GAP Goes Back To Basics

Monday, November 21, 2011

To be honest, I thought that GAP had faded into history.  But as this AMA video states, GAP Storefrontthe company plans to close quite a few stores in the United States to try and reverse a trend of falling revenue and has hired its first global CMO to get its brand back on track.

Maybe they will have better luck strategically with a CMO on staff guiding their image and products.  You may recall the debacle they experienced when GAP tried to implement a new logo back in 2010 and ultimately caved after 1 week of consumer backlash.

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Does The Savings Train Waste Energy?

Friday, August 27, 2010

Commuting to work today I saw a line of white cars and trucks with a billboard on the top of each one. There were about 10 in total. Because I was traveling at the speed of light on I-215 with 10,000 other vehicles, I was not able to take a photo safely and post it here. I’ve seen this Savings Train one other time on this stretch of road. It is promoting Tim Dahle Nissan here in Salt Lake City (or another suburb of).

They were courteous drivers. I weaved into and out of their train and they basically stayed in one lane of traffic.

I don’t know where they were headed as I exited onto 201 and they continued North. I wonder though, was it worth all of the CO2 emissions and crowding of I-215 for the sake of a promotion?

Now crowding, may be too harsh of a label. But 10 cars is 10 cars, especially if they were wasteful miles. Was there a purpose to this train other than the advertising? I could understand if they were shuttling cars to an event or something, but to just drive around – without another purpose – that is just wasteful to me.

Is it effective? Yes, I saw it. The line of vehicles did catch my eye. But, Savings Train? Come on. They certainly aren’t saving gas, energy and CO2. Let alone, adding to the congestion on the road.

It was just yesterday that the air quality was so poor that the electronic road signs were asking drivers to not drive. And here it is the next day, 10 cars/trucks from Tim Dahle Nissan driving around with billboards on their roofs … saving.

If they really cared about the energy used in this promotion, maybe they should have used 10 new Nissan Leaf vehicles that are 100% electric and have zero tailpipe emissions. If they used the Leaf vehicles, then I can tie the Savings Train message to Tim Dahle. Save energy. Save money. Save with Tim Dahle.

With the green movement so prevalent right now in everything from marketing to politics – I can only think that Tim Dahle Nissan, or their ad agency Kassing Andrews, haven’t been paying attention.

But the Savings Train appears to end on the road … literally. Other than seeing the Savings Train itself, the agency’s Facebook page is the only place I could find a mention of this promotion.

Kassing Andrews Advertising Have you seen the Tim Dahle Nissan Savings Train?? Watch for it and text! Weekly prizes that include ipad, trips, cash, etc!

I would have expected to find more about the Savings Train on the Tim Dahle web sites, Twitter or Facebook pages. No photos posted. No number to text to (unless it was written on the moving vehicles and I missed it). No rules and regs about the weekly prizes. No editorial that I could find. Not even the Tim Dahle Nissan Live Chat operator could provide me with information. He recommended I call a toll-free number for more information.

Maybe the savings was in the promotion of the promotion.

Opportunity missed to reinforce brand

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Most companies work hard to create and build their brand. Countless hours are put into naming, positioning, colors, design, typefaces, scripts, education, promotions and more.

It was on a family vacation this summer when I happened to make my way to a Fuddruckers restaurant near Des Moines, IA. We stopped into Fuddruckers because we knew they made a great hamburger, had comfortable seating and was kid-friendly (in menu and seating). We didn’t have a lot of time to visit a restaurant with table service, but we also wanted more than your typical fast-food joint. Fuddruckers fit the bill perfectly. No table service, but restaurant-style seating, great atmosphere with engaging decorating and TVs, kids activity menus and of course, really great hamburgers — made-to-order.

All of our expectations were met during our visit. However, on our way out of the restaurant is where the company missed the opportunity to reinforce their brand.

As we left, it was raining heavily. I was making a final purchase of some cookies to go and was talking with the sales associate ringing up my purchase. As we both looked outside at the drenching rain, jokingly, I asked if they had valet parking service. I wasn’t too excited to get soaking wet with 2 more hours of driving to our next destination. The sales associate replied, “Oh no, we are just a glorified McDonald’s.”

