Friday, September 28

Elmo Chooses Apples


It doesn't take a super hero to notice that using popular pop-culture characters as part of a brand experience can certainly help sell products.  Almost every major studio releases of an action adventure film comes complete with an entire roster of brands that co-promote.  We see this in the cereal aisle, as well as in cookies, snacks, candy ... a whole host of food categories and beyond.


So why not fruit?  Fruit!

If such promotions help sell packaged goods, why wouldn't they help sell apples and oranges and bananas?

Some folks at my alma mater, Cornell University, conducted a test to see and you know what ... they found out that Elmo can help sell apples too!  That's right, in a comprehensive study, researchers found that children did in fact choose apples with stickers of Elmo on them over cookies.

Well, it kind of makes sense.  In many cases, the kids are not thinking necessarily about what they feel like eating.  They are merely reacting, with all of their senses, to what they see around them.  They are reacting to a brand experience.  If there's a familiar character that they love attracting their attention, why wouldn't they reach out and want to be a part of it?  In this case, the brand has added value beyond just the product, making it a better choice.

Beyond the obvious, I think the lesson here is that observing and leveraging marketing tactics that work in one category (packaged goods) and applying them to another (fresh fruits and vegetables) is a good thing ... like I always say, "marketing is a spectator sport!"  Or as I've heard many a marketer say, "search and reapply!"

What's your experience?  Jim.

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

Thursday, September 27

Mr. Clean Car Wash

Yesterday I commented on Tide expanding its brand into Dry Cleaning establishments ... such a great example of a brand broadly expanding yet staying true to its essence.  Love it.

Then I come to find out that Mr. Clean has also expanded into Car Washes.  Mr. Clean Car Washes! Now both of these brands are from the Procter & Gamble portfolio of brands so it shouldn't be surprising to see another brand do an equity expansion.

I love this one just as much as the dry cleaners.  It makes total sense for Mr. Clean to do car washes, total sense.  Although admitedly, I may have gone with a home cleaning service personally (can you imagine the liability!).  And once again, we see the Procter & Gamble dedication to adding value to the experience.

I was talking to a colleague about this and she opened my eyes even further.  While on the surface these both feel like smart brand extensions and probably profitable franchise deals, they are also an attempt to bring these great national brands into local communities ... right next to where the brands' consumers are living their lives.  Right into their neighborhoods.  That is brilliant.  Plus, the brands are taking what have been traditional inconsistent brand experiences, and adding the promise of brand value to the whole experience.  In this case the experience of taking your clothes to the dry cleaner or taking your car to get washed.

So what's next?  Pantene hair salons?  Venus hair removal stations?

What's your experience?  Jim.

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

Wednesday, September 26

Tide Dry Cleaners

I love it when you see a brand make a bold, expansive move.  I love it even more when that bold expansive move is still true to the essence of the brand.

So you can imagine my glee when I first read about Tide opening up a dry cleaning business.  Tide opening up dry cleaners!  What a logical move for the brand, yet so bold and daring.  I love it.

Tide Dry Cleaners!

When you dig deeper, you see that the brand's dry cleaning concept clearly addresses many consumer concerns about using existing dry cleaning options, mostly around service.  24/7 accessibility, drop boxes, drive through windows, pick up lockers ... all aimed at making the dry cleaning experience more pleasurable.  In this case, more "Tide," bringing a huge competitive advantage to the market.

I happened to have written all about my own local dry cleaning experience in my current marketing book about small business.  There's a lesson to be learned here in local marketing, that's for sure, which is all about personal customer service.

It all makes sense, since if you notice the brand has been positioning itself as a "fabric care" brand for years now, not just as a laundry detergent.  By doing so, Tide was able to open up possibilities for itself, not just keep it limited to a bottle on a grocery store shelf.  Another lesson to be learned for all of us trying to define our brand ... keep it focused on what you know yet keep it open to further expansion.

Bravo!  BTW, franchises are still available!

What's your experience?  Jim.

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

Tuesday, September 25

Emmy Best in Show

The E! Mani Cam - So Cool!

This past Sunday I hosted another pop culture Twitter chat party during The Emmy Awards.  Our focus was the marketing, but I have to say we did throw a comment or two about the fashions and the celebs too.  It was great fun.  It wasn't our first, we've done these chats for The Oscars, The Grammys, and even The Super Bowl.

After big marketing events like this, I always like to point out the "best in show" of the marketing.  This time is no different.

Best in Show, red carpet?  It became apparently clear to me that E! owns the red carpet.  With the Glam Cam and the Stiletto Cam and the Mani Cam, how could it be anyone else?  ABC tried, but just couldn't pull it off quite like E!.  The red carpet belongs to E!.

Best in Show, fashion?  For me, Sophia Vergara all the way.  No doubt, no one was even a close runner up.

Best in Show, advertising?  It was a simple execution, but I give best advertising to Crate & Barrel.  I'm not sure that I've ever seen the brand advertise, so I was quite surprised.  The best part though, is that the creative was basically just the classic Crate & Barrel typeface played out on screen, and it was instantly recognizable ... the sign of great branding.

