Wednesday, June 29

My View on Competition

While I consider myself to be very competitive, I view competition in a very different way.

You can read what I mean in my Entrepreneur article, by clicking here.

What's your take? What's your experience? JIM

I Changed to Sprint

I don't typically like when brands get super competitive and trash their main competitors in their marketing. There's certainly a time and a place to compare product features and benefits, but in the main forms of marketing communications I generally prefer when a brands talks about itself or its customers rather than its competition.

It's hard to build a brand when you're talking about another one. I'd rather hear Coke talk about Coke, for example, rather than about Pepsi.

But I do get a chuckle every once in awhile when a brand takes a hyper-competitive stance that's really clever.

Like the recent campaign from Sprint.

Sprint has cleverly hired the former Verizon "character" from the infamous "Can you hear me now?" campaign. This particular character and that iconic line was all over the place when Verizon was first establishing its leadership as the biggest network. He was on television, in print, on the internet, all throughout collateral materials, and in retail. And the iconic tagline went deep into pop culture. SNL even.

And now Sprint, in a very bold move, as taken him on to prove the point that all the networks are basically the same now. They all have about the same reach and coverage, within 1% or so he says. When you go onto the Sprint website, while this character is no where near as dominant, there certainly is a big incentive to make that switch...a free iPhone.

And now he's also in store, in Sprint stores, telling shoppers "why pay double the cost for 1%." Clever.

It'll be interesting to see if Verizon responds, because generally these kinds of competitive attacks only last as long as the competitor is quiet or until the competitor tries to one-up the messaging.

We shall see. It's just bad as the cola wars.

What's your experience?  JIM

Tuesday, June 28

Pride 2016: A Branded Sampling

Brands big and small, and companies local and global showed their support for #PrideMonth this weekend in New York, and the support never felt so good. The endless rainbow flags brought great comfort to us all. As I roamed the city for the festivities, I captured a few of the images that brought me joy, and Huffington Post published my photo essay. Click here to give it a look-see.

What's your experience? JIM

PS - Only a few days left for the special Pride promotion of "Out and About Dad." Signed copy for $19.99.  Click here to check it out.

Sunday, June 26

The Brands of Pride 2016

It was the summer of 2003, and I took a chance.

I was running my own advertising and promotion 
agency and my biggest client was Tylenol.
This particular client was very progressive
and aggressive, so I knew I could be bold
and suggest that we advertise Tylenol PM to the
gay market…and that we should support 
June Pride Month by sponsoring
New York’s Gay Pride.

“Targeting a brand new market that’s never been tapped 
would generate incremental sales,” was my argument to him.

He agreed and I jumped head first into developing 
advertising and promotion for the very first OTC 
product to ever support the gay community.

The work was incredibly rewarding both personally 
and professionally. I was letting go of my fear of being 
out at work, and I was helping my clients legitimately 
grow their business.

Couldn’t get much better than that!

Of course as a result, I was professionally “outed” 
by the trade press, when they signaled the 
importance of the campaign and its “first ever.” 
First ever for me too.

While it would be no big deal today, it was a 
really big deal back in the day.

I was afraid that I’d lose clients. I had two young 
children that I was raising, so I had a right to be 
afraid. Although I was scared, I knew that it was 
the right thing to do. It was inevitable, to tell you 
the truth, so I might as well be proactive and 
take the bull by the horns.

So I’m sure you can imagine the sheer joy I feel 
when I see so many brands today supporting 
gay inclusion, marriage equality, and equal 
rights for all.

Sheer joy is the only way I can describe how 
I felt when I just recently saw Colgate’s first 
ever gay-inclusive commercial in Mexico. 
A first for the brand and for the country.

Sheer pride is how I feel when I see how Target 
is supporting LGBT rights, perhaps at its own 
expense. They even have a “Pride Store” 
within their stores.

Sheer laughter is what I do when I see the new pride-full 
sneakers from Converse.


And sheer “Cheers!” is what I do when I see 
Budweiser’s extension of their Campaign 
campaign featuring same-sex marriage.

I walked by TD Bank and saw that they too are 
supporting Pride Month. Chase too. I saw a 
social post from the employees of Bloomingdale’s 
honoring #Orlando. And at the airport I was 
greeted with “Happy Pride” as I boarded my flight.

These brands are only a sampling of the brands 
that are joining the celebration of Gay Pride this 
month, thank you Mr. President. And now he’s 
made #Stonewall a National Monument. 
Never thought I’d see the day.

I truly literally never thought I’d see the day…the day 
when we aren’t afraid to say who we are for fear of 
losing our jobs or putting our families at risk.

Now I realize that we have a long way to go, and 
we’ve recently taken a few steps backwards, but 
Pride Month is all about moving forward, and 
celebrating that which makes us special.

So I offer a hearty “thanks” to all those brands 
that help make that happen and continue to 
support us all.

With a special shout-out to my alma mater, 
Johnson & Johnson, for showcasing gay 
dads in their latest work for the brand Johnson’s 
Baby Products. Makes me feel like I’ve 
come full circle.

Happy Pride! For us all!

What's your experience? JIM

PS - Special #Pride promotion direct from the 

publisher of "Out and About Dad." 
Signed copy for $19.99!