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Promoting Products April 30, 2007

Posted by Stephanie in advertising, brand, Consumers.

The effort companies go through to advertise in both subtle and obvious ways on television is remarkable.  Characters in movies and television shows are often depicted with very specific brands of beverages, clothes and other products.  Products are strategically placed in the background of scenes, carefully positioned to subconsciously attract a viewer’s attention.  Another strategy is through the endorsements of talk show hosts.  Oprah has her “Favorite Things” episode about once a year which hopefully stemmed from her actual favorite finds.  Now however, hosts like Oprah and Martha Stewart look to make some extra money (as if either needed it) by promoting products on their shows. 

30-second spot on The Martha Stewart Show = $10,000

One-time in-show oral mention with product close-up = $100,000

Two-minute-plus branded segment, with two or three talking points = $250,000 +

 (Data: Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc., BusinessWeek)

  In some cases Martha has never even used the product herself and yet she boosts of how phenomenal it is.  Even worse, in the case of the Scotch-Brite toilet scrubber segment, Martha doesn’t even like the fact that the product is used once and then wastefully thrown away.  This reminds me of hair product commercials featuring celebrities.  Do any of those women actually dye their hair from a box?  I highly doubt so. 

 Is this the same as false advertising? It seems quite deceitful.  Yet thousand, maybe millions of viewers take the advice of the “Queen of the Product Pitch.”  On whose recommendation would you purchase a new product?  Do they have to be an “expert” in their field? Is a simple commercial not enough anymore?


Internet Advertising April 17, 2007

Posted by Stacey Swift in advertising.

As I was searching through websites looking for news to make a post, I was overwhelmed with the number of pop up adds, so I decided to do a post on that instead.  As I typed in Businessweek.com I was brought to a page on the Hilton, I was trying to get out of it and clicked in the center of the page, and it brought me to a page on Hilton vacations.  Do you experience the same problems when you are trying to search the web.  How about the pop up adds that say, “Congratulations you have won $10,000, click here for your prize!”  Do you ever fall for these?  Google’s recent acquisition of Double Click must mean Internet advertising really does work.

Have you ever been persuaded to purchase something from Internet advertising?  I personally avoid them at all cost.  Also, if you were a company how much would you be willing to pay to advertise online?

From Beauty to Business April 17, 2007

Posted by Kira in advertising, First Mover, Liability of Newness.
1 comment so far

My first choice for a summer internship is at Conde Nast.  Therefore, I was especially interested to learn more about the debut of its new publication, Portfolio. The headline in today’s New York Times entitled “In a Troubled Time, a New Business Magazine” caught my eye.  The article happens to be about Conde Nast’s new business magazine called Portfolio.  The magazine is an “unmistakable stablemate of Conde Nast’s Vogue and Vanity Fair.”  According to the publisher David Carey, Conde Nast wants to “capture the glamour” in their new business magazine.  The company first announced that they would put out a business magazine, its biggest single investment in a start-up, in September of 2005 when many other magazines such as BusinessWeek, Forbes, and Fortune were having trouble.  Traditional business magazines have had trouble communicating the excitement in the realm of business to its readers.  The chairman of Conde Nast states in the article that he doesn’t think that Portfolio is “going to trample on Forbes or Fortune.  I think we’re going to help the whole field.  We’re going to bring excitement to it, and we’re going to bring luxury and fashion advertisers into it.” 

The article also mentions that Kurt Eichenwald, the author of my Theorize This book, has been hired to write for the magazine.  Also, the magazine’s website managing editor said it expects that its bloggers will post three and five times a day- just another example of where to find more people blogging about business!

With the positive response from business articles in Vanity Fair and The New Yorker, I think a new start-up business magazine is a great idea for Conde Nast.  At a time when other business magazines are having trouble, Portfolio may be wise to enter into the market since competition may be less than usual.  Adding excitement and fashion into a business magazine may prove to be a great first-mover advantage for the company.  With many other successful magazines that Conde Nast publishes, the company already has an established structure and relationship with suppliers and customers that will be to their advantage with their new magazine. 

However, there are always associated liabilities of newness with first-mover advantages.  People may not like the idea of reading a business magazine that is combined with fashion and luxury. I think with Conde Nast’s reputation as a company that is a publishing powerhouse they will sign up many subscribers- both existing and new.  If the new magazine does fall victim to the liabilities of newness, Conde Nast has so many other magazine lines that it should not really impact the company that much.  This reminds me of a generalist strategy- if the business magazine does not succeed, then Conde Nast still has all of their beauty, fashion, and fitness magazines to rely on.  

I personally get bored of reading plain cut and dry business magazines and I am excited to see the first issue of Portfolio.  What is your reaction to this non-traditional business magazine?  Would you read it, why or why not?  Do you think this will be more of a first-mover advantage or liability of newness for Conde Nast?     

