Tag Archives: Advertising

The MOST American Commercial of Super Bowl XLVIII

30-60 seconds. The elevator pitch of advertising. The client tells you that you have 30-60 seconds to grab the attention of an audience that would otherwise be doing something else, deliver the message that client wants to convey, get that message to resonate in the minds of that audience who may or may not still be paying attention and, ultimately, persuade them to believe in that client’s product so much that they will pay money for it. This is Marketing/Advertising with Media 101, how else can you justify paying millions of dollars for 30 seconds?

Every spot has an agenda. Where it gets tricky is in the ‘HOW are we going to do this?’ category. We’re long past the days of the generic cookie cutter commercials: familiar, politically correct setting, a quick problem presents itself, which is then easily settled by…you guessed it…using said product! Cue jingle, bam! Commercial. You still see these from time to time, but not in the Super Bowl. Only the pros play in the Super Bowl. This is where we as Americans have come to demand the BEST at everything. From the Halftime Show to the broadcast to the actual game itself. If it’s not your best, don’t bring it, I mean…come on…it’s the Super Bowl.

Now step back and remember the advertiser’s challenge: conveying that message in 30 seconds (unless your client has buku budget and thinks that, in a generation used to 140 character messages and 6 second online videos, 60 seconds is a far better idea), to an audience that demands to be entertained, amongst a cluster of other 30 seconds messages all trying to do the same thing. It’s like trying to have the best billboard on a road that everybody hates traveling but takes anyway to get to the big concert. Oh, and there’s another billboard every .000001 miles.

A lot of stuff goes into these commercials before an idea is even put into place. There are focus groups, surveys, opinion polls, demographic analysis, etc. Once the problem has been established, THEN it’s time to go about finding a solution. More focus groups, surveys, psychographic analysis, etc. Should we go for funny? Should we get a celebrity endorsement? What music should we play? It’s a science, one that most would consider insane for a 30 second outcome, but this is what YOU have come to demand. Super Bowl = ‘impress me, commercial’.

That formula has grown to be increasingly consistent. You can almost ALWAYS expect GoDaddy to do something out of the ordinary, you can ALWAYS expect Old Spice to throw some seconds of just pure random, like they rolled ‘bowling’ ‘old asian mother’ and date night’ on a set of dice and ran with it. Chrysler has been sticking to the vintage-ish, 60+ second spot with a serious monologue from a celebrity endorser, viewed sometime before or after Halftime.

Then you’ve got your heavy hitters: those that have been doing this consistent theme for the better part of a decade. Oh look, Doritos has a child or animal attempting (and succeeding) in stealing a bag of Doritos from a clumsy adult. Toyota’s using an aging celebrity mixed with something kids can enjoy (this year: The Muppets…ooohhh cross-promotion for a new movie, didn’t see that coming) on a weird road trip. Budweiser…something something mix in a cute puppy or trainer that has grown into a friendship with the Clydesdales. Every. Single. Year.

Surprisingly though, there’s not this outrage of ‘haven’t I seen this before?’ This is because, after those rounds of focus groups, opinion surveys, statistic analysis, etc, it STILL works.

Then there’s Coca-Cola.

Remember that Coke spot in 1971? The ‘Hilltop’ spot where everyone around the world sang “I’d like to give the World a Coke”? I know..I wasn’t even born then, but I’ve had access to a computer my entire life and odds are, based on all the parodies created from this and the amount of times it’s been used as an example in Advertising, Marketing and even History classes from Jr. High up, there’s a good chance you’ve seen it regardless of how old you are. If not…geez…here.

This was the foundation Coke built in branding itself as ‘the Beverage that unites the world’. They’ve done an exceedingly good job at this throughout the years, sticking to this message and many times driving it home through traditional mediums like TV and radio ads, outdoor advertising, online marketing and guerrilla tactic campaigns. This Super Bowl XLVIII spot was no different in honoring that original 1971 Super Bowl spot. ‘America The Beautiful’ sung tremendously through multiple languages. That’s Coca-Cola, they’ve done it, they don’t show signs of stopping. Because it’s worked. This kinda did too; it got people talking. But not ‘man, that was good’ or ‘I liked that’, or most importantly ‘now I want a Coke’. Instead it was ‘why are there multi-national people singing OUR country’s song?’.

Consider these points: Coca-Cola inc., is a product distributed around the world. The Super Bowl is a game that is viewed by the masses…around the world. It’s one of the few nights of the year that we have the world’s attention for something other than national disaster or politics. Now, were I put in Coca-Cola’s shoes, how could I appeal to as many viewers as possible and put my brand in a position to gain max profits from this highly coveted commercial slot?


Let’s pay homage to our roots, uniting the world through our product WITH a twist: It’s America’s Night, we’re playing America’s Sport, let’s sing the American Song, but unite the world in doing so by singing it through different languages.

