January, 2012

Can A Preachy, Plagiaristic New Ad Campaign Help Gm Sell More Electric Lemons?

How everyone except Government Motors sees the Chevy Volt

Imagine you’re Joel Ewanick, GM’s global marketing chief, and you’ve got a problem.

You have a subcompact car that, even with a $7,500 government subsidy, sells for the price of a luxury sedan.

It has severly limited range. According to your own company’s director of electric vehicles and batteries, it would take four weeks to drive this subcompact from Detroit to Florida. Which, he admits, is one whole week longer than it would’ve taken to make the trip by bike.

Its sales target for last year was less than 1% of your best selling model’s, but it missed even that unambitious goal by 24%.

Your dealerships from New York to California are refusing deliveries.

Oh, and the car’s best known for catching fire.

So what do you do? Read more →

2012 Super Bowl Advertisers Unveil A Brand New, 40-year-old Game Plan

Running out the clock?

Advertisers are going all-out with a startlingly innovative new game plan this year. They’re going long. With their commercials, that is.

Volkswagen will be airing a 60-second spot. So will their sister brand, Audi. Hyundai’s running a :60 just before the kickoff, on the assumption that that’s when they’ll have more of viewers’ undivided attention. (Of course, the fact that they’ll be paying only $200,000 to $4 million just before the game instead of around $6+ million during it may have had something to do with it.)

And a 45-second PepsiMax commercial is rumored to be in production.

Isolated phenomenon or trend?

Kantar Media, which tracks television ad buys, notes that November, 2011 — the most recent month for which they’ve compiled statistics — saw an increase in 60-second commercial buys and a corresponding decrease in :30s.

But Super Bowl ad plans and buys are made months before then. So what gives? Why are advertisers coughing up twice as much as the $3.5-million-per-30-seconds rate? To say nothing of hundreds of thousands more in production costs? Especially since, the mini-trend that Kantar’s statistics imply Read more →

Everyone Loves Qr Codes — Except Consumers

At least somebody got it right.

Quick Response [QR] codes — those bar-code-like things you see on everything from rental cars to Bratz dolls, should be a marketer’s dream.

Since the early days of direct-order coupon ads in the early 20th Century, advertisers have known that the simpler the response mechanism, the higher the response — and what can be simpler than pointing your smart phone, scanning and clicking?

QR codes make every advertising medium instant direct-response — everything from the Times Dispatch to the packaging at Wal-Mart, Martin’s or Kroger to the billboards along I-64.

Enterprise Rent A Car pastes QR codes on the left front windows and attaches them to the keyrings of 1 million North American rental vehicles so that passers-by and drivers who are so inclined can get information from the  car’s manufacturer. JC Penney has gone hog-wild with QR codes, including holiday gift tags that let the recipient hear a recorded message from the giver. Some funeral homes even sell tombstones with QR codes that link to an obituary of the dearly departed.

QR codes connect target audiences with the instant gratification of a sales message, video, or e-commerce portal. This means that retailers can increase productivity by serving more customers with fewer salespeople.

Best of all, they’re precisely measurable, and if there’s one thing marketers love, it’s metrics. Read more →