Friday, August 31

Stella and Her Glass ...



... Actually I've been told it's more of a Chalice than a glass!

As we head into the Labor Day holiday weekend, I am sure that many of us will be raising a glass or two.  Which got me thinking ...

I love when a brand really thinks through every element of its experience.  Right down to how the product is going to be consumed.  So you have to give some props to the beer brand Stella.  How many brands in the category have thought through the glass that should be used when drinking said beer?  Not many that I can think of.  Maybe the Coca-Cola bottle comes to mind in terms of the experience gulping down a beverage.

So here is Stella with its now infamous, ownable, unique glass ... as seen in bar after bar around the country and in every single brand mention whether it's the website, outdoor, television, digital, or print.  The Stella glass is every bit a part of the brand as the beer itself.  We wouldn't dream of drinking a Stella anyway else and we certainly wouldn't dream of putting another beer in a Stella glass.

Bud on the other hand, right out of the bottle.

Brilliant marketing ... right down to the last sip.  What's your experience?  Jim.

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

Thursday, August 30

Olympics Best in Show



I've been waiting for the dust to settle a bit before I did my Olympic round-up. Sometimes it takes the marketing a little while to settle in before we know the true impact. 

So what's my pick for Best in Show at The 2012 Summer Olympics?

Ralph Lauren Uniforms:  Nah, although I do believe in the global economy, the brand lost points for not being made in America.  This is the US Olympic team after all, and we are still in the midst of a tough economy.

Kellogg's:  Speed to market with Gaby on the box was impressive but would have loved to see more marketing around it.  It felt like one and done ... and then gone too soon.

NBC:  Granted, the ratings were up but they lost me in the Meredith-Ann-Savannah shuffle.  And from what I hear, the ratings have slumped right back down post-Olympics.  Good marketing has to have some sustainability to make a "best of" list. 



Beats by Dr Dre:  An honorable mention goes to this pop culture brand.  Those head phones were all the rage!  So if you want to be like Michael Phelps or Tyson Gay, you better don a pair.  It would give this brand best in show, but one other brand beat the band.
Nike:  Ding Ding Ding!  First it was the "Find Your Greatness" campaign that was just so inspiring.  But then those neon shoes were everywhere!  On every foot of every athlete on every podium.  Outstanding. The best part is that the 
momentum kept going after the games to the point where it's become the must have item of the summer.  To think the brand wasn't even an official sponsor ... they were able to rule the Olympics just by sheer marketing expertise.  Marketing of Olympic proportions. I was particularly impressed with the retail display at Dick's when I went to go look for myself.   Integration!


Call me a victim of marketing - what's your experience?  Jim. 

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



Tuesday, August 28

Vegas Stands By Her Man - Prince Harry


This is one of the best examples that I have ever seen of a brand staying true to its voice, its promise ... its experience.

The Las Vegas Tourism Board and their infamous "What Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas" campaign -- yes it's a voice, a promise, and an experience -- and the brand is certainly sticking to its story.

Last week when Prince Harry had the unfortunate experience of being ratted out, the Las Vegas Tourism Board took it seriously as a violation of its brand promise.  Clearly, for Prince Harry, his experience didn't stay in Vegas.

So the brand took out an ad in USAToday to shame the photo sharers into submission and to rally others to stick to the code.  If you are going to stay in Vegas, you need to abide by the rules.  "What Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas."  You can see it here.

Brilliant.  Notice how the brand uses traditional "paid" media to generate a firestorm of activity in social or "earned" media.  And also notice how the brand is capitalizing on the "news" to garner attention.  But in this case, the news is directly tied to their brand's premise and experience.  Makes me wonder how other brands could and should be doing the same.

Now this is not the first time that brand has taken this stance ... here's a tv spot warning people about what happens when you break the code.


I guess Harry's new "friends" are finding out as well.

What I also find interesting in this whole "game" is how the Prince Harry brand is emerging.  Doesn't appear that he's getting much criticism, really.  He's living large, doing his bachelor Prince "I'm the spare" thing.  Now imagine if he were married ..... a totally different brand experience.  Just ask Tiger Woods.

What's your experience?  Jim.

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

Monday, August 27

Back to Penn State

Over the weekend I drove my daughter back to Penn State for her sophomore year.   Any freshman year any year at any college is a roller coaster ride, but I am sure you can imagine what it was like at Penn State last year ... and this the school known for its school spirit. 

WE ARE PENN STATE!



But by the end of the school year, things had seemed to settle down only to be  rekindled over the summer with the final verdict and then the NCAA sanctions. 

