Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The $1 cup of coffee

A couple of weeks ago Starbucks announced that it will use a couple of Seattle stores as testing grounds for selling a cup of coffee for only $1 dollar. While the idea is both innovative and a bold marketing move by Starbucks, after visiting New York City it seems like a natural reaction to the increasing competition of companies in the East Coast. Through my observations I found that most customers have a $1 markup as their reservation price for a single cup of black coffee. I discuss this trend in more detail on my website.

Price in the streets

During my exciting trip to New York, I observed how the streets were crowded with various types of street sellers. These street sellers tried to sell famous brands at "affordable" prices. However, because of their price it was clear that these items were just cheap knock-offs. At the same time, these type of items are in high demand because their value is higher than the price. Both the seller and the buyer are aware of the nature of the item, that is why this industry is so vibrant and has thrived for so many years in New York City, while in Seattle, this type of industry has not had very much success. As I explain in my website, this reveals trends in the perception of value in the streets of New York.

Customer Values and Expectations

While I was walking through the vibrant streets of New York a couple of weeks ago, I decided to research the value proposition of the two major competitors of the coffee business in the city (Dunkin' Donuts and Starbucks.) Through observation and customer feedback I found that even though they provide the same product, they provide different values.

The link provided will take you to the website where my research is hosted and further elaborated upon. 

Sprint Commercial

I was watching videos on and came across a Sprint commercial that I thought was very interesting and really pulled my attention to it. It's a flashlight animation commercial and it actually tells a story, which is why I think it's really interesting. It relates to us, their audience and then relates that to it's phone so here it is.

Classic TV Ads

I came across this site that I thought was pretty interesting. It has a large variety of different TV ads from the 1970's, 1980's and the 1990's so you can click on an era and watch commercials in different categories from each era. It's really interesting to see how much ads have changed over the years. It seems as though in the older commercials, there actually seemed to be a purpose and they are actually trying to sell the product. I watched a Frito's commercial, which if you would like to watch it you can click here!, and there was a song about how crunchy and munchy they were and it showed a little kid getting all excited to eat them. Many other were like this, where they really focused on what they were selling. In many commercials we see today you have no idea what the commercial is about until the very end! It gets annoying and really takes your interest away from commercials! If you want to check out the site you can click here

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

For some, time change means profit

Last week in class we briefly discussed how time change is great for some businesses and not so great for others. Well I found an article that tells which companies tend to profit from the time change and which ones lose from it. Some of the companies that see a profit include sporting good companies because they rely on customers who love to work out and are more willing to take advantage of the entire day, filling it up with sports. Some of the companies who face a loss are TV Networks. This is because "when the hour shifts ahead, ratings decline briefly for the prime-time slots." I think it's extremely interesting that time change has to do with profits or losses. It never crossed my mind that they would even be connected. If you want to see some of the other companies that are affected click here!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Marketing Diversity

While searching for a unique marketing video I found a video that markets Singapore as a major cosomopolitan city that offers modern technology, global business, and lifestyle for many people. This video promotes Singapore with a marketing mix of innovation and diversity. It targets people and organizations, that desire change from their current environment.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

I have always love BMW’s commercial. I think it is very eye catching and interesting. Recently BMW even emphasize one of their feature that is very distinct from any other car makers. That is the “Angle Eyes.” The “angle eyes” is nothing more than a halo light around the headlights and the blight lights. This feature really doesn’t benefit the consumer besides looking “cool.” Again, no other cars have this feature. It is very interesting how the advertisement use this and other features of a BMW and comparing with an image of a woman. I would like to show the two different commercials from BMW. It is interesting.

One pricy ads…or is it?

I found this commercial interesting. This is an advertisement for Gillette feature three sports stars for their new Gillette Phenom. This advertisement was release a while back. The first time I saw it I didn’t pay much attention to it. Now when I saw it again I started thinking about it. We all know who Tiger Wood is, at least all golf lovers. Roger Federer is the King in tennis; I am a tennis fan as well. And Thierry Henry is a well known soccer player. I’ve seen a lot of ads with super star in them but this one have three. They are all very popular and are best at their game. I really want to know how much did they spent on paying the three super star. This interest led me to search for the answer but so far no luck. I wonder how much did they spend on the three stars.

Internet Distribution of Music

In the years prior to the nineties, music was constrained to the accustomed selling via regular retail outlets. During the late 90s, however getting music from internet assumed a total certainty. With the help of Napster website service, a digital music file sharing phenomena was evolved. Thus this initiated a new era in music distribution. The enormity of online media file sharing services, despite the legal suspension of Napster's service in 2001 showed that the music industry has failed to quickly adjust to the internet as the new profit maximizing distribution point. The music industry was still charging high prices and limited listening to the computer only, via streaming or downloads that couldn’t be burned to CDs. However, in 2003, Apple changed the whole scenario by initiating their major online music store where they sold songs for just $1 each and permitted users to burn songs to CDs. Many other companies followed Apple's approach and started similar strategies. One thing that is of interest is what new strategy the music distributors will use in the coming 2010s. This mystery can only be solved in the coming years.

Irritation Advertising

Irritation Advertising is used more in local media campaigns than at a national level. It is involved in making product name recognition by being annoying or obnoxious. Though our commonsense would suggest that irritating ads might never be effective but there had been several special cases which have indicated otherwise. The Head-On ad which shows a woman repeatedly applying Head-On on her forehead is seemingly very annoying but thus strategy seems to have worked. It was found that people actually bought the product to get relief both from their headache and also from the ad itself. For years, Charmin tissue used the annoying Mr. Whipple, a stickling store clerk who commanded the customers, "Please don’t squeeze the Charming." It was found that people disliked the ad but bought the product anyway. Thus, this type of ad worked because of its annoying nature and non-reliance on logic or analogy.

