Wednesday, August 31

Moves Like Jagger

I'm obsessed with a song I just put on my playlist:  "Moves Like Jagger" by Maroon 5 featuring Christina Aguilera.  I've got it playing right now while writing this post!  The beat, the vocals, the lyrics all come together for one heck of a pop song.  And I love that it springs from a collaboration out of the television show "The Voice" (just love integrated marketing!).

The mention of Mick Jagger got me thinking.  When he's used in the song, you instantly know what the lyricist meant.  Instant imagery pops into your mind.  "I've got the moves like Jagger".  In marketing we call that "borrowed interest" or leveraging one brand's equity to enhance another ... using another brand's positioning to make a point.  Classic joint marketing in a way.  Brings Jagger and his brand back to life while selling downloads.

Maroon 5 and Christina Aguilera aren't the first to do this.  I asked around the agency and we came up with quite a few examples.  Remember Kim Carne's "Bette Davis Eyes" or Simon & Garfunkel with "Joe DiMaggio"?  Miley Cyrus had a huge cross over hit with "Party in the USA" where she leverages Britney Spears and Jay-Z.  Pink also made a statement about fame and being compared to Britney Spears in "Don't Let Me Get Me." A classic, for me anyway, is Madonna's "Vogue" where she uses vintage Hollywood stars to create a dance craze. Of course "American Pie" named all sorts of celebrities without naming names.

Clearly not all brands are happy about being mentioned.  Lindsey Lohan is suing Pitbull right now for using her name in the song "Give Me Everything."  Guess she didn't like how her brand was being represented.

I find it all so interesting ... the use of "brands" in pop music to help convey a message and sell a record.  Not to mention all the mentions of Cadillac through the years, that's a whole other post!

Any others ... what's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
President of Lippe Taylor
Author of The Experience Effect

Tuesday, August 30

Hint Water

The search for the ultimate beverage may be over for some of us.  I know I am supposed to be drinking more water, but the taste is just so bland to me.  Can't really get enough of it down.  But I also know that I need to get artificial sweeteners out of my life and I really need to cut down on caffeine.  The problem is that a lot of those flavored waters actually have a lot of calories.

Enter Hint Water.  Just pure water accented with a natural flavor.  No sugar, no artificial sweetener, no calories.  No caffeine either.  Just water with a little flavor ... actually a full range of flavors.  As the tagline says, "Drink Water, Not Sugar."

But the water category is not a passive one, so the brand took a page out of vitamin and coconut water marketing by using influencers to get their message out.  Lots of Hollywood parties with pictures and videos of celebrities trying the product.  Even celebrity investors to show steak behind all the sizzle.  Classic influencer marketing to show trend setters passing along the latest and greatest.  Guess we can add "the water wars" to our list of over-the-top competitive categories!

Know how I found out about it?  On the side of a truck as it was making a delivery to my local deli.    That's why I always say that it's about multiple touchpoints working consistently to spread the word. All this influencer marketing and I first see it on a delivery truck!  Perhaps you are just finding out about it here as well?!

Have you tried Hint ... what's your experience?


Jim Joseph
President of Lippe Taylor
Author of The Experience Effect

Monday, August 29

The Marketing of a Hurricane

I am not one of those people who gets upset when storms are not as bad as predicted.  Having lived through three floods in two years on the Delaware River, I have no problem when a storm wimps out.  Plus just because you didn't get it bad, doesn't mean that everyone else is safe.  There were a lot of people badly affected by that storm, by nearly every storm.

But I do find it interesting to watch the "marketing machine" kick in when there's an impending storm.

And I'm not just talking about the media.  Sure, the media needs content and there's nothing richer than a looming storm and nothing more engaging than watching a reporter stand out in really windy rain (have to admit that I'm a bit over that ... Anderson Cooper did it once to great fanfare and it's never been the same since).

I'm talking about the hoarding and the stocking and the local business marketing.  It's fascinating.

Some of it's good like the Hurricane Party at the local watering hole down the street that was offering Hurricane drink and other appetizer specials.  Or the Be Our Guest promotions that I wrote about the other day.

