Friday, December 28, 2007

where the purchase happens

Just got back from an hour (I can't believe it either) at Target. The store is pretty quiet at this time of year: No one is pushing past you; customers are actually having a fun shopping experience; the atmosphere is blissfully calming - I feel like I have the store to myself. So I don't mind that I spent an hour in-store going up and down the aisles.

THIS is where products are purchased people! This is where "the advertising" brings people to, if it does it's job right. It's either in-store or on-line (phone or Internet). What do consumers want here? How do they shop? Paco Underhill has done a fairly good job of bringing this space into strategic conversations everywhere but what have we done with his information?

I read an article today about Apple being zee best retailer. Now I'll hand it to them, it seems Apple has been doing its brand store "experience" for a while... but why the recognition so late? OH, maybe it's because they've come out, owned it first, and totally kicked ass at it so we attribute them brand history (and loyalty) because they're s so damn good. I don't know. You tell me.

The other thing that came to mind browsing in the refrigerated section (Super Target) was product design. Again, this creative messaging element is crucial to the in-store purchasing decision. I got struck by a SUPER COOL juice bottle with a sleek new design. I wanted it. I had to have it, forget my normal (the one I've been loyal to) product; this NEW bottle triggered a reaction, it got my attention. Hello, it said, Pick Me.

There's a statistic I found in one of those stacks of notes we all have: Something like 70% of purchases are made in-store while only 5-10% of a product's marketing budget is spent here; while 70% of the marketing budget is spent on advertising but ads only sway about 10% of all purchasing decisions. Hmm... I think we need to have another conversation team. :)

Thursday, December 27, 2007

a green push

I'm going to make my digital self carbon neutral. How? I'm going to give you a Green entry loaded with sites where you can get the 'good stuff'.

Triplepundit - people planet profit; website provides news, tips, books, blogs and lots of research studies (click here for a study on Green Technology Consumers or here for a 25+ page report on Climate Change 2007).

Dothegreenthing - have you done a green thing for December yet?

Patagonia - their Footprint Chronicles are something every company should imitate.

Egg Log - catch a marketing pioneer's thoughts on going green

Bestgreenblogs - yep, an aggregated source of lots of Green good stuff

Treehugger - the most popular...er...well-known, their last quote of the day:
"By all indications, our responses to things tell us who we are, what we value, why we do (or don't do) the things we do. Material culture is social culture, and social culture is intrinsically connected to making -- and yes, to saving things." - Jessica at DesignObserver
Worldchanging - I like them for their outlook: the tools, models, and ideas already exist for a better future...we just need to put the pieces together.

Here's to a greener 2008.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

2007: A Year in Advertising

Best of...
Top 10...
Top 5...
A Year-in-Review...

This is a collection of what I could find on the Internet and then a final Best of Strategy list at the end for all you plannerly types.

TIME did a pretty good summation of TV Ads from 2007:
  1. Dave and Oprah Super Bowl Ad
  2. Adidas: "Impossible is Nothing"
  3. Gatorade: "Thief"
  4. Dove: "Onslaught"
  5. Applie iPhone: "Meredith"
  6. American Express: "Tina Fey"
  7. Coca-Cola: "Happiness Factory - the movie"
  8. Dos Equis: "The Most Interesting Man in the World"
  9. Doritos: "Live the Flavor" (CGC)
  10. Nationwide Insurance: "Rollin' VIP"
Top Viral Videos by TIME are:
  1. Leave Britney Alone!
  2. The Landlord (Will Ferrell and daughter)
  3. Miss South Carolina Teen USA
  4. Hillary, 1984
  5. Prison Inmates' "Thriller"
  6. I Ran So Far
  7. Can't Tase This (mashup)
  8. Dan Rather Collar Up (really?)
  9. Clark & Michael (of Superbad genius)
  10. Daft Hands
Top 5 Viral Video Ads by MarketingVOX:
  1. Cadbury - Gorilla Drummer
  2. Smirnoff - Green Tea Party
  3. Ray-Ban - Catch Sunglasses
  4. Blendtec - Will it Blend?
  5. Lynx/Axe - Bom Chicka Wah Wah
A collection of AdWeeks' Best Spots (of the month) 2007 (in no particular order and definitely pared down):
  • Apple - "Tech Support" (Mac v PC)
  • Coca-Cola - "Videogame"
  • Rembrandt - "Kissing"
  • Pepsi - "Pinball"
  • Adidas - "Gilbert Arenas" (Impossible is Nothing campaign)
  • BMW - "Feats"
  • Starburst - "Berries & Creme"
  • Absolut - "Protest"
  • JC Penney - "The Heart"
  • Saturn Vue - "Money"
  • Yellowpages.com - "Tanning Salon"
  • EBay - "Foxhunt"
These lists are by no means comprehensive when you consider the creativity in thinking and 'strategy' that the industry was blessed with this year. I would like to draw attention to some other campaigns and make a new list. The first seven are insightfully creative, the last three are strategic genius. So here it is, the 10 Best of Strategy List:
  • Apple: iPhone ads
  • Rembrandt "Brilliant Mouth"
  • Dove "Onslaught"
    • ***watch Rye Clifton's parody here
  • Axe "Bom Chicka Wah Wah"
  • Cadillac "Life. Liberty. And the Pursuit."
  • EBay "Shop Victoriously"
  • Doritos "Live the Flavor"
  • Radiohead "Name Your Price" strategy for In Rainbows
  • Samsung "Charging Stations"
  • Simpsonized 7-Elevens
My valid attempt to scan as many of my favorite blogs I'm sure has failed to capture all of the memorably strategic campaigns of the year. Input is appreciated; this list is by no means complete or final. Happy New Year!

