Archive Page 2

06
Jan
14

Kmart’s Holiday Ad: Below the Belt or Missed the Boat?

Thanks to Jordan McNamara for contributing this article to The Side Note.

In a 2012 article, Advertising Age discussed Kmart’s shrinking presence in the low-cost retail field (http://bit.ly/1gc3yWF). Annual sales were down, causing Ad Age to suggest the brand had lost relevance with discount shoppers. In the realm of discount stores, Wal-Mart dominates the low-price segment and Target holds the throne for hip, so where does this leave Kmart?

Over the holidays, Kmart and parent company Sears Holdings Corp. (http://www.searsholdings.com) made a big jingle in the viral world with the release of the holiday “Show Your Joe” commercial.

Show Your Joe

Following last year’s “Ship My Pants” spot and “Big Gas Savings,” all created by agency DraftFCB, this indicates a major brand shift for the retail chain. Kmart’s Facebook page received many complaints from angry viewers, calling the ad “disgusting and not fit for family consumption” and “inappropriate for kids!!!” (https://www.facebook.com/kmart). Many customers also accused Kmart of sacrificing family values and decency in exchange for cheap laughs.
Departure from their traditional ‘baby boomer’ demographic in pursuit of younger shoppers may be exactly Kmart’s intention. According to a Forbes article from last February, Kmart is focusing on improving sales within the 18-34 year old group (http://onforb.es/1gc32bp).

However, Time reported humor is not an effective tactic for converting sales (http://ti.me/1cTMyET). Although funny spots succeed at being memorable for consumers, they do not distinguish why the brand is better or what problem the product solves. “Ship my Pants” and “Big Gas Savings” have more than 30 million views combined views on YouTube, but Forbes reported 3rd quarter sales for Kmart were still down (http://onforb.es/1cTN7hT).

The Joe Boxer commercial may be the perfect example of funny, but ineffective. With more than 17 million views on YouTube, the ad has unquestionably garnered attention. However, the spot highlights only one product line available in Kmart stores rather than the Kmart brand as a whole. Plus, it lacks differentiation—what about these specific boxers make them so great? Why are they better than others? Why should I shop at Kmart for underwear? The ad does not answer any of these questions to make the brand or product relatable to the consumer. Both earlier ads by DraftFCB mentioned above do speak to benefits Kmart offers its customers, but the most effective ads connect with consumers on a deeper, emotional level.

Due to holiday shopping, fourth quarter sales can account for as much as 40 percent of annual sales for retailers (http://bit.ly/1hrxzFG). With that in mind, Kmart needed a stellar season to climb out of the hole after six years of continually declining sales (http://aol.it/19XT3oU). Numbers for 2013’s fourth quarter have not been released yet, but if third quarter sales are any indication, this ad will not be enough to sway shoppers away from other discount stores.

Kmart may have some big…er, bells, but that might not have been enough to fulfill this retailer’s Christmas wishes.

Do you shop at Kmart? Tell us what you think of the Joe Boxer ad here. Is your brand in need of an overhaul? The Weise team can identify problem areas and create a strategy to give your brand a boost in our Navigator session. Contact us. 

16
Dec
13

Duck Dynasty. When the Brand Goes MAD.

ImageI’ll admit it. I’m a fan.

A BIG fan. Every Wednesday evening the tv is on and my kids and I watch one of the best reality shows in America, Duck Dynasty (http://www.aetv.com/duck-dynasty/). The ‘characters’ are funny, I can relate to many of the stories since I grew up in the south like these guys, and there’s always a moral to the story that revolves around family and faith…huge parts of southern culture. I also love to see great success stories by great common people. But this is where my concern for the show’s success hits a pothole on the red dirt road. Are the Duck Boys starting to over saturate the marketplace? Every WalMart (www.walmart.com), Target (www.target.com), grocery store, convenience store, gas station and sporting goods store I’ve gone into lately has a display selling items with their faces on it. T-shirts, cups, plates, more t-shirts, hats, koozies, AND not to mention appearances on the red carpet at the MTV Awards (http://www.mtv.com/ontv/vma/), CMAs (http://www.cmaworld.com/cma-awards/), ACM Awards (http://www.acmcountry.com/), etc.

