Thursday, February 24, 2011

Discussion: Marketing to Children

Interesting discussion with Alex Bogusky and guest Dr Linn who is an internationally known expert on the effects of media and commercial marketing on children.

Daft Punk get Coca-Cola branded

French electronic maestros Daft Punk are jumping neck deep into the world of branding by signing up for two exclusively designed bottles with Coca-Cola “Club Coke.” based on the iconic robot helmets worn by the duo. The bottles will come in gold and silver with a limited production run beginning in March 2011.

Along with being available at select clubs, the bottles will be packaged in a collector’s box as a sets only available at the trendy boutique colette in Paris. There’ll be more information on when it goes live next month.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Molson Coors is set to become the official beer of the NHL as part of a sponsorship agreement

Molson Coors hit archrival Labatt and Anheuser-Busch/InBev with a bruising body check Tuesday, signing a coveted major sponsorship agreement with the National Hockey League.

Labatt, meanwhile, accused the league of unsportsmanlike conduct, alleging it had already struck a deal with the NHL to renew sponsorship rights in Canada through 2014, and said it will pursue legal action to ensure their own deal is honoured.

The new North America-wide sponsorship agreement with Molson-Coors is worth an estimated $375 million, runs for seven years, and is the biggest sponsorship agreement in NHL history, the league announced Tuesday.

It replaces two existing national deals, with Labatt in Canada and its parent company Anheuser-Busch/InBev in the U.S., which it said expire after this season.

“This is a monster deal,” said NHL Chief Operating Officer John Collins, of the agreement with Molson Coors in Canada and Miller-Coors in the U.S. (MillerCoors is a U.S. joint venture of Molson Coors and London-based SAB Miller).

It wasn’t a tough deal to decide on, said Molson Coors Canada president and CEO Dave Perkins.

“We’ve known the power of hockey to connect with our customers for a long time, and we’ve been around enough to keep our ears to the ground for new opportunities. This one was glaringly obvious,” said Perkins. “This is a great way for us to build on the momentum for Canadian which grew around the Vancouver Olympics.”

The new contract also makes Molson Canadian the official beer of the NHL, a role held currently by Bud Light.

Not that Bud Light or Budweiser will be disappearing from league rinks any time soon, however. As reported in the Star Saturday, Labatt recently signed long-term sponsorship deals with the Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks, and also has deals with 22 of the NHL’s 24 U.S.-based teams. Those teams offer Labatt or AB/InBev products in their arenas, and feature them in advertising campaigns. Tuesday’s deal, however, allows Molson-Coors to use NHL properties like the Stanley Cup or the league logo in advertising and marketing campaigns.

If Labatt and AB/InBev had gotten a new league-wide deal in addition to their team deals, it would have kept Molson-Coors from reaching a big part of their target market, according to Alan Middleton, a marketing professor at York University’s Schulich School of Business.

“Molson-Coors had to do this deal or they would have been out of the game. Part of marketing, particularly in sectors where there are only two dominant players, is keeping your rivals out of it,” said Middleton. Labatt’s owners may also have simply not wanted to pay the NHL’s asking price.

“I think the people who run AB/InBev have been looking at a lot of the spending on sports and wondering if the return on investment is really what it should be,” said Middleton.

Molson’s Perkins denied the deal was a defensive one.

“This is really about what’s right for us,” he said.

The $375 million includes roughly $100 million in rights fees, another $100 million in guaranteed advertising buys, and $100 million in “activation” money, which would include promotions such as including miniature Stanley Cups in cases of beer, promotions at restaurants, those “fan experience” tents at all-star games and drafts, or even trips to NHL events like the Stanley Cup or draft.

Still, Labatt’s Charlie Angelakos, vice-president of corporate affairs, insisted: “We have an agreement with the league and are pursuing all legal remedies available to us to enforce this agreement . . . and we will pursue our case aggressively.”

Bill Daly, the NHL’s deputy commissioner, hit back at Labatt’s claim.