Some of it's not so good though, like the price of chicken at my supermarket that went from $1.99 a pound to $5.99 a pound over night.  Hmmm.  Or my local gas station that only had premium gas to offer which was priced $.50 higher than the day before.  Or the fact that there wasn't a battery in sight for miles.  That's a part of the marketing machine that I'm not too crazy about.

I have to admit that I succumbed to the marketing myself.  I did.  I watched the news programs, ran out and got gas, stocked up on the staples, and did all the things that the marketing machine told me to do.  But I did try to keep it in check.  Was I happy when I didn't have to use any of them .... relieved!

Sending best wishes to those affected by the storm, big or small.

What's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
President of Lippe Taylor
Author of The Experience Effect

Friday, August 26

$5.90 Cocktails

With Hurricane Irene about to hit our area, I am quickly reminded of another force of nature that struck this week:  the 5.9 earthquake in NYC (and all along the Eastern seaboard).  Seems like a distant memory now, but it did cause quite the stir at the time ... and fueled a flurry of social media activity all day/night long.  "Where were you?"  "Did you feel it?"  "You're a bunch of wimps!" (from people on the West coast)

Me?  I didn't feel a thing and I was sitting right next to a colleague in our conference room who felt it all.  Guess it takes a lot more than 5.9 to rock my world!

For me, the best part of the experience was the instantaneous marketing, and for me Be Our Guest nailed it the best and the quickest.  Be Our Guest owns a number of great restaurants here in NYC (and in other parts of the country as well).  I swear that within minutes (or so it felt), the restaurants announced that they were all serving cocktails for $5.90.  Great timing or what?  So many people were evacuated from their buildings that they needed someplace to go!  So simple, so clean, so quick.  Great marketing.

Today, the company is announcing Hurricane specials too.  $10 cocktails all day Friday and Saturday.  And if your name is Irene, the first one is free!  Love the power of social media and spontaneous marketing ... if you can pull it off at the point of sale.

Me?  I took mine shaken not stirred.

What's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
President of Lippe Taylor
Author of The Experience Effect

Thursday, August 25

Rental Car Rivalry

As a marketer, I love watching rival brands slug it out in the marketplace.  It sets the stage for great creativity and innovation.  Here on of my colleagues at the agency observes rivalry in the rental car business, and gets a little entertainment from it.  What's your experience, Jessica? 
I think every New Yorker can relate to taking the subway and being forced to look at a variety of advertisements – foot pain, infertility, bed bugs, online colleges, malpractice lawyers – the list is endless. Tired, boring ads that we’re forced to read as captives on the train.

Similarly, almost every New Yorker can also relate to the burden of needing a car in certain situations – going bulk shopping at Costco, purchasing furniture or over sized items, and going on a new season shopping spree.

I never much thought about the connection between the two until Zip Car started bombarding the subways with relatable, smart ads targeting the city dweller. Every subway trip I found myself looking for new Zip Car ads to make me laugh and say, “That is so true. New Yorkers do need a car in that situation.” 

Then, this morning, a new group of car rental ads popped up but this time from Hertz for their new program Hertz On Demand. The campaign promotes no fees and hourly rates. It clearly takes a competitive stand against Zip Car. Hertz took the Zip Car ideas and advertising campaign and flipped it to work for them. It is a great example of looking at who’s rising in the marketplace and creating a proactive defense.

I wonder who will jump on the bandwagon next – Avis, National, Enterprise? Sometimes it takes the little guys to inspire the big guys. Way to go Zip Car. My subway ride has become so much more enjoyable and I’m sure that sales for rentals at Zip Car and Hertz have spiked too.

Move over cola wars, it’s time for rental car wars!  From Jessica DiPietro at Lippe Taylor 

Wednesday, August 24

Kim Kardashian Wedding

This past weekend there was another big wedding that captured a lot of media attention.  It wasn't the Royal Wedding, but the Kim Kardashian Wedding, self-billed as the American Royal Wedding.  Notice I said "self billed!"

I am not going to take anything away from Kim or her mom or her family -- they know what they are doing.  Whether you are a fan or not, you have to admit that they are quite the entertainment brand.  Reality entertainment, but an entertainment brand none the less.

