Friday, February 15

Lincoln Honors Lincoln


It's Presidents Day on Monday, 2/18, and lots of brands will be "celebrating" with weekend sales. But one brand in particular is taking the holiday a bit more seriously.

Lincoln. As in the car brand that bears President Lincoln's name.

The brand came out with this beautiful piece of film, honoring its name sake:


Timely, relevant, ownable...good branding. Also love how the film modernizes the icon. And I believe that it's the first time, in a real way, that the brand has tied itself to Mr. President, which to me makes a whole lot of sense. There's a lot of borrowed equity there, so why not use it.

Is there an opportunity to borrow equity for your brand? What's your experience? JIM

Thursday, February 14

New Zara Logo - It's the Kerning!

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If you don't know the design term "kerning" yet then you will now ... it's the spacing between letters in a logo or design element.

The Spanish fashion retailer Zara is certainly showing us what kerning is all about in its new logo, the brand's first update since 2011.

Essentially, the letters are squeezed together and elongated. The "kerning" is reduced dramatically.

Drama! Designers the world over took to social media to weigh in, and many weren't so complementary. One in particular asked if the logo had been designed by AI robots!

A logo is always a tricky thing to update as it's soften met with upset at first and then we quickly get used to it and move on. This will likely be the same with the new Zara logo.

BTW, if you don't know this either ... Zara is a huge retailer worldwide with 2,200 stores in 96 countries! Huge!

What's your experience? JIM

Wednesday, February 13

#KillerSkin from Olay


Of all the categories that I've worked in, beauty remains my favorite. I can't even necessarily pinpoint why, but it's likely because it's the height of the emotional benefit and the perfect example of how marketing can make or break a brand. Certainly not the only category where this is true, but certainly one of the most fun...from a marketing standpoint, and also from a consumer standpoint where participants love to experiment with new products.

Also what makes it fun is that every once in awhile something comes along that breaks the cadence of the category, and we stand up and notice.

This recent spot from Olay during the Super Bowl certainly breaks the norm of the category, with humor and a unique way to not only show the functional benefit of the product, but the emotional side as well. Plus a great sense of humor.

Take a look at #KillerSkin:


Don't we all want #KillerSkin?!? Great use of celebrity too. Pretty clever in my book. Bet we're going to be seeing it online, in store, and at The Oscars!

What's your experience? JIM.

Monday, February 11

Gay Dads in AT&T Commercial


I'm hoping that this becomes more and more the norm...gay dads in real life situations acting well, normal. No stereotypes, no excessive messaging, just parenting.

AT&T is running a new spot...you gotta check it out. Click here to read my article on Gays with Kids.

What's your experience? JIM

Positioning Wine



We don't see a lot of wine brands doing a lot of broadcast marketing ... I'm sure they rely on word of mouth, influencer, event, and certainly retail marketing to see bottles. But every once in awhile a little gem comes along, like this piece of advertising from the brand Yellow Tail.

Yellow Tail is one of the more active brands, and I particularly like their new positioning ..."Tastes Like Happy:"


I love, from a marketing perspective, how they've "positioned" Yellow Tail wine for how people feel in the moment, often with a glass of wine in their hands. It's not necessarily breakthrough stuff, but it is good and you don't often see wine "positioned" like other brands in other categories. I also like how they used their branding element to showcase the "moments."

In other wine news, three stars of the reality show Vanderpump Rules have come out with their own wine and have positioned themselves in the process.


Yes indeed, Stassi, Kristen, and Katie have branded themselves "The Witches of WeHo," and have launched a Pinto Grigio (available online) called "Basic Witch Potion #1." For those not in the loop, "Basic Witch" is a phrase from the show and "WeHo" stands for West Hollywood where the action happens in the show. 

The "Witches" aren't the first reality stars to come out with wine. It's been a long list including Ramona, Heather, Theresa, Brandi, and even Lisa Vanderpump herself. But this one has perhaps the most interesting positioning.

