Friday, January 31, 2014

The 'real winner' at the Grammys was Arby's?!

Give me a break.

I can’t stand how news outlets feel the need to sensationalize everything.

Case in point: this week’s marketing/social media pubs.
Subject: An Arby’s tweet out to singer/song-writer Pharrell Williams.

In case you missed it:
Cute, right?

Sure. But Arby’s was by no means the 'real winner' at the Grammys simply because they tweeted about a hat. They didn't 'slay' anything! (Yea, those are how some of the headlines are phrasing it).

It was a reasonable association between brand and fashion statement.
It was on-point, cute, comical, and timely. I’ll give them that.

But, oh wow – the interaction went exactly as you’d hope one in twitter would.

Let’s be honest. Brands can be a PAIN to follow. Always talking about themselves – what’s new in THEIR world, why THEY’RE the greatest. Sort of like the worst humans you follow, right?

And try as they might to be cute and creative (some undoubtedly doing better than others), it all eventually boils back to self-promotion.

Because that’s what BUSINESSES (have to) do.

Arby’s is (still) just a fast food enterprise. 

Are we supposed to tip our hats to Arby’s (pun INTENDED) because in this particular instance, their aim was not directly business related or self-promotional?

…Because it felt human?

Why not just follow more humans!?

I wonder,
  • How many new followers did it provide Arby’s? 
  • What will happen with retention when they go back to non-stop product pitching? 
  • And most importantly, how many more Beef ‘n Chedds did it sell?

You’re thinking, “Alright, grandpa – you are WAY too young to be this cynical about brands interacting on social media!”


OK, maybe I am being a bit too harsh.

We’re all marketers, learning to walk the social media tightrope together. The exposure cost seconds to place and pennies to craft, so who can argue with opportunity cost?

It’s just that so many other brands have done it before – they’ve broken character, provided modest laughs, we all move on.

It’s not a new tactic, just Arby’s turn to hit the tenderly-tossed softball!

And just to be clear, I’m not against brands getting cheeky with customers online.

Tweets from businesses can be casual and conversational. They can be cynical, callous, or coy. They just have to jive with the brand they represent.

Of all communication channels, social media is the most anthropomorphic. It should be your brand, PERSONIFIED!

But just like the best characters in literature, movies, and TV, I expect solid, thought-out, consistent (twitter) character development!

Not loose comedy, once in a million tweets.

Ya with me!?

-Daniel :)

 PS: and pubs, don’t give me that bull about it being a “slow news week” – we’re DAYS away from Marketing’s biggest stage! (rants and raves on Super Bowl strategies to come)

Monday, January 27, 2014

Happy 100! Morton gets a new look.

It’s a milestone year for Morton Salt – the organization is celebrating its centennial with a brand refresh.

And like the best in baking, ‘a pinch’ is enough.
When you’re the market leader in something as basic as salt – (actually table salt is neither basic nor acidic, it’s neutral, but ‘basic’ in terms of product marketing) – it’s best not to rock the boat on brand.

The new mark is practically indistinguishable against its 46 year-old predecessor. Really, blink and you might miss it.
The girl has cleaner lines, her yellow dress and hair really *POP* now without the overkill of shadowing. And a stronger fall of rain calls for a healthier pour of salt! Both happenings are better emphasized in the new iteration.

The typeface is sturdier, with the “R” having a more playful swagger and kick not unlike the salt-touting girl herself.

One of America’s “10 best-known symbols” (Post-Tribune, September 1989), the logo and heavily optioned tagline “when it rains, it pours” was originally crafted as a method of promotion that Morton salt remained free-flowing even in rainy weather, thanks to unique, ultra-absorbing agents. #nowyouknow

I guess easy does it!

Haven’t had enough of one of America’s favorite blondes? The company has an entire website built to promote the centennial.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Beer beans?! TGIF!

Oh for hype’s sake… 

That’s right; the same brilliant minds that brought us the cult-favorite buttered popcorn jellybean have something new on tap!
Official Draft Beer Bean launch page
Years in the making, Jelly Belly is confident they got the formula right – pure hefeweizen ale goodness! (Sounds a bit too yeasty for me, but then again, I’m not a big beer guy).

But why make a candy that tastes like hops and wheat?

Why make candy that tastes like popcorn?
It’s for the mystique and awe! To spike intrigue (read: business and sales).

The market for jellied beans has got to be, what? 40-50 years beyond mature?
To carve out new business, you’ve got to churn out nodes of differentiation!

I used to manage a Yankee Candle store. Every time we received new fragrances, it was the same old thing with slight variations. Macintosh Apple….now, with peach! How about a “Just Because We Can” line? A candle that smells like gasoline!? Sure, no one would want to take it home and burn it (flammable?!) – but it would foster intrigue! It would get more people (*new people) into stores, hungry for a whiff. Turn those drifters into new sales, and the hype has done its job.

Kids are gonna think they’re so cool, chomping on beer beans. And actually, ‘Draft Beer’ is late to the (adult) party! Other mixed-drink faves like Mai Tai and Pina Colada were perfected by Jelly Belly in the 80s.

So give Draft Beer a try! I know I’ll be eying the shelves for its arrival.

*Just remember, "beer before liquor, never sicker!" – pop your beans in the right order.

Happy Friday!
-DS :)

Friday, January 17, 2014

Cadillac gained weight over Christmas…

…Like, a lot.

While we were all too busy wishing one another ‘Happy Honda Days’ and ensuring it was a ‘December to Remember’, no one remembered to tell Cadillac to go easy on the sugared cookies.

And now, this:
There’s more to love at Cadillac!
…Or not. Yeah, DEFINITELY NOT.

The new look scraps the laurel wreath, making room for the adjusted (read: inflated engorged) iteration of the signature crest.

Developers maintain the new mark matches the brand’s forward-thinking mantra “lower, longer, leaner” – a promise embodied in the brand’s current and near-future automotive designs.  Is it just me, or does the Cadillac fleet seem to place emphasis on the exact opposite? Tall, slim, sharp featured headlamps and taillights; emphasizing narrow, vertical height -- it's a style in glaring contrast with the now horizontally-focused brand mark.

Sorry, but I’m not buying it.

While I commend the brand’s refresh for adopting the less-is-more trend in sharp, streamlined design, I can’t get behind the increase in total surface area and disproportionate balance top/bottom, left-to-right.

It looks like some graphic design intern didn’t know they were supposed to hold shift when they tugged on the corner.

It’s both clunky and garish and looks extremely down market for a brand intended to compete against foreign luxury nameplates.

Size matters.

And when it comes to applying brand to car, one size does NOT fit all.

Mercedez-Benz and Volvo, YES – bigger does seem better.
The new look is slated to hit the streets this summer with the delivery of the 2015 ATS Coupe. Let’s hope it gets some toning time in at the gym before then, ‘cuz this brand is by NO MEANS beach-ready.

Happy New Year!
-DS :)