Hot Marketing Tips

Guaranteed to be short, sweet and valuable, each Hot Marketing Tip will contain one morsel of practical marketing truth that you can apply immediately. Like all Marketing Accelerator™ products, you will find these insights create Velocity to Profit!

A Remarkable Thing Happened At That Chamber Luncheon

Do You Glow?

I was the first one in the room.

As the members started to trickle into the venue, many friendly faces came forward to tell me that they were looking forward to my presentation about Super Bowl commercials. Hot Marketing Tips subscribers know that I write annually on this content because there are many valuable lessons to learn from them. While I love speaking to groups of decision makers, I don’t get to do it as often as I would like.

Then something remarkable happened. One of those friendly faces said, “I look forward to this speech every year.”

A slip of the tongue, I thought. Maybe a bit of exaggeration. But it wasn’t five minutes later, a second friendly face said the same thing…“I look forward to this speech every year.”

Drew Dinkelacker with Michelle Moody, Publisher of West Chester – Liberty Lifestyle

Here’s the remarkable part. I haven’t spoken at this chamber luncheon on Super Bowl commercials in four years. I shared this experience with Michelle Moody, publisher of West Chester & Liberty Lifestyle, and she said it was “the glow.”

As Michelle and I spoke, we defined “the glow” as the ripple effect caused by all of your promotional connections in the marketplace. That ripple effect gave me a more frequent presence in people’s mind than reality.

Here is the actual timeline of reality:

  • Every year, since 2012, I’ve written about Super Bowl commercials via Hot Marketing Tips
  • Spoke in February 2014 at this chamber about Super Bowl commercials
  • Spoke again in February 2016 about the Power of 80-20, where we had a magical shoe moment that those in attendance won’t forget
  • Spoke in February 2018 about Super Bowl commercials… four years since the last Super Bowl speech

These intentional activities plus the hubbub that surrounds Super Bowl commercials all helped to form a glow around this year’s speech.

Here are the lessons for business owners and marketers…

  • Use multiple channels to deliver your message (email, blog and speaking) – the glow is greater than the sum of its parts!
  • Public speaking is a powerful and memory-making opportunity if you can do it well.

I shared a special moment at that speech in February, by announcing the launch of Marketing Accelerator University – an online, on-demand platform that teaches the principles that I’ve used with my private clients for years. At the chamber event, we also enrolled our first student!

Marketing Accelerator University launches March 15 with its debut course “Building Your Marketing Flywheel.” There is a very generous pre-launch promotion happening for everyone who enrolls before March 14. Check it out.

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Super Bowl 52 Commercial Review – Friday Edition

Drew’s Favorite Spot from Super Bowl 52

Hot Marketing Tips reviews Super Bowl commercials for new strategies, excellent examples of tactics and absolute failures so that business owners, decision makers and marketers can learn about what’s working now.

People ask me all the time, “Drew, which one was your favorite Super Bowl spot?” I’m always hesitant to say because “favorite spot” is very different from most strategic spot or most effective spot or the spot with the best CTA (read Monday’s Edition if you don’t know what CTA is).

But because you asked, I will tell you. My heads and tails winner for Drew’s Personal Favorite Spot is the Toyota “One Team” commercial.

It’s not because I think it’s the best strategy.  It’s not, but it is a good one.

It’s not because I think it is well executed…actually, it is well executed.

This is my favorite because:

  • It’s about unity. I believe that we have much more in common than what divides us.
  • It’s about faith. Spiritual matters are important. I like it when businesses respect that.
  • It’s about football. Been a rough year for the NFL but I still like it and the game didn’t disappoint.

Enjoy watching the extended version of this spot and consider that for all of our differences, we have lots more in common.

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Super Bowl 52 Commercial Review – Thursday Edition

Ram Truck Serves Up a Cream Horn

Hot Marketing Tips reviews Super Bowl commercials for new strategies, excellent examples of tactics and absolute failures so that business owners, decision makers and marketers can learn about what’s working now.

The cream horn is a delightful looking pastry that always catches my eye, but after biting into it, often leaves me disappointed. My expectation is for something rich and filling but it delivers an experience that is very airy and light-weight.

