Tag Archives: Advertising

Ugly unis, saving bears and other pearls

It’s a nasty day in the Gator Nation. Last night, the Gators embarrassed themselves by allowing Louisville to have their way with them in the Sugar Bowl. If you are going to be trounced, I guess it’s best that it not come from a big rival. And at least we like Louisville coach Charlie Strong. Coach Strong spent most of his coaching career as an assistant at Florida and was very well liked and respected.

I blame it all on the Curse of the Ugly Uniforms. Teams simply do not play well in ugly uniforms, and the Gators’ unis were stinkos last night. Blue jerseys and orange pants look terrible. They have perfectly good white pants to wear.

From The Gainesville Sun

From The Gainesville Sun

At least they didn’t wear orange over orange. They would have looked like Clemson. Well, at least Clemson won their bowl game.

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I get marketing emails from Barnes & Noble. They advertise the impending release of “bestsellers.” How can a book be a bestseller when it hasn’t been released yet?

Similarly, I was talking with a neighbor last week. She said her family had “started a new Christmas tradition.” Isn’t a “new tradition” an oxymoron? Like the frequently mentioned “instant classic.” I think you have to do something for a while before it becomes a tradition.

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Presents 2Several of us parents with adult children were talking last weekend about giving our offspring Christmas presents. Several mothers, including Mrs. Poolman, were sharing their difficulties in making sure that they spent the exact same amount of money on each child. One mother keeps a careful list with her receipts and adds it up to make sure there isn’t more than a $20 difference in the multi-hundred dollar gift lists. They even got into discussing whether it matters if they get a present on sale. Should they count the sale price or the regular retail price in their computations?

I thought the whole issue was ridiculous. Gifts are supposed to be an expression of affection, respect or appreciation, not a mathematical model. If I ever heard even an inkling of a complaint from one of my children that I had not spent enough money on their Christmas gifts, it would make my shopping next year a lot easier and a lot cheaper.

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And finally, I ran across this video today and was astounded. Apparently it’s been out for several months. It’s only about a minute long, but it will make you feel good. The world needs more people like this.

 

 

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Who thinks of these things?

There are times I see or hear about something and all I can think is “Who was the genius who thought of that?” Other times, the only thought that goes through my mind is “WTF?” This week, I ran across two items that, I think, fall into the second category.

Neuticles

“What are “neuticles?” you may ask.  According to the Web site, neuticals are “testicular implants for pets. Neuticles are available for canines, felines, equine, bulls or any pet which is neutered.”

Apparently, these are artificial “balls” that are implanted in a male animal after sterilization. Why would you need such a thing? Again the Web site has anticipated the natural question.

“Neuticles allows your pet to retain his natural look, self esteem and aids in the trauma associated with altering.”

And the practice isn’t limited to that family golden retriever.

“While canines and felines have been most popular, other pets have been Neuticled including prairie dogs, water buffalo, monkey’s and even rats!”

I have to this company credit. I think they have created a product to fulfill a market need that no one even knew existed.

Who would have thought that we needed artificial testicles so our pet prairie dogs don’t lose their self esteem? And people actually buy these things! Amazing.

Clowns Without Borders

While I’m normally hesitant to criticize someone trying to do a good thing, I’m not sure whether to laugh with or laugh at this group. I guess their hearts are in the right place.  The group sends “clowns”  (Cue Frank Sinatra.) around the world to refugee camps, natural disaster scenes and so on. They put on shows for the people there to lighten their day. It sounds like a noble idea. I imagine someone in a refugee camp or who has experienced a natural disaster might easily be in a foul mood. It would be quite understandable. I wonder though; if I were in a refugee camp, and I had the choice between a visitor with food, fresh water and medicine, or a clown with a rubber ball nose, I think I might go with the food and water.

But that’s just me.

An Amish Centerfold

A friend of mine sent me this TV commercial. I laughed so hard my stomach hurt. Enjoy.

On a roll…t-p roll, that is.

For some reason, I have taken note of some recent TV commercials, advertising, of all things, toilet paper. It is probably one of the least glamorous products to try to advertise. As important as it is to all of us, it is not easy to discuss.

Here is one that caught my eye last week.

The history of television advertising is full of famous and effective positioning statements.

“You deserve a break today.”

“When it absolutely, positively needs to be there in the morning.”

“The real thing.”

“Tastes better. Less filling.”

So where does this implied slogan fit in?

 “Our toilet paper won’t stick to your ass!”

Clever.

And here is a trend that I missed out on completely. Apparently, there legions of people who consider a roll of toilet paper unsightly.

I know it doesn’t look very good on a tree in your front yard, but on a roll in your bathroom? It would have never occurred to me. Maybe that’s why I’m not making the big bucks in the TP industry.

Look at me! I’m a walking billboard!

For most of my adult career, I worked in the television business, so ultimately my salary was paid by advertising revenue. Since I understand the value of advertising, I don’t understand why so many people are willing to just give it away for free. You can’t walk down the street without seeing companies like American Eagle, Nike, Aeropostale, receiving massive amounts of free exposure on the chests, heads and butts of people everywhere.

Recently, I was talking to a friend of mine about golf/polo shirts. I mentioned that I usually bought mine at a small chain clothing store. Their store-brand shirts are relatively inexpensive; well made; stood up well to repeated washings; and their knit collars didn’t do that crease-thing that many others do. He commented that he usually paid so much for his shirts, “…but I am willing to pay a little more for a designer brand with their logo in it.”

That’s what I don’t understand. I’d pay a little more to NOT have a logo on the shirt.

With another friend, I commented on the “Columbia” printed across the front of the cap he was wearing. I questioned it, because I knew he had gone to a New York university, but not Columbia.

“Oh, no. That’s not Columbia University. That’s the name of the company who made the hat.”

Duh. Silly me.

Actually, rather than worrying about the trend, I really should just admire the companies involved. They have not only convinced the American public they should provide free advertising for them, they have also convinced them to pay a premium price to do so. Nice scam. Wish I had thought of it.

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.