“Labatt has been and continues to be a terrific partner, but we strongly disagree with their assertion that an agreement was in place for the 2011-2012 NHL season. We have no further comment at this time,’’ Daly said in an e-mailed statement.

While the two beer rivals have long been at each other’s throats, one source, familiar with league business, who asked not to be named, says the legal dispute looks particularly bad for the league.

“What it boils down to is this: Did the NHL realize how far along the road the Toronto office was in talks with Labatt?” the source said. Labatt had what the source characterized as a hand-shake deal for Canadian rights in November, while talks with Anheuser-Busch/InBev for a new U.S. deal hadn’t progressed as far. The source said the NHL was seeking quadruple the value of its old U.S. deal in negotiations with AB-InBev.

While the Molson Coors deal doesn’t include pouring rights — the lucrative right to sell Molson’s beer at team rinks — Perkins has no doubt the deal will be worth the hefty price tag.

“We’ve had a lot of experience with sports properties at this company, and I’ve got a lot of confidence in our ability to activate these rights in a way that will add to our bottom line,” said Perkins.

While NHL teams had long signed lucrative local sponsorship deals, the league itself had languished when it came to national or continent-wide deals, Collins acknowledged.

While he wouldn’t specify numbers, Collins said the Molson-Coors deal was a far bigger package than what their archrivals were offering.

“We talked with our incumbents for quite some time but quite frankly the Molson-Coors guys came in and put a very large and almost peremptory offer on the table,” said Collins. The NHL currently has 28 sponsorship deals, including Canadian and U.S. national deals, and some which are North America-wide.

With the league searching for a new U.S. TV contract after this season, having that many sponsorships — some of which include guaranteed advertising buys — will help the NHL’s position at the negotiating table with broadcasters, Collins acknowledged.

Source: The Star

Monday, February 21, 2011

7 Ways Not to Screw Up a Marketing Relationship

This time of year, I can’t resist pointing out marketing’s penchant for love-and-courtship metaphors. We woo and engage. We remain faithful to brand promises. We build relationships.

Let’s push the metaphor a step further. After a sale has been — dare I say it? — consummated, day-to-day demands can consume our attention, causing us to unwittingly take for granted those who matter most.

It can wreak havoc on any relationship, business or personal. So, in the spirit of Valentine’s Day, here are a few tips for keeping customer relationships alive. (Who knows, maybe these tips will prove useful at home, too.)

1.Don’t shy from the expected: Some marketers fear that an appreciation strategy may be expected and appear contrived. Indeed it may, but that’s hardly an indictment. The greater risk is failing to do the expected, as anyone who served time in the doghouse after forgetting Valentine’s Day or an anniversary can attest.

2.Next, go for the unexpected: One day I received a note, seemingly out of the blue, from the president of a mail-order book club. A free book coupon was enclosed. “You’re a good customer,” the note said. “I wanted to say thanks.” Though I know a hidden-points trigger program when I see one, even I felt recognized and flattered. I also bought lots more books.

3.Make it personal: Perhaps ironically, today’s technology can make mailings of any volume feel personal. Take advantage of that! Address your customer by name. Shoot for a warm tone. And for once, resist the urge to blather about a commitment to excellence.

4.Remember the power of just “thank you.” When I left a surprise bonus check with a note of appreciation on an employee’s chair, he choked up — because of the note. Yeah, he’d seen the check. “But,” he sniffled, “the note…!”

5.Be picky: It rarely makes economic sense to send remembrances to all customers. But acknowledging the 20 percent who likely account for 80 percent of your success can pay out big.

6.Keep going: You can’t build and reward loyalty with infrequent contact. To remember hearing from you at all, most customers will need to hear from you often.

7.Give yourself reminders: Whether you set up a database-driven trigger system or just mark a calendar, showing due appreciation only happens when you make it part of your routine.

