Friday, April 30

I'm Sorry

We've had a wave of "public apologies" lately, from all walks of life. From celebrities, sports figures, religious leaders, brands, politicians, you name it. I suppose we've all done things that we are sorry about, but the order of magnitude and the publicity surrounding it all has gotten a bit out of control.

Of course these folks have no choice but to apologize in public, because they have chosen occupations that put their lives on public display. If they don't apologize they are wrong, and when they do apologize they are still sometimes wrong.

It's actually just a part of the course of marketing a brand. Sometimes you have to deal with a brand in crisis, and there are lots of professionals who have wrote the book on managing it. I've always maintained that a brand in crisis should behave consistently with its core equity, and always be honest. And always come clean, ideally ahead of the story and ahead of the media.

Although admittedly, some of the apologies become more about excuses than really feeling heartfelt sorry. "I'm a sex addict" comes to mind. Not judging, just observing pop culture.

My colleague Maureen Lippe sent me this great article about all the apologies of late. It's worth a read.,b9C9Bq6h

What's your experience? Jim.

Thursday, April 29

In One Sentence ...

... Describe "Marketing"!

That was the challenge put forth by the "Marketing Communication" Group on Linkedin.

I am a member of several LinkedIn Groups ... they are great for networking and for keeping up with people's thoughts in the industry. Truthfully, though, I don't have a lot of time to read very many of the conversations.

This one caught my eye because of its simplicity. Seemed like an easy request: Describe marketing in one sentence.

So of course i wrote that marketing is about building a brand experience that creates an emotional connection to fulfill a need. Something like that. I wrote a marketing book for gosh sakes, so the least I could do is write one sentence.

Figured it would be simple and everyone would basically say roughly the same thing. Boy was I wrong. Hundreds and hundreds of responses later, I don't think I read two sentences that were that much alike. And most of them were dead on.

So it got me thinking: marketing really is subjective. We each have our own interpretations and we each apply our skills and knowledge differently. I guess that's why there are so many different brand approaches and so many different creative campaigns.

Guess that's why I like it so much! If you are not a member of this particular LinkedIn group, I encourage you to do so. Lots of creative and smart marketers in there.

So what would be your sentence ... what's your experience? Jim.

Wednesday, April 28

A Kodak Moment

According to the Urban Dictionary, a "Kodak Moment" is "a rare, one time, moment that is captured by a picture, or should have been captured by a picture." The problem is that with the onslaught of technology, online services, and mobile devices, a "Kodak Moment" has been replaced with cell phones, iPhones, and Droids.

Many an industry has been adversely affected by the digital revolution, and photography is one of them. We don't need film anymore! Or film processing. Or in some cases photographers ... at least not like we used to. So brands like Kodak and Polaroid are left scrambling, trying to reinvent themselves.

The truth is that Kodak has such a strong equity. The brand is synonymous with the special moments in our lives captured as memories by Kodak. So while film was being pushed aside by digital files, Kodak built the Kodak Gallery where consumers can upload their photos to be shared, printed, catalogued, and put onto products like mugs, t-shirts, and calendars. The services are available online and at certain retail partners like CVS.

Great services for photo-obsessed consumers, but is it enough to keep a brand alive? There are just so many other services like it.

Can a share button and a Real Housewife make the brand relevant again?

Maybe. Kodak has a new camera with a share button called EasyShare. So after you take a picture, you can instantly share it on Facebook, Twitter, or email it to friends and family. Sounds like such a simple innovation (and perhaps easily copied), but it might just be enough to make the universally loved brand relevant again.

As for the Real Housewife (in this case Jill Zarin), the brand certainly got a lot of exposure both on the tv show and on the blogs that followed. Just not sure it was the kind that they wanted :-)

What's your experience? Jim.

Tuesday, April 27

Lane Bryant "Banned"

If you've been following the advertising trade press in the last week, then you've heard the controversy surrounding the "banned" television commercial for Lane Bryant's new plus-size lingerie line.

If you have not seen the spot, you can watch it here:

I'm sorry, but it's a great spot. Shows that beauty not only comes in all sizes, it comes from having a spirited attitude. It's the kind of commercial that I would want my kids to see ... maybe not my little kids, but I wouldn't mind my older kids seeing the confidence that comes from being comfortable (and sexy) in your own skin. I hope that they grow up with that same spirit.