Now the true victims here are those children (and their families and friends) who have suffered at the hands of an evil, sick person.   And there is no doubt that there was a whole lot of (let's just call it) "stuff" going on in the executive offices of that campus. 

But we have to acknowledge the impact that this one man (and the others who were involved) has had on the current students, faculty, and alumni of Penn State. I mean this is Penn State, a beloved and infamous brand!

To see the current football players and students have to pay a part of the price just seems awful to me. Not as awful as the real victims, but just some more kind of awful. 

So imagine my sea of emotions as we drive the 3.5 hours to campus. I wasn't quite sure what to expect. How would people seem?  Statues have come down so would the brand be tarnished?

As we approached State College, our first taste was a troup of girls from the track team doing a training run.  Awesome ... and then much to my delight ... a sea of t-shirt-clad students standing ready to help unpack the cars, full of enthusiasm for the new year.  Dorms full of parents and kids alike, hanging posters and unpacking winter sweaters ... all the usual bustle of energy and enthusiasm and pride that comes from starting a new school year and loving your school. I had that all four years at Cornell and I was relieved to see it alive and well at Penn State. It's a fresh start for a stellar brand.


The over whelming sentiment at the school is that there is no way that a band of thieves is going to steal their school. I hear the same thing from my Penn State alumni friends as well. In fact, alumni donations are at an all time high.  Let's face it, the Penn State brand is more than just football.  It's a dynamic community of highly spirited kids, alumni, and faculty all brought together by a little town and a big campus in Happy Valley.


As witnessed by the long lines at the Creamery ... 

The fact is that 1 out every 9 Americans has an immediate family member from Penn State and 1 out of every 4 Pennsylvanians has an immediate family member from Penn State. These folks are making sure that the brand stays alive.

I am proud to be 1. Now just as much as last September.  WE ARE PENN STATE!

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

Friday, August 24

The Brand Dictionary

An agency out of Canada created this fun little ditty for those of in the industry to enjoy (and share!).  It's a dictionary of brand terms ... tons of them all using "brand" in the word.  Hysterical.

Here's an example:

Brandiose:  "A glaringly obvious overestimation of a brand's importance in the world.  Also referred to as 'delusions of brandeur'"

That's how I feel about Starbucks this morning for my morning ritual.  And Nike for my running shoes at the gym.  And Paul Smith for my cool shirt I'm wearing.  And the Acme pen I'm writing with in my Moleskin journal.  Sorry ... I'm using too many brandelions.

What's your experience?  Jim.

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

Thursday, August 23

Jean Paul Gautier Exhibit



I was recently in San Francisco, perfect timing to catch the last few days of the traveling Jean Paul Gautier exhibit.  I admittedly love fashion - it's artwork to me - but to see a museum exhibit of it can feel a bit too much.  But after having seen the Valentino documentary and online museum over and over again, I've started to appreciate fashion as exhibit art more and more.  And Gautier is as much an artist as he is a fashion designer in my book.

I have to say that the man did not disappoint.  Of course years of being a Madonna fan didn't hurt, since they were amazing collaborators together.  Guess I didn't really need "together" there, did I?

The exhibit is moving around the country, so if you get a chance to see it GO GO GO.  It's the epitome of a brand experience, in retrospective, that needs to be enjoyed.  If all you know of Gautier are the headlines he makes (which are pretty bad in some cases), you do need to see his impact on a very creative industry and on our pop culture despite himself ... from the "sidewalk to the catwalk" as he says.

Sponsored by Nordstrom ... good move.

What's your experience?  Jim.

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




Wednesday, August 22

Indus Pride Indian Beer



Every time I teach my class at NYU, I learn something new from the students.  In fact, I learn more from them than they learn from me!

I recently had a student from India who educated us about the beer market in her home country.  Evidently, India is the fastest growing beer market in the world, having been pretty small until just recently.

Where's the growth coming from?  Women!  And flavors!

So as part of her "homework," my student briefly outlined the Indian beer market and highlighted a new brand called Indus Pride, part of the SABMiller portfolio of brands in India that includes global brands Foster's and Peroni.  The company isn't an overnight success by any means, and it's not just dedicated to India.  But it's getting a fair amount of press and recognition for what looks like a successful new product launch that is having pop culture impact.

What I love about this brand is their approach to flavors -- coriander, cardamom, fennel and cinnamon are various flavors that are each infused into the beer.  Pretty innovative.  Makes you want to try them all!  Such an incredible cultural fit ... by not just bringing in American or German beers into India, but by actually reinventing them for local preferences.  Pretty awesome.

What's your experience?  Jim.

