Friday, March 31

P&G #WeSeeEqual

File this under fabulous.

Just in time for International Women's Day this year, P&G released this powerful film to remind us that gender, age, sexual orientation, economic status, skill name it...don't really matter. Because no matter what, we are all equal. #WeSeeEqual.

Bravo! We should all see equal. Perfect timing, not just for International Women's Day.

Here's the film:

Sure, loaded with subtle (or not so subtle) references to the P&G product offering, but honestly there's nothing wrong with that. The brands are promoting a message of unity, equality, and hope.

Honestly, the product support makes the message stronger and more relevant to our day to day lives.

What's your experience? JIM

Thursday, March 30

How To Survive as a Brick & Mortar Retailer

Retailing has had a paradigm shift...and brick and mortar outlets are suffering as a result.

What's a retailer to do? Check out my article at Entrepreneur. comClick here to give it a read. 

What's your experience? JIM.

Wednesday, March 29

One.Org World's Longest Video

Launched on International Women's Day, is looking to create the world's longest video to promote education for women around the world. Because education can fight poverty.

130million girls didn't go to school today, because they didn't have the chance.

Every girl counts!

Here's the scoop:

Click here to read a little bit more. 

Eventually, the user-generated video (hopefully the world's longest) will be used to convince world leaders to make education a priority.

Join the count!

What's your experience? JIM.

Tuesday, March 28

United Airlines and the Banned Leggings

One simple little tweet from an observer set off a fire storm of social media. The problem is that the tweet didn't contain all of the facts...a problem du jour with our news cycles and social media commentary.

In this case, the observer watched two young girls turned away at the gate from a United Airlines flight because they were wearing leggings. So she tweeted about it. United responded pretty quickly.

But neither party at first acknowledged that the girls and their family were flying for free, as part of an employee benefit program. And that said program comes with a dress code to maintain the image of the United brand and its employees. But that part of the story didn't come out in the beginning.

So social media took over.

Now we can argue that the policy makes no sense. But there is a policy in place, as part of the brand guidelines for United. And the employee(s) were simply following policy. And we know for a fact that airline employees are scrutinized for their behavior and adherence to policy.

The problem is that United Airlines didn't get in front of the controversy fast enough to explain the policy, outdated or not.

So social media took over.

There's a lesson to be learned here, well written in this article on Entrepreneur, where I too am quoted. Click here.

United has since gone on to explain itself, although hasn't spoken about revising the dress code to my knowledge. And that's their choice as a brand. But Delta did have something to say:

In the era of social media where anyone's observations can be quickly picked up to become news and a crisis, it's vitally important for brands to not only monitor what's being said but to then proactively communicate with transparency and honesty to avoid damaging their own reputation.

A lesson learned for us all.

What's your experience? JIM

Monday, March 27

Capital One and The Brackets

It's March Madness, and it's mad this year! I was at an airport yesterday and everyone was crowded near the bars to watch the big screens. And there were big screams happening up and down the runway, I can tell you that!

It's made for an interesting season for The Bracket Challenge "presented" by Capital One. The Brackets are big every year, and this year was a big one for the Sponsor. March Madness isn't the only sports gaming sponsorship by Capital One...they've also done Bowl Mania for all of the college football bowls among others.

It's smart engagement beyond a simple advertising sponsorship...Capital One is getting in the game right along with the fans who are banking on their picks winning. All for the bragging rights, as they say.

But the brand is doing more than just The Brackets this year with a campaign series during the games that is picking up all the buzz. Capital One is THE brand of March Madness with "This Is March Madness" featuring some familiar friends.

With multiple executions:

In some pretty funny moments:

This last one even has a blooper reel:

Fabulous engagement and a fabulous brand voice during a very engaging time of year! Best in class at play here!

Well done, Cap One!

What's your experience? JIM

Thursday, March 23

Carrefour Italy - Baby Night

If you're going to really connect with your consumers, then you have to show them that you get them and that you get how they live their lives. And show them that you are there to help them in their points of pain.

Which is exactly what Carrefour in Italy did when they started "Baby Night."

Recognizing (and sympathizing) that new parents are often up all night with newborn babies, Carrefour launched a website that's only open from 1:00am - 5:00am. It specifically offers discounts on key baby items, and the discounts get deeper as the night goes on. The later you are up with your baby then the more you save.

Take a look at this video:

So smart; I wish I had thought of it myself! Not to mention that it's probably nearly impossible for these new parents to venture out of the house to go shopping at all.

Truly showing that this brand understands parents' lives, and is committed to somehow making it all easier.


What's your experience?  JIM

Wednesday, March 22

Can't Be Everything to Everybody

You simply can't be everything to everybody, not in marketing anyway.

See what I mean in my article for Entrepreneur.

Click here to give it a read.