I suppose I should concede that marketing doesn’t limit itself to love metaphors. We also seem to like war metaphors. We aim at targets, use guerilla tactics and wage campaigns. Maybe we’ll talk about that on Veterans Day.

Are Brand Mascots Outdated?

Are Mascots Outdated?

More than a decade into the 21st century, it is safe to say we are living in a brave new world. Television, perhaps the pièce de résistance of last century, has given way to computers and, in turn, desktop computers and laptops may soon give way to tablets and smartphones.

This rush of technological innovation has had a profound impact on the way restaurants do business. With so many powerful tools like Facebook and Twitter, it is only natural that restaurants have updated their marketing strategies by pouring money into social networking and cell phone promotions. But despite leveraging every new thing at their disposal, restaurants have stuck to at least one stalwart of 20th century branding: the mascot.

Just don’t call it a relic.

In fact, don’t call it a mascot—some brands consider it an insult.

“Mascot? Jack? He might take offense to that!” This was the reply of Jack in the Box spokesman Brian Luscomb when contacted for an interview regarding mascots. Luscomb was being light-hearted, but the chain takes Jack very seriously, his ping-pong-ball head, party hat, and hand-drawn facial features notwithstanding. In fact, even in the context of a brass-tacks interview, Luscomb referred to Jack as the company’s founder and revealed that he—Jack—has a reserved parking space in front of the Jack in the Box headquarters in San Diego.

“It’s for his car,” Luscomb says matter-of-factly.

If it seems as if Luscomb and Jack in the Box in general are taking things a bit far, it’s important to note that Jack was integral in helping Jack in the Box survive its infamous E. coli disaster of 1993, when tainted meat killed four children and sickened hundreds of other customers. Reeling, Jack in the Box started the “Jack is Back” campaign in 1995, giving a voice and the distinction of founder to a character that had previously been confined to company packaging and the drive-thru menu.

“We were definitely reinventing ourselves, and he was a key piece of that,” says CMO Terri Graham.

It would be impossible to figure out the extent to which the “Jack is Back” campaign helped Jack in the Box weather the E. coli disaster, but the fact that the brand called upon Jack in a moment of crisis suggests how powerful a marketing tool restaurant mascots have been in the industry.

Sixteen years and a slew of technological breakthroughs after the “Jack is Back” campaign, the question is whether mascots still have a place in a 21st century marketing strategy.

The answer, Graham says, is “absolutely.”

“What you’re trying to do is emotionally connect with guests,” she says. “With brand perception, there is a rational side and an emotional side. The rational side focuses on the service we provide. But the emotional side is where we really connect, and we’re able to connect through Jack’s personality.”

The key word is connect. Perhaps the main strength of mascots has been their ability to go where companies can’t or CEOs shouldn’t: birthday parties, store openings, baseball games, and so on. In the computer age, where connection happens as often on Facebook as it does face-to-face, mascots must now make the rounds online.

Mascots have an ability to go where companies can’t or CEOs shouldn’t.While the terrain has changed, the role mascots play in a restaurant’s marketing scheme—that of communicator in chief of the company—has not. Jack, for example, has a Facebook page with more than 350,000 fans and a Twitter account with almost 20,000 followers. He is also there to greet visitors to the Jack in the Box website (“Hi, I’m Jack. Welcome to my web page thing.”).

“The beauty of technology is that it gives Jack opportunities to communicate out to guests,” Graham says. “It also allows us to continue to bring him to life. That fact that our customers can see him and feel his personality is very effective. So we absolutely use these vehicles as more opportunities to communicate with our guests.”

And having a mascot makes “driving” these “vehicles” a lot easier.

“With social media you have to be engaging and have a one-on-one voice,” says Beth Mansfield, director of public relations for Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s, whose mascot is Happy Star.

“It’s much easier to have that one voice be Happy Star instead of the marketing department of Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s,” Mansfield says. “If we signed our Facebook posts ‘from the marketing department,’ that would be a little awkward.”

