Monthly Archives: January 2012

The Sticky Trophy

In the run-up to their 2008 Super Bowl win, Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin constantly talked about how sticky the Vince Lombardi Trophy is. As an assistant coach with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tomlin discovered that by the time he had the chance to put his mitts on it, the Lombardi Trophy was incredibly sticky with the goop from tackafied leather gloves, Gatorade and sweat. Every time Tomlin talked about the trophy he called it sticky. Holding the sticky trophy became a mantra for the team.

What was Tomlin doing? He was using a specific and tactile detail to make winning the Super Bowl more real for his players. By making the trophy sticky, something everyone could relate to, he took winning from the realm of the imaginary to the believable.

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Airplane Food

They try too damn hard on airplanes. What they should do is give you something simple: a coke, a sandwich, a bag of chips and a hostess cupcake. Would anyone complain? I mean, compare that to like microwave linguine or burritos (wtf? i actually got served burritos on a flight once) and a sandwich wins every time.

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A Really Beautiful Global IMC Fail

Dove. They make beauty products, but unlike those other cosmetic brands, Dove cares a lot. They’re about what’s really beautiful. And they care about your self-esteem.

Well at least they started to care when they realized that criticizing stereotypes of beauty would help them gain market share. Enter the “Real Beauty Campaign.”

Since roughly 2004, Dove has been using traditional tv ads, digital & PR to create a distinct brand image: real people are really, really beautiful.

Creatives have focused on the barrage of media images young girls face that create an unattainable and limiting view of beauty.They’ve also made the claim that older folks are beautiful too, creating a line of “Pro-Age” products (not anti-aging like their venial competitors).

Just to give you a little taste, here’s a short “Dove Film” about building self confidence:

Nice. Heartwarming. On message.

Dove, however is a global company and while a somewhat grittier and individual perspective on beauty might play well in the US, it doesn’t work everywhere. But, a Global IMC needs to be GLOBAL, as in used everywhere no matter what. Here’s what Dove in whipped up in China:

http://player.youku.com/player.php/sid/XMjYxOTQ2OTA4/v.swf

So “Real Beauty” is about Ballet dancing? “Real Beauty” is a “Beauty Story” (美丽的故事)? Doesn’t seem very real to me. Seems more like those self confidence withering media messages about perfection that Dove was intent on critiquing.

Some Takeaways:

  • If you’re running a global campaign, make sure you can localize it. Something like “beauty” is difficult because it is inherently a cultural construct. Your Big Idea has to be globally big.
  • Make sure your local staff & agency understand the concept
  • Needs for consistency have to be balance with effective local creatives

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Whither the Freshmaker

Mentos Spider Swipe App

Mentos commercials are strange. They have always been strange. When I was a kid, they offered a glimpse into this bizarre, gender ambiguous place where eating a chewy mint could resolve even the most daunting crisis. Later I found out that Mentos are from Europe and it made sense. Even more awesome, Mentos blow up when mixed with diet coke.

So, you’re Mentos and you have to follow Euro-Trash metro-sexuality and explosions. How do you market your product? Turns out you make a disturbing commercial about Spiders and bundle in an iPhone app. Everyone hates Spiders, but does everyone understand their connection to European Mints? I don’t. The commercial is funny and the app is sort of ok. I give them an A for effort, but the whole thing would probably work better if it made sense.

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Block out the Noise

New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick loves the phrase “Block out the Noise.” He uses it to encourage his players to ignore both positive media hype and destructive criticism.What people outside the locker room have to say doesn’t matter at all.

Life is full of noise. People tell you what to do, what not to do and they especially love to talk about things they have no idea about. If you want to get anywhere, you need to block out the swarm of  positive and negative opinions. Focus on what you want to do and figure out what you need to do to achieve it. Everything else is just static. Don’t let the static in.

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The Future of Digital Music is Video

At least according to this guy.

Trouble is, video isn’t a future, it’s a tactic. Sure you might gain traction by using all different kinds of tactics: video, social media, PR, whatever it takes.

But, no tactic will make the difference if your music isn’t good.

The future of digital music is playing your ass off and being so good that no one can ignore you. You get that good by playing live and focusing on the music. Music comes first, tactics come later. Block out the noise and get good enough to be irresistible.

Don’t put the cart before the horse.

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How to Sell Rats

I just finished James Clavell’s 1st novel King Rat. It documents the author’s experience as a ww2 POW at the Japanese camp on Singapore, Changi. One of the books most interesting anecdotes is a plan concocted by a group of GIs to grow and sell rat meat. Led by the King of Changi–a swashbuckling American black-marketer–a rag tag group of American POWs built a rat breeding system under the plank floorboards of their hut. Soon enough, the GIs were swimming in rats. Trouble is, how do you sell rat meat? The Yanks came up with an ingenious solution:

  1. Lie to people and tell them that it was a miniature dear, which was a Malay delicacy

Lying to their buddies, however, didn’t sit well with the boys. What to do?

The solution was simple: restrict the sale of  rat meat to officers. This worked because:

  • They detested the officers enough to con them
  • The perceived exclusivity of the rat meat drove up the price
  • Officers felt compelled to buy in order to match with their self-conception as elite

The moral of the story? You can sell anything if you’re creative and understand the market. Just ask the guys who sell chuanr by Bar Blue.

Note: Not There won’t be selling any rat meat or if we do, it will be behind a pay wall.

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