Each year, I give out a Cream Horn Award to the Super Bowl commercial that starts out great, but then lets me down in the end. This year’s award goes to Ram for the “Serve” spot.

Recorded 50 years ago, to the exact day of Super Bowl 52, we hear Rev. Martin Luther King give a rousing speech about the greatness of those who serve. The video shows professionals and everyday folks serving the people around them. The spot builds toward creating a national American conscience to serve each other, a truly awesome and worthy goal. And then comes the Ram truck through the fog with the message “Built To Serve.”

The product reveal should be an uplifting scene to the viewer, not a letdown. But when you have built the expectation with such a deep and important subject, and then use it to blatantly sell trucks…well, that’s disappointing.

To be fair, I have seen Ram execute this concept very effectively with the 2013 “God Made A Farmer” Super Bowl spot which I rated very highly. I wasn’t disappointed at the end when the tagline stated, “To the farmer in all of us.”

The 2013 spot ends with the focus on the farmer (the prospect). The 2018 spot ends with the focus on the truck (the product).

Lessons for Marketers

Know when to talk about the prospect and not the product.

What’s Next: Drew’s Favorite Spot

The annual review of Super Bowl Commercial insights from Drew Dinkelacker and is a five-part series that will be released the week following the big game. Check back daily.

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Super Bowl 52 Commercial Review – Wednesday Edition

The Big Disconnect – How Avocados and T-Rex’s Failed

Hot Marketing Tips reviews Super Bowl commercials for new strategies, excellent examples of tactics and absolute failures so that business owners, decision makers and marketers can learn about what’s working now.

Universal’s Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom spot is creepy scary from the outset. But that isn’t what bothered me about the spot.

Instead, it was the Big Disconnect. What do I mean by disconnect? Think of two extension cords that are plugged into each other and they get pulled apart. Disconnected. No flow from one to the other.

The last image of the Fallen Kingdom spot gives a strong call to action stating, “TRY THE ????? EFFECT ON FACEBOOK.”

How are you supposed to translate that dinosaur icon into text for a Facebook search?  First I tried Trex. Then I search on T-Rex and found a site called T-Rex Effect! But that wasn’t the site about the movie.

Then I search on Jurassic World and found three Facebook options under that category. Eventually, I found the correct Facebook page.

Lesson For Marketers

Don’t make your prospect jump through unnecessary hoops EVER!

  • Give clear directions
  • Limit your assumptions on what you think the prospect understands

Big Disconnect #2

Let me say it now…I love avocados and I enjoyed the Avocados from Mexico spot. But it also had a big disconnect. The point of the spot can be quoted from the script…”avocados taste great on lots of things,” not just tortilla chips. They only make a one-second visual reference to “lots of things” that avocados could taste great on. As an avocado-lover, I am always looking for new ways to use this luscious fruit. I am the target market.

The spot ends with the “Avocados From Mexico” jingle and this visual for just two seconds.

As a casual viewer, I would not have picked up on the text at the bottom of the graphic. It is only because I closely review these commercials that I saw #GuacWorld. Being the avocado-lover, I was curious and discovered that is an extensive site built for avocado-lovers like me filled “lots of things” like recipes, new ideas, how avocados are grown and fun social media engagement.

Lesson For Marketers

When you have your prospect’s attention, be clear about their next steps. Don’t bury it.

What’s Next: Ram Truck Serves Up a Cream Horn

The annual review of Super Bowl Commercial insights from Drew Dinkelacker and is a five-part series that will be released the week following the big game. Check back daily.

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Super Bowl 52 Commercial Review – Tuesday Edition

Collaboration + Celebrity = Blaze vs Ice

The Collaboration Award goes to Doritos and Mountain Dew.
The Best Use of Celebrity Award goes to Doritos and Mountain Dew.

The goal of collaboration is to make the sum greater than the total of its parts.

Does the juxtaposition of these two spots make each of their overall messages stronger?

YES, I think it does.

