Archive for 2008

Super Bowl ads top $3 million, big companies fall out

December 21st, 2008 Debi

September usually marks the complete line-up of Super Bowl advertisers; however, this year, September highlighted a lot of holes.  Companies such as FedEx, Garmin, General Motors (surprise!) and Salesgenie (who really had no business advertising with the big boys given its random and weak creative) are all out.  

Those willing to pony up the $3 million per 30 second spot thus far include,  and CareerBuilder (smart move given that so many people are out of work) and Anheuser-Busch Cos. Ltd. (a category that thrives in economic turmoil) as well as Audi, Coca-Cola, Bridgestone, GE and of course, what would we do without GoDaddy?  As a consumer and marketer, the Super Bowl is something I look forward to every year.  I am just hoping a few more companies will step up and capitalize on an opportunity to really build their brand (although Super Bowl time is not right for every company i.e. Silestone…).  Given the current economic challenges, people will be looking for a light at the end of this very scary economic tunnel, and those companies willing to step up and offer a ray of light will reap the long-term benefits. 

Given all of this uncertainty, let me provide you with one thing for sure, a laugh or two at some former high-ranking  Super Bowl Ads  that gave me a chuckle or two… Enjoy!

A Holiday Classic

December 18th, 2008 Brenda

‘Tis the Season! Happy Holidays to all that enjoy the agency life!

Beck’s Beer Blog? Blah!

December 11th, 2008 Debi
Beck's Beer

Beck's Beer

So, Beck’s Beer has launched a blog, ”The Daily Different.”  They’ve hired a comedian that looks 12 and is WAY too pretty to really drink beer.  So will it resonate with its ‘drinkers?’

Well, according to a survey by Forrester Research, only 16 percent of people trust what they read on  corporate blogs.  That number falls below message posts and direct mail.  The global marketing manager states that the goal of the blog is to create “relevant and entertaining content that is not about beer…”  However, if it’s not about beer, and it’s not truly an authentic blog (remember, the comedian is being paid by Beck’s or its agency), then what is the point of the blog?  Not to mention it’s flash-based which is very non-blog(ish). 

From a marketing perspective, corporations should align their marketing efforts more closely to their brands – ensuring relevancy.  At least when Miller launched a blog ( it talked about what else? Beer.  Although when trying to find the site, I couldn’t, so maybe that wasn’t such a good idea either…

Social media is not for every company and it shouldn’t be forced.  So professionally I give the blog a ‘blah’ and personally, well, common, we’re Merlot Marketing: I drink wine.

Social Media for Dummies

December 4th, 2008 Brenda

The world of Social Media can be a bit overwhelming for someone just joining the Web 2.0 scene.  If you are new to the game, I highly recommend checking out the Common Craft “In Plain English” videos.  They are short, sweet and extremely easy to follow. In one stop, become an expert and learn more about blogs, social bookmarking and wikis.

For your first lesson in Social Media, start here:

Social Media In Plain English

Motrin makes moms mad: Viral ad campaign a little too ‘viral’

November 30th, 2008 Debi
Oh, the pain...

Oh, the pain...

I am the last person (or more specifically put, mom) in the world to get offended.  I mean, life’s short, people, get over it.  However, after watching the “basically your baby is worse than a ball and chain and more of a hindrance than a blessing, and if I wear him or her on my chest it’s really because I just want to look like an official mom,” Motrin mom ad by Motrin, I just had to comment – especially as a marketer.  Granted, the VP of marketing apologized for the ad (see below), but how did we get here in the first place?  I am sure Motrin must be doing some market research. Heck, talk to anyone with children: A sister-in-law, a friend, a friend of a friend, a mom-to-be, anyone with some insight as to how the commercial would be received.  After carrying that ‘bundle of joy’ inside for nine months, the last thing I want to be reminded of after it’s out is the “pain” of carrying it. 

The ad could have been funny if it wasn’t so darn snarky.  I don’t think I have ever used that word in print, but trust me, it’s appropriate here.  I mean really, it wasn’t funny. Nope, not even slightly humorous. It had all the potential of being funny, but it really missed the mark.  

Too often, we see big companies go to big agencies to get the ‘best’ creative, but what these companies get instead is creative that resonates with ‘Creatives.’  What you want to ask yourself is ‘will the creative resonate with my audience?’  Companies spend so much money on clever creative yet won’t spend a dime to test it.  Maybe next time Motrin will talk to a mom before acting like they understand what’s it’s like to be one. 



Pitching is an appetizer not a buffet.

November 19th, 2008 Brenda

Have you ever received an email that if printed out it would be two pages long? How motivated are you to read each and every word? If you’re like me, you want the meat and potatoes in the very first sentence. Give me what I want up front. Now imagine you are an editor from a top national newspaper and receive thousands of email pitches daily from PR professionals. If each one of those emails is 1-3 pages long, do you think the editor is going to read it? Probably not.

