Escalated Advertising Warfare

The gray puzzle piece on my screen is a sign of why marketers are their own worst enemy. The Chrome browser allows you to disable any automatically executing media it encounters. I enabled this feature after growing sick (and tired) of auto-playing videos on web pages I visited for text content. It is rather annoying when sitting alone in a quiet office, and focusing intently on the meaning within a paragraph, for a loud and often off-screen video to start playing, shattering the silence and destroying your concentration. Thanks to marketers who thought auto-playing videos were a smart idea, now all advertisers using playable media are banned from my laptop. It has been said that 99% of marketers give the other 1% a bad name. These ratios may be a bit off, but it illustrates the point that bad marketing practices cause marketing to fail. This has been the talk … Continue reading

Cultural Connections

Culture determines how to market

“Donate tonight,” said the actress at a local community theater, using a shrill and fake British accent to warm-up the audience for the evening’s production of Spamalot. “After all, it is the arts. Our culture. Just the very basis of civilization as we know it!” As uncultured as advertising often is, it connects to culture or it fails (and if uncultured advertising works, then the culture needs an upgrade). The antiseptic dictionary definition of culture is “the behaviors and beliefs characteristic of a particular social, ethnic, or age group.” It is the sum of the social fabric in which individuals wrap themselves, typically from indoctrination or attraction (the latter explaining why red-headed proto-yuppies sing gangsta rap tunes). Culture includes things that are familiar, and thus comfortable. Advertising that attaches to specific cultural beliefs is more rapidly accepted. It is little wonder that billboards for American political candidates are almost always … Continue reading

Warm Coke

One drop of water makes a difference. In marketing and product design, the accumulation of tiny details motivates people to want. I would argue that Apple designed the iPhone with a critical mass of tiny little features, and the one huge feature of simplicity. Together they wowed the world. In marketing, knowing the motivations of your target audience and subtly tickling each fancy creates an irresistible offering. Which makes me wonder when Coke forgot this reality. Coke is one of the best marketing machines on Gawd’s grey earth. From cuddly polar bears (who in real life can rip the flesh off a seal in seconds) to kumbaya songs suited to the hippie era, Coke touches consumer sentiments and constantly creates product preference (being a Georgia born southerner and former Atlanta resident, I have natural bias about their product anyway, as do most people south of Masson and Dixon). But Coke … Continue reading