Tuesday, January 31

SuperBowl Live Tweets

It's the most wonderful time of the year!  The SuperBowl ... the marketers' holiday!

Last year proved to be quite entertaining, at least in my book.  We had VW "The Force," and CarMax "Talking Cars," and Chrysler "Imported From Detroit."  Although not every ad resonated, there were a bunch of hidden gems.

And just like last year, social media has been gearing up the action with sneak peeks and foreshadowing, with the critiques already funneling in.  Me, I like to wait and see it all live during the game, the way that advertising was intended and the way that consumers see it.  Then I'll go back and review them all on YouTube after.  So you won't see a lot of previews coming from me.

Although I do love this teaser from Volkswagon, hoping to gather steam from last year's breakout.

What will I be doing during the big game?  Live tweeting!

Last year my friend Mike Brown from Brainzooming invited me to participate in his Twitter party and it was a blast.  Well this year we are joining forces to co-curate #SBExp ... continuing the momentum of last year's #OscarExp and #OprahExp.  Plus we had a blast a few weeks ago at #GlobesExp we just had to keep it going.

So join us at 6:30EST on Sunday, February 5th.  Get your fingers in shape because it moves fast.  Check out these exercises!

To get us in the spirit, here's another sneak peek (no more spoilers after this, I promise!).  It was released on YouTube yesterday for the new David Beckham underwear line at H&M.

BTW, I'll be on TheStreet.com Monday morning for the play by play - of the advertising!

What's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
President of Lippe Taylor
Author of The Experience Effect
Professor at NYU

PS - My new book, The Experience Effect for Small Business, is now available!  Check it out and share it with friends, especially entrepreneurs with their own small business!  Appreciate it!

Monday, January 30

The Marketing Month of January

Well 2012 certainly kicked off with quite a busy month of marketing.  Holy cow!  I have not seen this much marketing drama in one month ever.  Let's break it down.

The Weight Loss Wars:  We always start out every new year with a barrage of weight loss messaging.  This year was no different with Jennifer Hudson and Weight Watchers winning the war in my book.

A Mouse in Mountain Dew:  When a consumer announced that he found a mouse in his can of soda, the brand had a head scratching response.

Madonna Truth or Dare - Golden Globes:  The ultimate music marketer makes an attempt to stay relevant.  Tell the truth ... is it working?  She did prove, once again, that timing is everything.

#ILoveWalgreens:  The brand discovered that you can't buy love ... online.

Brand Paula Deen:  The cheeseburger heard round the world.  Her brand took (and continues to take) a lot of heat for her well-timed health announcement.  Days after her announcement, a consumer took this picture ....

Paula Deen, days after her Diabetes announcement
Bald Barbie:  This girl has been making social media headlines for years, but nothing like the debate that raged on about making a Bald Barbie.

#McDStories:  What a different two hours makes!  We all learned "be careful what you ask for!"

Blonde at Starbucks:  Is blonde a strength, a color, or a mood?  Starbucks flooded its stores to let us know.

JCP EDLP:  In one of the boldest moves in retail, JCP reinvents its business model, starting February 1st.  Should make for an interesting month ahead.

What a month!  Get ready for the marketers' holiday coming February 5th!  I'll be tweeting live at #SBExp ... hope you can join me as we talk about all the advertising (and maybe a little bit about the game).  Here's a little something something to get us in the mood ...

What's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
President of Lippe Taylor
Author of The Experience Effect
Professor at NYU

Friday, January 27

Honda's Leap Lists

I love a new insight.  It's rare these days in our over saturated market place, but I love when a brand uncovers a new insight.

Honda uncovers a very interesting new insight in their new television campaign called "Leap Lists."  The notion is that when you go through major milestones in your life, or big "leaps" in your life, then there's a lot of things that you need to get done.

Like when you're having a baby.  There's a lot to do, so you need a "Leap List."  You've got to buy this and that, and get ready with this and that.  Or when you get a big promotion at work, you have to buy new clothes, get a new hair cut, polish up your shoes, etc.  Or before you get married, you want to visit the Grand Canyon, that kind of thing. :)

When you advance to the next level in your life, there are things you have to do to get there.  Leap Lists.