Now the drama behind whether ABC (and Fox) banned the spot or asked for revisions or is applying a double standard ... only those folks know for sure what the real story is. It is pretty sexy, but then again so is a whole lot of other content, commercial or otherwise, in the same proposed time slots. I find it hard to believe that television executives, in this day and age, would be so callous and stupid, but then again many things still surprise me. I'd rather believe that it was all just some sort of misunderstanding.

Either way I'm glad that the spot is getting noticed, and I hope that the new product line does well. I applaud the sentiment of the brand, and wish it well.

The funny thing is that the lingerie line is called Cacique, which actually is a brand that has had a former life. It used to be a separate line of intimate apparel, ala Victoria Secret. So on top of everything else, this is a brand reinvention and a good one at that!

What's your experience? Jim.

Monday, April 26

Altering Your Logo

There was a great segment on CBS Sunday Morning yesterday about the Google Doodle. You can see the segment here if you'd like:;lst;1

I also wrote a blog post about the Google Doodle not too long ago myself, and you can read that here if you'd like:

But the segment on CBS Sunday Morning raised a marketing issue that I had not thought of when I wrote my original blog post. Is it ok to alter your logo?

When thinking through the magic of the Google Doodle, I hadn't thought of how it literally changes the Google logo over and over again. It's Marketing 101 not to play around with your logo, partly because you want consumers to always recognize and relate to it but also because you don't want to subject your brand to identity theft. If you start altering it, then that gives license for others to alter it and steal it too. A basic principle in branding.

Hmmm. What's a doodle to do?

Now of course it is completely legit in marketing circles to update your logo and evolve it over time. The classics have done it many times over the years. Coca-Cola, Pepsi-Cola, Tide, Federal Express, etc. But is it ok to alter it over and over all the time?

In thinking it through I decided that "it depends". If part of your brand experience is to have a logo identity that is dynamic and keeping up with pop culture and celebrating life's events, then yes it's ok. It's part of the brand essence and an intrinsic part of the brand experience. Like the Google Doodle, which has become a part of pop culture in and of itself, and regular participants in the brand have come to expect it and in fact enjoy it.

But if it's not a part of the brand experience, then leave the logo alone. Keep it sacred and a consistent, as a core part of the brand's identity.

What's your experience? Jim.

Friday, April 23

The Real Housewives

I'll admit it ... I'm a huge fan of The Real Housewives television show on Bravo. NY, Atlanta, OC, NJ ... can't get enough! DC is on the way too.

As I've been watching this season of the New York cast (and I do mean "cast"), I've started to notice that these women are not very good brands.I'm not talking just about their bad behavior per se, I'm referring more to their inconsistent behavior. One minute their nice and likable, and the next they are immature and mean.

Take Jill Zarin for example. I can't tell what she's all about. I can't position her. In prior seasons, she seemed like the mature, rational, secure member of the troupe. After last night's episode and a few prior, she is none of those things.

The point here is about consistency. Brands need to be consistent so that consumers can choose to add them to their lives.These women are all over the place, so I would imagine that managing their brands must be very difficult. As they try to secure endorsement deals (like Jill Zarin's deal with Kodak), I would think that they would want to portray a more consistent, relateable, personable branding. Can't imagine many brands would want to associate with such inconsistency. Too risky perhaps.

But that's just me.

The television show, on the other hand, brilliant. The inconsistency is what makes the show, and that's different because it's what drives the entertainment value. Bravo has created an entire franchise around this concept, that just keeps growing and growing. During last night's NY episode, the way the producers wove in trailers from the upcoming season with the NJ housewives was so engaging. I couldn't leave the tv set.

The Real Housewives has become an entertainment force, something that started with a small group of friends in Orange County! On a small little cable network. It's fun to see how the concept has grown, even if the women are so inconsistent that it drives a marketer like me crazy!

What's your experience? Jim.

Thursday, April 22

Using Social Media To Get Home

Since most of our social media outlets are still relatively new, many of us are still sorting out how best to use them. We are reconnecting with old friends and colleagues, keeping up with industry trends, staying in touch with pop culture, and for many -- marketing businesses.

But then when a crisis hits, I think we see the true value of social media in very personal ways.