It was brilliantly executed, but, just as everyone sitting on my couch that evening watching it recognized, it was bound for controversy. It’s evident every time something like this comes around that our country has difficulty accepting the fact that there are differences that exist, both international AND domestic. We are, in fact, a conglomerate nation. Founded by multiple nationalities from multiple cultures that all brought something to the table and ultimately, that’s what has made us as great as we are. One race, one culture, one idea cannot make a nation this great, it took a little bit of everything. It’s what gave us Democracy (an idea that caught fire through the FRENCH Revolution), Music (pick your nationality for this one), Football (started from Soccer no matter how badly you want to deny it) and even Taco Tuesdays. It’s our diversity that makes our nation turn. The country that was founded on the idea that everyone is created equal and no one should be persecuted for their beliefs. This includes language, gender, race and sexual orientation.

I guess the upside from the whole situation is that it is becoming increasingly clear through commercials like this that hate IS diminishing. Until then we just have to continue to ride the wave with a focus on our path.  Hopefully, one day the world will be united, maybe even Coca-Cola will be the one to do it. Just not this time it seems.

Overall, brilliant advertisement. Well thought, well shot, way to stick to your guns and keep consistent with the theme that has in many ways made you. Bravo, you get America better than we get ourselves.



Promote Your Marketing To 00 Status

Skyfall is out, and to great reviews.  I actually had the opportunity to go and see it late last week and I must say, Bond does it right.  But they didn’t get there by doing the same thing they’ve been doing since Mr. Connery stepped into the Aston Martin in Dr. No. Skyfall is the perfect example of paying homage to the past successes while advancing into the future with what works today.

MGM (at the time facing problems of their own) knew that in order for this franchise to sustain and grow, 007 needed a facelift.  but rather than launching another installment with the typical lead, girl, tricks and gadgets, James Bond had to be grittier, edgier and more vulnerable.  Someone touchable, that we could relate to, all the while possessing the same confidence in his brand and passion for his industry.

Casino Royale blew all other Bonds out of the water and brought new life to the franchise because it was different.  It wasn’t what we were expecting.  Skyfall is no different.  It delivered by giving us something new.  Your business should be the same way.

If you’ve been sitting there wondering what needs to be done to invigorate your brand, mix it up. Shaken not stirred. The days of slicked back hair and classy settings where things were handled formally and the good guy walks away without a scratch are gone.  Traditional ways of marketing have disappeared with it, at least on their own. To make an impact in today’s world you’ve got to throw yourself out there and try bold new things.  Don’t expect people to come to you based on what you’ve done in the past, find new ways to make your presence known where they are. 

Don’t get me wrong, James Bond wouldn’t be James Bond without the classic touch: which is why you must continue to market where you’ve found the most success, but mix it in with a little bit of new territory.  Mobile, Digital, Social.  Where you find your demographic is where you need to be.  Going this route will make you vulnerable, having a Facebook page exposes your brand to the mercy of the masses.  Yet if you stick with it and market effectively you’ll find the audience respects you for it.

Bond got a facelift by trying something different.  You should too. Promote yourself to the big leagues.

The Social Media Workout Regimen

This has become the 2nd point of every CNA discussion for any new client: how’s your social presence? Ohhh man, these answers are varying, and fun.  Things ranging from ‘Oh you know, I’m on Facebook,’ to ‘I talk with my neighbors if that’s what you mean.’  Not many small business owners truly understand the concept of social media, other than I should probably be doing that.  However, in today’s society, almost everyone understands in some capacity the importance of exercise and taking care of yourself.  That’s why I’ve recently taken a habit to laying out social media for business owners in the format of a workout regimen:

Monday: Content Day.  Much like upper body days this should focus on bulking up the social presence and set the mood for the week.  Review what was hot over the weekend (top stories, etc.), see if your business can relate to it, and post it *with your opinion (this is huge, don’t steal, share and contribute). 

Tuesday: Visual Day. Let your business know what’s going on.  Images are a must, Video if you can.  Let them see what they would be getting themselves into should they walk through your doors / log onto your site. (by now, the wheels are turning.

Wednesday: Event Day. Let your followers know what’s going on in the near future with you and your business.  This is generally the day when people start thinking about plans for the weekend.  Tell them with an event why they should be spending some time with you.

Thursday: Hashtag Day. Try to build buzz around your weekend business plans by creating a hashtag to one of those events you created the day before and make an effort to see if it will go viral, at least on a local scale.  

Friday: Content Day. Follow up all that hard research you did on Monday, see what’s changed in the days between, and post accordingly.

Saturday: Visual Day. By now, hopefully you’re seeing the foundation of some results for your week’s efforts.  People will come through the door, if they have a good experience, capture that with a video testimonial.  If you had an awesome event and a crowd showed up for it, photos are a must.  Let those on Facebook see what they’re missing out on.

