Archive for Marketing

The Effect of the FTC’s Testimonial Disclosure Rule Change

About a year ago, the FTC updated its guidelines on testimonials. I wrote a post about it on my other blog (for work) if you’d like to read that article. The highlights of the guideline updates were around transparency of results and testimonials. The updates included more guidelines around revealing any “material connection” between advertisers and endorsers. In other words, if the endorser received money or any other kind of payment for their endorsement, it needs to be disclosed.

This past week, I noticed the execution of these guidelines on a couple of TV commercials. Fairly interesting. This first one was the most interesting to me. It was an advertisement for a car (I don’t recall which one). The story line was essentially a couple talking about their future together and how this car was going to be a part of that future, etc. But that’s not the interesting part. The interesting part is the disclaimer line: Individuals were remunerated. What the hell does that mean? I’m probably just a big dummy, but I didn’t know what that statement meant. And I figure most people don’t.

Remunerated (verb)
Pay (someone) for services rendered or work done

reimbursed, paid, testimonial, remunerate

Yeah, it basically means that person got paid to say what they said. This seems fair enough at first. But then it also makes me wonder if this was a “real testimonial” and the people were thanked and given some money, or if they were just paid actors reading lines, parading as “real people.” Either way, they were paid. But I can’t tell if this was an actual testimonial or not. I feel like I’m being duped.

Here’s the other one – an ad for Vonage – explaining that these people shared their stories in exchange for an opportunity to appear on a television commercial. I think the description of this disclaimer is far less furtive. I think it’s much more honest and I applaud Vonage for their transparency in respecting the new guidelines. Don’t you?

testimonial, reimbursed, advertisement

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Target Ads Target Lost Viewers

Regardless of your feelings on the quality of the season finale of Lost, I thought one of the standout performances was by retailer and advertiser Target. Target rotated through three, 15-second ads during the season finale of Lost. What made them stand out to me (and truthfully what made me stop fast-forwarding through the commercials) is that the ads started with footage from Lost. The ads were then tagged with a product and a price. The commercials were pretty funny – there was one where the smoke monster was searching through an empty camp, finding nobody. The punchline to the ad is a photo of a smoke detector sold at Target. C’mon, that’s funny!

I’ve included video of all three spots in case you didn’t see them. I like this trend of creating TV commercials that are relevant to the show that they air during – I thought these were brilliant, strategically. If you were familiar with Lost, you understood the commercial and got the payoff. I wouldn’t mind seeing advertisers make an effort like this in the future.

And a spoof for good measure…

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Imagine Advertising with Creative Copywriting

photo by matt.hintsa via flickr

“Imagine more shoes than you could ever imagine.”

…rewind…

“Imagine more shoes than you could ever imagine.”

OK, that’s what I thought it said. That’s some of the worst copywriting I’ve ever heard. This was the lead-in line to a TV advertisement for Off Broadway Shoes. I’ll concede that perhaps the copywriters were trying to get attention by having this very confusing line. But, I think it’s simply not a good line. How do I imagine more shoes than I could ever imagine? I tried. I couldn’t do it. No matter how many shoes I imagined, I could never imagine more than I could ever imagine.

Bad line.

Off Broadway Shoes doesn’t have a version of this ad available to embed here on the blog. But they have it here on their website or here on Facebook.

Is it just me, or does anyone else think this is a bad line? Anyone think it’s a good line?

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Dove for Men and Oprah – Sponsorship Fail?

I happened to be home early this afternoon because I had to take my son to a doctor’s appointment. He was a little fussy and it sometimes distracts him when the TV is on, so I thought I’d give it a shot. When I turned on the TV, Oprah‘s show was on. Within a minute or so, she took a commercial break. As we transitioned to the commercials, there was a message informing us that the Oprah show was brought to us by Dove Men+Care. “Hmmm…” I thought to myself, “That’s an odd partnership.”

Flickr via nayrb7

As I’ve posted before, there are some marketing and advertising placement decisions that just don’t make sense, especially in very clearly male or female-targeted programming. This seems to be one of those situations. Why would a product line that is very clearly targeted for men sponsor a very clearly female program like Oprah? In fact, according to Quantcast, the viewing audience of Oprah.com is 70% Female (Sorry, I couldn’t find reliable TV show viewer demographics, but we can easily conclude that the demographics are dominantly female as well). If you want to sell to men, sponsor a men’s program, right?

Flickr via theimpulsivebuy

I did have to consider that their marketing strategy was to target women since they tend to make many of the household purchasing decisions. But, Dove Men+Care marketing is directed toward men. Check out some of the TV advertising. Actually, I really like this advertisement. I think it’s funny and I think that it actually speaks to men very well. But this only serves to further confuse me. This is a marketing campaign that targets men!!! Why are they sponsoring the Oprah show?!?

