Author Archive

Please don’t tweet me you twit!

December 17, 2010 Leave a comment

I’m a fan of all the creative ways companies have harnessed the power of social media and word-of-mouth marketing except for one annoying tactic that seems to be here for good.  Too many Twitter and Facebook users have become channels for retailers and brands to spam me.  An effective method to get customers to become brand ambassadors is to create contests where you have customers mention the brand – via hash tags, status updates, etc –in exchange for an opportunity to win X.  This tactic has single-handedly chased me off of Twitter.

While word-of-mouth marketing is powerful and consumers will trust a brand more if it has been recommended by a close friend or family member I do not think these tactics are effective in leveraging that trust.  When I receive 10 twitter updates from my best friend regarding the new #Nike sneakers that are amazing!!!@NikeTown I instantly suspect that he has some agenda or incentive that is causing this obsession.  I’m more likely to become engaged with the brand if tweets I receive from friends and family are more organic.  #Nike is amazing; they accepted my return without receipt after 3 months @NikeTown is more likely to convince me that this is a brand that I want to experience.

I understand the gut reaction to go for the low hanging fruit.  If I worked in the consumer goods industry I’m sure I would employ these tactics as well.  At minimum it will create an added level of brand awareness.  However brands do run the risk of creating so much noise — with the assistance of my classmates, neighbors, and friends – that consumers will ignore their messages every time a Facebook status pops up with a generic note of enthusiasm for the brand.  Brands should focus on creating awesome experiences for their customers that will result in honest, organic expressions of appreciation.  When I did engage in Twitter I made a point to highlight experiences positive and negative whenever I deemed it warranted.

Before terminating my latest affair with Twitter I removed all personal friends and spammed the living daylights out of all the various brands that were following me.  Vizio got slammed with updates about TJMax,, Boloco, and anyone else who had a free gift card, sandwich, shopping spree, or tv for me.  This was my lame attempt to teach these brands a lesson — saddly my tweets were probably barely noticed by some poor marketing intern who monitors twitter feeds all day.  And I’m still waiting to hear about my chances to win that 65” 3-D LCD TV  :/

Categories: Uncategorized

I thought I was too smart to be duped by marketing!

December 15, 2010 Leave a comment

I’ve been practicing marketing communications for several years.  I have a bachelor degree in Business Management concentrating in Marketing, two certificates in related fields, 7/10ths of a Master’s degree in Integrated Marketing Communications, and countless hours of pro-bono mar-comm services to local politicians — certainly I’m far too media savvy to be persuaded by primitive marketing tactics.  A recent product placement by Orangina in HBO’s Bored to Death destroyed all grand thoughts of my intellectual superiority.  Thanks to this soda/juice/carbonated-bastard of a drink, I am now no better than the simple peons I’m trained to manipulate with buzz words, high res images, moving pictures, and catchy tunes.  It pains me to think that my beloved HBO has partaken in this injustice!

Bored to Death centers around a writer who cannot complete his sophomore effort and begins to moonlight as a detective to escape the reality of his failing career.  Quirky, nonsensical premise – sounds like a perfect Thursday evening show to me.  Ted Danson plays the central character’s mentor and boss – a marijuana smoking, man-about-town who is successful in the boardroom but a failure in life (i.e. three failed marriages).  Room for some hilarious character development — okay, I’m ready for the laughs now.  Yes, season one comes and goes and Bored to Death makes it into my permanent lineup of shows.  Once again HBO delivers off-beat comedy at its best.  All is good in the world, right?  WRONG!  Along comes season two’s premiere “Escape From the Dungeon”.

