Friday, December 21, 2007

Toilet Emergency and Marketing Genius All in One

Driving to the office today, I pulled up to a light and saw an ambulance turning thru the intersection in front of me.

Only it wasn't an ambulance, it was a plumber's truck.

I most certainly did a double take when I saw the word "Plumber" on the side of what once must have been an ambulance. It was not a typical plumbing contractor's pickup truck and it immediately caught my attention for the stark juxtaposition that the lettering imposed.

I don't often say this in the world of contractor marketing, but what a genius idea!

Not only does a typical ambulance catch your eye when you're on the road just because of the sheer presence that ambulances have, but seeing the word "plumber" on it really grabs your attention. Now THAT'S a plumber worth talking about!

I.e.: Got a toilet emergency? Call the plumber in the ambulance! He's gotta be the fastest one to the scene, right?

This forges the question: how can you market your brand in a way that's memorable to your customers and target audience?

If your branding needs cardiac resusitation, well, I'll leave the rest of this metaphor up to you...

Thursday, December 20, 2007

A Reindeer Rant About Junk Mail: Reflections On the Original Spam.

What do those who light fireplaces at Christmas, own pet patridges, and ship fragile gifts to far away lands have in common?

All have managed to find a use for junk mail.

I'm sure there are plenty of folks who have found other uses for it besides starting a fire, catching bird droppings, or packing away a precious vase. Perhaps they've won a big money sweepstakes, applied for a new credit card, or cut out a turkey coupon. Personally, I want the stuff to stop. I can find anything I need on my own without a stranger stuffing my tiny mailbox with the guts of yet another, unsuspecting tree. And around the holidays, it becomes the "stuff" of nightmares as it takes up room that might otherwise be used for well-wishing cards and the very occasional money envelope.

As marketers, we try and solicit business in many ways, and snail mail is one route that can be effective as long as a few rules are observed. Problems begin when we find our company's well-worked calling card getting lumped in with the stack of someone else's garbage that they've been so kind as to pass along.

So if you're as fed up as I am with junk mail, and wish to do something about it, there are a few places on the internet - like here, here and here - that might be able to help you make a little more room, and clear a few desks for our marketing materials in the process.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Jingle Ads, Jingle Ads, Jingle All the Way...

(First, allow me to apologize for today's blog post title. Corny, but relevant.)

Anywho, an interesting post on today talks about the first radio jingle ever, which was a radio ad for Wheaties in 1923. Yep, that's the one that started it all. According to the post, the otherwise dying brand, at the time, was revolutionized because of the popularity of this jingle, thus saving Wheaties from extinction.

Today, ad jingles on radio and TV are prevalent everywhere you turn. Some are quite clever, some are quite terrible, and some just blend into the background. Without a doubt, the challenge of squeezing a well-written, memorable song into a 30-second plug while simultaneously telling the product's whole story is indeed one of the more challenging areas of advertising. But, as the Wheaties song can attest, it can also be one of the most effective if done properly. Even in today's scattered media market.

So eat your Wheaties and get writing...

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

"Enter Site".... Ummm, Okay, Don't Mind if I Do

Every now and then I come across a web site that has an "intro" page. These pages can be found on sites old and new. Here's an example.

These types of intros make for nifty openings, but are mostly considered outdated nowadays because people just want to get to the meat of the site, not sit through an elaborate show. This rings true especially if you've been to the site many times or if you're operating on a crawling connection. Or if you're working at a B2B company and you're looking for a site while on the job. Who has time to wait?

But to add insult to injury, on this intro page, after the Flash intro (or other similar concoction), sites will often plop a link on the page that says something to the effect of: "Enter Site".

Ummm, okay, well thanks, I think I would like to enter this site, don't mind if I do.

Let's be realistic here: when I typed in your site's home page address or found your site on a search engine... doesn't that, by default, mean I already have entered the site?
Time to trim the fat, folks. No need to have a doorman to welcome you and ask if you'd like to enter the house when you're dealing with web marketing.

Everybody should be welcomed in as quickly and easily as possible.
(Thanks to for the photo!)

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

"What's-a Matter Colonel Sanders, Chicken?"

Spaceballs has always been one of my favorite movies, and the quote by Lord Dark Helmet (Rick Moranis) that I referenced here in the title has always stuck with me. Classic line. ("Ludicrous speed, go!")

That "chicken" quote came to mind this morning when I came across an interesting blog post on Ad Lab (click the link to learn more). The gist of the post is that KFC has placed a jumbo sized image of Colonel Sanders in the Nevada desert and the image can now be seen on Google Maps and Google Earth. It's outdoor advertising gone supersized.
I suppose this trend will slowly take hold across America and across the world as more and more people go to Google to cruise around the globe to get a bird's eye view of the terrain. More companies will latch on to this novelty exposure, and bored web surfers will be able to play a digital version of "car bingo" (Remember that game? A simple piece of cardboard that helped you keep track of when you saw a license plate from each of the 50 states... quite a far cry from today's drop down monitors and PSP's. I digress.) by spotting 50 different logos in hidden places across the planet. Indeed, we may be heading towards a patchwork quilt of logos, insignias, and other images that can be seen from satellite. Kind of neat, kind of scary.

In the end, it'll certainly bring new meaning to "combing the desert"...