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

Tuesday, August 21

David Beckham Underwear




So here I am walking through Union Square in San Francisco over the weekend (on a beautifully sunny day), and I see this LONG line of people waiting in front of a silver statue snapping pictures with their smart phones.  As a long time observer of consumer behavior, I just had to check it out.  Turns out the statue was none other than David Beckham in his tightey-whities from H&M.

If you snap a picture with him and post it to Instagram, you get money off your purchase at H&M.  And if you buy said tightey-whities, you get even more money off your purchase.

What's a boy to do?  Start snapping!

I will say I resisted the temptation, mostly because I've already got my brand of choice shall we say.  But it did get me investigating this little promotion which turns out has been causing quite the stir.  There were 9 of these statuettes placed in markets around the country, all to generate buzz and sales.

I appears to be working if the "worn spot" on the underwear is any indication on this larger than life statue.  Speaking of which, I'm not sure why they didn't make him life size ... that would have made for a far more interesting photo opp, if you ask me.  I'm just sayin'.

What's your experience?  Jim

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

Monday, August 20

Should a Brand Have an Opinion?

I've avoided the recent drama around Chick-fil-A mostly because it's just too personal.  I have my own private views on the topic but that's for me and my friends to discuss.

But it does get me thinking about marketing ... Is it appropriate for a brand to have an opinion, specifically an opinion on a social issue?

I understand a person having an opinion, we all have that right, whether a CEO or an average Joe.  But is it ok for a brand to weigh in on a social issue like gay marriage, abortion, immigration, or really any other topic that we are wrestling with as a culture.

I don't know.  But I've been bringing it up at my recent NYU class and with my teams as we discuss trends in marketing.  A lot of brands are jumping on the issue, positive or negative.  I keep asking myself, looking for an answer ... is that all right?

I don't know.  But I do know that when I strip out the emotion and my own personal opinion, one striking observation comes shining through.  When a brand DOES state an opinion on a social issue, such as marriage equality, then it's really just a form of targeting.  By voicing an opinion, a brand is shaping its brand definition and deciding who its target audience is going to be (and not be).  And probably, in the case of Chick-fil-A, building an even more loyal core consumer base as a result.  It has certainly galvanized Chick-fil-A loyalists, as proven by their recent "appreciation day."  Starbucks weighed in with their own version, much to the thrill of their loyalists who showed love for their favorite brand as it voiced its opinion on the same topic.

On that level, dare I say it (and duck), it's quite brilliant marketing.  I'm not sure it's their intention to do great targeting, but it is certainly one of the results (among others).

What's your experience?  Jim.

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

Friday, August 17

Applebee's After Hours



There's an unusual phenomenon happening in our suburbs lately that I'm finding most interesting.  Applebee's is becoming the hot after hours place for the young, hip crowd.  Applebee's young and hip?  Apparently.

And here we thought the hottest clubs were behind the velvet rope in Manhattan and Vegas!  Wrong, it's right there in America's parking lots.

Of course this isn't happening by happen stance.  It's a conscious promotion from the brand to increase its sales by opening up a new eating and drinking occasion ... late night.  Sort of like what Taco Bell did by creating the 4th meal (a late night snack) awhile back to drum up incremental sales.

Of course with a bar bill attached, we're talking higher out-of-pockets than just burritos with Mountain Dew, which is of course the plan.

It's actually very smart.  After hours is a hot trending topic so associating your brand with a pop culture behavioral movement is a sound strategy ... provided your brand can deliver and is believable.  Apparently Applebee's does and is.

Have you been to one ... what's your experience?  Jim.

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

Thursday, August 16

New CoverGirls

There's a whole lot going on over at CoverGirl.  Seems like there's a new spokesperson every time I turn around, which I am sure is the intention.  Lots of diversity too.

The newest?  Pink!  Pink?  Yup, Pink.  I don't really think of her as a makeup girl, but maybe that's the point.  She'll hit a whole new demo which is smart.  And proving once again that there's no coincidences in marketing, Pink just happens to be releasing her newest album.  Correction, CD.  Correction, recording.

But that's not all.  Social media has been all a twitter over a new CoverGirl commercial being filmed with Sophia Vergara and Ellen.  Sophia and Ellen!  Sophia and Ellen?  Yup, Sophia and Ellen.

Brilliant.  From what I understand their repartee is hysterical, which I can totally imagine.  Sophia is still using her accent as her shtick, which still works for me.

Net net ... the CoverGirl brand does an amazing job of staying fresh and current, and connecting with women of all ages and stages.  Brilliant marketing becoming of a super brand.  Brava!

What's your experience?  Jim.

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