Watch out for Hidden Fees

Companies are finding ways to build in hidden fees, driving up the costs for consumers. A recent article in the Seattle Times "Consumers fight the use of hidden fees", illustrates how the marketplace has turned into "a minefield of nickel-and-dime-charges". A 2006 study found that the average adult spends $942 each year on hidden fees. With rising gas prices those fees are starting to sting our pocket books even more. Class Action lawsuits have become popular to fight these charges since most of the cases involve small amounts of money, however a large number of plaintiffs makes the cases interesting to lawyers. With this increase in lawsuits consumers are making the push to make advertised prices meaningful, and not have to comb through the fine print.

Positioning is Almost Everything

What happens when you start off a company and target your product to the high end market only to receive the customer volume of a mainstream product? You get Mercedes Benz. Recently Mercedes Benz officially acknowledged Ludhiana (a city in Punjab, India) as the Merc Capital of the World. As you can read here the citizens of Ludhiana and all over Punjab are going crazy over Mercedes Benz products. The managing director of the sole MB dealership has told the media that he is unable to fulfill the entire consumer demand. Next year he predicts sales of 300 cars in the growing market of MB. Customers buy these vehicles not only to flaunt but to reward themselves for all their hard work and efforts.

With the release of many revamped and new models, the value customers see from MB vehicles is extensive. This is not only true in India but in the US as well. The US Markets, as you can read here, took a loss in # of units sold by 2.9% in December 2007. This is while MB came out with a 2.2% increase in # of units sold through 2007.

After knowing know that the market has grown so much, is MB still a high-ender on this positioning map? Obviously it continues to exhume high end product characteristics but has the mainstream market gotten used to those features and now consider them mainstream ? Or can it be that MB is starting to receive a larger market segment (IE: their bubble is getting bigger)? As we try to explain this phenomena with MB I wonder if we should replace the title 'Mainstreamers' with 'Middle-enders' to better portray that the Mainstream market isn't always the biggest (IE: market refers to the blue bubbles)? What is really going on here?

Crazy Marketing Stunts

This was an article i found on I found it very interesting because it listed the 10 craziest marketing stunts. One i found particularly interesting was to find an award to give yourself. Apparently on the internet their are plenty of awards you can self nominate yourself for. Once you claim an award, publicise it. People like to hear that you have one an award, it makes you stand out from the competition.

This was a crazy idea for sure, and seems kind of sneaking, but its cheap and could easily give you an advantage. Some of the others on the list are just as crazy. I found it to be a very neat write up and a unique look at cost saving marketing strategies.

Nine Inch Nails pulls a Radiohead

Trent Reznor has done the unthinkable, and broke away from his record label. He released a new CD, along with a DVD, and signed vinyl, which can be purchased online for $10, $75, and $300, respectively. I love the idea. I grew up on nine inch nails, and although I don’t listen to them much anymore, I think this is a great move for him. There are so many independent labels making money right now, he realized that with the brand power his name alone carries, that he doesn’t need a record label to distribute.
I think he is also realizing much of his fan base doesn’t watch MTV or listen to the radio, they think for themselves. This makes the label useless. As you can see from the article, it is a huge success for him. I hope more and more artists start doing this. If they do, I suspect we can look forward to a lot more creativity in the mainstream music scene, which has been missing for a very long time.

MTV Commercials

I find the commercials on MTV very fascinating. I used to watch MTV years ago, and occasionally happen to watch every now and again. The commercials on MTV seem to catering to the short attention spans of the young generation, and they seem to be getting crazier, for lack of a better word. It seems like just music isn’t enough. When they advertise a new band, or a new song, they don’t just play the music. They have a bunch of visual designs dancing in the back round. On top of this, they only keep an image on the screen for a few seconds. When you really look at it, it’s just a bunch of short flashes, with music in the back round.
I am personally not a fan of MTV, and I haven’t been since I was 11. I am not sure if this is the reason, but it is still interesting to me. I have to think that a huge company like MTV must have millions to spend on marketing every year. They must be catering to the ADD, short attention span generation that is watching MTV now. It seems a little irresponsible to be catering to a problem that big, and maybe making it worse. I guess pop culture has always been like that. I just find it fascinating how fast things can change.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Marketing an ideal

A few days ago I saw an ad on TV for Chevron. It was interesting to me that Chevron wasn't promoting about their product or service but their viewpoint on the enviroment. The advertisement didn't show any 'special' effects but instead had a serious tone about how the enviroment stands at the moment and their beliefs what needs to be done in the future. In my opinion companies like General Electric are so big and known that they no longer need to market their product because either everyone knows about them or everyone uses them daily. But instead their marketing approach is evolved from product promotion to ideals. Multi-billion dollar companies want people to believe that their only objective is not just about profit but about our community and enviroment. This helps people to relate themselves to the companies and relate to what their product stands for. By having a common bond people are less likely to critize the company and more likely to buy their product.

LifeLock's Interesting Ad Campaign

This is one of my favorite recent ad campaigns. Usually commercials like this, which include street interviews of people who supposedly used and loved the product or service, don't build a lot of trust because we all know how easy it is to find someone on the street who will say anything for a few bucks. But in this campaign the CEO of the company, Todd Davis, broadcasts his freakin social security number! Sure, we don't know if it really is his real SSN, but it's a bold statement either way. So bold in fact, that it's the perfect way to build trust.

I looked into this a little more to see if I could find any legitimacy behind the statements in the commercial. I only found one article disputing the integrity of LifeLock, but it was poorly written and unreliable. Of course most of the proof supporting the LifeLock claims were found on the LifeLock website. Go to and the front page has four news spot clips right there. The first video is an interview with one of the people who you see giving a street testimony in the commercial. He tells his story about what happened and how LifeLock helped. Then things get really interesting. In all four of the videos, the reporter and even the CEO himself state that you don't need the services of LifeLock or a similar company. You can provide yourself with the same service at no cost at all. All you have to do is renew a fraud alert every 3 months, which is exactly what LifeLock does. Why did Davis negate his own service? Is he hoping that Americans are too lazy to deal with the renewal process? Or are he and LifeLock truly concerned about the safety of our identities? Perhaps this is an attempt to build even more trust in him and his company. This statement could be meant to help prove that the service is legitimate and that it works.

