Posts tagged advertising

Geico, Who Are You?

Geico‘s marketing efforts are confusing me. They’re really inconsistent. What’s the campaign? Is it the lizard? Is it the caveman? Is it the celebrity testimonial? Oh, maybe it’s the stack of money with the googly eyes. Er, perhaps it’s one of these motorcycle or ATV ads that have nothing to do with any of the others. Remember the, “I’ve got good news… I just saved a ton of money by switching to Geico?” 

Seriously, there seems to be a group of people sitting around a table and coming up with good ideas, and nobody to say, “no, let’s try to be consistent in our marketing efforts.” Instead, they just picked all the ideas, and said, “go with it.” 

Beside the logo slate at the end of a TV spot, I can’t tell that I’m watching a Geico spot. Sure, they’re all kind of quirky, and that is part of their brand, but they’re all so different that they don’t feel related. They don’t feel like a campaign. There are 10 different ideas, 10 different campaigns on the air. Here’s the tragedy in it all – Geico has done of good job of creating strong brand awareness, thanks to the gecko ads that started running in 1999/2000. If you recall, the (now famous) gecko pleaded with people to stop mistakenly calling him to save money on auto insurance. I’ll give Geico credit – they have a strong brand awareness. That’s why it’s tragic…

Why not use this awareness more to your advantage? I feel like with some consistency in marketing, you could leverage that recognition even further. But, until then, I’ll just be confused as to how a lizard, a caveman, squirrels, Joan Rivers, cash with a piercing stare, a baseball coach, a man on a beach with his motorcycle, and a bodyguard are a part of a cohesive ad campaign.

Here’s a list of links to some of the spots I mentioned. I figured links instead of embedding videos, to cut down on loading time.

Lizard – “Free Pie and Chips”

All Caveman Commercials

Squirrels

Joan Rivers Celebrity Testimonial

Googly-Eyed Cash

Motorcycle on the Beach

Female Bodybuilder

Secret Agent

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More Advertising, Please

I am SO sick of companies thinking that if they give you a taste of content that they’re entitled to blast you with tons of worthless, one-way advertising. Disgusting.

A few times a week, I have to endure receiving the “Neighborhoods” version of the Reno Gazette-Journal in the mail. There are a lot of problems with this publication, despite it not delivering on its promise of news in my area of town. This publication is nothing more than a shell for advertising. In this latest issue, it contained 3 pages of content/articles (and 2 of those three pages contained some advertising), and 214 pages of advertising. I’ll repeat those stats – 3 pages of articles, 214 pages of advertising!!! That’s almost 99% advertising. I know, you’re wondering how the hell that’s possible. I must have my numbers wrong. Nope – I counted three times (I’m careful, plus I often waste my time if I can make a point).

RGJ Neighborhoods

RGJ Neighborhoods

99% Ads

99% Ads

Of the flood of ads I received in my newspaper, how many were relevant to me? Who knows? I don’t. I typically throw this whole package away because I know that I am not getting any relevant content in that publication. Advertisers – you are wasting your money! 

It’s no surprise to see that consumers are growing increasingly weary of this kind of “interruption advertising” and turn to communication channels in which they can better control the interaction. Yes, I’m talking about everybody’s favorite hot topic – social media. Sadly, advertisers are already in full stride toward the gold rush that is social media, and treating it the same way they’ve abused mass media. This parasitic behavior makes me ill and angry all at once. Some advertisers are  slithering their way into the established communities in different social media channels, and treating it like their own “Neighborhoods.” Are they giving members of their communities valuable content, meaningful conversation or a symbiotic relationship? Nope. They treat it as a new place to put their ads (and advertisements take many forms). I am warning advertisers again, that you should treat social media like this only if you want to fail. 

You think you’re participating in social media? Re-examine that notion – because if you’re not “playing by the new rules,” you will fail. Have you created a blog and are simply posting your press releases there? Fail. Maybe you created a Facebook page – but is there any community interaction other than you blasting out promotional messages? Fail. Maybe you have a Twitter account so that you can syndicate your blog entries of your press releases. Fail. Are your YouTube videos nothing more than advertisements (be honest)? Fail. I encourage diversification of your presence in social media – but you have to think differently in this arena. It’s not another advertising platform. It’s a community-based form of communication. If I invited you over to my house for dinner, and all you talked about was how Cinnamon Toast Crunch was $2.95, or that your new pickup truck had 250 horsepower or some other way I should come spend money with you… I would never invite you over ever again. Please understand the analogy here.

