Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I'm awesome, my study says so. Wanna buy my stuff?

A study has recently found that promotional items are much more effective than advertising. You can find the story here, thanks to Adweek. Highlights from the study include pretty amazing findings, like the finding that 62 percent of respondents have done business with an advertiser after receiving a promotional product, and that 84 percent of consumers remembered an advertiser based on a product they received. If these numbers seem too good to be true, it's probably because the study was conducted by the Advertising Specialty Institute. The Advertising Specialty Institute is an organization dedicated to promoting the interests of promotional item vendors. Is it any wonder then that the study they conducted concluded that the thing they're trying to sell FAR better and cheaper than the thing they're competing against?

They're not the only ones who have done this recently though. I just can't conceive of how a company misses the importance of source credibility and at least the appearance of impartial study results. Even if these unbelieveable positive results are true, how can anyone put any faith in the results of a study done by a group that has such a vested interest in the study's results? If they were really confident in their product, they would commission a third party study from a reputable research firm. Once again, it seems that executive orders may have overridden the well-meaning advice of a PR person left to pull his or her hair out in frustration over one of the most basic marketing principles violated.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Recycled programming - the next thing in green

It's green week, so even marketers cautious of greenwashing are back on the air with their messages. What contribution is USA making? They're so green, they're even recycling episodes of your favorite shows. In a spot promoting a Monk marathon, USA tells us that's their contribution to green week - showing us recycled episodes (known to lay people as "reruns"). Don't worry about Hollywood either. While they haven't promoted it much, they've been recycling plots for years. Here's to the green pioneers. May someone treat you to a recycled steak dinner.

Location, location, location

Placement can be everything, even when it's not advertising related. Many apartment complexes have gates that require codes or cards or remotes to open. A portion of those actually have gates that work. For those gates that actually close, they each have a method for emergency personnel like the fire department to get in - a special access code, for example. Another common method is a button to open the gate contained in a box that only emergency personnel have a key to. Here's the kicker. I was driving out of an apartment complex the other day and guess where their emergency box was? On the inside of the gate facing in. Oops. And you thought misplacing an ad was a disaster.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

False comparison

If you're an advertising uber-nerd, you've probably heard about the "soup wars" between Campbell's and Progresso. Both are accusing the other of using MSG in their soups. While there's still question about whether MSG is actually bad for you, the arguments (at least one of them) are textbook examples of logical fallacies you learn in a first-semester advertising class.

In Progresso's latest spot, they claim that Campbell's makes 90 soups containing MSG and that Progresso makes 26 soups that contain no MSG. See the problem? Progresso doesn't address how many soups they DO produce that contain MSG or how many Campbells produces that DON'T contain MSG. For all we know, Campbell's could produce 100 soups without MSG to Progresso's 26 and Progress could produce 100 soups containing MSG to Campbell's 90. You can't compare the numbers presented without the rest of the picture.

It's like saying I'm better than Johnny because I have 5 A's on my report card and he has 3 B's. For all we know, I could have 5 A's and 6 D's while Johnny could have 8 A's and 3 B's. But by only comparing the pieces of information that suit them, they create the appearance of superiority without the proof.

I suppose it should come as no surprise though. Others have been using this often hard-to-detect tactic for decades. Auto manufacturers are notorious fans of it. More headroom than car A, more trunk space than car B, thousands less than car C. It makes the manufacturer's model seem superior to them all, when in reality they're only comparing their model to the lowest performer in their model's class for each feature.

I'm not sure who will win the soup wars, but it seems both soup makers fail first semester advertising.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Quote of the somethingorother

Those who know aren't talking. And those who are talking don't know.

-News Anchor

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Huffy and bad packaging goes mobile

If you're lusting for an emerging media post, keep looking, this isn't one of those posts. When I say go mobile, I mean physically like a guy riding a bike...riding a bike drinking a beer...a beer in a can in a brown paper bag. The maker of the beer would probably have been pretty happy with the bicyclist's choice to conceal the can with a brown paper bag, until they realized their logo was so positioned as to show over the top of the brown paper bag. So much for the wisdom of a tall boy.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The 3 B's

There's a restaurant/bar not too far from where I live called 3 B's: Beer & Burgers. If you take a second to let that sink in, you'll probably be wondering the same thing I am - what's the third B? I've tried to figure it out. I've dreamed up all sorts of words to fill in the blank and I'm sure others have as well, many of which are likely not what the owners had in mind. I bring this up for one simple reason. Be careful naming anything. If you leave any blanks, consumers will fill them in, and you may not be happy with the results.