As I ran out the door to get into my urban-assault-vehicle (minivan to most people) to pick up the family at the door, I felt cheated. I had just spent almost $50 for really good burgers for my family of six. With that comment, I was left with the thought I over-paid for the meal and experience that I could have gotten at a fast food restaurant.

While the comment didn’t change my perception of the restaurant–I would eat there again for the same reasons outlined above–the company failed in communicating their customer value to their employees.

To protect your brand, you need to make sure everyone is aware of the value you provide your customers. This is most important with those employees that have contact with customers. If your employees are not espousing your brand attributes, then they are detracting from all the efforts your marketing is trying to create. Get your employees on board and they will help to be your brand evangelists.

What would I have thought about Fuddruckers had that sales associate said, “No we don’t have valet service, but I could go bring your vehicle up to the door for you if you’d like.” Or, “No but we should have valet service, especially on days like today.” Now either of those replies would have made an impression on me, reinforcing their brand as the World’s Greatest Hamburgers…even if it was an offer I probably would not have accepted.

Take every opportunity to exceed your customer’s expectations and you will build upon your brand.

SuperBowl Outplays Advertisements

Monday, February 8, 2010

This year I believe we finally had a SuperBowl game that was more entertaining than the TV advertisements. Not to take anything away from the New Orleans Saints defeating the Indianapolis Colts, but the advertisements shown during the game were not up to the caliber I’d expect for spending $2.6MM for 30 seconds.

There was too much shock value with men in underwear, sexual imagery and portraying men as dumb, stupid and “spineless”. Focusing on sex appeal alone shows an apparent lack of creativity to entertain and persuade your audience to use your product. By comparison, this year’s SuperBowl ads fell far short of great creative, except for a few advertisers, than in years past.

McDonald’s makes old new again

McDonald’s revamped an old spot “Showdown” about an exaggerated HORSE game between Michael Jordan and Larry Bird. The spot originally aired during the 1993 SuperBowl. In this new spot, which appeared before the start of the game, McDonald’s looked to re-ignite the highly popular spot with today’s NBA superstars LeBron James and Dwight Howard.

6 more weeks of football

After seeing a few rodents gracing the screen, the “Punxsutawney Polamalu” was a refreshing, if not funny change of pace. And who wouldn’t want 6 more weeks of football, served up by TruTv of course.

The rodent infestation from advertisers Monster.com, Cars.com and Honda was not as inspiring as the monkeys of CareerBuilder, the AFLAC Duck, Budweiser frogs, Budweiser Clydesdales and other mascots of by-gone ads.

Energy without the controversy

Snickers finally came through with a spot that avoided all controversy from its 2007 commercial. Featuring Betty White getting pummeled in a backyard football game, Snickers comes to the rescue with resurgent energy. An over-the-top, silly portrayal of a guy playing football like an old lady until re-energized with a Snickers bar.

The remainder of the SuberBowl spots did little to encourage me of great creative. This year, I watched the SuperBowl for the game…not the commercials.

Timberland makes right move with Haiti sponsorship

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

If you haven’t heard of the Timberland sponsorship with Wyclef Jean and his Yéle Haiti Foundation you can get up to speed here.

The marketing partnership between Timberland and musician Wyclef Jean was signed last fall, just a few months before the devastating earthquake in Haiti. The original partnership was designed to grow awareness for Timberland products within a new demographic and to help with reforestation of Wyclef Jean’s home nation, Haiti. Within hours of the earthquake, Timberland changed its focus of the partnership to provide aid for Haiti in direct relief of the earthquake.

Diane Knoepke, Vice President of IEG Sponsorship Consulting summed up Timberland’s right moves in the aftermath of the quake in her blog post: Boots on the Ground: Early Learnings from Timberland’s Help for Haiti.

Knoepke calls your attention to four points that Timberland has done right in their response.

  1. They were not jumping on the bandwagon
  2. They were nimble and decisive
  3. They encouraged direct donations
  4. They are using their core business to support the effort

These are four important points that I agree Timberland has done right in response to the earthquake in Haiti. The decisions made so far have positioned themselves as sincere to the plight of the people in Haiti, putting the cause well above their profits for now.