Monday, July 30, 2007

Only 12 Kinds of Advertisements: True or False?

Slate is reporting today on the findings of Donald Gunn, former creative director at Leo Burnett who is claiming that there are 12 kinds of advertisements. If you watch carefully, he argues, all ads will fall into one (or potentially a couple) of these 12 categories:

  1. The "Demo" Ad: These ads show you the product in action, like an informercial, or the new iPhone ads, that show you the features of the product during the spot.

  2. The "Show the Need" Ad: During this type of ad, you show how something is wrong with someone's life, and then show (or say) how your product fixes it.
  3. The "Symbol, Analogy or Exaggerated Graphic Problem" Ad: Similar to the show the need ads, these typically overdue it in demonstrating a problem, often with comedy. Or they may use a symbol or an analogy. Slate notes the erectile pill where the guy just can't seem to throw the football through a tire swing, until suddenly, bam...
  4. The "Comparison" Ad: In these ads, you specifically call out the problems with your competitors, either specifically or as a group. Car dealer radio ads often do this, as in "Other car dealers try to fast talk you, but at Chris Leith we talk straight."
  5. The "Exemplary Story" Ad: In this group of ads, you create a story in which the product can really shine, showing people how they really will benefit if they had such a product at such a time. (Full disclosure: This spot is a Brogan ad--and one of my faves.)
  6. The "Benefit Causes..." Ad: This is sort of like the exemplary story ad, but in this case rather than telling the story and showing the benefit at the end, you show the benefit first, ostensibly piquing the interest of the viewer/listener, who is trying to figure out what wonder product caused this great benefit.
  7. The "Presenter" Ad: In this case, a presenter or talking head or person dressed as a researcher or some such will explain to you the benefits of the product.
  8. The "Ongoing Characters" Ad: This one is easy, think Geico Caveman, Budweiser lizards, or Jared, etc. Create a character and stick with it for a while as the character tells us about the product, usually using humor.
  9. The "Symbol/Exaggerated Graphic Benefit" Ad: Just like number two, in which the advertisers exaggerate the problem they can fix, these ads exaggerate (or symbolize) the benefit that the product offers.
  10. The "Associated User Imagery" Ad: In these ads, you convince people they want to be like Mike, but usually in more subtle ways. By showing the types of people that use the product (and, of course, their highly toned abs), people who want to be like them will buy the product. (Laugh, if you will, but it works.)
  11. The "Unique Personality Property" Ad: These ads point out something that is a characteristic of the product and highlight it. This could be a bad name, like Smuckers, or a German engineering, like BMW.
  12. The "Parody" Ad: Very popular today, these ads take pop culture, twist them and put them into ads. These ads can be very funny, or not so much.
So the big question: Is this true and accurate? Gunn believes knowing the 12 types can be helpful to the harried creative struggling for an idea to pitch. Perhaps. The first comment on Slate was from someone adding two more, including "oddvertising" and "self-aware" advertising (like Joe Isuzu). Putting aside the fact that Joe Isuzu ads didn't really sell cars very well, I believe they were comparison ads wrapped in humor.

At the same time, arguing that there are only so many 'big ideas' is not limited to advertising. In novel writing (an area with much more license than you can find in a 30-second spot), some claim there are only 36 unique plot lines. In fact, I own writing software based generally on these limitations of ideas.

My thoughts: These are pretty big categories. I suspect that just about every ad I've ever seen could fall into one of them. At the same time, I don't believe that limits the profession. There can still be highly effective types within each category, just like there are bombs within each category. So to me, it boils down to a fun way to watch the TV and critique the ads--but weren't we all doing that already?

~Jim Tobin
Life Is Marketing

Sunday, July 29, 2007

New Look at Old Friend in German Commercial

This is just a really fun spot. Watch it first, and then we'll chat.

There's so much to like about this spot.

  • First of all, the long format (2 minutes) is brilliant. I'm assuming this ran on German TV, and I'm not at all familiar with their commercial breaks, but it seems clear that this was longer than normal. The payback includes, among other things, over 600,000 views on YouTube so far.
  • Secondly, the documentary style. Classic.
  • The scenes of him just messing with people. Of course, that's great.
  • But most of all, how the agency took an assignment that could've led to the same ole same ole green power, save the world creative. And they twisted it, but not just for a gratuitous joke. The twisting amplified the message instead of taking it away, as it usually does in a beer commercial, for example.
Congrats to Epuron, who just won the coveted Golden Lion at Cannes for this ad. Great casting, too. The guy who plays the Wind is excellent. There is likely must celebrating at Nordpol+ Hamburg, the agency that created the ad. They deserve it. Brilliant.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Interactive Advertising Without A Computer

The advertising community has been excited for years about interactive advertising--online advertising that can engage the consumer. The theory is that engaging people in your brand is the single best way to built brand equity.