Forbes (http://onforb.es/1fjRBOD) recently reported that by the end of 2013, revenues from Duck Dynasty product tie-ins will have amassed $400 million. With holiday stocking stuffers on shelves, a new chart-topping Christmas cd featuring the Roberston clan caroling alongside country greats like George Strait, and rumors of a Duck Commander wine label coming in 2014, it seems everything the Robertson’s touch turns to gold (or is that camo?). So, what is it about this group of rednecks that America finds so appealing?

That very redneck humor and charm could be the secret. Every viewer may not relate to the Roberstons’ way of life, but they can identify with family values, prayer, and hard earned success—features I myself admittedly find appealing. Essentially, Willie, Si, Phil and family represent the American dream, something every middle American idealizes. Places like Target and WalMart are exactly where these ‘common folk’ shop, allowing big box stores to capitalize on the brand’s popularity. Plus, the even split of female and male viewers (http://onforb.es/1fjRBOD) allows everything from cookbooks to coolers to be stamped with the signature brown and green camouflage.

Of course, this popularity won’t last forever. I believe the point of over saturation hasn’t come yet. With this quarter expected to be the largest yet for the Duck Dynasty brand, I guess the moral here (to mimic Willie) is to ride the wave for as long and far as you can. 

Are you a fan of the Robertsons? Tell us what you think of the Duck Dynasty brand here and on our Facebook page. 

26
Nov
13

Starbucks: More Than Just a Cup of Coffee?

Thanks to Jordan McNamara, who is the Starbucks lover and contributor of this article.

Grande non-fat no-water single-pump gingerbread chai. That’s my current go-to drink when pulling through the Starbucks drive-thru, and I’ll admit no Saturday morning is complete without one (although I rarely make that my only weekly visit). I’ll also admit I’m a proud gold cardholder (pic), earning a free drink for every 12 purchased, and the app on my phone lets me pay, reload and track.Image

Adweek recently featured Starbucks among their “10 Brands That Changed the World” (http://bit.ly/1aqspFd), touting “they don’t merely influence our spending habits, they determine who we are.” Starbucks transformed the way we think about getting a cup of coffee, elevating it to become an affordable luxury. With sales reaching $13.29 Billion in 2012, Starbucks customers are nothing if not loyal. Paying $5 or more per drink, the average consumer visits the chain six times each month, according to Adweek. Their red Christmas cups ring in the holiday season, and terms like ‘half-caf,’ ‘grande,’ and ‘frappuccino’ have become a second language to many.

What makes Starbucks customers so loyal? As with any great brand, the answer is embedded in its culture. This culture can be defined as that intangible extra that keeps people coming back over and over. Starbucks has nailed the art of human connection, welcoming each customer in with big smiles and encouraging you to linger in over sized chairs at large tables over your cup of coffee. This personalized approach has turned buying a drink into an experience. Starbucks is a place you want to hang out with friends, study or hold a meeting, and this sense of belonging is at the heart of its brand culture. Equally important to Starbucks’ culture is Ethos bottled water, fair-trade coffee, free iTunes songs; all aspects that reinforce who Starbucks is and what the brand stands for.

ImageIn the age of technology, Starbucks has also mastered connecting with consumers beyond physical store locations. Member alerts via text and email, the Starbucks app, social media engagement and seasonal specials reinforce a sense of community between the brand and its customers. Generating an emotional response is key to reinforcing behavior and creating a devoted following, both areas where Starbucks excels. It’s not so much about the drink, but more what you feel when you’re there. Starbucks has capitalized on this feeling to turn a $.25 cup of coffee into a $5 experience—an experience that is felt in 17,500 locations in 61 countries. This sense of connectivity, this feeling, is consistent across locations.

Whether in Denver, New York or Los Angeles, each time you walk through a Starbucks door you know exactly what to expect. Your drink will be made exactly how you like it every time, which brings me to what is perhaps Starbucks’ largest branding achievement—personalization. Imagine another drive through where you can specify each detail of your order, down to temperature and ingredient amount. In an age where consumers are demanding to be part of the process, Starbucks has allowed their customers ultimate control.

What brands do you love? Tell us here! Does your brand need a makeover? Let us help at www.weiseideas.com. We will take you through our coveted navigator session to make your brand an experience.

