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Moving On Up

February 7, 2010

Effective today (Sunday, February 7), Marketing Chief is moving to www.marketingchiefblog.com.

Hope to see you there.

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The Road Less Traveled

January 22, 2010

I was having dinner recently with one of my favorite people. A friend. A colleague. A real marketing pro. And someone I respect immensely.

When we get together it’s (as the Bible says) “Iron sharpening Iron”. More times than not, we are brainstorming, throwing out new ideas and often getting excited about the possibilities of what lies ahead. The world is full of opportunity and we are going to find them.

I was fortunate enough to convince him to come work for me a little while back. It could easily be the other way around. I learn something new from him everytime we get together and we are having a blast working on initiatives that benefit our company.

During our dinner conversation, he said something iconic that struck me between the eyes. As we were discussing brands, brand value, positioning and strategy (I know, really exciting stuff to some of you!), he made the following statement:

Brands don’t die from one fatal blow. They die from a thousand deep cuts.

Wow, was he dead on. I’ve witnessed it first hand. It starts with a little compromise here. And then a little compromise there. And before you know it, you have strayed. Somewhere along the path, you have lost your way.

As I thought more about his statement, I realized it also applied to relationships. Relationships among people. And relationships between companies and employees.

As the cuts add up, they start to bleed…. and then someone comes along and offers you healing. And they remind you what it was like before you had the scars. And it sounds really, really good.

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

– Robert Frost

In this case, my friend is taking the road less traveled. And it’s clearly the right decision.

I’ll miss the regular sharpening of the iron but I know the friendship will continue and that’s the most important thing.

Good luck @wwwBTIP. Until next time…

Tiger Woods / Accenture Advertisement

January 16, 2010

When brands invest heavily into sports icons, sometimes it backfires. This ad is currently in the Atlanta airport. Notice the copy on the bottom left:

We know what it takes to be a Tiger.

Talk to us to see how we can help.

Oops.

Pepsi “Throwback”

January 6, 2010

Let’s get the facts on the table first. I’m a Coke man. Always have been, always will. Specifically, I’m a Coke Zero kind of guy.  I hate Pepsi. I don’t dislike it. I hate it. I won’t drink it. If I go into a restaurant that doesn’t pour Coca-Cola products, then I either order tap water or brewed tea. No exceptions.

Having said that, from a purely objective marketing standpoint, I don’t understand the Pepsi “Throwback” campaign. The retro packaging is interesting enough. And with limited time availability (Dec 22 – Feb 22), it seems as though they are creating a sense of urgency. But then they add the clarifying line:  “made with REAL sugar”.

And that’s where the questions begin.

If the “Throwback” drink is made with REAL sugar, then what is in their CURRENT product? I know, I know, it’s probably “high-fructose corn syrup” (HFCS). Which while probably not the greatest thing for me, MUST be at least OK, right? I mean, would the government allow unhealthy ingredients in my food? (Don’t answer that).

Here’s what the Mayo Clinic has to say about HFCS.

Research has yielded conflicting results about the effects of high-fructose corn syrup. For example, various early studies showed an association between increased consumption of sweetened beverages (many of which contained high-fructose corn syrup) and obesity. But recent research — some of which is supported by the beverage industry — suggests that high-fructose corn syrup isn’t intrinsically less healthy than other sweeteners, nor is it the root cause of obesity.

While research continues…regularly including these products in your diet has the potential to promote obesity — which, in turn, promotes conditions such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and coronary artery disease.

Am I the only one now wondering about and researching the health impact of HFCS?

And that’s what I don’t get about the Pepsi campaign. They have highlighted the fact that the “Throwback” beverages are made with REAL sugar—a product benefit. But they chose to highlight that fact at the detriment to all of their “regular” products that are not made with real sugar. By comparison, their “regular” line-up is somewhere on the scale between “fake” or “manufactured” but all below the higher satisfier of being “real”.

Where is the benefit  of a campaign that highlights potential negatives about your main product line? I am not following the logic.

Maybe this is just a ‘teaser’ phase of a larger campaign that hasn’t been revealed yet and the Pepsi marketing brain-trust are geniuses. OR maybe they are too close to their product (and too enamored with the retro packaging) that they didn’t give enough thought to their product benefit line.

Time will tell.

Content Is King

December 16, 2009

“Content is King”…. so proclaimed Sumner Redstone, majority owner of Viacom (MTV Networks, CBS, Paramount Pictures, et al), at a meeting I attended in the mid-90s. Now when you are that rich you can own both content and distribution, which he did and still does. But his larger point was this: without compelling content, you just have distribution and noise.

Fifteen years later and his words seem truer than ever. Distribution options have exploded through the roof and virtually anyone with an internet connection can add their opinion to the gluttony of voices overwhelming us. But what makes compelling content? Just because you have the technology to produce it doesn’t make it interesting to consume. Remember “57 Channels and Nothin’ On”?

Therein lies the debate. Read more…

Geico–The Annoyance You Could Be Avoiding

December 5, 2009

The current Geico Insurance campaign is annoying….and puzzling. It’s annoying because of the wrapped up dollar bills with eyes that appear in the oddest circumstances. It reminds me of clowns….you think they are cute at first and then you realize that they are just plain odd…and maybe a little scary.

It’s puzzling because from a Marketing point of view, it’s not a unique positioning claim and it’s not differentiating.
Their tag line is “the money you COULD be saving”. But they don’t say you will.   Read more…

Welcome

December 4, 2009

Welcome to my blog. I will write generally on marketing and advertising observations from my travels and experiences. It’s just my opinion so don’t take it too seriously. But if I see something that is particularly interesting (whether a great campaign or one that makes me scratch my head)—I’ll probably share it here. Feel free to agree or disagree…or just read from ‘stealth’ mode…that’s ok too.

I will also from time to time just share things of particular interesting to me. Maybe something that inspires my faith or challenges my thinking…or something I think will do the same for you.

Sit back, relax, and enjoy. We’ll be landing shortly. Enjoy the flight.