Showing posts with label advertising. Show all posts
Showing posts with label advertising. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Why America Pioneered Marketing And Invented The IPAD

Ever wondered why the US leads the the way in PR, advertising and marketing? 

And why it is that Americans pioneered the great communications breakthroughs of the past 100 years?   Radio, TV, the Internet, smart devices, Google, Twitter, Facebook.  The list goes on goes on and on.

One simple but rarely mentioned reason could be that Americans love to chat, and two events this past week illustrate this. 

Jay Leno, the all American TV compere, retired last Thursday.   I did not know much about Jay.  His 22 years of TV never crossed the Pacific to Australia. Yet judging by the goodwill surrounding his farewell Jay was successful and popular. He could tell a joke and gently encourage his guests to share their stories with the rest of America. He made a career out of talking.  In a country which invented the talk show host Jay leaves as one of the best. 

A couple of days after Jay left TV, I met Jeff, someone else who enjoys a chat. 

On Saturday my wife Barbara and I were visiting historic Wethersfield in Connecticut.  We love the colonial architecture of New England which is so different from Australia. Walking down Wethersfield’s main street we ended at The Cove, a large frozen over section of the Connecticut River. Small groups huddled against the cold and were ice fishing.

I have never seen ice fishing so I ventured onto the ice to take a look. I came across Jeff who has fished The Cove for 30 years.  After a brief introduction he showed off his equipment, displayed his skills and explained why ice fishing is his preferred way to spend a Saturday in winter.  It was a free and easy (and for me an informative) exchange between two strangers.   

Americans love talking.  Whether it is watching Jay or talking to Jeff it is easy to be part of America's conversations.  The British are reserved, Parisians may demand you speak French and Australians often hold back until they know you better. By comparison Americans enthusiastically share their thoughts ... and conversations in America are easy to find. 

Wait in line at a grocery store and someone will start bantering about the weather, the price of eggs or why their team won or lost their last game. In a bar on any Main Street in America you stand beside a stranger and within minutes the two of you quickly work out your common connections through family, work or even going back to school days

Perhaps Americans are the most talkative when it comes to eating. Conversations start early and flow smoothly across the nation's restaurants, cafes and diners.  The waiter introduces himself or herself when you arrive and then patrols back and forth throughout the meal checking on your progress.  Patrons who overhear a snippet of your conversation will chip in, offering directions, advising what sights you should see or proclaiming who should win in the upcoming Oscars.  

We should all value that Americans love to chat.  Perhaps their love of talk is the real reason the great communications technologies and disciplines of the past century all bear the stamp made in the USA.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Branded Journalism: Texas Style

Branded journalism is standard in content marketing yet it's not new. Over 70 years ago it was being used to sway Texas voters.

In 1941 Lyndon Johnston (LBJ), later to become the 36th US President, was campaigning to become a Senator in his native state of Texas.  The election was hotly contested and the battle for the attention of voters was fierce.

The only source of news for many voters in rural Texas was the 25 newspapers that published weekly in farming and ranching communities across the State.  Few publishers were professional journalists and most were often short on cash and short on news to fill their pages. Some were prepared to print articles provided by the candidates in return for advertising. Payments for this political advertorial were small, because at that time local merchants could buy an ad for 50 cents or a $1.

Johnson had poached accomplished newspaper men for his campaign.  In an early example of branded journalism, these reporters provided the small rural outlets across Texas with packaged news stories and pictures of their candidate. Content could be a copy of a recent speech, a favourable item from the campaign trail or an endorsement by a local identity. And the content kept coming - edition after edition - throughout the campaign.

The payments paid off and Johnson received massive coverage throughout the State.  His team never rested, recycling particularly good print coverage as radio content in the numerous broadcasts Johnson's campaign arranged over the 10-week long campaign.

Ironically Johnson was beaten in the Senate race by then Texas Governor Pappy O'Daniel.  Pappy, himself a savvy media operator, used his popular, weekly hillbilly radio show to champion his claims for the Senate seat. 

Winning only by around 1000 votes, it seems Pappy's down home style and branded journalism out manoeuvred LBJ's more polished efforts. 

Which proves that many of today's communications approaches we hold up as new, someone somewhere has tried before. 

(Source - Johnson:The Path to Power by Robert Caro.)

Friday, August 9, 2013

Little Marketing in People Smuggler Campaign

Pity the Government marketers saddled with an expensive mass media campaign to reach such very small numbers. 

They must be scratching their heads and cursing the backroom operatives who dreamed up this campaign to 'win votes rather than stop boats' 

For several weeks ads like this have been appearing in Australian newspapers and broadcast on radio.

They support a recent change to the Australian Government's asylum seeker policies.  From 20 July unauthorised boat arrivals will no longer be settled in Australia but sent to Papua New Guinea or Nauru where their refugee claims will be determined.

Fierce criticism has sprung up about the ads in recent days. The Opposition claims they breach Election caretaker conventions which stipulate what governments can and cannot do once a poll is called.  

Bipartisan agreement is needed when communications campaigns run during an Election period. And in this case there is no such agreement.

The people smuggling ad spend is rumored is be around $30m, a hefty sum for the cash strapped government agency managing this campaign and which has probably struggled all year with its marketing budget.  

There is no issue with ads targeted at environments likely to reach people smugglers overseas or their collaborators in Australia.  I would have thought these audiences are tiny, and already known to the Intelligence services - or at least they should be. 

But how many people smugglers or their accomplices live, for example in Canberra or Sydney, where full page ads are regularly appearing in the metropolitan press. 

Why spend tens of millions of dollars for a mass audience campaign to reach a small handful of people here in Australia and overseas?  The Commonwealth must have other, far less expensive communications tools to send a stern message to these criminal elements?

