Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Mass Customization

I attended a seminar at my internship today on the concept of the "Return on Customer" . It was a lot of marketing speak, which I find fascinating, but probably would bore most creatives to tears. However, one example was brought up that piqued my interest.

The speaker, Martha Rogers , brought up a case study on Tesco (basically a UK version of Wal-mart). Apparently, Tesco manages a database of over 11 million customers and sends out 5 million versions of their quarterly newsletter. That means no more than 3 people receive the same newsletter. Dog owners get a newsletter with dog food coupons, families with children receive discounts off diapers, etc.

Now obviously, there were not 5 million different strategies and creative executions. However, as the industry trends towards mass customization, I'm wondering when the day will come that creatives are handed the task of generating dozens of entirely different ads to target different groups. We already do it for various ethnic groups, but what if we drilled down deeper and started segmenting our creative based on geography, purchasing behavior, etc. Will the creative suffer or will it only get better? Can you imagine being handed a creative brief that asks you to target Petco customers who own a hamster and visited the store X number of times in the past month? Media placement can already be achieved at that level: is it only a matter of time before creative catches up?

Sunday, July 23, 2006

The new kinds of college kids have $$$

In today's Dallas Morning News, there's an article about how Stephen F. Austin University and The Univ. of Texas at Austin are now affiliated with retirement homes that are being built in Nacogodoches ("Nack" as the locals call it) and Lake Travis in Austin. This unique arrangement allows for retirees to feel "reenergized by the college culture" and to experience college culture through classes and student life.

For decades, marketers and advertisers have targeted the Generation X and now Generation Y crowd. The biggest problem with these audiences is that they don't really have disposable income due to lack of salary. However, these retirees do have a rather large amount of dough.

How much dough separates the twenty-year old college student from the seventy-five year old college student?

Try $300,000.00

(estimate includes student loans, 401K, and pensions)

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Everyone knows sex sells...

or does it? New advertising campaigns for new york real estate and condo developers has gotten the attention of passerbys and critics alike asking whether lustful advertising is a smart strategy or just a lazy tactic that "lacks creativity and alienates viewers.”
it seems as of late, there have been more companies toying with the idea of including the sex factor in its advertising, disconnected or not, and some more traditional (well, expected) products, such as women's underwear, contemplating branding without the sex. do some products just work better with sex? is it time to test sexual taboo boundaries with our audience? or do some products have no business using sex to sell its products? in the article, deborah morris and linda kaplan thaler are both asked their opinions on the matter. . .

Monday, July 17, 2006

Which Came First: the Chicken or the Advertiser?

We're all familiar with the age-old industry debate: Does advertising influence society or does it merely reflect it?

If recent marketing efforts are any indicator, it would suggest the latter, as marketers try desperately (and somewhat unsuccessfully ) to latch on to consumer-generated trends. Goliath retailer Wal-mart has attempted to re-create it's own MySpace . Both Yahoo! and Mentos are launching their own consumer-generated media contests this week. In addition, marketers are showing a growing interest in 'casual games' .

Will these efforts be fruitful? Now that the consumer generated "create your own ad/video" phenomenon seems to have run it's course, it seems doubtful. Perhaps the question is not a matter of which came first but rather which serves a better purpose? Isn't advertising far more effective when it influences rather than imitates behavior?

Your thoughts/examples...?

some of life's lessons

This was originally posted May 29. The Creatives' insight has been added.

per david's request, i brought over one of my entries on a campaign he wanted written about here at the ranch. here it goes:

i don't know how many people have caught tlc's "life lessons" campaign going around, but i think it's just great. i saw a few print ads in the latest 'entertainment weekly' and searched online shortly after to see if there were any commercials. tada! there are.
i love how the "lessons learned" resonates perfectly with their targeted audience and the commercials are served up with an excellent dose of dry humor. to top it off, the strange statuettes are crazy reminiscent of the precious moments ones (sans halos and dopey eyes) and are actually being sold through tlc's website for anyone interested in having their own life lesson reminder.

edit: Here is additional insight into the campaign from The Martin Agency. Work can be seen here at Duncans TV Land

How did you come up with the campaign?

Sean Riley, the Creative Director says:

TLC came to us with the goal of rebranding their network. They wanted to move away from do-it-yourself programming and re-define themselves as the network that offers learning for "30 somethings." People who have reached the stage in life where they are dealing with parenting, marrige, homeownership, careers and spirituality, as they put it, people who have grown-up but not grown old. All Their programming is developed around subjects that will resonate with this target.

It was important for the advertising to maintain the learning aspect of the network but make it relevant to this group of people and their particular life stage. The agency felt that it was important to make learning fun, it's not medicine it's entertainment. The Life Lesson campaign came out of that mix: relevant learning with enough of a laugh to make it

How did the idea for figurines come about?

Now, it's Todd's turn (the copywriter).

TLC wanted to hit the folks that are between MTV and Bravo. They're grown-up but definitely not old. They are forever young-ish. They're learning as they go. They're faced with the hard choices in life -marriage, buying a house, kids, establishing a career, putting roots in the ground. In these times there is a lot screwing up. There is a lot going on and not a lot of guidence. TLC wanted to be that guidance. They wanted to show this target that screwing up is all part of the learning process.

Their tagline says it best - "Live and Learn."