Plus, the use of four celebrities is effective in delivering the collaborative message of heat and coolness. Here’s why:

  • Mountain Dew’s ICE is the perfect foil to Doritos BLAZE chips.
  • Peter Dinklage’s on fire presentation is equaled by Morgan Freeman’s natural coolness.
  • Dinklage is short of stature and Freeman is tall and lanky.
  • Dinklage’s connection through Game of Thrones has a present-day hipness to it and Morgan Freeman…well, I said it before, has longevity with natural coolness.
  • Busta Rhymes and Missy Elliott provide the vocals. I am not familiar with either of these two performers and not a fan of hip-hop, but was thoroughly engaged by this spot.

Use of celebrity at the local market level is limited because there are so few celebrities that are just local. The larger the celebrity footprint, the more likely they won’t provide the ROI for a business serving only a local market.

However, collaboration at the local level is something that most any business can engage in. Here are the steps to finding a collaborative partner:

  1. Consider your primary target market. What types of businesses serve your market’s needs, but don’t overlap with your services? For example, a funeral home and an estate attorney – same market, different services.
  2. Does the collaborative partner bring something to the table that your business values such as a database of clients/prospects, an advertising tactic that you can collaborate with (like Doritos/Mountain Dew) or a seminar you can host or speak at?
  3. Keep expectations minimal. Begin with a one-time, trial project and if things go well, it may be “the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”

The annual review of Super Bowl Commercial insights from Drew Dinkelacker and is a five-part series that will be released the week following the big game. Check back daily.

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Super Bowl 52 Commercial Review – Monday Edition

What can marketers leverage from the 2018 crop of big game commercials?

Hot Marketing Tips reviews Super Bowl commercials for new strategies, excellent examples of tactics and absolute failures so that business owners, decision makers and marketers can learn about what’s working now.

Crystal Clear Message Award

1. Crystal Clear Message

Value Proposition: A statement which clearly identifies benefits consumers get when buying a particular product or service. It should convince consumers that this product or service is better than others on the market.
Sprint’s core promotional message is “Stop paying twice as much for a 1% difference.” This is their value proposition. It is simple to understand, positions them well in a highly competitive market and is valued by the prospect.

Is your company’s value proposition:

  • Simple to understand?
  • Able to position your business well?
  • Valued by the prospect?

Creating a simple message is difficult. Having comparison data can help simplify the process. In this case, “…paying twice as much for a 1% difference” is an easily understood statement.

Call to Action: A communication device designed to prompt an immediate response or encourage an immediate sale.
By saying “Stop…” at the beginning of the value proposition, also makes this a strong Call To Action statement (CTA). In general, prospects are sheep…they want to be led. Be sure to tell them what to do next.


2. Leverage Emotion

I never thought of that.” Seems like an innocent enough comment that any one of us could make…and that is the power of it. The abuse heaped on the doctor by the robots he created is sophomoric, yet potent because it elicits an emotional response.  You don’t want to be doing something stupid like “paying twice as much for a 1% difference.” This robotic-level of pushback simply re-enforces the power of the value proposition. Even these teenager-like robots understand the value proposition.

What’s Next: Collaboration Award and Best Use of Celebrity Award

The annual review of Super Bowl Commercial insights from Drew Dinkelacker and is a five-part series that will be released the week following the big game. Check back daily.

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Are You Ready for Some Football (Commercials)?

Super Bowl 52 is Fast Approaching

Super Bowl 52 is fast approaching. It will be a battle of titans that has required years of preparation, hardship and discipline. Of course, I am talking about the Super Bowl Commercials that will air on February 3 from 6:30 to 10 pm. I’ve heard rumors that there is some football game being played between the commercials for entertainment.

This event is a massive laboratory of trending tactics, lessons to be learned and a tactical plan on how to execute. A 30-second commercial costs over $5,000,000 dollars. But you don’t need anywhere near that kind of budget to gain business wisdom from this marketing incubator of ideas.

The week after the game, I’ll be sharing insights about the commercials and how to leverage them in your business via Hot Marketing Tips. Keep your eyes tuned to your email inbox for a daily email that week.

