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Four Common Magazine Ad Mistakes

Ad Age Daily recently released an article displaying The Most Effective Magazine Ads of 2010. It made me wonder what makes an ad drive people to take action or at the very least pay attention. I then remembered another article I read that looked at numerous ads and determined the four most common mistakes. Here is the list as a little reminder to anyone who designs ads at work. It was a good refresher for me as well.

  1. They display little interest in generating meaningful action.
  2. They don’t emphasize benefits and therefore, provide little reason to believe. Otherwise put as, they don’t tell the customer what’s in it for them.
  3. They lack stopping power, therefore creating little connection with the reader.
  4. They inhibit involvement because of hard to read text.

The goal of ads is to drive purchase and therefore increase sales. Yet only 33% of ads are effective in accomplishing this task. It seems that many ads are making the four most common mistakes.

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‘My Bud Light’ Packaging

April 4, 2011 2 comments

I was watching TV today when a commercial for Bud Light’s new ‘My Bud Light’ Packaging campaign played. Instantly I had one of those, “why didn’t I think of that” moments. If you haven’t seen the commercial yet, I’ll explain exactly what this bottle is and soon you will be saying the same thing to yourself.


The new bottle offers consumers a way to personalize their beer. The bottle has a ‘My Bud Light’ label that when scratched with a coin or key, lets consumers write their name, message or drawing on the beer bottle.


This product is perfect for the current trend of consumers who want to feel like they are apart of a group but also want to be viewed as an individual within the group. The bottle gives consumers the opportunity to be just that – apart of a group of friends drinking beer and a way for them to express their individuality.


Senior Director of Bud Light, Mike Sundet comment on this new bottle design, “This new bottle is one of the many ways we can bring Bud Light’s fun personality to life. Bud Light drinkers are always looking for fun, quirky ways themselves, and ‘My Bud Light’ bottle offers them a canvas to do just that.”


The new bottle could also be used as a way to keep Bud Light consumers involved with the brand. Bud Light could hold a contest for the most creative bottle design and have consumers upload the pictures to social media sites such as Facebook.


The new bottle will be available April 4th and only offered for a limited time. Currently Anheuser-Busch holds 48.4% of the U.S. beer sales to retailers. It will be interesting to see if the ‘My Bud Light’ packaging will help to increase sales.


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Random Acts of Kindness (R.A.K.)

March 19, 2011 Leave a comment

Random acts of kindness (R.A.K.). When was the last time you were the receiver of one? According to an article from TrendWatching, companies are making large efforts to reach out to their target audiences through R.A.K. First off, the article describes R.A.K as the following:

RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS | For consumers long used to (and annoyed by) distant, inflexible and self-serving corporations, any acts of kindness by brands will be gratefully received. For brands, increasingly open communications both with and between consumers (especially online), means that it’s never been easier to surprise and delight audiences with R.A.K.: whether sending gifts, responding to publicly expressed moods or just showing that they care*.

The article makes it very clear that R.A.K. is not about rewarding customers for posting nice messages about the company or buying products. R.A.K. truly is about randomly showing customers that the company is thinking about them and wants to make their day a little bit brighter. R.A.K. are relatively easy and cheap to execute and will help companies be viewed as personable and caring in the minds of their target audiences.

There are three main factors driving the success of R.A.K. The first is ‘Human Touch’; meaning customers are fed up with large corporations that are only out for themselves. They expect companies to be socially, ethically, and environmentally responsible. To prove this point the article stated, “71% of people ‘make it a point to buy brands from companies whose values are similar to my own.’ (Source: Young & Rubicam, August 2010.)” R.A.K. express to consumers that companies have human emotions and personalities.

The second factor driving success: social media is making it increasingly easier for companies to engage in R.A.K. People are willingly sharing tons of personal information about their whereabouts, moods, likes and dislikes. With 91 million tweets being published by Twitter daily, companies can easily find customers who need and will appreciate their R.A.K. The real time information being shared through these applications allow companies to tailor R.A.K. to each customer, making the R.A.K better received.

A great example of R.A.K. is when Proctor & Gamble-owned Secret deodorant saw a customer post on their Facebook wall that she couldn’t buy Secret in Spain. Although the company couldn’t mail her the products due to custom regulations, an employee who was traveling to Italy took some with her and personally mailed the package to the customer once abroad. The customer was delighted and immediately showed her appreciation on Secrets’ Facebook wall.

This is also an example of the third factor of success. Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites allow for customers to spread their R.A.K. experience, creating even more positive impact for the company. Many companies can video tape their recipients’ reactions to their R.A.K. and post them on YouTube for others to watch. Spanish travel agency Atrapalo did this when they helped Lucas Jatobá thank the city of Barcelona for the great time he had living there for three years. Jatobá  did this by attaching theatre tickets to balloons and released them over the city. The video of the event was taped and has now been watched over 350,000 times.

R.A.K. doesn’t have to be as extravagant as flying to Italy to deliver Secret deodorant. Sweetgreen, a restaurant chain in Washington, sends out employees to perform R.A.K. for their customers. These acts have included covering people’s bike seats when it’s raining and leaving gift certificates on peoples’ car windshields that received parking tickets.

R.A.K. seems to be a great way for companies to create brand loyal customers. The acts of kindness form a bond or relationship between the customer and company. Think about it, how much more likely would you be to go back to a restaurant that noticed you had a parking ticket and tried to dissipate that annoyance by leaving you something nice? I know I’d be a fan for life and would definitely spread the word to all my friends and family.

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