The event was filled with all the necessary branding and entertainment elements:
- a big "stage" (did you see all white draping?!)
- all the sisters (dressed in "Pippa" white)
- a theme (everyone was in black & white)
- celebrity attendance (complete with Ryan Seacrest!!)
- lots of media coverage (every magazine, every news channel, every entertainment show)
- of course not one but three dresses (with commentary from Vera Wang) -- this is the part where Kim especially channeled Kate Middleton as a fashion icon

Good for her -- she has created an incredible brand that led to this incredible moment for her and her family (and her franchise).  Now all of this will be immortalized on an E! Entertainment Special in the Fall.  All of it recorded for rabid, and not so rabid, fans.

Many predict that she has peaked.  Not me, and I'm really not a fan just a marketer.  I have a not so strange feeling that we are now going to be following her journey into newlywed-ness and motherhood, complete with brand sponsorships.  Stay tuned.  She is a brand on a mission.

What's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
President of Lippe Taylor
Author of The Experience Effect

Tuesday, August 23

Burger King Without The King

He's been an "in and out icon" for the brand since 1955, but last week Burger King put their King on hiatus.  The brand didn't retire him or fire him, just put him on hiatus.  Why?  He wasn't doing his job ... sales are down significantly.

This is a pretty interesting marketing story, actually.  Evidently the target market for Burger King is young men, particularly teens.  Well those guys have been one of the groups hardest hit by the economy and they've cut back their Burger King fixes and the brand is suffering as a result.  They are not getting jobs like they used to and the current installment of the King just isn't motivating them to spend what little money they do have.  Also, the current King has been identified as being a bit "creepy."  I have to agree.

So what's a brand to do?  Target moms!  Burger King is now actively going after moms with messaging about freshness. Not sure how motivating that is either, it's nothing new.  At least the Baconator (Wendy's) sounds interesting.  Although Wendy's isn't doing very well either.

Maybe their time is just passed?  Burger King used to the #2, and a close #2, to McDonald's, and Wendy's was right up there as well.  Now Subway and Starbucks have blown them away, and Chick-fil-A grabs a lot of attention too.  Are the fast food wars just too much for Burger King?

Not sure ... but I have a feeling we'll see the King again ... the paper crowns are still available in store!

What's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
President of Lippe Taylor
Author of The Experience Effect

Monday, August 22

Mixed Emotions

I hear the phrase all the time:  "I have mixed emotions."  "It is with mixed emotions ..."  I've even used it myself.  But yesterday, at age 48, I finally understood the real meaning.  I brought my daughter to college yesterday, and I have mixed emotions!

On the one hand, I am thrilled.  She is entering the most exciting years of her life and I am so excited for the experience she is beginning.  On the other hand, I want to keep her right by my side or at least hide on campus so that I can watch her and make sure she's ok.  And then there are all the college memories of my own that have now come back to life and very raw.  I have mixed emotions.

Overall I am happy.  And at least technology allows me to get text messages from her and see pics she posts on Facebook.  She's already having the time of her life.

Oh ... the best part.  She turned 18 yesterday too.  Her first full day alone at college on her 18th birthday.  The irony of that is not wasted on me at all.  A new "brand" 18 years in the making got launched yesterday.  I couldn't be more proud, and I guess that is the prevailing emotion.

What's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
President of Lippe Taylor
Author of The Experience Effect

Friday, August 19

The Reality of Reality TV

The news this week of the "real housewives" husband's suicide really threw me for a spin, I have to say.  I am a big "fan" of the franchise, I watch the shows religiously and participate actively in conversations about it.  The mega-dose of reality this week has me re-thinking my behavior.

Sure, I knew there was drama, no doubt about that -- these shows are in fact the new soap opera.  But I didn't realize the real pressure that these kinds of shows put on these folks, for our entertainment.  Yes indeed, the "cast" signs up for it, no doubt, and the issues are all there before the cameras show up.  And at this point, anyone on those shows should know what they are signing up for.

It's not the show's fault, nor is it our fault for watching ... but I'm not sure I want to see people unravel on tv.  It's not my brand.  When the shows first started, there was a lot of fun to them.  It was great to see different folks live their lives and go to parties and do their things.  But it's turning into a pressure-cooker and way too much anxiety.

