Denny Crane

There’s a neat marketing tactic involved in the promotion of the new season of “Boston Legal” which premieres tonight on ABC.

There have been banner ads popping up that look like typical law office advertising. The ads promote the firm – Crane, Poole, and Schmidt – with the text…”What’s Your Problem? Call 1-877-SUE-2-WIN”. The animated gif then flashes the promo details for Boston Legal.

Call the toll-free number. It’s entertaining…and not only is it enertaining…it’s viral…and it’s trackable.

BTW…does anyone else think that Boston Legal is David Kelly’s 2nd try at Ally McBeal? The characters seem similar…
brashness = Richard Fish = Alan Shore…
quirkiness = John Cage = Denny Crane…
Ken & Barbie = Billy & Georgia = Brad & Lori…
Tough woman = Nell = Schmitt (Candace Bergen)…
Tough assistant/girlfriend = Ling = Tara…
Sexy Secretary = Elaine (Jane Krakowski) = Catherine (Betty White)…well…maybe not…nevermind

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They just don’t get it

Move over Captain Morgan and Juicy Fruit, there’s another corporate blog disaster coming.

Chrysler has launched a blog called The Firehouse. However, you have to login and register before you can see it. I particularly like Points #4 and #11 in the TOS you have to agree to:

4-Blog administrators retain the right to ask the user to re-write a proposed submission to comply with the rules of the blog before being posted.

11-The FireHouse.biz is not intended as a forum for outside suggestions,
including but not limited to those which pertain to vehicle design, product
attributes, marketing or advertising, and no such material will be posted.

Actually I urge you to go read all 13 points and the legal disclaimers in the “agreement”.

It’ll be fun to see what kind of disaster this turns out to be. Perhaps Snoop should have given Iacocca some more advice on the golf course… “The blog-bizzle ain’t controlled by the man, Fo shizzle, I-ka-zizzle.”

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ALWAYS be in control of your ad placement

Here’s an image via Adrants. If you’re not going to be actively involved in placing your advertising, the billboard company will.

Childhood Obesity that the media has accused us of creating? Bada ba da da…..I’m lovin’ it.
Shotgun Concepts

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Lawyer Logos in Love

In addition to highlighting a great post I had (if I do say so myself) on Marketing By Committee, Tom Kane over at the Legal Marketing Blog has also pointed out a post I had back in June concerning bad logo work. The trouble pops up when businesses think a combination of PaintShop / Publisher/ WordArt combined with an inkjet makes them graphic designers.

There are lots of things people need to think about with logo development…

  • When you do hire it out…make sure the graphic designer actually knows what they’re doing. I see many businesses pay WAY too much for cookie-cutter designs from “logo design” companies that lurk in the classified sections in the back of business magazines.
  • Logos should pop out at the viewer, but not so much that it’s distracting.
  • Avoid whatever is the design-trend-of-the-moment..as it will make your logo look dated in just a few years.
  • Fax it. A fax transmission will be the toughest punishment any graphic will take. When you fax a logo and it comes through the other side still carrying your identity, it is designed well. Same goes for embroidery.
  • It should convey an unspoken message. Even with no text, someone should be able to look at your logo and be able to broadly describe what the business is about. (i.e. – traditional company, new tech company, etc)…BUT remember that….
  • Simple but bold is the best design. Get too busy and it won’t be effective. Many companies try to make their logo an advertisement. It’s not.
  • Avoid too many colors. 4 color process looks great until you have to pay for it in everything you print. The best logos are one or two colors (again, simple is best)
  • Use vectors. This will make enlargements/reductions much easier (and better looking)
  • Check the legal implications. Spending time/money on designing and printing a logo only to receive a cease and desist letter from someone who thinks your logo is a little too reminiscent of their logo is a headache and a disaster waiting to happen.
  • But the most important thing…and something that I rail and rant about daily is…..Logo does NOT equal Brand. If you think it does, you’ve already lost the battle.

There are several other considerations when developing a logo (too many to go into here). But this list seems to cover the most important to me. Any other thoughts?

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10 items or less – Cash only

Companies say they respect their customers’ intelligence. Here’s a quick example of what a lie that is…….

In any given store (department, grocery, etc) with a checkout line, there is usually a “10 items or less” line. We all know that sometimes people bring 11 (or more!) items into these lines. The cashier is better off to go ahead and check them out since it would demonstrate bad corporate karma to kick someone out of line unless they’re just blatantly coming through with a cart full of items. We (the customers) are breaking the rules…and the customer is always right. (actually, they’re not always right. Start believing that and watch your customer service improve.)

Here’s where the store thinks you’re an idiot.

Sometimes those “10 items or less” signs have a subtext that states “Cash Only”. Look at the register. There’s usually a credit/debit card reader with a PIN pad.

Why would we need that in a cash only line? Think about it.

Bad checkout experiences happen to everyone.

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Free Stuff

When I do a marketing keynote, I always give a list of resources for further study/information. Invariably, the list always include numerous items from Seth Godin. Seth is sharp. 99.999% of his stuff is right on the mark (that’s better than Ivory soap).

Seth has posted two free e-books about e-marketing that you can download.
Knock Knock deals with how to build a winning website.
Who’s There focuses on the new world of the blogosphere.

And just for fun…
Knock Knock…
Who’s There?
Control Freak…Now you say “Control Freak Who?”

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The Paradox of Choice

A few years ago, an Ethiopian doctor visited and observed in a healthcare facility where I did the marketing. After I picked him up at the airport in Nashville, I helped him get settled in the short-term apartment where he would stay for the next three months. We took him to K-Mart to pick up all the stuff he would need for his stay in the USA. I remember standing in housewares/linens and asking which kind of sheets he wanted. I looked at his face and saw utter confusion as he had become overwhelmed by too many choices. He said, in Ethiopia, when you wanted sheets…there were maybe two kinds to choose from….not the entire Martha Stewart collection. It was the same with everything we bought for him that afternoon: towels, plates, etc. We eventually just started to choose for him.

Barry Schwartz had a book last year called “The Paradox of Choice” that mainly dealt with too many choices in the supermarket. (1st line of book…”Scanning the shelves of my local supermarket recently, I found 85 different varieties and brands of crackers.) Think about how many different varieties and choices there are in a supermarket as the nefarious “brand extension” mentality of corporations takes over and R&D has to find a reason to exist. As the number of choices we are presented with increases, we don’t always have the time to look at all the information to make the best choice.

It eventually hurts your company and your brand. Why Variety Backfires is the focus of a new paper co-written by Harvard Business School professor John Gourville and Dilip Soman of the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management. They even give it a name…”overchoice”.

Check it out. It’s a good thing to ponder the next time you’re browsing the menu/book at The Cheesecake Factory.

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