Regardless of whether Davis's announced SSN is real or not, the ad campaign is clear and attractive. Presenting something as private as someone's social security number, this ad is a strong and effective way to grab attention and express it's worth.

If anyone is interested, I also found a video of a news report in which the LifeLock service is tested by a reporter.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Computer Advertising

When we turn on our TV, we sometimes see Dell commericals show their laptops or Apple showing how thin their MacAir is. But is advertising their best way to market a computer. In my opinion when of the easiest and cheapest way is to send your new product to a review magazine or a website such as CNet. When people buy technology they usually look for reviews and rating on how their product are, such as how fast can the computer run, how much hard drive it has etc. In the introduction phase of marketing a new product it is imperative to get 'early' innovators to like your product. If they do, they will help spread your product by word of mouth which will in turn help your product to be known by others. Review magazines and websites will help convince them about the quality of your product. Also it costs the manufacturing company no marketing fees besides the initial hardware and the benefits can be enormous. But there is a negative side, if you product gets a bad rating then it could cause people to be less interested and hurt potential sales. Advertising can draw consumers into thinking about buying your products but what pushed people actually buying is data, facts and recommendations from people.

Did you want a McMocha with that?

After coasting to a prime parking spot in her hand me down sedan, the only thing this teenager needs is a non fat extra foam vanilla latte with peppermint to complete her outfit. These teenagers have never seen the days when coffee used to be uncool and associated with truck drivers & salesmen. They see CEO's in chucks sipping lattes making lots of money. Seeing Starbucks as a status symbol this 18-24 year old segment, the most prominent, drinks about 3.1 cups per day.

The market for premium coffee belongs to Starbucks but according to this article in the Arizona Republic, maybe not for long. From McDonalds to 7-11, coffee retailers are lining up to make their debut in this coffee war. Dunkin Donuts had even offered a 99 cent mocha during the time period that Starbucks was closed for customer service training. Burger King is also attempting to tap the premium coffee market with the new BK Joe. 7-11 is now offering an alternative to the adorned Frappuccino, the Slurpuccino. The premium coffee market is large but spread out, meaning some consumers like it cold, quick, cheap, minty, etc.

Branding plays a huge role in this, I mean would you drink Clorox orange juice? Starbucks obviously has a huge advantage with its brand as most people think Starbucks when they think coffee. When it comes down to whose coffee tastes better though, surprise surprise, McDonald's comes out on top in this Consumer Report taste test!

Now can you hear yourself saying, "We got an hour guys, lets go hang out at McDonald's."? Maybe or maybe not. Even though the coffee at McDonald's tastes better, you'd probably end up at Starbucks to kill that hour. As we've seen in the past McDonald's has spilled its share of coffee, but will it be Starbucks that gets burned?

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Customer Service: The Good and the Bad

We had a discussion a couple weeks ago in class talking about how customer service is just as important to many people as low prices. WalMart is a classic example of low prices; they have the lowest prices and the leading sales in the industry but their customer service is suffering. They have pallats in the aisle way and no one is ever around to ask questions compared to a company like Target who also has fairly low prices but care about the way their store looks; they have aisles free of product and many people willing to help you. The article I came across discusses the customer service and how it affects customer perception and spending. Based off of the 100 point scale for customer satisfaction ratings, WalMart is the worst rated among discount and retailer stores, falling 6% to 68 when the average is 77. According to the head of the American Customer Satisfaction Index, Claes Fornell, "Competing on price is no longer enough to offset lagging quality" (Customer Service, 2008). Prices are important but if customers aren't happy, they aren't going to spend the money they would have. If you want to check out more retailers, grocery, online, financial services, and health care then check out the site!

Click here to view the article

Be all you can be or be a loser

It took me FOREVER to find this video online but I finally did. This is one of my favorite commercials. Well.. from an advertising standpoint anyway. I don't think it's funny or entertaining, but I do think that it's an effective way to get people. This commercial actually played a large roll in getting me interested in advertising and marking.
This is a 2005 army commercial entitled "Smart Guy." It's all of the subtle messages in this commercial that make it so interesting. What was even more interesting to me was that when the commercial would come on, I would ask my friends if they noticed any of these messages and they never did until I pointed them out.

OK, here it goes. It starts with a man being shown to the back yard by a woman to meet with his friends. All of these men appear to be in their twenties and the woman appears to be the mother of one of the friends....who is apparently still living at home with mom....what a loser. Unfortunately, the video I found is the short version, so you don't see the great shot of the mother looking at the group of friends with a look on her face that says "I love my son, but I wish he was more like his incredible friend." The friends are all in scrubby cloths with scrubby haircuts while the army man walks out saying "some things never change." The friends immediately ask him how the army is and he, with his bold voice, says that it's "good, really good." Then we get to see how stupid the friends are who didn't go into the army. One friend asks if the army has the guy jumping out of planes in such a way as to make fun of him and the army, and the other friends let out an idiotic chuckle. The army guy quickly, bluntly, and proudly responds with "No, I'm working with computers." The friends, with a bewildered look on their faces, ask if he could have just done that at home. After a clip of this wonderful and proud man working with computers on the battlefield, he responds with "Not really." .......morons.

We all know that many of the military commercials do everything they can to convince younger crowds that the military is great and that they too will be great if they join. However, I've yet to see another military commercial that tried to convince you that if you don't join, you'll be a stupid loser still living with your mom.

Again, it's unfortunate that I couldn't find the longer version of this commercial because it had even more underlying messages.

Here is the link to the video.

I hope the link works! Keep in mind that this is a Quicktime video so you'll need that to watch it.

HP and Jumper mixing it up

This is another dual advertisement that I think is very interesting, especially since it was the first dual advertisement I can recall ever seeing. It's a 90 second commercial for the movie Jumper and HP computers. It starts with Jumper, then has a character from the movie turn on a TV to start watching an HP commercial, then it goes back into Jumper.
I thought it was very interesting how and why this was done. Both the Jumper portion and the HP portion could easily be their own commercial, and to an audience, I don't see how Jumper and HP would be related to each other. So what's the connection?
I figured that perhaps one was sponsoring the other (probably HP sponsoring the movie) so I checked and found nothing. It's clear that Meridian and Apple are both sponsoring Jumper, but I couldn't find anything linking it to HP. I also checked for product placement. Although I haven't seen the movie myself, it appears that both Meridian and Apple had product placement involvement, but apparently not HP. Is there anyone who has seen this movie and could tell me if they saw anything related to HP???

