Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Close, But no Cyber-Cigar

Oh, Samsung, I had such high hopes for your email campaign this Holiday season.  But you let me down.  If I enjoyed making lame Holiday similes (disclosure: Holiday quickly makes me ill), I’d compare you to the surfboard-shaped present under the tree that turns out to be an ironing board.

However, let us learn from Sammy’s mistake.

They started out very well.  I receive periodic updates from Samsung ever since I registered the phone I bought earlier this year.  Updates come monthly or so, just enough to keep me interested without ever feeling overbearing.  Two Sundays before Black Friday, I received this email:

I always advocate asking customers to provide preferences and this email takes a novel and useful approach for doing so.  People love Black Friday emails and certainly want the offers that matter to them without, say, $2 waffle irons.  Those of you who know my proclivities know that I clicked on “cameras and camcorders.”  

Thursday, November 24, 2011

When Branding Attacks!

As a casual fan of basketball, it took me a while to notice that the NBA hadn’t started playing yet.  (Disclosure: I am a nominal Knicks fan, so I have trouble understanding the difference between NBA teams playing and not playing)

Sports columnists and talk radio have centered on the conflict between owners and players at the heart of the lockout, and with good reason.  The “millionaires versus billionaires” conflict makes great copy and/or discussion.  Certainly, money lies at the heart of the dispute.

However, I wonder if the dispute owes itself to less obvious but perhaps more systemic problem.  Let’s call this problem, in the argot of Animal Planet programming, “WHEN BRANDING ATTACKS!”

Monday, November 21, 2011

Movin' Right Along

I highly advise against reading “The Aeneid.”  As classic epics go, Virgil’s ranks as the Larry Fine to Homer’s “Odyssey” (Curly) and “Iliad” (Moe).  However, no one can read “someday, perhaps, it will please us to remember even this” without a slight smile.

And so, I announce a new phase in my career.  I plan to put Translinear Marketing Strategy aside for a while to concentrate on my new post, Senior Marketing Strategist for StrongMail, an email and social media-focused company.

And, once again, I rejoin my longtime nemesis/mentor/punching bag Chris Marriott.  This time, however, I get to be Fozzie.

Among other things, I’ll have a regular gig on a real, grown-up website as a columnist (come back soon for more).  However, I plan to keep writing on the Translinear blog because I just can’t say some things on an official website that I can say on a blog and because they probably won’t let me use snarky disclosures (disclosure: snarky disclosures are my favorite part).  Look for updates on a weekly-ish schedule.

I’d also like to take a moment to thank some of the people who helped me along the way as I developed tried to figure out what to do next.  In no particular order:

  • The Acxiom diaspora, in particular Janice Alvarez, Mike Bowser, Mo Brunt, Steve Caratzas, Michael Darviche, Nick Fugaro, Steve “the Greek” Gianakouros, Trent Good, Andy Hawthorne, Jay Jayabose, Michael Lewis, Kyle Morehouse, Karen Riley, Sourabh Singhal, Fiona Taylor and Michael Turner
  • The Think New Ideas/Answerthink die-hards: Malcolm Faulds, Maureen (Kane) Fyke, Susan Goodman, Joan Gugliotta, Meredith Kaback, Chris Korintus, Mike Metz
  • The Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners old-timers (disclosure: don’t sweat it; we’re ALL old now): Hillary Benjamin, Mark DiMassimo, Leann Leahy, Brian Martin and Rina Plapler
  • The Euro folks: Mike “the Saint” Costantino and Chris Greco
  • The RAPP survivors Cindy Lindenbaum and Russell Nuzzo
  • My new friends at the Stop Abuse Campaign: Marek Lis and Andrew Willis
  • Special mention to Alan Jacobson of Red Three consulting for invaluable blogging advice
  • Last, but not least, a special thank you to my mother-in-law a) for the beef stew and b) because my wife will be angry if I don’t.

No words of valediction.  I have not finished trying to figure out how to break through the line between brand and direct.  But, since I can’t figure out how to end this post, I’m going to link to a video of kittens instead.


Friday, November 18, 2011

I Give Up, FIAT

After releasing two commercials featuring Jennifer Lopez, FIAT has now released one that does not feature she-of-the-famous-derriere.

Fun commercial.  Sexy commercial.  But precisely the WRONG commercial.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Get the Picture?

Last night, I noticed a neat feature on Facebook.  It showed me a picture of my son in full-on sledding regalia and asked “was this taken at Central Park, NY?”  Indeed, an album I had uploaded two winters ago featured pictures taken in Frederick Law Olmstead’s most famous work.  Maybe this suggestion bordered on creepy, but I think I had entitled the album “Sledding in Central Park,” or had used “Central Park” in the descriptor.  I doubt the Big F somehow recognized the trees in the background.

As a marketer, a feature like this one gets my interest.  I could think of a lot of effective things to do with these data and, more importantly, what not to do with them.

Monday, November 14, 2011

UR Doin it Rong: Lands' End

Check out this bounty from my mailbox:

The catalog on the left was addressed to me and ran 64 pages.  The catalog on the right was addressed to Amy Mervish and ran 188 pages.  It might help to understand, if you didn’t already know, that Amy a) shares my address and b) is my wife.  In other words, Lands’ End sent similar--but not quite the same--catalogs to our household.

Multiple mailings such as these happen all the time.  They shouldn’t, and not just because extra catalogs kill innocent trees.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Fashion (Branding) Advice from a Slob

Do fashion ads utterly confuse you?

Makes sense, right?  So how about this one?

OK, surely this one could have emerged from David Ogilvy’s workshop, right?

I think you get the point,  Karl Lagerfeld, the guy with all the jewelry, said “like Poetry, fashion does not state anything – it merely suggests.”  (thanks, Geekdad)  But what does it suggest?  Fashion advertising, and by extension fashion branding, bewilders a lot of us.  Fortunately, I think I’ve figured it out and want to share with you how it really works.

Friday, November 4, 2011

User Experience vs. Brand Experience: a Rabbit's Tale

No struggle means as much to consumers yet draws as little debate as the ongoing one between user experience and brand experience.  While this struggle sounds a bit abstruse, consumers experience this struggle on a frequent basis as they make their ways around the Internet and its mobile and social permutations.

Take this one, for example:

Click here to see the page live in its all-singing, all-dancing glory

Very trendy.  Very dynamic.  Very hard to read and navigate.