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Posts Tagged ‘Advertising’

OK, can we make an effort to move on from this Motrin bitch fest? The online ads are being pulled and those in print will follow eventually. An apology has been issued and I’m sure the company is going to be much more careful. If this is what was wanted, congratulations, you’ve succeeded. Now what?

How are we going to harness all this power for good? There are far more important things in this world to worry about than a questionably offensive advertisement. Hell, I think (and there are others who’d agree with me) that there are far more offensive ads that have seen the light of day, yet I can’t seem to recall anyone really making a fuss over them.

I want to focus on something that is bigger than you, bigger than me, and bigger than all of the kerfuffle that is still plaguing the Twitter stream – people who don’t even have the luxury of engaging in this conversation because their worries are far less trivial. They worry about where they’re going to find the money for heat, warm winter clothing, whether they can have a Thanksgiving meal next week, or even afford Christmas gifts next month. They might sit behind an avatar online, but they’re in your neighborhood – on the other side of town, across the street, even next door. They are the people who matter most and I want to try an experiment. I want you to help me help them. I want us to help them together.

We know the economy is in a slump and people are tightening their wallets, which means many organizations are downsizing or looking for other cost-cutting measures. For nonprofit organizations that heavily depend on public and private donors, this could spell disaster.

The unfortunate aspect with a worsening economy is that the need for assistance has gone up, with those who may have never utilized help from charitable organizations finding themselves turning to them in desperation. The Salvation Army is just one example of organizations that are facing these issues right now.

I can speak from personal experience (disclosure: I worked for a TSA office briefly) that TSA, armed with a simple mission of “doing the most good,” is very much committed to making the world a better place and helping to ease the struggles that people face every day. Although its most famous fundraising tactic, the Red Kettle Campaign, doesn’t officially kick off until Nov. 27, it doesn’t mean that the organization doesn’t need your help now – many offices have already started to roll out the red kettles and bells early.

Locally, we’re seeing a shortfall (at least in my county) of at least $200,000 while need is increasing, and I’m sure if you looked at your own area offices, you’d see the same thing. Last year, I participated in the roll-out of a online initiative that would take the red kettle from the streets to the internet. I had my own kettle, but didn’t do much with it as there were so many distractions going on at the time.

I’m not giving up. It’s time to try this again.

I’d like to ask the community to put its power to good use and help me out. I’m starting small with a fundraising goal of $125, but would love to be able to give a much larger donation. As cliche as it sounds, every cent counts. You can even start your own!

If people can make noise about an ad, they can surely spare a dime or two  or fundraise to help those less fortunate … right?

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UPDATE 10:47 P.M. – Looks like the folks behind Motrin are taking notice of the outrage.

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While watching the Penguins win over the Buffalo Sabres last night, I checked my phone to tweet and see what everyone else was yakking about. I noticed that there happened to be a huge uproar concerning Motrin and there was little I could do to find out due to a) not having an awesome iPhone or Blackberry/smartphone in general and b) I was at a house party, so … you know. When I got back this afternoon, I could see that there was much outrage by many moms on Twitter about a new advertisement on the product’s official site.

After monitoring the Twitter steam for a while at Motrin and #motrinmoms, I finally decided to watch the video to see what all the hubbub was about. Honestly, after watching it, I can say that I’m not wholly offended. I’ve watched it numerous times since then as a way to continue analyzing it, but nope … still nothing. Perhaps it’s because I don’t have children that I tend not to take any real meaning out of it. I think I’m in the minority here, but maybe not.

You can watch it and form your own opinion, but whereas many see the tone as condescending, I’m more convinced it’s supposed to be tongue-in-cheek. Additionally, I can’t help but think I could relate and might secretly have the same thoughts whenever I’m a first-time mom, too. Am I wrong for thinking that?

There’s strong focus on buzzwords such as “supposedly”, “things”, “official mom,” and so on. While we can argue over the context of those words, it is my humble opinion that “things” refers to the swaddles, swings or whatever you want to call them and NOT babies as some seem to think.

