Wednesday, January 16, 2008

trends schmends

I think the following will be big topics in 2008:
  • waiting in line - I think we will see more movement in this "experience" part of retail and food service. Our lines are getting longer and Americans like to get in and get out, expect a tipping point soon. Whole Foods is leading the revolution.
  • serving sizes - In these days where servings sizes are pre-packaged (oh so handy and oh so wasteful), the obesity epidemic makes the 5 o'clock news, and Super Size Me is more a movie than an order, I expect serving sizes to get a closer look. You know those smaller cups at Starbucks? If you order a double espresso to go or a "short" drink, you know what I'm talking about; well, those are 8 oz. They look "small" when compared to a venti (20 oz) but 8 oz is really all you need.
  • mass market "natural" - Natural is a catchall term for "not fake, maybe less chemicals, close to organic, better for you." Every product that has an ingredient list even the company doesn't understand wants a piece of the 'organic' market. Using the term "natural" will be their Joker card for a while. See what I'm talking about here with Crest, and the fact that Chapstick thinks it needs to compete in this market is kind of funny.
  • more media neutrality - for those of us in the industry of ideas, this trend is definitely not to be missed. What's maybe more important is that you get your client to understand this first. Gone should be the days that tv, print and radio are part of the first creative conversation you have. While I agree you need to play the ballgame with everyone else, you also need to differentiate yourself and spend the bulk of your budget on getting through to your target consumers, granted you've got some planners on board to help you identify how to do that. :)
Plan on.

[image via Cultureby]


Balmule said...

Where does advertising come in with regard to the finished product a company puts out on the market? I'm having a hard time merging the ad with what I get in the store. I see a product that sounds good, looks good in the picture and I have a really hard time taking my valuable time to go get this product only to find that the company that made it had outsourced to some third world nation to get cheap labor to make this product as cheaply as possible using poor quality materials and then bring it back to the USA to sell to me at inflated prices something that doesn't even come close to what the ad said it would deliver. This really pisses me off and it's becoming rampant. In the news yesterday is Boeing being unable to meet this year's quota of its "Dreamliner" because it outsourced the job to Asia and now is having to redo much of the work to its plant here as its couldn't get the materials ordered and is now 8 months behind in delivery and may lose billions in sales. You had once talked about us Baby Boomers being a big part of the marketplace and wanting to know what 'turned us on', I'm telling you in advertising we're 'turned off' by false advertising trying to get us to buy more Chinese made crap that sound so 'Natural' and benign. Lead dye may be natural but it's not safe for our grandchildren. If you want us to buy more products get the American companies to make things here again not outsource to China where there are no quality controls. I am only looking online for European made products anymore as Europe has more quality controls than the USA and I know I'll get more bang for my buck. I don't even look at American ads anymore without skepticism and distain to be honest. I don't believe anything I read that's from American companies anymore. We're taught to read food labels to be sure we're getting quality and healthy foods right? Not believe the label? Well Macy's only has products made in China in their kitchenware department though they advertise on the box in names that sound Dutch, French, Italian. We now need to read labels on everything to make sure we're getting quality not just food. Maybe young people don't care about quality in a throw away society but this only drags down our society to the lowest common denominator in my mind. This doesn't build our economy or ourselves as a nation to produce nothing but only consume and import. I think advertising should help us better ourselves by buying and adding products that make our lives better and healthier not lower ourselves to substandards that are cheaper to make and thus only make money for the CEO's of these companies. Advertising needs to have some social responsibilities to be taken seriously.

El Gaffney said...

wow, i came here to comment on the original post but just read what balmule had to say so feel obligated at the very least not to ignore it.

balmule, do you have a blog? if so, post this to it. if not, you prob should with those opinions. i get the feeling that took all of 2 minutes to get down - and that doesn't speak to a lack of quality but the passion that comes through.

the earlier "ad" agencies get involved in the process the more likely we'll be to impact the true nature of the product. i the words of mugatu, "i've been (we've been) working our butts off" to make this happen. we can make things that are more useful, environmental-friendly, healthy, unique, etc. when we work with R&D. as far as how we communicate goes, it is our job to sell but also to be honest. and even if you've heard it before, the more transparent companies (life) becomes, the more this deception will be caught and punished (boycott, etc.). remember the fast food images on consumerist vs. their ads?

erin, i think not waiting in line is going to be huge. services are springing up everywhere to change this process - i just read a rant about how you spend more time waiting in line to order your coffee in starbucks than you do waiting for it to be made. with regard to small, i think portion control is going to gain traction but the packaging that supports it is a problem in this transition period. more waste is created by 100 calorie packs for example. i think natural is already mass and now companies are going to have to specifically define what that means for their products for their buyers. i think local will probably become a bigger deal (vs. organic). i think for advertising, you're right. but hopefully we'll also see branded utility go mainstream, more service, and to balmule's happiness, more social responsibility (not just green) messaging and baked into the product or process.

wow, that was a long one. by the way erin, i stopped being a sexist on my blog and added a gen galYs link list. hope you're enjoying tx.

erin said...

El - thanks for the comments. Balmule is my passionately angry Boomer mother. :) Her opinions are extremely valid and important; they offer up a completely removed-from-advertising POV, and her noteworthy adversity to products from China has inspired some hypotheses around Boomers, China, international relations, history, etc.

And I like what you said about transparency. Shit man, the push for authenticity and genuine trust will only become stronger from here on out. And some agencies are putting their roots closer to the source and R&D (Anomaly is a front-runner in this). I'm keeping my eyes out for other companies to follow suit.

Thanks for the GenY plug. It's nice to be part of the planning blogosphere. :)