What's your experience?  JIM

Ben & Jerry's Goes Non-Dairy

If you're a Ben & Jerry's fan like me, it's hard to imagine a non-dairy version.  How could the brand not be about "real" ice cream? They basically invented this super premium category, at least in my
book, so how could they stray in any way?

But here we are with a non-dairy version, made with Almond Milk! 100% vegan! Given the roots of the brand and its founders, then that part makes total sense. I'm getting there.

It's everything but the cow, as they say.

I'll let these two influencers weigh in too:

Convinced? Give it a try? What's your experience? JIM

Tuesday, March 21

Branded Easter

It's almost spring and it's almost Easter, so you know what that means...Easter marketing. Every year there's plenty of it, but this year we seem to be getting more new products than ever before, at least to my naked eye.

Like these delicious little nuggets from M&M's...M&M's Eggs:

Or this crazy-good collaboration with an Easter classic....Oreo Peeps:

Or this double take from Russell Stover chocolate and Jif peanut butter...break it, dip it, enjoy it:

I mean, does it get any better?

What's your experience? JIM

Sunday, March 19

What's Happening to Retail?!?

Every day we hear about more retail stores closing their doors?

What's going on? I tried to tackle the issue at Entrepreneur. Click here to give it a read.

What's your experience? JIM

Friday, March 17

Canada Goose Goes Public

For the past several winters, there's been one prevailing logo on the streets, and this winter was no different...and with the massive snow storm hitting the east coast this week, the timing couldn't have been better.

Canada Goose. As in the winter coats from, well, Canada. With, well, goose down.

It certainly seems like a repeated overnight success, like the recent Hunter Boots hit from a few years ago when it was the "it" winter ingredient.

The Canada Goose company went public this week with much fanfare, following a string of successful seasons sparked by celebrity seeding, including the cover of Sports Illustrated. After just a day, the stock price rose 25%, marking the second biggest IPO of the year.

Investors were thrilled, I'm sure. Although not all of them. PETA also wants partial ownership, so that it can voice its concerns over the coyote fur used in the hoods and the goose feathers used in the lining.

Will we see more of this brand? Probably. Will it expand its product line like others before it? Likely. Will it have some issues to manage along the way? Definitely, as most successful brands do.

It'll be fascinating to watch how the brand markets its way along the way.

What's your experience? JIM

Thursday, March 16

McDonald's Goes French

In what is apparently a concept test, McDonald's recently opened a French-inspired restaurant in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood.

The decor is definitely more upscale with a concierge, bar seating, and self-order kiosks although you can still order the standard burger and fries.

But it also includes a new menu of croissants, chocolatines, and other pastries with different fillings.

Evidently part of an overall mission to be a "modern and progressive" burger company according to the brand spokesperson.

What's next? Italian?

What's your experience? JIM

Wednesday, March 15

Pass the Heinz

Don Draper, ala Mad Men, finally got his campaign sold...evidently nearly fifty years in the making.

If you are familiar with the now classic Mad Men television show, you may remember when the lead creative director presented what seemed to be a breakthrough campaign for his client Heinz ketchup.

But the problem is that there was no ketchup in the advertising. What say what?!?

Where's the Heinz? Pass the Heinz.

Bold and daring move, but the campaign never saw the light of day. Seems the clients weren't comfortable not showing any ketchup, or at least the ketchup bottle.

But that was Don's point. It's missing the ketchup, and therefore consumers will miss Heinz.


Mixing fiction with reality with a whole lot of nostalgia, Heinz just recently released that campaign...sans ketchup and all. Making Don Draper and a whole lot of his fellow advertising lovers very happy.

Aside from being really simple and creative, it's really smart. As Don predicted, the photography makes you literally miss the ketchup, or in this case miss the Heinz.

Bravo, no matter how many years in the making. Pass the Heinz. 

Now I need to see the social media extensions!

What's your experience? JIM

Tuesday, March 14

Nike Pro Hijab for Muslim Women

This is by no means a political statement, just good business. Quite the contrary, it's simply consistent branding despite the current political landscape.

Albeit taking advantage of very good timing in our culture. Which is also good marketing and good business.

Nike recently launched a line of athletic clothing for Muslim woman, showing such great respect for the culture and for the art of athleticism.

Check it all out:

Great example of a global brand meeting the needs of all its various consumers, but all with the same united message of staying fit and performing at our individual best. In tune with our culture.


What's your experience? JIM

Thursday, March 9

Try Something New in Marketing

I'm dedicating this post to my 10th grade English teacher.

See why by reading my article on

Click here to give it a read.

What's your experience? JIM

The Amazing New Dolls at Toy Fair 2017

New York City recently hosted the annual Toy Fair, where toy manufacturers introduce their new items for the upcoming season. Some people would argue that it's become somewhat standard fare after all these years, and some people would say that much of the real debuts happen outside of the show.

I'm not one of those people.