Round-up

Some 'nuggets' from December 2007:
  • Virtual caroling spread seasonal cheer with more than 300 YouTube videos while the U.S.'s general interest in caroling declined 16% (between 1996 & 2005)
  • 'Excessive drinking' is the third-leading preventable cause of death (after smoking and the combination of poor diet and inactivity)
  • TV advertising is getting smarter with 'hybrid' spots reports AdAge; channel surfers will find themselves well into designated commercial time before they know it
  • and while the writers' strike continues to change prime time TV, a spokesperson from the Writer's Guild says there are ample opportunities to pay writers for new media, a 'central issue in the dispute'
I am currently compiling a Best of 2007 for advertising and likeminded things, stay tuned. Merry Happy Holidays.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

ch-ch-ch-Chia

It's that time of year again. The Christmas trees are out, kids are lining up for Santa Claus, those Salvation Army people are ringing their bells, and the Chia Pet commercials have popped up on TV and radio (again). A little history...

In 1977, Joe Pedott attended an annual housewares show in Chicago where he first heard of the Chia Pet. A man named Walter Houston was importing the little figures from Mexico, and they were the show's best sellers. Pedott bought the rights from Houston believing he could do a better job of marketing them. Chia Pets are now produced in China (like every other kitschy thing we own), and about 500,000 Chias are sold each year. For 26 years now, the clay figures have been holiday-season hits.

Smithsonian magazine says:
  • The ch-ch-ch-Chia Pet is so much a part of the American consumer lore that it was ch-ch-ch-chosen to be included in the New York Times capsule, to be opened in the year 3000, along with a Purple Heart medal, a can of Spam and a Betty Crocker cookbook.
A Chia Pet is a gag-gift, is it not? Wisegeek says, "The faces of past and present Presidents are often found on gag gifts." Now wouldn't that be funny? Bush + Chia... "And laughter - the best gift of all - is priceless."

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

A hug to dedicated to bloggers

I'm sorry I have not written. It's weird in a digital world to apologize to no one but I think "no one"= anyone and everyone in the online world. I have not written in over a week mainly due to the "load of work" I have received offline. Is that an excuse? I'm not sure. I asked Cam today if he felt unhealthy because he also has not written in a while. He thought about my use of the word "unhealthy." You'll only get it if you're an introspective type, slightly introverted, maybe seemingly extroverted. Introverted people are not asocial, they just happen to benefit from introspection and time alone moreso than extroverted types (who rejuvenate via energy from other people). I think blogging is a great, underrated reflection period for introverts. :)

So this post is a tribute to my blogger community - you keep me going. Leland made a comment today about branding. He brought me new information (about Pirates no less, cool) and made me think. This is incredibly valuable to a person interested in new information, culture, and community. My busy lifestyle of late has not allowed me to check out my information sources:
Nor my culture sources:
nor my community sources:
So this is a digital hug to my community > the sites and friends I haven't been able to pay much attention to lately. The Internet thrives on attention (i.e. hits) for sites and content. I have not been contributing the share of energy that I want to lately. Sorry. :)

My question for you is: when do you blog? In a hectic schedule (i.e. 'real life'), when do you find the time to reflect and paste together a collage of your thoughts? Creativity takes discipline and dedication (and some good music and maybe a glass of wine). So high five, followed by a hug, for all of you dedicated bloggers out there. Here's to our next post; may it come sooner than we think. Plan on.

Monday, December 3, 2007

a trend room

I'm currently handling duties to construct a Trend Lab that functions as a think tank, findings holding ground, and all-around cool place for the agency to do some brainstorming.

To start, I collected all the trends from Iconoculture and Trendwatching.
I separated them by year and plotted them on a continuum. I started to look for patterns, but then I stopped.

What IS a trend? I wanted to figure this out first and foremost. If this was to be an ongoing project, it needs to be founded on a belief system with agreed upon values.

A trend is of significance when it concerns a mass amount of people (i.e. it's not just a blip on the radar, it's multiple blips that = a movement). A fad is not a movement; a fad is a blip. Ok, so a trend is a movement. A movement of what? Or why? I birthed a hypothesis that a trend is a reflection of consumers' needs gaining momentum. Trends with names like "Transparency Tyranny" or "InfoLust" both signify that marketing has asked a question, and the cultural cosmos has answered with a stance - a need - a reflection - an insight. Then because the trend is called out and contained within a definition, marketers can, in turn, react to this "need." Iconoculture and Trendwatching both identify brands and companies that excel in these trend times (probably because they have fulfilled a need).

Maybe this has already been out there in the ad world for a while, but I feel like I just stumbled on it for the first time. A "trend" before now has seemed like just a cool thing; a fad in itself; a subject to write newsletters on and start websites about. Trends are identified with words like what's hot, cool finds, things to watch. etc.

Trendwatching.com says a trend is:
  • A manifestation of something that has 'unlocked' or newly serviced an existing consumer need, desire, want, value.
See. They knew it all along. :p Well, at least they knew it in 2002, and Iconoculture knew it in 2003. And now I know it, and I value its application and implications.

So with a room, my teams and I will be collecting "cries" for help: Consumers who need - validation, acceptance, an answer, a response, community - a trend. A movement...to rally around a need.

In a brand world of relationships with consumers, brands have to be nimble enough to respond to these needs accordingly. If there's a movement and your brand doesn't respond, that's one notch on the "honey, you didn't listen to me" contention-belt. And points of contention in a market full of choices will weed yours out pretty quick. May the best brands win. Plan on.