December, 2011

Best Buy Gives The Lie To Its Advertising Claims

Their commercials promised more than they could deliver.

You’ve seen it on Channel 6, Channel 8, Channel 12, Channel 35 and the Verizon and Comcast cable systems serving Richmond. Consumers saw it on their local TV channels across the country. It was a Best Buy television advertising campaign claiming that between the retail chain’s huge inventory, their online ordering and fast shipping, “Santa better watch his back this year.”

Well, this year, seeing wasn’t believing.

Aggressive online discounting against Amazon and Walmart Stores boosted website traffic, in-store sales and general demand — demand it turns out Best Buy couldn’t satisfy. The Minnesota retailer made news with a last-minute cancelation of orders dating as far back as the Black Friday weekend after Thanksgiving.

And when word of the cancelations leaked out — the company having disclosed them only to select media and never even mentioning them on Facebook and Twitter — they also made enemies. Read more →

2011’s Most Disastrous Social Media Blunders

2011 demonstrated both the strength and the weakness of social media marketing.

The strength is that anyone can do it.

The weakness is that anyone does, regardless of whether they know the least bit about marketing. And when they do, the results are often disastrous, as Advertising Age‘s just-released list of the year’s biggest social-media marketing blunders demonstrates:

Anthony Weiner: Maybe he shouldn’t be on this list. His tweets were not about marketing, but packaging.

Chrysler: The auto maker rolls out a new national campaign, “Imported from Detroit,” on the Super Bowl. Then some low-level jerk at New Media Strategies, Chrysler’s online agency, tweets — not on his personal acount, but on @ChryslerAutos — “I find it ironic that Detroit is known as the #motorcity and yet no one here knows how to f***ing drive.” (We won’t spell out the f-word gerund here, but he did in his tweet.) Result: agency fires employee, Chrysler fires agency.

Kenneth Cole: Reacts to February’s Tahrir Square uprising by tweeting, “Millions are in uproar in #Cairo. Rumor is they heard our new spring collection is available online.” How do you say “putting your shoe in your mouth” in Arabic? Read more →

You Picked ’em: 2011’s Most Hated Tv Commercials

For the second year running, consumers have picked the worst television commercials. Well, they didn’t actually pick them themselves. They had lots of help and nudging from The Consumerist, Consumer Reports magazine’s blog.

Consumerist picked the categories, which narrowed down the choices considerably. Maybe they had to, in view of Sturgeon’s Law, which says that 90% of everything is crud. Arguably, 90% of all the year’s television commercials may be too much to narrow down, much less be subjected to. But Consumer Reports does have a different perspective from the everyday, run-of-the-mill consumers; ya think maybe a publication that refuses to take advertising somehow doesn’t like ads?

Okay, we’ve built up enough suspense.

And now, the losers!

Most Grating Performance by a Human: It takes a lot of obnoxiousness to beat out Progressive Insurance’s Read more →

Formulaic Holiday Car Commercials Fall Flat

Who needs it?

Bad news for all the car dealerships along West Broad Street and Midlothian Turnpike (and their counterparts across the U.S.A.): Your manufacturers’ ad departments are letting you down — to say nothing of boring the pants off your potential customers.

Formulas for a fantasy world

According to research just released by Ace Metrix, all those commercials featuring cars with oversize ribbon bows being given as gifts or end-of-year sales just aren’t working. In the consumer research company’s scale of zero to 950 points, Read more →

Green Promotion With White Cans Has Consumers Seeing Red

Now that the leaves have stopped turning color in Richmond, soda cans are starting to.

Out with the white, in with the red!

In Martin’s, Food Lion, Wal-Mart, Kroger and other supermarket chains, throughout the Richmond metro area and the nation, Coca-Cola cans are changing back from white to their traditional red. All because of a failed green promotion.

Green Promotion

It all started when Coca-Cola partnered with the World Wildlife Fund in what seemed like a good idea at the time: Coke would urge customers to contribute a dollar to the WWF’s save-the-polar-bears campaign and match donations to a $3 million maximum.

Perception vs. Reality

But reports of the polar bears’ impending doom may be slightly exaggerated.

According to a 2008 US Senate Environment and Public Works Committee report:

The US Fish and Wildlife Service estimates that the polar bear population is currently at 20,000 to 25,000 bears, up from as low as 5,000-10,000 in the 1950s and 1960s. A 2002 US Geological Survey of wildlife in the Arctic Refuge Coastal Plain noted that the polar bear population “may now be at historic highs.”

And, photos of polar bears dying of exhaustion from swimming notwithstanding, a 2008 audit from the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School, the Monash Univeristy (Australia) department of Business and Economic Read more →