This is the first blog that I have embarked on and after several entries I’m looking at it in a new light. At first it seemed overwhelming and I was wary of my ability. To combat this fear, I set the parameters of my blog about as wide as a CFL football field. It’s actually kind of ironic that my blog which is on advertising was not properly targeted. I figured if I could jam as many topics as possible in the opening blog I was bound to catch someone’s attention; even though I’m familiar with the idea that if you try and please everybody you end up not pleasing anyone. My inability to narrow my focus came from lack of confidence. I was worried that if I made my blog to specific I may paint myself into a corner. Now that I’ve found some rhythm and relaxed a bit with the whole notion of conjuring up an idea worthy of presenting to the world, blogging is not so hard after all, which brings me to my second hurdle, presenting to the “world”. At first I had this picture in my mind that I would post a blog and have 5 million people posting to it and picking it apart. Now that I’ve had this blog for a few months I actually wish that were the case, because I don’t think anyone has read my blog, which has now led me to the age old question of existence. “If a blogger posts a blog and no one reads it, was the blog actually posted?”
Windows has come out with an antiauthority campaign to launch its new Windows 7. I can’t help but feel that the cheeky spots are bit of a rip from the successful Mac commercials. Mac has been emphasising customer satisfaction and the ability to deliver a product that is tailored to its users. So now Windows comes out with a campaign to raise awareness of its new product with what do you know, commercials that emphasis satisfied customers using a product that is tailored to their needs. The ads are also a lot like the PC ads where little kids show how easy it is to use the creative aspects of their computers like downloading pictures and making slide shows. Windows seems to have taken a fight fire with fire approach, but I don’t think it is very effective. Mac has capitalized on Windows as well as PC’s weaknesses by listening to what consumers want. Windows should have been looking into some of the flaws Mac’s have and been exploiting them. Mac has been able to build a strong community around their product, turning their consumers into a smug computer cult. I think Windows needs to take a stronger stand with their product and address Mac head on instead of trying to mimic their success. The ads don’t make me feel like Windows 7 is using cutting edge technology that is ahead of the rest, but rather that the previous Windows were flawed and now they have come out with a product that is satisfactory. I’m a PC and Windows user and will continue to be only because it’s what I know, and at this point I don’t feel like learning something new but if this keeps up I may find myself using a Mac, driving a Prius and looking down my nose at everyone who does not.
Buzz marketing is a form of advertising where the consumer is supposed to be unaware that they are being targeted. A company gives their product to a person who best represents their target market to use in their everyday life. The person becomes an unassuming advert engaging the people that they come in contact with in conversation about the placed product. This way the product is being presented on a neutral platform which gives it more credibility. This is an extension of the concept of having celebrities wear a certain designer on the red carpet, or drink a particular beverage in a movie. The product is supposed to slip seamlessly into the targets unconscious causing them to act on the image they are being presented.
Carlsberg has taken this buzz strategy to try and gain a more youthful market. Carlsberg has long been associated with European football, and even endorses the Toronto FC football club. That area of the market is secure, and now it’s time to branch out. Carlsberg has been paying attention to social media like Facebook and Blogs. Carlsberg saw the amount of word of mouth that can be created in these networks, and decided to capitalize on it. They supplied a certain amount of free beer and Carlsberg paraphernalia to a group of handpicked bloggers that they saw as having an extensive enough network to gain some popularity, and got them to host a house party. Now this isn’t where the term “buzz” marketing came from, but it defiantly brings it new meaning when young adults are catching a buzz from you buzz marketing campaign, seems like an obvious fit. After some Tylenol and rehydrating, the selected bloggers put up pictures and wrote a blog about the evening’s festivities, something they would have been doing anyways, only this time in the pictures everyone has a green bottle of beer in their hand.
Buzz marketing and social networks have a lot of loyal fans as well as a lot of sceptic about their effectiveness. Here Carlsberg has used both effectively to generate brand awareness.
