PBR: The Anti-Establishment Icon Sleeping with 'The Man'

Check out this piece in Atlanta's Creative Loafing, discussing the irony of PBR's backhanded (albeit successful) branding strategy.

The Trouble with Tweens: MTV Struggles to Reach Elusive Audience

Today's teens and tweens (ages 8-12) are constantly on-the-go. Between cell phones, YouTube, Myspace, Facebook, video games and iPhones, it's increasingly hard for marketers to know where to turn to target tomorrow's core customers. This group of sophisticated spenders is not going to be reached with the Toys "R" Us catalogs and Saturday morning cartoons their predecessors thrived on.

While earlier groups of teens were known as the 'MTV Generation,' referring to their lack of attention span and attraction to flashy, fast-paced content, this generation seems to be rebelling against traditional teen-magnet MTV. What used to be a sure-fire way to reach young minds is now losing ground, according to Wired's analysis of Viacom's Q2 earnings reports.

To help combat this problem, MarketingVox has put together a collection of tips on seeking out and reeling in the tween audience. According to their piece, 33.3 million teens were in the US in 2003, with discretionary spending power (allowances, gifts, earnings from odd jobs) totaling $42.3 billion and was projected to increase by 1.7 percent year over year.

Top motivating factors for tweens?

  • The need to belong
  • The desire for power
  • More freedom from parents (but not too much. That parents approve of their choices is still important to them)
  • The desire to have fun — sensory stimulation is crucial to a product's success
Check out the rest of the MarekitngVox How-To for more tips on targeting tweens.

Image: National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign


Retailers Rely on Star Power for Fall

Companies have been using celebrity faces to sell products since the early 1900s', when cigarette packets were bought just as often for the famous baseball cards as for the product inside. Today, you can't sit through a commercial break without seeing familiar famous faces appear, often more than once.

With celebrities acting both as representatives for products and as owners of their own lines, capitalizing on another's success is an everyday occurrence for big brands like Pepsi, Neutrogena and others. This fall, expect popular retailers to increase their focus on celebrity sellers, hoping to bring in the back-to-school spenders.

Advertising Age provides a run-down of some of the bigger players, expanded here:

KOHL'S - Avril Lavigne is will be partnering with Kohl's this year, joining Daisy Fuentes, Vera Wang, Tony Hawk, Lenny Kravitz, Hayden Panettiere, Vanessa Carlton, the Plain White T's and Red Jumpsuit Apparatus.

SEARS - Welcomes LL Cool J to launch of his apparel line for juniors, young men and children. Sears also features Ty Pennington's furniture collection and High School Musical star, Vanessa Hudgens, will star in their back-to-school ad campaign.

WAL-MART - Father-son team Master P and Romeo join sisters Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, continuing the tradition of family lines at Wal-Mart. P. Miller Designs is set to launch its P. Miller and Miller Peaches lines, featuring cheap-and-chic clothing. Country star Taylor Swift is present in the Wal-Mart aisles this fall, showing off LEI Jeans.

- Reality-TV star Kimora Lee Simmons is introducing Fabulosity, a line of urban sportswear for juniors. It will be part of Penney's "Breakfast Club" back-to-school campaign, which launches July 18. She joins designers Chris Madden and Nicole Miller.

- Kristin Davis has announced a partnership with Belk, proving SJP isn't the only "Sex and the City" star with fashion sense. The "flirty and "feminine" line will retail for $38-$240 this fall.

Tommy Hilfiger will join the star-studded case of Macy's commercials this year, which in the past have featured Martha Stewart, Donald Trump, Jessica Simpson and Usher. Beginning this fall, the designer men's and women's sportswear collections will be carried exclusively at Macy's. The store will also carry DKNY's new 'Edie Rose' line, designed by starlet Rachel Bilson.

More celebrity lines and partnerships for Fall:

  • Jessica Simpson will add dresses to her growing collection.
  • Eve will re-launch Fetish at select retailers.
  • Reality-star Heidi Montag will continue her partnership with west coast retailer Anchor Blue.
  • Lindsay Lohan is selling her new leggings line exclusively at Intuition.
  • Paris Hilton has designed a line for Dollhouse clothing.


Know Your Roots: Mad Men Season 2 Premieres Tonight

Mad Men, the dramatic AMC series chronicling the life and times of an advertising agency in the golden age of ads - the 1960's - returns tonight for a second season. 

Tune in to see agency partner Don Draper woo his clients with the finesse we all wish we had. 

AdRants was lucky enough to score an interview with Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner, who reflected on the evolution of ad agencies since the 60's. Read it here


It's a McDonalds Morning - Product Placement on the News

Avid TV viewers are no stranger to product placement on their favorite shows - especially reality TV fans, who encounter the Bluefly accessories wall (Project Runway), a caravan of Ford Escapes (The Biggest Loser) or the ever-present Coca-Cola cup (American Idol).

But what about during your local news?