So, I’m turning to the fine folks at Dove to help me understand your strategy. Perhaps it makes a lot of sense. But, on the surface, I can’t tell why you would spend a lot of money (and I know it’s a LOT of money) to sponsor the Oprah show, which is going to expose your product line to women, when your other Dove Men+Care marketing and advertising speaks to men. So, any of you Dove marketers who subscribe to my blog (and I’m certain there are dozens of you), I’m waiting. What’s going on?

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New Media and SEO at the Nevada Interactive Media Summit

As I posted previously, I had the honor of presenting at the annual Nevada Interactive Media Summit again this year. The Nevada Interactive Media Summit seeks to “bring together business owners, non-profit advocates, publishers, newsmakers, bloggers, podcasters, filmmakers, media, PR and advertising professionals and anyone else interested in interactive media from every corner of Nevada together for hands-on learning, rich discussions, opportunities to meet with local companies working in interactive media and plentiful networking opportunities.” I felt fortunate to be the only presenter to give two separate presentations – one on the New Media landscape and one on the strategy behind Search Engine Optimization (SEO). This is the second year that I’ve presented New Media 101, and it was just as thrilling for me this year as it was last year. I really love the opportunity to take these seemingly complex (and to some people, scary) concepts and bringing them back down to Earth where they belong. The SEO presentation was a first timer for me and while I was pleased with it, I’d like to further refine it, and bring some more examples and humor into it. The conference was well worth the price of admission for attendees ($25), and there were so many intelligent minds in one space, and so many new and exciting ideas that it made for a wonderful experience. Thank you to the Summit coordinators who invited me to present my ideas and knowledge.

I’ve embedded the two presentations below. If you’d like me to present either of these for your business or organization, please feel free to contact me.

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I’m Presenting at the Nevada Interactive Media Summit

There’s no doubt been a buzz about if I would be presenting at this year’s Nevada Interactive Media Summit. And the great news for all of my loyal followers (both of you), is that I WILL be presenting! The event will be Saturday, March 6, 2010 at the University of Nevada (click the link above to get more information and to register). Registration for the all-day event is only $25 and will be well worth it. Make sure you check out the lineup of presentations, speakers and discussion panels.

I will be doing two presentations this year:

1) New Media 101: What is it, Why use it?
2) Searching for Strategy: There’s More to SEO than Code

I hope to see you all there!

(BTW – could this badge clash more with my blog design colors? Then again, most everything clashes with my blog design colors.)

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Have You Seen Our Ad?

I was watching football on Sunday morning, and an advertisement came on for Symbicort that featured an older gentlemen working on his truck. He’s talking about Symbicort generically improving his life. You know how these medication commercials go – sometimes you get to the end of the commercial and you still have no clue what the medication does. Does it help with blood pressure, give you an erection, make your eyelashes longer, or all of the above? Well, it turns out that Symbicort is for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) – basically, it’s like an inhaler that helps you breathe easier. I’ve included a shot of the ad below, as I couldn’t find the video online. Also – sorry about the resolution – I took the photo with my iPhone on a my non-hi-def TV in the bedroom.

Symbicort TV Ad

Symbicort TV Ad

My problem is not with the script for the advertisement, but rather with a line that appeared at the bottom: See our ad in Ladies Home Journal.

TV Ad 2

I have two issues with this:

1. Who is your target audience? COPD is not exclusive to men. In fact, it seems to inflict approximately the same number of men as women. This ad appeared during football on Sunday, which is dominantly male. OK, no problem, you want to reach the guys watching football. Why does your ad ask me to see the ad in Ladies Home Journal? Do you really think that a lot of the people that watch football on Sundays (men) read Ladies Home Journal? It’s not only unlikely, it’s stupid. Let’s say that in your channel planning, you decided to run  TV ads and magazine ads. Fine. And you decided to buy air time during a dominantly male program. Fine. Would you not also purchase an ad in a dominantly male magazine, like Sports Illustrated? THEN, it would be far more logical to say, “See our ad in Sports Illustrated.” I’m not mad at you for placing an ad in Ladies Home Journal – just don’t tell me about it during men’s programming.

2. See your ad in a magazine? Seriously? Why even add this line to TV ads? Unless you have the magazine in your home, you’re not going to head down to the grocery store and grab the magazine to find out more about an obscure drug ad. We already know that fewer and fewer people are reading magazines – they’re going out of business left and right. We’re going to go online to find out more information. In their defense, they did include their URL. I think my bottom line is that it’s a outdated technique to put, “See our ad in…” Don’t get me wrong, integrated marketing campaigns are supremely important. But, I think this technique misses the mark completely.

What do you all think? Was this poor marketing, or was it smart integration?

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