Today I stumbled across some great examples of truly interactive advertising that take place offline--out in the real world. Good fun stuff. The first campaign is for Quicksilver, a maker of surf and skate wear.

This Quicksilver campaign is a good example of really thinking about what your target audience wants , particularly right when they are seeing your ad. In an urban environment, skateboarders are looking for some place to ride and rails they can grind on.

This next example is for an undetermined brand, but it's funny and gets people to spend time with the ad. And it made me laugh, so it's in the post. Enjoy...Credit to Boredstop for the finds.

~Jim Tobin
Life Is Marketing

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Rats, My Product Tie-In Killed My Sales

It's a proven formula, take a well-known movie, particularly a kid's movie and tie your product to it. McDonald's has done it with Shrek. Burger King is aligned with the Simpson's movie.

This summer's hot Disney-Pixar movie is Ratatouille (pronounced Rat-a-too-eee), about a Rat named Remy who dreams of being a big-time fancy chef. Ok, cute movie. My daughter has the Wii video game.

Now let's say you're the maker of a new Chardonnay and your marketing person brings you the idea to name your new product, Ratatouille and put a picture of a rat on the label. Do you:

  1. Fire your marketing person; or
  2. Yell, ahah, and start sketching the new label.
Oh, and you're selling the wine at Costco...

Seems like a questionable strategy to me, but they are certainly getting coverage out of it. And Fat Bastard Wines continues to do well even if it makes me think of the Austin Powers movie, so quirky can work. But Rat wine, at Costco... I don't know... Take the poll on the right hand side and let me know what you think.

~Jim Tobin
Life Is Marketing

Saturday, July 21, 2007

On email trash, guerilla marketing and cool stuff

So the title of this post is a search engine optimization no-no, but I just literally stumbled upon a cool web application that made me think three things at once:

  1. This is a cool solution to a minor annoyance;
  2. I can actually use this to avoid spam; and
  3. What a nifty little way to use social media to market it.
The website is called GuerrillaMail. They offer free, disposal email addresses that expire in 15 minutes (unless you ask for more time). But in that 15 minutes you can read and reply to whatever you get.

Why would you want a disposable email address? I wondered that, too... Ever go to a website that requires you to sign up for something and you have to input your email address? But it won't activate for you unless you click on a link, proving that you put in a real email address?

You want what they're offering, but don't want all their spam, or a lifetime commitment? That's when you use GuerrillaMail.

Ok, so that's cool. I bookmarked it. I'm going to use it.

What's the marketing lesson? They are getting the word out in part by using the social media website Stumble Upon. On that website, nearly 3 million people have signed up and downloaded a little toolbar that let's you Stumble Upon sites that other people think are cool. You hit "Stumble" and it loads a random web page in one of the categories you find interesting.

If you like it, you give it a thumbs up (like I did), and they serve it to more Stumblers. If you don't like it, thumbs down and it goes up less often. So it uses the power of social media to help people find interesting web pages.

A neat alternative marketing tactic that costs nothing. And hey, I found a neat way to stick it to the man...

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Faux Social Media: Another Giant Corporation Fizzles in Web 2.0

AT&T is rolling out their U-verse product in select markets. The product allows people to get television over the Internet (along with high speed service). Now the potential for that is interesting, although as cable companies such as Time Warner Cable and Comcast have improved their service offerings and their service over the years, the argument for change is not a clear one.

To promote U-verse in Norwalk, CT, AT&T has a campaign under which they supposedly award free U-verse for a year to go named, conveniently enough, Bobby Choice. Get it, you have a choice. Uh yeah... They've put a bunch of videos on YouTube. Here's one.

Ok, so did that nauseate anyone else? We discovered it here in the office off of YouTube, and we immediately agreed that it was fake and cheezy. So why pretend that it's real? To AT&T's credit, they've admitted in the media that it's a campaign. But why pretend he's "won" this service? It deflates it, it minimizes it. He could've been just a funny spokesperson.

Ironically, in some ways it's better more in-depth information than is on the rest of the U-verse website, but the whole "faux social media" attempt just feels like another Wal-mart like mistake by a big company trying to understand the new rules of marketing.

Guerilla Marketing And Great Targeting Combined

Yesterday's post on guerilla marketing left some folks wanting some more. I've long believed that the more you know about your target audience and how they live their lives, the better your marketing campaigns are going to be.