When air travel was halted just recently due to the volcano in Iceland, the social media networks almost instantly lit up. Stranded travelers were communicating with each other, notifying loved ones, connecting with others who were also stranded in the same locations, and ultimately finding creative solutions for getting home. All on social media, particularly Twitter which tends to move at lightening speeds.

One of the most populated hashtags on Twitter was #getmehome --- where people were trading ideas and sharing information on how to get any form of transportation. Carpools were being formed and "real" information was traded in real time.

Stranded travelers were also using online and social media tools to contact transportation providers so as to avoid the long waits on the toll free numbers.

Amazing. Tools that were not available to us just a short time ago during other times of crisis. And an incredible way to find people in similar situations and bond together with them to solve a problem.

Adding true value to our lives.

What's your experience? Jim

Wednesday, April 21

Glee for Madonna

At the risk of repeating myself, I just have to write another blog post about the television show Glee.

Last night was a "tribute" to Madonna. When I first heard about it, I was a bit skeptical and was wondering how the cast would pull it off. But as I started to watch the show, I realized something phenomenal was happening.

For Madonna.

As I write in my upcoming book, Madonna is a quintessential brand -- I spend quite a bit of time highlighting how she has so expertly created a brand experience for her audience. Perhaps one of the best in the entertainment business in that she is so well defined as a brand and has actually been quite consistent in her marketing through the years. Yes she has transformed herself at every turn, but that's part of her brand.

But she's taken some hits lately. Lady Gaga is eating her lunch.

I'm not sure how it was orchestrated, but last night's tribute to Madonna on Glee was a not-so-subtle reminder that Madonna was there first. It was a sixty-minute commercial for brand Madonna and her songbook, to put her back in the minds of both the young and not-so-young. For her loyal fans and for a new generation that needs to discover her. In a post Lady Gaga world, Madonna made a statement that she is still relevant, and that she makes great pop music.

A very creative move for the Madonna brand and yet another turn in years of consistent marketing. Of course I didn't even mention that the songs from the episode are compiled on a CD called "The Power of Madonna".

What's your experience? Jim.

Tuesday, April 20

Texts from Target

Promotional texting was made mainstream, in my mind, by American Idol. The show was the first high profile "brand" to really embrace their audience's texting behavior and weave it into the fabric of the experience. It was a run away hit and others have followed suit.

Of course that was back when most of the texting was done by teens. Texting has now hit the mainstream over the last two years, crossing generations beyond just the young. It's estimated that 85% of adults have a mobile phone, and most of them use texting at least on occasion. It's not just for teens anymore -- even my parents send a text once in awhile!

Although it may seem like it's taken forever, retailers are now about to jump in, big time. The ever-so-fashionable Target just announced the first major retail initiative around coupon texting.

By simply enrolling in the program online or via text, consumers can receive up to 5 scannable coupons sent to them via text each month. When you get to the check-out, the attendant will scan the code off of the mobile device.

Couldn't be easier, and couldn't be smarter. And coming from Target, it makes total sense as a part of the brand equity -- Expect More, Pay Less!

What's your experience? Jim.

Monday, April 19

Now You Can Glee

It's a new season of Glee and there's a lot to be happy about! The show has quickly become an entertainment phenomenon, mostly because it pulls on so many insights -- there's something here for all of us.

First, there's the whole sing-along musical thing. Most won't admit it, but musicals are fun, and we secretly love to sing along. If you notice, the producers very carefully pick a range of music to attract a pretty wide audience. There's music in there from when I was in high school, and then there's Beyonce. This is a trick that they must have learned from American Idol ... pull songs from across the generations to get both the kids and their parents.

And then there's the whole cool vs. uncool drama, which gets played out masterfully. The uncool kids are the ones that get to sing, and we sing right along with them, and they become the heroes. The show's tagline? "For the aspiring underdog in all of us."

Throw in a love story here and there, a "villain", and pretty soon you have must-see television, an emerging brand, and quite an experience. One that keeps evolving across touch points as the brand grows.

The best part? This little entertainment property is becoming a brand! An online experience to beat the band. Music CDs and downloads. And now, for the launch of the new season, Fox introduced an app that you can download onto Apple devices. Simply select songs from the show and sing along with them ... and it gets better. You can also form your own glee club with "friends" around the world and sign the songs and record them together!

