How do you say “bad marketing” in French?

Razor1I don’t claim to be the savviest marketer in the world, but as a consumer, I do know what annoys me – and generally it falls in the category of being mis-targeted. I can forgive traditional media for its transgressions by showing me commercials that aren’t meant for me (hey, we’ve all mistakenly watched a full year of Grey’s Anatomy before, right guys?). But when online ads are blowing it, I blow my lid.

With all of the information that I am giving away through my email account – where I received this electric razor ad (click here to read my article on Google reading your mail) – How is it, in this era of enhanced targeting and data capture that I could possibly receive a display ad in French? Is it because I’m Canadian?

For those who aren’t aware, Canada is bilingual, so French is on everything. I remember 25 years ago when growing up in Canada I had a McDonald’s t-shirt featuring the lovable, purple, milkshake-addicted Grimace. Only on my shirt, his name wasn’t Grimace, it was Le Grosse Douceur. Even my favorite cereal, Rice Krispies, had French on it. The boxes weren’t always adorned by Snap! Crackle! and Pop! Sometimes they were replaced by an exuberant trio of elves called Cric! Crac! and Croc! 25 years ago we were used to seeing French stuff on things.

But this isn’t 1984. This is 2009, and I don’t want to see French anymore. And the fact that I no longer live in Canada makes this online ad even worse. So if I were the good folks at Remmington or whoever created this display ad, I’d ask for an explanation from my media agency. Especially if they’re being charged by CPM. Because if I don’t understand it, I’m not going to buy it.

Obviously I’m not the only one who is put off by bad targeting. This is a funny post about Facebook’s Ad Fail.

How the NFL should use Behavioral Targeting

NFL POPCORNThis past weekend the NFL offered free access to their new ‘all access’ channel RedZone, which is a football lover/ADD sufferer’s dream channel. It jumps around to every game where there is something significant happening (i.e. touchdown, turnover, team driving for a score, etc.). The allure of this channel is that there are no commercials, just action.

nfl-redzone-logoBut in the NFL’s ever continuing quest to make more money, I wonder how long it will take before they start interrupting play with advertising. They’ve sold RedZone by telling viewers there are no commercials, but that wouldn’t preclude them from putting sponsorship information on screen, would it?

Which made me think – based on situational events in football games, could they behaviorally target sponsorship information to viewers based on the action on the field? I call it ‘Situational Sponsorship’.

Here’s how it would work. In the NFL there are always things you can count on happening: Hard tackles, touchdown/victory celebrations, and gratuitous food/crowd shots among others (see: T.O. eating popcorn at top of post). So, the NFL could sell these ‘situations’ as media placements during games. Here are a few more ideas:

The NFL always has its share of injuries. The bigger the star (or injury) the longer they stay on the action. The viewer can’t help but think health at the time, so why not sell a portion of the screen to insurance companies?

The NFL can leverage some of its bigger-than-life personalities. You can’t tell me that every time you see Michael Vick, you don’t still think of his arrest for dog fighting. Some celebrities are more famous for their off-the-field behavior, so why not take advantage of what we’re all thinking in the first place?

When your team doesn’t win, it’s natural to feel a little down. The NFL provides fans with a full range of emotions. And I don’t think fans are looking for a bridge to jump off of when their team loses, but some people don’t exactly take bad news well. And with the shocking rate that people are turning to prescription drugs, it provides a great opportunity for companies like Pfizer to remain top-of-mind.

Come to think of it, in this new era of TIVO and PVRs, I’m surprised this isn’t already being done with regular programming. Forget product placement, where is situational sponsorship?

What ‘real man’ would you choose to front your Alcohol?

mad-men-2Advertising Age has just written an article detailing the new hyper-virile manner with which some spirits brands are now promoting themselves. Billed as the anti-Sex in the City era (in which the Cosmopolitan was the heralded beverage for women in a boom economy), this new phase could be dubbed the Mad Men era, where belts are being tightened in a poor economy, people stay home more and many alcohol pitchmen are emulating the behavior of the characters from the popular Emmy Award winning series. The commercials that I seem to see the most of feature “Sopranos” star Michael Imperioli for 1800 Tequila,

And of course, the Dos Equis commercials, starring the most interesting man in the world (Paula Forbes has a great blog post with all commercials here).

Ad Age’s point, I believe, is that life imitates art, and in unstable times we men are trying to emulate these real men from Mad Men. So, I guess my question is, if you had an alcohol brand to promote, which pitchman/character would you use? I have some suggestions below:

Mark Harmon – Jethro Gibbs (NCIS)
Hugh Laurie – Dr. Gregory House (HOUSE)
David Caruso – Lieutenant Horatio Caine (CSI MIAMI)
Matthew Fox – Jack Shephard (LOST)

For me, the runaway winner has to be Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark in IRON MAN.

So, who would be your choice for the ideal front man?

Bing! Google’s done?

bing-logoEver since the launch of Bing, Microsoft’s new search engine, I’ve heard nothing but reports that Google is on its way down and is worried about Microsoft’s increasing penetration (from 13.8% of search volume in the US to 16.7% – pre Bing to present). Marketingvox even went so far as to claim that Sergey Brin is ‘rattled’ at Google.

Before we stick a fork in Google, let’s not forget that Microsoft is running a widespread international mass media campaign for Bing, which may account for the 3% rise. Let’s give it six months, post-campaign, and see what happens then. You’ll probably be able to Google the results.

What it means to be local

How many ad campaigns have you seen where the company in question claims to be ‘local’? And to prove it they say what we all hate to hear. They say: “We’re local.” Then they show a couple of pictures of people who may look like they’re from the area, but could be from any stock photography site.

If you’re going to push the local aspect in a campaign don’t say you’re local – BE LOCAL. Say and do things that would appeal to people who are local. i.e. speak to them in their language. More than that refer to things that only they’d understand.

We just launched a campaign for Vancouver Island Brewery for their Islander Beer. It’s really the Island’s beer (exclusively brewed here, sold here, etc.). But instead of telling consumers that it’s local, so buy it, we created some radio commercials that are meant to prove this beer is just for locals. Have a listen. But if you’re not from here, I don’t expect you to get them. After all, it’s a local thing.

Star in your own tourism video

Tourism Victoria - Place Your FaceAfter several months of video sourcing and programming, the Tourism Victoria – Place Your Face campaign has launched. The video allows visitors to the Tourism Victoria web site to upload a picture of themselves and a friend and star in a video postcard, starring themselves participating in a variety of fun activities in Victoria, including whale watching and bungee jumping.

This campaign was put together with the help of FaceInHole in Portugal.

Co-branding can really suck

minifangsIf you haven’t seen Digital Kitchen’s campaign for True Blood, HBO’s Vampire series, you’re in for a treat. They’ve created a series of mock ads with real companies (who have given up their brand and logo) to promote True Blood. The ads are great, but it begs the question: if you had the opportunity, would you allow your company to be a part of this co-branding venture? I guess it depends on what you stand for.