Blog

January 2015 - PS Insights

ASTROTURFING

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Native advertising has a sibling term. From Wikipedia, “Astroturfing is the practice of masking the sponsors of a message or organization (e.g. political, advertising, religious or public relations) to make it appear as though it originates from and is supported by grassroots participant(s). It is a practice intended to give the statements or organizations more credibility by withholding information about the source’s financial connection.” Football players stub their toes on astroturf and get really painful injuries called turf toe. Don’t you hope advertisers who don’t disclose sources suffer similar pain?

TRANSPARENT

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Much has been written about the success of Netflix original program. Now people are talking about the power of YouTube for appointment viewing and a plethora of new viral stars. Into the mix comes Amazon Streaming and its show Transparent that just took home a Golden Globe award. What we watch as “television,” where and how we watch it is undergoing a revolution. So why are advertisers about to pay $4.5 million for Super Bowl :30’s, up a whopping $500,000 per from last year’s $4 million price tag?

SERVICE BEGGING

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We are constantly amazed and totally put off by virtually every car dealer employee who in the sales or service of a car has the audacity to beg for a 5 out of 5 rating for service. Quality service should be intrinsic to the business not something asked for in an evaluation. What does it mean if service provided is only a function of score not commitment?

SIGNS

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Last week we questioned the wisdom and originality of the first new candidate in the new iteration of the McDonald’s I’m Lovin’ It campaign. Now it’s time for the praise. “Signs” accompanied by the fun anthem “Carry On” celebrates the golden arches community sentiments surrounding adversity and celebration. It’s been very controversial. But, we think it’s on brand and we’re lovin’ it. Authenticity is a powerful brand driver. When and how can a business capitalize on life’s poignant realities to benefit their business?

OVERSHARING

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Both of us are on Facebook (of course) but neither of us spends any time on it. Whenever we interact with the medium, we are continually impressed (that should be read as depressed) about all the people we know who share their every life event with the world. Most of the postings are spectacularly trivial. Is it to show off or show up? One of our business adages is “just because you can doesn’t mean you should.” Shouldn’t this be a life lesson, as well?

THE THOUGHT THAT COUNTS

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Paul had a student who sent him this note at the end of last semester: “On the last day of each semester I email my professors who I believe actually taught me something. I truly did enjoy your class and believe that I can use what I learned from you in my everyday life in my future marketing career. Your class was fun, entertaining, informative and useful. I wanted to say I appreciate the way you taught the class and handled the students. Thank you again and enjoy the holidays.” What struck us was not so much the sentiment but the thoughtfulness – the idea that this student has a ritual of expressing appreciation. He will be remembered for it. And, as he carries this kind of behavior into the working world, he will likely be that much more successful for it. What rituals do you have that show your appreciation?

CLOTHES CALL

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All the recent discussions about drones have focused on either their military application (recon, scouting, targeted killing) or Amazon’s high-profile excursion into home (drone) delivery. But wait! Here comes drone advertising. A clothing store in Sao Paulo, Brazil, used a fleet of drones to promote their Black Friday sales. The drones carried mannequins wearing the store’s sale items and hovered outside office windows in the downtown business district. Is this yet another dimension of if you don’t elect to see ads, the ads will come to you?

ALL THAT GLITTERS

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A hot new site in Australia has captured the world’s attention. It’s called “ship your enemies glitter” and it’s fiendishly clever. You pay $10 and they anonymously ship your enemy an envelope full of glitter. Inside a letter. The recipient pulls the letter out and – poof – glitter all over everything. And you know that stuff, just like beach sand, never comes off. How big an idea is this? Since social media momentum built two weeks ago, they’ve run out of all their supplies of glitter. Twice. And whom are you planning to send it to?

OFF TARGET

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Target Stores has just announced they’re getting out of Canada – closing all 133 stores and laying off over 17,000 workers after losing as much as a $1 billion a year. Ouch. This is all pretty “culture deaf” for a company that recently nursed serious wounds from being “cyber deaf” in one of the biggest hacking abuses in retail. For a company whose mantra is “Expect More. Pay Less” these two events have underscored quite the opposite. How do you ensure your business is clicking on all cylinders – delivering great customer value and ensuring consumer delight?