I want to point something else out about this ad. If you pay attention to it, you'll notice that it's more than just a dual ad. There's a promotion for a music artist, Nike, Windows Vista, Mercedes, and Serena promotes her new video game, her acting interest, and her clothing line. 9 promotions in one. Maybe even more.

One last thing. During the video game part when she hits the tennis ball toward the camera, there is text on the ball. I can't make it out so if anyone can, please let me know because I'm interested in knowing what it says.


The use of humor,anecdote, puns and play on words is not new technique in a commercial industry, but it has not been widely used in this country due to American culture. We like our things big and simple, which reflects in our commercials where the message is direct and obvious. This commercial focuses and appeals to working women in committed relationships, it sends a warning message that they should not get too comfortable and depend fully on their spouse. This is a great parody on man's hidden instincts where a provocatively dressed woman brings a men to their knees; absolutely hilariously. Watch the guy in a green brown jacket, he just had to take another look.

Kate Walsh and Cadillac CTS ad

Cadillac is doing a great job with its latest TV ads for the 2008 CTS. The first time I saw this ad with Kate Walsh in particular, I got goose bumps and immediately wanted to go out and buy one. This ad shows Kate driving a red CTS down a tunnel and towards the end of the commercial features her in a deep sexy voice saying “When you turn your car on, does it return the favor?” It doesn’t matter if you are a man or a woman this commercial will definitely grab the attention of both audiences, it certainly did with me as well as my female friends. Cadillac did a great job casting Kate, she is sexy, successful, and is on top of her game professionally right now. Men will love her sexy looks, while women and young adults look up to her character on hit dramas such as Grey’s Anatomy and the spin off Private Practice. I think that this campaign fits Cadillac to a tee. The 2008 CTS is fast, sexy, and luxurious, and this is all be embodied in Kate. this ad is sexiness done right!!!

sexiest commercials

For those of us who do not remember, a while back, Paris Hilton teamed up with Carl's Jr. and did an ad campaign where she is wearing nothing but a skimpy swim suit to say the least and is seen shimming and shaking all over a Bentley with a burger in her hand. Maybe a strong promotional tactic for men however i find it distasteful and completely irrelevant to Carl's Jr. brand. The ad campaign did get a lot of publicity, however was also quickly pulled due to all the negative hype the company received for such a distasteful ad to be polite. This is a perfect example of a company not listening nor targeting their appropriate audience. Sex in our society does sell, however as seen in this example, if the advertisment is not aligned with the company's brand, product, etc. the advertisment will not be succussful. Sure, Carl's Jr. received greater media exposure for this ad than they had ever expected however at the end of the day, the ad was pulled and consumers did not remember Carl's Jr. and their wonderful food, but rather a blond e heiress shaking her body over an expensive car. Their advertising dollars were wasted and their sales did not increase as a result.
I for one am all for sexy ads if that is what your product is known for. For example Guess, I see their ads as appropriate for the image they are trying to portray. They are known and have been known to push the limits on how low your jeans can ride, the clothes they sell are designed to be sexy. However in a case where the company has not been seen as sexy nor does it represent their brand in any way, then obviously their advertising departments needs to get back on track with what the company's target audience to actually have a successful ad campaign.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Wreck your Worries!

Here is a game started by Northwestern Mutual Financial Network. The purpose of this game is to target towards current and potential clients of Northwestern Mutual. The whole point is to essentially wreck the clients' worries, with the help of this financial firm. If you click around on the website, you can see a tab called "TOP 10 WORRIES." A majority of the worries listed are financially related, ones that consumers face on a regular basis.

I think this is a really creative idea started by Northwestern Mutual. I enjoy going to the site myself and typing in my own worries.

Type in any of your worries and then wreck them!

Click here to view the link to the game.

Pamper and Cheerios who benefit more?

A couple of days ago, I was at friend’s house and saw a dual advertisement. At first the video shows a father trying to teach his child to say dada as he changes dippers (the baby would only say mama). Then the commercial lead in to the next morning with them eating Cheerios and the child finally said dada. This one commercial really caught my attention. Perhaps I am in a marketing class and it got me to think more about a commercial each time I see one. This commercial is for both Pamper and Cheerios. It seems to me that company will work together to gain benefits. Even companies who are in the same market will work together to capture the market. I really question this commercial at first because it seems to me that not everyone have a young infant. Now that I thought about it maybe it benefits both companies. I am sure that advertisement expense is shared by both companies. So that’s a plus. But I am really curious, who benefits the most from this? It is Cheerios? Or Pamper?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Economic Lifecycle

In class we had a discussion about brand loyalty and how people are affected by it. In my opinion brand loyalty is strongly affected by the economic cycle. No matter how strong a person is to a brand in times of recession or economic difficulty they will become switchers. Consider a person with moderate income, during good times he or she can probably buy expensive things like 7 jeans. But in recession, they will have no choice but to spend less in case something happens to their job. The point is, they are being forced to change and not whether they want to. It is at this point during economic turnmoil where unknown brands have a chance to shine. Since those brands are usually sold for less, people are willing to try them out and see their product quality. If they make an impression to the consumer then they might have a chance to incorporate potential customers. Recessions are always considered bad by companies because of the lack of sales and profit, but it can be a chance for an infant company to be taken noticed and rise to the top.

