Friday, January 30, 2009

The Number 25: A Word of Mouth Tidal Wave

There are times when people can do on their own what marketers can only dream. The amazing chain reaction of the "25 Things About Me" can be visualized like this:

All jokes aside, flashes of information like this in the social media space are amazing. What marketers can learn from this is not that they should encourage users to write about their 25 favorite aspects of a product, rather how can they get their brands mentioned in these tidal waves of word of mouth.

I've already seen friends' list contain things like:
1) I can't put down my blackberry
2) My digital camera is always in my purse
3) I may love European beer but I still prefer Miller Lite

And so on...

Why is this great? Because the user is fully exposed to the brand and the person in an extremely positive manner.

Some Peope Are Still Doing Well In the Music Business

Growing up in Southern California, I had many opportunities to go to concerts that were promoted by the people at Goldenvoice. Unfortunately for me, they didn't start the Coachella music festival until I left town.

Nevertheless, I find it pretty amazing that all the blogs - and now newspapers - wait with bated breath for the promoters to announce each year's line up. It's a real testament to word of mouth marketing in an age of media inundation. When it comes down to it, Goldenvoice has done everything right for a music festival that's out in the unbearably hot desert of Indio, CA. Through the Wayne's World 2 mantra of "If you book them, they will come," Goldenvoice has built a brand that gets the adoration of music fans across the country seemingly overnight.

The festival is known mostly as a launch pad for up an coming bands and artists and relaunching pad for bands to reunite or reintroduce themselves to the American music audience.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Marketing Ethics and Masculine Images

Recently, Chevrolet ran a series of ads for the Silverado truck that criticized the masculinity of Ford and Dodge pickup truck owners. Both of the advertisements focus on prominent, advertised features of the competitors trucks. For the Ford F150, the ad finds Chevy spokesman Howie Long watching a man clumsily dismounting the bed of his truck despite using the additional step that Ford added to the truck.

The ad creates a simple message: Chevy is the brand of pickup for strong men who don’t need the extra frills. (Incidentally, I’ve loaded plenty of stuff into the back of a pickup and - as a person who only towers over young kids - I think a “Man Step” would be a pretty good thing to have.) The visual comparison of the out of shape, middle aged man to the Pro Football Hall of Famer more than gets the point across. I really don’t see a problem with this criticism from an ethical standpoint in that strength is technically a tangible measurement.

However, after speaking with a wide range of people about the ad mocking owners of the Dodge Ram, I’ve found a range of reactions but a sense of uneasiness behind the underlying message.

The makes the argument that if a person is not masculine than he is weak, but this second ad says that if a person is not masculine than he is feminine. (I say that because the manicure implies that women are more likely to get a manicure than a man).

Does this type of comparison cross the ethical line? Is it truly different from the first ad?

Please feel free to post a comment and share your thoughts on the subject.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Packaging Is Everything: Organic Batter Blaster is the Product of the Decade

Despite it's horrible name, the Organic Batter Blaster is amazing. Rarely does packaging revolutionize the delivery of a product as much as the OGB. Many have attempted to bring new life to pancake creation, even pancake giant Bisquick with their Shake 'n Pour.

However, nothing comes close to the OGB. The pancakes are perfect for my taste. They are fluffy yet thin, with a light buttery taste. Most importantly, the OGB is incredibly easy to clean. The only things you have to clean are the pan, spatchella, plate, and fork.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Pack Your Bags 'Cause We're Going On a Guilt Trip!

I am not a big fan of any marketer who tries to make me feel guilty. Now, it's understandable when non-profits market they may need to show images that depict the harsh reality of what they are dealing with; however, it's completely different when a company is just trying to make me feel guilty so they can make a buck.

While playing Scramble on Facebook this morning, a video ad for Gerber's "Start Healthy Stay Healthy" campaign popped up. As you can see from the screen shots I took on top, they're really not using positive reinforcement to get parents to click on the link. The link then leads to a site that helps new parents build nutrition plans for their babies.

Incidentally, the website is very nice and in no way negative.

Is this really the best way to market a nice idea?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

I Stand Corrected: Facebook Gives Me A Relevant Ad

A few posts ago, I criticized facebook for not capitalizing on potential ad revenue. While I stand by my idea that using members' favorites to market products is a good idea, I will admit that I noticed a side ad this evening that was relevant.

So, I was member of the Delta Chi Fraternity while I was in college and that's somewhere in my profile.

Way to go Facebook!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

I Want Your Thoughts On This Ad

Dear friends and readers,

The role of ethics in marketing communications is a topic that I find very interesting. Lately, I have been thinking the concept of masculinity in branding. Sometimes it's politically correct, sometimes it's not, and sometimes it's in that gray area. After talking to multiple people, I've found that many people have differing views about the following Chevy ad.

Please post your thoughts on this video either on the blog or on Facebook.

Who Are The Global Buddies?

First off, I am working on a new post that will be ready later today. Anyway, I'm happy to report that the Mattkoppelblog has gone global. Here's a geographic representation of the readership from Google Analytics:

Thanks to my readers abroad in the following great places presented in alphabetical order:
1) China
2) France
3) Germany
4) Spain
5) Taiwan
6) United Kingdom

Please send me anything interesting marketing you see in your daily lives, and let's keep sharing!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Lenovo Goes Viral

I own a Lenovo T60p, and - long story short - I don't like it very much. The hard drive crashed twice and the motherboard burned out within the first year. Customer service eventually got it up and running after tons of time on the phone.

Now that I got that out of the way, take a look at this video.

I hate to say this, but it's a great video. Moreover, it's a great way to introduce a new product.

Unlike Microsoft deciding it needs to face down Apple with its "I'm a PC" campaign, Lenovo has a unique opportunity to throw some stones at one product, the Macbook Air. If the Macbook Air's main selling point it size, or lack thereof, then Lenovo tapped that need with this video.

