Monthly Archives: November 2008

Rebranding the Quarter Pounder

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McDonald’s took a minimalist approach to launching the Quarter Pounder in Japan.  The hamburger giant scratched their traditional branding to open Quarter Pounder stores – no golden arches, no Ronald McDonald, in fact, no “McDonald’s” of any kind.  McDonald’s redesigned two of its Tokyo restaurants – for a limited time – into Quarter Pounder shops.  According to Creativity Online, the “minimal black and red shops are operated by a ‘Quarter Pounder Secretariat,’ feature Le Corbusier sofas and only two menu items: Quarter Pounder meal and a Double Quarter Pounder meal.” 

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The meals were even served in minimalist red and black packaging.

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The campaign was to not only create buzz but to launch the hamburger without having consumers judge it solely by the McDonald’s brand – a kind of blind taste test.  “We want consumers to discover great taste and not care about who produced it,” a shop spokesman said.  “Those who think of McDonald’s as fast food can just focus on taste and find a premium burger, without prejudice or preconception.”

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High-Tech Turkey

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This post is dedicated to my friend, Colleen, who is making her first Thanksgiving turkey this year.

Butterball, launched its turkey talk-line in 1981, to help first-timers and old-timers alike with their turkey challenges.  Back then, a 6 people manned the phone lines and were a bit overwhelmed by the 11,000 callers.  “Now a staff of more than 50 coddles more than 100,000 consumers each year,” says AdAge.

This year, Butterball has expanded their turkey help line to include Turkey Text Messages and a mobile site, for people who need help on-the-go.  The text messages will include tips on how to prep and cook a turkey, reminders on when to buy and thaw the turkey (Note: thawing time is very important, not that I’ve ever had problems with that or anything…), and shopping list alerts for new recipes.  Users will also be able to directly connect to the turkey talk-line directly from any message.

butterball1If you don’t want to wait on the phone, you can check out Butterball’s mobile site through your mobile phone.  There are tips for cooking, a timing checklist and weight conversions.  The best thing on Butterball’s site, in my opinion, is the perfect portions application on the front page.  Just type in the number of adults and kids at your Thanksgiving feast and immediately get the size of turkey you should buy and the amount of stuffing to make.  Absolutely brilliant!

I am so ready for this holiday!!!

Motrin Moms

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Motrin Moms is still trending towards the top of Twitter after Motrin.com has removed the video and replaced it with an apology.  For those of you who aren’t aware of the issue, yet, here’s a run-down.

On Friday, Motrin posted this ad on the front page of their site.  The commercial claims that “wearing your baby seems to be a fashion…supposidly, it’s a real bonding experience.”  Then, the condescending voice goes on to say, “I’ll put up with the pain, because it’s a good pain – it’s for my kid.  Plus, it totally makes me look like an official mom.  And, so, if I look tired and crazy, people will understand why.”

Moms everywhere were outraged.  #MotrinMoms became the hottest stream on Twitter, and prompted dozens of responses from angry mothers on YouTube.  Dozens of bloggers are asking why Motrin did not test this message with its intended market audience.  This disaster was completely avoidable.  The other lesson – never launch a campaign on a Friday unless you are going to have staff on hand to handle potential issues.  Lesson number three?  Don’t piss off the moms.  Mommy bloggers, geek moms, and techie moms are a huge force on the web.  They blog about products, they participate in community forums, they twitter.  Even MomLogic, the most influential mommy blog according to PR Week, had an article about Motrin Moms on its front page.

Unfortunately, as the apology states, this was just the beginning of an entire campaign – including print media.  Which means those mothers who aren’t savvy enough to have caught it on the web, will definitely see it in their next issue of their mommy magazine.

Below is the most popular YouTube response to the Motrin baby-wearing ad:

Tasty Marketing Treats

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Here are just some of the things I’m reading about this week:

  • OfficeMax’s Elf Yourself campaign has started again.  Remember, according to Advertising Age, 26.4 million people spent a total of 2,600 years at Elf Yourself last year.

 

  • The New York Times has published an article claiming that President-Elect Obama may have to give up his Blackberry.  I’ve said several times on this blog how impressed I am with the way that Obama has used multiple social media tools to communicate with his constituents – from YouTube and Twitter to iPhone applications.  For all of us that are Blackberry / iPhone addicts, we all understand how utterly disabling this could be.  It will be interesting to see how he handles this first conflict. 

 

  • President-Elect Obama has also released his first weekly video address to the nation.  These will continue to run at Change.gov and the Obama YouTube channel.  Forrester Analyst, Jeremiah Owyang, is quick to point out that Obama has just as many views as the top-rated Fred channel, but far less subscribers.  Jeremiah will be tracking progress of Obama’s YouTube success.

 

  • Mom everywhere are still very upset with the Motrin Moms video on Motrin’s official website.  Apparently, the video is still there, but as of this morning I couldn’t get to Motrin’s site.  This is still one of the hottest discussions on Twitter at the moment at #motrinmoms.  The video talks about how uncomfortable and painful it is for moms to carry their babies.  Ooops…bad idea, Motrin.

Taking the Brunt of the Bailout

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As you may have realized from my previous posts (here and here), I am not happy about the financial bailout.  In my opinion, poorly run companies should be punished – in a capitalist market that often happens by them going out of business.  It’s the cycle of business (the circle of life, Simba).  Businesses open.  Businesses close.

