Category Archives: pr/marketing

Wait, this is only week 2?!? Part 2

Technically, it’s week 3, but who’s counting?

Sleep is a freaking scarcity.  If sleep could be sold, supply would be steep and close to the y-axis and demand would be even more inelastic.  There’d be a line out the door, even though we’re broke MBA students.  For anyone who gets home before 11pm and doesn’t have to do homework, appreciate sleep.

Coke Zero, Diet Coke and Diet Dr. Pepper have become my best friends.  My life is ruled by caffeine and no sleep, and yet I’m having such a great time.  Paradox or twilight zone?  It is 3:17 in the morning.

[Begin tangent.]

BTW when most brands do some sort of sponsorship or deal, it’s clearly labeled on the can/bottle.  For example, I still remember Coke’s deal with AVTR.  Yes, that’s Avatar (the awful James Cameron movie that’s FernGully + Romeo & Juliet with the only redeeming factor being special effects).  The spelling was a bit funky but the package design was impeccable.  The spacing of the AVTR letters, the serif font.  It just fit.  But I have some serious questions about the football logo on the new Coke Zero bottles?  There’s no information.  Are you doing a sponsorship or co-branding?  Am I supposed to be curious enough to go look it up online?  (If I weren’t into marketing and advertising, probably not.)

I finally went to the Coke Zero site and I’m even more confused.  It is about football season but non-specific.  I thought diet products were usually geared more towards women, but Coke seems to be pushing this product to men.  Are they expanding the diet-soda-for-men market (I have no idea how big it is) in order to not cannibalize as much of the female-dominated Diet Coke market?

The choose-your-own-adventure game on the site is almost interesting, but I’d rather see the brand sponsor one of the Facebook games, where it’s more engaging for the user and also leverages the brand of the Facebook game.  Of course, having worked at Playdom, I’m biased. :)

[End tangent]

I’m loopy so it’s off to bed.  Last thought: why hasn’t anyone told me about this awesome awesome product?

UPDATED: Cynical answer- probably because the packaging is awfully awfully wrong.

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Sneaker Wars: A Foray in Nerdism

Just put down the book yesterday, and I’m already obsessed with the awesomeness.  It’s history, sports, fashion, and case study.  And as the World Cup is happening now, it’s very appropriate that I just finished.

I’ve noticed that of the 32 World Cup teams, 13 are sponsored by Adidas, 9 by Nike, 6 by Puma, 1 by Umbro, and 2 didn’t have very visible insignias (at least not ones I recognized off-hand).  Adidas still has a lot of cache and got most of the European teams along with some of the strongest Latin and African teams.  But it’s evident that Nike is making huge headway with the US team, Brazil, and a few other heavy hitters.  Puma, other than the Italian team, seems to be hitting smaller third-world countries.

I never thought to look at the brand of football uniforms.  It tells a lot about the sportswear market and maybe a bit about where each company is placing its bets?

We’ll have to check back depending on team standings.  I’d love to see another upset like the Italy-France match of four years ago.  Puma’s team won against the French Adidas team.

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“An Ideal Balance of Softness and Strength”

I just watched the most absurd commercial.  It’s for Angel Soft toilet paper.  A guy asks his wife for a roll of toilet paper.  It’s a classic Goldilocks.  First she throws him a roll that’s too hard.  Then, it’s too soft.  Then she throws him the Angel Soft roll followed by a jingle… “Angel Soft… an ideal balance of softness and strength.”

It may not sound so corny on paper as you’re reading this.  But I guarantee you, the jingle… awful.

It brought me to wonder why agencies would write such an awkward line of copy.  Were the other lines rejected after some AB testing? Maybe legally speaking they can’t use certain phrases that other brands have used to express “softness without sacrificing the strength.”

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Whatever reason, I heard that jingle and balked.  So yes, good job ad agency, I remember the commercial.  However, I’m also a brand whore.  Charmin only.  And anything other than Bounty  in my Kitchen, Lysol in my bathroom, or Tide by my laundry basket?  I think not.  So no, the commercial also didn’t change my purchasing decision.  But I’m unique.  I love advertisements and studying them.

My real question is how did the commercial come about?  The product manager, maybe product marketing manager, the advertising agency, media buyer, and all the third party hands that have touched the commercial from the studios to the channels where the commercial is broadcasted.  They all touched the commercial.  What were their inputs and influences?  How much do you trust the gut instinct of your ad agency versus the pages of spreadsheets with scanner data and consumer perception via focus groups, surveys, etc.?  How do you separate the noise in the numbers from the statistically significant?  If you can’t, what do you rely on?  If you’re a product manager in this situation, how do you make your decision?

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I don’t know.  I want to learn.

I believe there is too much reliance on numbers, even when it means making assumptions that aren’t comparatively significant.  I believe in “an ideal balance of intuition and data.”  My goal is to learn that ideal balance.

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Facebook Games? Yes Please!

[Disclosure: I am in no way representing my company or revealing any proprietary information.  Anything I write here is purely my own opinion and using public knowledge.]

Social Gaming: nascent industry with a largely nascent user base.  And finally in early 2010, we’re starting to see some pretty unique games.  Even if it’s similar game mechanics; at least it’s not yet another farm game or mafia rpg.

Believe me, I LOVE playing Tiki Farm and Lil Farm Life.  Even played Farmville for a while. But I’m so glad that we’ve stopped last year’s copy and paste themes.  I mean what’s the big difference among Farm Town, Country Farm, and all the copy cats out there?  Not that much.