Empire Building at Google? April 14, 2007

Posted by K.C. in advertising, allances, Marketing, media, Merger.

Recently, Google purchased DoubleClick, an online advertising company, for $3.1 billion. This is yet another large purchase from Google who paid half of that for YouTube last year. DoubleClick is one of the top online advertising companies who specialize in software for display advertising and has close relationships with various web publishers. For some time now, Google has had its eyes on DoubleClick because of their success in display advertising. Display advertising is essentially the picture ads on the banners and sides of websites. While Google is also an expert in online advertising, they have not been able to capture every aspect of online advertising. Google’s advertising strengths lie primarily upon small text ads that pop up when a user completes a search.

 DoubleClick’s strengths on the other hand, “…lie in flashy banner ads and, more recently, video ads that are more like high-end magazine or television ads.”  

 Purchasing DoubleClick means that Google will be able to track user patterns much more closely in an attempt to produce smart ads that are based upon a user’s interests and search habits. As usual, analysts argue that $3.1 billion may be excessive but DoubleClick had similar offers from Microsoft, AOL, and Yahoo, its closest rival.


In the eyes of internet users, online advertising may seem ineffective but with this large purchase of DoubleClick, Google may know yet another thing we don’t.

Starbucks, the evil corporation? April 4, 2007

Posted by Charley S in advertising, Marketing.


So what kind of company image does Starbucks conjure up?  Well, a lot of people would say that it is completely obsessed with profits, has lost touch with its original customer base, and is basically a big, evil, bloodsucking corporation.  I mean there exist places where Starbucks has locations directly across the street from each other.  When you go to their stores you can buy practically anything there, from newspapers to music and high priced espresso machines.  Oh, and don’t forget the coffee which is incredibly overpriced.  It seems that as a result of image problems their growth has topped out over recent years, with their stock price dipping 25% in the past years.  Basically, they are at the stage where if they are going to continue to grow they are going to have to do something drastic.  The CEO apparently thinks that this is more than possible and even predicts tripling revenue over the next decade.  Right now they are in the process of introducing some new drinks that will apparently try to get back to the original small coffee house feel.  This article talks about the process by which Starbucks produces a new drink, which actually takes quite a lot of time and investment.  Starbucks is also trying to add more premium coffee that it sells as beans in the stores.  Will this type of change be enough for Starbucks to continue to grow?

I believe that just introducing new flavors is not the way that Starbucks is going to continue to grow in the long-term.  This strategy will add temporary novelty to the product but does not address the underlying problem that Starbucks is losing its small coffee shop atmosphere.  To address these problems I think that Starbucks needs to reach out to consumers and offer a close in coffee experience.  Starbucks knows a lot about coffee, and it could utilize this knowledge by trying to help educate the general public on the finer art of making coffee.  Other companies have started mail order cofee clubs which have been extremely successful in informing consumers on new products and is an easy way for coffee adicts to get their morning fix of coffee.

Allstate March 28, 2007

Posted by Stephanie in advertising, Auto's, Government.

While flipping through Business Week for an article to grab my attention I became frustrated and tired.  Closing the magazine and tossing it next to me I noticed the words on the back.  “The #1 killer of teenagers doesn’t have a trigger.  It has a steering wheel.”   A personified car and several paragraphs of information followed.  Who was responsible for this information? The back cover was actually an advertisement for Allstate.

With their motto “It’s time to make the world a better place to drive,” the company forcefully focuses on informing drivers about vehicle safety and how to avoid dangerous situations. 

Their newest campaign is directed towards teenagers, as their lives are greatly impacted by motor safety, even if they think they are invincible.  The advertisement states, “[motor vehicle crashes] take nearly 6,000 [teenage] lives and injure another 300,000 every year.”  Their new safe-driving program, “Keep the Drive” empowers teens with information and the ability to influence others by making smart decisions.  Allstate hopes that teens will recognize and enforce “smart driving is the key to keeping their licenses, their cars, their friends and their futures.”

This advertisement, filled with information triggered more thoughts about motor safety.  Why was this company spending so much time, energy and money to look after the well being of so many people? Is it their job to do so?  After all, they are not the ones even making the cars. I was curious to see what role the government plays in creating and maintaining safety regulations. 

On the U.S. Department of Transportation website I learned that since 1967, standards have been established for all manufacturers of motor vehicle and equipment items.  Constant changes and amendments are made to the regulations.  The Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards and Regulations are minimum requirements written  “that the public is protected against unreasonable risk of crashes occurring as a result of the design, construction, or performance of motor vehicles and is also protected against unreasonable risk of death or injury in the event crashes do occur.”

