Tag Archives: marketing

Tide Into the Fabric

Every year you deal with the Monday-morning quarterbacking and fierce debates over strategy. The annual analysis of Super Bowl® ads is upon us. Most of these fall into the bland brand-awareness bucket. You’re cool because we’re cool (and vice versa.)

But you waste your ad buy if the conversation is about your message and it fails to include you. Why pay millions of dollars so that we can all feel warm and fuzzy about the story, or the inspiring quote, or the goofy image, and not talk about (or share) your brand?

Advertising’s job is to interrupt the audience’s flow, catch their attention, and give them a reason to remember you. Otherwise, you’re just the what’s-his-name that told that hilarious joke, or shared that moving story, or showed us that sweet picture.

In recent years, the goal has been to go viral. Novelty is not enough either. With the #JackVsMartha ad, we hopefully see the sad end of that tactic’s diminished returns. (No, I won’t share it. That would just encourage them.) However, giving us a new way to see something familiar is an effective tactic.

The one ad that did everything right this year is Tide’s “It’s a Tide Ad.”

This one works on every level. It features the brand name as part of the message. It tells the brand value story with every iteration. It delivers with humor that stands repeated viewing. (Threading it throughout the broadcast reinforced the meme.)

Moreover, it doesn’t just find humor in commercial tropes, it uses it to show a quality most people don’t pay attention to but are deeply aware of – the heightened reality of advertising’s alternate universe. It plants in your head that every commercial could be a Tide ad. But while you may laugh, you’re linking  cleanliness to Tide in all those synapses.

The next time you notice a clean shirt in a commercial, you’ll wonder if it’s a Tide ad. And then it will be.

The Key to Saving our Species

What if I were to tell you that ads had become smarter than us and now they’re manipulating everything we do?

Mankind became tired of ads, so we kept inventing ways to make things “ad free.” We even created ad blockers. That’s when the ads had to adapt. They had to disguise themselves as news in order to survive.

I’m not sure I’ve heard a more succinct description of why the advertising arms race has become so annoying.

This comes from South Park episode #1908, Sponsored Content, that aired November 18. Jimmy, the school newspaper editor finds himself in competition with Internet news. Jimmy has the rare ability to spot the difference between news and sponsored content.

Can you?

Aspirational Web Searching

Call it advertising Jujitsu. We’re missing out on a great opportunity to turn web tracking to our advantage. We’re all used to the experience. You start online shopping for your Aunt’s birthday and within minutes, your entire Facebook feed is replete with ads for knitting supplies. You don’t see much else until it’s your daughter’s birthday, and then you can enjoy One Direction ticket offers for awhile.

We spend a lot of energy fighting these ads by opting out from web advertising, subscribing to ad blocking software, or pruning our Facebook interests. But it’s a ever-escalating arms race between advertisers and consumers.

What if, instead, we turned all this tracking to our advantage, stopped fighting, and started aspirational searching?

I hit upon this idea recently while wish-list searching for tube-based guitar amplifiers. Classic rock tone, harmonic distortion, and expensive. But seeing my web feeds fill up with all manner of tube amplifiers, electric guitars, and accessories, made me wonder if we couldn’t re-decorate our timelines and sidebars with more positive wallpaper.

I don’t mean just better consumer goods: Tesla Model S’s, luxury yachts, or designer fashion labels (unless that’s your motivation.) I’m thinking more along the lines of things to remind us that there’s a world beyond the keyboard: hiking trails, vacation retreats, great literature, sporting goods, healthy gourmet dining, art exhibits, or whatever will show you a better window to look out from your keyboard.

Give it a try. Spend some time digging around on shopping sites for things beyond consumer goods, and share in the comments if you’ve hit upon a great keyword phrase (e.g., peaceful retreats usa) for us to try. Maybe I should call it anti-aspirational web searching.

Image Credit: ukgardenphotos, Leonardslee Gardens, West Sussex, England (cropped from original)