How I Watch Super Bowl Commercials

Many people ask me which spot was my favorite. As a voting panelist on USA Today’s AdMeter Rating of Superbowl Commercials, I take my vote seriously. This is not a popularity contest…Afterall, these companies are spending $5M on just 30 seconds. They better be going after something more tangible than popularity.

Here are my 4 Rules for Watching Super Bowl Commercials:

  1. After watching the complete commercial break, ask yourself, “Which spot was most memorable? Why?”
  2. Did any spot silence the party crowd and attract everyone’s attention? If so, that’s a good sign. Or did the reverse happen and the spot got the attention but didn’t hold on to it or, worse, no one watched, no one cared?
  3. Did any spot change my opinion (for better or worse) about the brand?
  4. Were there any spots that I simply didn’t get? If I don’t understand the purpose of the spot then chances are I wasn’t the target market (50+, male, Caucasian, professional). Ask someone around you of a different generation if they got the spot.

My Game Prediction:

I will be rooting for the AFC Champion

New England Patriots to beat the Philadelphia Eagles 24-17.

PS. Super Bowl Party Snack

We often take pineapple. It’s sweet but not over the top sugary. Kids love it. It’s a nice balance to all of the fat and salt appetizers. It always gets completely eaten. We never go home with any.

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Under Achievement @ Super Bowl LI

What Were They Thinking?

Some Constructive Criticism

I hesitate a little bit when critiquing the best work of my colleagues, but sometimes I just have to ask myself, “What were they thinking?”

GoDaddy – Internet

The first words on this spot are, “Hi. I’m the internet,” and they go by really fast. If you miss these words, then this spot makes absolutely no sense. I had to play it twice just to confirm the words. If you think the market is paying close attention to your message, then it will cost you because they are not! The old marketing mantra still applies…tell them what you are going to tell them, then tell them, then tell them what you told them.

Squarespace – John Malkovich

I find John Malkovich to be an intriguing and memorable character in any role he plays. He is a great choice for Squarespace. In this spot, the dot com for his name is already taken which leads to great frustration. The call to action is to “Get Your Name Before Its Gone.” That sounds great, but GoDaddy pushed this message hard 10 years ago in 2007’s Superbowl with “I Own You.” Squarespace seems really late to the party for a company that positions itself as very hip and advanced.

KFC Gold – Colonel vs Colonel

I get that the new honey mustard chicken is golden, but frankly don’t get the rest of this spot. I’ve asked a few people of a different generation and gender, and they didn’t get it either. I’m sticking with Extra Crispy.

The Saga of the Cream Horn

creamhornWhenever I see a cream horn I always think, “Yum, that looks really good.” But when I bite into one, I am consistently left wanting…it’s too sweet, it’s stale, has lost its crunch, etc. My experience is that no cream horn has ever met my built-up expectation. And so it goes with certain Super Bowl commercials. The build up is AWESOME, and then they reveal the product and you go, “Meh”…and that is the cream horn effect.

The 2017 Cream Horn Award Goes To…


This spot starts with an awesome visual effect using live talking, celebrity yearbook images encouraging you to follow your dreams. It is inspirational, serious and funny all at the same time. A wonderful build up about your life’s dreams that are worthy of spending a lifetime chasing…and the payoff is that you should chase your dreams in a Honda CRV. Really? They don’t even give a reason why a Honda CRV will help you chase your dream. This spot made me want to go buy a cream horn. It would have been more satisfying. What were they thinking?

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Excellence @ Super Bowl LI

When Soundtracks Aren’t Important

Judging Criteria

I watch Super Bowl spots at a party with 10-20 people in the room at any one time. Actually, I’m watching their reaction to the spots more than the TV. Often, the people at the party are laughing, telling jokes or moaning about the last penalty on their team. This is the noisy world that the Super Bowl spot must perform. This environment is also like the marketplace where there is even more noise and distraction.

Excellence in Performance

Because of the noisy party, I give extra strategy points to commercials that work well even if you never hear their soundtrack. These spots can rely on telling their story visually and still be effective.

Watch these spots with the sound turned off and see if their message comes through to you. Then listen again with the sound up.

