February, 2013

Things Are Heating Up At Bikram Hot Yoga

Our client Bikram Hot Yoga Richmond’s business is really heating up. So much so that they’re adding four new classes starting April:Bikram_Web_Avatar_Lose

7:30 AM Monday, 6:30 PM Friday and 7 AM Saturday at the Stony Point studio, and 7:30 AM Wednesday at the West End Studio on Cox Road.

Just goes to show that a good product and good advertising are an unbeatable combination in the marketplace.

Advertising Campaign Helps Solve Water Crisis

Usually, advertisers pull advertising campaigns from television because the commercials didn’t work. But one advertiser, the Times of Israel reports today – the country’s water last dropauthority – pulled an advertising campaign because it succeeded.

Water, water nowhere

Israel may be the land of milk and honey, but it’s not exactly the land of flowing water. “We’re on the edge of the desert in an area where water has always been short,” said water authority director Alexander Kushnir.

“The quantity of natural water per capita in Israel is the lowest for the whole region,” he added, noting the need “to supply water for agriculture, and water for industry, and then water for hi-tech, and water to sustain an appropriate quality of life.”

On top of that, Israel’s bound by formal international agreements to supply 30 million cubic meters of water every year to the Palestinian Authority and another 70 million to Jordan.

Between those demands, dry winters, and attempted Syrian headwater diversion projects, Israel’s main source of fresh drinking water – the 64-square-mile Lake Kineret (AKA the Sea of Galilee) was hitting record low water levels. Read more →

Apple Takes A Giant Step Backward In Advertising Strategy

If you nodded off during the longest and arguably most boring Academy Awards broadcast in history last night, you missed a major shift in Apple advertising strategy – from end benefits to nuts-and-bolts product features.

Even from Apple, nuts and bolts are just nuts and bolts.

Even from Apple, nuts and bolts are just nuts and bolts.

Even if you managed to stay awake, you might have missed it, because executionally, the spots spots maintain the clean, white, minimalist Apple look and feel.

But that notwithstanding, they’re no “1984,” where the only thing said about the product was that the new Macintosh was why 1984 wouldn’t be like 1984.

They’re not even the 2006-2009 “I’m a Mac” campaign, which used individual product features, but in a way that said without blasting it that Macs were easier to use, more versatile, more dependable, and more adapted to business and lifestyle use than clunkier Windows machines.

Because instead of reaching out to consumers about the general awesomeness of the brand or about the benefits of any of the products, they concentrate on individual, nuts-and-bolts features – features which may be involving and endearing to their creators, but in and of themselves (which is how the spots present them) hardly justify plunking down $199 to $499 for an iPhone, iPad Mini, or full-size iPad.

That also holds true for others of this year’s Apple commercials that weren’t part of the $1.8 million-per-30-seconds buy.

Worth the money?

Would you spend $199 on an iPhone because its microphone lowers background noise so the person you’re talking to will hear less of it? Read more →

Surprise! People Who Have More Money Spend More Money

In an analysis released on MediaPost today (link unavailable), a media and demographic analyst is shocked – shocked! – to discover that rich consumers spend more money. And on luxuries, no less.

Who'd have ever guessed?

Who’d have ever guessed?

After analyzing two US government reports – the latest Federal Reserve Board Survey of Consumer Finances and the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Expenditures Survey – Stephen Kraus, SVP, chief insights officer of Ipsos Media CT’s audience measurement group, comes up with this startling insight:

Affluents continue to account for the bulk of American net worth, and a disproportionate amount of consumer spending.

Who’d have ever guessed?

They have more money

Kraus crunched the numbers for two socioeconomic groups:

First, what he calls Affluents, whom he defines as “those with $100K+ in annual household income [HHI].” These are 18 percent of American families and hold 69 percent of total consumer net worth. Read more →

States Use Tax Dollars To ‘market’ Unpopular Health Insurance

State governments are using everything from athletic team endorsements to DMV mailings to town meetings and political ground operations – all financed with tax dollars – to conducj-edgar-hoover-aiming-a-thompson-submachine-gun_i-G-27-2778-83NTD00Zt what the Wall Street Journal calls “their biggest marketing campaign yet: persuading millions of uninsured, hard-to-reach and skeptical Americans to sign up for [Obamacare] health plans this fall.”

They’re going to have their work cut out for them.

Sales resistance

About half of the states have refused to set up health insurance exchanges and to accept federal (i.e., tax) dollars for expanding Medicaid.

As of late November, 2011, the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan, which was aiming to enroll some 49.5 million uninsured Americans with pre-existing condidtions, had succeeded in signing up a grand total of fewer than 34,000.

As of February 11, Rasmussen Reports showed that more Americans continue to dislike Obamacare (49 percent) than to like it (46 percent). And half again as many viewed it Very Unfavorably (35 percent) as Very Favorably (21 percent).

Price resistance

Another source of consumer resistance is the January 31 federal government announcement that health insurance under the Affordable Care Act will be less, not more, affordable. Read more →

Do Celebrity “creative Directors” Help A Brand Or Just Hype It?