Best in Show, product integration?  This goes to Audi, who filmed multiple nominees driving to the awards show in their new model.  Brilliant.

Best in Show, best in show?  Modern Family.  I love Modern Family and to me it's best in show no matter the show.

Were you watching?  What was your Best in Show?  What's your experience?  Jim.

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

Friday, September 21

The Summer of Give Aways


On this the last day of summer, I thought it would be fun to recap the best of the best of the summer in marketing.

There's not doubt that the summer was dominated by The Olympics, which I have more than covered on a series of posts.  But rather than create a laundry list of this summer's activities, I thought I'd point out a theme that emerged ... one that I personally have not seen before.

Full product giveaways.  Not sampling, but giving away full products for free!

My years of skin care marketing taught me that if you can get a consumer hooked on a product by giving them a small sample, then you've got an ROI to beat the bank.  Even all those lessons learned at Johnson & Johnson never taught me to give away full product though.  That's taking the consumer out of the market!  But sure enough, we saw a lot of it.  Here's only the pieces I know:

Trojan.  People in NYC lined up for blocks to get the brand's new vibrator.  Full size for free ... created quite the buzz (sorry, had to do it).

Ben & Jerry's.  The mobile ice cream truck made many a stop at office buildings around the country to give out ice cream for mid-day snack breaks.   Huge Twitter rage.

Lipton Iced Tea.  As a full fledged member of Klout, I received a bunch of single serve packets of the new flavor in the mail.  But not just one or two, a full dozen of them.  All the same flavor (a big miss there if you ask me).  Complete with an advertising campaign featuring Lady Antebellum.

Centrum Vitamins.  The brand's new line made its way to my doorstop with not one full size bottle but TWO!  What's the ROI on that?!?  Although I have to say that everyone in town was talking about it.

I guess Summer 2012 was the summer of give aways.  Couldn't tell you if any of them delivered any results, but I have to imagine that it's a sign of needing to up the ante in order to continue to compete for consumer attention. What's next ... cases of soda?

What's your experience?  Jim.

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

PS - Join us for all the marketing chatter during this year's Emmy Awards on Sunday night, 9/23, at 6:30EST at #EmmyExp.

Thursday, September 20

Abercrombie & Fitch


When it comes to marketing, can good fortune last forever?

I've long been a big fan of Abercrombie & Fitch, and at one time a consumer as well.  I wrote about it quite a bit in my first book, mostly because I think it's a great example of effective targeting.  Actually a great example of a perfect intersection of demographic and psychographic targeting.

The brand very overtly targets a "fit collegiate lifestyle," hence the lack of clothing on the young adult models.  For years it worked, whether you were actually fit or in college, you wanted to fit into those clothes.  I have a closet full of 'em to be honest.  But then when I hit a certain (ahem) age, the brand didn't work for me anymore ... or should I say that peer pressure made me walk away from the brand because I was way too out of the collegiate lifestyle range.  That's ok, I accepted it and moved on.  The "urban legend" was that no one over 35 is allowed to wear Abercrombie & Fitch.

Definitive targeting can be quite effective.  Your consumers relate to you and can become quite loyal.  What this can mean though is that new consumers are constantly cycling in and cycling out.  So you have to make sure that as a brand you are really keeping up with the changing flow.  Abercrombie & Fitch is one example, but there are many brands that face this challenge.  Johnson's Baby Products comes to mind as it has a new crop of new moms every year to try to attract.

Abercrombie & Fitch didn't keep up, or so it seems.  The newest generation of "fit collegiate lifestyle" folks aren't embracing the brand.  They don't relate to the shirtless models or the high prices.  And they are rejecting the overt branding and big logos, which many perceive as "free advertising" for the brand.  As a result, the once red-hot brand is declining, rapidly.

What's the lesson here?  It's not that you shouldn't be as specific as possible with your targeting, and it's not about being wrong with a combined demographic/psychographic profile.  It's about the need to constantly evolve with changing attitudes and behaviors, especially when you have an audience in constant flux.  Even if you've got a good gig going, it won't last for ever so you better be ready to evolve.

Indeed.  What's your experience?  Jim.

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

PS - Join us Sunday, 9/23/12 at 6:30EST for #EmmyExp - live tweets about the marketing during The Emmy Awards!

Wednesday, September 19

What is Hollywood?


I've noticed an interesting little debate that has been occurring over the past few weeks ... What exactly is Hollywood?

It was sparked by Kim Kardashian's application to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  You do have to pay for it, but it's an extensive application process and not everyone gets admitted.  Sure enough, Kim got rejected under the premise that the Hollywood Walk of Fame does not accept reality television stars.  Television stars, yes, but not reality television stars.

Interesting.