Who knew that you could position wine? Sure can! Any brand needs a good positioning in order to connect with their audience! 

What's your experience? JIM


Friday, February 8

Burger King with Andy Warhol at the Super Bowl


As we finish off the week that started with Super Bowl Sunday, I can't help myself but write one more post about one more piece of advertising. The one went largely unnoticed, much like some of the other hidden gems that I wrote about earlier this week.

But this little ditty deserves a post of its own. Not for its brilliance per se or its creativity. And certainly not for its high production value.

Just because it's cool. Burger King pulled vintage footage to re-run a spot featuring the legendary Andy Warhol eating a Whopper.



As a master in capturing the art of consumerism, this piece of film is crazy appropriate for the Super Bowl, arguably one of the year's peaks of consumerism.

#EatLikeAndy

How brilliantly creative of the brand! What's your experience? JIM

PS - In honor ...



Wednesday, February 6

Diet Coke on Board Delta Airlines



To be honest, I personally think this is kinda cute but apparently many folks on board didn't agree with me.

Diet Coke decided to get a bit cheeky with their cocktail napkins aboard Delta flights by inviting people to meet each other and trade phone numbers.

Many thought it was inappropriate. I actually thought it was a bit old-school in a good way, bringing back "back in the day" when we would actually meet people on flights. I've met many a future business colleague on flights. But that's me thinking about it from a non-dating perspective, which is not what I think others are thinking...hmmm.

What do you think? What's your experience? JIM

Super Bowl 53 Advertising - The Responses


We're are witnessing a real, tangible "first" this year after the broadcast advertising of the Super Bowl commercials ... the responses are pouring in. Sure, we've seen viewers respond year after year and we've even seen some brands respond to each other on occasion (like Gillette's response to Schick above).

But never have we seen such a dynamic response to advertising from a big event like we are witnessing right now.

Immediately following Bud Light's spot declaring that their beer does not include corn syrup, the corn growers commented and asked to talk. Then on Tuesday, Miller Coors responded with their own story, via a full page ad in The New York Times. The brand called it a #corntroversy.


In case you missed it, here's the "corn syrup" Super Bowl spot from Bud Light:



In other disagreements, evidently the Hyundai "Elevator" spot caught the attention of a full-range of  "vegans" (not in a good way) when it referenced going to a vegan dinner party. Take a look:




PETA in particular released quite a direct statement as follows (picked up from The Washington Post):
“The trend of 2019 is taking the elevator UP to vegan dinner parties (and an Earth, heart, & animal-friendly lifestyle),” the organization said before attempting to hit Hyundai where it hurts:
“Instead of buying a car from people with outdated ideas, we suggest a vegan Smart car by Mercedes. Great mileage & acceleration, turns on a dime.”

And lest you think Maroon 5 itself isn't a brand, their responses post-halftime were quite smart as well. The band donated their fees to the Boys and Girls Club of America and Adam Levine's wife posted a picture of their daughters watching their dad on air. What a great way to shift the conversation. Who's going to pick on dad now?


As I said, I'm not sure we've ever seen this much direct response to television advertising before. And perhaps there's more to come ... it's only Wednesday morning!

What's your experience? JIM





Tuesday, February 5

Hidden Gems - Super Bowl 53 Advertising


The word on the street, in social media, and at the water cooler is that the Super Bowl advertising was a bit, shall we say, drab this year. I'll admit, much of it didn't live up to the occasion as I said yesterday. But there were a few winners, as I pointed out, that did capture our attention and got us all buzzing.

But there were also a few hidden gems that I'd like to point out, that perhaps went under your radar. Allow me to remind you of a few spots you may have forgotten.

Serena for Bumble. Right at the kickoff, Serena Williams let us know that women are in charge for this dating app where literally women are in charge! Note that Bumble has a new version where women can find a new best friend. "The world tells you to wait." Not anymore!