It's not my brand to just sit and watch that.  And I'm not sure what brands would want to support it any longer either.  Is that why Abercrombie & Fitch is offering the cast of The Jersey Shore to NOT wear their clothes?  That may be another story unto itself, and more of a publicity stunt, but it is a statement of one brand not wanting to be defined or represented by another.  Will that happen with these housewives?

I'm not definitive on it yet, but it sure has me thinking.  Especially when I think of three kids who no longer have their dad.  Not sure I want to participate anymore.

What's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
President of Lippe Taylor
Author of The Experience Effect

Thursday, August 18

Transmitting, Browsing, Searching, Connecting

I can't take any credit for this little analogy, but I sadly can't remember where I first heard it so I can't credit anyone else either. :(  I am going to add my own dimension to it, though, which I hope you can relate to.  Nothing complicated, but it is something that I thought is quite insightful.

As we think about the evolution of the digital revolution, the space has changed dramatically since it's humble beginnings back in 80's.  When I first started working (ok, I'm going to date myself), there was no voice mail or email.  I was at the Carnation Company in Boston and we had just gotten .... wait a minute ... a fax machine.  In my mind, that was the beginning of the digital world.  Maybe others don't see it that way, but that's when my digital journey began.

Then came voice mail, which was an innovation that meant we could step away from our desks and people could still communicate with us ... it was a wow.  Email came along and although at first we were all a little afraid of the load time, it changed forever how we pass along information.  The back end of the  80's was the decade of transmitting.

Websites kicked in the 90's and we all found ourselves browsing and surfing the internet.  The 90's was the decade of browsing.

In the 00's, we discovered searching and Google inspired us to put a search button on everything, and that too changed our lives once again.  The 00's was the decade of searching.

And while we still find ourselves searching a lot, something even more meaningful happened in the 10's --- we began engaging.  Finding each other and connecting and sharing and chatting on multiple social media outlets.  The 10's is the decade of connecting.

And once again our lives have changed.  I have friends from every aspect of my life that I communicate with on a daily basis and I have friends now that I have never met in person, and really don't know at all, that I am communicating on a daily basis.  It's amazing how connected we all are.

Even more amazing is the digital evolution from transmitting, to browsing, to searching, to connecting.  And how much value it has added to our lives at each point.

Things that make you go hmm ... what's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
President of Lippe Taylor
Author of The Experience Effect

Wednesday, August 17

Old El Paso

For me, the best examples of great marketing are often the simplest.  That's why I was so impressed when I saw the new flat-bottomed taco shells from Old El Paso.

When my kids were much younger, we would often have "taco night," and we literally had to put sheets on the floor around the table to catch all the droppings.  Because no matter what we did, no matter what we did, the tacos would fall over once we made them.  What a mess!

Such an obvious solution to an age-old problem ... give the shells a flat bottom so that they stand up!  Call 'em "Stand 'N Stuff" -- best captured in this new advertising campaign.

So obvious, so simple, so brilliant.  I love it because it will totally separate Old El Paso from every other taco shell brand, at least until the other brands copy it.  Which if you read my recent blog post about Skechers, you know that makes me crazy!

The corresponding commercial is part of a entire campaign where Old El Paso does the obvious, which  makes everyone so so happy.  Makes me love the brand.  I just wish the website was as clever as the advertising ... not much of an Experience Effect there.  But I'm still impressed with the concept!

What's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
President of Lippe Taylor
Author of The Experience Effect

Tuesday, August 16

Ritmo Mundo

It really is a lot of fun to watch all of the promotions on Facebook, and to see how brands are connecting with their "fans" like never before possible.  As I always say, "Marketing is a spectator sport," and Facebook is like a football stadium!

It's even more fun, though, when someone close to you engages deep and comes out a winner.  So I thought today I would highlight Facebook engagement from a fan's perspective.  From my sister's perspective and her "like" of Ritmo Mundo watches.

Every month, the Ritmo Mundo watch brand collects stories from their consumers about the love of their watches, and awards a watch to what they consider to be the best story.  It's a hoot to see what people write, and it's always amazing to hear how consumers have incorporated a brand they love into their lives.