Imagine recording a song with people from all around the world, harmonizing to each other, sending it around to each other's devices.

A perfect fit with the Glee television show, but customized to make the brand experience more personal. Using mobile technology and social media to extend the television show brand's equity. Not necessarily the first to do it, but the sing along viral aspect is pretty darn cool if you ask me.

Love the show even more. You can read about the new app here:

What's your experience? Jim.

Friday, April 16

Tax Day Promotions

President's Day sales, Black Friday, Day After Christmas returns, January White Sale ... days that have become synonymous with sales and promotions. That doesn't even include Back-to-School.

The newest promotional window, as witnessed in 2010? Tax day, April 15!

Couldn't believe it. Everywhere I turned yesterday, there was a promotion. Free coffee at Starbucks, free cupcakes at Cinnabon, free cookies at Subway, free burgers at the BLT Gourmet Truck here in NY .... not to mention all the happy hour specials at all the restaurants and bars. Tax day became the day of food and drink promotion. Some of the Whole Foods markets even picked up the tax bill off purchases made yesterday. That's a good one!

So I have to ask ... what's the insight?

Tax day is stressful, even if you are getting a refund and even if you prepared your paperwork ahead of time. It's stressful. Must be the cash outlay or the notion of big government raining down. But it's also a tie that binds us all. We collectively need a sense of relief. Nothing better than food and drink to do that!

I'll admit it. After I waited 45 minutes in line at the post office, I did stop off at Starbucks for a free cup of coffee. I needed some pampering.

The merchants have evidently caught on to the need and are offering up some value to their consumers. Which leaves me to declare Tax Day as another one of the great promotional days of the year.

What's your experience? Jim.

Thursday, April 15

Kitty Kelley's "Oprah"

All the hoopla over Kitty Kelley's unauthorized biography on Oprah made me realize something. Oprah is one powerful brand. As if we needed to be reminded ... but I'm talking true branding power.

Not powerful because of her vast empire or fortune or connections (that's a different kind of "power"). Powerful in that her brand is so strong, that something somewhat negative like this book could not possibly penetrate her equity. I've heard some call her "Teflon". I don't think that's what it is. I think that it's sheer marketing power from a true consumer brand.

A brand that is well defined, for sure, like any good brand should be. Totally in tune with her consumer base. Unique from any other brand in the market. Consistent. Adding value to people's lives, day in and day out. Creating a dialogue and a relationship with and among its consumers (and its consumers with each other).

So sure she has money and influence, but whether you like her or not, she also is a brand that many could aspire to, with lots of longevity through thick and thin (and a tell-all book).

I was quoted in an AdAge article on this very topic if you'd like to check it out:

For me, what's more interesting than this book, though, is to watch the path over time that the Oprah brand will continue to take.

What's your experience? Jim.

Wednesday, April 14

KFC Double Down

When I first heard about the new bread-less sandwich from KFC called Double Down, I was only half listening ... so I mistakenly assumed that it was part of the brand's (and the country's) movement toward healthier food. I instantly figured that without the bun, the sandwich would have less carbs, less calories, and be more healthy.

Wow, I should have listened more carefully the first time around. I couldn't have been farther off!

Sure the KFC Double Down has no bun. But not because of calorie or carb cutting, it's gone because they wanted to make more room for the meat.

It's basically two hunks of chicken with cheese, bacon, and sauce in between. The meat is the bread! This isn't about being healthy -- double the meat, so there's no room for the bun. Comes in fried or grilled versions.

OMG. Not sure what to say. The calorie and fat count is not that different than other fast food indulgent options, although the sight of it isn't appetizing to me. But if this is what you are into, then the brand is giving it to you. They have a test market in Providence to prove its appeal.

In an era of "Eat This, Not That" and sugared sodas being pulled from schools, it just feels a little counter-culture to me, and not the best of all food choices. I'm just saying.

What's your experience? Jim.

Tuesday, April 13

Tiger Woods for Nike

I finally got the chance to view the new Nike commercial featuring Tiger Woods and his Dad. The chatter has been circulating around the Internet and I have been dying to view it and weigh in.

Take a look at it here:

Honestly, I wasn't sure what to think at first. It's haunting. The look on his face as you hear the voice of his now deceased father is just plain haunting.

