Thursday, October 18, 2012

Dreft: As Gentle With Babies As Mom Is

P&G is at it again ... being the fabulous marketers they are year after year after year. 

Whether you are a novice marketer straight out of B-School or a branding aficionado, much can be learned from following Procter & Gamble and their consumer brands.

Case in point: Dreft Detergent.

If you have had children yourself or babysat for your nieces or nephews or helped raise your younger brothers or sisters, chances are you know the Dreft brand. It's an old one; been around since 1933. For many moms, it's a staple during their baby's first year of life, because they trust it to be as gentle with their babies as they are.

Their latest TV ad is soft, sweet and tender. I'll let the copy tell the story since it will do it so much more eloquently than I ever could.

It may seem like just fabric, 
but from blankets, to jammies, 
to the little monster who shows up at bathtime, 
fabric is the stuff of babyhood. 
Dreft takes your baby's fabrics
- memories, messes, and all -
and gently keeps them clean. 
You have a child forever,
but a baby for just one year.
And because Dreft is specially made for babies,
Dreft makes babyhood special.

And, of course, that same message is told on their website, on Twitter and on Facebook. Brilliantly told and visualized.

My only suggestion is to share all those great baby photos on Pinterest. People love pinning baby pictures. 
Plus, a little research shows that this primarily female target pins pictures of the Dreft bottle for Pete's sake, clearly indicating they see Dreft as a Lovemark.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

When families stay closer, children heal faster

Every once in awhile, an ad comes a long that gives you goosebumps. The Ronald McDonald House commercial is that ad for me.

The ad opens with a pair of hands holding a picture of a child with no hair. It's an image that instantly telegraphs a message to us all: This child has cancer.
The visual is powerful, demanding that you pay attention to what is being shown and said. A haunting childlike melody plays in the background, singing "only love can put the pieces back."

Throughout the spot, the picture changes, gradually adding hair as the boy transforms from a 3-year old with leukemia to the 6-year old survivor he is today. (Behind-the-scenes of how the photos were made here.)
The adorable, healthy, little boy's name is Anastacio Cuevas. Thanks to the Ronald McDonald House, Anastacio and his family were able to stay close to the hospital where he received chemotherapy ... and close to each other. As the ad so eloquently states, "When families stay closer, children heal faster."
Cancer is an insidious disease, one that has touched all of us in one way or another, but when it touches a child, it is a complete travesty. As a cancer survivor myself, I completely understand how important family is during the healing process. It can make all the difference in the world.

Ronald McDonald House Charities provide resources and stability to more than 4.5 million children and families a year at 305 Ronald McDonald's Houses around the world.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

VW Gives You Something To Smile About

If you're anything like me, you've had it with the accusations, twisted facts and mudslinging occurring with every political candidate running for an office in the U.S. Just what has happened to political ads in this country? When did candidates stop running on the strength of their own words and actions and start focusing on how to twist the words and actions of those running against them?

Okay, okay. Time to get off my soapbox. But, it does appear that Volkswagen agrees with me, at least in part. Or perhaps their consumer focus groups reflected a similar sentiment being expressed by many Americans. Regardless of their reasons, VW decided to take a break from all the negativity of the 2012 election season.

In walks their latest TV ad, coined the Volkswagen Smiles Campaign, in which people from all walks of life, ethnicities and ages share spontaneous, belly-busting giggles and laughs for the duration of the :30 ad.

Just like negative advertising can bring your spirits down, smiles and laughter can take you to a happier place. And this ad does that in spades.

According to the Ad Age blog, "The carmaker has released a special spot tied to the presidential race which it says will "deliver a lighthearted break" from the election cycle."

In the eyes of this one American voter, it is a well-appreciated break.

Now, you may wonder how 30 seconds of laughing ties back to the Volkswagen brand. Vice President of Marketing, Ken Mayer, suggests that the ripples of laughter embody the positive spirit of VW; plus, it pays off their tagline: It's not the miles, it's how you live them.

Thank you Volkswagen ... for your optimism and for the much needed break from political candidates across the land.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Yoplait Serves Up Sunshine

With 40 flavors to choose from, Yoplait has been focusing much of their recent advertising on the variety of different tastes you can get from one little red (or blue) container.

The most recent ad communicates this message through an array of brightly colored umbrellas, sunshine breaking through the rain and a catchy tune that declares:

I'm thinking sweet.
I'm thinking new.
I'm thinking happy.
And I think that you should too.
I'm thinking yellow.
I'm thinking blue.
I'm thinking all these brilliant colors shining through. 

I loved this commercial on so many levels. While it was a :60 spot I found it so engaging that it felt more like a :30.

And who doesn't like umbrellas?

They seem to pop up all over Pinterest, striking a positive chord with many women. Whether used in rain or shine, all kinds of things happen under umbrellas: romance, dancing, fancy drinks, artwork, smiles, fashion and, of course, rain.

As a loyal Yoplait buyer, I'm really tickled they have created such a memorable and engaging ad.

My only criticism is focused on their less-than-inspired tagline of "Yoplait. It is so good." While I understand they are communicating a double entendre of tastes good and is good for you, it does not feel differentiated versus other yogurts or, for that matter, versus a slew of products in other categories.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Google Father Writes Memoir To Sophie

Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of hearing Catherine Roe, head of Consumer Packaged Goods at Google, speak to the Milwaukee Chapter of the American Marketing Association. It was a terrific presentation and one that made me realize just how pervasive Google has become in all of our lives.

