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?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Rapping rodents phat for Kia

Rapping hamsters boost image but without product improvement, how long will it last?

Unlike many businesses, 2010 has been good to Korean automaker Kia.  Sales were up 15% through October -- on pace for a record year in sales.  The company has benefited from a "perfect storm" of circumstances:
  • a bad economy
  • offering a line of low priced vehicles (approx. $8,000 lower than  competitors)
  • public acceptance of rapping hamsters in a television campaign (see below)

The big question...
With product quality sliding in consumer-based rankings (from 15 to 25 place in a recent J.D. Powers  survey), how long will the rodents be able to prop Kia sales up?   In the long-term, it is hard to imagine consumers trading vehicle quality for a formulated image.  American auto buyers have shown in the past that even low prices cannot make up for a poor vehicle (remember the Yugo?).

The current good sales situation offers time for Kia to get their product "house in order".  It will be interesting to see if they take advantage of it.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Geico, Helzberg co-op advertising

Seemingly unrelated pair of companies team in TV ad

Perhaps you have already seen the television advertisement that blends both Geico Insurance and Helzberg Diamonds (a retail jewelry store chain).  At first nod, these seem like an odd duo to pair up in a promotional effort.  However, upon a bit deeper review, a connection between the firms comes into focus.

The Berkshire Hathaway connection
Both firms are part of the holdings of Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway.

Properly done, joint advertising can make a great deal of sense by stretching promotional budgets in this time when companies are seeking greater productivity in operations, manufacturing, and now advertising.

Characteristics of potential co-op promotional partners
The cooperating firms:
  • are not in the same industry (except for special circumstances like public service announcements, support of causes and events, etc.).
  • seek similar customers.
  • are willing to have the other's brand image "rub off" on to their own.
Note: video of the ad will be added when available.