On first viewing, I can totally see why people are up in arms. It feels like Tiger Woods is stooping low by using his Dad to basically cover his butt. I understand the argument. But after viewing it a few times, my feelings started to change. I guess partly because I stopped viewing it as a consumer, and started evaluating it as a marketer.

As a consumer, I think that you'll view the ad entirely the way you view Tiger Woods. If you like him, particularly for his golf, you'll think the ad is breakthrough. If you don't like him, particularly for his personal behavior, then you're not going to like it ... no way no how. I am not a big fan, so after my first viewing I have to say that I cringed a little.

Viewing it as a marketer, though, gave me a different perspective. When you look at this from Nike's perspective, the brand had to do something. Tiger Woods is a huge asset to the brand, especially to the golf franchise. The damage has to have been enormous and Nike had to do something to put this in the past.

So creating this dramatic, personal reflection is a way for Nike to take the emphasis off "Tiger the behavior" and put it back on "Tiger the person". Give him a vehicle to say that he has learned something from all of this. He is reflecting, growing, and changing as a result (and his Dad is still helping him).

Either way, it is a very bold move on the part of Nike and the brand has moved up a notch or two in my mind. Whether you like Tiger or not, you have to give the Nike brand props for "putting it out there." They are addressing the issue head on, and putting it right on the table for us to evaluate and discuss. In a very Nike way.

And boy are we discussing! As consumers and as marketers.

What's your experience? Jim.

Monday, April 12

Embrace Life ...

... Always Wear Your Seatbelt

Every once in awhile a new commercial comes out that for me totally resonates.

There's an incredible mini-film just out from the UK, aimed at convincing all of us to wear our seatbelts in our cars. At this point, I'm not sure why anyone needs to be convinced, quite honestly. But if this extended commercial doesn't do it, I'm not sure what will.

It's one of the most beautiful pieces of film that I have ever seen, with a powerful message that hits you right in the heart.

It's really long for a "commercial" at a minute and a half, and it moves incredibly slowly. There's not a lick of branding, nor a single word spoken, and just one "scene".

The first time I saw it and I kind of figured out what was happening, I literally had tears come to my eyes. Now whenever I see it, the tears immediately start to form. It's that moving.

Haunting, actually. A perfect example of finding the EMOTIONAL reason behind getting consumers to change their behaviors. In this case it's seatbelts, but a similar emotional connection could be made for smoking, weight loss, illegal drugs, or even for taking your prescription drugs. No preaching, no scare tactics, no banging people over the head, just an emotional connection around how a single decision you make can effect the rest of your life and the lives of all your loved ones.

It's moving fast along social media circles, around the world. Take a look at it here:

Holy cow, good stuff.

What's your experience? Jim.

Friday, April 9

Bulldog Reporter PR Summit

I attended the Bulldog Reporter PR Agency Summit yesterday held at the AMA conference center in NY. Pretty cool conference space in Manhattan, by the way.

I sat on a discussion panel about how to generate new business. I was one of three agency Presidents talking about how we go about growing revenue. Kind of boring stuff, actually, because I'd rather talk about our work. And the creative process. And the incredible marketing results that we get.

Ahhh ... I think that's the point. When you focus on the work, and the process that your team goes through to generate the work, then the financials take care of themselves. Totally over simplifying, but stay with me.

When you are able to spend the time needed to produce really strategically sound creative ideas that will grow your clients' brands, then your agency business will grow too. Your work will be stellar, it will get noticed in the marketplace, it will get results, and more clients will come to you to nurture their brands. Especially when it crosses media boundaries from traditional to innovative.

We are living it right now. We have a client that just nine months ago we managed one brand in their portfolio. Now we are managing three. Just based on the work that my team has done there. Strategically sound work that is delivering results.

Because of deadlines, priorities, and overly full plates, it's tempting to rush through the creative process to get ready for a client meeting, and then not spend the time needed to produce good work. Make creativity the priority!

Creative work that breaks through and connects with consumers so that they can connect with each other. That's what marketing is all about .... and that's what grows brands and agencies.

And when you do REALLY good work that stands out, then you stand out ... and get more work!

I love speaking at these conferences, partly because it's great to connect with others in the industry and partly because it allows us all to spend time thinking through what really drives our business.

What's your experience? Jim.