Last night’s Grammy Awards marked Justin Timberlake’s commercial debut as “creative director and musical curator” for Bud Light Platinum. His main contribution was using part of cardboard cutout 2the brand’s multimillion-dollar budget to plug the first single from his new album.

He was only the latest in a string of celebrities who aren’t advertising experts but play them on television.

Before he became so last year, Jay-Z was “creative director and musical curator” for the beer.

Marc Jacobs is “creative director” for Diet Coke. So is Taylor Swift.

Alicia Keys, Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Gwen Stefani, Victoria Beckham and are also appearing in commercials for – and supposedly bringing strategic and creative direction to – BlackBerry, Pepsi, Polaroid, HP, Land Rover and Intel, respectively.

“The model for these tie-ups,” Advertising Age reports,

is a “partnership” anointing A-listers with lofty titles like chief creative officer, head of creative designs, chief innovator and brand ambassador. The link-ups are so fast and furious it’s hard for the Average Joe to keep track.

In fact or just in name?

Back in 2010, Ace Metrix research demonstrated that celebrity endorsers often do more to hurt the brand that hires them than to help it in the marketplace. Read more →

Bud Light Plays Musical Chairs With Music ‘stars’

In the beginning, there were tracks from Kanye West and Avicii. And Stevie Wonder as a New Orleans voodoo man.

Jay-Z out, Justin in

Jay-Z out, Justin in

Last year, there was hip-hopper Jay-Z.

But that was so…last year.

Tonight, during the Grammy Awards on CBS, Bud Light unveils its latest musical flavor of the month – Justin Timberlake in a 60-second commercial for their new imitation craft beer, Bud Light Platinum.

This is a heavier light beer. Regular Bud Light is 4.2 percent alcohol by volume, Budweiser 5 percent, and Bud Light Platinum a full 6 percent, making this “Light” beer “heavier” than regular Budweiser.

The advertising budget’s pretty heavy, too, with parent company AB InBev having spent $32.1 million in measured media on the brand last year, according to Kantar Media, and upping the ante this year. As the second year of the brand’s existence, it’s more critical than the first, because, as Advertising Age says, it’s when “the newness buzz fades and marketers rely more on repeat purchases.”

So Bud Light is pouring big bucks into replacing Jay-Z with Timberlake as “creative and musical curator for the brand,” whatever that means. Read more →

Why You May Be Seeing Less Of Qr Codes In The Future


Art directors and graphic designers hate QR codes.

They have good reason to.

For one thing, QR codes are ugly – not to the scanners they were designed for, but certainly to the human eye.

For another, they’re bigger than anything so ugly has any right to be.

According to research that Dr. Kevin Berisso, director of Ohio University’s Automatic Information and Data Capture lab, is conducting, the farther away you want one to be scanned from, the bigger it has to be.

They have to be square in shape.

You have to make them solid black and white, even in a color ad or brochure, to be sure all scanners will read them. You can’t even use rich (i.e., four-color) black, for fear that registration problems will make them unreadable.

If that weren’t enough, you have to surround them with white space. Lots of white space.

But now, a two-year-old Tel Aviv startup has come up with a kind of QR code that’s not exactly beautiful, but is certainly less ugly and intrusive. Read more →

Why The Super Bowl Lost 2.9 Million Viewers This Year

CBS boasted yesterday that with 108.4 million viewers, a 46.3 Nielsen household rating and a 71 share, Sunday’s Super Bowl was the second-most-watched in 27 years.

More than enough lost viewers to equal the population of Chicago

More than enough lost viewers to equal the population of Chicago

There’s only one problem with that.

Last year’s, with 111.3 million viewers, was the first, culminating seven consecutive years of steady audience increase.

The number of lost viewers this year – about 2.9 million – is about 10 percent more than the entire population of America’s third-biggest city, Chicago. As a result, advertisers paid record airtime prices ($3.8 million for 30 seconds) to reach less-than-record audiences.

According to Brad Adgate, senior VP-research for Horizon Media,

“Super Bowl audiences have defied odds and logic, increasing each and every year from 2005 through 2012, an increase of 25 million viewers over seven seasons. And the last three Super Bowls have each been the most watched TV show in U.S. history, according to Nielsen.”

So this year’s audience drop was simply a case of the law of gravity finally kicking in.

But other theories could also explain it. Read more →

Men And Women See Super Bowl Commercials Differently, Says New Research


It’s all in the attitude.

That explains why men and women watching the same Super Bowl commercial can see different things in it, Michael Horn, VP Research at Resonate Insights, told us in a telephone interview.

This top-line result from a fourth-quarter survey of more than 100,000 consumers selected for representative panels suggests useful lessons for advertisers too small and too local to make what Horn calls “a $4 million gamble” on 30 seconds of Super Bowl air time.

Not seeing eye to eye

Male sports-watchers, the survey showed, are 40 percent more likely to be motivated by feelings of of achievement and 75 percent more likely by feelings of personal freedom and control.

Women, on the other hand, are 65 percent more likely to seek feelings of self-esteem (something which can exist completely independent of achievement) and 63 percent more likely to seek feelings of shared experiences. Read more →