Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Volkswagen: Another Day, Another Dollar

Volkswagen has created a new TV ad that speaks to the affordability of its Jetta. The viewer watches a young man take ridiculous job after ridiculous job, all with the plan of saving enough money to buy his very own Jetta. At the end of the ad, he is proudly washing his new Jetta, with a license plate that declares, MINE! 

Ah, but wait! There is one last photo opportunity ... the camera pans out and you see a second Jetta in the driveway, with a MINE2 license plate. 

I really enjoyed this ad and liked the interesting twist on affordability that it presents. 

But, of course my mind wonders to the second Jetta and I wonder ... did he really need to take that nude modeling job or to be a rodeo clown running for his life? Wasn't one new Jetta enough? I mean, just how greedy can one guy be?

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Clorox Green Works Surprises

Brand Channel announced this week that Clorox Green Works is now the #1 natural cleaner in the U.S. Is it just me or is there something a little hinky about that? I can't help it but when I think of Clorox, my mind immediately drifts to bleach. And bleach - to my way of thinking - is about as far away from "natural" as you can get.

That being said, you do have to admire the Clorox folks. In coordination with International Walk to School Month, Clorox Green Works is sponsoring a Walk to School Challenge for elementary and middle school students and their families.

Clorox encourages kids to sign up on their Facebook page to pledge to walk or bike to school during the month of October. The carrot?  Being healthy might just lead to your school winning one of five $5,000 grants.

According to Brand Channel, "The overall goal of the Green Works campaign is to promote kids and families adopting healthier lifestyles, with the eco-friendly byproduct of reducing air pollution by promoting walking over driving to school."

I love the idea that a major CPG company is inspiring kids to get out and walk. What better way to start the day off then to get some fresh air and some exercise? A possible side effect may be students that are more mentally alert and stimulated during the school day.

So, for me, what started out as a possible negative turned into a well thought-out social media campaign that just may have a positive effect on lowering childhood obesity in the U.S.

Friday, October 15, 2010

What Apple Ads Do You Think Are Real Duds?

It is true that brands that have a lot of money can do a whole lot more with their advertising. They can rack up production costs by hiring the best directors, the best producers, the best talent. They can go to exotic places for their photo shoots. They can blow their message out to their target using traditional, nontraditional, and social media. They can sustain their advertising flight for as long as it takes to attain the reach and frequency they're looking for.  They can simultaneously target multiple types of consumers. All because they have a very large and abundant advertising budget.

But money alone does not guaranty that an ad agency will create great ads that break through the clutter, command attention, and motivate the target to buy. Advertising remains a largely artistic endeavor. And, as we all know, art is viewed differently by different people.

So, it's amazing when you begin to look at a wide range of Apple's advertising ... and you see one great ad after another. Whether it's for the Nano, the iPad, the iPhone, or the Air Laptop, Apple seems to get the equation right time and time again.

That's not to say that Apple doesn't product duds from time to time. They do. But, more often than not, they produce ads that are engaging and memorable. I can't tell you how many times I've seen the Nano ad in the past several weeks. Yet, every time I see it, I find myself watching the screen and humming along to the catchy little tune.

So, I'm going to ask for a little help here. Post links to Apple ads that you think lacked the WOW factor. Ones that you saw and thought, "What?"

Monday, October 11, 2010

Five U.S. Food Trends

Check out the presentation I created and shared on SlideShare. The presentation describes the five most interesting food trends in the U.S.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Jell-O Makes Happy Happen


Jello-O has launched a fun Facebook campaign, called The Jell-O Happy Appy. They encourage visitors to their Facebook page to either "Share Your Happy" by uploading your own happy picture or to "Explore the Happy" by looking at other people's happy pictures.

The first thing I noticed when I came to this page was that the happy little red creature featured in the Hello Jell-o logo has been created from all the photos uploaded to the site. The visuals appear to constantly change as more and more photos are added. So, at any point in time, your photo or the photo of a friend just might find its way on to Jello-O's Facebook page.

So, I asked myself, "Will I become happier by looking at these happy photos?"

In theory, of course, the answer would be yes. But, unfortunately, most of the photos that have been added to the Facebook page didn't make me smile. They were just the kind of photos that you might have snapped at a family outing. Gees Louise ... some of the people in the posted photos even look sad.  :-(

But, then once in awhile you uncover a real jewel .. you feel the edges of your mouth starting to creep up towards the sky and then it happens ... you break out into a smile that warms your heart.