Thursday, April 8

2010 DTC Perspectives Conference

I'm in the midst of attending the 2010 DTC Perspectives Conference in Washington DC. I think this is my fourth year counting, if I have the math right. It's a wonderful opportunity to catch up with colleagues, to stay abreast of industry issues, and to make new connections. It never disappoints.

And this year is no exception. Two incredible speakers yesterday offered perspectives we don't often get to hear live and in person.

Howard Dean spoke about healthcare reform. Did you know that he's a doctor? During all the Vermont and New Hampshire hoopla back in the day, I somehow missed that little factoid. He has inserted himself in the middle of the healthcare debate and is quite vocal. Interestingly, most of the attendees are in favor of the reform (we actually did a live poll), so it was enlightening to hear strong (and I mean strong) opinions from the other side.

Also at the podium was Sir Martin Sorrell (CEO of WPP) for a little speech and q&a. He spoke a great deal about marketing around the globe and across channels, particularly digital.

There are a number of other speakers as well, from clients and suppliers and government agencies all shedding light on the industry from their perspective. I am happy to say that I'll be speaking at the next conference, OTC Perspectives in May! :)

The magic comes in the connections made, however. The networking breaks, the cocktail party (thanks to Elizabeth at Greater Than One), and the impromptu chats. Staying connected to the industry and to the people who make it thrive. Gotta love marketing.

Many thanks to Bob Ehrlich and his team at DTC Perspectives!

What's your experience? Jim.

Wednesday, April 7

Kotex Gets Brave

This blog post comes inspired by two good friends: Lyn Falconio, a friend from when I worked at Publicis and Abbey Huret, a friend from my college days at Cornell ... both of whom separately asked me to comment on the new Kotex advertising campaign.

In a word ... BRAVE. It takes guts to make advertising this raw and insightful. Can't believe that we finally have a brand/client that is willing to call it like it is. Say the things that all of us as consumers and marketers have been dying to say for years. How refreshingly wonderful. I'm actually a bit speechless to tell you the truth. It's not that it's that hard, it's just that very few people are willing to take a chance.

For decades, advertising for "feminine hygiene" products (as we called them back in the day) was dreadful, embarrassing, and at times condescending. As a kid, it made you "leave the room mortified", says my friend Abbey. The advertising treated women as robots and their periods as joyous occasions that sadly only happen once a month. Ridiculous.

Kotex trashes those old stereotypes and stomps them into the ground. From a brand that might otherwise be considered pretty old school, I might add.

I can't even quite describe it, you have to see it for yourself.

As my friend Lyn says, major kudos to Kotex for "being edgy and spot on" with how women REALLY feel. Particularly in what many marketers consider to be one of the toughest categories in the world. Trust me I know, I worked on two brands myself back when peat moss was the latest innovation! Ugh.

Certainly not the case anymore with Kotex and their new product U.

What's your experience? Jim.

Tuesday, April 6

Tupperware and Reggie Bush

Like never before, it's important for brands to think hard about choosing a celebrity spokesperson. What seems like a great match can literally explode overnight. If you've been watching any of the celebrity headlines the last few months, then you know exactly what I mean. But in the end, it's all about making sure that there is a sound strategic match between what the brand stands for and how the celebrity presents to the public.

My colleague Jessica DiPietro from Lippe Taylor found a very interesting celebrity-brand pairing that could prove to be quite successful.

What's your experience, Jessica? Jim.

Choosing a brand spokesperson or celebrity partner is one of those strategic decisions that companies spend hours arguing over and discussing. Not only does it come down to budget which can be exorbitant but marketers also need to worry about a celebrity’s morals. But if you hit on the right partnership, the media coverage and buzz can increase ten-fold.

I just recently saw one of the most unlikely partnerships yet!

Tupperware has signed on Football star and Superbowl champ, Reggie Bush to promote their Quick Chef product. In my head I was thinking what does a “guy’s guy” have to do with a brand that is so clearly targeted to women and moms. It brought me back to when Joe Namath did a commercial for Hanes pantyhose which did not get the best of reviews. (note from Jim ... you just dated yourself, Jess!)

But when you dig a little deeper, it’s clear that this out-of-the-box thinking is exactly what could help grow sales of the brand. The premise: Quick Chef is so easy to use that even Reggie Bush can make amazing salsa, dips, etc. In fact, it’s so clever that this campaign could target both men looking to make quick meals as well as women looking for their husbands to be as good in the kitchen as Reggie Bush.

