Archive for January, 2010

53 hours a week!

January 21, 2010

That is how much time today’s youth spends playing with technology such as video games, tv, computers, cameras, movies, phones etc. That means that American children between the ages of 8 and 18 years old spend as much time communicating with their technology that adults spend at work!  (This is up 79 minutes a week from a decade ago.)

It makes me wonder how this will impact their forms of communication as they mature – touch, spelling, speaking, even body language.

Source: Kaiser Family Foundation study


Easy Giving

January 20, 2010

So, I was going through my normal weekend activities, thinking about the ‘to-do’ list, doing the ‘to-do’ list and images of Haiti were flashing through my mind.  Right, add ‘donate to the Haiti relief effort’ I was thinking when, the cashier at Whole Foods asks me if I would like to donate.  Humm, that sounds easy.

That night I escape to see Leap Year (Don’t go, I just have a sad addiction to cheesy rom coms.) and once again, the cashier asks me if I want to donate to the relief efforts.  Easy, quick and I go to bed feeling like I made a difference.

On the news crawl, it reads ‘text 90999 to donate $10 to the American Red Cross’ for the relief efforts.  According to the New York Times, the organization has collected pledges of $103 million so far, 22 million from texting alone!  Compare that to the $250,000 raised via mobile phones for Hurricane Katrina and you see that we are in the midst of a democratization of giving.

Expect this to continue to grow as more and more brands seek to align themselves with altruistic efforts.  Now, if only they could streamline the tactical efforts on the ground in Haiti.  Here’s to a speeding up of the recovery efforts!!

To Cheryl’s point below, social media is far from a cultural wasteland when it has the power to move people and to impact brands.  Both Whole Foods and Clearview Cinemas have definitely upped their brand perception in my mind.

Sell Something Else

January 20, 2010

You have a product. You want to sell your product. What’s the best way to do it? Maybe by selling something else.

There is nothing particularly new about such an idea, of course. Most modern advertising is predicated on some form of the fact. But I’m talking simply and literally selling something else: something complementary, something that drives the need for your product. Anyway that’s the literal approach taken by Victoria Bitter’s agency Droga5. They want to sell more VB beer. They created an entirely separate product, a sweet/spicy thirst-inducing chip, as a pair-up to drive consumption. Will it work? Unknown. But it’s a brilliant proaction.

Just as a thought experiment: what sidekick product would drive sales of your primary goods or services?

(An aside: this thinking is also the essential strategy underlying most punditspeak explaining the value of social media emergence: Twitter, Facebook, especially, as well as commerce blogging in particular.)

The Power of Social Media

January 19, 2010

Social media is not a cultural wasteland as those unfamiliar with or threatened by this medium may think. It has the power to move people and to impact brands. Last week for example, $5M was raised by the Red Cross for Haiti relief in just days! This text link did all that, making it real easy to help: “Text HAITI to 90999 to donate $10 to @RedCross relief.” AND…the NBC brand became a BIG, corporate villain. Social media networks blasted NBC brass in support of Conan O’Brien who is being pushed to a 12:05 start (The Tomorrow Show?), so that Jay Leno can have the coveted 11:35 spot. Instant mega focus group…that says to NBC…your brand is becoming tarnished; start acting responsibly and keep your promises.

Defying Conventional Wisdom – Dove for Men!

January 7, 2010

I love brands that go against category norms to create newness. Gillette did this in the 80s with “systems” razors – the market was going the disposable route and Gillette purposefully launched the much more expensive Sensor and Sensor Excel, believing (correctly) that a superior shave would outweigh the cost of a shave long-term. They were right. The Sensor, Mach3 and Fusion franchises have kept Gillette at the forefront of shaving technology and the leader in global market share.

Will this new Dove Men launch help create a viable male grooming franchise for this currently female brand? Unilever has defied the odds with Dove in the past. Its groundbreaking “Real Beauty” campaign in 2005 repositioned this traditional brand as relevant, authentic and modern. Let’s see what happens with Dove Men+Care…Everything in the marketing “playbook” says marketing a female brand to men will never work. Even if it IS redesigned to look more masculine and even if it IS launched during the Super Bowl! I’m rooting for them!!!

Science Fiction May Become Biggest “Earth Saving” Influencer

January 7, 2010

This Earth saving cloud whitener is a great example! Seemingly straight from the Fifth Element, it’s actually being pursued by the National Center for Atmospheric Research as a low cost, high tech way to help cool the planet, according to These satellite-guided sailing ships would criss-cross the oceans, constantly spewing a fine stream of sea mist into the clouds. The salt particles in the sea mist would cause clouds to become denser, reflecting more sunlight back into space and keeping the planet cooler. It has no crew, the mist is powered by a turbine under the hull and each ship would cost $2 to 3M. With 1500 needed to keep the Earth at its current temperature, that makes the entire program cost just a few billion! Let’s see if it happens!

Now Here’s a Nice Juice Package!

January 4, 2010

"Nice Juice Package"