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!
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
Whenever 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?
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.
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?”
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.
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.
Previous Super Bowls were used as a platform to raise awareness or influence thinking of the viewers. As the father of two daughters, most memorable to me was P&G’s Always 2015 offering of “Like a Girl” which has been highly effective at changing our lexicon.
This year, selected brands chose to use their “$5M for 30 seconds” investment on more controversial issues such as immigration and gender equality. These spots didn’t score as well during the live broadcast…after all, who wants to discuss a serious issue during the fantasy experience of the Super Bowl with a beer in one hand and a wing in the other? However, on social media, these issue-driven spots zoomed to the top of trending topics, views and shares.
The original spot submitted to air was rejected as it was deemed too controversial as it featured a border wall. 84 Lumber revised the storytelling into two separate spots. Part 1 was for Super Bowl broadcast and Part 2 for viewing online afterwards. Both spots feel like a movie. No voice-over. Stunning visuals tell the story of a mom and daughter on a journey from somewhere south of the border heading north to America. This spot is an extension of 84 Lumber’s employee recruitment campaign.
84 Lumber Part 1
84 Lumber Part 2
Why the Controversy?
The 84 Lumber spot contained messages designed to intentionally trigger emotions:
Put a face on the immigration issue (mom and daughter)
Displayed the desire, sacrifice and dangers along the journey
At the same time, it subtly delivered messages that were likely not intentional and may have also triggered emotions in other viewers:
Glorified activity that is against US law
Undermined the value of citizenship (either Mexico or US)
Social Media Winner
On social media, the positives far outweighed the negatives. The Journey84 website was set up to handle 150,000 requests per minute, but received 300,000 requests in the first minutes after the commercial’s airing. It took 10 minutes to resolve the situation. Social media ads were used to drive viewers to watch the video on YouTube. Sixty minutes later, 84 Lumber’s site had received 6 million requests.
Brandwatch, a social analytics firm, reported 99,000 mentions of 84 Lumber across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram during the game. That is a championship performance but at what cost? Financially, the 90-second video required $15M to air and likely cost another $3 million to produce.
How Will 84 Lumber Judge Success?
What is the value of 99,000 social media mentions? Not sure, but I can estimate that each of those mentions cost $181 if you do the math (total investment/# of mentions).
Controversy Lesson for Business Owners
Controversy creates attention. Businesses desire more attention. Controversy can have a negative price. Bigger businesses have deeper wells of prospects to handle the cost of controversy. Smaller businesses operate from shallower prospect wells and must find the right issue to attract their best customer before wading into controversy. You will find your loudest proponents and opposition on social media.
Drew’s Soap Box – You’ve Been Warned
Audi – Daughter – #DriveProgress
Drew drawing up a play for front yard football with his girls.
I’ve raised two daughters.
Coached them in soccer.
We played front yard football where the “Girls rule and the boys drool.”
So this Audi spot featuring a young girl racing against the boys hit home. My girls have been beating up on the boys for years. The fatherly voice over speaks to the gender equality issue and the “worth” of a woman compared to a man. I completely support equal pay for equal work. However, as a political issue, I’ve found gender equality a tricky topic, as well as this Audi spot.
For example, I am conflicted with the spot’s message about the world placing a value on them. I’ve taught my girls to not let the world determine your value. My wife and I have poured into them that they are intrinsically valuable because they are a creation from God.
Secondly, I’ve found that the Gender Equality issue seems to de-value the role of motherhood. My MBA educated wife experienced this firsthand from other career women while choosing to raise children as a fulltime mom.
Lesson for Business Owners
This internal conflict of support and opposition to the same political issue is what makes these issues risky for businesses to leverage.
Next installment of Hot Marketing Tips features the Best Use of Celebrity
Super Bowl Trivia: What celebrity is featured in spots from two different advertisers? Find out in the next edition!
Super Bowl commercials can provide business owners valuable insights. And though you don’t have $5,000,000 to spend on 30 seconds or even advertise on TV, this year’s crop of spots has plenty of spectacular do’s and don’ts to copy or avoid.
Brilliant Strategy – Mr. Clean
Mr. Clean – Cleaner of Your Dreams claims my vote for Brilliant Strategy because in 30 short
seconds this spot transitions men’s thinking that cleaning for their wives is something sexy…and they did it without being disrespectful. This spot connects with both men and women in the audience simultaneously and doesn’t even need a soundtrack. It effectively leverages emotional triggers of the masses in the viewing audience…every woman wants help cleaning their home and every man wants…well, you know.
Best First Timer – Bai Bai
Bai Brands (pronounced BYE in case you didn’t see the spot yet) created a memorable spot with Christopher Walken and Justin Timberlake using the NSYNC song Bye, Bye, Bye, or in this case Bai, Bai, Bai. Simple. Memorable. Sets the platform for introducing the product…5 Calories, No Artificial Sweeteners and Tastes Amazing. Well done, Bai. Keep it simple.
Most Inspirational – NFL-Inside These Lines
What appears to be a self-aggrandizing story about football, finishes with a message about America that doesn’t carry any political baggage. This spot recognizes that uniting the country is bigger than its own product (NFL). Does your business participate in something bigger than you? Tell that story.
Best ROI – Amazon Echo
I normally caution clients from trying to communicate too many messages in a single communication. The rule is an ad can do one thing well, two things average or three things poorly. Yet due to excellent alignment and simple story telling, this spot effectively promotes the Amazon Echo device, Amazon’s Alexa, Prime Air drone delivery. It’s really three, 10-second spots back to back that build on one another. It’s all about alignment. Do your messages to the market align well with your website and product?
