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Large, Green, Salty and Sweet

June 29, 2010. Posted by johnf

pickleman

Sorry for the stretch between posts. I thought I was over Gary Coleman, but some of those memories just wouldn’t leave me alone. (I had a severe crush on Dana Plato as a kid.)

Have you ever had a word pop into your head and you can’t get rid of it? Today that word happened to be pickles. I don’t know why.

Plug that word into Google and you realize it’s more than cucumbers soaked in salty water. Take the Wikipedia entry for example, you could lose half an hour on this page and its related links.

There are loads of restaurants and bars with the name Pickle in the title, for obvious reasons – but does anyone use that term to describe being drunk? I can think of ten right now, and not one of them is pickled.

You have to scroll down the Google results page before you even get a pickle company in the search results, and the only sponsored ad was for Claussen. While Vlasic didn’t show up in the search results, they have their own Facebook page – and almost 28,000 followers!

(Somewhere, some marketing weasel made a presentation to a group of his superiors and it went like this: “People love pickles and they also love cartoon storks! WE NEED A FACEBOOK PAGE!”)

Vlasic even tweets about its product –the stream is filled with incredibly corny puns about pickles. Here’s one example: “Saw a bit of the James Bond marathon the other day. If you ask me, all he’s missing is a license to dill.”  (That’s horrible, a small part of me just died.)

So what have we learned? There’s a market for everything, even the most common items. That means your product or service can be positioned successfully with work and creativity.
Think about it – if 28,000 people are fans of a salty cuke, don’t you think you could generate interest in what you’re selling?

Gotta go, I’m getting hungry.

A Society Celebrating the Weird

June 25, 2010. Posted by johnf

Michael Jackson has been dead for one year. And the world over mourns.

Why?

Okay. He had talent. My sister owned a copy of Thriller and I know probably every song on it. I thought moonwalking was pretty cool. The Jackson Five cartoon was a staple for me in my younger years. Dancing zombies? They were also cool.

So in my opinion, the man had talent, but he was one sick individual. That’s no problem, plenty of people have problems, they get help and they get better. But Michael Jackson had the Weird Market cornered, he was buying long and never selling.

So why do people mourn him? How can they look past the allegations about molestation? Wouldn’t that be enough to turn anyone off? Okay, I know he was found not guilty, but the body of evidence was enough to make you say, “Hmmm, nope Johnny you’re not going to Neverland for a play date.”

With death, the cult of MJ will only grow – look at Elvis. Never could figure those fans out either. Again, he had a decent voice, some good rocking songs – but he stole his music from an unrecognized generation of musicians.

Not to mention, Elvis was also a weird guy. Do a search for stories from his Memphis Mafia – yeah.

What about Sinatra? Great crooner, decent actor, and also kind of nutty. Running around Vegas, smacking Sammy Davis around like a chew toy, ordering “hits” on his enemies.

Let’s face it – America loves the weird because America is weird. We shine a spotlight on an entertainer, and don’t mention the roaches that go scuttling off into the corners.

I’m sure 20 years from now, my sons will be asked to observe a moment of silence for the King of Pop. Hopefully, they’ll have to ask someone to hum a few bars of his songs.

Is it hot in here or am I on fire?

June 21, 2010. Posted by johnf

Frizzera Ink’s air conditioning took one look at the forecast , chuckled weakly, and departed for the promised land.

So we’re waiting for the technician to come and bring relief. I suspect he’ll be driving a truck made of solid gold that runs on rubies and emeralds. That guy has got to be one of the busiest techs on the planet right now.

sweatyandy

I had a professor in college state that the most important development in technology in the past 50 years was central air conditioning.

He reasoned that the entire Midwest and the West would have developed its economies much slower if air conditioning wasn’t available. Too hot to work meant it was too hot to make money, except for the standard methods – farming, cattle, etc.

After sitting in the office, sweating and sticking to every available surface, I have to agree with him. Right now, the office is mobile – at least the car’s A/C didn’t break down.

I know I can’t live without A/C – what about you? Is there one thing out there that you can’t do without?

Stupid Beer Commercial

June 16, 2010. Posted by johnf

Hey, that beer commercial where the incredibly dorky guy is exercising as he drinks a beer?

Yeah, that commercial is horrible. No one would ever drink beer with a guy like that.

Talk about babe repellent.

“Hi, nice to meet you. Here are my friends. Yes, even the idiot doing deep knee bends in the bar. Wait! Where are you going?”

Why does something as great and perfect as beer have to be ruined by society?

What’s next? Cigarettes?

Words & Pictures

June 15, 2010. Posted by johnf

What was the first commercial shown during this year’s Super Bowl?

  • Doritos – dog putting a collar on a human. Lame.
  • Bud Light – wow, I’m underwhelmed
  • Wolfman movie with Benecio Del Toro – what a crapfest
  • Hyundai – yaaaawn

Give up? It was for Bud Light which showed intrepid drinkers partying in a hosue made completely of beer cans. Intereting, but not earth shaking. Since February, how much of that product did you consume? (No fair if Bud Light is your regular adult beverage of choice.)