So, imagine my reaction when I received notification today from the FDIC that the bank global_financial_crisiswho owns my mortgage is going out of business – and I have 60 days to find a new lender.  Let me be clear, fellow Joe Six-Packs, this is not the company who we signed the mortgage with in the first place.  This is the bank who PURCHASED my mortgage shortly after we moved into the house in May.  Let me also clarify that both of us on the loan have credit scores in the 790-815 range. 

I did not realize that some of these financial institutions were going out of business without selling off their debt.  How can they – remember, they voluntarily purchased my loan this summer without my knowledge – back out of a contract agreement?  I don’t think the bank would be very forgiving if I were to say, “Mr. Bank, I’ve mismanaged my funds, and therefore I don’t want to pay my mortgage.” 

So, let me get this straight.  My tax dollars just went into a $700 billion bailout package for the finanical industry.  My tax dollars.  I’ve never been late on a payment, and in fact, we’ve paid early or more than the balance due on several occasions.  And, now it is my responsibility to find a new lender and pay closing costs to refinance?  I am being punished, yet again, for the poor choices of these banks?  Where is my million dollar bonus?  Where is my half-million dollar vacation to St. Regis?

Our lender, Rodney Anderson, just called.  Rodney is absolutely the best in the business.  If you live in Dallas / Ft. Worth, I highly recommend him.  (Remember, this isn’t his fault.  Fault lies with the bank that purchased our loan after closing.)  Rodney said that the FDIC must sell our loan along with the other assets.  The FDIC letter is worded so that people think they need to refinance – it reduces the work that they have to do in selling the debt.  Interesting scare tactics.

I’ll keep everyone posted.  Has anyone else run into this issue?

Teaching your customers

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I attended a presentation by the Marketing Leadership Council of the Corporate Executive Board (did you get all that?) a few weeks ago.  It was very interesting and focused on how your client pitch should be more than just pitching features and benefits – you should be teaching your customers.

The MLC cross referenced the findings from their Marketing and Sales surveys to discover some interesting drivers for customer loyalty.  They found that, in aggregate, there are three main marketing practices that drive loyalty – 1) you must be able to learn from your customers; 2) you must be able to teach your customers; and 3) you should amplify the voice of your advocates within the client organization.

Basically, you need to move away from telling clients the features and/or benefits of teachingyour product or service.  You also need to focus on a client issue and then show them how they can solve it.  Lead them to the water.  They focused on a case study from Volvo trucks.  Previously, Volvo truck sales people were touting their larger windshield and more comfortable cab – their features.  They tried moving to benefits by telling their clients that more people preferred their trucks over competitors, therefore the client would have happier truck drivers.  However, they found to be most effective when they tought their client.  They changed their pitch to teach clients about the costs associated with driver turnover – they led them to the solution that Volvo increases driver satisfaction and therefore would lower turnover costs. 

Today, clients can find out about your features and benefits online.  In order to maximize the small amount of time that you have with them, you need to focus on your unique qualities and your true differentiators.  The MLC drove this point home by comparing the sales engagement to speed dating.  Now people in the dating world can find out almost anything about you prior to meeting.  So, you need to capitalize on the rare face-to-face moments by focusing on information they can’t find online.

This teaching can also be used to help amplify your advocates within the client organization.  Are you are arming your supporters with the information necessary to sell your ideas up their management chain?  The more successful you make your advocates within their own organization, the more loyal they will be to your company.  Giving your clients the information to be smart within the company – the tools to possibly advance their career – will keep them coming back for more.

Are you teaching?

Change.gov

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On Thursday, our President-Elect, Barack Obama, launched a new website, change.gov.  The website invites people to share their story and their vision for the new administration.  Users can submit emails to tell the new administration policies they want to see carried out in the next four years.  The website begins to outline the agenda of the President-Elect, and also calls on Americans to serve in programs such as the AmeriCorps and Peace Corps “in order to meet the nation’s challenges.”  

The front page includes a countdown to the inauguration of Obama and Biden in 73 days, on January 20, 2009.  But, until then, visitors can also apply for jobs in the new administration through the “Jobs” link.  News and appointments to the administration are posted on the site’s blog.

I have to applaud the Office of the President-Elect for continuing their online presence after the election.  As I stated in my previous posts, I hope that the Obama-Biden administration continues to use social media to communicate with country.  This is a great first step – especially with the fact that the site allows for a dialogue, asking visitors to submit their ideas for the new administration.  

I would suggest that the new administration continue to use their other forms of communication as well, including Facebook and Twitter.  Push information out using the Obama iPhone application.  As with the energy crisis, this is not a one-size-fits-all proposition.  Each of these tools will help the new government to reach a broader audience.  Using change.gov as the portal to these other mediums – including traditional marketing, such as print and TV – would be great.  Change.gov should link to all of the other communications being submitted by the new administration.

Now, what would be even more revolutionary would be to push this to the Senate and House as well.  I feel that once we vote a Senator or Representative into office, it becomes extremely difficult to communicate with them.  How many of you have heard, “write your Congressman”??  Why can’t I communicate with him/her faster?  Imagine watching C-Span and being able to Twitter ideas with your Congressman about the upcoming vote!  

Plus, since these officials are public servants, I would like to see online how many sessions my representatives are attending.  How many votes were they present for?  This could completely change the accountability and communication of the government.  And, I might add, improve the countries satisfaction with their leadership?  Wouldn’t you be more satisfied knowing that your Congressman is present and representing their constituents?

Even if you didn’t vote for Obama, this is a great place to get involved and help shape the direction of our country.  Tell me what you think.