For the past few weeks, KVVU, a Fox affiliate out of Las Vegas, has featured morning news anchors with cups of McDonald's iced coffee on their desks as they report local happenings. This 6-month partnership is intended to drum up additional advertising revenue for the station.

The station promises that they will continue to truthfully represent news items - including items that may negatively reflect on McDonald's practices or products. Additionally, if a negative story did occur, it's likely that the cups would be removed from the set.

KVVU is owned by Meredith Corporation, who is actively seeking out product placement opportunities on other morning shows in Atlanta and Hartford, Conn. McDonald's also has product placement deals with several other news networks around the country.

The three major network morning shows, ABC’s “Good Morning America,” CBS’s “The Early Show,” and NBC’s “Today” do not endorse or participate in product placement deals, citing company ethics.

Image via Fox 5


Fortune 500 Companies Not Surfing the Blog Wave

The July 2008 issue of PR Week reports the surprising finding that a recent survey of Fortune 500 companies shows that only 15% maintain active blogs. 

Not so suprising was the top 4 Fortune 500 industries that are blogging: Computers, Office Equipment ; Network and Other Communications Equipment; Semiconductors and Other Electrical Components (Intel, AMD, etc.); and Internet Services and Retailing.

Seems to me that there is a lot more opportunity to give people a look inside your company - and simply to tell your side of the story. These companies are missing out on a vital part of today's marketing culture - and relationships with Gen Y and Millennials are sure to suffer for it. This is the time that today's giants of industry need to be connecting with consumers on a personal level and fostering relationships with the future spenders in America. 

The study also found that it's larger companies that are doing most of the blogging - with 32% of the Fortune 50 blogging. This is disappointing, since blogging is one of the cheapest available marketing techniques and smaller organizations could easily take advantage of this accessible trend. 


Incognito Advertising - Kanye West for Absolut Vodka

Absolut Vodka's new viral campaign featuring Kanye West is creating buzz in the marketing world... hopefully it will succeed in creating the same buzz among consumers.

The ads feature tiny tablets that, upon consumption, will help the Average Joe transform in to hip-hop superstar Kanye West. Subway posters and mock infomercials touting the tablets don't even mention the Absolut product. Intrigued parties will find that a visit to the advertised website, BeKanyeNow, will quickly redirect them to Absolut's Kanye-centric homepage.

This ultimate (or should I say Absolut) form of viral marketing causes consumers to take action in order to find out what the Kanye campaign is all about, thereby creating an instant connection with the brand's message. It results in people actually seeking out informaiton about the vodka instead of just passing by one more white-noise ad on the subway.

View the Be Kanye infomercial.

Image via nysun.com.


Recommended Reading

I know this is not an industry-related book. But the truth is, we could all learn a lesson from David Sedaris. He's taken short anecdotes from his life - some of them unique, but some of them mundane - and created a series of New York Bestsellers. If Sedaris can write such a captivating account of quitting smoking or his childhood babysitters, surely us marketers can take a page from his book and put a creative twist on our writing next time we're asked to draft a press release about something less-than-newsworthy.

Get it here: When You Are Engulfed in Flames


The Web is Hazardous for Hotheads

The number one thing I miss about my past days as an AOL user: the now-defunct "unsend" feature. AOL made it easy to take back mistakes - so long as the recipient hadn't opened the email yet. I wish all aspects of the web had an "unsend" feature.

I bet this guy does too (see comments from Roy Russo). Reading about marketing automation and technology is part of my daily routine to keep abreast of the industry. Today I came across this chain of comments showed us how NOT to comment on a blog, as the CEO of LoopFuse slams the blogger for her review, giving her even more ammunition.

It is hard not to respond when you feel you (or your company) are being misrepresented, but as momma always said, "If you can't say something nice," well, you know the rest.

If you absolutely must defend yourself, better to handle it gracefully, as Lisa Garza of The Next Food Network Star did here. Well, somewhat gracefully at least.


Marketing To Women : G23

The Wall Street Journal looks in to the world of agencies specializing in marketing to women on the heels of the launch of Omnicom's G23, a new consultancy dedicated the subject. The name G23 was chosen for "Group" and "23," pair of chromosomes that carries the sex differences between women and men. The G23 board is comprised entirely of women.

According to the article:

"Agencies and agency companies are increasing their efforts to help clients aim pitches at women. The work is parallel to efforts to improve life inside agencies for women and appoint more women to executive jobs."

With women controlling 75% of spending in today's market, agencies are struggling to come up with innovative ways reach women without dumbing down their advertising or simply throwing a coat of pink paint over it.

Pictured: The founding partners of G23


Do As I Say, Not As I Do

As every blogger probably knows, there usually comes a time when life gets in the way of your blog. Such has been the case with me, as our sales team has been selling faster than I can service new clients, I've taken on freelance projects and I've moved across the city. I hope to be back at you next week with fresh content.

That being said - don't let this happen to you! Constant updates are key to building your audience and keeping them hooked, not to mention they really help your search rankings.

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