30
Oct
13

Consumer Marketing: Zombie Apocalypse is Here

When did pop culture become so scary? I don’t mean Lady Gaga dressed in steak scary, but literally “BOO!” scary. Marketing campaigns have a relentless need to hold consumers’ attention, and “what’s hot” is often the magic ingredient. Marketing and pop culture are undeniably intertwined, and as this year’s bewitching hour falls upon us, it’s impossibly to ignore the fact that monsters are just that- HOT. Screen shot 2013-10-30 at 9.48.29 AM

Shows such as True Blood, Vampire Diaries and the Twilight saga started this ‘scary’ trend, pushing vampires and werewolves into the limelight. Since the success of the AMC drama The Walking Dead, however, vampires have given way to zombies as the pop culture monster du jour. Major brands such as BMW, Honda, Skittles, Doritos and FedEx, have all featured the undead in commercials. Primarily playing on the cliche ‘escape for your life before they bite you’ storyline, these ads are redundant and easily forgettable.

Recently, however, Sprint’s “Unlimited My Way” spot has proven the zombie fad can be capitalized to exceed the scream in the night stereotype. In this 30-second spot, a zombie inquires about Sprint’s unlimited for life guarantee, simultaneously evoking humor and compassion for the undead protagonist. Watch the full ad here:

The success of this commercial doesn’t come solely from using a popular cultural reference, but rather from the irreverence with which it’s used. The zombie, confessing to his decomposing state just as a child would with his hand caught in the cookie jar, accomplishes two feats: first, it captures the viewers’ attention and second, makes it funny enough for the viewer to remember. In an age when DVRs and OnDemand make skipping commercials easier than ever, humor is one of the most powerful ways to make people watch, share, and ultimately reinforce brand awareness. Humor integrates Sprint’s brand message and leaves viewers with a positive association.

Furthermore, the zombie’s purely human need for a phone plan makes him relatable to the audience. The commercial exposes the awkwardness many people feel when approaching a sales clerk; this is exaggerated as his ear falls off, stirring feeling of compassion and sympathy in viewers. Again, these positive feelings become subconsciously linked to Sprint’s brand image, creating a powerful emotional connection.

Ultimately, of course, commercials are intended to drive sales and influence customer behaviors. Does this commercial have the ‘oomph’ to accomplish that goal? Tell us what you think on our Facebook page at Weise Communications. As always, learn more about how we can help your consumer marketing by visiting our website at www.WeiseIdeas.com.

25
Sep
13

Social Media Marketing: What Brands Can Learn From “Mother Monster”

What could your brand do with 40 million followers on Twitter?  What about 45 million?  Celebrities such as Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber send out tweets daily to this amount of followers, while their fans continuously respond with compliments, love, and devotion.  So, what can brands learn from these enormous celebrities about how to create an engaging and interesting social media presence?lady-gaga-social-media-tactics

 1—Create A Culture

“Little Monsters” may be a little to eccentric for a company to call their customers, but the united culture is something to strive toward.  Lady Gaga has managed to turn her fans into a loving, supporting culture.  “Mother Monster,” as she’s called, has given her fans a home, and a sense of belonging.  Customers, consumers, and users are all terms that are too disconnected.  A brand should show their customers that they have a subculture that their buyers belong to; a family they didn’t even know existed until they started using your product and service.  Make your customers be proud to be your “little monster.”

 2—Believe In Your Message, But Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously

Sarcasm is now a language within itself.  Sarcasm and humor demonstrate personality, which is crucial to a company’s social media presence.  You want to offer a human aspect to your accounts so fans and followers know they aren’t just engaging with a robot.  Lady Gaga is never afraid to poke fun at herself, her songs, her crazy sense of fashion, and the world around her.  Showing personality helps followers relate to your brand’s voice and feel like they know you.

LittleMonsters-Private-Beta 3—Encourage Collaboration

Shockingly, the people that know your customer base the best are your customers!  Lady Gaga took notice that her fans were just as artistically inclined as her, and opened up her own social network, LittleMonsters.com.  This site has provided a community for her monsters to share their art, while also creating relationships based on acceptance and their love for Gaga.  Opening up an opportunity for customers to use their creativity with your brand can help build loyalty towards your brand.

What are other celebrities that companies should learn lessons from?  Or what are other lessons that can be learned from the big names in music, movies, and TV?  Share with us in the comment section below, and also on our Facebook and Twitter!  Also, check out how we create brand cultures on social media at WeiseIdeas.com.

