Thursday, September 10, 2015

Proof that even good products can have bad advertising and still work

This morning on my way to work while driving the baby to school, I heard an ad on the radio (how old does that make me sound, geez) and this time I actually listened. (Imagine that. A baby so quiet in the backseat that I can actively listen to a radio ad? I must have a lot on my mind, huh?)

Anyway, I listened to this ad for Flonase. The nose spray that keeps allergies away, you know the one. I know the one. I take it. It works. 

But here is the commercial:

"The only thing worse than being stuck in a traffic jam is being stuck in a traffic jam with allergies." 

And I thought about that for a moment before my brain exploded. 

Really? Really?? REALLY, Flonase? 

What is worse; allergies or a dislocated IUD? Allergies or steaming hot coffee spilled in your lap? Allergies or a projectile vomiting baby from the backseat? Allergies or a friend with cancer? Allergies or a divorce? Allergies or a closet full of pants that don't quite seem to fit? Allergies or a cat? (I hate cats, sorry not sorry.)

Then I continued thinking and growing more irritated with the very idea that someone somewhere thought allergies were the only thing that would make being stuck in a traffic jam on a long commute worse. And I cursed them. What privileged lives they lead. What lackadaisical legal experts they get to work with. What lucky bastards they must be!

The only thing worse than being stuck in your car on a bad commute is being stuck in your car with a rabid dog foaming at the mouth; wasp nest that just got knocked over; a tub of maple syrup or garlic mayonaise that just exploded at your feet; a brother in law who ate a really bad burrito last night; any of the Kardashians & all their tomfoolery; not just one, but two children who hate everything you stand for and demand to tell you for the entire trip; etc. The point is, there is no humanly possible way that the only thing worse than being trapped in a car is being trapped in a car with allergies. That's just silly. 

The real injustice is the fact that I want to know how on god's green earth a lawyer out there legally approved the copy for this ad? 

A lawyer in the pharm world actually didn't require the creative director to provide visual graphs and attribution to studies that prove with empirical findings, that in fact, the ONLY thing worse than being stuck in traffic is being stuck in traffic with allergies. 

I mean, it does suck. But it could suck a whole lot more. 

Also, please note that I did not listen to the rest of the commercial after my mind exploded, so these lawyers could have very well added a line or two about not being able to substantiate their claims and all that jazz, but I don't care. I've used Flonase and I know it works.

Also, I had a baby that had unwrapped an entire roll of Scotch tape in my backseat to deal with. 

Monday, March 9, 2015

It's called the amygdala and it works wonders, really

Marketing is a lot like love. 

The endless plight for connection. The goal of unfettered attention and eventually, real and true engagement. Advice is often the same, too. For both marketing and love: Use color. Use images. Aim for a gut reaction. 

Above all else, remain human when dealing with individuals who have a primitive brain. That's all of us, by the way. 


Ah, but what about the human heart, you ask?

It's all in the eye of the beholder, right? Or is it all in the bag? Or it is the bag that's on your head? 

Check out and get exposed to a new way of chasing torrid love affairs of the heart. It's a speed dating business in the business of masking our real identities with brown paper bags adorned with individual creativity. That's right, you show up, craft up a brown paper bag and wear it for the evening. Wearing this bag on your head allows your personality to shine, but let's face it. If the actual designed bag doesn't appeal to someone else's amygdala, then it's likely that the cat will remain. In the bag. And there will be reduced hope for true and literal connection. Just like good old-fashioned marketing aims to do each and every day. 


Monday, February 2, 2015

How McDonald's Won the SuperBowl

So it all started with a tweet. 

Then it ballooned into a full-on co-branded love affair. 

Take a look. 

Don't pay attention to the stock price lately, instead focus on the fact that they serve over 68 million customers a day in 119 countries across the globe at more than 35,000 retail outlets. That's big business on a global scale. That's a complex machine of parts and pieces that must work together or something will definitely give. And while they have been fighting some harsh criticisms and sinking profits, McDonald's offered up a SuperBowl social media case study like we've never seen before. They've got all the ingredients to a successful marketing execution:

1. Consistent branding
2. Clear call to action
3. Simple, concise & yet compelling message/graphics
4. Rewarding experience
5. Relevant in context & content
6. Measurable

McDonald's literally partnered with every single other brand that showed up during the big game. That's a huge feat, considering all that a brand has to go through in order to compliantly partner with another brand, let alone 57 other brands in a 3 hour period. Well done, team McDonald's, well done! 

And then, the real winner was declared. 

For more information on the state of McDonald's marketing, read the WSJ's recent post with McDonald's CMO Deborah Wahl. She wants to have a unique conversation with America. 

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Between a man and a girl.

The other night at my health club, I found myself walking around the track.

I found myself somewhat stuck behind an older gentleman and a young girl. The man had more than his fair share of pepper in his hair, but truth be told, he could have been anywhere from 40-60.

The girl wasn't a day over 4.

After I finished my workout, I hit the track to do some high-stepping, stretching and general cool downs.

Normally I use this time to relax; figuratively let go of my frustrations, my worries, my day.

Instead, as trailed man & girl, I felt an uncomfortableness grow deep within me, a stir that I usually leverage for my long runs and my extreme workouts. A stir of unrest that powers me to places that a balmy calmed demeanor could not climb.

But I was caught. I was hooked on the story. A story. 

Between a

And a girl of four.

She started the tale with a burst of jubilant enthusiasm, "Did we win?"

He paused for effect and replied, "Is it all about winning or is it all about learning how-to?"

Her words, this time with pain and doubt, stumbled out; "It's all about learning how-to..."

Him: "Are you sure?"

Her words, jagged with anxiety and dripping with pause, "Noooo, but youuuuu said..."

Him: "Sometimes it's about learning how-to because it's not always about winning."

Her: "DID WE WIN?"

Part of me wants to tell you that the man broke down and declared victory, flung the girl high up on his shoulders and paraded her around for all the world to see & celebrate her.

Part of me wants to stop the circle of frustration and anxiety that caught me that night, to spare you from it all.

But I can't. For we live in a world that doesn't work that way. We live in a world where the man continued chiding this girl of four, under the guise of parental authority, equality & education for all that indeed, it's not what you think and dream, it's only what it is. And worse, it's indecision and indifference that scars the deepest. 

The girl and man continued for a bit, just as I did. And in the end, the girl stopped asking if they won. They did not celebrate or pretend play or laugh or run like wild horses. They simply changed their shoes and left the building. And I left. With a story of why so many girls spend the rest of their lives trying to overcome feelings of fear and self-doubt. 

# # # 

Lessons learned here:

1. The worst thing you can do is take a passionate person and make them not care.

2. Also, never ignore the chance to tell a girl she totally kicked ass.