Wednesday, May 30

White Space


This is a follow up blog post to yesterday's "review" of the advertising reality show The Pitch.  Although I'm a big fan of the industry (obviously), I've not been a huge fan of the show (sorry).

But I was definitely impressed by a real life advertising campaign that ran the other night from one of the participating agencies.  A bit of a surprise and a great example of an agency taking advantage of their moment in the sun ... and tackling an industry wide issue as a true leader.

The spot is from Muse, a multi-cultural agency located in California, and it tackles the notion that our industry doesn't have the diversity of talent, shall we say, that we could have.  It's a little harsh, but it makes the point very clearly ... something that is apparently very near and dear to the agency's heart.  Something that all great advertising should do/be.  Bravo!

What's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
President, Cohn & Wolfe North America
Author, The Experience Effect series
Professor, NYU

Tuesday, May 29

The Pitch

I finally sat down and watched an episode of The Pitch over the weekend.  I've been hearing about it for months and been getting reactions from people over the last few weeks ... so I've been anxious to see an episode.

I should say upfront that I had very low expectations - I just can't imagine that watching agencies develop client presentations could be compelling television.  I do it every day and love it to death, but how could it possibly make for a tv show?  But my friend Paul Capelli from The Ad Store is one of the featured agencies, so I was also curious to see him in action as well.

As much as it was fun to see my friend Paul, I have to say that I'm not a big fan of the show and quite honestly I didn't expect to be.  I'm not sure that seeing the inner workings of agency life is especially interesting and my hunch was right that the show wouldn't be a hit for me.

Now I am actually a big fan of reality television - the Real Housewives franchise, the singing shows, cooking competitions - all of them are fabulous in my book.  But The Pitch just doesn't quite do it for me (sorry!).  I guess I'm too close to it and it feels just a little too real, I don't know, but I just didn't find it very entertaining.  The drama wasn't dramatic enough and the ending not satisfying enough.

I also have to say that I'm kind of bummed that my friend Paul didn't "win" because his "Trash Can" campaign for Waste Management was brilliant.

So for me, the show doesn't work ... but I'd love to hear what you all think.  What's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
President, Cohn & Wolfe North America
Author, The Experience Effect series
Professor, NYU

Friday, May 25

The Facebook (IPO) Effect



The whole Facebook IPO "thing" has felt like a roller coaster.  Not so much because of the stock price, but because it's reminding me of the horrible economic fallout from a few years ago ... and all of those ups and downs ... and I'm not alone in feeling this way.

The week before the IPO was pure hype, hoodie and all.  The fact that the opening day price had to be supposedly "propped up" is a bit scary.  The fact that the price fell shortly thereafter and even Mark Zuckerberg supposedly sold some stock is even scarier.  But the feeling that it's yet another example of the "insider" nature of these activities is the most scary.  Most people just don't like that feeling.

I've waited to write about about the IPO because I wanted to see people's reactions first.  Not so much on the story itself, but on Facebook as a brand.  Facebook is tricky because it's not the typical brand or company that goes public.  What exactly are we buying?  What are the brand assets?  The track record in the digital space is not necessarily great when you look over the years, and it's hard to pin down exactly what the brand assets are.

So when activity like this happens, it can seriously damage brand equity.  I hear many people now questioning the validity and long term viability of Facebook (as a brand anyway), which shouldn't really happen with an IPO.  Many are thinking that something new may come along and wipe out Facebook's benefit, and hence the brand.

They may be right.  The only way to avoid that is to constantly improve and add value to your customers' lives.  The Facebook IPO did not leave most people feeling that way.

So is the IPO a reflection on the brand equity of Facebook, or is the Facebook brand equity been affected by the IPO?  My bet is that it's a little bit of both.

What's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
President, Cohn & Wolfe North America
Author, The Experience Effect series
Professor, NYU

BTW - I had the pleasure of meeting and hearing the author of The Facebook Effect, and I'm staring at his book right now.  Good read, and a fascinating story.

Thursday, May 24

Oh No She Didn't ...



