Friday, July 20, 2007

A tag line is not your brand.

Well, that's paraphrasing the original statement, but it's paraphrasing it in a good way. A client sent us a link to hear2.0, a radio marketing web site and a brief, but great, piece on slogans and positioning.

Feel free to substitute "tag line" for "slogan and "brand" for "positioning" as Mark Ramsey, the president of hear2.0 clears it up nicely in this excerpt from "Positioning is not a slogan".

"What does it mean when a marketer asks you how you position your radio station to the audience? Twice today, stations have assumed I meant to ask "What's your slogan?" when that isn't what I meant at all. I don't really care what your slogan is.

"What I want to know is what, exactly, your station is supposed to stand for? What is it designed to represent? What do you want your listeners to believe about you and why do you think they choose you specifically over scores of other options as their favorite? What is the problem you uniquely solve for your audience?

" . . . A 'position' is not a set of words, it's a destination in the minds of the audience. "

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Big Budget Blues

Even though a few people who commented on this on Ernie Schenck's blog said they'd seen the idea before, it's a great idea.

We used to have an art director working with us who felt like if you didn't have $100,000 for a commercial, you might as well not even bother with television. I don't agree. If you don't have an idea, you might as well not bother. This spot has an idea.

If your client is willing to go with a big enough idea, a small budget isn't an issue. In fact, the smaller the budget, the bigger the idea has to be.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Bombs Away

“Advertising” in whatever form, is all over the place. I’m in the business, and even I get sick of it sometimes. For example, we were talking about sports events in the car on the way to work this morning. The Seventh-Inning Stretch has become the Sponsored By So-And-So Seventh Inning Stretch. Times-outs are sponsored. Around-the-league updates are sponsored. A basketball or hockey arena has one sponsor and the floor or the ice has another. Promotional events like pizza box races or trivia quizzes by some Clown With a Microphone in The Stands are all brought to you by somebody.

It’s not just sports. You can’t open up a web page without some sort of pop-up cluttering the screen. The Sunday paper is another great example of horrible intrusions. The Washington Post TV guide includes this wretched tabbed insert that sticks out and interferes with using the thing. My guess is that most people – like me – rip it out and throw it away. The comics and supplements bag is full of forgettable inserts.

Ok, so we all know advertising is everywhere. What’s my point?

My point is that it seems like there is so much advertising in so many places that agencies (who should know better), marketers (who should know better) and advertisers (who may or may not know better) try to overcome the numbing effect of the plethora of messages that bombard us by using even more messages. In more new and different ways. Read the advertising trades and you’re always coming across a story about how someone has developed some new medium – a new way to put ads on a grocery cart, a different kind of Internet intrusion or a new way to put a sticker on the front page of a publication.

As often as not, for some inexplicable reason, these stories are accompanied by great cheers and high-fives all around. As if creating more clutter was some kind of accomplishment.

But it’s like trying to put out a fire with gasoline. Responding to the mountains of advertising crap by adding more mountains of advertising crap.

Speaking of media advertising alone (defining "media" loosely and setting aside just for the moment a discussion of new, innovative and effective approaches to marketing and marketing communications) it seems to me like it would be a whole lot better and a ton more cost-efficient to simply work harder to do better advertising. More engaging, entertaining, informative and rewarding bits of creative. Invest a little more time and money into the work and give it the air to stand out in an overcrowded competitive arena. If you’re going to do media advertising, do it well. Don’t waste your money.

This all applies to individual advertisers as well as advertisers in general. For example, there is an institution here in Washington (sorry, no names) that runs perfectly dreadful print and television advertising. But they run a whole lot of it, so their awareness level is pretty high. My guess is – and I’d say it’s a good guess – they could accomplish the same awareness with a much lower media budget if the creative itself was compelling and memorable. I’ve never thought it was terribly cost-efficient to try to buy market share with your media budget.

In the right hands, creativity can be a pretty damn practical, cost-efficient business tool.

We – and I count myself as part of the general public here – don’t want to see more of the stuff. We want to see better stuff.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Every now and then you come across something brilliant

And sometimes you come across more than one. I Have An Idea ( is always a good place to see the Work The Smart People Do. Here are three we ran across today. All are copyrighted by

Click links to the site.

The one at the top is for a casino. Two baggage carousels have been painted to look like roulette wheels. In the middle we have a new take on wrapping a bus, this one for a laundry detergent. And finally, a graphic argument for washing your hands in the men's room.

All three are in the "I wish I'd thought of that" category.