Sunday: Rest Day. Take a break, but be wary of the fact that others may not be. You’ll be kidding yourself if you think everything on social media goes smoothly.  People have a voice and they use it on these sites that your business takes part it.  They post experiences, good and most definitely bad.  that’s why….

Every Day: Interaction Day. NEVER let this go by the wayside, and consider this your cardio portion of the workout.  Every day, follow up with those that have taken the time to interact with your and your business.  You never know what social power they possess.

Just like any workout, the results we so desperately want take time, patience and persistence.  Don’t give up, it’s always tough before it’s easy.  With the right content, interaction and overall cause you’ll be flexing those ripped arms and running marathons in no time.

Are We Finally Past The ‘Social Media Is A Fad’ Fad?

I heard it in a meeting again the other day. Another decision maker shrugging off the notion that Facebook could get him a pretty legitimate ROI for his young business. “It’s cool if you’re looking to kill time or stalk people, but I don’t see any point in investing in a fad.” Facebook, a fad. What about Twitter? “Nobody cares what I had for lunch any more than I care about what they had.” Ok, well…at the very least what about having a LinkedIn profile? You know, something you can connect with fellow colleagues and network within the industry, area, nation? “What’s that?”

Social media advocates are used to this; I honestly think we get tired of defending it just about as much as they get tired hearing about it. I say just about, because anything more than that would be a lie. Social media is everywhere we look: online, on-air, on billboards. It’s clearly a battle we’re winning and those out there who still don’t see the value are bombarded with it every day. It’s, as we put it, just blind ignorance or fear at this point that is keeping them from all but submerging themselves into the depths of the deep blue ocean that is the digital marketing plan these days. However, I am a firm believer in not passing judgment until both sides of the story are not only heard but understand. With that in mind, I embarked for a great time trying to figure out what stance the anti-social media crowd had. Here’s a few key points:

There’s no control: Facebook choosing a single layout is like a 6 year old at the ice cream store…it’s not happening. And why should it? Facebook has put everything it has into becoming the #1 social giant, something that wasn’t going to be achieved by staying the same in every way. This has been known to aggravate the usual clientele from time to time, but they always seem to come around. Before we know it the Timeline will be accepted and we’ll be complaining about a new thing that Facebook has pushed us out of our comfort zone for. Brand pages are very similar, except unlike the regular profiles these pages are designed to appeal to the target audience and increase likes, interaction and the overall urge to get off the computer and walk through their respective business doors. To do so can require quite the strategy for layout, convenience, etc. None of this can be achieved every time Facebook decides to switch things up. Unlike a regular website where you have the full power to switch things up to your heart’s content (and reasonable boundaries), Facebook can take all that away with a single update. It is because of this many are cautious to add Facebook to the strategy.

There’s Market Over-Saturation: Back when social media really caught on, the cream of the crop was MySpace, Facebook & Twitter. That’s it. Each brought a different tangible to the game: MySpace was all about personalization, Facebook was all about connecting and Twitter was all about informing. Now there’s so many different things that can be accomplished and multiple sites that can accomplish them. It’s almost as if every single major player in the digital world got it in their mindset that the only way to be successful is to launch a social network. Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Tumblr. Google has tried, and tried again. Apple has Ping, oh and MySpace is still around with Justin Timberlake bringing it back. This makes it difficult to pick an option, each has a slightly different audience but huge overlap and it’s almost pointless to try and maintain all of them…you’d run out of content and be spending so much time trying to change that, you’d all but forget you still have a business to run.

Government Involvement: Social media has brought us many things: the ability to connect, inform, network and advertise. Most importantly, it’s given us the opportunity to speak out. We’ve seen what Facebook can do in Egypt, London and New York (just to name a few). Much like the internet itself, social media is VERY loosely regulated, and in many ways rightfully so. However, you’re kidding yourself if you think it’s going to continue this way. Much like WikiLeaks, and online piracy before it, social media will inevitably meet the firm hand of government intervention. We can only hope the hands holding the reigns are good and honest with the best intentions. To the business owner, this can be a very risky overview.

Overall, to say social media is still in the stage of being a fad is to deny the future of our culture. Beanie Babies, Pokémon and slap bracelets were a fad. Having the capability to reach out to people around the world with a thing as simple as a tweet is not. The question for any business should not be whether to utilize this opportunity, but how to go about doing so effectively. To those of us out there campaigning for social media to become an accepted form of marketing, it’s easy to understand the caution flags when everything is put into perspective. Yet, much like Facebook, the kid in the ice cream store taking 20 minutes to choose a flavor, then changing it, we don’t have any choice but to go with it. You’re better off playing the game then sitting on the sidelines wondering why nobody is coming to your ice cream shop to check out your flavors.