Sunday, September 26, 2010

I'll Have Some of That, Please

Okay, okay so there has been so much written about the Old Spice guy know the one on the horse...that it seems like there really isn't much more to say.

But I did have an interesting experience with Old Spice just the other day that prompted me to really stop and think about what Old Spice has done that is way cooler than their stunningly good use of social media and pretty nice looking Old Spice man.

I was cleaning out the sports duffle bag that one of our girls uses for soccer and came across a stick of Old Spice deodorant. At first it caught me off guard and I have to admit I started to wonder who she was hanging out with and why his deodorant was in her bag.

Then I realized that she and her brothers have been watching and talking about the Isiah Mustafa campaign now for months. It started when one of the kids came home from school talking about the funny ads, which they all promptly sat down to watch on You Tube over and over again. They loved the fact that he would respond to tweets he got from fans with videos on You Tube. Now just like so many others, they are watching and waiting to see what he does next.

But what's really noticeable is that now we have several sticks of Old Spice deodorant and bottles of body wash in the house. The boys are using it. The girls are using it. I've even tried it. Before this brand was invisible to us and now it has a front and center role in the household.

So it struck me.

What's way cooler than a couple of great commercials, You Tube videos and Twitter campaign?

Old Spice has gotten its mojo back.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Hope For Sale

I think that most people who have read my blog know that I have fairly high standards when it comes to marketing messages and brands that clearly are getting involved with something in order to boost sales rather than because they really care.

However, I am a fan of Hyundai's Hope on Wheels program for one simple reason - in their TV. commercial they say one line that makes all the difference - 'You Don't Have To Buy A Hyundai to Help'.

I loved that - it made me feel so much better about the brand and what it is trying to do. It gave me the impression that Hyundai really cared because they were asking people to get involved even if they didn't want to drive one of their vehicles. It felt altruistic and honest - it really stuck in my mind and made me want to find out more about the program.

I wonder whether this is actually an example of reverse psychology - that they told me that I didn't have to buy into the brand in order to care and the actual effect it had on me was to make me more inclined to think about buying a Hyundai.

Clever - and effective - also a great cause that has not been over-marketed.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

No Female Appeal

I found myself having a very mixed reaction when I first saw the AT&T 'Blanket' commercial.

On the positive side, I definitely was impressed by the visual magnificence of seeing all those buildings and bridges being covered by the orange silk and wondered - as I am sure I was meant to do - how on earth they managed to do it. Amazing! The music was also something that had a real 'feel good' quality to it and made the commercial a pleasure to watch.

However, as a female consumer, it left me cold in a couple of pretty important ways.

Firstly, the message that AT&T covers 93% of Americans made me feel like it was another classic example of the big boys not giving the little guys a chance. I know that the commercial wasn't actually saying that AT&T controlled 93% of all cell phone business, but it came across that way to me. As women, we really don't like the language of 'mine is bigger than yours' and this commercial definitely made me feel like this is what AT&T were saying.

Secondly, although I can totally see that not all women would feel this way, it felt distinctly un-environmentally friendly. In this day and age when we are all tightening our belts and trying to do our bit for the environment, it felt inappropriate to be spending thousands of dollars on creating the impression of buildings being covered by silk. Whether they actually did some of it or it was all computer generated, it certainly made you feel that they were doing it and it smacked of an enormous amount of waste.

I wished I liked it better. I would have unequivocally appreciated its aesthetic beauty and sense of achievement when I was younger, but I guess I have become a little more cynical than I used to be!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Paper Or Plastic??

I know that this is going to seem like I am splitting hairs this week but bear with me.

Having returned from a much more environmentally friendly culture this summer, I became painfully aware of how we are still not doing enough to 'be greener' over here. I mean I know that every company you can think of has jumped on the green bandwagon from an opportunistic sense, but are they putting themselves out there - or are we for that matter - to make a difference, even when it hurts our pocketbooks.

A typical case in point can be experienced at my local supermarket.

When you check out the cashier asks you 'is plastic okay?'

Not a big deal right?

However, the question is framed up very differently from 'would you prefer paper or plastic'?

The latter question allows the shopper to answer one of two ways 'plastic' or 'paper'.

The former question makes shoppers respond with a 'yes' - the easy answer - or 'no' which requires a negative response and then a follow up request for paper.

I feel that this is worth pointing out because the subtle difference in the questions leads most shoppers to say that plastic is fine which is what the store wants in the first place, because it is cheaper for them to produce.

However, it is not better for the environment which is food for thought.


Monday, August 23, 2010

Enjoy The Go?

I know I should like this advertising idea from Charmin - after all, aren't us Brits totally obsessed with bathroom humor? I don't know though - I am really struggling with this one.

I think like many women, I feel that my bathroom habits are safest behind closed doors, and I mean this literally as well as figuratively. So when a company comes along and tells me to 'enjoy the go', I feel really squeamish. I mean somethings in life are just a matter of necessity and can't be made into a good time no matter how hard you try.

Perhaps more importantly, no matter how soft the toilet paper, I am still not going to be having my own private party in the washroom - it just isn't going to happen.

Maybe I am just a little too cynical for this type of stuff, but the best it is going to get for me is that my bum will enjoy not being red and irritated.

I will be interested to see what other reactions Charmin gets to this campaign.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Back to School with a Mattress?

Okay - come on now - a back to school mattress sale?

I have never heard about a kid going back to school with a mattress - infact I was under the distinct impression that the teachers preferred to keep everyone awake at school.

I know that in this economy, almost any excuse is good enough for a sale, but surely the product has to match the occasion at least to some degree. I mean are we now going to start to see sales for carpets for Valentine's Day or Weight Watchers for Christmas?

I don't know but at least where I am concerned I like the idea of getting a good deal on something that I am actually looking to buy related to the occasion in question, and when it comes to back to school I am not usually adding a mattress to my shopping cart along with the pencils and pads.

Friday, August 6, 2010

The More Things Change, The More They Stay the Same

While this has gotten a lot of play already in the press, it was just too juicy to pass up commenting on it.

I am sure that many of you have noticed the story that recently hit the airwaves about Ann Taylor's most recent run-in with the evils of airbrushing. In case you haven't, here's the story.

Essentially the company was caught air brushing (once again) a model wearing their new Chiffon Trim Tank . Apparently, the model's image appeared on their website as photographed. And she is quite a beautiful woman. Then literally before your eyes the airbrushing occurs whittling her waist down to an impossibly small size and rendering her as something akin to a
Gumby doll.

And to make matters worse, this is the second time Ann Taylor has been caught doing this type of airbrushing. The first incident was in May. In that instance, when they were caught doing it, they issued a formal apology on Twitter that said "We have been overzealous on retouching but as we go forward we'll be sure to feature more real, beautiful images. We want to support and celebrate the natural beauty of women and we apologize if in the process of retouching that was lost."

I just have to say as a woman and as a marketer, this most recent incident of presenting false images of women is just all kinds of disheartening. But I have an idea for how to make good on your promise, Ann Taylor.

It's easy. Retire the retoucher!