Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. But, it’s a horrible brand strategy. You can’t own a position that another brand already owns in the consumer’s mind. And certainly not if that brand is a stalwart like McDonald’s. Yet, Burger King is doing just that: They are trying to beat McDonald’s at their own game. The most recent is the BK version of the Big Mac (Big King XL), but there’s a long history of Burger King chasing Micky-D’s.
One of the most memorable marketing strategies I have witnessed is Doan’s Pills. Many years ago they attempted to separate the brand from others in the category by claiming suggesting that their product worked especially well for back pain. Apparently, that Magnesium Salicylate Tetrahydrate knew just where to travel in your body. But, consumers bought the idea and bought the product too. Lots of it.
When I was 14 years old, my mom went on the Atkins diet. She was not alone. In fact, at the height of its popularity, one in eleven North American adults claimed to be on a low-carb diet such as Atkins. Good for all of those adults willingly trying to live a better life, but no one mentions the casualties. I’m talking about the thousands of children, like myself, who were forced to go without pasta and bread for months on end. Because when mom goes on a diet, the entire house goes on a diet. My mom, like many, held the keys to the food kingdom. This was one of the first times in my life that I realized my mother was in complete and carb-free control.
If you ever feel like pulling back the curtain on the process of some of the world’s leading creators across multiple industries, do yourself a favor and tune into the Netflix series Abstract: The Art of Design. More specifically, if you want to take a dive into the mind of a Graphic Designer, check out Episode 6. It features the life and work of Paula Scher. Unless you’re a designer or a typophile, you may not know who Paula Scher is, but you most certainly have seen her work. The Public Theater, Citibank and The Highline just to name a few. If you own or owned a vinyl record from the 70s, there’s a good chance she designed the type for it. The thing she’s known for is typography.
An elevator speech is an old-school term for a timeless concept. People don’t even talk on elevators anymore, unless of course they’re on their phones talking to someone not on the elevator.
In recent years, crises are no longer a question of if, but when. Research shows that companies today have an 82% chance of experiencing a corporate disaster, defined as a whopping 20% loss of market value, within a 5-year period. 20 years ago, the likelihood was just 20%, a consequence of the rise of social media and the open flow of information on the internet.
Thinking about my favorite Super Bowl TV commercial is really an exercise in futility for someone like me. I make commercials for a living. That means I look at TV commercials the way a sommelier scrutinizes a glass of cabernet. I’m a bona-fide snob. That is, until that one Sunday in February that caps the NFL season. On that day, I’m like a 16-year old watching a Victoria’s Secret made-for-TV fashion show: falling in love over and over during those ample commercial breaks. Every Super Bowl features a lineup of wonderful commercial ideas. I’m continually amazed at the best work, and constantly questioning and critiquing commercials that are less than effective.
What matters in an ad? Sometimes the end viewer of the marketing campaign will never know the true strategy.
To be honest, I gave up on watching the Super Bowl for the commercials. By a certain point, I get overwhelmed by the effort and expense and completely underwhelmed by the result.
Carne Diem is a behemoth. Having just completed its 14th edition with over 800 people, and raising $8000, Carne Diem has become: downtown Oklahoma City’s biggest annual fall event; a major fundraiser for United Way; an incredible team-building exercise and source of pride inside VI walls; an iconic branding initiative; and perhaps, most importantly – a heck of a lot of fun.
I'm a purist: a sports fan who enjoys sports, but tolerates company brands and ads in appropriate places like the stadium wall, on TV commercials during a break in the action, and on the shoes worn by my athletic heroes.