Columbia fuels, after recently being taken over by an Alberta based company, has wasted no time in raising brand awareness. They have launched a new ad campaign just as the Indian summer has left us and the damp cold chill of fall has crept in. The ad launched in news papers, on the radio, and as a website banner. The news paper and radio is a good way to reach the target market of Columbia Fuels residential customers. The images in the ads are very simple and consistent with the Columbia Fuels existing look. The two most defining things about Columbia Fuels image is the color purple which its name is coloured in, and the simple purple house. The ads make good use of these defining images in all of the pieces. Using a mouse and a bird as the characters in the new ads capitalizes on the popularity of animals in advertisements that has been going on for years. Some prime examples of this are the Telus campaign, the GIECO gecko, and the Energizer bunny. I do find it rather ironic though to use animals to sell oil; if animals were going to sell a form of energy you think it would be solar or wind.
The second part of the ad is the persuasive message. The print ad clearly states the benefits of switching over to Columbia Fuels, or if you already use their service, what savings are in store. The final part of the message is a guarantee. Here they put the customer at ease guaranteeing that their house will never run out of oil, and if it does they will receive heavy compensation in the form of $250 dollars off of their next fill up.
Overall I see the ad as a complete success. It’s simple and clever; stripped down to the key messages of savings and reliability.
When I see James Bond driving an Aston Martin, wearing a Rolex, and ordering a “shaken, not stirred” Martini, it makes sense. When I see “The most interesting man in the world” who looks like he probably goes yachting with Bond on occasion I expect him to have similar tastes. I see him having a Rolls-Royce parked outside, enjoying a cigar and drinking a fine wine, or a rare scotch. I’m not expecting the guy who “can speak French in Russian” to be enjoying a Silver Bullet, or the King of Beers. So when he lets me know that he doesn’t even really drink beer, but when he does it’s a Dos Equis I believe him. The message is consistent, so the connection from the ad to the brand is strong. I’m not left shaking my head because I’m supposed to believe that Aqua man (Michael Phelps) puts down a happy meal before winning eight gold medals, and that Justin Timberlake is in the drive thru right behind him. “The most interesting man in world” and James Bond who as much as we’d like to believe are out there somewhere are fictitious characters who are more credible spokes people then most real celebrities.
Apple’s Mac computer ads are one of the more refreshing campaigns out there right now, but what makes this campaign so effective? First let’s consider the spokes people. Mac is represented by a young spokesman who is dressed in a current and casual style. He’s relaxed, confident, and handles the back and forth conversation with ease. PC’s spokesman is slightly older, out of shape, and dressed in very drab, unstylish, usually shades of cat puke brown coloured work attire. His glasses are very outdated, as well as he looks like he stole his hair cut from Jim Carrey in “Dumb and Dumber”. Before the message is even delivered you would already prefer to identify with Mac. The message throughout the campaign is consistent, emphasising the creative applications that Mac comes with like music, movies, podcast, and web pages, while PC’s rebuttal is always something to do with number crunching. The other message that is constantly sent is how vulnerable PC is to viruses. Whether it’s the swine flu, H1N1, or a Trojan, people are on high alert for viruses, and taking every measure to avoid them.
What really makes the message stick is how simple each commercial is, and how the information is presented. Instead of having a typical smear campaign, Mac makes PC appear to admit its own faults. If you are a PC user it causes you to doubt your current system, rather than trying to force you to accept Mac as the superior computer. Each commercial reveals a little more doubt causing a little more independent thought. If you are on the fence of which system to side with the commercials convey some of the fundamental things a new user is look for, or looking to avoid. The passive aggressive dialogue lets the consumer make their own decision, but at the same time feel stupid if they decide on a PC. Also, if you side with the PC, you’ve doomed yourself to becoming the person as a teenager you said you’d never be- your out of touch parents!
Advertising, it’s something we encounter so much on a daily basis it has almost become white noise. Marketing departments have recognized the haze of ads that are presented to the consumer, and are constantly coming up with innovative ways to break through the monotony. A creative ad campaign can boost floundering sales, and send a company to the top, especially in times of recession. I will be looking at ads of new and old, good and bad; ads that caught the attention of the masses, and ads that couldn’t catch a cold. I will be discussing what I feel makes certain ads catchy and credible, or what makes them boring and ineffective. Also, I will be discussing the effect that the constant assault on our senses has on a person, and society.