Friday, April 29, 2011

Are you thinking what I’m thinking?

Sorry, Dodge, but you don’t know what I’m thinking.

I’m thinking you’ve made a mistake attempting to position the Grand Caravan as the real man’s van. Sure, it’s a Dodge, a member of the most macho of vehicle lines, but it’s still a minivan, and minivans have the stigma of being a soccer mom’s vehicle, i.e. a momma van. You can’t cross that chasm.

Men can’t escape the stigma of driving a minivan.

I’m thinking it takes more than a leather trim command center to get a male to hoo-ah over a vehicle. Especially a minivan.

I’m thinking a 506 watt Infinity surround sound is overkill for singing along to “If You’re Happy and You Know It”, “A Peanut Sat on the Railroad Track” and “You Are My Sunshine”.Chuck E. Cheese's birthday party

I’m thinking almost 300 horsepower will give mom the giddy-up she needs to race across town in 12 minutes to get the kids to Chuck E. Cheese’s on time for the birthday party.

I’m thinking the “sudden'” realization that he’s sitting in a minivan isn’t going to inspire him in the least to have children. Not even almost.

I’m thinking this has been tried before: Pontiac attempted to lasso guys into believing the Montana was for men of the wild, wild west.

The quality of the Montana was akin to the quality of this video…pretty crappy.

They failed miserably. What makes you so smart, so certain your creative and messaging will keep the Grand Caravan from suffering the same fate? Learn from the lessons of the past.

In the final analysis, Dodge, I can’t help but wonder what you’re thinking.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Attracting more people of Walmart

Walmart recently admitted that a merchandising strategy it implemented in 2008 cost it market share, revenue and customers. As cited in a Reuters article, that decision to eliminate products that weren’t top sellers across the United States meant items that are a necessity in cold weather climates, like snow blowers, but aren’t needed in a broad swath of southern states, were not to be found in Buffalo, Cleveland and Minneapolis. Frustrated consumers went elsewhere.

To win customers back, Walmart returned to its founding principles and added approximately 8,500 items to store shelves, piling merchandise covering multiple price points to the ceiling.

Walmart also acknowledged that they de-emphasized the low price guarantee in its messaging, further eroding customer confidence that the big box retailer had everything they needed at the best possible price.

To address this perception problem, a new ad campaign developed by The Martin Agency pronounces their client’s refocus on carrying the items people need at the lowest advertised price. Each commercial opens with “one of these items doesn’t belong here” flowing down the checkout belt followed by a scene where all items come into play:

I’ve never seen that guy in my life.

I love it. Curiosity reels you in as you observe the products on the checkout belt. “How do these all go together?” you ask yourself. Talk about captivating your audience. The slice of life vignette is funny and engaging. The beauty of this creative approach is that it’s easily replicated:

Yea you’re up now.

Walmart’s YouTube channel features seven commercials in this vein. They’re all cute and some are laugh-out-loud funny.

Perhaps worried that the announcer’s message at the end of these commercials doesn’t adequately accentuate the price match guarantee, The Martin Group produced this ad:

Was there a Randy Jackson sighting in eyewear?

Hmmm, this commercial deserves a little extra attention, probably because I find it so annoying. I think everyone recalls that Walmart promises to match any advertised price. Everyone except the cashier apparently. Oh, and the customer, who displays genuine surprise when told Walmart will, in fact, match the competitor’s price. Really?

All you have to do is ask. Thank goodness you don’t have to bring in the competitor’s ad anymore. Frankly, though, it troubles me that I have to ask. Why not have my back and proactively match a competitor’s lower price? That’s true customer service and that’s how you actualize your low price guarantee and garner customer loyalty. When an item is scanned, Walmart’s system should automatically adjust for a competitor’s lower price, alert the cashier, and print the saving on the receipt. The cashier then tells me, the customer, that I just saved money via the Walmart low price match guarantee.

It’s a mystery to me why companies ever abandon their key differentiators. Go with what got you there is a champion’s mantra and Walmart is well served to remember their fundaments. Fortunately, The Martin Group has developed an attractive and clever ad campaign with legs that will likely bring back many of the people of Walmart who left them.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

You have to give Discover credit

Someone in my household obtained the April 4th 2011 issue of People magazine, a publication I haven’t seen in years. I personally have zero interest in the lives of our political, entertainment and pop culture heroes because most live in a bubble and permit the masses to see only what they want them to see. When a celebrity has a public meltdown, like Mr. Duh, Winning, I avert my eyes and ignore the noise because I don’t enjoy witnessing a train wreck.

As previously revealed in this blog, I only read a couple of sports print publications, so I’m not exposed to many magazine advertisements. As I was flipping through People magazine, I didn’t notice most of the advertisements – they were there, I just didn’t notice them - so I decided it was time to play Random Ad Review again. Here it goes….


Nice! I was very lucky to land on this advertisement. You have to give Discover credit. I love brand messaging with legs and the stewards of the Discover brand have run with the “It Pays to Discover™” tagline since 1988. Why not? The multiple meanings in the message are inherently positive, reinforce the brand promise and employ the brand name. It doesn’t get any better.

The simplicity of this advertisement doesn’t get any better either. Orange is an unusual brand color and that makes the ad stand out when the magazine reader turns to that page. I couldn’t help but take notice. Orange obviously ties directly with the sun in the Discover brand logo, which may be the original logo design introduced with the card in 1985.

The Discover card image is prominent (wise) and the George Washington portrait from the one dollar bill is subtly visible directly above it (brilliant).

Thirty-one words is all it takes to tell the story. #1 cash rewards. Who doesn’t love cash rewards? Who doesn’t love being associated with #1? Who cares about #2? Who remembers #2?

It pays to switch. It pays to Discover. Who can argue with that; both are true. What’s more to say?