Tuesday, December 9, 2014


Talking the talk is way different from walking the walk.

I'm back.

Today, we sent out a self-promotional e-mail. If you didn't get it, you can see it here.
It's about the fact that companies ought to put more effort into developing their product or service or discovering what is truly unique about their product or service than telling people how wonderful they are.
We had a client not long ago (they and their industry will remain nameless here) that was a new entry into a crowded arena - an arena full of disgruntled customers.
This, we said, right at the beginning, is a tremendous opportunity. It's an opportunity to delivery a genuinely better product and genuinely better customer service than the competition. And believe me, the bar here was pretty low, so pretty much all these guys had to do was not hate their customers and they'd have stood out.
Note the use of past tense.
We had a lot of ideas for ways they could deliver a better product, but every one was met with a deaf ear. Now, maybe every single one of them sucked. That's a possibility. I don't buy into it, but it's possible. But the fact was, these guys weren't inclined to do anything better or different to distinguish themselves.
Wait, I'm wrong there. They were more than happy to say they were all about making this industry pleasant to use and saying that they believed in, as their marketing director said, in delivering their service in a "fun, creative and innovative approach." He used to want us to include copy about their "legendary customer service" in ads. Legendary. For a startup.
Anyway, this client is gone now. We tried our best, but this was a company that simply refused to develop or adopt a brand position that would differentiate them from the competition. And it was right there for the taking. They seemed to think the fact that they were in business would be enough to draw customers and resisted all efforts to lead them down a real marketing road.
They had some issues and hadn't done enough business to have generated the revenue to overcome those issues. So it was bye-bye. Maybe just for a while and maybe forever. But if they do come back and don't do things differently this time around, the result for version 2.0 will be the same as it was for the beta version.
You - or they - can blame the agency if you - or they - want for their failure, but I'm convinced that if they'd just taken a small step toward actually freaking delivering a better product, they'd have made enough money that they could have overcome all sorts of operational issues.
Do good. Tell people. But for God's sake DO GOOD.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Not everybody is going to agree with me on this.

Everybody loves Geico advertising and everybody loves the Martin Agency and they win a whole lot more awards than we do for their advertising, but maybe I'm missing something.

Because I hate them. Just about all of them.

Oh, some of them are funny. And if all they are supposed to do is make you remember Geico - and it doesn't matter why -  then they're brilliant.

But it has always seemed to me that humor is best if it has some real relevance to the product or service. Like the "Jake from State Farm" (above - you can get a real person on the phone any hour of the day or night) or "Mayhem" from Allstate (above - you can't plan for everything and if you have cut-rate insurance you might be screwed).

These are both funny and the humor is directly related to the benefit. I just have never understood what the fuck cavemen, pigs, a camel on hump day, a witch in a broom factory or a woodchuck chucking wood have to do with insurance. (See? I remember the spots, it's just that I still don't know why I should buy Geico insurance . . . )

Compare all three for yourself if you like.

I have said over and over again on here that I'm an idiot and certainly many will read this and agree with me because I fail to see the brilliance of the Geico advertising. I just think it's stronger if it's a more of a joke that relates to a product than a joke in search of an audience. Like a lot of advertising, it seems like somebody had a funny joke and they found a way to bolt it on to a client.

I'm clearly going to be dating myself here, but I have always thought that the Miller Lite "Tastes Great / Less Filling" campaign was brilliant. The spots were very funny, and every one of them was rooted in the brand promise of Miller Lite.

I just don't understand how that stupid damn pig has anything at all to do with insurance.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Just to keep things clear . . .

I hate this campaign.

And I love this one.

Now you know.