Thursday, April 24

Representing the Handicapped

We put a big emphasis on multicultural marketing at my agency, so much so that every single team creates programs that reflect the changing landscape of not only the American culture but the evolving Global culture as well.

While as marketers we have become much more aware of our multicultural flavors, it's been written quite a bit that there's one segment that is often forgotten:  the handicapped.

While perhaps not "multicultural" by name, the handicapped do represent a part of our diverse culture with their own unique needs and wants like any other segment.

So today I honor that with two brands that honor them.

The first is Swiffer, a brand some might say is quite traditional in nature ... a household cleaning product.  But as the brand so clearly tells us, it's for all households.

There are so many things to like about this campaign, not the least of which is that the brand used real people and that this is just one execution of a larger campaign that features other people from different kinds of families.  Bravo.

The next brand is Powerade, one that you wouldn't necessarily think would think along these lines.  A sports drink?!?

Wow!  Doesn't get more real or raw than that!  Let's just leave it at that.

What's your experience?  JIM.

Wednesday, April 23

Inspiring Creativity

I was in DC this week for the DTC Perspectives National Conference ... an annual event where consumer marketers of health and wellness prescription products gather to network, learn, and share.

The week started out with an induction into the Hall of Fame, which was an amazing experience.  A cocktail party and dinner with colleagues closed out Tuesday.  Then on Wednesday I hosted a panel discussion with the primary goal of inspiring creativity.  To pull it off I had to call in the professionals!

I called in the Brandcenter at VCU (Virginia Commonwealth University), where I am also on the Board.

The Brandcenter is the #1 graduate program in the country for branding/creativity/marketing.  So who better to help inspire creativity in the conference attendees.  So naturally I was thrilled when the Director (Helayne), a Professor (Kelly), and a local alum (Jamin) agreed to join me!

Yes our goal was to inspire creativity by taking the attendees out of the pharma box ... by showing examples of great creativity in other industries.

We started out with the Honey Maid campaign, which I have written feverishly about.  Love the brand's bravery in the line of fire, sticking up for its consumers.

We then took a look at a really interesting campaign from Dick's Sporting Goods.  "Sports Matters" indeed:

We also spoke about storytelling, and the subtle use of emotion with this spot from Apple:

But the favorite of the panel was this little ditty from Coca-Cola, showing how being "human" can make a real connection:

It was a lot of fun ... wish you were there!

What's your experience?  JIM.

Brands Responding to Brands

We're starting to see a trend emerge that is unprecedented in marketing:  brands responding to other brands' activities.

It's been brewing in social media, particularly in the tweet feasts during big event television like the Oscars, Grammys, Super Bowl, etc.  We saw it with Pharrel's hat and Arby's, JCPenney's mittens, and DiGiorno pizza during the Sound of Music Live to name a few.  Tweet on tweet action where brands are interacting live and in the moment.  Great fun, especially for an observer of brands!

We're now seeing it come up a notch with full-on video production match ups.

The first was a month or so ago when Ford executed a direct response to a Cadillac commercial that ran during the Academy Awards, depicting two sides of American values.

And now this week we see Bud Light respond to the American Greetings video about "the world's toughest job." (thanks to Sonia from my NYU Class for finding this little gem!)

Here's the original from American Greetings:

And the response from Bud Light:

Too much!  Really too much!  If you notice, this is a part of the brand's #UpForWhatever campaign that I believe launched during the Super Bowl this year with a real live consumer.  But it's a direct mock of the original from American Greetings, and in fact there's a link to watch "the original."

Personally, I'm not sure I like it much to be honest.  I think it mocks Dads in the process but admittedly that's a sensitive topic for me personally.

From a marketing perspective it's pretty cool to see these brands up against each other ... in this case two brands that otherwise don't compete yet they're "meeting" around pop culture moments.  In this case in anticipation of Mother's Day and then Father's Day.

I predict we'll see more and more brands interacting with each other.  Some with high production values and some without.

What's your experience?  JIM.

Tuesday, April 22

DTC Hall of Fame

Last night I was inducted into the DTC Hall of Fame from DTC Perspectives.

For those not completely familiar, "DTC" stands for "direct to consumer" which is short hand for consumer marketing of pharmaceutical products.  It originated as television advertising and started as just prescription products but now the category has enlarged immensely.

For those also not completely familiar, "DTC Perspectives" is the largest trade organization in the space ... a gathering place so to speak for those of us in the industry to share, network, and learn together.

Which is exactly the point.

I read recently that leaders should be "masters of their craft."  I agree, but the truth is I'm not sure that is a goal that anyone can attain.  It's an ongoing journey of constant learning.  Which is why I am such a student of marketing.  It's why I write this blog every day, teach at NYU, and work with clients.  I'm constantly learning and striving to be better, right along side all of you.  Right along side my colleagues who were also inducted last night and in years past.  Congratulations to you.

So I take an honor like this as inspiration to keep studying and keep learning.  Marketing is a craft that gets better over time.  I guess something like the Hall of Fame says I've been doing it for awhile, to which I say I still have awhile to go!

Thanks for the incredible honor ... I promise to use it to do even better.

With a big thanks to Helayne Spivak, my partner in crime at Saatchi Wellness, who gave me an incredible lifetime moment of introducing me at the ceremony last night.  I am forever grateful for that and the many other memories we have together.