Devour Frozen Foods. I'm not saying that this is the most insightful or the best ad ever created, but it's pretty clever. Food porn is a social phenomenon, and I myself have been guilty of it. But who ever thought of frozen food porn? And who ever thought of Devour Frozen Foods? Well now we do. Here's the uncensored version...



Google Translate. The Super Bowl was a big night for tech companies, and of course Google was there. But I'm not sure anyone noticed this little ditty. 100 billion words are translated on Google a day, but the most translated ones give us hope.


And then there's this one from Google as well, honoring the 7% ... helping Veterans find their next job.



Hope you enjoy these as much as I do. What's your experience? JIM

Monday, February 4

The Best of Super Bowl LIII Advertising


It seems like every year people complain about the Super Bowl advertising ... it's never creative enough, never entertaining enough, never enough. 

I, for one, never complain because I simply love the sport of watching it all. Watching and learning and then reapplying for my own work. Marketing is a spectator sport.

But I will say that this year did seem a bit drab. As a collective portfolio, the Super Bowl advertising lacked its game, lacked its passion, and lacked its spirit of the occasion. It honestly felt like just any other night of advertising. Most in my Twitter Party at #SuperBowlExp said much the same. And many felt like there were just one too many robots.

But having said that, it was still an enjoyable night with pockets of creativity, insight, reflection, and celebration.

I read that Americans consumer 1.4 billion chicken wings over the weekend. We did our share at 20. And in the Pringles spot, we learned that there are 318,000 stacking combinations of the flavors. Might just have to try that. 

So now let's get to the ads! Here are a few of the standouts for me this year ...

The 100th Anniversary of the NFL: This celebration of the sport was indeed a fan favorite, topping the list as best ad of the night for many viewers. An ad basically for the game itself. Not my personal #1 because I tend to go for brand sponsors, but right up there. Pure football entertainment which is exactly what the fans want!



Most competitive ad goes to Bud Light No Corn Syrup: It's not easy creating an ad that crushes your competitors, but Bud Light brought the issue of corn syrup to the forefront with this entertaining piece in current Bud Light style (BTW the corn producers weren't happy on Twitter):



As usual, there were lots of car brands. But only one stood out for me and that is Hyundai with its Shopper Assurance: Jason Bateman delivered a compelling way to differentiate the buying process for Hyundai by equating it to a department store elevator. Going up!



Lots of folks liked the Verizon First Responders spot: this isn't the first time that the brand has honored first responders, as well they should. The link to being able to connect to them via mobile is clear as multiple bars. This year, however, the brand featured first responders who had saved NFL players and coaches. The team that wouldn't be here ...



For me, the pick of the night goes to Microsoft and the work its done for gamers with mobility issues: The tagline alone does it for me ... When everybody plays, we all win. The work has purpose, it pulls at your heart strings, and it makes us respect the brand (and gaming) a whole lot more. That's Super Bowl advertising doing its work. Here's the extended version:




All certainly good fodder for water cooler chatter today, as we sort through the game itself and all of the advertising.

What's your fav? What's your experience? JIM




Sunday, February 3

Pizza Hut Hut Hut


We've seen many a brand alter its brand name for a special occasion ... remember IHOb when it promoted its burgers?

Well today for Super Bowl Sunday, Pizza Hut is changing its name to Pizza Hut Hut Hut. Clever!

And its also putting a special emphasis on delivery! The first baby born after the kick off will receive pizza for a year and Super Bowl tickets. Fun!

Should make for a very exciting game, along with all of the other Super Bowl spots!

What's your experience? JIM.

Where Do You Stand


My colleagues at WPP Healthcare published a collection of articles that address "taboos" in brand marketing and communications. They asked me to contribute, which is such an honor. 

Here's the taboo I tackled: brands taking a stand on political/social issues.

Back in the day, we'd never have a brand take on a political or social issue, but times have changed. 


What's your experience? JIM