Escape from the Dungeon features Ted Danson’s character suffering from the budget cuts put in place by his new publishing company.  One of the fringe benefits to be slashed is the office supply of (yes, you guessed it) Orangina.  Ted Danson proceeds to deliver a brilliant speech on the wonders of Oragina. The plot carries on and the show ends.  I don’t think twice about Oragina, marketing, consumer behavior, my superior intelligence.   It’s simply goodnight and off to work in the morning or so I thought…

I should note that prior to this episode I had no awareness of the Oragina product.  Around 10:00 am, I visited my company’s vending machine like I often do.  I quickly scan the rows of flavored waters, juices, and sodas for my staple – an Orange-Mango Nantucket Nectur.  Suddenly my eyes dart back to the left and I can actually see Ted Danson cradling this very same Orangina bottle, uttering thirst-inducing adjectives.  It is 50 cents more than my established favorite and I have no clue what it tastes like – obviously I’m not going to purchase this product.  Why am I still adding coins after I reached Nantucket Necturs $1.50 price point?  Nantucket Nectur is E-3, not C-6!  C-6 is (yup, you guessed it again) Orangina.  At this point I’m still in denial and chalking my $2.00 impulse purchase to pure curiosity.  I crack the seal and the carbon releasing almost sounds refreshing.  I swallow my first gulp of Orangina and all is wonderful in the world.  It does taste like heaven, Ted Danson sure knows his stuff!

It is now 7:00 pm and I’m reading my consumer behavior homework.  The author is going on and on about brand awareness, inducing first trial, and the various sources of information search.  I sat amazed as I realized that in less than 24 hours I went through a complex marketing cycle in which I gained recognition of a brand (product placement), was marketed to (p.o.s. in the vending machine), performed a search for information (Ted Danson’s various descriptors), compared alternatives and attributes (Nantucket Nectur vs. Oragina), made a purchase decision, consumed a product, and made a post purchase evaluation.  I could not believe that I was duped into making a purchase decision based on a two-minute product mention on one of my favorite shows.  How dare they do this to me?  I’m a marketing professional, where is the respect?

I wrote this partially poking fun at myself  but it is amazing how susceptible we are to marketing messages even when we understand and practice the science of communications.  Every day we are bombarded with images and messages that manipulate and alter the decisions we make.  No man is safe, so please be on your guard the next time you watch Entourage or you may be driving an oversized, yellow, gas guzzling Hummer next week  while drinking Avion Tequilla and listening to Saigon’s newest album.  Well if you’re drinking tequilla while driving a Hummer you may have some bigger problems than marketing messages!

Categories: Uncategorized

Tippex lets your imagination run wild

One thing I’ve always loved about European companies and ad campaigns is that they tend to be less conservative than their american counterparts.  Tippex sells correction fluid (i.e. White Out), pretty standard fare right?  Their latest YouTube campaign gets a bit more risque than your typical office supply ad.  Tippex also does a great job using YouTube and a little meta data to predict the whims of a juvenile 30-something year-old grad student — capitilizing on my lack of maturity.  If you know any juvenile 30-something year-old grad students then you know this ad is far from conservative.  The ad presents a YouTube video of a hunter about to shoot a bear.  The ad then asks viewers to decide the fate of the bear.  Try it yourself.

Now this is where the fun begins…

After making your decision you will be presented with an opportunity to rewrite the story — hence your need for correction fluid or Tippex to be specific.  I stretched my imagination in the 15 minutes that I engaged and failed to find an act that the campaign did not anticipate.  My imagination limits admittedly begin and end in the realm of a 12 year-old boy. But hey, who wouldn’t want to see a hunter “shag”, get drunk with, smoke with, rap with, and marry a bear?

Tippex Ad
The last time I checked on the YouTube channel, the video was shy of 13 million views.  This is reminiscent of the creepy Burger King chicken from a few years ago.  However I commend Tippex for finding a way to capture a solid portion of my lunch hour.   During lunch I typically break into full A.D.D. mode while scouring the web — 30 seconds of engagement is considered impressive, nevermind 15 minutes.  Tippex is definitely in my brand awareness now.  The next time I open my job’s Staples catalog I’ll be sure to see if Tippex is offered in the US market.

Categories: Uncategorized