Thursday, April 29, 2010

Big Girls in Hot Underwear? Ma ma se, Ma ma sa, Ma ma Cacique

I said you wanna be startin' somethin' You got to be startin' somethin'

The problem with pointing your finger at someone is there are always three fingers pointing back at you. In this case, the three fingers are pointing back at Lane Bryant, the supposed innocent victim in the case of the rejected plus-size bra and panties commercial.

Don't get me wrong, Disney-owned ABC (Dancing With the Stars) and FOX (American Idol) are totally hypocritical in their unwillingness or lack of desire to air these savory TV spots.

In their own defense, a Lane Bryant source says,"They [FOX] wouldn't run the ad, but have you seen the Victoria's Secret spots? If you saw the Victoria's Secret spot and our spot, you'd see nothing different."

A spokesman from Fox said,"We didn't treat them any differently than Victoria's Secret." Disney owned ABC declined to make a comment.
Oh Mickey You're so fine, You're so fine You blow my mind Hey Mickey! Hey! Hey! Hey Mickey! Hey! Hey!

Much ado about nothing?

Not when you consider that Lane Bryant has conveniently avoided the obvious choice to hire the hottest, sexiest plus size models they could find to display their new line of sexy lingerie. Being a resident of the planet's fattest nation, I know what most plus-size people look like, and 99% of them do not look like these models... so much for Lane Bryant's honesty, integrity and transparency with their target customer.

How does the old saying go? There are lies, there are damned lies and there are TV ads.

You love to pretend that you're good, when you're always up to no good...

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Marketers Counting on Consumer Vapidness

According to an article in Forbes this week, some pretty major marketers believe consumers need to turn the corner on the recession and start spending their money again.

"New ad campaigns suggest marketers are eager to shake off the gloom of tough economic times--and they hope consumers will do the same. While some economists aren't sure the tough times are history, advertisers don't seem to care. Companies are rolling out carefree ads that use humor, colorful images and upbeat language to get consumers to lighten up--and open up their wallets." So says the article.

Makes sense to me. Oh, wait, no it doesn't.

One commercial from BMW of North America tells anyone who will listen: "What you make people feel is as important as what you make." Huh?

"There is a market turn toward the positive," says Deutsch N.Y. Chief Creative Officer Greg DiNoto. "That's a smart marketing strategy for any brand when you're emerging from a recession. Brands need to be associated with winning." Okay, that actually does make sense... if we have actually emerged from the recession, which most Americans have not.

On the flipside, Hamish McLennan, global chairman and CEO of Young & Rubicam, warns that many consumers and advertisers aren't quite ready to spend money again. "Most people are cautiously optimistic that it's going to get better, but we're not seeing precrash levels--and we won't for a long time," he says.

So, what's a marketer to do?

P.T. Barnum, the American showman and businessman, was credited (whether true or not) as saying that you will never go broke underestimating the stupidity of the American public. This camp believes there's a sucker born every minute just waiting to doll out its hard-earned cash. Benjamin Franklin, on the other hand is credited for encouraging consumers to be frugal: "A penny saved is a penny earned." Apparently not much has changed over the past few centuries.

One thing is clear: communicating with and/or marketing to consumers – whether the recession is over or not – is a good idea for any brand that wants to be or remain a leader in the marketplace. It's just a question of "what" and "how" you communicate.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Too Many Marketing Chefs in the Kitchen

How many agencies does it take to achieve an organization's marketing objectives? Is one enough? Is five too many?

There are ad agencies and creative agencies and public relations agencies and and digital agencies and social media agencies and SEO agencies and direct marketing agencies and on and on and on.

So what's a CMO to do?

In the case of SoBe, they decided to try something different. As an alternative to working with a single or primary agency that was doing a good job achieving awareness, but not getting the kind of engagement the company wanted (we assume this objective was identified), they decided to look for agencies (plural) who offered a different perspective.

Angelique Krembs, director-marketing for SoBe says "Going forward we needed to get to engagement. That's why we evolved our approach."

According to the story in AdAge: After a request for proposals went out late last summer, Firstborn picked up digital agency-of-record duties, while Weber Shandwick became PR agency of record. TracyLocke, a longtime partner of the brand, continues to handle promotion.

By all accounts, the hybrid approach is working fine so far. SoBe's agencies say the new model allows for a more-collaborative team effort and will give the brand a competitive advantage.

I guess... but I am admittedly hopeful and skeptical. My concern here is twofold. First, the idea of hiring multiple agencies to complement each other in a quest to achieve better results is not new. Second, it usually results in an epic explosion fueled by greed and egos.

In theory, this concept of "true collaboration" is an extraordinarily good idea. In practice, I have never seen it work. Best of luck to SoBe and its team of agencies; I look forward to seeing what the model looks like a year from now.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Seriously Dysfunctional Marketing

Hi, I am Tiger Woods, the greatest golfer who ever lived. I really screwed the pooch - literally and figuratively. I embarrassed my wife and my family and my fans and the PGA. I am sorry, please forgive me. Let's play golf... and just leave me alone.

Hi, I am Billy Payne, chairman of the Masters. I am ashamed of Tiger Woods. You disappointed me and everyone else. You are not a hero. The future will never be the same. Let's play golf... and make sure Tiger is teeing off late in the day so we can get some great coverage.

Hi, I am Earl Woods, Tiger's dad. I am dead; yet somehow I am on a new Nike TV commercial. Tiger, I am curious... did you learn anything? Let's play golf... or you're history.

Hi, I am Nike, a global marketer of athletic footwear, apparel and equipment that is unrivaled in the world. I make crazy commercials that make people think. I like Tiger Woods, so I just made a crazy commercial about him. Let's play golf... and buy more of my shoes and stuff.

For some reason, in the middle of all this marketing mayhem, I am more sad than anything else. Sad about what could have been and sad about what is.

And now, in the words of one of the greatest fictional athletes of all time, Forrest Gump, "That's all I have to say about that."