Ad Bowl 2012: Return to Sanity

While there were no must-see, spectacular ads last night, there were many excellent ads that were well worth the $3.5 million investment for the ad time, pre- and post-game public relations and social media legs.      Super Bowl advertisers returned to their senses with strategically sound brand communications that focused on persuading consumers to buy one return-on-investment, rather than misguided attempts to win on entertainment and humor.   Doritos, Oikos, Skechers, H&M and most of the car ads, just to name a few, had their brands central to the storyline (vs. prop ‘afterthought’) and told engaging stories about the quest for the brand.

Special groans for Chevrolet’s dark and tasteless Silverado apocalypse ad.     Visuals of tragic wreckage, in which the guy in the Ford perished.    Disgusting and a terrible statement, if any, about the brand.

Here are the winners (and worst) from three marketing mavens – USAToday‘s AdMeter (panel popularity) and  USAToday’s Facebook AdMeter (FB popularity), Mullen and Radian6’s Brand Bowl (twitter volume and sentiment), and us (effectiveness).

USA Today – AdMeter                              

Best:
1.   Doritos (dog bribes cat owner)


2.   Volkswagen (dog gets fit, Star Wars)
3.   Skechers (dog in sneakers wins race)
4.   Doritos (sling baby)
5.   M&M/Mars (Mrs. Brown)

Worst:  GE (turbine workers make energy)
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The Chobani brand Yogurt Coup: Reinvent the Category

We applaud Chobani‘s explosion to +$900 million in annual sales since its 2007 startup by attacking the yogurt category with a truly differentiated and superior brand.    Not only have they catapulted to stardom, they’ve even beat the brilliant, entrenched competitors, like Yoplait (General Mills) and Dannon.    They’re among the elite brands, like WhiteStrips, Swiffer, Apple, and Dyson who invent and dominate new category segments by reinventing their category.   

First, Chobani designed a much better product.    Their CEO and founder, Hamdi Ulukaya, thought American yogurt was horrible and developed a premium, Greek-style yogurt, which is thicker, creamier, more protein, less sweet, and has a healthier perception.   They challenged many of the conventional approaches of what product design seemed to drive the category.

They also rethought pricing and price/value.   Continue reading

7 Musts for Profitable New Products

1. Delight your target consumer
DO focus on creating items that truly solve your target consumer’s needs and points-of-pain
DO meet and exceed their needs
DO create fans, not just customers
DON’T focus on internal issues
Can you precisely define your target market and what motivates them?
√ Does 50% of your target audience say they definitely or probably would buy your product?

2. Make sure it’s profitable early
DO screen ideas for profit potential at the idea stage
DO rework ideas early to address any profitability issues
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MiO brand liquid water enhancers – Killer Concept, but Terrible Trial

Kraft’s new MiO brand liquid water enhancers are a fantastic idea, but sadly, so disappointing in reality.   Kraft is touting it as their first major brand launch since DiGiorno in 1995, to capitalize on the  $10 billion bottled water market.   Unfortunately,  it’s a great example of how even the best innovations will languish, if you overlook some execution basics.

The innovation concept itself is so promising. Leveraging their flavored beverage brilliance (Kool-Aid and Crystal Light), Kraft positioned MiO as a revolutionary, more contemporary portable water additive. The name is great – connoting personalization and a clever play on H2O. The launch plan was spectacular, heavy traditional and social media support creating cult awareness before the product even reached stores. Teenagers were begging their parents to get some; it doesn’t get much better than that in marketing.   MiO had stellar packaging and product displays – unique, eye-catching, and shaped like a water drop.

The television advertising campaign is exceptional too – clearly positioned the product as revolutionary, consumer-customizable, and thirst quenching.   Brilliant use of music (“That’s the way I like it”) reinforcing the customization benefit, and solid media plan to ensure the target market was aware of this
new product.

A nearly flawless product launch…. uh…. except…..

1) Distribution was spotty.     In many major metro markets, Continue reading

The Ted Williams Phenomenon: Big Marketing Winners… so far

The world is temporarily fascinated with the Ted Williams homeless to celebrity voice internet star phenomenon.    At its core, it’s a heartwarming and inspiring story of second chance – and a little bit of refreshing, upbeat  news.      Of course, I’m fascinated with how  talent and instant celebrity translates to effective  brand marketing.    Here are the big winners, so far…

1.   Ted Williams, the man –  Clearly he has great talent and appears to know how to use it.    Continue reading

10 Obscenely Easy Ways to do Better Marketing

Brand marketing and strategy can be very complicated, analysis driven, or even intimidating.    But much of the time, it just isn’t.     Here are 10 obscenely easy ways to do better marketing.    And this isn’t about one particular company, rather, all too many.

1.     Focus –  If you haven’t already, figure out what business you really are in (it’s not what you make, it’s whose problems you solve), what drives your business model, and what you need to attack first.    Less is always more, and more profitable.
2.     Develop your Business Strategy – This needn’t be the all-consuming five-year plan that is both painful and rarely used.    Just figure out what direction you want to head, make sure you know why you want to head that way (versus other alternatives), and make sure that direction is financially sound.      This is CEO and Board stuff, and it’s critical.    But it’s all too frequently not done. Continue reading

Target Triumphs with Consistent Marketing Communication

A staggering 96% of Americans recognize Target Corporation‘s bullseye, putting the brand in the brand awareness stratosphere with the likes of Nike and Coca-Cola.target2

This exceptional brand awareness is a direct result of their consistent communication. While most chief marketers continue to cite Integrated Marketing Communication as their biggest challenge, according to the Association of National Advertisers, Target masters it. Continue reading