patients present. What's wrong with that? Well....doctors misdiagnose their patients a much higher percentage of the time than anyone wants to admit.
Thursday, October 04, 2007
Note to Barry Curewitz: It's easier to measure what is rather than create or measure what isn't. Companies can't "measure success into existance. That's why quant-jocks rule companies and creativity withers on the vine. The rise of qualitative creativity occured over the last 40 years. It's demise came around 1992. Since then it's been the dark ages for business creativity in CPG companies. Try calling 10 up and asking the receptionist to let you speak with, "the leader in charge of innovation driving the growth of the company." You will find that no one knows who that is.
Sitting on the outside looking in, articles such as this by Barry Curewitz of Whole Brain Brand Expansion, (follow link) repeat history. Knowing I personally participated in the development of more than 30 triple-digit topline growth new product and new category initiatives for companies such as Procter & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson, Coca-Cola, Frito-Lay and more during the 70s, 80s and 90s frustrates me greatly.
Witnessing the rise of the quant-jocks, linear thinkers and straight-forward problem solvers put the axe to creativity in business during the 90s and first half of this decade. Now even McKinsey admits that despite solid balance sheets, CPG revenues are flat and executives wonder where the growth will come from. So why execute a new study to reconfirm what we already know! There's knowone in the CMO suite that remembers or knows the thrill of insight that comes with the discoveries that escape straight-forward problem-solving.
Calle & Company grew by selling organic topline fuel to companies such as P&G, Coca-Cola and others for years. Even Doug Hall, of Eureka Ranch and American Inventor fame was our client for a number of years at P&G. But creativity died. Even Doug Hall has had to focus on the little fish. Big Companies don't want it. And why? Forget all the research. Old executives don't want new executives displacing them with better ideas.
As reported in this issue of Advertising Age P&G would rather sue KC over diaper ads rather than use the opportunity to turn lemons into lemonade. Companies that used to use brains now only use brawn. Why not flip the brick diaper ads? P&G should produce new ads, replacing the brick with a baby. Put construction sounds in the back ground and have a voice over say for Pampers, "Pardon our appearance. We're under construction." Come on guys. This stuff just isn't that hard.
There is an art to Dimensionalizing products and brands - to differentiate them with "product-based" selling solutions. And I wish to God someone in packaged goods would sit up and take notice.
But don't throw the baby out with the bath water. Maybe P&G should just run with this, show rebuttal ads with babies in the brick's place on a nice green park lawn. In the background of Central Park you hear the construction sounds of New York City. The voice over cuts in speaking for the diapering parent saying, "Pardon us. We're under construction." This kind of problem was also the impetus for us working with P&G to come up with the best part of waking up for Folgers. The strategy in part deflected career-making lawyers eyeing caffeine as the next nicotine. Come on guys, stop using lawyers and learn how to turn lemons into lemonade!
Saturday, September 29, 2007
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Why did Crispin Porter + Bogusky launch the Orville Dedbacher campaign? Because they could.
Think I'm wrong? Check it out. Ask yourself, "What is a category?" Answer: A category is a bunch of brands all hanging out on a street corner all doing and saying the same things about themselves differently. If you were not in the category, or "something else," you wouldn't be IN the category.
Classic example: Folgers vs. Maxwell House
Years ago I was called to Procter & Gamble to assess a new, yet to be aired campaign with the global manager of advertising and market research. He unveiled a character named Mrs. Olson who was going to say, "Drink Mountain Grown Folgers. It's the richest kind." Mountain Grown was supposed to be the support point to the contention that Folgers was the "richest kind of coffee." Asked what I thought I said he and P&G were going to loose their shirts because they were just copying Maxwell House and "good to the last drop" by saying the same thing differently. He scoffed and produced research "proving" that this was a highly differentiating top-two box intent-to-purchase campaign.
So I had to break it down for him and all the suits who need things distilled to one word bullet points for powerpoint presentations.
I said look, you say your are the richest kind. The richest kind of what? COFFEE. What about your coffee is the richest kind? THE FLAVOR and AROMA. So for all the MBAs who need things in one word bullet points you are talking about the SENSORY selling dimension. How do foods and beverages look, touch, taste smell and feel.
Now lets look at Maxwell House. They say they're good to the last drop. What's good to the last drop? The COFFEE. What about the coffee is good to the last drop? THE FLAVOR and AROMA. So Maxwell House is talking about the SENSORY selling dimension too. You can't ever copy the leader and beat them. "You have to identify a different selling dimension that is more resonant and relevant to your audience - which is exactly the kind of homework we do."
He didn't listen. The campaign was launched and at the end of the year and at the end of the money not a single incremental pound of Folgers had been sold. I was called back to P&G, this time by the Division President and company Chairman who commissioned our company to do a little proprietary jargon-laden "homework."
By stimulating consumer minds with hundreds of product potentials, consumers began to talk about ground roast coffee in ways the client and agency had not previously heard. Heavy ground roast coffee consumers (the 20% of the audience that account for 85% of the volume) said that they needed their caffeine in the morning "to work and play well with others." Very Dale Carnegie. At work they consumed caffeine in the morning because product usage helped them "show their bosses they saw things other people miss." (Kind of prophetic) Understanding Monday to Friday consumption we inquired about weekends. Respondents stated that if their spouses or girlfriends tried to get them to do or say something before they had their first cup of caffeine, that would start an argument that would last all weekend. They needed the caffeine "to improve the human condition." The synthesis of all this thought led us to state, "We see, the best part of waking up is caffeine in your cup." The brand group went wild. "You can't sell this as a drug!" So we changed the words to the best part of waking up is Folgers in your cup. And that's how Folgers came to own the morning daypart.
Now THAT'S INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY YOU CAN PROTECT because it "differentiates." Rather than focus on taken for granded cost-of-entry SENSORY parameters no one could protect (of course you have to do and be these things) it became far more profitable and effective to focus on the CONTROL selling dimensions pertinent to heavy ground roast coffee consumers. That's the IP!
And in all these year no other GRC brand caught on until recently when Starbucks finally got it with their "THINK EARLIER" campaign. Also control oriented. Now P&G wants to sell the brand. Maybe they can't find an agency to take the business to the next level. I just believe they need to do new homework. The only thing that's happened is that the product and campaign have matured in their lifecycles once again. The brand really hasn't done any homework since 1982. So what's beyond SENSORY and CONTROL? What is relevant and resonant to their heavy user today? There lay the IP.
Martin Calle is an expert witness in marketing and advertising related Intellectual Property matters. As Chief Differentiation Strategist at Calle & Company Martin is currently writing a book for the holidays called "SEARCH SATISFACTION: Why marketers stop looking for better ideas once they find solutions they like."