Marketing of a President

Personalized Starbucks Cards

Here is an example of promotion at its best. You can make you own personalized Starbucks card, or give it as a gift, all online in a few minutes. Starbucks allows you to choose from four different card themes with different pictures. You are then allowed to choose a color for your card, all Starbucks classic muted tones of course. Then choose a pretty pattern for it. You can select your favorite type of Starbucks beverage, hot espresso drinks, iced espresso drinks, blended, teas, etc. After choosing the type you choose all of your exact drink specifications including extra foam and no whip (they really thought of everything). You can then choose to write your own personal message in a variety of fonts. You then select how many cards you would like to order and then a dollar amount to be added to the card with a $15 minimum. You can also choose a special gift card holder for the card ($4.99). You then put in all of your information (including phone number and e-mail address) and the card is shipped to your door, ground shipping is free. When it comes to prepaid and gift cards this is definitely new.

$$ Marketer’s Favorite Game Show $$

The Price is Right, one of the longest running game shows on the face of the earth! After waking up and pouring my bowl of Cheerios I sat down to watch the best game show on television. I have seen The Price is Right many times before, but today it hit me that this show must have been created by a super human team of marketers. The game starts with a flashy lights around the screen and a loud announcer telling people to "Come on down! Your the next contestant on, The Price is Right." There are retro colors covering the stage and sexy models displaying each product that can be won. The premise of the game is to know various products like the back of your hand. The contestants are chosen at random and then allowed onstage only after they can guess the price of a random consumable good. Then they are given yet another chance to win something else they don't need, whether it is a car, vacuum, TV, dish sets, or a vacation. This is a great idea for companies to promote products and set price expectations for their products. If only we could find a way to make our Intro to Marketing class as fun as the Price is Right.

Monday, March 10, 2008


This is a pretty old Honda commercial, but I think it's interesting because of how detailed it is. Rumor has it this commercial took 600 takes before getting it just right. The team who designed and executed this task definitely has something to be proud of. I don't necessarily think it's the best to put on TV because it is a bit lengthy, but definitely an attention grabber. Enjoy!

(Source from:

Ford's S.O.S.

Today in the Seattle Times I found an article claiming that Ford is declaring a financial S.O.S. Announcing that it is intending to auction off a few of its luxury brand names. The intended brands that will be up for grabs are Jaguar and Land Rover, and Ford is hoping to make a pretty penny on these two brands. Ford intends to sell the brands for a mild $1.5- $2 billion dollars. This is not bad, but considering Ford bought them originally at $2.5 for Jaguar, and $2.7 for Land Rover this is not and ideal situation for Ford motor company. Even this S.O.S cry from Ford wont save them soon, considering the amount they burn in cash for Mercury and Lincoln brands nearly $14 billion this year.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Reality of Gift Cards

On our lecture about promotion we talked about various cards including gift cards. In recent news, Sharper Image heading to bankruptcy decided that they will stop accepting gift cards. This caused outrage and anger by the public and became a hot topic in the news. Just in the past couple of days Sharper Image announced that they will continue to accept the gift card under restriction. For example, a $25 requires you to purchase $50 in products. This example is one of the pitfalls of gift cards. Next time you plan on purchasing a gift card as a gift, think about hidden charges and fees, expiration date, and other restrictions. Also, think about whether the recipient of the gift card actually shops at the store or not. It is estimated that in 2006, $8 billion in gift cards was not redeemed. It is clear that stores are benefiting from the sale of gift cards for the reason of getting cash up front, control over restriction, and profiting from unused gift cards.

Partnership Advertising

An increasing trend in advertising is the idea of promoting two different products in a single commercial. The example in the youtube video below is promoting Will Ferrell’s new movie Semi-Pro and Bud Light. From the point of view of Bud Light, they benefit from having a popular comedian in their commercial. Ferrell is considered a top notch comedian with a history of blockbuster movies. Bud Light is counting on Ferrell’s humor to drive sells of Bud Light. From the point of view of the Semi-Pro production they are able to cut the cost of their commercial advertising in half with Bud Light. As a result, Semi-Pro can have more commercials to promote its movie while saving on advertising cost. Another example of the partnership commercial is between Semi-Pro and Old Spice.

Pricing of Xbox 360

When Microsoft launched the Xbox 360, it charged the consumer around 399 dollars for the premimum package. At that time I was curious on how much Microsoft profit was from the sales on it's systems. It was only later did I found out that they were actually losing money on each xbox they were selling. They were hoping on selling large amount of games in order to make up for that loss. I thought that was a very interesting idea and a risky manuever. But in Microsoft case it can take that challenge based on the sheer money reserves it has. But just say for a medium sized company, it will be a very difficult for them to accomplish this marketing feat. Depending on their economic strength they might not be able to convince the lenders they are borrowing from agreeing. I think selling low and taking a loss is a very good idea to market a new, unknown and expensive product. It allows people to overcome the price obstacle while discovering what the product is all about. For the company to make this strategy work it must market something that causes people to continuously buy something from them like games for the xbox 360.

Marketing hype for Software As A Service

I have been working with a start up company for roughly 4 years called CyberSavvy. They specialize in developing software solutions using Microsoft’s latest technologies. One of their new product they have developed recently is a productivity tool called Direct Time. This is a time tracking tool that monitors employees and contractors and tracks their productivity in Real Time. They have developed this webpage to market their product as a (SaaS)- Software As A Service which is a direction that many see software designs moving forward to – this provides end users a competitive advantage of getting everything they need and keeping up with speed of technology growth. One of things I am impressed with, is their use of real business scenarios and Video Clip. video clips to demo their application and showing how companies can find it beneficial to their success. Their product description is very detailed and clear. Using direct quotes from their customers also help market their product.

So far they have had lots of attention that has driven consumers and researchers to the company. With recent CyberSavvy SQL 2008 case study and scheduled Press Release I think the company has made lots of progress in marketing their SaaS.

How far will tobacco companies go to market to certain targets?

Over the weekend, I went out for my friend’s birthday. It was at Picoras pizza on Broadway. The long lines at this New York style pizza joint definitely attracted everyone here. Since we had to wait outside, I couldn’t help but notice the two ladies beside me smoking a cigarette. No, this wasn’t any ordinary cigarette, it was a pink cigarette and one of them was holding the black box with a pink camel on it. The box was elegant and attractive looking – gave an image of “classy cigarettes” to the ladies. I was drawn to this because I thought to myself; you know… I have never seen a pink cigarette/ This is totally an advertising strategy of turning cigarettes into a trendy “oh this is a girly thing.. I have a cute cigarette”. To me, I think of the florescent pink as an attention grabber – definitely a girly color – a color that begs for attention. Anyways, I came home and went on GOOGLE to search on Camel’s advertising strategy behind their new line of cigarettes that targeted strictly to WOMEN. There on The New York Times, the article titled “A New Camel Brand is Dressed to the Nines” on Feb 15, 2007.

