July, 2014

7 Ways To Keep Mothers From Becoming Angry Ex-customers


It’s time to update the old adage: Hell hath no fury like a mother with a Facebook page.  “[W]hen it comes to brand affinity,” says a July 30 MediaPost report, “the voice of the mom consumer shows love with silence and dollars, and dislike with the volume turned up to 11.”

Since mothers make the vast majority of their family’s recurring and one-time purchase decisions, brands invest millions of dollars and tons of effort to win their loyalty. And then blow this massive investment with one quick, boneheaded error.

Even the world’s largest advertiser, Procter & Gamble, isn’t immune to this folly.

In 2010, a Baton Rouge, LA, mother named Rosana Shah noticed a change in the Pampers Dry Max diapers she’d been using on her daughter. “The back of the diaper was just thin, papery diaper cover, no absorption material whatsoever,” she wrote in an online interview, adding that they gave her baby daughter diaper rash, and “[e]very time I tried to change her diaper she would cringe and cry.” Read more →

Sales Results Prove The (negative) Value Of Apple’s In-house Advertising


Now it’s officially proven: Apple Computer’s in-house advertising agency, which the company set up to compete with its real ad agency, has a fool for a client. For over a year, the 1,000-person ad team that Apple assembled to gain greater control over Apple’s advertising has been competing with TBWA/Chiat/Day’s Media Arts Lab. The latest sales results, reported by Advertising Age July 22, confirm what earlier testing suggested – that Apple’s losing, big-time.

During the course of the past year, Apple management has been conducting shoot-outs between creative work from the in-house folk and TBWA. The in-house work won for the iPad Air campaign, while the TBWA work won for the iPhone campaign. And you’ll never guess what happened.

Sales results confirmed what Ace Metrix consumer research suggested earlier: that Apple should stick to  making computers instead of ads.

For the product with the TBWA advertising, writes Ad Age,

Apple sold 35.2 million iPhones, up 13% from the quarter a year earlier, and 4.4 million Macs, up 18%. That helped boost revenue by 6% to $37.4 billion in the quarter that ended June 28.

The results show Apple is withstanding competition from smartphone manufacturers led by Samsung Electronics…The gain, as well as hopes for coming products, has pushed Apple’s stock up more than 18% this year.

This is in spite of “shoppers…delaying buying new iPhones, which will weigh on sales in the current quarter ending in September,” according to Bloomberg News. Read more →

Advertisers Doubt Content Marketing’s Effectiveness, But Spend More On It Anyhow


If you like the old Saturday Night Live “More Cowbell!” skit, you’ll love what business-to-business advertisers are doing about content marketing. While “b-to-b marketers are still struggling to translate their content-marketing efforts into actual businesses results,” wrote Advertising Age July 16, the vast majority are going ahead and ramping up their spending on it nonetheless.  (“More content marketing!”)

Only 51 percent of B2B marketing leaders responding to a Forrester/Business Marketing Association/Online Marketing Institute survey said that their content marketing efforts during the past 12 months were even “somewhat” effective at delivering business value. “They’re doing a lot of things around content marketing,” Forrester vp Laura Ramos told Ad Age, “but they fully admit they don’t think it’s going that well.”

Yet, in what can variously be described as the triumph of hope over experience and willful disregard of the First Law of Holes (“If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.”), 75 percent of B2B respondents to an earlier survey said they’d increase their content-marketing spending this year – as if their ineffective content marketing  would work better if only they had more of it. Read more →

Apple Competes With Its Own Ad Agency – And Loses



It’s been a little over a year since Apple Computer  started creating its own, in-house  advertising agency to compete with Media Arts Lab, the unit that award-winning advertising agency TBWA/Chiat/Day had created specifically to serve Apple. “Whilst the Californian tech giants have worked on expanding their 1000 person in-house ad team in an effort to have greater control on their advertising strategies,” says UK blog Creativepool in a July 4 post, “it is still actively collaborating with TBWA, even though since April, reports have stated that Apple is trying to distance itself from the agency.”

So how are Apple’s do-it-yourself advertising efforts working out?  According to Ace Metrix research data compiled by Bloomberg, not so hot.

Of eight Apple television commercials tested on consumers, the three that scored most effective  came from TBWA/MAL.  The lowest-scoring of these scored 611 on the Ace Metrix 900-point scale, while the highest scorer of the in-house spots failed to break 600 and the group as a whole averaged 533.

Don’t try this at home

Rob Siltanen, who wrote the copy for Apple’s 1997 “Here’s to the crazy ones” campaign, quotes an old adage by way of explanation. “There’s a truism out there that applies,” he says, “‘The lawyer who represents himself in court has an idiot for a client.’ It’s very hard to have the necessary perspective to do the job right.”

And perspective is what makes the difference between the TBWA spots and the in-house ones. Read more →

The Government Thinks Ads Can Stem A Tsunami Of Illegal Immigration


Today, the Fourth of July, is a federal holiday, but your tax dollars are working. “Overwhelmed by a surge in illegal immigration,” the Associated Press reported July 2,” the U.S. government has launched a $1 million international media campaign warning families in Central America that it’s best to stay at home.”

What this million-dollar media budget is buying are radio and television announcements that will air about 6,500 times, plus 273 bus shelter posters, plus “hundreds” of billboards and road signs, all to run  for 11 weeks in Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador and Mexico.

“We have to stem the flow,” U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Gil Kerlikowske said as he announced the “Dangers Awareness Campaign.” Of course, with more than 52,000 unaccompanied illegally immigrating children alone having been detained since last October, and with Border Patrol, law enforcement and humanitarian aid facilities along the southern border strained to the breaking point, that “flow” is more like a tsunami.

Enter at your own risk

The campaign’s objective is to stop the flow of people with a flow of words. “Families need to understand that the journey north has become much more treacherous and there are no ‘permisos’ for those crossing the border illegally,’ as Kerlikowske put it. Read more →

New App Makes Political Advertising Inescapable



This year’s Congressional and Senatorial campaigns won’t be the first bitterly fought ones in American history. But they will be the first that can send you targeted advertising wherever you go, according to a July 2 MediaPost Data and Targeting Insider report. So even if you don’t particularly want to follow the election campaign, the campaign will follow you.

You’ll be the target of political display ads when you work on your desktop or laptop computer, when you make or take a call on your smartphone, when you’re reading a book or watching a movie on your tablet, even in your family room as you veg out on your couch in front of the smart TV.

This intrusive app has been in the works since 2011. Now, conveniently at the end of this year’s primary season, the United States Patent and Technology Office, in its wisdom, has granted it US Patent #8,763,033. So without fear of its proprietary technology being copied, the developers, Audience Partners, can market it to candidates or online ad publishers such as Yahoo – who can, in turn, unleash it on the rest of us. Read more →

How Consumers Tweet Depends On How Old They Are



When Baby Boomers, Generation Xers and Millennials post on Twitter, they’re limited to 144 characters per tweet. But, according to a June 30 Center for Media Research e-newsletter [link unavailable], that’s about all their tweeting has in common.

A new report from Fizziology “outlines social media behaviors, tone and triggers of Millennials, Generation X and Baby Boomers, so marketers can understand how to effectively engage with target audiences.” It also shows that those social media behaviors, tones and triggers, at least on Twitter, vary wildly. So do the number of times they tweet, what they tweet about, who they follow, and how they respond to group discussions and marketing promotions – all in radically counterintuitive ways most marketers could never hope to guess. Read more →