It's a great insight, and a great way to serve up a promotional engagement with consumers.  As Honda says on their CR-V Facebook page: "We all have a few things to do before leaping into life's next big chapter.  Put them on your Leap List, and learn how the new 2012 CR-V can help you get to every one of them."  On this Facebook page, you literally enter your "leap" and what you need to do, and presumably Honda will help you.

Very clever, but I have to say ... I'm not sure I understand the connection to the brand.  In the advertising, the brand shows how its car can help you get around to all the items on your "Leap List."  But that's a stretch if you ask me.  Not sure I get it.  But I do love the insight.

What's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
President of Lippe Taylor
Author of The Experience Effect series
Professor at NYU

Thursday, January 26


My very first job ever in the world was at the JCPenney catalog department.  I was 16 years old and never been kissed.  Over time, I moved upstairs to the Men's Department where I would spend hours folding sweaters.  In Syracuse, NY the local JCPenney was all the bomb.  I made lifelong friends there and cherish those memories.

So I always kind of keep track of what JCP is doing through the years.  It's an amazing brand that has had its ups and downs, but with incredible longevity.

Yesterday's move though, has to be the brand's most dramatic and I also believe the brand's smartest.  It started out with a huge launch party, teaser television advertising campaign, website count-down clock, and a social media assault on Facebook and Twitter.

JCP is ending it's co-dependence on sales - big dramatic sales - and instituting an "everyday low price" strategy instead.  As low as possible prices, same price all year round.  And following on their success of their Sephora boutiques, JCP is also adding more store-within-the-store boutiques from the likes of Nanette Lepore and Martha Stewart.

I would have skipped the Martha Stewart part, personally, and the subsequent lawsuit with Macy's, but that's not the point I'm making.  I think this is brilliant.  Although expert sentiment was mixed, social media and fashion industry sentiment seemed to be loving it.

A price you can count on.  Quality that you've known for years.  Revamped style and product offerings.  As a consumer and shopper, what's not to like?  And complete transparency that the journey will begin on February 1st, as the brand rolls through the store, department by department, and restyles.

Oh and BTW, at a time when we all hate logo changes, I like the new logo! :)  Double Oh ... between now and February 1st the stores are having crazy crazy sales for the last time.

Brilliant.  makes me long for the good ole' days!

What's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
President of Lippe Taylor
Author of The Experience Effect series
Professor at NYU

Wednesday, January 25

Be Careful What You Ask For

I always say that marketing is a spectator sport ... we can learn a lot from each other.  This is particularly true in social media, where consumer behavior and brand activation is still uncharted territory in many ways.

Just recently I wrote about how Walgreens learned that it can't buy love on Twitter with a promoted trending topic like #ilovewalgreens.

Well yesterday, McDonald's learned a similar lesson with #McDStories - the brand created a hashtag to tell stories about the quality of its food, and asked for stories back from its consumers as well.  McDonald's started the stream, and then opened it up.  Well ... what happened over the next two hours of warp speed tweeting is incredible.

The stories quickly turned snarky with tweeters posting comments about how bad their experiences have been at McDonald's.  Not exactly what the brand was hoping for.  Even some tweets back and forth with PETA.  McDonald's was looking for a love fest, and got something far short of that.  The brand quickly shut it down.  It made national news ... McOuch.

There have been similar instances with the airline Qantas, the band Nickelback, and Kraft Mac & Cheese.  Instances where the brand was hoping to open up a positive dialogue with its Twitter followers and instead got a lot of criticism.  Criticism about bad customer service, cheesy music, and poor product quality.  Things inherent to the brands that perhaps they were not prepared to defend.

Nickelback responded by responding to every single tweet - often with a snarky comment in return.  Worked for them and their "brand," but wouldn't work for a conservative brand like Kraft.

The lesson learned here?

Despite everything we say in the conference room, we can't "own" the conversation.  We can put it out there, but consumers decide which direction it takes.  If a brand wants to open up, which it should, then a brand needs to be prepared for what comes back.  And continue to dialogue in their own brand spirit.

No brand is squeaky clean when it comes to business.  Every brand is a work in progress ... so be prepared for all the skeletons to be pointed out.  Which is ok, if the brand owns up to it and discusses it openly as well.  Transparency and honesty is key in social media.

If you're not ready to really and truly dialogue with your consumers, like Nickelback, then wait until you are ready.

