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.