It’s definitely received its fare share of media already which is how I first learned about the campaign – Reggie Bush on Rachael Ray making salsa using the Tupperware Quick Chef. Does it get any better? It made me go right online to learn more about the product and I have to admit that I might even buy one.

Congratulations Tupperware! Reggie Bush is one perfect cook and media hook.

- Jessica DiPietro, EVP at Lippe Taylor Brand Communications

Monday, April 5

iPad Mania

It was a crazy weekend ... not because of the holidays or the great weather or the sports tournaments. It was iPad weekend and everyone was all a flutter. Long lines at retail with all the early adopters. Debates raging on whether the iPad is "worth it". Random strangers stopping each other on the street to get their perspectives. Crazy.

But this is the Apple brand at its core. The new innovative products, the drama of the release, the resulting debates over the functionality, the trading of war stories, and it spins on. All part of a very carefully crafted Apple brand experience.

A brand fueled by the psyche of a rabid consumer base, and those that then follow them. The brand works with their consumers to create pent-up demand and a lively discussion for something that none of us even realized that we need. It then comes into the market with much hoopla and suddenly we all have to have it, and then the next generation of it too.

A proven formula for the iconic brand that has certainly worked before with its desktops, laptops, iPod, and iPhone.

Last week I taught a guest lecture at St. Joseph's University MBA program and we even talked about it there. The students commented on the Apple product life cycle. How the inadequacies of a new Apple release quickly become the next generation product. It's almost expected and a part of the brand experience.

I don't know if I am going to partake in this round merely because I just don't feel like I need another electronic device at the moment. But we'll see, I'm sure that the brand will suck me in. It always does.

What's your experience? Jim.

Friday, April 2

Vitamin Water Nap

At a time when we're overloaded with drinks to get us going and keep us working .... Red Bull, Jolt, Starbucks, Dunkin' Donuts .... comes a new flavor from Vitamin Water to bring us down. Nap!

Loaded with a cranberry sauce essence and enriched with tryptophan, it's like eating Thanksgiving dinner complete with the afternoon nap. The concept is that it lets you unplug and unwind or as the brand says "saps all the energy you have so you can undo your top button and get a little shut-eye."

First it was "Connect" a few months ago which was the new flavor created by Facebook fans, and now this. I was already a fan, now I'm just more in love. Funny, I discovered the new flavor on Facebook!

True innovation from a brand that just keeps on delivering, unlike anyone else in the category.

Interesting to note that when you type in, you are instantly sent to the brand's Facebook fan page, not to their website. Hmmmm .... they certainly must love their 1.3 million fans.

What's your experience? Jim.

Thursday, April 1

St. Joseph's University

I did a guest lecture at St. Joseph's University (Philadelphia) last night, for one of the MBA classes in marketing. A former colleague of mine from J&J, Laura Barry, is the professor and she asked me to join her for a class. I have such fond memories of Laura so of course I jumped at the chance.

It came right on the heels of my first television segment that same morning on the local Philadelphia news. My first opportunity to talk about my book in front of people .... "The Experience Effect" live, if you will. And what a great experience!

Laura was one of the first to read my book, back before it was even published, and she had also given the class chapter five, "Kiss a Few Babies". It's the chapter about really getting to know your consumer by living their life for a day, or two, or three! So the class had already been exposed to the book which made it even more exciting.

What great fun! I told the class that I'm not a professor or a marketing theorist or a statistician ... just a real guy doing real marketing. I wanted the entire class to be interactive with lots of discussion and personal examples.

The class dove right in ... they talked about their own examples of "The Experience Effect" and asked a lot of questions. We talked about the brands we love and the emotional connection we've made with them. Apple, W Hotels, Dunkin Donuts, Applebees. J.Crew, Exxon. Yes, we even talked about Exxon!

Funny thing is that I learned a lot too. It's so wonderful to stay connected to the next generation of marketers, even before they become marketers. Keeps us all fresh, which is a key ingredient to great marketing.

So I'd like to say thanks to those wonderful young men and women for a great experience last night, and for being the first to talk about my new book. Thank You!

What's your experience? Jim.