Thursday, February 26, 2009

Condoms on your butt

When it comes to media, placement is everything, and while’s sponsorship of various UFC fighters may hit the right audience, the specific placement of the company’s logo might raise an eyebrow or two. So where did they put it?

Right across a UFC fighter’s butt. I know there’s not much space on a fighter to put an ad- you essentially have use of his shorts, unless you’re going to tattoo him (not unheard of) . But I think there are certain implications to slapping “” across the backside of a sweaty man who’s wrestling another sweaty man while neither of them are wearing many clothes. Always carefully consider your sponsorships.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Vroom Vroom Brand Flubber

I remember Conan O-Brian, I remember New York, I remember ridiculous Swedes in a commercial within a commercial and a lying talent agent. What I don’t remember is a brand.

A hilarious commercial that I love and have seen several times now is lodged in my memory; I could tell you the entire story line, but I couldn’t tell you what brand it’s advertising. I think it might be beer, or an energy drink, a beverage of some sort. I haven’t checked yet to verify the advertiser who was treated to very memorable work that shoves their brand so far into the background of the New York star glitz that a professional creative can’t remember the product after multiple exposures.

It just reminds me that no matter how clever and entertaining we can be, at the end of the day, we still have to sell stuff. And if a potential customer has no idea what you’re selling, you’re not selling it.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Quote of the somethingorother

A new word a day keeps ignorance away.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Bathwater dirty? Throw out the baby.

With GM in need of some serious restructuring, they’ve been looking at narrowing the makes and models they offer. Oldsmobile is gone, Pontiac is getting pared down and GM is looking for buyers for Hummer and Saab.

Recently, GM planned put Saturn on the chopping block, while looking to keep Buick. I had to ask myself why GM would kill the younger, hipper brand for the stodgy old standby full of outdated sedans and undifferentiated SUVs. It turns out the reason is many-fold.

Abandoning the Brand Premise
For starters, the Saturn brand was built on community. In its early days, Saturn owners were like part of a special club, with events arranged, forums created and stories of their love for their Saturns exchanged. However, it seems GM was only interested in that push as far as it could launch the brand, and pulled the plug on the whole “community push” once the brand was relatively established. Guess what? When you build an entire brand on a premise and then abandon that premise altogether, your brand it going to feel it.

Chucking the Marketing Support
Second, Mark LeNeve, VP of Marketing, Sales & Service for GM North America admits in AdWeek that GM has cut the marketing budget for Saturn and hasn’t given it sufficient marketing dollars to successfully launch new models. Saturn has largely gone dark in several key media in a mature category where advertising is a big influence on brand preference. If you don’t put enough marketing behind a product in a crowded category like cars, it’s going to falter.

Selling Galoshes in the Desert
And third has been so far a systemic problem at GM of trying to survive under the old model where you try to sell people what you want to sell and not what they want to buy. Did they let Saturn stick to its original base of unique, small, economical cars? Nope. When gas hit $4/gallon, the GM folks were having Saturn scrap its best-selling small car in favor of introducing multiple SUVs based on Chevrolet platforms. Anybody see a problem with trying to sell what people can’t give away and discontinuing what people are trying to get faster than they can be made?

In short, I think Saturn is a brand that should stay around if it is managed with some semblance of competence. Let it get back to its core. At the very least, Saturn’s body styles are at least more up-to-date than Buick’s attempt at updating the classic 1920s Hudson.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

New Pepsi logo goes Oprah

I'm not even going to touch the fact that Pepsi thought it was a good idea to shirk the old logo that has decades of equity in favor of something suspiciously reminiscent of Obama's logo while touting a finger-shakingly similar message (Obama-Hope, Pepsi-Optimism).

I'm not even going to touch the fact they thought it was a good idea to instate three logos instead of one, making it impossible to identify the company without referencing a specific product line.

The really amusing part is that the logos contain "smiles," as Pepsi calls them, of such different girths. After reading up, it seems that they're intended to reflect something like a smile, a laugh, and a grin. Yet, my first instinct was that the size of the "smile" indicated how many calories or sugar, etc. was in each of the drinks. I thought they were visually delineating for the consumer whether they wanted to be small medium or large. But alas, with the fattest logo on the diet and the medium logo on the original drink, it just doesn't work out that way. Put them next to each other though, and it does begin to look like a chronicle of Oprah's waistline over time.

Sorry Oprah, that's was below the belt…then again, that's not the only thing.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Hooray for bad specs!

Ok, one billboard is a mistake, but two? It seems I have to let the production company off the hook when it comes to Pepsi's Optimism billboards. I saw another recently with that said "HOORAY!" with half or so of the exclamation point cut off.

It seems to have been either a design mistake or a very curious design decision. I can't think of a lot of experienced art directors of designers who believe in zero-margin work. Perhaps there was some deep conceptual idea that the optimism behind the words and the brand are so big that they cannot be contained within the narrow confines of a billboard! Except they could have done that with extensions and it wouldn't have looked like a rookie design error.

Oh well, nitpicking over billboard margins is hardly the worst of Pepsi's brand refresh problems. I hear plenty of folks are offended at the new 20 oz bottle, which is clearly a Gentile.