So – anybody who is putting out content – be it in publications or in social media – evaluate your communications. How much of it is promotional? Don’t let it be 99%. Not even close.

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You’ve Got to Treat Her Like a Lady

I was prepared to write about brands on Twitter. I was going to argue that brands definitely should be on Twitter (based on a recent discussion that I read on MashableExhibit A, Exhibit B). While I still support brands on Twitter and other social media, I have seen so many bad examples, that I need to air my grievances about fellow marketers who are rushing to use this shiny new toy they heard about (for fear of being left behind) called social media. And, in doing so, are treating it like advertising, and tainting the landscape for everybody. 

Ahh – Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose – you were so wise when you wrote “Treat Her Like a Lady.” You and many other romantics truly understand social media. We marketers should pay attention to those beautiful songs to have an equal understanding of how to interact in social media.  

Some marketers are like that guy who is verbally or physically abusive to his girlfriend. Sure, she trusted him at first – she may have even believed she could change him. But, what he did was jade her toward other men; perfectly good and well-intentioned men who just want to talk or listen. But she has every right to be jaded. Why should she trust you, or me, or any other guy (brand) from here on out? Why welcome them with open trusting arms, only to be blasted with abusive, one-sided messages, and unwanted garbage? 

Do you see what you did, jerk-faced marketer? You’re ruining it for the rest of us! We could be good for her. We could give her what she wants and needs out of a relationship. But you ruined it! Here’s what you did wrong.

YOU ACTED LIKE AN ADVERTISEMENT.

Yes, that is shameful in the social media arena. The one thing that SO MANY marketers (be they agencies or independent) forget is that social media is really quite simple. Lean in closely as I tell you the secret to unlock the true power of social media…

TREAT SOCIAL MEDIA LIKE A GENUINE, TRUTHFUL, CARING RELATIONSHIP. (sorry for the all-caps again, I’m getting irritated)

I know that for many of you, maintaining a relationship is one of the most difficult endeavors you’ve ever encountered. If that’s the case, you can use this blog post to improve your success in social media, and in your love life. You’re welcome. 

Treat her like a lady

Treat her like a lady

1. Offer some value to the relationship. What do you offer her? Seriously, think about that question. Don’t tell me periodic discounts and links to your blog, Casanova. What does she get out of the relationship? Is the relationship all about you – all about what you can get out of her? For shame! Do something for her without concern of how it benefits you.

2. You must listen to your lady. This is HUGE! Would you want to stay in a relationship with somebody who just talks and talks and talks about themselves? Hell no. Nobody does. You aren’t that interesting – admit it. This is another example of a one-sided relationship. Listen to her talk about her day. And don’t listen with an eagerness for her to finish her sentence so you can talk about yourself again. Listen with genuine concern, because you care about her and you care about what’s important to her. Then talk to her about the things that are important to her. 

3. Let her get to know you. Be a person, not a character. Open up – let her know what makes you tick. Let her know what makes you happy and sad. Share your life with her. Be vulnerable. Be sincere. It’s easy to act like you care for somebody when you actually care for them. She will love you for it. She will be loyal to you.

4. Do something nice for her, just because. Unexpectedly, do something nice for your lady. The pre-requisite here is that you’ve listened to her, and you know what she wants. Trust me, this gets you a long way for a long time. But you can’t give some thoughtless gift, like that little stuffed teddy bear holding a heart that you grabbed at the gas station 5 minutes before you got home. 

5. Never think you’re better than her. Do you really think she should be grateful to simply be with you? You’re God’s gift to her, huh? Nope. A relationship is about mutual respect and understanding. A relationship is about love, trust and openness. If you want her to think you’re special, treat her like she’s special to you.

6. Continue to court her. Once she says she’ll date you doesn’t mean you’ve locked her in, and can do what you want. It will be much harder to try to get her back once you’ve lost her. So don’t lose her – keep showing her how much you want her. 

7. There is no blueprint for romance. Romance is about knowing the other person, knowing what is important and special to them, and knowing what will excite them. If you don’t know that, you’re not in a strong relationship.

So, remember, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and the like are not new billboards for you to place your ad. You don’t have a right to be with the people here. But, you can be here. Be a person first (brands can be people with attitudes, feelings, convictions, etc), then seek relationships. If you can prove that you’re here to foster relationships, rather that extort them, you will be welcomed with open arms, and you will be loved. But don’t you dare make the mistake of thinking you can keep a relationship here without putting in the time, effort and care that any real-life relationship require. That’s right, a real relationship. And this time, make sure you treat her like a lady.