The article was definitely interesting and focused on how Camel for decades had focused on males and that this was encouraged to pull higher markets for females. They also mentioned how Camel was competing with other cigarette companies such as Virginia Slims which targets females as the light cigarette.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Macbook Air

Apple recently released their newest laptop, the thinnest computer ever made. The commericals on TV compared the Macbook Air to an envelope and showed it to be similar thickness. From the looks of it, it seems Apple is targeting teenagers and high tech people. But when we take a look at the specs of Air, we see it has only one usb port, no external battery, no dvd-drive and very low techincal parts for the price. College students will be very hesitant to buy this because it lacks in the entertainment department. Only people who would actually consider this are people who travel a lot. But for them I think it will be a challenge because of the one usb port. Apple was trying to go beyond the call of duty with Air and I think it will sell not as well as they expect. The main two reasons for this are the price that it sells for and the usability of the product. I think Apple was focusing too much on the design and evolution of laptops and not on how useful it is for the people who use it.

Everyone LOVES muffin tops....don't they?

LifeSaver came out with this really funny commercial. I never knew what this was called until I saw this. Then I realized how much I do love muffin tops.

I love how LifeSaver made their product relate to relationship problems, and its good for men to know that they can save themselves with a LifeSaver.

I think this commercial is funny because it shows a situation of a guy in a desperate moment; LifeSaver is just a candy. It doesn't boost your wittiness or even your knowledge! This commercial is created around the name of product, and has nothing to do with the itself. Humorously, LifeSaver has effectively caught the attention of customers by making fun of women. It could be offensive, but it works for the purpose.

"Creativity with a Conscience"

There is a multitude of great websites that entertain the masses. I’d like to call attention to one of my new favorite sites/companies called Free Range Studios. They are a socially conscious company that states, “While other creative agencies work to sell products, we work to sell ideas that build a more just and sustainable world. We're driven by a belief that the right stories told in revolutionary ways can transform society.”

Besides their award winning series called The Meatrix, one of the many creative works that I have appreciated is about Wal-Mart called, Friends with Low Wages.

The following is the first part of The Meatrix series...

Friday, March 7, 2008

Folgers Coffee

I found this great image on

This is an extremely creative idea from Folgers. It's something people walking by will remember. I think it's great!

Too many Promotions?

The home computer market has grown tremondously in the last couple of years with the two biggest companies, Dell and HP at the top in sales. With new technology growing at a rapid pace, both companies are trying to edge each other out and become the dominant force. One marketing tactic that both companies use extensively is promotion coupons. Last december, both Dell and HP was offering multiple discounts on in computers. At first I thought those coupons were only for a limited time and only offered few times per year but the next month i saw the same dicounts being offered again. In my opinion, both companies are diluting their promotion strategy. When people see a promotion that is only offered once per year they will likely to value it much more than an promotion that is offered multiple times per year. Also people will 'jump' on the deal faster than vice versa, in fact multiple deals will cause people to hesitate and wait for the next deal in hopes of better prices. Instead of multiple promotions, Dell and HP need to limit their promotions so it becomes more valuable and more attention grabbing.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Successful Marketing on a limited budget

I was reading this article and found it very interesting and just thought that i would share. The article is essentially about "Thinking Small" when it comes to building a marketing campaign for your company. It is not only the sensible approach, it is also a cost saving approach. Marketers with large budgets take chances on mass media spotlights, knowing that some wastage will affect their pocketbook. This article shows how it is possible to keep money in your pocket and still effectively create a sale which is the sole purpose of marketing. Websites, CRM and even social networking sites are mentioned in this article. Give it a read and let me know what you think....

Google Sites

Delicate issues in Marketing

The Wall street journal carried an article yesterday morning titled "Hanes Panty Ads Touch on Delicate Issue" The humorous entendre in this title served to highlight what I think has been an interesting struggle for many of companies attempting to provide real world solutions to delicate issues.

Because of societal limitations imposed by our culture frank discussion of some subjects (especially in America) becomes difficult or impossible. The importance of awareness of these culture sensitivities is difficult to understate because you risk alienating customers if you accidentally offend them.

It is an interesting gap in our existing marketing paradigm that there is no creative outlet for marketing professionals to touch on these delicate subjects. It would seem that the Internet may provide a better outlet for these types of adds by offering a more selective marketing focus. For example Google Adwords might be a very effective place for Hanes to advertise especially if they used smart keywords such as "Comfortable".

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Generic Drugs vs Brand Named ones

It is fascinating to me when I see people buying brand name drugs over it's generic counterparts even through both drugs does the same thing except one is more known than the other. Does branding play that of a role in deciding which drug to buy. One of the most common beliefs about generic drugs is that it takes more time for it to work. Also the old age saying that you get what you pay for and because you pay more for brand name drug it works better than the generic ones. Both of those are obviously false. The reason that generic drugs are cheaper is because the company that is producing it did not spend any research costs in order to produce it and thus does not need to charge extra. People often get caught up in the belief that since product x has a known brand it is a better product. But having a known brand is always better than generic ones since people actually have seen or know that it works. So because of this it gives them a intrinsic idea that the product is superior. Branding often creates an image of quality associated with them, it allows people to have a connection. People who never used a certain type of drug will often buy the branded ones because they feel a certain comfort that the drug will work compared to generic ones.

Marketing To A Captive Audience

Innoblog, blog based on the principals found in the Innovator's Dilemma, recently released on article on "Market Research at 30,000 Feet."

Essentially talking about how Kraft Foods and JetBlue Airways Corporation is partnering up in a sort of marketing experiment. JetBlue will allow Kraft Foods to use their flights to present product promotions. JetBlue will serve some of Kraft's products while a pair of marketing agents will present Kraft's case to their captive audience.