As a long time lover of the Toy Fair and a current business resident of the old Toy Building in Manhattan (our Cohn & Wolfe Global HQ), I always look forward to what will come out of the Toy Fair...partly because I truly believe that new toys are a reflection of what's happening in our popular culture.

So I pay attention.

That is certainly true this year, and we had a pretty big discussion about it in my marketing class at NYU. We even coined it the Toy Fair Year of the Doll.

But not just any 'ole doll.

Programmable Dolls. Hologram Barbie is one example of highly interactive dolls coming our way. Some are linked to apps while others are motion and/or voice activated. Either way, the kids are in control now.

For Boys. The Toy Fair broke gender barriers this year with several options for boys. American Girl launched its first boy ever in its lineup but they weren't the only brand to send a strong message about gender-based toy biases. Launched via KickStarter, Boy Story made its debut, making all the girls take notice.

Transgender. The world amazingly saw its first transgender doll this year, to much acclaim. Literally brought a smile to my face, partly because it was modeled after pioneer Jazz Jennings who was also a spokesperson for my alma mater Clean & Clear.

These are all new toys coming out this season that are certainly reflecting what's happening in our lives and in pop culture. Reflecting? Or perhaps inspiring?!?

Definitely helping to shape new attitudes and I couldn't be more inspired by them all.

What's your experience? JIM

Wednesday, March 8

Nike "Just Do It" - China

I recently ran across this piece of film from Nike in China. It's their version of "Just Do It," and it reflects a shift in attitudes of millennials in that culture. I kinda like the shift TBH.

It's sorta like: What ever you do, you do it for yourself...not for any other reason.

Very fresh.

Well done and very inspiring. And not to mention fun to watch.

What's your experience? JIM.

Monday, March 6

China - Making Diamonds Out of Smog

This campaign has so many good things going on...I don't know even where to start.

Environmentalism. Safety. Artisty. Architecture. Fashion. Commerce. Funding. And I'm sure some Politics.

And then there's Smog.

It's no secret that China has a smog issue. A legendary artist was commissioned to do something about it by creating a piece of architecture that sucks in the smog and pumps out diamonds. Well, not real diamonds but fashion diamonds nonetheless.

Yes, you read that correctly.

Then the diamonds are sold to fund the installation of more smog-sucking structures.

Yes, you read that correctly.

See here for yourself:

At the end of the day, so simple...yet with so many dimensions. From the World Economic Forum and artist Daan Roosegaard.

What's your experience? JIM

Saturday, March 4

Walls All Around Us in Marketing

There are a whole bunch of brands who are joining the conversation du jour about "walls." In marketing, we are currently being surrounded by walls, pun intended.

While some find the notion that brands are entering a political fray a bit frustrating, I think it's perfectly acceptable for a brand to make a social statement. In fact, many consumers say they want to know how a brand sits on any given issue. They are making brand choices based on it. I don't have a problem with that, personally and professionally.

One of the most discussed brands of late is little known 84 Lumber who launched this Super Bowl spot:

But 84 Lumber wasn't the first brand...Tecate beer from Mexico took on the issue awhile ago, with a plea to use its product to help bring the walls down:

Corona is another Mexico beer brand who brought in a universal message about walls earlier this year as well:

And now the latest brand to jump in the game is Diesel, with perhaps the most creative spot, or at least colorfully creative, with what is in my opinion the best featured use of its products:

Diesel has perhaps the most integrated campaign of the lot as well with an extensive extension into social media, digital marketing, and instore point-of-purchase materials all celebrating Make Love Not Walls, including a great site with lots of photos! Full integration to spread the message and sell some clothes.

I have a funny feeling we haven't seen the last of walls this year, whether they're coming up or going down.

What's your experience?  JIM

Friday, March 3

Coca-Cola Pool Boy

Those of you who have been around awhile will likely remember Lucky. Lucky Vanous. The Lucky Vanous who's fame was launched by a Diet Coke commercial in 1994.

Diet Coke break...

Well flash forward more than a few years later and Coca-Cola is still bringing us hero worship, but in a different form. Sign of the times, I suppose, in our popular culture!

Time for a dip  in the pool...

The interesting part in both of these spots is that the brand is just as much a hero! I guess that's the timeless point!

What's your experience? JIM

Wednesday, March 1

Argue the Other Side

This post is inspired not only by the events of our day, but also a Graduate Professor that I had back in the day at Columbia.

He always taught us how to argue the other side. I wrote about it for Entrepreneur.

Click here to give it a read.

What's your experience? JIM

Aeromexico and Borders

This isn't a new spot, but it's worth sharing nonetheless because it's a good example of a brand taping into a current social consciousness on a topic near and dear to its heart. And to the hearts of its consumers.

Beautifully written with a very appropriate tone, IMHO.

Borders...has anything good ever come of them? Separation, limits.

'Nuff said.

Excuse me, I have a job to do. 

And I can tell you that my job (and my life) doesn't include borders.

What's your experience?  JIM