11
Sep
13

Social Media and September 11th: Small Memorials, Big Impact

Social media has allowed us to remember September 11th through not just major memorials, but small ones, that have just as much impact. Platforms ranging from Facebook to Twitter to Instagram provide an outlet for memorials for those tragic events that touched all of our lives and indelibly changed our nation.nypd

Last year, New York Police Department was able to honor the different officers whose lives were lost during the attacks on the World Trade Center.  The Twitter account posted the names of the officers, as well as their end of tour date; 9-11-01.  These updates served as a reminder of the many public service workers who gave their lives to help citizens of New York that fateful day.

Twitter and Facebook have provided other unique venues for the public to share their emotions and stories in this continuously busy world.  Last year, Twitter was trending with stories of where each user was when they found out about the attacks.  Different age groups were able to illustrate the spectrum of emotions felt when the news of the attacks first broke.  Younger users told how they were in kindergarten class during the attacks, and had no idea what exactly had happened.  While the older population was able to see the news in their office or on their way to work.

September11In addition to a platform for stories, the Internet has become a place for remembrance in lieu of expensive and time-consuming memorial services.  Life unfortunately does not stop on difficult anniversaries, but that does not mean Americans cannot share their thoughts and prayers for each other.  A simple status update or tweet provides a short moment of silence, when the day doesn’t allow for a memorial service.  According to social media experts, these brief mentions have also helped to increase awareness of the importance of any day, which might have been forgotten years later.

Whether it is a moment of reflection, prayer, patriotism, or remembrance, social media has forever changed how Americans will commemorate September 11th, and all that was lost on that day.

How else have you seen others using social media to commemorate 9/11?  Tell us in the comments, and on our Facebook and Twitter pages.  Be sure to visit our website and learn more about our agency and all that we offer in social media.

05
Sep
13

Healthier Marketing: Taco Bell Cutting the Cord On Kids’ Meals

Fast food chains have been constantly under critique since pediatric obesity became a leading medical issue.  The convenience and favorable taste of fast food makes kids’ meals wildly popular,

Image

 their high calorie count and low nutritional value makes them highly criticized.  The unhealthy food is not the only problem.  Criti

In recent years, chains have begun to listen to health advisers. They claim to make steps toward healthier options, however, these changes might just be cosmetic, rather than a true interest in a creating healthier community.cs have long despised the marketing tactics of these restaurants, especially their relationship with children. The toy offering with each kid’s meal has been called unethical since children beg for the toy, not understanding the unhealthy food that comes along with it.

So far, Taco Bell has become the first national fast food chain to eliminate kid’s meals.  This decision was made following intense pressure from health advocates to eliminate the meals in order to promote healthier food choices for children.  However, CEO Greg Creed says that the pressure from the advocates was not the only force driving the elimination.  Creed says kid’s meals were not profitable for the company, representing only .5% of total sales, and the meals did not suit their target market of millennials.

Other fast food chains feeling heat from health advocates include Jack In The Box which eliminated the kid’s meal option in 2007, however Jack In The Box not a national chain.  For their Kids’ meals, McDonald’s, added apples and downsized the fries. Yet the toys still remain and the kids want them. Trust me, I was specifically asked by my five year old for dinner from McDonald’s last week so he could “get a cool toy”. Which I interpret to be: a piece of plastic crap surrounded by junk food he barely likes and hardly eats. And yet McDonald’s got my money.

Image

According to various reports, the real reason most brands eliminate kid’s meals or add healthier options is to increase their brand image.  Taco Bell looks good to health advocates and to the public by eliminating possible deceptive marketing to children that comes from offering cool toys in meals. Also, these other options do an excellent job of bringing customers in the doors, where they usually continue to buy the unhealthier menu choices and a profit is still made.

Should brands shift towards healthier food options, even if its not for healthier reasons?  Should Taco Bell be praised for eliminating the kid’s meal, even though they are doing it for primarily fiscal reasons? Is McDonald’s still king because apples are in  happy meals and the fries are smaller, or does it really make any difference?

Tell us what you think in the comments, and head over to our Facebook or Twitter at @weise_ideas.  Be sure to visit us at at WeiseIdeas.com




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