Jack Trout Lends Perspective to Word of Mouth

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Writing in Forbes, the legendary Jack Trout pokes a hole in the word of mouth bubble claiming its nothing new and in early days basically accomplished the same thing by tapping "early adapters" with traditional marketing to get them to talk up a product. He riffs on both the positives and the negatives of the current flavor of word of mouth and questions the relinquishing of control marketers give up if they plan to enter the word of mouth space writing, "If I go to all this trouble developing a positioning strategy for my product, I want to see that message delivered. Buzz can get your name mentioned but you can't depend on much else." Certainly the current iteration isn't completely about giving up control as it's filled with tactics and strategies to control, guide, enable and direct the seemingly uncontrollable but, Trout does have a point.

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by Steve Hall    Mar- 9-06    
Topic: Consumer Created, Opinion, Viral, Word of Mouth



Obesity Is Not Marketers' Fault

Dan Jaffe over at the ANA's Regulatory Rumblings blog makes a concise argument, as we have before but with far fewer facts, that lays blame for obesity not on the action of marketers and advertisers b ut squarely on the shoulders of lazy-ass kids, their parents that let them sit on their ass all day long playing video games and schools which have drastically cut back on physical education.

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by Steve Hall    Mar- 6-06    
Topic: Opinion, Research, Trends and Culture



Blank Banners Celebrate Clean Up Australia Day, Online Clean Up Needed

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We wish FastClick/ValueClick, Casale Media and all other ad networks and their advertisers would take note of a recent ad campaign by Australian agency NetX for Virgin's sponsorship of Clean Up Australia Day which placed blank ad banners all over Australia's Yahoo home page this past Saturday. The ads remained blank unless the mouse was rolled over them which then revealed the messaging you can view here.

Please. PLEASE ad networks and cheesy advertisers, is there really any need at all to place vibrating banners and pop unders which defy blockers? Do you care about consumer sentiment? Your brand? Have you no pride in the industry you represent? Or is it that you don't give a shit and you'll take money from anyone who has it? I thought so.

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by Steve Hall    Mar- 6-06    
Topic: Online, Opinion



Oscar Ads Not So Bad, 'Crash' Wins

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I didn't watch the entire broadcast of The Oscars but I will tell you this: many of the ads during the broadcast were, far and away, superior to those that aired during the Super Bowl. Miller ran an ad that actually treated beer drinkers as intelligent people. American Express (say what you will about celebrity selling out to that campaign) created an amazing and very quirky commercial featuring M. Night Shamalan. It was brilliant. The ad is currently viewable on the My Life My Card site.

Aside from the ads, the presentation of the honorary Oscar to Robert Altman by Meryl Streep and Lily Tomlin was one of the best presentations in Oscar history. The performance put teleprompters and most other actors to shame.

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by Steve Hall    Mar- 6-06    
Topic: Opinion, Television



Wake Up And Smell Your Marketing

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Everyone who works in marketing and any business touching it must read this article. On CBSNews.com, Dick Meyer wrote an editorial hammering home points we've touched on here before such as the portrayal of men as idiots in advertising, the hyper-political correctness foisted upon the industry and society at large and the acceptance, what scholar Charles Murray relates to "ecumenical niceness," of kids dressing and behaving like thugs fueled by marketers and the entertainment industry elevating "thug culture" to culture at large. If that's a lot to digest, just read the article and think long and hard about what cultural imagery you mirror in your marketing. Don't cop out using the tired, "Oh we're just identifying with culture," and turn a blind eye to what you are perpetuating.

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by Steve Hall    Mar- 3-06    
Topic: Opinion, Trends and Culture



Marketers Could Learn From Microsoft iPod Re-Brand Spoof

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OK, we're a few days late in sharing this but a spoof video showing how Microsoft would brand the iPod is hilarious, true and indicative of the horrific packaging and marketing most brands puke out of their verbal diarrhea spewing mouths. Give it a watch then show it to everyone in your company and watch them squirm as they embarrassingly acknowledge, "Uh, yea, we did that once too."

by Steve Hall    Mar- 3-06    
Topic: Brands, Opinion, Spoofs



Lance Armstrong Puts His Face on American Century Investments

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While this site called Lance Face featuring Lance Armstrong's head popping onto the heads of other does deliver some important financial messages from American Century Investments, one has to wonder what the connection is between Lance and this effort. If there is one, it's definitely a mystery. Oh wait, American Century Investments Founder Jim Stowers, Jr. had cancer too. That's it. Makes perfect sense. Before all you survivors get pissy about this assessment, I've been where Lance has so I'm allowed to make cancer jokes.

by Steve Hall    Feb-27-06    
Topic: Online, Opinion



Bike Culture Cry Babies Get Pissed Over Commercialization

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Culture Critic Bucky Turco points us to an article on Sucka Pants in which the author decries a Brooklyn store's use of "bike culture" in its store front windows and discusses the vandalism the store received by doing so. Call us jaded by years in the "we'll co-op anything for a buck" advertising industry but one does have to wonder why "bike culture" fanatics feel their culture is the only one that shouldn't get a commercial nod. The only reason a store, or any other retailer or brand for that matter, mimics a particular culture or trend is to make their offering relevant to the public. If no brand did that, every brand would still be stuck in the fifties imitating American Graffiti culture. No one wants their sacred culture commercialized but in a capitalist society, there's little chance a culture with any cred won't sooner or later be bitten by a brand desperate for commercial success. Oh, and by the way, roads were built for cars.

by Steve Hall    Feb-27-06    
Topic: Opinion, Trends and Culture



Shell Collects Consumer Info With Calling Card Promotion

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Shell, in a seemingly innocent effort to give away a free phone card valued at $2 to students away from home during the Chinese New Year, has, according to Tian, distributed promotional pieces around the Arizona State University campus. In order to redeem the offer, students must fill out a web form including email address, name, address and some other optional demographic information. Certainly, this information is needed to send the actual card, however, the promotion's Terms and Conditions state the cards are only available first come first serve causing one to wonder why Shell needs to collect the information from any person who signs up after the cards run out. Surely, Shell knows exactly how many cards it has to give out and could very easily terminate the promotion once all cards have been claimed rather than continue to collect information up to an arbitrary end date thereby building itself a nice fat database of names for future use.

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by Steve Hall    Feb-21-06    
Topic: Bad, Direct, Opinion, Promotions



Guatemala Is A Country, Not A Throw Away Brand Name

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Just because the United States of America has a few perception problems in other parts of the world, doesn't mean the country should go and change it's name to something that exudes a friendlier perception. Just because everyone refers to Australia and "down under" doesn't mean the country should adopt that name. Just because Iraq caught some crap from the rest of the world, the country isn't running out to change it's name so we all think differently about it.

A county's name is steeped in history and isn't something to be toyed with like a brand name but that's what Al Ries would have us believe. Because Guatemala seems to be suffering some perception problems among the rest of the world's populace who don't realize it's the center of Mayan culture as opposed to Belize, El Salvador and Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula who've co-opted the culture, Ries, aside from disliking the country's new slogan, "Soul of the Earth," thinks the country should change its name to Guatamaya. Yea, you heard that right, Guatemaya. That's like calling Australia Kangaroo. Or Brazil Bootyville.

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by Steve Hall    Feb-20-06    
Topic: Campaigns, Opinion, Worst







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