Mr. Clean

Ford Innovation

Nintendo Switch

Audi – This spot tells a decidedly different story without the voice-over than with it

Whether a TV spot or a video on your website, turn the sound down to see what your distracted prospect is likely to observe. Business owners would do well the duplicate this strategy. This includes the story your website tells if I don’t read anything but the largest of print on your site.

Next Edition of Hot Marketing Tips: I get out the sledgehammer and ask,
“What were they thinking?”

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Celebrity in Super Bowl LI

It’s a Popularity Contest

Popularity Contest

The use of celebrity is usually some type of popularity contest. Referencing the USA Today Admeter results, celebrities were involved in 50% of the Top 12 most popular Super Bowl spots.

#1 Kia – Hero’s Journey with Melissa McCarthy

This spot has great alignment between the celebrity, entertainment value and message. It builds to a fun crescendo and then delivers a strong payoff culminating in the statement, “It’s hard to be an eco-warrior but it is easy to drive like one!” Note that McCarthy is not known for any strong environmental stance. In this instance, she brought the celebrity and entertainment value, the spot told the eco-warrior story.

#2 Honda – Yearbook with…

Tina Fey, Robert Redford, Amy Adams, Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Steve Carell, Missy Elliot, Stan Lee, Jimmy Kimmel, and Viola Davis

This spot used a very cool yearbook effect to showcase (and identify) these celebrities as they talk about chasing their dreams. Very inspirational as the storyline builds and you have no idea what the product is...I’ll share more about this spot in an upcoming edition of Hot Marketing Tips as it is my winner of the Cream Horn Award for 2017.

#5 Tide – #BradshawStain with…

Terry Bradshaw, Jeffrey Tambor, Curt Menefee, Gronk

The Super Bowl audience obviously found Bradshaw’s journey to remove the stain from his white shirt quite entertaining. And it is, but I found it weak when considering any kind of “point of difference” message. Isn’t removing stains what detergent is supposed to do? Business owners would be wise to make sure any entertaining message highlights your uniqueness, not a common denominator.

#7 Buick – Pee Wee Football with…

Cam Newton and Miranda Kerr

As a pee wee football player suddenly turns into Cam Newton, the mini-players are stunned and awed by Newton. Unfortunately, I think Buick got the same result. This spot is much more memorable for Newton pushing away 10-year-old tacklers than it is for the new Buick brand. Twitter response was immediate, fairly humorous and unforgiving…




One of the dangers of using celebrities to front your brand is that they can also outshine your brand, too.

#11 Mercedes AMG – Easy Driver with Peter Fonda

Best Targeting of a Niche Audience

I admit it. I’m over 50. OK, closer to 60. And I am the target audience for this Mercedes commercial. Anyone younger than me will not connect aging motorcyclists, Steppenwolf’s Born to be Wild with Route 66, 45’s, Bic lighters, Easy Rider (a movie), Peter Fonda and peace signs. It harkens back to a time of rebellion and coolness…and Peter Fonda exudes coolness and lays it all over the Mercedes AMG Roadster. I want one. All done in just 30 seconds. Impressive.

#12 Bai – Jentlemen with…

Christopher Walken, Justin Timberlake

It is a simple formula. Christopher Walken garners most people’s attention. He says bizarre things like repeating NSYNC lyrics and thereby teaching the American viewer the correct pronunciation of Bai. Justin Timberlake says nothing but adds the cool factor. Business owners should realize that “cool factor” is a very expensive investment with celebrities. Not likely duplicated in the small market.

Lesson for Business Owners

Find a local or regional celebrity favorite. The bigger their footprint, the more they cost. Many local celebrities (especially athletes) have non-profits. Collaborate to create a win-win-win between the celeb, their non-profit and your business. An excellent example of this strategy occurred between SonLight Power and Giovanni Bernard (a Cincinnati Bengal) in Haiti.

Double Duty

Which celebrity is featured in spots from two different brands?
That would be Rob Gronkowski of the Patriots who made cameo appearances in the Tide Spot offering his shirt to Terry Bradshaw and the T-Mobile spot with Justin Bieber where Gronk was the caveman.

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