Pat and I looked at this target and the things they face, we wanted to communicate to them in a way they would believe. If you put the mirror up to them, and say, "Hey, we know what you're going though," it feels like a bunch of B.S. and these people are savvy and will see right through it. Being in this target ourselves, we both really understand and appreciate sarcasm. That coupled with fact that we wanted something slightly bizarre and weird to get attention and a knock on "Precious Moments" or the crap you find a Hallmark seemed to stick. Take those terrible, pull at your heart strings trinkets and figurines that they sell and put that "screwing up and learning" filter on it and there you have "Life Lessons." Since we had to promote a bunch of shows it seemed perfect that you could have a figurine for every show. Every TLC show you watch is another lesson learned. Hope that answers it. What a longwinded answer. Sorry.

Did you watch a lot of TLC while you and Pat Wittich (the AD) were

We watched some clips of each show to get a sense of what was happening. But to b honest, we really didn't focus on the shows construct. We just wanted to get a topline of what the lesson what that each show was trying to give. Take a show like "Honey, We're Killing the Kids." There's a lot going on there. The concept of the show is hard to summarize. It's almost two shows in one. But the bottom line is what we needed to quickly capture a lesson and make a figurine for it. The one liner for the show is that parents can sometimes be too nice to there kids and let them go astray. The lesson became, "Sometimes Being Their Best Friend Isn't Being Their Best Friend." Again, hope that makes sense.

Are they for sale?

Back to Sean now.

They are for sale $14.95.

It seems like The Martin Agency does a tremendous job at humor with this campaign and then the Geico work too. Is there something in the water in Richmond that creates humor?

We live in Richmond, the only other funny thing to do around here is civil war re-enactments. I'm not that into guns.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Role Models...?

In the news today, Pete Coors, Chairman of Coors Brewing Company, was arrested for driving under the influence . Meanwhile, Ben Roethlisberger, the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback announced that he will not be doing ads promoting helmet safety, despite his high-profile motorcycle crash last month.

Looks like the real hero today is Mr. T .

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Computer gets personal (again)

An article this week in CNN Money discusses how Dell's new ad campaign takes on a lifestyle sales approach rather than the typical features/benefits offered sales mantra. Dell's campaign is preceded by recent HP ads that feature hipsters Jay-z and Shaun White .

Perhaps this is an indicator of the PC-world trying to one-up it's trendier rival, the ever-fashionable Mac. I'm wondering if these efforts will really up their coolness, or if there is really only room for one brand in this category. Is it better for PC companies to try to address the lifestyle factor or should they just leave the Techno-Cool role to Macs?

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The all-new 2006 Nike Taurus and Mustang

This was originally posted April 1, 2006 but now video has been added.

from Coloribus blog

Agency: JWT Mexico. They actually built these around cars and drove it around Mexico! The soccer ball car always drove in front of the two shoes cars.

Thanks to Brief Blog for the video.

I didn't see these win any awards...or did they?

It's ok to head-butt jerks?

Zinedine Zidane's marketibility as a corporate spokesperson apparently has not taken a dive (pun intended) according to this USA Today article. In fact, his sponsors say it may have increased his value. It's somewhat fascinating how our culture can instantly build up or tear down celebrities and athletes. For example, Ray Lewis, the superstar linebacker of the Baltimore Ravens, was acquitted of a murder at a Super Bowl Party in 2000. In 2001, he was Super Bowl MVP and all was quickly forgotten and forgiven.

"It's not going to harm him. The sponsors are not withdrawing," said Jacques Seguela, chief communications officer at French advertising and communications group Havas. "This childish gesture gives a more human image of the hero. It brings the icon closer to the people."

What would happen if Michael Jordan reacted this way to the taunting he received in the NBA Finals? Do you think a superstar American athlete would react the same way that Zidane did to the taunting about his mother and sister?

I'm glad the mainstream American media actually cares about football now with Sports Illustrated voicing their opinion.

And Mack Simpson has a very informative post and comments about this too with Zidane's mom jumping in.

Malika Zidane, Zinedine’s mom, praised her boy for headbutting Materazzi, saying he was “defending the family honour."
“I am utterly disgusted by what I have heard. I praise my son for defending his family’s honour. No one should be subjected to such foul insults either on or off the football pitch. I have nothing but contempt for Materazzi. If what he said is true, I want his balls on a platter.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

doubtful marketing decisions

first comes poor guerilla marketing tactics, followed by rootkit tools on its cds. it now appears as if some controversial billboards (read: subtle racism?) have been spotted in the netherlands promoting their new advertising campaign for the psp. call me crazy, but this doesn't seem like the sort of pr sony needs right now.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

adidas courts ten year old bball phenom

photo credit: (Preston Keres - The Washington Post)

Dirk Nowitzki started playing basketball in his teens and he got noticed as a 17 year old who schooled the Americans at an international basketball tournament in Dallas with 33 points and 17 rebounds. Now, there's a ten year old boy out of Baltimore, Justin Jennifer, who could be the "next Lebron James."

He has co-starred in W+K's Carmelo commercial and he was featured in the Washington Post recently.


"Adidas pays Scottie Bowden to find impact players and get them into Adidas gear. That usually means 15- or 16-year-olds, but the company has no age minimums; it wants to procure the best players, said Darren Kalish, Adidas's director of grass-roots basketball programs.

Bowden courted Justin just after he turned 9.

"It's about brand loyalty," Bowden said. "If you're in my uniform at 10 or 11, maybe you will stay with me later on. I'm not always happy we're focusing on 9-, 10-, 11-year-old kids. That's so early. But this is a business. And if that's what I've got to do now, then that's what I'm going to do."

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