Monthly Archives: February 2005

Thank You

Thanks to everyone for all the kind comments that have come in about the marketing manifesto on We’ve gotten some great blog coverage and some nice e-mails. It’s nice to know that you’re not totally crazy with your ideas and that some people agree.

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The 30 Second ad is dead

In this piece from (you have to sign in to read it, sorry), Rance Crain argues that it’s still viable to market to the masses, you just need good creative to get the masses to pay attention. While he makes a few good points, there’s a problem.

What happens if everyone has great creative all of a sudden? What happens then? Suddenly, no one stands out again. (try not to think about this too hard…it’s a Mobius thought)

The argument that you need a ‘better ad” to get to the mass market…stinks. While it’s true that your advertising needs to look good and stand out, what you really need is a better way to get to your customers.

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Change This!

Normally, when you think of someone writing a manifesto, you think of a loner sitting in a cabin, stockpiling toliet paper, and plotting against the government.

But, thankfully, that’s not always the case.

Marketing guru Seth Godin began a neat project about a year ago called “Change This”. It’s a website where selected people are invited to write manifestos about all sorts of things that need to be changed or rethought. As they say on their website, “Change This is creating a new kind of media. A form of media that uses existing tools (like PDFs, blogs and the web) to challenge the way ideas are created and spread. We’re on a mission to spread important ideas and change minds.”

Marketing needs to be rethought and my manifesto called “Does ANYONE know how to market (and will anyone care)?” has now been posted to this website. Please download it…e-mail it to friends…and spread this “ideavirus”.

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Don’t Lie…it’s not nice

From the first time I saw it and then heard the “other part” of the story, I knew that Blockbuster’s No Late Fees campaign would get them in trouble. And it has.

The state of New Jersey is suing Blockbuster for “deceptive advertising”. And the ads are deceptive. In case you don’t know the “other part” of the story…Blockbuster did eliminate late fees…buuuttt now charges you full price for the movie if you don’t return it…whoops.

Very tricky. When consumers figure out that Blockbuster has lied to them, they figure that there’s no reason that they won’t lie again.

It’s not just a lie or “deceptive advertising”. They have killed their brand with these people.

Hello, Netflix.

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Sales Methods

This week, I have been in deep philosophical discussions with a mentor/colleague of mine about the process of sales as it deals with media.

I have always told my consulting clients (and anyone else that will listen) that “you should never let someone sell you advertising; you should buy it.” There’s a major difference between the two.

These days, ad salespeople come in with the words “marketing consultant” on a business card. They’re not consultants. They’re salespeople. They are looking to reach a sales goal and will sell you anything you’ll buy. They’re honest people trying to make a buck and are not trying to con you. (most of them). They are selling you advertising that you’ll use and that may be effective.

But do you need what they’re selling? What if you are “sold” with the newspaper ad “consultant” and a direct mail campaign would have been a better fit for your problem?

There are two ways (which should be used together) to approach this problem.

1) Learn – Become an expert in marketing. Take command of your own marketing. You’ll then know what things need to be done. This is a full time job in and of itself. Make sure you still have time to run the business.

2) Hire it out – (full disclosure – I personally like this one because it involves you using me.) If you don’t know about marketing, you hire a marketer. The trouble some people have with this is they think they know how to market.
You can balance a checkbook, but when you need to depreciate, amortize, file corporate taxes, etc…you hire an accountant. I’m also sure you can buy advertising, but when you need to make those ads effective, develop a marketing plan, build a brand, etc…you hire a marketer.

The other approach – This is where that philosophical discussion creeps back in. The guy I’ve been talking to believes that the “salesperson/consultant” does exist. (Of course, he owns a media company) He says that the long-term trust that the salesperson earns with the client can be used to solve the client’s marketing problems and that the salesperson has the client’s best interest at heart.

There are a few problems with this…. 1) What does a newspaper salesperson know about radio, or a TV person know about online, etc? How will they know to use the other tools? 2) Another issue is the expereince of the salesperson. Will they have the experience to look strategically at a marketing problem? 3) The major item that won’t let me accept this is the trust issue. To be homespun, it’s like letting the fox guard the henhouse. The fox may earn your trust, but someday he might get a little hungry and look out for his own self interest.

There may be salespeople that can help across multiple disciplines and do a good job with it. I’ve never met one. I’ve seen a few that were close, but none on the target.

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Your Tax Dollars at work

I am the chairman of a local Junior achievement Advisory Committee. Earlier this week, I was out of the office and went to Frankfort, the state capitol of KY, to help lobby lawmakers about JA.

The entire experience was fascinating. Back in “the day”, I was a member of a state student government program (sort of like a model U.N.) and in high school/college dabbled in the idea of political science as a career. When we went to lobby this week, I was “re-amazed” at the level of pandering in government.

These folks (on all levels of government) are rapidly zipping out legislation that affects your business. Are you keeping up with what they’re doing? You should.

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Hardees Ads are straying

A while back I posted about the fast food chain Hardees and their new branding and advertising campaigns. This is a very male focused campaign. It even says so in the spots.

I cannot understand why they have launched the latest ad in the campign. It’s a girl pigging out on ice cream, candy, and other junk food in her apartment. The VO (which is the same male voice and style of the male focused spots) says that the new BBQ Chicken sandwich is for those days after you pig out like this.

Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

I think they have done something wrong here. (Can you tell?) And it’s wrong on several levels…

1) This ad completely blows up all the work they’ve done with the core male demo on their new branding efforts. After 18 months of spending alot of money telling their core market that they are not”sissy burgers” it’s real food for grown up boys, etc. They start telling everyone they have “light” food.

2) Meanwhile….the female demo has been watching all these testosterone filled spots and won’t be swayed because they know Hardee’s doesn’t have “light” food and the other spots have not exactly been female friendly.

3) At the end of the spot, this huge chicken sandwich comes crashing down. Doesn’t look light to me.

Why the change? Or are they just not focused? You can run different spots focusing on different target markets, but you have to do it right. You can’t use the same stylebook to create them. It confuses the brand in the consumers’ mind.

This ad is just….wrong.

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The secret of Advertising

I swear this blog is not about The Apprentice.

But they are just providing such good examples of poor marketing.

Prime examples last night when the teams were instucted to develop an ad for Dove Body Wash under the eye of Donnie Deutsch. The Magna team produced an vulgur spot and Net Worth had a good idea but lost it along the way.

LOTS of small businesses (and large ones, too) make the same mistakes that these teams made. They take their eye off the consumer and get too caught up in the ad. Remember the ad is there to sell something….not just to exist on its own. If it doesn’t make people want to buy something from you…you’re wasting your money.

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