When pitching the media, it needs to be an appetizer not a buffet. Just enough to get the editor/reporter/producer interested and to see why the information is relevant to them (Key word: relevant).

The following is a guideline to a strategic pitch:

1. PRE-PITCH: Simply put – be prepared!

  • Know who you are pitching. Google the name of the editor to find out what they have written about in the past and their specific writing style/tone.
  • Start a relationship with the editor before a story is on the line. Reach out to them and position yourself and your clients as a resource for future articles.

2. PITCH: Short, concise and to the point.

  • Open the pitch with a hook that is newsworthy. Provide information on why it is relevant to the editor’s story and why it is important to their readers.
  • Support the opening with facts. 70% of the information you send to a reporter should be industry stats that are relevant to the reporters beat. i.e. links to case studies, industry research outside of the category, supporting statistics, etc.
  • End with a call to action. Let the reporter know that you will be following up in a few days and avoid leaving it open-ended.

1. POST-PITCH: Follow-through but don’t be a stalker.

  • Under no circumstances start your follow-up call with “Hi, my name is Jane and I’m following up to make sure you received the product information I sent to you last week.” This is a major pet peeve with media professionals and you’ll probably hear a ring tone with this approach.
  • It is important to provide value every step of the way. Call with new information. For example, you can find a new fact or withhold a relevant fact from the original pitch and use this to start the conversation.

It is that simple but it takes time, thought and strategy to craft a perfect pitch. Bottom line, make it short and sweet and be sure your pitch is newsworthy, relevant and provides value.

Happy Pitching!

Businesses Need to Get More ‘Social’

November 11th, 2008 Debi

Do you blog? Tweet? Write on “walls?” Are you “linked in,” so to speak? Web 2.0 (or the wild wild Web as I like to call it) is not only here, it’s here to stay. And what about social media?  Well, it isn’t so ‘social’ anymore. It’s business. Big business. 

For the rest of the article check out the San Francisco Business Times or the Sacramento Business Journal. Enjoy!

Desperate marketers are becoming more intrusive.

November 2nd, 2008 Brenda

During this time of DVR and TiVo, consumers have the luxury of fast forwarding through commercials. Personally, I like to watch the commercials because hey, it’s what I do. However, because of this new technology, marketers are desperate to find new ways to promote their products.

The latest tactic I’ve seen to combat DVR? Recently, while watching The Family Guy on TBS, a commercial spot to promote “The Bill Engvall Show” aired during the middle of the episode. Engvall walks on the bottom of the screen, pauses “The Family Guy” with a remote, and talks about how great his show is before pressing play.

The Family Guy

From a marketing perspective, I understand that you need to be creative in order to cut through the clutter of a world that is over saturated with ads. However, you need to walk a fine line between getting your message heard and being so annoying that your target audience will refuse to use the product…or watch the show in this instance.

Just my $.02

Don’t be a ‘Twittiot.’

October 28th, 2008 Debi

So, although I loved the term(s) coined by Jeremy Pepper (Twitter-idiocy or Twitteriocy, he’s in the process of coining it), I have to concede, I am more enamored with mine: Twittiot! Okay, I’ll admit, I love Twitter.  It’s great for real time information. It’s great for networking.  It’s great for keeping in touch, and let’s face it, it’s just plain fun.  However, when used in a business setting, do I really want to know that you’re brushing your teeth? Watching television? Or eating?  Now if you were drinking a glass of wine, I’d be interested.  In fact, what kind? Vintage? I digress…

When using Twitter in a business capacity, at least try to keep it somewhat relevant.  Share information, ask a question, or create a conversation thread.  But really, if you have to go, you know, like ‘go,’ I don’t want to know about it.  In short, don’t be a Twittiot!  In fact, to avoid ‘Twitteriocy’ altogether, start here.

Second Life = Marketing Tool?

October 20th, 2008 Brenda

I recently attended a social media seminar in San Francisco and the speaker mentioned Second Life numerous times.  I must be behind the times because I didn’t know much about Second Life or how to leverage it from a marketing perspective.  I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to educate myself and the readers of this blog.  It is a fascinating concept:

First and foremost…

Dwight’ Second Life

According to Wikipedia (trust me, this is the shortest definition I could find), Second Life (abbreviated as SL) is an Internet-based 3D virtual world which came to international attention via mainstream news media in late 2006 and early 2007. A free downloadable program called the Second Life Viewer enables its users, called “Residents”, to interact with each other through representation of himself/herself (alter ego), providing an advanced level of a social network service combined with general aspects of a virtual universe. Residents can explore, meet other residents, socialize, participate in individual and group activities, and create and trade items (virtual property) and services with one another.

So how do you leverage this virtual world from a marketing perspective?