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October 2013

Did Magazines Forget About Advertisers When They Moved Online?

One of the problems with the transition of magazines to the Internet is the lack of respect for advertising. Just check the print edition of InStyle Magazine. On a newsstand it communicates value by the sheer size of it. Readers come to the magazine not just for content, but to see the advertising. Now look at the on-line version which goes to great pains to make advertising invisible:



Where are the ads? Why are they blended into the content? Maybe it is time to rethink the idea of advertising as content and look for a new way to communicate value. I'd suspect that if fashion advertisers and content developers got together, many new and innovative approaches to the problem would be developed such as product introductions through on-line advertising, video, virtual show rooms, sample sales and more. It just takes a little imagination and the recognition that magazines deliver value, they just need to rethink the on-line equation a bit.

Uber Marketing

Great email campaign from Uber in response to a Boston area school bus strike. In a brilliant move they are offering free rides to local schools. To sign up, you simply need to download the Uber app and order a car through the service. For those not familiar with Uber, you can order a town car through the app in most major cities around the world. The app tells you how long it will take and when your call will arrive. GPS technology shows you exactly where the car is and you can watch it drive along a Google Map to your location.

I'm a recent convert to Uber. After almost missing a flight while waiting for a cab, out of despiration I downloaded the Uber app while standing on a deserted Boston street corner. I entered my credit card by scanning it in with the phone camera and pressed the button for a car. Literally that second, a car across the street started up, did a u-turn and picked me up.  The entire process from download to being in the car took about 2 minutes.

With this email initiative, it is clear that Uber marketing is just as smart as the App used to order cars.



Johnnie Walker Keeps On Walking

As I was walking through the underpass between the 7 train and my office, I strolled right through a new Johnnie Walker display that had the same idea. In a beautifully art directed and well written campaign, the 200 year old brand is promoting a new Platinum blended Whiskey, while eloquently reinforcing their premium brand position.

With encouraging and optimistic headlines such as "The Next Step Is The Only One That Matters"  or "Your Next Step Could Change Everything" you can't help but want a drink of Johnnie, regardless of your interest in fine whiskey.


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Go Jonnie Go.

P&G Takes A Dive

Every day I take a 20 minute stroll up from Penn Station to my office over on 42nd and Madison as part of a weak attempt to get more exercise. After a quick walk up 34th street with a strong fall sun beating into my eyes, I stopped to see P&G's swimming pool setup in the middle of Herald Square. For those not familiar  with NYC geography, this is the same Herald Square where announcers are stationed during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

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The Nyad Swim for Relief NYC marks the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy. Long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad - just off her swim from Cuba to Florida - in an act of charity, is powering disaster recovery efforts through a 48-hour test of mental, physical and emotional endurance. With the strength and support of P&G brands at her side, Nyad will swim for 48 continuous hours ito raise funds for the AmeriCares Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund.

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As we've come to be accustomed to multi-brand P&G initiatives, this one is no different with Tide, Duracell, Secret and Charmin (the changing room is sponsored by Charmin, cute) taking part among others.

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The event is integrated down to individual consumer fund raising and store level initiatives, with all powered by the fund-raising support site Crowdrise.


The initiative by P&G has all of the elements of a well executed program including PR (pick-up by Good Morning America), appeal to an audience that is more likely to buy a brand that is charitable, and integration down to the grassroots consumer and store level.

YP? When Vague Is Just Too Vague

Some advertisers believe that it is better to be vague than clear.  Here's an example from the New York Subway.  For my money clear beats vague any day. (for those keeping score, YP stands for yellow pages).

When consumers see an advertisement the first thing they think is "give me an excuse to ignore this ad." I bet that is just what happens here.