Make Marketing History

The views of a marketing deviant.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Nike's Retail ID.

This is the interior of Nike's 1948 pop-up store in London. It's one of five aroud the world that will exist for the next couple of months. Hidden away in a side street far from the regular retail haunts, it is fiendishly difficult to find and relies solely on word of mouth for traffic. So it's no surprise that it was empty when I arrived mid-afternoon on a weekday. There, however, the similarities with Nokia's flagship store ended.

Physically interesting, it's a mix of footwear gallery and specialist retailer, but the thing that really marked it out were the staff. All of them interested and interesting. Excited by the design and technology that surrounded them. Keen to inform, explain and opine.

I was sorry to have to leave. I will return. The whole thing made me think about Nike more than ever before and in different ways than perhaps was intended. But that's what retail spaces should do. Isn't it?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

This Accident Blackspot Sponsored By.

Well, maybe it's obvious that the pole of a street lamp is just gold-plated attention-space that's crying out for some media.

But, having zoomed out, you can see why it struck me that that the locals must be pretty good drivers to be able to focus on the three lanes of traffic decelerating on the hill that leads to a major intersection at the centre of this town, absorb whatever message was placed there and avoid an accident. How long, I wonder, before some transgressor or victim sues the advertiser for distracting them while driving?

I can see the superficial appeal to insurers, garages and undertakers, but when assessing the location of one's promotion media, it's probably important to think about impact in terms of more than just effectiveness.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Cool Britannia?

A media guide accompanied London's eight minute presentation that took place during Beijing's closing ceremony. It apparently declared that one intention was to show that London is “the coolest place on the planet”.

As one commentater observed, the mere act of claiming to be cool is an infallible indication that you are not. Marketers should remember that and also be aware that this applies to all adjectives, not just being cool.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Presentation Hell.

Geeks can create great things - like the Minority Report style touch-screen system from which the application above was derived. But, so often they seem to have problems when they try to suggest a commercial use for it because they focus on what can be done rather than what people would want to do with it. I said this in Geek Marketing 101 over two years ago but it seems these guys weren't listening.

Every presentation expert and bored-rigid audience member could tell them that the last thing anyone needs is a tool that encourages data-filled powerpoint slides. But that's what we have here and, worse still, they don't even make the effort to show a real presentation. Instead they choose to align their product with bad presentations.

Yet, the visceral reaction one has to the original technology is one of marvel and joy. That's what's so great about it and that's what should be the focus of any commercial exploitation of it. It shouldn't be about the technology and it's amazing that such brilliant people can't see that. Or realise that they have incredibly boring voices.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Marketing Or Misrepresentation?

Yahoo's home-page chooses to list Olympic nation in terms of total medals won where everywhere else has given priority to gold medals. So, to this point, China lies ahead of the USA. Except in Yahooland.

If your argument isn't totally convincing, should you still make it? Or should you assume that you will be found out?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Nokia Store Update.

At 5 p.m. today, Regent Street was busy as one would expect on a sunny summer afternoon.

However, this blog's favourite flagship store remains iconoclastically immune to the hustle and bustle of central London commerce.

Though I notice they've moved the staff closer to the door.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

UGC - The Ring Of Confidence.

John Jantsch highlighted this interesting use of user-generated content to create DIY placards for a political campaign. Even more interesting to me was the questioning about loss of control that appeared in the comments.

You can control what you choose to say. You can control where and how you choose to say it. But you cannot control what individual people think. Even if the political campaign did not supply a voter with a placard to fill in, that voter would still be thinking about the candidate in exactly the same terms as they would have written on the placard.

So what are the ramifications of this "loss of control" (more accurately the risk that people might say bad things about your product, service or candidate)? Well, if people have justifiable criticisms, then you're getting great feedback which you better act upon and if people say something that's unjustified, then those who disagree with them will know that to be the case and will probably offer their counter-opinions just as vociferously.

If you're worried about loss of control, you're in denial about the reality of twenty-first century communications, human nature and decision-making. More alarmingly, you're actually worried that your product, service or candidate isn't very good and that nobody will sing your praises.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Promote Behaviour, Not Your Brand.

Kellogg's are using an Olympic gold medallist to front a new campaign. The television spot (which I can't yet find online!) is topped and tailed with pack-shots and name-checks, but the underlying theme is the promotion of breakfast as a performance-enhancer in all walks of life.

A great philosophy with which to associate themeselves, but they had to contaminate it. Wouldn't it have been braver and smarter just to run spots that weren't product advertising? Infomercials, if you will, that focussed solely on the behaviour and made no reference to Kellogg's.

1) The absence of branding would differentiate the approach. It would label it as authentic information, rather than the latest creative execution. It would be less likely to be dismissed as just another ad.

2) The initiative could still be linked to Kellogg's at point of purchase via special packs and promotion and elsewhere by the myriad elements of a multimedia campaign (as, of course, they are doing).

3) While I don't think the tactic requires market strength to succeed, they're already market leader. That means they're most likely to garner the greatest share of the benefit of any resultant increase in breakfasting.

Promoting the brand is focussing on the competition.
Promoting the behaviour is focussing on the customers.
Promote the brand and you may pick up share of the existing market.
Promote the behaviour and who knows what you might achieve.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Don't Move To Jersey.

Steve Stoute is a former record executive who uses hiphop artists to connect products/services with a generation lost to traditional advertising, albeit by putting them in traditional advertising as far as I can see.

But when asked in a recent interview about how you stay in touch with a younger generation, he jokingly replied "Don't move to Jersey."

Many a true word spoken in jest.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

When Customers Outgrow Your Market.

It's every marketer's dream to educate a new audience and create a category. Starbucks did just that - they introduced a new vocabulary of lattes, mochas and cappuccinos to the world.

But marketers must never forget that education is a continuum. That audience now knows all about lattes, mochas and cappuccinos. They know the difference between a good one and an average one. And that's one reason why Starbucks just posted its first quarterly loss.

Consistency is good. Consistently improving is essential.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Garbage In. Garbage Out.

A New York Times article that compiled a number of recent advertising stunts also cited one of the most mind-boggling tactical rationales I've ever read.

"The fact that the core idea is quite subtle in nature means the campaign appeals to the target audience in a non-conventional way."

No, I didn't buy it either. But to be sure, I sought the expurgated opinion of a Singapore-based expert Robert Campbell - a man who knows a lot about bad advertising. His response nailed it as usual.

So it appeals because it's not an ad? Genius. When will they learn the youth aren't upset by ads - they're the most ad and communication literate generation in the World - they just hate when they're lied/patronised to.

Advertising/promotion is just one of the Ps and if you can't justify it in terms that you would use to justify any of the other Ps, then it seems to me that you should be rethinking whether it's justifiable at all.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Exploring Your World.

When you "research" your marketplace/industry, you could do worse than to follow these rules. Found at getshouty.