Good example of a BAD BRAND on Twitter

Good example of a BAD BRAND on Twitter

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Truth in Packaging

OK, yes this is another post about me complaining about marketers. How many times have you watched a commercial for a big juicy burger – meat glistening, giant ripe tomatoes, big fluffy bun, melty cheese – so perfect you want to run out and grab it right then and there? However, you get to the restaurant and proudly order your new discovery only to be handed a soggy, limp little burger. How could this be? You saw it with your own eyes on TV. You feel betrayed! You’ve been bamboozled! What are you to do?

Wendy's Baconator

Wendy's Baconator (Ad vs Reality)

I don’t know, my friends. What can you do? The laws seem to be fairly loose around this kind of thing – but is it so wrong? I’ve been on the set of food shoots – it’s truly an art. There are professional food photographers who are very good at their job. They use all sorts of materials to get food to look good. They put gloss on the meat to make it look juicy. The use carefully calculated placement of sauces, applied by syringes. Next time you see a box of cereal, take a close look to see if there is a heaping spoonful of cereal in cold milk. Odds are, the milk is actually Elmer’s Glue. 

Should we be upset? Isn’t this just like a human model for clothes or sunglasses or makeup or something? Isn’t this just the same as seeing that shirt on a model, going to the store and buying it, only to see that you look like a turd in the exact same shirt? Kind of. The food has to be photographed to look appealing, I get it. Here’s the BIG QUESTION for the blog – how close should the actual product look in comparison to the commercial or the photo? 

Take a look at this next winner of a product lie. There’s supposedly six kids that can frolic around in this kiddie pool. Looks great – what an oasis of fun! You can go down the water slide while your friends chill in the pool. Perhaps you’d like to play basketball or ring toss? Sure – it’s all good, kids. Back to reality – I feel bad for the kids in this “reality” photo. While the two products are very similar, that is NOT the same product. The kids in the photo on the box are pixies or something. Seriously! Look at this photo and just shake your head in disbelief (well, that’s what I did). Is there no Truth-in-Packaging law? I couldn’t find one, but if somebody knows of it, please give me the details. Is this ethical?

Wow, not even close

Wow, not even close

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Got Creativity?

OK, this is my rant about lack of creativity by marketers. This is a HUGE pet peeve of mine. It irritates me to no end to see marketers lazily attempt to market their product or services by copying the popular “got milk?” ads by simply using lowercase type and filling their product or service in the blank of “got ______?”  How lazy are you? 

The “Got Milk” advertising campaign was created in 1993 by Goodby Silverstein & Partners for theCalifornia Milk Processor Board and later licensed it for dairy farmers. Milk had seen a 20-year slump, and this wildly popular advertising campaign is credited with milk’s resurgence as a competitor in the beverage industry. The first TV ad to run in 1993 was about a luckless history buff who adores Alexander Hamilton (in fact, it appears his apartment is like a mini-museum). He is slathering peanut butter onto a sandwich as he hears the radio announcer’s trivia contest. The question: “Who shot Alexander Hamilton in that famous duel?” Next caller gets a chance to answer. Well, who do you suppose would get the call. None other than our tragic star who has just stuffed that peanut butter sandwich in his mouth. The DJ cannot understand his answer (Aaron Burr), so our hapless hero reaches for the milk to wash down his woes and win $10,000. No milk. Tragedy. “Got Milk?” is the simple tag on a black screeen. Brilliant!!! Check it out, below. 

OK – so what’s your problem, Mike? I was driving in the Costco shopping center and drove past this pickup truck with these 10-foot cat tower things (I guess the cats climb on them), and a big sign that said, “Got Cats?” Ugh – why don’t these amateur marketers come up with something original instead of stealing and presenting a pathetic carbon copy of a great ad? And there are no boundaries for burglary of “Got Milk?” Check out some of the examples below. You’ve got everything from “Got Jesus?” to “Got Sand?” to “Got Shoes?” Plus, my favorite: “Got Poop?”

Anyway – that’s my rant. Keep your eyes open for these pathetic attempts at marketing, and gaze upon them with absolute disdain. Promise you will?

(Also, just for all of our viewing pleasure, I added a true “Got Milk?” ad featuring Hayden Panettiere to the gallery)

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