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!

Nike+Kaepernick: Suicidal or Brilliant?

The answer lies with this question:

Is this decision an OPPORTUNISTIC PR EFFORT or is it a reflection of a NIKE CORE VALUE?

Nike has a history of modest engagement on social issues including encouraging female participation in sports in the 90’s and more recently launching a sports hajib for female Muslim athletes. The step of engaging Kaepernick wades into an existing national controversy instead of poking at the edges of a social issue. I believe that may be a first for Nike.


If Nike leadership approved this campaign simply on the basis of opportunism, then it was a very high risk venture. Part of the risk comes from the variability on how this plays out with the customer base and in the media. Stock dropped immediately. Social media was outraged. Broadcast media coverage was neutral to positive. Time will tell.


Understanding your company’s core values is critically important for decisions like this.

One of the best definitions I’ve seen for a core value is this:

A CORE VALUE is something that you are WILLING to be PUNISHED over.

Core values are core. They don’t change. They are directional.

Core values set the mark on what is in bounds and what’s out of bounds.

The punishment of Nike was immediate.

Leadership had to have known that they would get that kind of response at least initially.

Leadership Lesson For Your Company

  • Are any of your core values specific enough that they actually reflect a stand for something?
  • Are you willing to be punished for one of your core values?
  • How can being more specific in defining your core values SEPARATE you from your COMPETITION?
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Death Wish Coffee Goes Galactic

Small or Big Decisions – Which have the most impact?

Most of you know that every year I study Super Bowl commercials – for one thing, it’s fun. But most importantly, there are always significant lessons to be learned for business owners. What worked? What failed? How can business owners leverage lessons from the Super Bowl (commercials)?

Here is one lesson from a past Super Bowl commercial that defies gravity….literally. Perhaps you remember in 2016, a unique Super Bowl commercial by the then-unheard-of Death Wish Coffee that made a big impression? Read my take on it from 2016

You see, Death Wish Coffee was just a local roaster with big plans…but they certainly never had plans to go into outer space. After its blast off to coffee stardom, guess where Death Wish Coffee is now? Yep, the International Space Station.

How did a small coffee company launch into this type of success? The then-four-year-old business with a small cult following entered the Intuit QuickBooks Small Business Big Game contest and shot past the other 15,000 entrants to win a Super Bowl commercial.

A Small Decision

I am sure that when someone at Death Wish said hey let’s enter this contest, that it was a “Yeah, sure, go ahead and try it” kind of decision and not a “the future of our company will be dependent on us winning this contest” decision. But, the video entries were voted on by the public and a multi-million dollar commercial spot – free for Death Wish Coffee – introduced the powerful brew to 167 million people – in a pretty fantastic 30-second spot.

Before the Super Bowl commercial, resting count of visitors on Death Wish’s website was 500.  After the commercial aired, that number soared to 147,000 with the vast majority connecting via mobile devices creating a 400% spike in sales over the next several days.

Big Impact

Death Wish Coffee’s crazy ride continues! They counted down to lift off in June, when the “world’s strongest coffee” made its journey in the Dragon capsule aboard the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket to the International Space Station. So the world’s strongest coffee is now the strongest coffee in the…universe? Why, yes…yes, it is!

Death Wish worked alongside NASA Food Labs to create a freeze-dried blend of the super caffeinated goodness, and NASA special packaged it for the astronauts aboard the Space Station.

Wow – talk about a cosmic success story!

Lessons for Business Owners

Looking back on the business decisions you’ve made, which ones have the greatest impact…the BIG ones or the myriad of little ones?

In my experience, it is the little decisions that were critical to setting up the big decisions. The decision to “go to an optional meeting” where a valuable new contact is made…the decision to “stay focused on your ONE thing” and get it done…the decision to “be flexible and see what doors are opened” through this or that marketing strategy…the decision to “see what the market responds to” and embrace it even though it may not be what we planned.

Be open minded and be flexible. Someone at Death Wish Coffee certainly was in 2016 when the decision was made to enter Intuit Quickbooks’ contest. What may have been a lark decision at first for Death Wish set them up for their now-big decisions and has Death Wish truly shooting for the stars.

Apply for the Marketing Accelerator Round Table

There’s a hard deadline fast approaching to apply to be a member of my newest Round Table group for marketing leaders. This Round Table teaches marketing decision-makers how to stop overspending, to avoid repeating past mistakes, and to stop second guessing yourself.


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Where can YOU get some PR?

To marketers, PR means Public Relations.
For non-marketers, PR means Puerto Rico.

In April, I got some great PR as a guest on American Dreamers Talk Radio on 55KRC & iHeartRadio. As usual, we talked about one of my favorite topics…Super Bowl commercials. But at the end of the podcast, I share the story that I tell every budding entrepreneur who is trying to decide whether to go in business for themselves or not.

It is the story of “The Corral.”  You can listen to the podcast here. It starts at 39:50.

American Dreamers Talk Radio is a talk radio show dedicated to helping small businesses and entrepreneurs succeed. Every week they meet with interesting guests who have a story to tell. Their trials and tribulations can help anyone struggling to start or run a business.

American Dreamers Talk Radio is always on the lookout to interview interesting business people – you can reach out to them via their “Be A Guest” form.

If you take time to do a little bit of research, opportunities abound for savvy business owners looking for a little PR – seek occasions where you can speak or sit on a panel or lead a breakout session. Chambers, conferences and trade shows are a good place to start. Look for chances to be interviewed like I was!

Good news!

The Marketing Accelerator Round Table is accepting applications now for the upcoming session that begins in September!  I lead this exclusively marketing-focused Round Table that meets just six times over the next year. These are power packed sessions with a group of other marketing leaders.  There are many benefits to the Marketing Accelerator Round Table:

  • Stop second-guessing yourself
  • Preview a campaign before rolling it out to your own company’s leadership
  • Learn from other’s failed marketing attempts

If joining a marketing-focused round table intrigues you, then invest two minutes in yourself to get the details and value of this experience…Check it out!

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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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