What's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
President of Lippe Taylor
Author of The Experience Effect
Professor at NYU

Tuesday, January 24

Starbucks Blonde

In case you hadn't noticed, Starbucks introduced a new coffee blend in their stores ... Starbucks Blonde.  It's a "lighter" version of their infamous coffee, presumably to address consumers who feel that most Starbucks coffee is too strong.

I stepped into my local hot spot to get my usual Skinny Vanilla Latte, and I was hit not only with multiple displays popping from every corner, but also "wet"sampling from one of the baristas well as free take-home samples.  It was a full frontal assault.  It makes sense, because I think it's addressing one of the brand's weak points -- the regular coffee blows your socks off!

But I have to say that I immediately had what is probably a weird perception of Starbucks Blonde the minute I heard about it and saw the "light" packaging.  I assumed that the coffee would be light colored ... well, blonde.  It's not though, it looks like any other coffee sitting in a mug.  I guess that's the case, coffee is coffee, but with a name like Blonde I just assumed it would have a much lighter color.  I'm sure it can't, but that was my assumption from the name.  I guess it would look like there was already cream in it otherwise.

Maybe they should have called it "light" instead?  No, then people would probably assume that it's lower in caffeine.  What a conundrum!  Honestly, because it didn't match my expectations, I have no desire to even try it.  And then it doesn't really match the naming hierarchy for the rest of the products that then go from Medium to Dark.  How does Blonde as a name fit into that?

I do like the name though, it's catchy.  Although with multiple options within each variety, on several occasions now I have witnessed people trying to figure it all out with great dismay and a whole lot of attention from the baristas.  Oh boy.

I'm sure it's a good move on the brand's part.  I just thought it was interesting how certain words bring up certain expectations about a product.  I also thought it was interesting to see how the company has pretty much completely rolled out its new logo now, almost one year to the date.

What do you think about new Starbucks Blonde?  What's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
President of Lippe Taylor
Author of The Experience Effect series
Professor at NYU

Sunday, January 22

Twitter - The New Book Tour

I had the pleasure of being a guest host for two different Twitter chats last week:  #prstudchat and #prwebchat.  They were both a lot of fun -- we discussed the different elements of a compelling brand experience.  I have to say that these Twitter chats run fast and furious as the tweets come piling in one on top of the other. The one with students was especially fast. I was on my toes ... fingers and toes, actually.

You can read my guest post about #prstudchat here!

As I prepare for the launch of my second book on January 31, I got to thinking ... are Twitter chats the new book tour?  Do these one hour sessions take the place of sitting at a Barnes & Noble table, with Sharpie in hand?

They certainly make a lot more sense.  It's a captive, engaged audience, there to talk with you.  No standing in line, no random awkwardness.  Just a group of like-minded people looking to learn and share.  Doesn't matter one bit if they buy a book. Marketing is a spectator sport and we can learn a lot from each other.  I certainly did.

What's your experience? Jim.

Jim Joseph
President of Lippe Taylor
Author of The Experience Effext"
Professor at NYU

Thursday, January 19

Bald Barbie

It's been a busy few years for our dear brand Barbie.

In 2009, Barbie celebrated her 50th birthday, right along with a whole bunch of baby boomers. 50!

In 2010, Barbie got a new career as voted by her public on social media.  It was a write-in vote, actually, because so many people wanted her to be a  Computer Engineer.  Sign of the times.

In 2011, also as voted by her public, Barbie got back together with Ken.  It was quite the social media sensation.  On Valentine's Day, no less.

So I guess it's not too much of a stretch for there to be a movement to have a Bald Barbie, right?  Whhhaaatttt?

I think that was the innocence of the sentiment in the beginning anyway.  But it's now turned into a career-defining, brand-bashing, charity-churning nightmare for many.  And I can't believe I am entering the fray.  But there is a lot of branding driving a lot of the facts and emotions, so here I go.

It all started out with a petition to have Mattel make a Bald Barbie, to show little kids who are suffering from diseases that it's actually ok to be bald.  At least that is what I think was the sentiment.  And at first blush, it seems fine.  This is about kids after all, so if a toy will help them deal with the trauma in their lives, then that's ok by me.

