Saturday, March 17, 2007

Brand Mapping the Presidential Candidates - Courtesy of John Moore's Excellent "Brand Autopsy" Blog

Eisenhower and Truman were the first Presidential candidates to use the new mass media of television effectively. The utilization of media has matured to the point that you now need to BE a celebrity to get elected. The difference between Regan and Bush is that Regan could speak well. Most candidates today are not only unable to impress when on stage, they can't think on their feet. As Dale Carnegie said, "If you've lived through it you've earned the right to talk about it." To me, it appears that Bush "slept" through it. When I was a child the word "competent," as a standard, was used to denote "one step above moron." Now things have gotten so watered down that the word "competent" means you're pretty good. "Average" has become so horrible in America that you can practically go to the head of the class just by showing up. No wonder gas prices are so high. The world is scared to death! So you be the judge. Is Bush competent, or average?

To continue, the type of research employed to compare Bush to Kerry here is the type of work that perpetuates the commoditization of knowledge in consumer packaged goods - transforming rapid growth businesses into mature earnings businesses. This is the type of work that commoditizes positioning strategies and consumer perceptions - that bankers at Washington Mutual wear jeans and flannel shirts while those Wells Fargo wear suits. Similarly, that smoked sausage manufacturers at Kahn's/Hillshire Farm wear blue jeans and flannel shirts while competitors at Swift-Eckrich wear (what else) suits! When will marketers and strategists wake up and realize that branding firms such as Landor take them for a ride? Excellent con men one and all! I can forgive the young MBA, they are still learning everything all over again for the very first time. But the politicians are supposed to be our representatives. We are their leaders. And they, and their strategists actually digest this ... stuff! What's worse, they pay for it with our tax dollars.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

March Madness

Follow Indiana every game to the Final Four.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Jennie-O Stilted Style Stumble

What is it about young consumer packaged goods MBAs and creatives who fashion advertising in the food sector that compels them to depict the contrived models, hairdos, clothing, postures and serving suggestions that they would never be caught dead with in real life? Surely these are not the arbitors of the consumer experience and innovation CEOs believe drive the future growth of companies. Is this ad based on rich, robust and proprietary insights so often touted in the trade! You could just as easily put a Maytag Washer in this model's hands. What a waste of money.

Starbucks Gets It

Hooray! Starbucks gets it! The ground roast coffee category shifted the battlefield from flavor and aroma to caffeine more than 20 years ago! This is the first ground roast coffee ad, since Folger's "Best Part of Waking Up [is caffeine in your cup]" (my strategy), to figure out that heavy ground roast coffee users, the 20% of the audience that account for well over 80% of the category volume, drink caffeine in the morning day part to "THINK EARLIER." Other insights from the work of Calle & Company that enabled Folgers to wrench the category's icon lead and status from Maxwell House include the fact that caffeine enables heavy ground roast coffee consumers to "WORK AND PLAY WELL WITH OTHERS" (very Dale Carnegie: "How To Win Friends and Influence People". Heavy ground roast coffee consumers also perceive that they need to drink caffeine when they get to work because the caffeine helps them show their boss that they "SEE THINGS OTHERS MISS." Caffeine helps them become more alert! It has taken 25 years for this rich, robust and proprietary arabica and robusta bean breakthrough to migrate from Cincinnati to Seattle...but that's marketing in America. It takes a long time for young MBAs and creatives to learn everything all over again for the very first time. How else might the consumption of caffeine enable you to influence others? Thinking outside of the box, might it make you a better leader? Improve your ability to influence others? When you turn around,is anyone following? Now Folger's has Starbuck's on the same strategy. The next commoditization of knowledge in the category is about to ensue.

If you are a ground roast coffee marketer, there are many other ways that can help your brand defeat commoditization, improve the human condition and beat up on rivals. Contact Calle & Company!

Monday, March 05, 2007

How Starbucks Strayed

A lack of imperfection is how Starbucks lost its soul - and coffee house experience. It is now officially the McDonald's of its business. Starbuck's, and its classically trained leadership has turned Starbuck's once powerful brand equity into a "Milder Dimension." The brand is on the brink of being totally perceptually sanitized. No different than the conflict between Swift-Eckrich smoked sausage and those of rival Kahn's Hillshire Farm. Kahn's products are made by farmers in blue jeans and flannel shirts while Swift-Eckrich products are made by lab technicians in starched white coats ... according to in-depth consumer studies, this fate also befalls Wells Fargo versus Washington Mutual. Wells bankers are "the suits" while WAMU "neighbors" are the nice guys from Seattle in jeans and flannel shirts. How many times does history have to repeat itself before companies have to stop learning things all over again for the very first time?

Measurement Obsession Stymies Media Players

Procter & Gamble's Stengel - Four A's Conference Shines Light on Divide Between Marketers and Agencies

Upshot: People don't ask questions when their products sell well. Non-commodity positions solve the problem with the expression of most positions that are just too obvious, or too contrived.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Taco Hell: Rodent Video Signals New Era in PR Crises

Don't they eat rats on sticks in Thailand, live monkey brains in Japan, dogs in China? This just yanks our cultural chain.

The people at Taco Bell Restaurants, and at YUM BRANDS go to work today, the same way they did yesterday, and expect different results - same way as everyone does at The Home Depot - but there they paid CEO Bob Nardelli $210 million to retire! We're OK with rats. They're a natural part of the NYC landscape - found in all the best restaurants - and in the worst. Like President Richard Nixon, the only problem is - Taco Bell got caught. No wonder Yum Brands Does Little Even as Rats Spread Across Web, TV. See the Video. Will these pets receive their talent payment from the ad agency? Monolo just loves those little shoes! CLICK HERE!

Starbucks Smells the Death of Its Brand Experience

Starbucks started going downhill the moment they launched "New Milder Dimensions." If I'd wanted Maxwell House I would have gone to the grocery store. That's how you water down "the experience" and the brand equity.

No wonder the article says CEO Howard Schultz Wants To Confront The Missing Aroma of Fresh-Roasted Coffee In His Stores. He's hired a few too many people from McDonald's, and needs to reintroduce a little old fashioned Imperfection - that would be an interesting Selling Dimension ®! Howard Schultz, if you are reading this, go to our web site

SURVEY: Marketers Can't Grade Agencies but Fail Them Anyway

More news about people who don't know what they want, and who don't know how to explain it. If anyone on the client, or on the agency side knew how to grow the business, don't you think they would? As the article concludes: Most Clients Can't Measure Advertising's Exact ROI Yet Feel 'Vague Disenchantment'.

However, we can cure Madison Avenue's heart failure. Visit:

Stengel Exhorts 4A's: 'It's Not About Telling and Selling'

P&G's CMO lifts a page from Zig Ziglar's sales 101 course on building relationships - people buy things if they like you. Why don't more of P&G's ads get you to like them? Because the ads are long on features functions and benefits wrapped in engaging creativity - and very short on Selling Dimensions ® and Product Potentials ® - Special User Effects ® - that give a product or brand real personality and character. Anticipation is not a feature or a benefit, but it is a hidden selling dimension unlocked by Calle & Company that led to Heinz's famous "Anticipation" ads with Leo Burnett - a strategy later lifted by Jeff Goodby to author, "Got Milk?" Ya gotta love those hidden Selling Dimensions ® and Special User Effects ® ! All by products of Calle & Company's proprietary Abstract Creativity ® and Multi - Dimensional Creativity ® Systems of Invention that increase a mature product or brand's Viability Envelop ®.