Here were some other commercials from the first quarter: Snickers, Boost Mobile, Coke, Go Daddy and Monster. There’s a better than average chance you’ve consume one of those services or products in the past six months – but was it because of a Super Bowl commercial?

Although the Snicker’s commercial did feature Betty White being pummeled in a pickup football game, you most likely purchased a product because you needed it, not because of a commercial that aired in February.

So why do companies spend so much money on their marketing campaigns? They certainly want to make you aware of their product or service. If they didn’t advertise during the Super Bowl, consumers would think something was wrong. But what impact do those ads really have?

Think back to the last time an advertisement inspired you to action. Was it because of razzle dazzle commercials or did the information you received make sense? I’m betting it was the information – of course, I’m a content writer, not a videographer.

(Old journalism joke that told to photographers: “A picture is worth a thousand words for someone who doesn’t KNOW a thousand words.”)

In reality, the message that you receive from any kidn of marketing is usually a marriage between words and pictures. When you’re considering your own marketing campaign, it’s a good idea to remember this rule of thumb.

For instance, a photo placed at the top of your next marketing email will most likely get more clicks than the links in the copy. Why? Because human beings are curious, and they like pretty colors. So use that opportunity to link the picture to something important.

Achieving a balance in anything is challenging, and marketing isn’t any different. Just remember, that a well crafted email sent out to your audience can have as much, or as little, impact as a flashy, multimillion dollar advertisement during the Super Bowl.

Besides, Betty White jumped the shark . . .

World Cup Soccer – I Bow to You

June 8, 2010. Posted by johnf

World-cup-2010-logo

Marketing makes you want something you don’t need. True?

Think of all the things in your house, your car or your office. How many of them would you throw into a knapsack if the world were coming to an end? Probably none of them. Seriously, what is a Dwight Schrute bobblehead going to get you in a post-apocalyptic wasteland?

We’re all victims of marketing- and I’m about to submit. Me, the great marketer. The man with the plan. The man behind the man, behind the man.

It’s true. I’m giving in to World Cup soccer and its marketing machine. I’ve decided to follow it for more than a few reasons.

I want to GET soccer. You know what I mean? Be taken away by the beauty, speed, and grace. Jump up and down like a crazed monkey when that odd, totally European ball, bangs against the back of the net.

Run around the house shouting GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!

I want to root for Team USA like I rooted for Team USA when they won the gold in hockey. I’m going to learn all the names and shout them when they gather on the pitch. (In soccer, it’s not a field, it’s a pitch. I don’t know, blame the English.)

I’m going to relive the glory of my youth – I played soccer. Lots of running but slide tackling was incredibly gratifying.

Finally, I’m going to watch the games with my son, because he’s 6 and the marketing machine has gotten to him. He is counting down the hours to the first match. (Not a game, it’s a match. The English, again.) I downloaded an app on my iTouch so he and I don’t miss a game or report.

I’m going to learn how to pronounce the names of players from Italy, Austria, Uganda, Japan, Beirut, Iran, Mongolia, Peru, England, Ireland and possibly even a few from Cameroon. I’m not going to be the typical lunkhead American.

I’ll do all that. I’ll submit. And I’m keeping a record so I can decide if the marketing machine did its job on me.

But I’m NOT drinking warm beer. The English can have it all to themselves.

Screaming about Ice Creaming

June 2, 2010. Posted by johnf

icecreamcone

I was scooping out ice cream last night into a medium size bowl – and then returned it to the freezer. As the door swung shut I noticed the words “Limited Edition” on the carton.

Seriously? Limited Edition ice cream?

Maybe they slapped those words on there to catch the attention of a person who has a life so devoid of anything that limited edition ice cream would be a high point to their day.

Maybe their marketing department has identified an audience of ice cream collectors – they have mammoth walk in freezers buried deep in their basements, packed with collectible ice cream. Once a year, they have a convention in Antarctica, and they bring their special edition gallons of sweet treats and trade them.

“Okay, I’ll trade you two Limited Edition Chocolate Blueberry Boysenberry Marshmallow Debacles for one pint of Graham Cracker & Banana Ice Explosion.” The possibilities are endless.

Marketers are constantly searching for methods to sell their products (duh) and packaing is a major talking point in any campaign. So that’s why food products are trumpeted as “Limited Edition.” Unfortunately, it’s been beaten into the ground so that “limited edition” is as common place as “New and Improved.”

If any of you kind readers have contacts in the food industry, ask them for me, “Does the limited edition label really work? Do they see an upswing in sales?”

(In all seriousness, I do have a friend who has kept a package of Hank Aaron collectible frozen ice treats. He’s moved several times – once from California to Maryland. Marty Grosser, this one’s for you!)

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