For example, how many times have you used Google as a verb
in the past few weeks ... or even in the past few days?  

(Just this morning, I was looking for an iPad case and thought, "I'll have to Google that.")

Catherine shared this heart-felt video with us.

The video, affectionately titled “Dear Sophie,” tells the story of Asian American Google employee Daniel Lee, who sets up an e-mail account for his newborn daughter Sophie. Over the course of the next few years, he captures all the important milestones in Sophie's life, by sending her pictures, videos and e-mails. 

This video is part of a larger campaign designed to show how important Google has become in all of our lives. The brilliance of this campaign is that it tells Google Chrome's message through masterful storytelling. This heartfelt story emotionally draws each of us in, putting a warm, friendly face on the Google experience.

Brilliant. Just brilliant.


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Saturday, March 17, 2012

ASICS Gel Shoes Take Flight During March Madness

This month, ASICS kicks off its global TV campaign with the launch of its new lightweight shoe, the ASICS Gel Neo33.

The ad entered the psyches of basketball fans everywhere with its debut during March Madness. Great venue to reach the perfect target during a period of time when athletes and athlete wannabes are glued to the TV.

The spot begins with runners carrying brightly lit balloons through city streets. Running to the lively soundtrack of Temporary Blues, the athletes convene on a hilltop holding their blue, green and white balloons in a colorful cluster of happiness.

As if by magic, the balloons take flight to reveal a giant ASICS 33 shoe. The shoe gently floats away into the sky, revealing the super: ASICS: The Enemy of Limits.

Interesting tagline and message: ASICS can take you anywhere you want to go.
ASICS Gel Neo33 Balloon Shoe from TV commercial

Thursday, March 15, 2012

White House | Black Market Taps Out Its Style

White House | Black Market is currently airing a new TV campaign that is somewhat reminiscent of Gap advertising from a few years ago ... showing off its latest fashions by toe tapping to the beat of an upbeat dance song.

While the theme of the ad isn't necessarily new, the ad delivers its message in a fun, eye-catching way, using model Coco Roch as the star of the dancing fashion show.

Known for their black and white clothing, the viewer may be somewhat surprised by the splash of red that sneaks into the middle of the spot. In the midst of the sea of sameness, it jumps off the screen, eloquently informing the viewer that White House | Black Market sells more than just white and black clothing.

The main intent of this ad is to launch their new Spring business collection ... the WorkKit. The ad makes an interesting play on words,  tying the collection back to the dancer who happens to be WorkingIt.

Similar to the Gap dancing ads, the new White House | Black Market ad breaks through the clutter, simultaneously entertaining and educating the viewer.

Well done.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Wrangler Sees Red

Wrangler taps into man's animalistic nature with its new "We Are Animals" campaign, seen on TV and print in France.

This is a disturbingly dark campaign that casts the Wrangler brand into a whole new light. The brand emits edginess and a rebellious nature that one would not typically associate with Wrangler.

For Americans, this campaign is a radical departure from where the brand has been in the past ... an iconic American brand that conjures up images of clean-cut, all American cowboys and football players.

 Frankly, I prefer the kinder, gentler side of Wrangler. Hopefully, this campaign will stay on the other side of the ocean.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

I Want A Home

I want to be a contender.
I want a warm belly to sleep on.
I want a big house.

What could possibly be cuter than talking cats?

In this commercial, the Animal Humane Society uses cats to tell their story and a sad story it is. Last year, over 30,000 companion animals were brought to their rescue shelter. The vast majority - 20,000 - were felines.

They implore the viewer to make homes for these sweet little cats and to give them ...

... a young child to snuggle up to at night. 
... a big house to romp around in.
... someone special to play with them.

In a nutshell, someone to love.

Interestingly, the Animal Humane Society could easily be confused with the Humane Society of the United States, which is the nation's largest animal protection organization and the one you are most likely familiar with.

The sponsor of this ad - the Animal Humane Society - only has five locations, all in the state of Minnesota. So, as cute as this ad may be, it's not particularly meaningful to about 95% of the people that live in the United States.

Regardless, we're happy it came to YouTube so we could all enjoy these adorable little talking cats.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Facebook: Take This Lollipop, Little Girl

One of my advertising students recently shared this YouTube video with me and I felt compelled to write about it. (Others appear to be driven to do likewise as it has gone viral.)

As this video opens, you see a scruffy man log into his Facebook profile ... only it is very obvious that he is not the man shown in the profile picture. Rather than the clean-cut, All American guy pictured, we are shown a nervous, shifty, sweating guy who has trouble written all over his face.

He stalks through the profile of one of his "friends" ... someone who obviously accepted his friend request without really knowing who this guy was.

Through a number of Google searches, he successfully figures out where she lives. Then, we follow him to his car and through his journey to her house ... alternately shifting between a focused, composed man and a man out of control and consumed by rage.

The video leaves you with a sense of dread, wondering what will happen to her when he enters her home ... and just how well you know all of your Facebook friends.

Maybe it's time we all take a look at who we have allowed to access the personal details of our lives.

Sue Northey - Find me on