... Oh Yes She Did!  Lisa Rinna struts (literally struts) Depend Silhouette in a new television campaign, smashing the imagery that "these" products are just for old people!  And by the way, this is not your old school Depend product anymore.

Now I've worked in this category myself, many years ago.  But I'm betting that the emotional drivers have not changed.  Embarrassment, feelings of inadequacy, loss of femininity ... the gamut of emotions that come from what feels like old age setting in and a loss of control.  While there are much worse conditions to contend with, it doesn't make incontinence any less hard to deal with.  Physically and emotionally.



So what better way than to put it right out there ... in a red dress on the red carpet.  Brilliant and a jaw dropper for sure.  It almost made me stand up and cheer, which is what I hope women who face this issue are doing as a result.  Now the brand also put in some functional benefits, but clearly it's the emotional side that communicates so clearly.  The sign of a good brand experience.

Net net:  incontinence does not stop you from looking and feeling fabulous.

What's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
President, Cohn & Wolfe North America
Author, The Experience Effect series
Professor, NYU

Wednesday, May 23

Middle Age



I have to be honest and say that most anti-smoking advertising doesn't work for me.  I just believe that scare tactics typically don't work, and if you haven't quit smoking by now then a 30 second spot on television trying to scare you isn't going to be motivating.

And then I saw the most recent executions which I have titled "Middle Age."  In this new campaign, a husband talks about losing his wife at a young age, not at all realizing that when he first met her she was in her middle age.  She was 46 when she died.  Wow.

I have to say that this is hitting home.  I've had a number of colleagues either go through major health issues, some leading to their passing.  We've also seen a number of celebrities pass along recently, many of them at a very early "middle age."  Seeing the passing of Donna Summer last week hit me hard in this way as well.  I grew up with her!  She was "middle age" at 32!  It makes me question when I hit my "middle age."  Have I hit that already?  How will we ever know?

I guess that's the point of the campaign, right?  Which is why I guess the campaign is so compelling.

What do you think?  What's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
President, Cohn & Wolfe North America
Author, The Experience Effect series
Professor, NYU

Tuesday, May 22

SunDrop


SunDrop ... This is a brand that just hit my radar during the 2012 Billboard Music Awards, but as I did some research found out that it's been around since 1949 and has recently been showing some aggressive marketing activity as it rolls out nationwide for a second life ... as part of the Dr. Pepper Snapple group.

The marketing is aggressive.  Broadcast advertising, brand integration during the awards show, a tie-in with ESPN, viral videos, and a social media campaign with Facebook where "fans" can collect points towards merchandise ... ala Pepsi points from about 15 years ago.

Seems like everything old is new again, particularly in the soft drink category.

Do we have another contender in the battle between Coke and Pepsi ... or better yet do we have another non-cola player along with Dr. Pepper and 7-Up?

Not sure if there's space in the category and certainly Coca-Cola is doing a bang-up job with its portfolio.  In fact Diet Coke just beat out Pepsi as the number two "brand" for the first time ever.  Pepsi has long been the oh-so-close number two and just got bumped off its pedestal.

There is one thing very interesting to note about SunDrop.  While the marketing is certainly aggressive, the attitude and language is even more so.  The videos portray a certain "swagger" shall we say ... ala Snapple from about 15 years ago ... consistently portrayed in the advertising, the website and promotional elements ... and they apparently the brand is catching on like wildfire.  Social media has the "f bomb" littered all over the place.  Meant, I suppose, to identify a target psychographic willing to switch over from its favorite brand.

Now I've long been a believer that brand personality and attitude can differentiate.  Just look at Kenneth Cole.  Apparently the makers of SunDrop think so too.

Will SunDrop make it in this century after years of being under the radar?  Not sure.  But I will say that the creative executions are incredibly consistent from element to element, something I give props for in my book.  A clearly well thought out "experience effect", with a clearly defined personality to boot.  It'll be interesting to measure its success.

What's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
President, Cohn & Wolfe North America
Author, The Experience Effect series
Professor, NYU