This is a rather interesting way to go about it. Their audience is stuck there. They can't leave and there's nothing for them to do making them favorably inclined to listen to Kraft's presentation and to sample their products.

Also, more incentives may be given to people to take these flights in the form of reduced fares. Focused research groups tend to be costly to companies and they may be willing to use this as a substitute. The reduction in fares for flyers can potentially be dramatic. Perhaps even reducing the price to zero or a gain to flyers.

What do you guys think about this whole captive audience deal? Do you think it'll pick up and become something of more common practice or will it kill itself off?

Nokia the bright future.

Nokia has become one of the World’s leading manufacturers of mobile devices. They achieved this primarily by putting a strong focus on R&D in the beginning of this century. R&D represents 31% of their total workforce(21,453 people), which is scattered across 11 different countries.

Nokia's Morph Concept phone(fist video below) may look like something from Star Wars at first glance, but this technology may very well be here sooner than any of us imagine. In this short animated film Nokia is a presenting their new Morph Concept phone. This video illustrates not only the capabilities of the phone (with emphasis on Nanotechnology) but also the transfer of sophisticated culture that will touch everyone and by doing so will better human life and our planet.

Notice the placid and tranquil musical rhythm, almost silent and yet surrounded by an ergonomic atmosphere, simplicity, design, flawlessness, sustainability, eco awareness, and mind-blowing technology. The viewers are simply mesmerized with appreciation and delight, intuitively aspiring and admiring the progress of human technological achievement.

Nokia 888 (second video below) is a more realistic short term technological innovation. As viewers watch the commercial closely they notice a lot of services that already exist today, such as Google Earth and Facebook. Again, Nokia focuses on benefiting and revolutionizing human interactions, from the time you wake and throughout the day. The phone becomes not just the tool for communication but a portal into a virtual world that shapes peoples everyday life patterns. Indirectly the underlying message is, "you will miss out on too many things, if you don't have Nokia 888".

YouTube contests

YouTube holds different contests constantly for its audience to become active on the website, besides just watching different videos, sometimes working with other companies. A contest that ended about two weeks ago was about Swiffer. It was a 'break up' contest, where you break up with your broom and show your dance moves. One of my friends won the contest, he worked with a studio to produce this video and got 10% of the earnings. It is up in the air if this commercial will be viewed on TV but it was chosen as the winner of $15,000.

The different types of contests not only give people the knowledge of the product but it also gives them an opportunity to be creative and win something from it. It is a great marketing prospect for potential consumers and provides some feed back as to how many people are interested in the product, by receiving the data back on how many people make a video and how many people watch and rate them. There is a deadline for each submission and a time period on how long people can vote, giving them exposure to different commercials that people come up with. Each has its own vibe to it, and different type of response, which the companies marketing department can explore and receive valuable feedback from, since YouTube is a well known internet website that has a high viewing rate.

Store Samples

Mmm ... samples! Article

Many stores setup a small table with a demonstrator on hand to display a sample product. The store that comes to many people's mind is Costco. Costco is known to setup tables all around its stores on the weekend when traffic is the highest to display a variety of their products. Costco's marketing plan is to target impulse buyers with items ranging from food to shampoo. Customers come to the store without plans to buy the sample product but if they are satisfy with the sample product, they will purchase it (conveniently located next to the table). Demonstrators are educated about the product and trainned to correctly cook the product for a good representation of the item and to have higher sales. Trader's Joe's idea is to put out sample of new items for the customers to test before they purchase. Samples are tempting to customers, just the smell of food cooking will make customers buy the product.

Samples = sales surge

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Boeing loses "Tanker Contract" with Air Force

I thought this was pretty interesting article about Boeing. On Friday February 29, 2008, the air force announced that it would award the 40 billion Air Force tanker contract to Northrop and partner EADS, instead of Boeing. The Pentagon would only respond by saying that it held a very fair competition process. This caused such uproar, to think that our government is spending our tax dollars to create a European economic stimulus package instead of securing the American economy and military, and yes, at the expense of the U.S. workers. Boeing has asked for a debriefing as to why the Pentagon went to Northrop which is to happen on March 12. After that, Boeing will decide on any further action – as far as they are concerned they offered the Air Force the best value and the lowest risk tanker for its mission. Washington has lost out on its chance to add as many as 2,000 jobs locally and overall maybe around 6,000 - instead the jobs will go to Europe and Alabama. It’s amazing how our Air Force is trusting a foreign company to keep our military’s best interest in mind. This is a blow to the American aerospace industry.

False Advertising is Airborne

Airborne an herbal supplement that had boasted claims that it fended off the common cold, has settled a class-action lawsuit for false advertising. According to a CNN Money article the company has agreed to pay $23.3 million dollars to settle the suit. A senior member of the Center for Science in the Public Interest states that "Airborne is basically an overpriced, run-of-the-mill vitamin pill that has been cleverly, but deceptively marketed." The makers of Airborne had previously stated the there was scientific evidence to support it's claims, however these tests were not conducted by doctors or scientists, read more here. The products catchy label and prime placement on drug store shelves, right next to NyQuil, led to it's popularity, and since it is not a drug, but an herbal supplement no FDA approval of its claims are necessary. Just another example of buyer beware, and not to believe everything you read on a box.

Credit Card ethics

Every once a while we recieve in the mail an application for an credit card. Usually a bank offers a you a great beginning rate at 0 percent APR for 6 months and a continuing rate of 8-12 percent. But hidden through all those offeres are sentences that are 6 inch in font and tells you in very complicated wording that the bank can change your interest rate for any reason provided they give you 2 weeks in advance. In the past month, banks have been hiking up interest rates on credit cards even through the users have always paid their bills on time. The reasoning given by banks is that the user have an outstanding balance somewhere else or their credit balance is too high. Some analysts have predicted the hike is caused by the credit crunch in the subprime loan sector. As an marketer, isn't it our duty to make sure our customers know what exactly they in for. Many people actually don't read or can't understand the wording in the offer letter about how interest rate works. I think banks need to enlarge the terms of agreement and make it easier to understand. Also is it right for banks to increase interest rates out of the blue? I think banks need to have a more defined statement of when and why is an interest rate rise accepted compared to the vague explanations that is given at the moment.