This is my Tiki Farm. :-D

Side note: Yes, the farm games that have been able to differentiate themselves certainly should exist.  After all, I don’t really like Farmville.  It’s like a factory, even if it’s arguably the first, and the other copy cats are just the same.  On the contrary, Tiki Farm has such great graphics and is just more chill, and I love my workshops in Lil Farm Life, where I can use the clover to feed the cow to make the milk, put the milk in the cheese maker to make the cheese, and add the cheese with tomatoes and peppers in my pizza workshop to make a pizza.  It’s pretty freakin’ sweet.

But I’m glad there’s a flurry of new apps out:

  • The Crazies, which is a tower defense flash game, based on the upcoming movie.
  • Wild Ones, which takes adorable animals (“pets) and pit them against other players in a real-time show down.  The Mirv? Freakin’ sweet!
  • Treasure Madness, which is a highly addictive game treasure game (current obsession).

Instead of the console video game, it's now the casual game based off the movie.

Wild Ones: shooting in action

I'm almost finished solving my Shark Island on Treasure Madness

If you want to get your ass kicked in Wild Ones.. just let me know. ;-)

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UPDATE: I’ve been wanting to write a post like this for a while now, but the trend was still on the same ole, same ole.  1) I’m super happy that I finally get to pen this; 2) it would be really hard to write this post, if I didn’t actually like the games our company makes.  So you know, thanks for not making sucky games. :)

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What’s up your nose?

I started using Biore nosestrips in high school.  After the first time seeing all the crap that’s in my pores, I was sold.  But it’s a pretty hefty investment: $8 for 8 strips at 6 boxes a year is $48.  Okay, not exorbitant, just more than I’d like to spend on a simple luxury.

With my supplies running low, I hopped over to my local CVS to buy some more.

Several things I noticed:

  • They now put tape on the packaging.  Apparently, people have been stealing the strips (?).  And once I get home, the tape makes opening the two boxes a hassle.
  • I bought two boxes and counted 18 strips.  Now, last I remember from elementary math class, 8 + 8 = 16.  So what’s up with the extra strips?

Most likely, it’s  a marketing ploy.  The temporary happiness of feeling lucky that you got a whole extra strip, not a big deal except they’re a freakin’ $1 each!  But since I got two boxes, I spotted the difference.  It’s not that I’m lucky.  Their goal is to make everyone feel lucky.

Is that good or bad?  Well I’m certainly happy to get 2 more strips free.  On the other hand, I don’t like that some marketer (probably an MBA grad who wants to show off her marketing genius to the new boss) is trying to sway my emotions.

Isn’t this supposed to be this “Web 2.0-if-I-hear-that-phrase-one-more-time-I’m-going-to-shoot-someone.”  Aren’t companies supposed to be all about transparency?

Why not have a campaign that says, “To show you how much we love your support over the years, we’re going to put an extra strip in every box of Biore strips.  Supplies are limited.”?  Or “Find the Golden Ticket at your local Target store (co-branding is awesome) to win a free spa weekend for you and a friend.”  Or even “Recycle your old Biore packaging, and we’ll give you $2 off your next purchase.”  They have a $2 coupon inside anyway, and a full color 4 fold brochure is surely loads of money and certainly not green.  I’d rather Biore saves both of us the $1.50 for the printing cuz they’re clearly passing the cost onto the consumer.

Point is: stop trying to trick us!

This is why my goal is to work for a company that treats marketing as the champion for the consumer voice within the office.  Marketing shouldn’t be about gimmicks and trickery.  It’s about having a great product/service and letting people know about it.

Shame on your, Biore.

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Brush Without Water

I saw the Colgate Wisp on a point of purchase display (by the checkout counter) at Walgreens.  It was $2.49 for a four-pack, which isn’t too expensive for an impulse purchase.

The Colgate Wisp is a tiny toothbrush you can use, while you’re out, without having to use water.

I love it.

  1. It’s portable. Each brush costs about $0.60 including tax.
  2. Sometimes, after a meal, it’s just better to do a quick brush versus chewing gum or sucking on a mint.
  3. The non-brush end has this flexible toothpick that’s so much better than any traditional toothpick or tooth floss.
  4. The “toothpaste” is basically one of those liquid mint things.  So nothing in this new product is “new.”  It’s just repackaged very nicely.
  5. The bristles, handle, and ends are pliable, comfortable to hold and use, and look pretty futuristic.

The one thing I don’t like about the Wisp is the packaging. The package I bought (look below) comes in a set of four.  I  don’t need to take four with me any time I go out.  In fact, if I’m going clubbing, my purse will likely be tiny.  It’s hard enough to pack a camera and my iphone.  I don’t have room in my purse to carry another package almost the size of a deck of cards.

Instead, the Wisp should be packaged separately, so I can take them out one at a time.

To be honest, I probably would buy this in the future.  I’m not planning on using it every time I go out, probably only the times when I eat something super garlicky or have a date.  So $2.49 every 3 months or so is a pretty good investment.

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Over-Sharing: It’s Better to Just Shut Up

Yes, that’s clearly an inappropriate status update, but the response may be even more so.  Managers should take HR issues seriously.  Broadcasting company issues online doesn’t just hurt the company’s brand, it hurts the manager’s reputation as well.

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