Tuesday, July 27, 2010

In the future, just try printing your food!

When you think of high-tech technology, does the thought of creating a delicious sit down dinner - which you quickly print off your printer - enter into your mind ... in any capacity whatsoever?

No, I didn't think so. Me neither.

Straight from physorg.com comes news of a new printer that is in the concept stage of development. Believe it or not, the printer stores and refrigerates ingredients and then mixes them, cooks layers of the mixture, and then finally prints them onto a serving tray.

According to the manufacturers, "users would be able to control the nutritional value, quality and flavors in each meal through a touch-screen interface and Internet connectivity, which would allow them to manipulate parameters such as carbohydrate or fat content and calories. The design also allows for the food printer to be able to automatically order new ingredients and suggest an alternative ingredient if one runs out."

Wow - images of the Jetsons have just entered my mind. This is mind-boggling stuff.

Honda Civic Sings Its Way to Success

Honda Civic gets an A+ for creativity with their rendition of what a car sounds like in this You Tube video. I'm not sure how many cars it sells, but it sure is entertaining.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Give Blood to Wear the Latest Fashion

Dutch company, Red Rail, recognized an important trend that was unfolding in the Netherlands ... their country was on their way towards experiencing a big decline in blood donors. That's when they decided to help the blood bank.

Looking into the minds of fashionistas, they learned something important: fashionistas love to be the first and only person to wear the clothing and designs they select. In walks The Red Rail - a new Dutch fashion label that is exclusively available to women who donate blood.

This new line of clothing consists of 20 unique outfits that are designed by 18 up-and-coming designers. With such a limited selection of outfits, The Red Rail will use a lottery to pick 20 winners.

What a smashing idea! The Red Rail has simultaneously created demand for their new clothing line, while helping the blood bank attract new donors. A win-win for all involved.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Scottish beer packaged inside dead rodents. Is this a new SNL skit?

Dom Perignon has got nothing on BrewDog, a Scottish craft brewery that just launched a taxidermied rodent beer. This beer is hard to believe on so many fronts:

- Contains 55% alcohol
- Comes packaged in a TAXIDERMIED RODENT
- Costs about $760 per bottle

Beyond the fact that this idea is outright bizarre and creepy, I can't for the life of me figure out who would want to drink their beer from a dead rodent. Most people run shrieking in fright when a dead rodent shows up in their house.

I just had to check out BrewDog's website. The opening line says, "Beer was never meant to be bland, tasteless and apathetic." I think I get how a rodent would make your drinking experience less bland and less apathetic ... on some level anyway. But, just how does drinking beer out of a rodent make it taste different? And how the heck do they preserve that rodent anyway?

I have to admit when I first saw this ad I thought it was an SNL spoof. I was waiting for an ad to pop up and say "Laughs ... compliments of SNL."

Thanks to Ad Freak for this strangely bizarre story.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Autism Speaks ... To The High Incidence of the Disease

Autism Speaks just broke with a new ad. One that makes you stop and think about just how prevalent autism has become in our society.

The message in this ad came out loud and clear ... one in 110 kids is diagnosed with autism.

My only nit - small as it may be - is that having a multi-platinum album is a bit too far out of the realm of possibility. Something like "the odds of being struck by lightning" or the "odds of seeing your favorite celebrity on the street" or something that could actually happen might have been a bit more relatable.

Nevertheless, this is a great single-minded message, answering the question: Do you know how prevalent autism is?

Acai Popsicles ... Too Far?

Acai, the super berry of the decade, is reputed to have more antioxidants than cranberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, or blueberries. Supposedly, the acai berry, which is found in the Amazon rainforest, can help you lose weight, provide anti-aging benefits, improve digestive problems, soothe irritated skin, correct sexual dysfunction, provide energy, and even offer a more restful night of sleep.

Whether you believe in the super powers of the lovely acai berry is one thing. But, does Edy's take it too far (way too far) by leading you down the primrose path and allowing you to believe that you may obtain all of these benefits by devouring a yummy Edy's fruit bar made with acai blueberries?

Unless acai makes this berry pop really super delicious, I put my money on Edy's new Acai Blueberry with Antioxidants Fruit Bars falling squarely in the gimmick category.

In all fairness to Edy's, they do not make any claims other than "Real fruit, naturally." But, even that feels like a push to me. I know it's not saying that it's an all-natural bar, but I do believe it infers it. I wonder if a communication test would show that most consumers perceive this as either an all-natural fruit bar or a really healthy treat??