Unlike Jack, Happy Star does not feature prominently in Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s television spots (nor is he recognized as the brands’ founder, though his face is modeled on CKE founder Carl Karcher). Mansfield says this is because the brands are not primarily “engaging with people through television to have a conversation.”

“On TV we’re looking to tell people about a product and get them in the door to buy that product,” she says. “Social media is far more personalized. It’s about creating a relationship with your fans.”

Wienerschnitzel, which has 350 locations (mostly in California), is using its mascot, a friendly chilidog named “The Delicious One”, in a similar way. In its 50th year, the brand uses TDO as the face and voice of its Twitter and Facebook accounts, but has chosen not to use him in television advertisements commemorating Wienerschnitzel’s half-century in business.

“The spot’s we are running now are black and white and use footage and pictures from years ago,” says Tom Amberger, Wienerschnitzel’s VP of marketing.

With 500 million people on Facebook, mascots should have plenty to keep them occupied without going on television, and CKE and Wienerschnitzel’s similar strategies suggest that mascots are far from obsolete in the Internet age. It suggests, on the other hand, that their role in restaurant marketing strategies may start to grow.

This seems especially likely as mobile technology becomes more sophisticated and gives businesses increasing access to consumers. More so than the Internet and especially TV, the telephone has a tradition as a personalized communication device, and using it effectively as a marketing vehicle might come easier for a mascot with a tailored personality than a complex brand.

“The Robin from Red Robin fits easily in an app,” says Liz Goodgold, founder of RedFire Branding. “But look at it the other way: If you don’t have the Robin, then you just have hamburgers.”

If the Internet has strengthened job security for restaurant mascots, not everyone is happy about it. Critics denounce how restaurants use mascots to sell their brands to impressionable children. Industry analyst Clark Wolf sees them as a marketing tactic that is out of step with a new era of corporate responsibility.

“The purpose of mascots in the restaurant industry is the same as Joe Camel: to create a connection and sell small children bad stuff,” Wolf says. “I look forward to the day when it’s illegal or more highly regulated.”

That day may be far off, but in the meantime, Wolf says, restaurants should restrain themselves, if only because he considers marketing a mascot a bad investment in a slow economy.

“It’s misspent money and in direct conflict with good, long-term business practices,” he says.

Still, even a staunch critic like Wolf sees a use for mascots in a responsible restaurant brand. In transforming Ronald McDonald from a peddler of Happy Meals to a global philanthropist through the Ronald McDonald House, McDonald’s has found a way to leverage the power of the mascot for the greater good, Clark says.

“Ronald McDonald is a great example of a brand striking a balance,” he says.

But the clown’s effectiveness in raising money for charity underscores mascots’ general effectiveness as pitchmen. The fact that mascots make it easier to leverage emerging technologies only adds to their value and suggests they will remain crucial to restaurants in the near future. Finally, there is their allure for that all-important segment of the quick-serve industry consumer base.

“As long as restaurants want to appeal to kids,” says marketing analyst Joel Cohen, “mascots will play an important role in their marketing.”

How many get their own parking spots, however, remains to be seen.

Source: QSR Magazine

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

New QR Code ....4 Wall Marketing and Sponsorships

Branding the CIA

Among the world’s most glamorized and vilified agencies, the CIA is keeping up with the times, and presenting a new image to the public with a digital facelift – a prerequisite for any brand presence in the 21st century, particularly one charged with national intelligence.

It's also reaching out beyond its website, as evidenced by the above. America's Central Intelligence Agency has a new video on its YouTube channel — that’s right the CIA has a YouTube channel — as the first in a series of webisodes meant to engage not only the public, but children.

The CIA K-9 CAM web series, features a specially-trained canine host named Bradley, a black lab that's meant to engage kids as much as Dora the Explorer or Diego might. It’s part of a push to make the infamous spy agency more transparent and user-friendly.

