Thursday, November 10, 2011

Getting consumers to think and shop

Allstate promotional campaign attempts to get customers to stop and shop

Customer loyalty is a goal for businesses.  Instead of spreading their money around, loyal customers spend more over time with their beloved businesses and products.

Loyal customers tend to stay loyal until given a reason not to be loyal.  Unfortunately, businesses too often deliver those reasons themselves through multiple methods such as disappointing products, bad service and high pricing.

However, what if those loyal customers aren't yours?
Allstate has a current promotional campaign encouraging consumers to take a moment to think about their insurance and shop around.  Obviously, Allstate hopes that such shopping will lead customers to them.

I realize the ad's tag line is "Shop less, save more" -- Allstate wants you to shop until you find them and then you can stop shopping.  

Monday, November 7, 2011

Why wait until Black Friday?

Fighting for early consumer holiday spending in a poor economy.

Traditionally, Black Friday marked the start of the holiday shopping season... but that's now in the past. It's early November and the promotions to attract 2011 holiday spending dollars have already begun.  A variety of business types are already doing it -- Home Depot, Glade, ebay, Kmart -- and more will start soon.

Via television commercials, websites, print ads, social media, and discounts, businesses are already vying for this year's holiday consumer spending that is projected to be lower due to economic conditions.  Businesses worry that if they wait too long to attract shoppers, consumers will spend their limited holiday dollars elsewhere.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Consumer roles & buying behavior

Appealing to the roles consumers have is a powerful influence.

We all have our own lists of roles we play in our lives --  
Friend. Wife. Husband. Mom. Dad. Teacher. Doctor.
You get the idea...

The roles each of us have impact how we act and decisions we make.  Marketers know this too.

Notice how this TV commercial for Sylvania Silverstar headlights juxtaposes two common roles -- (1) fun-loving male and (2) dad.

Obviously, the dad role wins out in this advertisement. In my own role as a dad, the ad makes me wonder how bright the headlights are in the car my kids drive. Which is just what Sylvania hoped for.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A peril of celebrity spokespersons

Talk about "mailing it in".
Who approved this and have they been fired?

These are just a few of the thoughts that come to mind after watching the current Ameriprise television advertisement featuring celebrity Tommy Lee Jones. Take a look.

We know Tommy Lee Jones from his many memorable movie characters - from Lonesome Dove to U.S. Marshals, from Men in Black to No County for Old Men. We have come expect a certain aura, presence, liveliness, wit and banter from Mr. Jones.  I bet Ameriprise did too.

If a paid celebrity spokesperson can't get excited for a product or company they are shilling for, why should we?

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Product do-overs difficult... do it better the first time

The comparison is stark:
  • Apple sells approximately 200, 000 iPads every 2 days.
  • RIM sold approximately 200,000 Blackberry Playbook tablet computers over 90 days this past summer.
The problem(s) with the Playbook?
First (and probably foremost), it doesn't have an Apple logo on it.  However, there are non-Apple issues.  The Playbook was introduced with just a fraction (40,000 vs. 1,000,000) of the available content and apps available to its adopters compared to competing Apple and Google Android tablets. In addition, the Playbook did not come with Blackberry's popular e-mail and collaboration service (Blackberry Enterprise Server).

RIM's proposed fixes to bolster Playbook sales?
  1. Encourage app makers to get really busy.
  2. Release a "major" software update.
  3. Cut prices.
  4. Keep telling prospective buyers the Playbook is just as good/better than the iPad.
The outcome? Consumers will soon decide
However, recapturing any momentum that came with the introduction of the Blackberry Playbook will be difficult (impossible?). While a staple of recreational golf, mulligans are in short supply in the business world.  A better path is to hit a quality shot on the first swing.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Keeping an advertising campaign fresh

Ally Bank's promotional objective over the last few years has been to drive home the point that they are not "banking as usual".  To keep their advertising from getting stale Ally's advertising has periodically changed tag lines.  

It started with "It's just the right thing to do".

Then came "Do you love your bank?"

And most recently "Stop accepting nonsense" (poor service, hidden fees, etc.).

Multiple tag lines.
One long lasting theme people can relate to.
Interesting, attention-keeping advertising.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Making your customers the butt of the joke... I still don't get it

Incorporating humor into advertisements is principles of advertising 101.  Humor encourages viewer attention and message retention.  

However, humor can also "swing and miss".  I believe one of the ways humor loses its overall effectiveness is when it is used to portray the advertiser's customers as silly, foolish and/or childish. Some viewers have to wonder "if that's how the customers of that company are, why would I want to join them?"

Here's a recent example of an television advertisement that does just that.

Couldn't State Farm find a humorous way to tell us that they can save customers money without making them look like dolts?  Geico has been using humor for years and also tells us that they save customers money.  However, I can't recall a time when their customers were the butt of the joke.  

Maybe State Farm would be better served having some woodchucks chuck wood in their next commercial.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Holiday 2010 commercials - one strong, one risky

Two TV campaigns - two outcomes: one builds brand, other builds band

This holiday season featured companies that took different routes in their television advertisements.

Planters Peanuts (a division of Kraft Foods) had a witty, fun ad that starred their longtime "spokesperson" Mr. Peanut -- who has been around since 1916 -- in a holiday themed advertisement.  The focus of this ad was the product and Planters brand.

Meanwhile, Hyundai had several commercials that might have crossed the line of showcasing the indie band Pomplamoose more than the Hyundai brand or product. While wanting the attention star power can bring to an ad, care must be given so that such attention does not overshadow the commercial's intended message.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Don't overlook the details

Michael Jordan + humor + a continuing TV campaign = a promising ad -- but please get the other guy a pair of pants that fit!

Hanes has done several significant things promotionally to benefit their brand:
  • sign Michael Jordan as a spokesperson
  • drop Charlie Sheen as Jordan's sidekick (reportedly to avoid any linkage to Sheen's persistent negative press)
  • developed a lasting humor-based campaign to promote the benefits of their product as well as highlight Jordan
If this is how Hanes make you look, maybe he should try Fruit-of-the Loom...
After all that, why not give the actor in the current ad a pair of pants that fit?  His pants are stretched so tight that the white liner on the front pockets show, the front of the pants have a very unflattering pull and the pockets are puckered. While some viewers would recognize the problem is with the pants, others might not. The question is why take the chance when a little more attention to detail would have made the issue a non-starter?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Opening a new range of apps

Square mobile payment app blends software and hardware

The Square Mobile Payment System is early on the curve of a new wave of applications for phones (iPhone and Android) and other mobile technologies like tablet PCs (iPad, etc.).  These emerging apps go beyond current ones as they integrate hardware into the systems.

Plugging Square's hardware into a device's audio jack allows the user to use the app to pay by credit or debit cards, gift cards and prepaid cards.  These payments can go to businesses or individuals who also have Square.
Crystal ball
A couple things will be interesting to watch for:
  • When will consumers adopt these types of apps?
  • How quickly will businesses adapt to the such new apps?
  • When will other types of apps that integrate hardware be offered?