Posts tagged “Advertising

agnès b. on advertising

Posted on January 8, 2016


“We never advertised, and still don’t, which was part of my philosophy from the very beginning. I was on the streets of Paris in 1968 during the student protests, when they were saying advertising was like manipulation of the people, and statements like that have marked me forever. Luckily, we never needed to place adverts in magazines, because straight away, the media found something new in my work. We were supported by the press naturally and clearly – without ever having to pay for it.” –agnès b. as quoted in Inventory *

Data Endorsement

Posted on November 13, 2015


A few thoughts triggered by Amazon’s fight against fake reviews: There is an increasing tendency to quantify and apply big data concepts to measurement as access to data expands and comfort with data use increases…the big data hammers around you will look for nails. The more underlying drivers to a single measurement, the greater the subjectivity and confusion that will result…if you want actionable information, you can do better than star ratings. The more value derived from a measurement, the greater the inherent risk of manipulation…one extra star on a restaurant’s Yelp rating boosts revenue by 5-9%. Without diligence and reinforcement, the perception of trustworthiness with online reviews will fall over time…of course the Amazon lawsuit is peppered with words of trust: authentic, honest, unbiased, credibility, integrity, etc. The dynamics across social media, celebrity, critics and other gatekeepers…

I’ll Have the Usual

Posted on December 15, 2014


Driving south this weekend for a few months around Atlanta (at what I like to call the ‘legacy property’), we stopped at a fast food restaurant for a quick bite. The patron in front of us in line confidently customized every item in his order – take two toppings off this, add extra ingredients to that, more sauce here, less there, etc. I wondered how many variations he had experienced before reaching his perfect meal. No doubt he was a power user, and he likely finds nothing unusual in his behavior. I’m convinced modern advertising serves primarily as a reinforcement mechanism for high-volume consumer behavior. It looks like everyone is doing it, and we continually redefine what is normal. Eccentricities spread to the point of…


Posted on September 20, 2014


In consumer products news, Honey Maid continues their ‘wholesome’ advertising campaign launched earlier this year. The choice of words is particularly ironic as Kraft/Mondelez, the owner of Nabisco, has stated through their attorneys that non-quantifiable, non-verifiable, generalized, vague and unspecified assertions – like wholesome, sensible snacking and smart choices – constitute ‘mere puffery’ upon which a reasonable consumer could not rely. Fortunately for Mondelez, there are apparently enough unreasonable consumers whose appreciation for families is best expressed by eating graham crackers: UNBLEACHED ENRICHED FLOUR (WHEAT FLOUR, NIACIN, REDUCED IRON, THIAMINE MONONITRATE {VITAMIN B1}, RIBOFLAVIN {VITAMIN B2}, FOLIC ACID), GRAHAM FLOUR (WHOLE GRAIN WHEAT FLOUR), SUGAR, SOYBEAN OIL, HONEY, LEAVENING (BAKING SODA AND/OR CALCIUM PHOSPHATE), SALT, SOY LECITHIN, ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR. *

On Government Advertising

Posted on December 7, 2013


Over the past few months, the U.S. government has shifted its focus from doing whatever it normally does to selling insurance. Along the way there has been talk of products, call centers and other sales tools frequently used by the profit-making community. The increased use of marketing and advertising by government leads to these: If most advertising focuses on fulfilling self-interest, is the use of advertising contrary to the values of a federal republic? Is it a conflict of interest for the government to both produce and monitor advertising? If advertised claims can change drastically over time, does government advertising require inordinate disclaimers? There’s more to consider of course – the source and use of advertising funds, communication mechanisms, credibility – as well as…

Exclusionary Marketing

Posted on November 22, 2013


As product targeting and brand messaging is developed, a basic concept is often missed. Focusing on one group means not focusing on another. When taken to an extreme, targeted promotions or messaging can overtly discourage certain groups from purchasing or participating. What starts as minor tweaks to packaging to attract men (or other gender-specific marketing) may mutate into explicit marginalization of women (and a Hall of Shame nomination from NOW). I term it exclusionary marketing, and it goes well beyond gender. Mike Jeffries of Abercrombie & Fitch practices it and gets bad press. Porsche’s Matthias Müller practices it and achieves brand of the year. Premium, aspirational, exclusive, discriminatory, etc….how the target lines are drawn and communicated can make the difference. *