Category Archives: Creative work

One way to respond when your competitors lie to your customers

How do you respond to misleading information spread by your competitors? This video provides one simple example.

I like how they’re not angry or obnoxious (as I’d be tempted to be). Their low-key approach and disarming good nature help nail the message. Yes, the presentation could be better, and I wish they could have taken Paramount Equity Mortgage to task somewhat more aggressively. But I give the two young mortgage brokers a lot a credit for standing up for themselves.

[By the way, here’s my post on the misleading advertising they refer to from Paramount Equity Mortgage. Here’s more information from the Washington Dept. of Financial Institutions.]

Does one video posted to YouTube solve the problem of  competitors who mislead the public? Of course not. Some people will always weigh the pros and cons of playing dirty. They’ll figure out how much they can get away with and go just that far. As social media continues to empower consumers and small competitors, the unscrupulous will look for new and creative ways to cheat. So while I applaud the video, there has to be more.

Imagine if every honest company, small and large alike, policed their own industry like Brandon and Cliff tried to do on their own. Imagine if an entire confederation of honest companies cooperated in showing customers how to recognize and deal with questionable sales tactics. Eventually, I think that will be rule, rather than the exception – and it will be a lot harder for the bad guys to win by cheating. I sure hope so.

Maybe I’m wrong. (I don’t think so!) What about you – do you think companies should respond when they find competitors lying to their customers? If so, how?

Note: from the looks of things, Revolution Financial seems to have gone out of business. But I have a feeling Brandon and Cliff will do well in the long run if they keep using the same instincts that led them to post that video.


When raving fans spread your message

If you’ve crafted a tight and compelling company/brand story, exuberant fans will spread it for you. Your employees will work harder to play their part in the story. Here are a few videos, created by raving fans, that remind us that if you get your story straight, customers have unprecedented means of spreading it. The videos:  Continue reading


“The Idea Writers” by Creativity editor Teressa Iezzi

The Idea Writers by Teressa Iezzi

Marketing in the digital era can confuse and frustrate the heck out of people – clients, agency managers, 20-something interactive whiz kids.

About two months ago a longtime ad-agency pal asked me, “What in the world has happened to our industry?”  I tried to answer. Teressa Iezzi, editor of Creativity, explains it a whole lot better in her book, The Idea Writers. Continue reading


Don’t make your customers look like twits in the name of “creativity”

Maybe your small business can’t run an ad campaign during the Super Bowl. But you can take lessons from a couple of big brands that did – and in doing so, offended the environmental community, all of Brazil, a huge chunk of the black community and anyone who is sympathetic to the Dali Lama. Continue reading


More on the Chrysler “Imported From America” ad

For some great insight into Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne’s decision to go with the Wieden + Kennedy concept for the Super Bowl ad, check out this great post by Forbes auto industry blogger Joann Muller.


The hardest-working Super Bowl commercial was…

There’s a brand that’s in trouble. It’s been making shoddy products for years. It was (and maybe still is) at the brink of failure. It needs not just a Hail Mary, but a succession of them.

Wieden + Kennedy may have answered at least one of those prayers with its work for Chrysler, the first-ever 2-minute Super Bowl commercial.

A Super Bowl commercial must work much like any other marketing communication. It has to speak to the right people, on a matter that’s relevant, in terms they understand, and be compelling. It has to address a need in the client’s sales process, or sales funnel.

Do you think another Super Bowl spot worked better than Chrysler’s?
Please comment at the end of this post. Or email me directly.

But the Super Bowl comes with extra burdens: It creates more pressure to make impact than any other venue in the world of advertising. Everyone’s watching. Even if they’re not watching the game, they’re watching online. They’re FB’ing, Tweeting and emailing. They’re even blogging. You mess up, you’ve done more than waste time, money and opportunity. You can embarrass your brand.

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Your marketing message: Does it connect?

From 25 years ago, the words of David Kennedy, co-founder of Wieden + Kennedy: “We’re really not in the business of making ads. Our job is to make a connection.”  Today you could add websites, Facebook pages, YouTube channels, email and much more to his list of stuff we’re not really in the business of making. It’s always about the connection.

Nike Fashion Thumbnail, Gretsky Kabira ThumbnailSee's thumbnailBurton-Ching thumbnailChevron Base Oils thumbnailSpeedoRineyClarity05 Flash thumbnailConnoisseur thumbnailRigNet thumbnailWorldTelemetry thumbnail Air LogoKink-FMCal ScottBarkley TV stillPiedmont thumbnail

Sometimes you can tell right away if the marketing effort connects. It hits you in the gut.

Other times, you can only tell something about the quality of the design and writing.

And yet well-written, well-designed work often misses the mark. Sometimes terribly. (Just look at two-thirds of Super Bowl commercials, and four-fifths of all websites.) So for each of these samples from my portfolio, I’ve given some context. To view the work, click the images above or the links on the left.


Creativity doesn’t just happen, it’s a process

I’ve been thinking a lot about creativity as a process lately. And like magic, our pal Mickey Lonchar, ecd at Quisenberry here in Spokane, sends this along:

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Really bad branding

Starburst's startling confession

Starburst's startling confession

.

Credit goes to
The Friggin’ Loon
for taking
and posting
this photo.


Thank you to WalMart, The Martin Agency… and our troops

It’s not too often you want to thank a company and its ad agency for a commercial. Here’s a wonderfully touching spot. Congratulations to all involved.

Most important, thanks to every one of our service men and women, and their families, especially during the holiday season.

If any of you Martin folks read this, please send along some credits.


If you’re going to make bad advertising, why not make it REALLY bad?

That’s a pretty cute headline I saw in the lobby at my local Bank of America the other day. “Buy Pizza, Get Dough.” Get it? Don’t worry, not many other people do, either.

Buy Pizza, Get Dough, from Bank of America

Tabletop poster with flier, at a Bank of America branch

It made me think of some less cute headlines that have been in the news lately:

Is it too much to ask BofA to be less jovial about their schemes to stockpile more of our money — especially when they’re back-dooring fee increases on things like safe-deposit boxes and giving Merrill Lynch executives huge bonuses?

A few BofA headlines I’d like to see… Continue reading


Just for fun, which of these commercials do you like better?

Two Western-flavored TV commercials for two western-flavored hamburgers.

One from Burger King, the other from Jack in the Box.

Your thoughts?

Hootie

Hootie sings of burgers

Jack

Jack sings of burgers


Which Wieden+Kennedy do you prefer?

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know they’re built for different purposes. But which do you prefer: The Wieden+Kennedy official site, or the blog from the Portland office?  And why?

Personally, I like the blog infinitely more. My guess is that the fancy corporate site has outworn its welcome. The days when figuring out what a website is supposed to do, what it’s supposed to represent and how it’s supposed to work are long gone.

What do you think?


Innovative websites

Modernista

Is this a website?

It’s becoming more and more rare to run across a website and think, “I wish I had done that.” Or even, “What rock have I been hiding under?” Here are three such sites — taken together, they may help you see the role of the corporate website in a new way.

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