Blog

September 2014 - PS Insights

NOT INVENTED HERE

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Time and again we see perfectly good advertising campaigns dumped because the new CMO suffers from “non invented here” syndrome and wants to blame lackluster sales on his predecessor. Truth is, it’s almost always a multitude of issues that plague a struggling company, and a new logo and new campaign aren’t going to fix the problem. Which is why CMOs have often had a short life cycle among Fortune 100 companies. Ouch. Are you quick to point a finger—or do you take a more holistic approach to addressing and solving marketing and business issues?

VIRAL WAR GAMES

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We’re both iPhone users. But hats off to Samsung for the viral war games they’ve played with iPhone over the past few years. Within a week of Apple’s iPhone 6 announcement, Samsung launched TV advertising dissing the new Apple entries as Samsung 2012 derivatives. What do you do to hijack market leaders?

WHAT’S THE INSIGHT?

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A marketer’s Holy Grail is finding her customers’ driving insight. But it can often take years to find (two-and-a-half years for Discovery Channel’s “Explore Your World” for example) and be equally hard to exploit. Ironically, the mark of a true insight is that when it’s properly mined and refined, it seems almost blatantly obvious (Nike’s “Just Do It” for example). Hunting the insight is a challenge in terms of both time and money—but the rewards can last 50 years (“Fly the Friendly Skies of United”) or more. How do you identify your customers’ needs and turn them into brilliant brand insights?

REAL SUGAR

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Pepsi has been running a campaign all summer long celebrating the fact that the brand has been formulated with real sugar. Since sugar has been largely vilified, the campaign seems weird to us. If real sugar is a good thing, it makes us focus on how terrible the sweeteners before must have been. Do your product improvements celebrate something wonderful or mitigate things that have been worse?

SWEAT IT

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A terrific hidden camera campaign for Gatorade delivers on the conceit that it’s a sports drink and you’ve got to sweat to earn the right to drink it. The campaign is hidden camera, the celebrities aren’t identified with title cards (you either know them or you’re not a true Gatorade sweater) and it’s got an edginess that’s perfect for Millennials. We think it does a great job or distinguishing Gatorade as a sports drink. How do you demonstrate the unique benefits of your brand?

MARKETING PC

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Bruce Levenson had to sell his ownership share of the Atlanta Hawks because of a memo in which he wrote “My theory is that the black crowd scared away the whites and there are simply not enough affluent black fans to build a signficant [sic] season ticket base.” Hmm. If it wasn’t “My theory…” and instead said, “Research shows that…” would it still be a “racist comment” or merely a marketing reality? Market research has always sliced and diced demographics. Is all of that Un-PC? If you decide your brand isn’t for everyone, are you being exclusionary? How do you address the nuances of targeted marketing?

DON’T PLAY WITH MY STAY

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Paul recently went to book a hotel and ended up at a third party reseller. A high order Google search put the reseller ahead of the hotel. Upon asking a few simple questions it became clear that he was not buying from the source. Plenty of third party players want to cut you deals. Telephone billers? Oil company fulfillment parties? Be careful what you buy and from whom. And don’t you wish there were more vigilant requirements for representing who the seller is and what the terms would be?

AHOY, MATEYS!

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Today is National Talk Like A Pirate Day. Didn’t know that? Well, one of our readers does—and he uses the occasion to celebrate the day and promote his business. Instead of getting lost in the end-of-year holiday gift-giving deluge, he stands out from the crowd by picking and celebrating a fun occasion that’s religiously neutral, a lot of fun and has no competition for attention. What do you do to stand out in the crowd, swabbie?

NATIVE

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Native advertising is the big buzz these days. In an era where consumers time shift and watch programming when and where they want, fewer and fewer people are seeing traditional TV advertising. We’ve long noted how advertisers are paying more and more for smaller audiences. But now the game in “native” is burying ads and sponsors in “advertorial” content. It’s not a new thing in the magazine business. But calling it “native” somehow suggests authenticity while others might consider this deceptive advertising. Wouldn’t it be so much better if advertisers spent their energy creating brilliant advertising consumers really want to see and will talk about?

COKE SHARE

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This has been the summer of Coca Cola sharing. Cans with all sorts of first names and others printed with buddy, pal, friend and other relational call-outs. For a brand selling “Open Happiness” this has been a wow campaign that has generated a lot of positive buzz. It must have been quite a challenge to customize the brand. Did somebody say Cabbage Patch Kids? What do you do to extend personal focus to yield incremental business and lots of positive chatter?