This month, my sister won a watch with this great story from "back in the day!"  She got enough people to notice, "like", and comment on her story and next thing you know she won the watch this month.  Even more amazing, for me though, is to watch the thrill and excitement that comes from a consumer (this time my sister) after winning something like this.  Ritmo Mundo has a consumer for life now, as well as huge admirers from all of my sisters friends and family.  Isn't that what social marketing is all about?

It was great fun to watch marketing in action, from the other side!

What's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
President of Lippe Taylor
Author of The Experience Effect

Monday, August 15

Bob's from Skechers

I was sitting at home yesterday watching a little bit of television when a commercial came on that made my jaw drop.  Bob's by Skechers.  This new line of shoes isn't new, it actually caused a little fury last Fall when it first came out but I haven't personally seen it since.

The concept behind Bob's?  For every pair of Bob's shoes you buy, a pair also goes to a child in need.  HOLD THE PHONE .... sounds awfully familiar to me. Ever heard of the innovative brand called Tom's?  That brand was doing this exact same thing first.  Giving back is the core of the Tom's brand.

So what's going on?  I'm not a fan when brands copy each other.  Even wrote about it recently in a blog post about Apple stores in China and there's been some reports about the same thing happening with IKEA.  But is it different when it comes to charity?

There's often not a lot that a brand can do about it, but as a marketer I do find it frustrating.  We work and work to create a unique positioning and offering for our consumers, only to have someone come along and copy it at a fraction of the effort.  Just doesn't seem right to me.

Now I never want to trash a brand for giving back, and it's very admirable what Skechers is doing.  And at least this time around the brand does say that it's "joining" organizations like Tom's to give back.  Credit is due there.  But I just wish that they had decided to do something unique to the world and unique to the brand.  Tom's made their brand all about their cause, and in fact now they have just introduced sunglasses under the same premise.

What do you think?  Was this ok?  What's your experience?  Jim

Jim Joseph
President of Lippe Taylor
Author of The Experience Effect

Thursday, August 11

The State of the Luxury Market

It's been a rough week for Americans ... I don't even know where to begin.  The economy has us all in such a spin, we don't know which way is up.  One of my colleagues at the agency found an interesting article that deserves some attention, particularly in light of this week's events.

What's your experience, Micole?  Jim.

The market’s 600-point plunge on Monday got me thinking about a recent piece by Stephanie Clifford in the New York Times about the rebound of the luxury market.

Since the media has been touting the supposed market recovery over the past year, the uber-affluent have finally felt safe to splurge again.  Whereas they may have kept their distance from obvious signs of excess such as designer labels, new cars, etc. in the past few years, the upbeat media take on the state of the economy has provided the affluent with a new lease on luxury living and spending.  Now that the pendulum has swung right back to crash mode, how will the market respond?  And how will luxury brands market their products in these unpredictable times?
Frugality has become downright chic.  Just think about it – Michelle Obama, whose every sartorial decision is chronicled lovingly on New York Mag’s The Cut Michelle Obama Look Book (LOVE!), has championed the high-low look and has managed to escape any criticism of going to excess.  Kate Middleton and royal sis Pippa recycle their ready-to-wear looks to nodding approval worldwide.  If these ladies can’t go all-out posh, who can?  (Victoria Beckham and Rachel Zoe are aberrant – they just don’t count!)

It seems though, that when a brand or product is tied to a message of values or charitable program, the ban is lifted and a purchase can be justified.  Have you seen Angelina Jolie lounging on a river boat in Cambodia with her Louis Vuitton?  Admired Bono and wife Ali Hewson with their Vuittons in Africa where they’ve raised millions with their Product Red campaign?  Purchased any number of cosmetics or clothing with proceeds benefiting cancer research/treatment? 

To my mind this approach allows a luxury brand to promote creativity and continue producing the very best while doing good for the world.  You just can’t argue with the quality charitable programs initiated by upscale brands that have made a difference in the lives of many people worldwide. 

Did I hear that the purchase of that fall bag I’ve been eyeing benefits families in need?  When my wallet allows, I’m buying!

- Micole Cohen Richter from Lippe Taylor

Jim Joseph
President of Lippe Taylor
Author of The Experience Effect