The agency's revamped website now links to YouTube and Flickr with current and historical videos about the agency and copyright-free pictures from

In keeping with this friendlier public face, the site also added a robust "Kids' page" arranged by K-5 and 6-12, with sections for Parents and Teachers, Puzzles and Games, and links to other national security agencies such as - Defense Intelligence Agency Kids and National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Children’s Page, and, of course, Bradley’s homebase.

Continued enhancements in the next few months include a truncated, text-based mobile-friendly version of the full site and translation to foreign languages.

"The idea behind these improvements is to make more information about the Agency available to more people, more easily," stated CIA Director Leon Panetta. "The CIA wants the American people and the world to understand its mission and its vital role in keeping our country safe."

As far back as George Washington days, the U.S. has carried out “intelligence activities,” but it was during World War II that President Franklin D. Roosevelt named New York lawyer and war hero, William J. Donovan as Coordinator of Information, and subsequently head of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) in 1942. The OSS was the forerunner to the CIA.

Hollywood has reaped a box-office bonanza from movies about the agency including the Bourne film series with Matt Damon, Mission Impossible with Tom Cruise, Patriot Games and more, including the Fockers franchise starring Robert De Niro as a retired CIA agent. (On the down side, there was Naomi Woods as Valerie Plame in Fair Game, a tale of betrayal and political chicanery involving the agency.)

Teens, meanwhile, may already engage with the CIA brand via videogames based on Tom Clancy books, such as Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell and Solid Snake.

Now, with Bradley the black lab, there's a new mascot and digital initiative to foster the brand's image even younger. While we doubt the CIA will go as far as Disney and distribute branded onesies to newborn Americans, it's a fascinating branding story we'll be watching.

sources: BrandWeek

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

VW SB Ad...keeping the conversation going w/ extended commercial footage

Jet Blue and NY State come together for Branding campaign

In partnership with Empire State Development, JetBlue Airways has unveiled an Airbus A320 featuring the airline’s co-branded trademark with New York State’s ‘I Love New York’ tourism campaign and logo.

The newly branded aircraft ‒ named “I Heart Blue York” ‒ was revealed to hundreds of employees at JetBlue’s home base at John F. Kennedy International Airport on February 8, 2011 by JetBlue Airways CEO Dave Barger.

The airline is also showing short films to promote tourism for New York State on JetBlue’s in-flight seatback program in February. In partnership with ProMotion Pictures, New York State’s tourism campaign worked with teams of students at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts Graduate School of Film to create the films.

This project had two goals: to support the arts in New York in recognition of the 50th anniversary of state funding for the arts and to create unique, branded entertainment for New York State tourism. To find out more and to view the films, visit

Monday, February 7, 2011

SB Ad: Great Creative by Deutsch Los Angeles...but can you recall the brand?

After you view the ad....can you tell me what company it was for and what the brand of the car is?

Great creative but will it translate to sales? I believe it will but stand by I will keep you updated on sales figures moving forward.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Heineken will be the official beer of the 2012 London Olympics.

Heineken will be the official beer of the 2012 London Olympics.

The Dutch brewer was unveiled Thursday as the "official lager supplier" of the games in a third-tier sponsorship deal.

Heineken will have exclusive rights to sell its beer and cider brands at all Olympic venues where alcohol is served. It will also have hospitality and marketing rights.

Heineken also sponsors Champions League football, the Rugby World Cup and rugby's European Cup.

London 2012 organizers reportedly held talks with British brewers Young's and Fuller's before reaching an agreement with the U.K. operating company of Heineken, whose headquarters are in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Organizers rejected criticism that they spurned an opportunity to use a British brewery in favor of making more money from a Europe-wide company.

"The evidence does not support this," said Paul Deighton, chief executive of the organizing committee. "I can't think of a better match, actually. We have here a British heritage with an international reach. That's the Olympic Games."

Heineken becomes London's 21st tier-three domestic sponsor. The organizing committee also has seven partners in each of the more lucrative tier-one and tier-two categories.