Category Archives: Advertising

Tebow and Toyota

So what was all the fuss?

Someone at Focus on the Family deserves a raise. As I mentioned before, I am not a fan of that group, but I do have to take my hat off to their semi-brilliant publicity move over the past two weeks.

Some women’s groups went rabid-squirrel crazy over the very idea that Tim Tebow would do a Superbowl ad, supposedly opposing abortion. Of course, none of the screaming harpies had ever seen the ad, but why let that be a problem? If you saw the Tim and Pam Tebow Superbowl ad, you might ask yourself, “So what’s the big deal?” Good question.

The ad was as harmless as can be, which is pretty much what I expected.

If you missed it, here it is:

The ad was so mild that some “pundits” are saying the group didn’t get it’s money’s worth for the $2.5 million they spent. Wrongo!  They got two weeks of free, headline publicity, provided by the very people who hate them.

They got their money’s worth and more before the game ever began. Slick move!

*     *     *     *

Speaking of ads, 183 Toyota dealers around the Southeast have cancelled their advertising schedule with local ABC station as punishment for ABC’s coverage of the automakers recall problem.

That’s really a stupid move by the dealer’s association. It makes them look petty and vindictive.  Nice job focusing on your customer, guys!

They are also aiming their anger in the wrong direction. They should be focusing their anger at Toyota corporate headquarters in Japan, not at ABC News headquarters in New York.

Even as retribution, the move doesn’t make much sense. In fact, they aren’t even aiming at ABC News; their action is against local ABC stations, who have absolutely ZERO influence on Brian Ross, Diane Sawyer and the producers who call the shots on World News Tonight. On top of that, all but one (WTVD Durham, NC) ABC station in the affected region are affiliates. That means, with the one exception, none of that cancelled advertising money would have benefited the ABC network anyway.

The only way I see this move as making sense is to put the stations on stand-by that they are serious for the next time there is an issue. Is there going to be another issue?

On the other hand, if all the cars on your lot are under recall and you can’t sell them, what’s the point in spending money on advertising?

I’m glad we are driving Hondas.

What’s in a name?

The simple answer is “Everything!”

In the early 1980s, Al Riess and Jack Trout wrote a great book, “Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind.” They devoted a whole chapter to the importance of a name. It is amazing how many high-paid professional marketers can’t seem to grasp this idea. I recently ran across two national and one local example that make me cringe.

gatoradeThe Gatorade folks have had the advantage of one of the strongest brand names around. It is so strong that it has developed a generic use. People will talk about Gatorade, even they are drinking Powerade of some other sports drink. Athletes talk about “Gatorading” a coach, meaning to dump a barrel of Gatorade on his head after a big win. Gatorade coachThe name is golden. So what is the latest brilliant marketing move by that company? They have rebranded their drink to “G.” Genius! Pass the Powerade; would you please?

Another company is not changing its product name, but it’s messing with it, which is almost as bad. Kentucky Fried Chicken is a well established brand. It is so strong that it can also get away with using its initials, “KFC,” which is something not many companies can do.KFC Everyone knows Kentucky Fried Chicken, what it stands for and what to expect. The latest move by the KFC folks is to introduce grilled chicken to their menu. OK, no problem. That’s probably a good idea. Their mistake is marketing it as “Kentucky GRILLED Chicken.” Bad idea. Introduce a new product. Sure. But don’t screw with your brand name. The KFC folks (Or is it KGC?) may establish their grilled chicken as a successful addition to their product line, but they will do so at the expense of their brand identity. When you diminish the strength of the Kentucky FRIED Chicken brand in the minds of the consumer, you become just another chicken restaurant, not the King of the Cluckers.

On a much smaller scale, I see a local business making the same kind of mistake. The company is Furniture Warehouse. The name “warehouse” carries certain image. They probably have a large showroom, with an equally large volume and variety of inventory. Recently I have heard some radio ads that they are changing their name to “Furniture Warehouse Design Gallery.”

The first problem is that the terms “warehouse” and “design gallery” convey entirely different mental images.  The first says, large space and giant inventory. The other conveys the image of a small boutique store.

However to compound the problem even further, after changing their name, they decided that 10-syllable name was too long and awkward, so they should go by their initials. Bad move! The name carries an image, or rather two of them. “FWDG” carries nothing. Their solution? Launch an advertising campaign to explain what their initials stand for.

Here is a thought. If you need to pay for an advertising campaign to explain what your name means, maybe you need to rethink the name

Truth in advertising

On the way to work this morning, I was listening to the radio and came across, what is probably the cheesiest piece of radio advertising I have ever heard – and that is saying a lot!stripperREX_450x250

The ad was for a strip-joint (Surprise!). Most of the copy in the ad talked about the “club’s” Monday night football specials, but in between each line, another announcer broke in with “And boobs!”

So it went like this:

We have four big screen TVs…

And boobs!

We have dollar draft beer specials…

And boobs!

A free buffet…

And boobs!

And so on.

At first I thought I was they were overdoing it. Then, I thought about their target audience. And when I thought of what happens to many of my brothers’ brains when confronted with the very thought of “boobs,” maybe they weren’t so overboard after all.

Tasteless? No question.

Too obvious? Maybe not.