The problem is that all of us adults got involved.  And all sorts of brand perceptions got tangled into the discussion.  I'm also not sure that Mattel responded in the most 2012 social-media-savvy kind of way.  They pretty much turned their backs to it ... but a can of worms was opened and it became a feeding frenzy of article after pov after debate.

Enter argument #1:  why should kids be getting self esteem from a toy?

Argument #2:  Barbie, for 50 years, has been perpetuating body image issues for girls so who is she to take this on?

#3:  This seems like it's all about cancer, what's next?  Down's Syndrome?

#4:  Shouldn't all that money and effort go into research to cure the disease, not make and buy toys?

#5:  Aren't the proceeds from all those "charity" projects super inefficient, with very little going to actually do anything?  Enter another brand issue and another debate about how to help a cause.

And on and on.   All of them valid arguments, I am sure.  I am not going to debate any of those points because I don't know enough about any one of them.  But here's what I think ...

I don't think anyone who started this intended to be arguing any of those points.  Now maybe they should have thought it through first, but I don't think that's where it started.  And I don't think they had any idea of the powerful emotions around some of these brands that ended up in the arguments.  Like Barbie and Susan G. Komen.

I think it started out as something innocent.  Something that a group of parents were trying to do to make their kids feel better.  Could a toy possibly do that?  Maybe, I'm a parent and I'd be willing to do almost anything.

I also think that we are burned out on "pink" (and all brands pink) and that we so are skeptical of anything that smacks of being inauthentic or bureaucratic or sneaky ... that we turn off.  So we all jumped on this issue in reaction to brand perceptions that became a part of the texture of the debate.  Not saying that any of that is wrong, just trying to break it all down and understand it.

But these are kids and these are parents trying to do anything for their kids.  Is there something wrong with them asking for a big, iconic brand to help them out?  Mattel doesn't have to do it, and it doesn't have to pick a cause ... but isn't ok just to ask?  Was it that bad of an idea that it couldn't even be put forth as an option?

It's amazing to me how brand perceptions drive almost instanteous reactions ... I guess that's the power of branding and the power of social media in communicating a brand's behavior.

What's your experience?  Jim

Jim Joseph
President of Lippe Taylor
Author of The Experience Effect
Professor at NYU

Wednesday, January 18

Brand Paula Deen

It was the diagnosis heard round the world, after days-weeks-months of speculation.  And for some, years of -- duh!

Paula Deen officially announced yesterday that she has Type II Diabetes.  She also simultaneously announced a partnership with a diabetes drug to help educate Americans on how to live with diabetes and how to live more healthy in general.  Oh -- and a mention about how her son has already been promoting more healthy recipes as his own brand of "chef."

This coming from the often criticized Queen of Butter.  As I've been following this story the last few days, particularly in social media, it's amazing to see the range of reactions.

Sure, some feel badly for her.  Not many from what I can tell.  Although I am sure that there are many many fans that are pumping through letters of support to her.  I'm not sure that Al Roker from The Today Show is one of them by the tone of his interview yesterday.

Most people were not shocked, given her eating habits and her recipes.  I mean -- a burger with bacon and an egg between two Krispy Kreme donuts?  Wow!  Many said that with that lifestyle, she should have known it was coming.  She's had more than her fair share of criticism from nutritionists, other chefs,  you name it.

Many, though, were down right mad.  The way she announced it seemed oh so contrived and planned.  Not at all authentic, something that is becoming a requirement for a brand to survive these days.  Once we knew that she knew for years now (some say since 2008), and yet kept up those tv shows ... anger set in.

For me, from a marketing perspective .... sad.  Sad to see the person behind a brand not well.  Sad to see how she manipulated her lifestyle and her fan base to orchestrate the next move of her brand.  Sad to see that basically her health is for sale (as one of my friends on Twitter so adeptly commented).  I think that's crossing the line, and I think that's why we are seeing the range of reactions.

I am not in her target market, and I am not a fan personally.  But as a marketer, I hope that it all turns out ok.  I hope she stays well.  And I hope, in the end, that she is able to help her fan base turn their lives around too.  They could use the help, and she does have the power.  She's just going to have to do that in a much more transparent and honest way for her "brand" to continue successfully.

You can read a little more about the saga here.  Stay well.

What's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
President of Lippe Taylor
Author of The Experience Effect
Professor at NYU