I tend to agree, especially when you think about the people that are on the strip.  Putting a reality tv star next to Marilyn Monroe, Meryl Streep, or Michael Douglas is probably not a fair comparison.  But it was very interesting to see the organization draw a line in the sand by not accepting Kim, perhaps the biggest of all reality tv stars.  Surely there's money to be made here, but instead the organization stuck to their principles; stuck to their brand.

As the lines blurr, that's something that gets harder and harder to do.  Kim has been modeling, so I guess that doesn't count.  She's certainly an entrepreneurial brand unto herself, but that doesn't count either.  If she starts making movie appearances, then maybe they will great her a star?  Evidently, yes.  Because part of the organization's response was that they would be happy to review her application again when she gets a real acting job.  Hmmmm.

I'm all for staying on brand.  I think the Hollywood Walk of Fame certainly did stayed to theirs.  It must hurt, though, when Kermit the Frog and Lassie have one, no?!?

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

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

PS - Will Kim receive an Emmy this Sunday night?  We'll sure be tweeting about it at #EmmyExp, Sunday night 9/23 at 6:30EST.  Join us!

Tuesday, September 18

#EmmyExp



It's time for #EmmyExp - a little Twitter party I will host during The Emmy Awards on September 23rd!

Those of you who have joined my Twitter parties before know that we have a blast!  We participate in major pop culture events and comment on the marketing ... and well some other stuff too.

So coming up Sunday are the Emmy Awards ... a perfect event for us to start commenting.  There is sure to be a lot of marketing and a lot of dishing so please join in on the live tweeting.

I am so psyched to announce that I will have a co-host this time around ... Helayne Spivak, the new Director at the Brand Center of VCU (Virginia Commonwealth University).  Helayne is a whip ... a true creative with a mind for brands.  She's run some of the largest advertising creative departments on the planet and now she is bringing her branding and creative expertise to the next generation.  Now I know we will have a good time!

We will start at 6:30pm EST on Sunday 9/23/12 so that we can jump in on the red carpet action on E!, and then flip over to the telecast.  Jimmy Kimmel is the host, so that should bring a whole new layer to it all.

The hashtag on Twitter will be #EmmyExp.  We'll hang in for as long as we are having fun.

@JimJosephExp
@HRSpivak

Just so you know, social engagement during these kinds of events on the rise.  We are not the only ones!  Here's a recap of the top 5 "social moments" as ranked recently by AdWeek so far for 2012:
- Grammy Awards
- BET Awards
- Opening Ceremony of the Olympics
- Academy Awards
- MTV Video Music Awards

Will the Emmys top the list?  Join us at #EmmyExp.

See you Sunday night at 6:30EST where Helayne and I will ask you, "What's your experience?"  Jim.

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

Monday, September 17

Katie



Seems like ever since Oprah hit her stride, we've been looking for the next Oprah.  So obviously when she left her slot in daytime television, the quest for the next Oprah heated up.  Truth be told, it will never happen.  There will never be another Oprah, so we need to stop trying.  Some have made the attempt, but that brand will never be replaced IMHO.

So when Katie Couric announced her new daytime show, I thought to myself "here we go again" ...   the search for the next Oprah.  Much to my amazement, though, the comparison hasn't really been made and hence the expectations have not been set.

Know what happened?  Katie is a smash.  Not because she's trying to be brand Oprah, but because she already is brand Katie.  We lost her for a little while when she personally went off her brand and got too serious on the CBS Evening News.  That wasn't brand Katie, and she lost her audience.  We like a little serious from Katie, but we like all the rest of her too.  Her new show, Katie, brings back the brand much to our delight, and her audience has followed right along.

It's not like she pulled out the HUGE celebrities to kick off her show.  Sure, there were some there but for the most part it was just Katie being Katie with her Katie clan ... the Katie were grew to love and admire and want more of.  Now we can get her ... in daytime television.

Have you seen the show?  What's your experience?  Jim.

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

PS - Join us Sunday night, 9/23, for live tweets about the marketing during The Emmy Awards at 6:30EST at #EmmyExp ... tweet you there!

Friday, September 14

The Hunger Games


I finally got a chance to see the Hunger Games.  With all the hype around the DVD release, how could I not ... especially since I felt left out of all the buzz when the movie made it's future release.  And in fact I distinctly remember getting grief from my friends for not going to the theater since they all thought it was going to be the next big movie "brand".


As I hit the "on demand" button, I felt a sinking feeling of being disappointed.  Generally when you see a movie with this much attention after the fact, it's very anti-climatic.  Boy was I wrong.

I loved it.  Loved it.  The movie was so well written, so well designed, so well filmed ... it was a piece of art.   I loved it.

The best part?  I couldn't get over the parallels to reality television today, especially for some reason American Idol.  I just found the primping and the prodding and the rivalries and the drama so similar to American Idol.  The movie was such a great satirical story on the state of our current reality television.

Is it the next big movie "brand?"  Given the anticipation for the next installment, it just might be.  I have not seen a lot of spin off merchandise yet, but I imagine that is coming.

Did you see it?  What's your experience?  Jim.

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