Friday, January 4, 2019


As a card-carrying curmudgeon,I have to post things like this once in a while.

A friend recently sent me a communication from a person involved in a local ad club soliciting input on a FACEBOOK POST she is preparing.

This is part of it. Scary and depressing all at once.

"I would like to open a dialogue around the nuances of visual design that define our branding identity for chapter assets. This will help reduce development and revision time on the front end by dialing into what our do's and don'ts are.

"Design with a clear direction always makes creative much easier to produce because the parameters are known, reducing the need for revisions, which thus saves volunteer time.

"As we continue to refine/define our unique aesthetic and how we represent chapter messaging through visual rhetoric & composition, your voice and interpretations are valuable. This will help me finish the formal aspect of our branding guidelines.

"My approach to creative direction comes from the devised tradition (a stage directing theory). It is akin to the Socratic method, but for creative rather than philosophical inquiry---Discourse as the fertile grounds of discovery via dialogic invention."

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Here is proof that - if you want to - you can do creative advertising for anything.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Somebody spent real money to run this thing in the New York Times Magazine.

God only knows why.


If nothing else, it's an incredibly stupid headline. Whatever else this horribly-named company does, they seem to have hired a high-school sophomore to do their advertising.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Sneak peek.

This Room Keys email won't go out until tomorrow morning, but here it is now. 

Just because you're special.

“Thanks for coming.
See you next time we have a sale.”

We all know Groupon. You buy a coupon for something-or-other at a deep discount. 
There’s a lot wrong with that arrangement. Like that the merchant usually takes a bath, having to provide a full value something-or-other at a loss so Groupon can get a cut. The hope, of course, is that the user will be so thrilled with the something-or-other that they will become a full-price customer for life.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work that way. After all, why pay full price when you know there's another coupon around the corner?
That's what grinds us most about things like Groupon. They condition consumers to look for and wait for that next bargain rate. Which is to say, no matter how good the something-or-other you provide is, the consumer is being taught to bounce from discount to discount. Not to be a loyal customer going forward.
Which brings us to specials, promotions, packages, hotels and resorts.
Specials and promotions are a critical part of any hotel's marketing mix. We just don’t think an overreliance on them is the best thing for long-term rate growth. We think Brand loyalty is better than having potential guests window-shop for price. (Certainly that's what OTA listings lead with.) Branded searches have higher conversion rates. And branded searches are driven by desire, not price.
You want people to come to your property because they want to stay at your property, not because it's cheaper than one down the street. We're always excited when we can drive clients' website traffic for reasons other than price. There's a summer campaign doing that right now, in fact. See below.

So with budget season coming up, maybe it makes sense to plan for some benefits-oriented marketing. Maybe take a look at your Brand and ask yourself if it creates desire for your hotel or resort. 
If you’re selling a benefit (and creating desire), price becomes less of an issue, but if you’re selling on price, then price becomes more of an issue. Actually, the only issue.
One of these two scenarios is, of course, better than the other.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Bob Hoffman has something to say

Bob Hoffman's "Ad Contrarian" is a favorite of ours. He's a great writer, blunt, sometimes a bit vulgar and almost always right.  Here's his latest - "A Certain Type of Imbecile."

Thursday, June 28, 2018

A couple of things to think about

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Money is an issue. Money is always an issue.

So spend it wisely. 
To begin with, don’t be seduced by low cost. "You get what you pay for" is almost always true. Low cost and high quality are rarely compatible. Make one or the other a priority. 
With that in mind, here's a three-part approach that we think works well for independent hotels and resorts.
Focus your target - Start with geography. From your own records and your local CVB, determine where most of the traffic to your area hails from. Focus on the top four, or maybe even just the top one or two, depending on your available resources. A geography that is already sending guests your way is an opportunity. Unless you're a destination resort, your CVB should do the heavy lifting of getting them to come to town. Your job is to get them to stay at your place when they do. 
Creative message delivery - Now go beyond PPC or ad-tech placement. Don’t drop your PPC campaign, just augment it with some strong brand-message display. And don’t put all your eggs into an ad-tech basket with computer-generated placement.
There is life beyond cubes and leaderboards, and there are a lot of attention-getting toys out there you can use. So talk to ad reps for the media outlets in those targeted geographies. Newspapers, radio and TV stations all have websites – with leisure/travel sections. Those folks can offer you an impressive array of creative tools, like geo fencing, channel roadblock, video, pre-roll, contextual re-retargeting, page takeovers, sliding billboards and more. 
Those sorts of things are not typically available to you with ad-tech. And, although totally discounting any medium but digital could be a mistake, you don’t have to be running print or broadcast to make use of them, either. Besides, placing your own ads in a target geography will generally get you a better, more focused audience. 
It’s also important to stay away – well away – from lookalike creative that makes it more difficult to distinguish your property from the competition. Make a little noise of your own.
Close the deal on your website - Think about what happens when you pull someone to your website. Don’t just send them to the home page or specials page and stop there. Have your advertising agency and your web firm work together to create a landing page that will connect your advertising and your website.
And while you're at it, make sure your website is interesting and engaging – not just a brochure on wheels. Your advertising should bring them to your site for a reason other than price. Your website should close the deal. 
Marketing and sales communications today is a fairly dizzying arena with many choices and options and various experts whispering in your ear. And there are a lot more ins and outs and details and side roads than we could cover in a single email. But as a general rule, we think you can get a lot out of a limited marketing budget if you do a few fundamental things and do them well:
1) aim at the right target, 2) send out a strong message and 3) close the deal.