Many are calling it a PR nightmare. At this point, we don’t even know who is on the team that formulated this concept. I’d be interested to see if some of the team members are moms who may/may not have had experience with babywearing and thought that they could share their own experiences in a semi-humorous fashion. How would the perception change if this comes to light? A focus group may have helped, but again, we don’t know if they put it through the proverbial wringer before making it public.

It could have been helpful for Motrin to have a Twitter presence right now to deal with the backlash, but how can one person (or a few people) possibly engage on a personal level with hundreds of angry parents at once? How would you do it? I’m unsure that having a social media presence at this particular moment would have really helped the situation.

You can argue with me that then I don’t get it. I do, but this whole wave of social media platforms is still very new and companies are slowly starting to catch on. While we can bitch and moan that it would be so much easier if every company utilized social media, I think it’s imperative that they monitor and understand what’s happening “now” before taking the plunge. Having a presence just to have a presence isn’t always the best thing if your company has no clue and is more or less utilizing these platforms as the opportunity to spam or quite simply broadcast and nothing more.* Now, this situation might show the company (which is part of the Johnson & Johnson family) that social media engagement could be helpful in the future and I’m sure they will be paying more attention to it.

In the short term, I see an official statement being issued in response to the backlash and the ad will go *poof*. I don’t think a boycott will have any detrimental effect on the brand. Those who haven’t bought the product in the first place, probably won’t anyway and that’s more than likely due to the cost or loyalty to another brand.

While I do agree that the ad is a bit tasteless tacky (again, I don’t see it as offensive), I don’t believe they intended to piss off an entire market. They tried to reach moms in a way that they thought they’d be able to relate, but obviously it backfired – back to the drawing board. I’m looking past the controversy on a personal level because at the end of the day, the product works and to me, as a consumer, that’s what matters.

*I know this might sound pretty contradictory to several posts I made previously about businesses utilizing social media, but I don’t believe every company will find value in all social media tools. Participation ultimately needs to be structured according to what type of conversation they’re looking to have – hence, I just throw out suggestions.

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A former co-worker showed this to me one Saturday when we were both in the office working. Whether we’re exposed to 300 or 3,000+ ads per day, (I guess that’s really up for debate) I thought this was pretty interesting.

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Mario “Le Magnifique” Lemieux, Pittsburgh Penguins hockey legend and the team’s current owner, is often quoted as saying, “It’s a great day for hockey.” But it was actually former coach “Badger” Bob Johnson who coined the phrase. Either way you slice it, for Pittsburgh, it truly is. In just three years, the Penguins (or Pens to the typical fan) have managed to turn around from a dying hockey club into a champion, almost tasting champagne from Lord Stanley’s Cup last year for the first time since 1992.

There are many tangibles that have factored into the Pens’ good fortune as of late and it all started with drafting Sidney Crosby, first line center and the youngest captain in the NHL, with the 1st-overall pick in the 2005 Entry Draft. He was hailed as “The Next One,” joining the likes of goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (1st overall, 2003 Entry Draft) and forward Evgeni Malkin (2nd overall, 2004 Entry Draft), who jumped ship in 2006 from his Russian team to play for the Pens. Forward Jordan Staal (2nd overall, 2006 Entry Draft) made the big league last season in his first year turned pro and hasn’t looked back. Add some veteran grit to a talented, young roster and a strict disciplinarian coach in Michel Therrien, and you have the makings of a winning hockey club.

This year’s campaign, “A Great Day for Hockey,” is fitting when considering the past of the Pens and the immediate future during which Pittsburgh will say goodbye to its beloved Igloo (Mellon Arena) and welcome a new, yet-to-be-named facility currently under construction – a move that ensures the Pens presence in Pittsburgh for years to come. What I love most about the commercial is that it not only highlights what the Pens do on the ice, but also what they do off it and the thousands of dedicated fans who cramp into the Igloo or brave the cold to see their beloved Pens play (and hopefully win). Pittsburgh-based rock band, The Clarks, provide the vocals behind the action with their rendition of Louis Armstrong’s “What A Wonderful World” in a fitting homage to all things Pittsburgh.