The standards fall under three categories, Crash Avoidance, Crash Worthiness and Post Crash Standards.  Of the short overview I read, the standards at least seem to be adequate, but with such high numbers of motor vehicle deaths, are they doing enough?  Should there be stricter regulations, say on the placement of bumpers, since a bumper on an SUV is certainly not going to help the safety of persons in a sports coup if they collide. Heck, seat belts and air bags certainly weren’t originally in cars, but many lives have been saved because of new regulations.   

 What is your feeling about car safety?  Should it be left up to the government, manufactures, and insurance companies or are the present standards and regulations good enough?

I lost my car keys! Nissan’s New Marketing Campaign March 20, 2007

Posted by K.C. in advertising, Auto's, Internet, media.

           Recently, Nissan North America began a campaign to promote its next generation car technology, particularly the new push-button ignition system that will soon be available on most of its cars. Nissan is attempting to use a different style of advertising that will target only a specific niche of consumers. Unlike previous Nissan advertising, their campaign will not be mass marketed on traditional media outlets. Instead, Nissan will be loosing car keys at clubs, bars, and concerts in hopes of targeting a more “in” young crowd. The keys will be on a key chain that include actual metal car keys, a card that says,

“If found, please do not return,” because the Altima “has Intelligent Key with push-button ignition, and I no longer need these”  

      The key chain also includes a short paragraph about the Nissan Altima, and a gas card that can be redeemed online for entrance into a sweepstakes and $15 worth of gas. Nissan used the True Agency who use guerilla style marketing and have been used for previous Nissan advertising campaigns. While the keys are fake, Nissan hopes to target consumers who are less influenced by traditional marketing campaigns and attract traffic to its newly updated website.


        This type of guerilla marketing is more prevalent in large cities where advertising space both, on the street and on TV and the internet is scarce. Personally, I think guerilla type marketing is very powerful and if I were to find a set of these keys, I would visit Nissan’s web site.     

CBS Cashing In March 6, 2007

Posted by collage9 in advertising, allances, Internet, media, monopoly.

We all know about the excitement that March Madness brings every year, especially with the recent success of our basketball team in the tournament.  I know I’ll be watching intently as I do every year.  But perhaps this biggest winner in all of the excitement is CBS, which has the exclusive rights to televise every game in the tournament.  This year TV ad spending is expected to surpass $500 million, which would be a record high.  Everyone knows how big of a deal advertising is during major sporting events, and CBS is definitely cashing in. They also aired this years Super Bowl, which as we all know probably has the most sought after advertising spots on television.

Not only is CBS making money on the television advertising, but they are also beginning to air games on the internet.  Starting last year CBS decided to make available all games over the internet for free and the idea was a hit.  Previously, they had charged $19.95 for the service, but after deciding to air them for free the number of users watching sky rocketed.  The important thing is that the internet broadcasted games will feature different commercials than the television broadcasts.  Not only will companies be vying for the rights to television spots, but now also on the internet as well.  In addition to the internet broadcasts, CBS has also made a deal with DirectTV to create a Mega March Madness Package for $69 that will air every tournament game.  Basically, the company is making a killing off of the yearly tournament and are really the ones driving their competitors mad.

Superbowl Commercials February 6, 2007

Posted by Bertan in advertising, media.

So once again the superbowl is over and once again its not the game thats talked about but the commercials.. Although there was no boob slip from Janet Jackson, there were still some interesting things from the superbowl that made me laugh.. As one my favorite commercials I picked out this Bud Light Commercial: http://www.break.com/SuperBowl2007/bud_light_slap.html

The reason for this is that, commercials lately have been so creative and so eye catching that I feel like companies and marketing departments really dont know what to do to attract more attention to their product in comparison to their rivals’ products. You will understand exactly what I mean once you watch the commercial. The funniest thing about the commercial is it would be absolutely hilarious if it caught on.. Like for example if we just gave a eachother a sweet little slap in the face once we walked in to class hahah.. well anyway, hope you enjoy it.. See you all in class..

Super Bowl ads do not meet expectations February 6, 2007

Posted by Meg in advertising, Consumers.

Many critics believe the advertising industry’s efforts failed at this year’s Super Bowl. Agencies normally rate ads based on message, humor, ability to stand out in comparison to other ads, and the ability to motivate the audience. According to many, they failed miserably in every criteria. This year, one advertising agency said, to somewhat quote him, that the ads this year fumbled more than the players on the field.

There were some highlights of course. Many commented about the Budweiser commercials, and the Blockbuster one where an actual mouse is used by a hamster to try to download videos or something of that nature. The Kevin Federline commercial for Nationwide insurance was the most anticipated this year and pleased many while disappointing others.

While this comment does not necessarily pertain to any topic we’ve gone over, I had to post something about the Super Bowl. I’d like to know what some of you thought of the ads and if any of you had favorites.