Wednesday, March 30, 2011

GE Acts As A Spokesman For Missing Socks

GE has gone viral with a tongue-in-cheek campaign that sheds light on one of life's greatest conundrums ... just where do all the lost socks go?  GE gets their message out to consumers through the use of a uniquely designed website, video and Facebook page.

According to their Facebook page, GE created L.O.S.S. - the Laundered and Orphaned Sock Society - to find the real cause of "sock loss" and to offer up a solution for one of society's oldest problems.  The video is quite funny, showing a protest outside a laundromat in Hoboken, NJ where demonstrators attempt to peacefully educate citizens on this pervasive problem.

The campaign is extended through a consumer-generated flyer awareness-spreading campaign which offers the hope of winning great prizes from GE.

So, just what is the ulterior motive behind this lighthearted campaign?

I put my money on GE's goal to increase awareness of the GE Center for Advanced Laundry Studies and to help consumers understand that GE takes laundry seriously ... despite its funny representation of the missing sock problem.

While I generally associate GE with fun and creative advertising, like Scarecrow and Little Elephant, this appears to be one of their early and bold moves into social media.  Frankly, I love the campaign and really enjoy the fact that GE is showing all of us that they know how to have a little fun.

But, I am left sadly disappointed that they can't help me find all my lost socks ... truthfully, I have a handful of lonely socks that have been searching for a partner for months!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Target Store Brands Climb To New Heights

A few days ago, I visited my son at college. We had a few errands to run and found ourselves shopping at a new Target which had just opened a few weeks earlier. The store had a cool urban feel to it that intrigued us enough to want to check it out.

We parked under the store (which we really appreciated in the midst of a sleet storm) and took an escalator up a level to begin our shopping trip. What awaited at the top lured us into the store, encouraging us to explore.  (Paco Underhill would be proud of Target's merchandising.)

The store was like a shiny new toy ... all bright, fresh and colorful ... begging to be touched and explored. But, truthfully, what really got us excited and engaged wasn't the convenient parking lot, the IKEA-like escalator ride for our cart, the shiny new fixtures, or the panacea of shopping delights ... it was the grocery section of the store.

Matt and I had fully intended to pick up a few household items at Target and then proceed to Trader Joe's to pick up some groceries to feed my "starving" college student. What ended up happening was far different.

As we began to browse the grocery store aisles, Matt's interest went from lukewarm to "on fire" within a matter of moments.  He picked up product after product, commenting on how beautiful Target's Archer Farms packaging was and how unique their flavor combinations were. Before either of us knew it, he had nearly filled the cart with all kinds of goodies for the days and weeks ahead.

I found this whole experience interesting on two fronts:

1) I had just read last week about Target's plans to open an urban store in Chicago on State Street. In the article, they talked about their mission to offer "affordable fresh foods" to urban dwellers. The article stuck with me but I didn't truly understand the impact of their words until I walked through the grocery aisle of the Hilldale Target. As Johnny Nash croons, "I can see clearly now."

2) After working on private label brands for several clients, including the likes of Winn-Dixie, I have learned how incredibly important photography and package design are in the positioning of a store-branded product. Since retailers typically do not invest a great deal in advertising or marketing their own brands, the packaging often represents the first and last billboard for their products. If not positioned properly, the best the brand can hope for are sales from value shoppers that cannot afford to buy anything else.  Target clearly understands the profile of their shopper - white collar, college educated quality seekers who appreciate value - and markets directly to them with exquisite photography and appetizing flavors.

On a side note, I must tell you that my son specifically asked me to write this blog about Target and Archer Farms. To his way of thinking, brands that get it right deserve to be promoted.  (Note: These photographed items all found their way into Matt's freezer.)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Fancy Feast Asks, "Will You Marry Us?"

In their most recent advertising, Fancy Feast delivers more than dinner for your cat; they deliver a touch of romance, a splash of love, and the promise of a dreamy tomorrow.

The ad opens with a young attractive couple walking up the steps of what turns out to be the home of the young lady's parents. You get the sense that this may be the first time her boyfriend is meeting them. As he nervously takes a deep breath, she straightens his tie and he pastes a special "meet the parents" smile on his face.

As mom answers the door, the camera pans over to a white, fluffy persian cat which is soundlessly moving down the stairs. The look on the girlfriend's face - as she cuddles her kitty - is priceless. And it does not go unnoticed by her boyfriend.

Dinner is served. Everyone is getting along fabulously. The evening comes to a successful close. Hugs and kisses go around as mom, dad and kitty bid their farewells.

The camera then shifts to the boyfriend's home, where he is hard at work renovating a room of his house. He puts the finishing touches on the room and then brings his blindfolded girlfriend into the room.

What's waiting for her as he peals the blindfold back?

An adorable little white kitten that is a miniature version of her parent's cat. This little kitten is so adorable that you can't help but smile when she bends down to tickle and caress him. She holds him up in the air, clearly delighted with her unexpected present.

Back at home, her boyfriend surprises her...
...with an adorable little kitten of her own.

But, the coup de gras is yet to come...

As she picks up the kitten, she steals a glance at its collar and tag, which asks, "Will you marry us?"

That asks ... will you marry us?

The ad ends with her holding the kitten with a little pink bow in its hair and a sparkling diamond on her hand.

From start to finish, not one word was spoken. All that existed was a lighthearted, pleasant sound track moving you from one scene to the next. 

Shall I admit to you that I actually got a tear in my eye when the proposal came? 

Thank goodness I already purchase Fancy Feast for my adorable (black) cat; otherwise, I might have to consider buying a can of dreamy tomorrows myself.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Dove Is Comfortable In Its Own Skin

In a recently launched campaign, Dove explores the male side of skin care encouraging men to "feel comfortable in their own skin."

Magic Johnson talks about his father and how his days of collecting garbage influenced who he became later in life.  Other athletes - like Bobby Hurley, John Thompson III, Joe Girardi, Andy Pettitte and Albert Pujols - also take the spotlight, but Magic is easily the most notable.

This is a very nice extension of Dove's Campaign for Real Beauty and the self-esteem fund they launched several years ago to "help girls build positive self-esteem and a healthy body image."   

I am sure that several of my former students at Marquette University will be pleased to see this latest development from Dove since many recommended they create a male-directed campaign when they presented their capstone project at the end of the semester.

It will be interesting to see if "being comfortable in your own skin" will lead more men to the store shelf to purchase Dove. While I like the campaign, I am skeptical that it will lead to a higher cash register ring.
Sue Northey - Find me on