Here’s the official link to the video: A Great Day for Hockey

You can also follow the Pens on Twitter @pghpenguins.

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I wasn’t really planning to do another ad review for a week or so, but given the spirit that we’re coming off another football-filled weekend, I thought, “What the hell?”

You’ve probably seen this commercial by now, which follows the lives of NFL superstars LaDainian Tomlinson and Troy Polamalu. Often, we don’t think about the back stories of a professional athlete unless we’re real diehards who have followed his or her career since high school. David Fincher brings life to Tomlinson and Polamalu’s individual stories from birth through adulthood. Two players whose paths, although similar, have never crossed find their fates intertwined on the gridiron in one single moment.

An absolutely brilliant commercial, I’d rate it as one of the best I’ve ever seen. Fans of each player, as you’d expect, look favorably upon it as well.

While visiting Nike Football, I found a pretty neat tool that allows you to compare your own football statistics against Polamalu, Tomlinson and Carson Palmer. It’s not just limited to their professional statistics – you can also compare how you stack(ed) up against them in high school and college. If you’re still in high school or college, you can search and import an opponent’s stats as well. Well, I’ve never played football except for those times in gym class flag football, so it doesn’t necessarily apply to me. Furthermore, my lack of gym class FF stats would make for a rather embarrassing measure against, say, Polamalu. In any case, I like the concept. Good stuff.

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I’m kind of cheating here and using an assignment from a previous MBA class, but I’ve been thinking of starting a series of ad reviews for fun and reflection. Actually, I’m starting a whole bunch of things soon. Slowly, but surely. Anyway, pressing on.

get closer

Photo Credit: get closer

I actually saw this advertisement on a bus shelter as I was coming into Downtown one morning and it intrigued me. It featured a can of Diet Coke wrapped in a coffee sleeve. Typically, we’ll associate waking up in the morning after making the commute to work or school with a cup of coffee. Yet, this advertisement is enticing us to think about our mornings differently.

I normally don’t associate drinking soda with the morning rush and I’m sure most people don’t either, but the ad seems to be saying, “Here’s your alternative method for caffeine.” Furthermore, I think that it’s subtly saying there’s no virtually calories associated with this drink; whereas that venti quad extra caramel with whip mocha will run you well over 400 calories.

So, it’s like which would you prefer – chugging x number of calories at 7 AM to get your caffeine fix or enjoying a beverage that could provide the same benefits with virtually no caloric intake? Visually appealing with a slight bit of humor weaved in, it’s an effective advertisement.

Want to explore this more? Canada.com has an interesting article about the Diet Coke ad campaign and morning soda consumption.

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By the by, have you seen the new Pepsi logo design? I’m not sure how I feel about it. Tony Spaeth makes a good point when he says:

“It’s tilting the whole brand presentation from a classic expression of uniqueness and quality into something that is much more humorous, almost flippant. … It worries me that it is less durable, less permanent and classic. It comes across as more of a campaign idea than an enduring brand expression.”

The comments aren’t so favorable, either. I just find it interesting that Pepsi has revamped its logo so many times while the Coca-Cola logo (aside from the whole New Coke fiasco) has essentially endured. Why?

There’s been some outreach by Pepsi to 25 influential bloggers and a dedicated room on FriendFeed. I suppose the point is to get people talking, but is the average American aware of this move? Does the average American care what an A-list blogger thinks of his or her complimentary Pepsi shipment and the new design? Probably not and I think that’s one of the things we’re still struggling to figure out with social media – how to get more than a few of us to actually give a damn.

In an upcoming post, I’ll have some more commentary on other brands returning to “their roots.”

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