Friday, July 16, 2010

Starbucks Gives a Bean About Clean Hands

I just received this text from Miami. It appears that Starbucks gives a bean (or in this case many beans) about clean hands.

Clever touch to continue to brand their coffee beans ... even when you're in the bathroom washing your hands!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

McDonald's Smoothie - A Smooth Move

Next Tuesday, McDonald's will launch a line of smoothies - wild berry and strawberry banana. Research firm, Mintel, estimated the smoothie category at $2.5 billion in 2007. The question is whether McDonald's will grow the category or steal share from more expensive competitors like Jamba Juice, Starbucks, and Panera Bread Co. At McDonald's $2.29 price for 12 ounces, competitors may struggle particularly in light of McD's $1.00 off coupon at its launch.

My guess? McDonald's will grow the smoothie category because smoothies will become more accessible and more affordable. But, only time will tell...

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Simplify Your Life - Really?

Today, I stopped at Citgo to get some gas. As I was patiently waiting for my very large, but empty, gas tank to fill I noticed a brochure that proudly stated, "Simplify your life. Sign up here."

The first thing I thought, was wow! Are they going to come out to my house to fill my tank ... because that really would simplify my life. Or maybe they were going to be like the old-fashioned gas stations I grew up with. A man in a Citgo hat and shirt would come skipping out to my car to clean my windshield and check my oil. That, too, would simplify my life.

But, alas, I discovered that Citgo had an entirely different kind of simplification in mind. They were offering me a Citgo Plus Credit Card!! Oh my, how privileged I felt! A credit card of my very own.


Now, I asked myself, just how would the Citgo Plus Credit Card simplify my life? So, I read on. Citgo proudly told me on the front of the brochure that I can have "pay-at-the-pump convenience" with this card. Huh? Are you telling me that my Best Buy Master Card or my Frontier Airlines Visa won't work? Just to check out that theory, I figured I better try it out. Guess what? It worked!

Citgo, let's have a little chat here. Your gas is good. Right now, I like it a whole lot more than I like BP's gas. But, I believe you need to go back to school to understand the basics of advertising. We all get why you want us to get your credit card ... you make money when we don't pay off the balance each month. But, what do we get out of this deal?

Talk to your consumers. Find out what they want. Develop creative that resonates with them.

My grade for Citgo on this marvelous brochure (which contains a slice-of-life shot of mom holding her young son, who is eagerly slurping down a gigantic sized sugary soft drink) is a solid "F."

Maybe this explains why I had to pry open the plastic holder that the brochure was in and then when I had the brochure in my hand, it was all yellow and crinkled. In fact, I must admit that the man pumping gas next to me had a perplexed look on his face as he watched me pull a brochure out as if to say - "Oh Lord, what is that woman doing?"

Sherwin Williams Paint Chip Commercial

I was watching TV the other night when this fabulous Sherwin Williams commercial came on TV. I was glued to the TV as cards of paint samples made an exotic landscape, complete with a buzzing bee. The message left an impression on me and it was a good one. I walked away not only being entertained but also feeling like I knew more about Sherwin Williams, too. They have a wide variety of paint colors that are as vivid and natural as the world we live in. Plus, it left me feeling that Sherwin Williams would be as creative as I needed them to be.

Footnote: I just went to the Sherwin Williams website and was pleasantly surprised to see that their logo says "cover the earth." Now THAT is 360 degree marketing!

Heineken Anti-Marketing Campaign

Are you willing to miss one of the biggest sporting events of the year in order to make your boss or your girlfriend happy? That's the question Heineken put to its accomplices.

See for yourself how successful their ploy was. This video is five minutes long, but well worth watching.

Talk about building a relationship with your consumers...

Dawn Commerical

I commend Procter & Gamble for a terrific Dawn ad that really connected with me on an emotional level. They do a multitude of things with one ad:

1) They raise awareness of the effect that the BP oil spill is having on wildlife.
2) They link their philanthropic giving (WWF) to their brand.
3) They emotionally link their brand with their target.

KUDOS to P&G! See what you think by viewing the ad here.

The start of it all

This fall, I will be asking all of my ADPR1400 students at Marquette University to blog about the marketing communications around them. I've decided it would be fun to blog right along with them.

Stay tuned for interesting blogs about communications in all its forms - traditional, nontraditional, social, digital.

Sue Northey
Sue Northey - Find me on Bloggers.com