Of course, the Air's selling point is probably not size. It's mainly the vanity Mac for Mac users. I'm sure there are consumers out there who buy it purely for size, but it's just one factor.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Microsoft Finds Brand Focus and Makes A Relevant Ad

2008 was a horrible year for Microsoft advertising. First, the Jerry Seinfeld / Bill Gates ads were unfunny and nonsensical. They sullied the brand by making Gates and their product look silly.

Next, Microsoft made a another error with the "Mojave Project" ads. Through strange, hidden camera ads Microsoft admitted that they initially dropped the ball on Vista and probably released it too soon with too many errors in the system.

Finally, there was the horrendous "I'm a PC" campaign. With Apple taking shots at every turn, Microsoft made the most critical error in years. A brand leader never needs to take pot shots at competitors because it is only going to drive more attention to the competition. Plus, Microsoft doesn't make PCs; they make software. We didn't see Dell, Sony, Lenovo, or any other computer that runs on Windows fight back at Apple. Why did Microsoft decide that it would be worth it to turn back and try to stare down Apple?

This new set of ads from the software giant focuses exactly on what they should, software. Moreover, this is software for business. I cannot remember how many times that I heard people say, "Well, I use Windows at work so I should get it for my home computer too." With software becoming more interoperable this statement is not as important as is once was. However, if Microsoft focuses on this market again, they might be able to rebuild their brand to represent the software company that enables people to work.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Facebook Still Doesn't Know How To Advertise...

If you've ever heard me talking about, you'll hear me say that that it constantly wastes the potential for three dimensional marketing synergy. How so? Well, let's break it down.

There's currently the irrelevant right column side ads.

I cannot speak for my friend, who's page I picked this ad off of, but I'm not much of a wine enthusiast or in the market for an engagement ring. The only thing these ads have right is that I am in Chicago.

Then there's the applications, which are made by outside developers. Most of these applications now steer users to websites outside of Facebook and takes potential revenue from Facebook.

So, what can Facebook do to improve their advertising revenue, rather than let outside developers come in and bog down users with applications?

Here's my solution:

Facebook needs should enter new strategic partnerships with the retailers who advertise on the website and other businesses. First, Facebook should evaluate whether it's possible to sell ad words similar to Google. However, rather than linking the ad words to a search on Facebook, the sire should use a user's status.

For example, if I were to write, "Matthew is looking for an affordable ticket to New York" in my status, it would be highly useful for me to see an ad for Expedia or Kayak or Continental Airlines...

Next, Facebook needs to take advantages of the user's "favorites." Through strategic partnerships with retailers like Amazon or iTunes, a user should be able to click on a person's favorite and be taken to a link where a user can sample that person's favorite musician or book or movie to see if he or she might want purchase it as well. Plus, these favorites could also be sold as ad words to retailers.

Does this sound like a good idea to anyone else?

Monday, January 12, 2009

Friday, January 9, 2009

Credit Card Conspiracy? Direct Mail Strikes Back!

I get a boatload of credit card offers on a weekly basis. Like any other paranoid American, I toss them in the shredder as soon as I get them. Lately, though, I have been noticing that the content card companies send out - especially American Express - are too big just to put in the shredder without opening the envelope and separating the papers. Plus, these card companies have taken to adding in fake cards with "YOUR NAME HERE" printed on them, which causes my shredder to grind to a halt.

If this was done intentionally, it is the most brilliant direct marketing idea since cluster analysis. Despite the fact that a consumer knows he or she does not want to even think about getting a card, this practice is forcing a group of consumers to be exposed to their information. This may just be a conspiracy theory, but I have to wonder if it's true.

Do these card companies - knowing full and well that a segment will instantly trash their letter - have a system to earn a profit off of these consumers?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

TV Ad Predictions for 2009

With advertising budgets plummeting across the boards for all industries, now seems like a better time than any to make some predictions about what television ads are going to look like in 2009.

1) More Billy Mays in multiple ways:
Parody form:

And, unfortunately, regular form:

2)More, surprisingly low budget ads:

Fortunately, I can't find any youtube clips of the Silver Sonic XL at this time.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Wait... You're Selling Me Pants? American Apparel Goes NSFW

Well, I knew this day would come. American Apparel - a retailer known for overpriced solid color T-shirts and racy ads - had a banner ad floating around the interweb featuring a topless woman in three poses.

I am sure American Apparel is ready for the free advertising from the pending media onslaught.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Untivoable = Unwatchable

I've been meaning to write this post for a few weeks, but with my graduation and the holidays it was put on the back-burner.

When NBC announced that Jay Leno would be moving to the 10 PM time slot five nights a week, Ben Silverman - an NBC executive and apparently Craig Ferguson's least favorite person - kept bringing up that the program will be untivoable. His hope is simply that the program will be so topical that no one will want to watch it at any other point. Silverman thinks this is a smart move in that SNL ran 30 minute thursday night episodes related to the election in October to high ratings. Why not try this with Leno?

It seems that Silverman is forgetting that the most popular elements of SNL are highly tivoable. Whether it's a "dick in a box" or the Bill Brasky sketches that I can never find online, SNL's best moments are timeless. Moreover, other "topical comedy programing" is tivoable as well. Look at the Daily Show and the Colbert Report. Comedy Central repeats the previous night's episodes the following evening. In order to crack down youtube posters, the websites for each respective show have nearly everything that's ever been on the program in addition to full episodes on Hulu. For my point of view, all of these are done to keep potential viewers from recording the programs on Tivo. Each of these additional formats still exposes viewers to ads.

Network executives need to come to terms with the fact that good programming is going to be recorded. The more recordable a program is, the more likely people will be to view the program on other media as well.