Great Lexus Commercials

I think one of the leaders in car commercials is Lexus. Their commercials in particuliar seem to be very eye catching and has a good story plot behind it. The commercial does a great job in making their advertised car/suv feel luxury and as a "dream" car. The close up on the unique lines and the color combination that they choose is always classy. The Lexus RX330 commercial was great examples of making the audience feel as if the Lexus RX330 was a dream SUV - an ultimate sport utility vehicle that has the comfort and luxury in mind that people greatly desire.

The second lexus commercial that I enjoyed was the LEXUS LS460 commercial. They promote the SELF PARK functionality which is like a feature that you don't typically see in a car. It demonstrates a luxuary sedan of its own class - the environment that they used was very elegant, and using wine glass(es) to make the car feel as if the car was for special occasions. The car shows that it posses "classy appeal" this is done by choice in color of the car and the lighting used to display the sedan.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Blu-Ray and HD DVD

The battle between Sony(Blu-ray) and Toshiba(HD-Dvd) lasted over three years with finally Sony winning the battle. The main technical advantage of the Blu-ray over Hd-dvd was that it could store more information with approximately around 50gb over HD that has around 8.4 gb. Also blu-ray supports 1080p while the hd-dvd has 1080i. But the tv's now days can transfer 1080i to 1080p meaning that the difference between quality is minimal at best. The image that each produce is again similar and there isn't a significant difference. Was that the storage factor the critical factor that eventually caused Toshiba it's downfall? Both formats sold dvd's that costs around $8-$20. The stand-alone machine for hd-dvd cost 150 dollars and up and average out usually around 280 dollars while blu-ray costs 399 and up. In my opinion Sony's ability to incorporate blu-ray into the it's machines it makes is an important factor that determined the winner. Let's take a look at Playstation 3 and Xbox 360. In our current day and age, gamers are on the rise with the gaming industry earning more than a billion dollars in profit each year. The playstation 3 has a blu-ray drive added in and costs total of 400 dollars while the xbox 360 by itself is around 350 and if you want an hd-dvd you need to pay an extra 200 dollars. To an average consumer/gamer they would choose the playstation 3 because you can get 2 things for the price of 1. While you would only get an xbox 360 machine if you buy xbox. Even through Sony is taking a loss for producing the product at 399 it is helping to expand both it's gaming industry while also in dvd. With every playstation it sells, it is also increasing the sales of blu-ray. Meanwhile Toshiba is lacking in this department. It needed to sell it's machines solely to increase dvd sales. Even though this may be a small part, it helped Sony to achieve dominance in the dvd war.

"How Green is BP?"

How Green is BP? Article

Oil companies and an environmental image isn't an ideal pairing. However, BP's new marketing campaign is trying to do just that. BP originally stood for British Petroleum, but since its corporate rebranding program it has change its name to "Beyond Petroleum". Is this all about marketing and changing the way people view an oil company or is BP making an effort to be a "green" company. BP even went far as changing its logo to a yellow and green sunburst to suggest a cheerful and friendly message. BP was quick to promote itself as a green company with an abundance of billboard ads, transformation of company website, and cheerful television ad campaign (as shown below). BP has openly supported efforts to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska where the 19 million acres are home to polar bears, wolves, are caribous to name a few. BP's belief is that it will only leave a ''small industrial footprint.'' In 2001, BP paid $10 million fine for pollution and $7 million in 1999 for illegally dumping hazardous waste in Alaska. BP is not the only oil company that has been penalized, but they are the only oil company that promotes themselves as an environmentally friendly company. BP's marketing strategy has been widely scrutinize for its inaccuracy and has kept many people away from its oil.

Jennifer Aniston ad

Here's a funny beer ad. The celebrity, Jennifer Aniston is in it and really adds to the advertisement. When celebrities are included in an advertisement for a product, it influences consumers to purchase that product. Consumers may feel that because a celebrity is using a certain product, that it must be good or worth the money. Also, consumers may want to be associated with their favorite celebrity and want to wear/buy/use the same products as them.


The iBand has arrived

These art students from Vienna Austria have hacked their iPhones and a Nintendo DS and created music. The work around done on the phones is a violation of Apple policy, but it is drawing a lot of attention to the utility of both products.

What's the buzz?

We have established the plethora of advertising opportunities and tactics to 'get a product out there’; though I'd like to note the powerful impact that music can have on an audience. Not only can it help draw in potential consumers, though if targeted right, it could have a direct impact on your specific audience. Additionally, even if it doesn’t directly result in consumers of your product, it can generate community conversations/interest, thus increasing your product awareness.

Below are a couple different advertisements by the Lexus Power of h campaign, which generated a decent buzz on regarding the music. I think they are classy, well created advertisements (and the music is quite pleasant). Lexus has also included different commercial techniques in their Power of h campaign to target larger audiences.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Has Victoria's Secret Become Too Sexy?

Apparently there is to much of a good thing as Victoria's Secret considers new branding for there store. This Associated Press story sites changes afoot for Vicky, could this signal more changes for all of the stores operated by Limited Brands?

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Zara's Marketing Mix

Zara is a popular Spanish clothing store that uses a very unique marketing strategy. Because they do not outsource their manufacturing, the company is able to more quickly respond to fluctuating customer demands in fashion trends. Zara's Unique Selling Proposition (USP) is to create or imitate the latest trends within a short two-week period; the new styles are available on sales floors for no longer than 4 weeks. In the case that a product does not sell, its inventory is immediately pulled from the floors and discontinued after one week.
Zara is said to have the "most unusual strategy...its policy of zero advertising; the company preferred to invest a percentage of revenues in opening new stores instead."

Zara's marketing strategy is very effective because of its 1) affordable prices and 2) unique response to market demands. Because items move so quickly through Zara stores, customers feel the pressure to buy an item for fear that it may not longer be there next time.