Saturday, November 26, 2011

Lu Lu Lemon Manifesto Blankets Store Front

Lu Lu Lemon, Milwaukee
After walking by the Lu Lu Lemon store on Water Street in Milwaukee nearly every day for the last 1-1/2 years, a new site popped up a few weeks ago that took me by surprise. 

Their store front had disappeared behind a giant-sized Lu Lu Lemon company manifesto.

Admittedly, I was intrigued. Was Lu Lu Lemon's awareness so high that the store would be instantly recognized, even embraced, by those who live by the company's mantra? Or had they just committed a marketing faux pas?

As I turned this question over in my mind, I came to realize that Lu Lu Lemon and their manifesto are synonymous. You really never see one without the other.

I remember the first time I came in contact with Lu Lu Lemon. My daughter had visited their Chicago store for the first time and was so inspired by their manifesto that she purchased me a water bottle for my birthday. I loved it! A few years later, I was thrilled to see them open a store in the Third Ward in downtown Milwaukee.
Lu Lu Lemon Manifesto
How can you read the words of this manifesto and not be inspired? Some of my favorites include:

Friends are more important than money.
Your outlook on life is a direct reflection on how much you like yourself.
That which matters the most should never give way to what matters least.
Jealousy works the opposite way you want it to.
Successful people replace the words "wish," "should," and "try" with "I will."

 So, go out and do something today that scares you...

Brita Fuses Mission With CSR Program

In 2010, Americans deposited 39 billion bottles on the planet.
Do you remember the line in the movie Jerry Maguire, "You had me at hello?"

Well, the opening line of the new Brita ad certainly made me stop and take note. 

Last year alone, the U.S. used over 39 billion plastic bottles of water.

At first blush, one would think that Brita's TV campaign is rather self-serving. After all, they make water filters, which invalidate one of the key reasons why people buy bottled water. A classic problem-solution ad.

Problem: Americans added 39 billion plastic bottles to the planet last year. That's enough to stretch around the earth 190 times.

Solution: Each Brita water filter can take 300 bottles out of the equation. Simple math tells you that if 130,000 people were to purchase and use a Brita filter, we would eliminate all of those pesky water bottles from our landfills.

It sounds like an environmentally slanted ad that just adds to Brita's bottom line, right?

Well, that's what I thought too, until I took a deeper look into their current campaign:

"Brita® has teamed up with Preserve,
a leading maker of 100 percent recycled household consumer goods,
to collect and recycle Brita® filters.
Preserve’s Gimme 5 Program will transform the plastic 
from pitcher and bottle filters into new Preserve products."

While Brita will clearly benefit from consumers using their filters, they are making an investment to collect and recycle used Brita pitchers and filters.

It may not be a gargantuan step towards greenifying our planet, but in Brita's words, it is "a small step towards making a big difference."

Got to love companies that take Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) seriously.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Does Advertising On Report Cards Go Too Far?

Just how far is too far when it comes to advertising?

How about ads for CollegeInvest or McDonald's on your child's report card?

That's just what a Colorado school district recently decided to do to close the gap in their budget deficit. According to Lorie Gillis, Chief Financial Officer for Jeffco Schools:
"Facing $70 million in budget reductions over the 
next two years, we really do need to be creative." 
The CollegeInvest ad will generate $90,000 over a three-year period. In return, a 2-inch ad will be run at the bottom of all elementary school report cards three times a year. 

School administrators justified the advertising on the basis of the two organizations having similar missions. CollegeInvest is an arm of the state government which administers 529 college savings programs. According to Angela Baier, Chief Marketing Office for CollegeInvest: 

"We have similar missions. CollegeInvest is all about education. 
It seemed like a win-win for both of us. 
I really view it as a public service announcement because we're a
non-profit and it's helping families that obviously have children."

 While Colorado may be able to claim a loose connection to a nonprofit organization that focuses on education, other school boards have been far less concerned with making this tie, printing advertising from companies like McDonald's.
In these days of shrinking budgets, school districts have had to make some rather difficult decisions about everything from the subjects they offer to the technology they buy to classroom size to staffing.

If advertising on report cards allows a school to buy 10 more computers or to continue to teach French or to keep a few more teachers employed, is it necessarily a bad thing?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

U Rah Rah Buffalo ... Or Is That Verizon?

Aggie Football / State Farm Insurance
Have you noticed lately how every professional and college sports team seems to be selling out to the highest bidding brand?

What has happened to the days of old ... the days when branding your favorite sports team was more than enough?

I have no doubt that the added revenue to the sports program (especially at the collegiate level) is a big coo, but I must admit that I find it somewhat distracting when I am listening to a coach talk about his team's performance to see brands like Verizon, Toyota and others winking back at me from the TV screen.

What is the goal here ... to walk away remembering the Iowa Hawkeyes or to walk away remembering Alliant Energy?
Iowa Hawkeyes / Alliant Energy
Buffalo Bills / Verizon

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Westin Hotels Promise "A Better You"

Westin Hotels & Resorts is currently capturing the hearts and minds of prospective travelers with its For a Better You ad campaign ... a campaign that promises that its guests will leave feeling better than they felt when they arrived at the hotel.

The most visual of the ads in this campaign is the "Heavenly Bed" ad, which features a woman at rest on a bed of balloons. The ad is bathed in white, promoting a sense of serenity and peace. The balloons themselves leave you with a sense of floating on air ... a perfect setting for a heavenly bed. Of the four ads in this campaign, the message in this particular ad is the easiest to instantly grasp and understand.

According to Brian Povinelli, Global Brand Leader, Westin Hotels & Resorts:

"Westin's entire brand positioning stems from our mission of helping our guests better themselves. The campaign is designed to illustrate how we do this in ways that our competition doesn't and to reinforce the premium experience Westin delivers."

The other ads in the campaign, while visually arresting, do not appear to communicate their intended message quite as quickly or as eloquently as the "Heavenly Bed" ad.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Sears Allows Customers To Pick Weekly Sales Items

Sears People's Picks Holiday Promotion
This morning, I was listening to the radio when I heard a Sears ad talking about the products that shoppers had picked to go on sale this week.

What? Did I hear that right?

It turns out I did. Each week, customers can sign on to the Sears website and vote for their favorite deal in nine different categories: Him, Her, Trendsetters, Teens, Techie, DIY-er, Sports Fan, Kids and Chef. On Friday, the winners are announced and shoppers can cash in on the savings online or in the store.

I love, love, love this idea. Talk about putting your customers and their needs and wants first. Plus, it adds a bit of fun and intrigue to holiday shopping.

Well done Sears.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Black Friday Could Have Small Businesses Giving Thanks To Google and American Express

Small businesses rejoice!
- Are you a small business that would love to extend the reach of your business?
- Do you think your small business has a big story to tell?
- Are you handy enough to film a short video?

Well, then the current promotion being sponsored by Google and American Express is right up your alley.

Together, they have launched a program called, "My Business Story." Small businesses are encouraged to create a video which talks about the following:

- The role their business plays in their community
- The superb customer service they offer their clients
- An innovative angle that differentiates their small business from competitors

Tell your story on YouTube and you might just be one of 36 lucky winners to win a $5,000 online ad campaign (search, banners, videos) free of charge. Even better, your business will be featured on the front page of YouTube on 11/25, more commonly known in the shopping circles, as "Black Friday."

Now that's something to give thanks for.

Check out the details of this promotion at their website and on the video below and, be sure to get your entry in by 11/15.
Sue Northey - Find me on