I don't know anything about this campaign other than the pictures, but I'm assuming the folks at this Chilean beer company did their homework and found that their targets had a high propensity to ride the bus. If so, what a great idea.Makes me thirsty...

Jim Tobin
Life Is Marketing

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

More Great Guerilla Advertising from Mini

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about a great outdoor ad from the folks at Mini involving a subway stop. That one was about the car's surprising interior room.

Today a colleague sent me this bathroom advertising campaign for the Mini. This one focuses on the exceptional handling of the Mini around curves. I'm not sure what kind of person came up with this campaign, but they are both twisted and brilliant.The agency I work for invented urinal mat advertising in the 1980s, for an anti-AIDS campaign. That involved printing a clever message ("Use a Condom: Your Life is In Your Hands") directly after on a urinal mat. But this takes it to a brilliant new level.

And while we're on the subject, here's another fun bit of urinal mat advertising, this one for ESPN Brazil.
One of the guys in my office was jealous of this last one. He indicated he'd drink a lot more water if we had it here. I don't think I'll be putting that on my to-do list, although I appreciate how clever these ads are. More importantly, I think the target audiences in both cases will appreciate them.

~Jim Tobin
Life is Marketing

Monday, July 9, 2007

Simpsons Movie Uses Surprisingly Few Tie-Ins for Marketing

The Simpsons Movie is getting a lot of buzz already, and with a huge promotion budget they could've chosen lots of partners for tie-ins--partners that would've spent millions more promoting the movie.

But they did not. They chose only 4:

  • Burger King
  • Jet Blue
  • 7-Eleven; and
  • Vans (shoes)
Even more interesting, according to Hollywood Reporter, is that only one of them has a big advertising budget. Instead, they will use non-traditional marketing to reach the target audience.

Some believe this was to further the Simpsons irreverent personality. Others believe that the power of non-traditional marketing is growing enough that the Simpsons folks felt they could score with it. I tend to think it's a little of both.

(As for me, I'm on vacation the rest of this week, so no more posts for me! See you next week. I'll try to lure some guest commentary later this week...)

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Wii: Today's Hot Game Console Pays Homage to Old School Game Favorites

I continue to love playing the Wii. We're starting to amass a number of games, which makes it more fun, of course. And I've been a fan of their mix of traditional and social media marketing for a while.

Now, the Coolhunter points us to an ad in Italy for the Wii that pays homage to the old games, like Donkey Kong and Mario Bros. This ad is made of Post-It notes, which create a great visual for those old pixelated characters.And if you make an ad out of Post-It notes, people are going to take notes off of it over time, effectively destroying the ad (or spreading the word, depending on your perspective).

These notes talk about the classic video games and how fun they are to play new versions on the Wii. The headline: "Wii'll not forget."

Good stuff.

Jim Tobin
Life is Marketing

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Facebook for Richer, MySpace for Poorer?

A new article by a University of California researcher is creating quite the buzz in the blogosphere. Danah Boyd is suggesting that there are significant class divisions between users of Facebook and users of MySpace. In her essay "Viewing American class division through Facebook and MySpace", Boyd suggests that Facebook is for better educated, higher income folks, while MySpace is for, well, the opposite.

As you can imagine, MySpace is pretty miffed and they are claiming to Business Week that over 20% of their folks make over $100,000.

And Facebook is sort of quietly enjoying their position. No doubt this article has already raced through their offices...

But what Boyd also notes that is getting less attention is why this may have happened, and she points to the formation of the sites for some clues. Lots of interesting stuff to consider. Check it out for yourself.

~Jim Tobin
Life Is Marketing

Sunday, July 1, 2007

"Thank you, come again!" 7-Eleven and Simpsons are a great match

I'm amazed by 7-Eleven's recent moves to turn about a dozen of their stores into Kwik-E-Marts. They're going to even sell Simpson's related-products, like Krusty-Os, and Squishees and Buzz Cola. They've decorated the outsides of the stores to make them look just like Kwik-E-Marts as part of a promotion for the upcoming Simpsons Movie.The amazing part is not that someone thought of the tie-in. That's a no brainer in this case.

  • What's amazing is that they're laughing at themselves.
  • What's amazing is that they're willing to cover up their brand temporarily.
  • What's amazing is the fact that Apu is a stereotype didn't stop them from doing it.
After decades of carefully packaging messages, the companies that are going to thrive in a Web 2.0 world are the ones that can be real. 7-Eleven is going to get a lot of benefit from this promotion. It's a great way to increase the value of the brand, don't you think?

Jim Tobin
Life is Marketing