January, 2014

Soda Stream Super Bowl Spot Stirs Up Controversy From An Unexpected Source


Soda Stream CEO Daniel Birnbaum sees his brand as a David taking on soda Goliaths Coke and Pepsi, with controversy-generating commercials as his slingshot.

When CBS rejected last year’s Super Bowl spot – his company’s first – at the last minute because it showed Coke and Pepsi bottles exploding, Birnbaum reveled in the free publicity, including “about 5 million views on YouTube, which we didn’t pay for.”

The beginning of last November, Birnbaum voiced the hope that Fox, who’s airing this year’s Super Bowl, “will be a little more courageous than CBS” and air this year’s commercial as is.

They won’t.

History repeats itself

This year’s Super Bowl commercial “will be edgy,” he said, “because that is who we are. You have to be edgy if you are challenging and disrupting a big category.”

But that’s not why Fox rejected it. The supposedly “edgy” commercial is anything but. Read more →’s Biggest Problem Has Nothing To Do With Its Software

Barack Obama, Mona Magnat, Hershey Garner, Richard Evans, the Obamacare website, has a big problem. But it’s not the problem you might think.

It’s not the crashes, freezes, faulty navigation and long waits, though there are still plenty of those.

It’s not the huge security holes that let hackers steal private, personal information.

It’s not even the lack of any back end to relay enrollment and subsidy information to insurance companies so that consumers can be billed and insurers reimbursed.

The biggest problem, according to recently released government figures, is something called conversion rate. Read more →

Dunham Photoshop ‘controversy’ Unwittingly Boosts New Aerie Ad Campaign


American Eagle’s aerie lingerie retail chain’s Spring 2014 ad campaign got a public relations boost from a totally unexpected quarter – Lena Dunham, from the much hyped but little watched “Girls” HBO series.

The announcement of aerie REAL lingerie for young women 15 to 21 years old and its advertising campaign featuring, as the copy says, “NO MORE RETOUCHING” came hot on the heels of Dunham’s manufactured controversy over her heavily Photoshopped Vogue cover photo.

Fantasy trumps feminism

As Breitbart’s Big Hollywood blog noted, Dunham’s cover shot and the photos of her in the accompanying article “hardly reflect reality.” As you’ll see from the marked-up photo in the slide show,

[a]n annotated gif points out that Dunham’s hips have been pulled in, her jawline slimmed, defined and raised. The bags under her eyes have been removed and the smile line on the right-hand-side of her face has been erased entirely.

And how did this self-styled “standard bearer for feminist thought” react to this objectification of her body? By being all for it. Read more →

Boomers And Millennials Are More Alike In The Marketplace Than You’d Think

older man and younger woman yelling at each other

Forget the conventional wisdom. When it comes to buying things, the generation gap between Baby Boomers (49-67 years old) and Millennials (18-32) may be just fractions of a millimeter wide. A Radius GMR study of more than 3.4 million households found more similarities than differences in how each group makes purchase decisions. Knowing and taking advantage of those similarities can save marketers significant money by avoiding duplicative marketing investments. Read more →

Yet Another, $0.5 Billion, Flood Of Obamacare Advertising Won’t Turn The Tide


Just when you thought it was safe to watch television again, another flood of Obamacare advertising is about to hit the airwaves. Unlike last year’s $1 billion flood, it will have only half the volume.

The Obama administration is readying what Advertising Age calls “a blitz of advertising that is expected to cost at least $12 million and could go much higher.” Like other advertisers, they won’t be blowing it all on three Super Bowl :30s. Instead, an unnamed government official told Ad Age, “Because normal prime time and other sports programming tends to take a ratings hit during the Olympics, [HHS] has decided to shift some paid media budget to the NBC Olympic inventory in our local target markets to capitalize on this increased viewership.”

While last year’s Super Bowl drew 108.4 million viewers all at one shot, the 2012 Winter Olympics averaged just 12.6 million viewers a day over 17 days.

Also unlike last year’s, most of the spending will be coming from insurance companies, not government. TVB senior VP-marketing Scott Roskowski predicts that private health insurers will spend at least $500 million of their own, not taxpayers’, money on advertising this year – an estimate Roskowski himself calls conservative.

Wellpoint, for example, plans to spend up to $100 million on television, social media and print ads. Industry-wide, a Kantar Media CMAG study showed that health-insurance company ad spending climbed to more than $40 million during the week of December 1.

But no matter how much is spent or who’s spending it, like last year’s Obamacare advertising, it’s doomed to failure. Here’s why. Read more →

Failed Bud Light Marketing Vp To ‘resign’ After Super Bowl

kicked out

The joke about the three biggest lies has many variations, but certainly “I gave at the office,” “Your check is in the mail” and “I’m resigning to spend more time with my family” are top contenders.

Political appointees who’ve been given a kinder, gentler version of the Luger pistol with one bullet in the chamber have used that last lie for decades. And now, it looks like Bud Light marketing VP Paul Chibe is too.

After three years on the job, Chibe announced he’s leaving right after the Super Bowl, of which his employer, Anheuser-Busch InBev, is exclusive beer sponsor.

Did he jump or was he pushed?

Chibe told an interviewer that it was the terrible rigors of business travel that motivated his decision to quit and spend more time with his wife and two children.

An internal company memo said that “Paul will continue for the next few weeks to assure a smooth transition…on important marketing initiatives, such as the Super Bowl” and claimed that leaving was Chibe’s own decision. But industry scuttlebutt says otherwise. Read more →

Why 80% Of Super Bowl Ads Will Fail



If, as Michael Horn, VP Research at Resonate, told us last year, a 30-second Super Bowl spot is “a $4 million gamble,” then it’s a very long shot.

The odds are 4:1 against you, according to a Communicus study. After interviewing 1,000 viewers both before and after the 2012 and 2013 gamnes, the Tuscon-based research firm found that 80 percent of Super Bowl commercials failed to sell product. That’s even worse than cheaper, everyday commercials, whose failure rate was a mere 60 percent (3:2 odds, much closer to even money).

Before and after

Before each game, they asked consumers what they’ve bought recently and what they intend to buy (in advertised product categories) after Super Bowl Sunday. Two weeks later, they ask a similar set of questions again, to find out which commercials respondents remember and which brands they’ve bought. For categories like cars, which, according to R.L. Polk & Company, people buy on the average of once every six years, they measure intention to investigate a brand.

Conventional wisdom is dumb

Paradoxically, much of the conventional wisdom (AKA best practices) regarding Super Bowl advertising is a reason for why spots fail on it. Read more →