Archive for May, 2012

  • Thursday, May 31st, 2012

  • Listening to the needs of the many

    The latest Fast Company selected their 100 Most Creative People of 2012.  The list is a conglomeration of diversity – everyone from the CEO of JCPenney to a molecular animator to entertainers like Cee Lo Green and Bjork. It’s interesting to see who made the list and why – but my initial interest stemmed from a specific link to the article sent by my husband.

    Number 72 lists Jared Leto – the front man for the band 30 Seconds to Mars. Making his debut as a teen heartthrob on the short-lived show My So Called Life, he went on to become a rockstar but is known in the industry for his creativity and ingenuity. (more…)

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  • Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

  • Bugs in my Starbucks Frappuccino?

    Wondering how that Frappuccino got its strawberry hue? As noted in PCT magazine last month, Starbucks recently began using cochineal extract, made from crushed insects, to create that strawberry color. At the time, the company said it had switched to the extract in response to customers who wanted Starbucks to use more natural ingredients.

    As quickly as the announcement came, Starbucks drew flak from some vegetarians. And Starbucks responded to its customer’s concerns. They had made a mistake. 

    Cliff Burrows, president of Starbucks U.S., said in a blog post, “Our commitment to you, our customers, is to serve the highest quality products available. As our customers you expect and deserve better – and we promise to do better.”

    Starbucks listened to what its critics where saying – even many of whom were their own customers. In tough situations, a company can still come out on top by listening and responding quickly and appropriately. Even the most loyal customer may get upset at times, but will allow you the opportunity to correct the matter. In this case, Starbucks will be replacing the cochineal extract with tomato-based lycopene. The company expects the transition to be complete in the United States by the end of June, then everyone can enjoy a bug-free Strawberries & Creme Frappuccino made with natural ingredients. Bon appétit!

  • Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

  • Free plastic wrap textures


    The Spoon Graphics’ blog is offering six free plastic wrap textures. The wraps are great for creating packaged product effects as well as distressed looking images. Enjoy exploring your creative options. You can download the textures here.

    William Lever is often quoted as saying, “I know half my advertising isn’t working, I just don’t know which half.” While I don’t know exactly when he made this statement, he established Lever Brothers (now part of Unilever) in 1886 and lived until 1925, so it was awhile ago.

    I prefer take the “half full” view of what Lord Lever said – he acknowledged half of his advertising was working! Even still his comment is not a ringing endorsement and reflects an age-old problem: marketers need to prove their worth to the CEO. (more…)

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  • Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

  • MREs anyone?

    Who doesn’t like eating MREs? Certainly not the 6th graders at Frank Lloyd Wright Intermediate School in West Allis, Wis.

    Every few years I serve as a guest speaker in my daughter Rachel’s class.  Being in the Air Force Reserve, I’ve had plenty of opportunities to do a bit of traveling. Back in 2007 I visited her class and talked about my deployment to Southwest Asia and what living in a different country was like. Her class and I wrote several letters back and forth, so it was neat to pay them a visit when I returned. Two years ago I spoke about my experiences with the Air Force helping people in Haiti following the 2010 earthquake. Then recently, Rachel told me they were studying Africa in her social studies class.

    Ah, Africa – the Dark Continent that gave me a very bright sunburn on my face. I told Rachel to ask her teacher if he was interested in having me come in for a visit. He was – so off to class I went yet again. (more…)

    Hello Kitty and Taiwanese airline, Eva Air, have showed us how to take a marketing collaboration to new heights. In an effort to boost both tourism in Taiwan as well as Eva Air’s brand awareness, the airline provides an ultimate Hello Kitty experience for fans on boutique-like trips in a Hello Kitty jet. Everything from food to ticketing is Hello Kitty branded. Of course, there’s a Hello Kitty Eva Air website.

     For fans of the Hello Kitty brand, it’s a dream in flight.

     Read more about Hello Kitty Air.

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    What do you get when you put cameras on two groups of highly creative and competitive people for a week? AMC’s The PitchIt’s over-dramatized to be sure, but I’m fascinated by the show. When we know who we are up against in a new business pitch, we check out them out and try to guess how they’re going to approach the task. Here’s our chance to watch two agencies a week run the gauntlet of a new business pitch.

    The fun part about the show is sitting back like a figure-skating judge and scoring the two full-service ad agencies as they move through their routines; developing their campaign recommendations. Who asks the client the best questions? Who brings more energy to their presentation?  Who offers unique thinking? Who proves they really understand the client’s needs? Who ultimately earns the business? Good TV … at least for ad people.

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  • Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

  • Hyster, you should be mad

    You’ve reserved the space and paid a decent amount of money to run your ad. A few weeks later the magazine comes out, and all its readers see your impactful, full-page advertisement. But wait. Your eyes are drawn to the opposite page almost immediately, where you find your competitor. You expected the “Lift Truck Tips” column to be there, however the blow comes when there’s a photo, of significant size, combined with content that is dominated by your competitor.

    Check out the April issue of Modern Materials Handling and that’s what you’ll find – Hyster versus Toyota. Competition is good. However, when you’ve paid for media space, only to be clearly overshadowed by competitive editorial, it’s tough. It wouldn’t be such an issue for me had the editorial covered other manufacturers. In this case, the result is Toyota editorial versus a Hyster paid ad. Who wins? From an editorial standpoint, this is great news for Toyota; from a paid media standpoint, not so good for Hyster. If I were Hyster, I’d be mad as even a makegood won’t repair the damage done.

    Here’s the spread. What do you think?



  • Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

  • Hey man, great pitch

    We’re coming off a really great pitch for a brand campaign. Maybe I’m just caught up in the after-glow of it all, but it has me thinking about what exactly makes for a good pitch. It’s definitely about the satisfaction of working hard as a team to pull everything together – each doing their part to bulletproof the recommendations. We did the research to understand audience concerns and looked at competitor positioning/messaging, so we know our ideas will resonate and differentiate. And of course it’s a total rush presenting the ideas we’ve put our hearts and souls into, hoping our soon-to-be new client loves our work as much as we do. 

    The other necessary ingredient is a really solid and thorough brief from the client (which we definitely had). When our client is open and transparent about their strategic objectives, needs and desires, and shares what they know, our creative really sings. Everyone leaves the table knowing that we hit the mark and this is going to be a great partnership.

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