Like the one that Shannon B. posted of her little boy in a red and black flannel shirt sitting next to his Yellow Lab by the Christmas tree or Christine J.'s photo of a little boy snuggling his adorable, fluffy dog or the one by Stephanie D. of her little girl getting a kick out of life. (There's a theme here isn't there? Kids and dogs!)

And, truly, at the end of the day, who am I to define someone else's happiness? And, that's the whole point behind Jello's campaign, isn't it?  Jell-o would love to share a bit of happiness with you - no matter how you define happy.

So, go out and make "happy" happen for you today.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Consumers Redesign Chiquita Sticker

You know that little label on your Chiquita bananas? It may not seem like much to you and I, but for a fruit, it's about the only opportunity they have to brand themselves.

So, Chiquita came up with a pretty brilliant idea on how to get consumers to think about their brand ... and that little sticker that we have come to take for granted. They thought, why not let consumers take a crack at designing a new sticker for the brand?

Consumers thought it was a great idea, a way to express themselves and maybe design something that would be seen by people across the United States. Chiquita received hundreds of designs options ... some very close-in to where they are today and some far more expressive.

After sifting through the options, Chiquita selected the top 50 as their favorite designs. Then, in yet another brilliant move, they put the designs up to public vote, luring thousands to view the designs and cast their votes.

Chiquita ultimately selected 18 winners. Next month, these 18 designs will be stuck to Chiquita bananas all over the nation.

What a great way to get consumers involved in your brand ... as designers, voters, and consumers. It will be interesting to see if the contest increases banana sales across the country?!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Never Ever Shake a Baby

Serve Marketing, a Milwaukee-based advertising agency, exclusively focuses on creating breakthrough advertising that helps nonprofits get their message heard.

The creative director, Gary Mueller, tells a story about a visit from his boss a few years ago. She asked him to create an ad that could be heard only one time and never forgotten. Easy, right?

Well, it turns out she had a darn good reason for asking Gary to do this nearly impossible task. You see, the number of children treated at the local Children's Hospital for shaken baby syndrome had jumped from 17 in 2007 to 30 in 2008. That was 30 children that had either been killed or permanently disabled as a direct result of being shaken.

So Gary set out to create that absolutely unforgettable ad.

Rather than only focusing on the creative - which some creatives do - Serve Marketing paid attention to both the ad and the medium in which it was delivered. Gary created a radio ad that was clearly unforgettable but that he knew people would have difficulty listening to. So, he went to every radio station in town and convinced them all to run this radio spot at precisely 7:40 am on a Friday. During rush hour that morning, every single person who had the radio on heard the Shaken Baby Association's PSA. And if they didn't like the baby crying and switched the station, guess what they heard? The same baby crying.

In the seven months prior to airing the ad, 26 cases of shaken baby syndrome were reported by area hospitals. In the four and a half months that followed, only ONE shaken baby incident was reported.

Remarkable results.
Remarkable agency.
Remarkable cause.

See more at Serve Marketing's website.

Ben & Jerry's Has Been Dishing Out Misinformation

Shame on Ben & Jerry's. All these years, we were led to believe that these two ex-hippies were dishing out ice cream that was different than all the rest because it was "all natural." And that naturalness came at a premium ... which many were willing to pay because they wanted to eat ice cream that was more pure and less processed.

Okay, okay. Anyone that read the label would have seen artificial sounding ingredients like "hydrogenated soybean oil" and "anhydrous dextrose" and would have decided on their own that Ben & Jerry's wasn't really as natural as they were claiming to be.

But, what bothers me is that rather than leveling with their consumers, Ben Cohen & Jerry Greenfield (yes, there really is a Ben and Jerry) chose to communicate misinformation to consumers for all these years. In truth, it took the nonprofit watchdog agency, The Center for Science in the Public Interest, to get Ben & Jerry's to fess up to their wrongdoings.

Alright, time to give credit for what Ben & Jerry's has done right. According to MediaPost, CEO Jostein Solheim claims they use the most natural products they can find, like hormone-free milk and cage-free eggs. Plus, their products are Fair Trade Certified.

So, in the big scheme of things, Ben & Jerry's may still be one of the better ice creams out there.

But, and this is a big but, I still feel duped and that makes me unhappy. Unhappy enough that I just may shy away from buying their ice cream in the future.
Sue Northey - Find me on Bloggers.com