Monday, April 8, 2013

Gold Quill Judging Looks At World's Best

This weekend I helped judge the 2013 Gold Quill award entries in Melbourne.

I always learn so much from the experience and it's the one of the highlights of my year as a communicator.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Repositioning Your Brand: Book Review

Repositioning: marketing in an era of competition, change and crisis
Easy read with practical information
is authored by US marketers Jack Trout and Steve Rivkin.

Both have written a book of uncommon wisdom for marketers in the post Global Financial Crisis world. 

It is hardly suprising Trout (and Rivkin) has produced this book now.  Communicators know that competition is fiercer than ever, budgets are under pressure and the old ways of communicating are under serious challenge. Since the 1980s Trout has been writing and offering solid, practical marketing ideas in compelling, clear prose for communicators of all descriptions.  My bookcase holds several of his earlier works and while their 80s and 90s covers now look dated and daggy each is well-read and much loved.

Repositioning calls on companies not to manufacture but to adjust the perceptions people have either of them or their competition.  Why?  Because people are complex creatures when it comes to communications. We are overloaded with information, few of us can tolerate confusion or risk, we lose focus easily and once we have made up our minds that’s pretty much it.  It is hard to move us from our existing attitudes so only by working within the framework of how people already think can organizations achieve sustainable results.

The authors suggest two basic strategies to get people to thinking differently about your brand.  Reposition the competition and/or go out all out to compete on a simply defined value proposition. Big companies often struggle to carry out either one. They are slower to turn around than the Queen Mary and because of their size and complexity many have trouble managing their way out of problems or managing their way into opportunities.   Of course big firms are well placed to compete on price.  However this is often a short-lived strategy and one only available to the bigger players.  For the rest of us someone else can always mark down the sales docket lower than we can, plus research shows most price promotions rarely succeed in the long run. 

Reframing the competition means hanging a negative on a rival to reflect a favourable comparison on ourselves.  Given most marketers are positive, upbeat souls and most managers are disinclined to controversy it can be difficult to steer an organization in this direction. Yet Trout and Rivkin cite examples in the olive oil, prestige cars, vodka and other industries showing how this strategy can fence in the competition.

We instinctively know successful marketers need to communicate value to the marketplace because as one chapter title proclaims “value is the name of the game”.  Value can come through doing something special, getting new technologies to the market first or stressing whole of life costs over mere purchase price. It can also come from adding premiums others cannot match or at its most basic by being  plain nice and helpful to your customers.

The book cautions repositioning is not easy.  It takes focus, management leading from the front and advertising and public relations combining in a linear, well thought out fashion.  The key ingredients for any repositioning strategy are time and commitment.

The book sells for $42.95?  Is it worth it?  It is to me.  Right now I am putting together a marketing strategy for an iconic project with high expectations.  It has involved many dedicated people for many years and the public has definite opinions.  I am sure Trout and Rivkin's insights will help me plan a better campaign. 

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Fun But Pointless Advertising

I've just come across a very effective viral marketing campaign. It's creative, cleverly executed and finishes with an unusual flourish.

The pomegranate mobile phone video ad shows a mobile device that does everything: as well as the normal phone functions it brews coffee, shows movies and comes with an in-built language translation service.

Sound too good to be too true? Well it is. In fact the ad is a hoax that leads to another online ad promoting the Canadian province of Nova Scotia.

There's probably a clever Canadian ad director (dressed in the ad industry's obligatory black jeans and T-shirt uniform) counting clicks to the ad and reporting to clients even Australians have viewed the ad.

Like a lot of advertising today it holds out the promise of one thing but fails to deliver. So how effective is it if it fails to do the real job of promoting Nova Scotia? I might have started out interested in next generation phones but I finished up definitely not interested in Nova Scotia.

At the end of the day, are more people interested in Nova Scotia? If not, what's the point? It is easy to be clever online but it's much harder to be effective and deliver real world results.

Am I being too precious? Should I just sit back and enjoy it? Watch the ad and tell me what you think?

Friday, October 3, 2008

The Future of Marketing

What's Next In Marketing & Advertising

From: paulisakson, 6 months ago

A presentation I gave internally at our agency last week (3/21/08) for our monthly "What's Next" lunches.

Quick background on these lunch sessions: Each month, three or four people are called upon to share either what inspires them or what's going on in a specific area. So far, I've seen some of our creatives talk to what motivates them and share trends and up-and-coming names in art and design; some of our tech team talk to emerging technologies, showing off what they can do and how they're relevant to our clients; and finally some of our modern media team share the newest ways we can help people find what they're looking for more easily and get more relevant information in front of them for our clients. Like I said, it has all been very fun to take part in as well as quite inspiring and energizing.

For this one, I was asked to share what's going on in marketing and where things are moving. What you'll see/did see is that I ended up using a little bit of what I've been posting about on my blog and some of what has been getting covered both within the trade pubs and on industry related blogs to give me the outline. If you follow the plannersphere and other social media and marketing blogs, then this probably won't be much new, but it might connect the conversations a little more. Or maybe not.

Mostly just wanted to share it since I did put a bit of time into pulling it together and was inspired by many of you who've been writing about similar subject matter. Also because what limited free time I did have last week went into putting it together instead of writing on my blog.

Note: Most of the examples in it are the more covered ones used to support the topics they're associated with. With limited time, I opted for the easy-to-find examples. Sorry about that. One that isn't as covered across the blogs and in the press yet is the My Vegas site. For more info on it see David Armano's Logic + Emotion blog where he has a detailed post on it.

As always, if you've got any thoughts, questions or comments...

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