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June 2016 - PS Insights

WHEELS FALL OFF AXL

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This news in from theSkimm. Axl Rose asked Google to remove unflattering photos of him that have been used as memes. The resulting #FatAxl is certainly not his hoped-for resulting hashtag. The point is you can’t whine in the digital marketplace. You can change the conversation through positivity. As theSkimm says, “Welcome to the 21st century Jungle.” What do you do to manage your image in digital and social media?

m BAN IN SWEDEN

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So M&M’s has lost its small m in Sweden. Printed on every little candy, this will be a change for the iconic global brand. But when a local culture has a famous competition brand – in this case Marabou – owning the “m” is tough to win in a local court of law. We wonder how the court would have ruled if Marabou wasn’t a Swedish-based company. What do you do to protect your intellectual property in every market in which you do business?

STEVE SWITCHED

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We wrote the other day about the dangers in Sprint’s “Paul Switched” campaign. But the question of whether people will see through a spokesperson who was just an out-of-work actor overestimates the awareness, attention and intelligence of the American public. It’s called “the curse of too much knowledge,” when marketers assume the general public knows as much about their brand as they do. While “Paul” might be just an actor, to the general public he was the face of Verizon—which is why Steve thinks the campaign works. How do you find ways to think like your customers instead of thinking like a marketer?

SNICKERS FREAK OUT

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Snickers has done such a great job owning the 3pm sugar fix time of day and extending it to the broader platform “You’re not you when you’re hungry.” Now they’ve cleverly leveraged the publicity their Super Bowl commercial got. It’s an interactive billboard featuring the classic Marilyn Monroe subway grate scene. The unexpected drama here is that those who stare will see Marilyn transform into Willem Dafoe just as the Super Bowl commercial did. Clever for sure. On brand, sure. What unexpected drama do you subject your fans too?

 

 

CAN YOU HEAR HIM NOW?

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Paul Marcarelli was the “spokesman” for Verizon for nearly 10 years, wandering the advertising landscape asking us, “Can you hear me now?” He’s back—but now he’s shilling for Sprint! The campaign is getting a lot of media and a lot of attention. The question is–is this effective for Sprint or will people think he’s just an out-of-work actor who’s taking a pay check from a competitor? We each have a different opinion on this one, but how do you use spokespeople for your brands?

EVOLUTION

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HwÆt, we gardena in geardagum, þeodcyninga þrym gefrunon. Can’t read that (or even pronounce it)? Why not? After all, it’s English–Beowulf to be precise. The English language has been evolving for 1,000 years, and we’re now 60 years into the next evolution: from Modern English to Post-Modern or Digital English. Cursive writing is no longer taught in school. For several years now in his writing workshop, Steve has predicted the disappearance of the apostrophe in our lifetime. Our story yesterday about the disappearance of the period might surprise and upset people who prefer Modern English, but too bad. Get over it or get out of the way. How do you hwÆt, we gardena in geardagum, beodcyninga?

PUNCTUATION

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Paul believes great writing is rapidly becoming one of the lost arts in a world of texting and Snapchat. Now, the simple period is in danger of disappearing. Part of the fun of the preceding piece from the New York Times is it was written without any periods. Do you think we will do just fine with commas, question marks, dashes, colons, semi colons and exclamation points?

THE LAST MILE

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20 years ago, the conversation in the telephone, television and cable industries was about “the last mile.” Everyone knew digital and fiber optics were coming, but the question was how to get that last mile—the old copper lines into the consumers’ houses—wired? We’re seeing that same question playing out in every other industry today. Everyone from grocery stores (Peapod) to eTailers (Amazon drones) is struggling to solve the riddle of that last mile. How are you planning to reach your customers when they no longer want to go out for any reason?

WHOPPERITO

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Well, the Whopper is about to come in a new form. Everything you love (or don’t) about Burger King‘s Whopper will be available in everything you love (or don’t) about Burrito form. Hype or hip? Hungry for more? What do you do to mashup your brands to create news and new experiences?

NOT THE USUAL SUSPECTS

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We were watching the Monaco Grand Prix over the Memorial Day weekend (on TV, <sigh>, not from our yacht docked trackside in Port Hercule). The racetrack was lined with the usual signage you see at international sporting events: Tag Heuer. Emirates. Rolex. But a whole new set of sponsors have popped up on the global stage. Have you heard of BetClic? Zepter? Bioptron? We didn’t, but were curious enough to look them up to see what they did and how they could afford prime racetrack real estate. The results were a bit of a surprise: did you know you could get a home light therapy device for 996 Euros? (Plus shipping and handling, of course.) How are you keeping up with new businesses and global disrupters?