Biggest Laugh – Skittles
At the party I attended, this Skittles spot clearly got the loudest laugh of the evening. It’s cute. Gets the point across. Has a few surprises. This humor is completely visual and requires no narration, music or sound effect. In my decades of experience, I’ve found humor to be quite a challenge in advertising. If you go down the funny bone road, keep it visual, simple and test it thoroughly before releasing it.
Tomorrow I’ll review the role of politics in Super Bowl LI commercials.
It’s not that they cost $5M for 30 seconds. It’s the effort, creativeness and strategy that must go into the 30 seconds to make sure there is a positive ROI for the $5M investment that so intrigues me. The commercials often set the standard for trends we will see in advertising over the next 12 months. And the ripple effects go well beyond broadcast TV.
Here’s what you need to know about this year’s commercials so you can be a Super Bowl sage during your Big Game party…
This year’s first time advertisers include:
Top Games USA – Video game publisher
Bai Brands – A beverage company
84 Lumber – Provider of building supplies, materials and construction needs.
Mr. Clean – Official cleaner of Superbowl LI
Febreze – An odor elimination product
GNC – Retailer of health and nutrition products
Snickers – Will broadcast the first “live” Super Bowl commercial featuring Adam Driver (Star Wars: The Force Awakens).
Tostitos – Has developed a Tostitos bag that operates like a basic breathalyzer – when triggered, the bag will display a code for a free Uber ride home.
Intel 360 Replay Technology – Demonstrated by Tom Brady brushing his teeth and other activities of daily living.
Hyundai – Will start filming their commercial during the game to show “off the field” moments. It will air as soon as the game is over.
84 Lumber’s ad to recruit workers was rejected when some of the imagery included building a wall. The current political climate has brands very sensitive about offending any particular groups.
40 Year Canadian Ban Lifted – While we Americans get to enjoy the Big Game and these awesome commercials, for the last 40 years, all the major commercial breaks have been substituted with Canadian commercials for our friends of the north’s viewing pleasure. Not this year. The Canadians get a full dose of America during the game and the breaks. There has been some push back to lifting the ban, likely from a few of the northern advertisers.
4 Rules To Become a SB Commercial Guru (like me!)
After watching the complete commercial break, ask yourself, “Which spot was most memorable?” Why?
Observe if any spot silenced the party crowd and attracted everyone’s attention? Or did the reverse happen? Why?
Did any spot change your opinion (for better or worse) about the brand?
Were there any spots that you simply didn’t get? Ask someone of a different gender or generation to explain.
Next week you will see my round up of commentary about the Big Game winners and losers.
Appetizer Suggestion: Pineapple offers a refreshing alternative to the salty, meat and cheese appetizers often served at parties. We never come home with any leftovers.
How to Leverage its Hidden Power for Your Business
Post-election there has been a lot of commentary about “Fake News.” A business owner would be wise to understand the power behind fake news and be able to leverage it…it meaning the power, not fake news.
Fake News Ain’t New
I believe that the Trojans got suckered by a gift horse. Fake news wasn’t even new back then.
Why an Uptick Now?
Certainly the 2016 presidential election had its share of fake news stories, but the truly remarkable aspect is that the #1 provider of news information to the public today is a privately held company that expresses no expertise in journalism and broadcasts stories from millions with no fact checking…it’s Facebook, where people are free to say, post or share whatever they want with few limits. The problem is not so much that people post fake news. The real problem is that readers of the fake news take it as fact and then willingly share the fake news without any effort at fact checking.
Why Do People Believe Fake News?
Because they want to believe it. It fits their world view, belief system or opinions. Often, people have already determined a conclusion on what one wants or hopes to be true. Therefore, they search for evidence to support that conclusion.
Why is Fake News Powerful?
Because it connects with the reader at the emotional level. This is its hidden power. It confirms their beliefs and opinions regardless of the truth.
Emotional Connections are Powerful
I fight for my clients against competitive businesses that use misleading messages. You don’t have to put out fake news to create an emotional connection with your prospect; however. it does take work, expertise and process to create an ethical message that connects emotionally and is compelling to the prospect. Don’t forget, 80% of buying decisions have an emotional component. It doesn’t matter the price point. We are humans, not Vulcans. Emotions drive us.
How Powerful is your Message?
Does your marketing message leverage the hidden power of emotion? If not, then it is weak. You’re likely losing out on leads and probably lost sales due to this weakness. I’ve developed a POWER MESSAGE Course – a deep-dive, half-day intensive experience designed to change the way you think about marketing and create your new compelling marketing message, tagline or Unique Selling Proposition.
Taught by Drew Dinkelacker
I will lead this small group intensive which is limited to 8 non-competitive businesses. Registration fee is $599. Join this small band of business owners and marketers on February 28th for this powerful experience. More info and registration here.
My daughter is 20 and will be voting in her first presidential election. Discussing politics around the dinner table has been commonplace for most of her life and now she gets to put her vote into practice.
Drew Dinkelacker and daughter Morgan
People tell me that I have the ability to simplify marketing so that it is understandable and actionable. Much too much has been said about the current candidates…specifically about why to not vote for them. I explained my perspective about voting to Morgan and thought it would be valuable to share with the subscribers of Hot Marketing Tips. You are an intelligent and thoughtful group of people…many of you I know personally and some know my daughter.
I shared with Morgan that voting…
Is a Privilege
Voting is a privilege of national citizenship that is enjoyed by only 44% of the global population. The majority of the world’s population gets no vote in how their government is run. You do.
150 years ago, you would not get to vote as a woman or a 20 year old. Today, in America, citizens who are 18 years of age or older, male or female, or any race get to vote. It didn’t start out that way but adapted by the demands of the people.
Elects a Human
The candidates are not super heroes nor evil villains. Don’t think of them that way. They are flawed humans just like you and me. The really good ones probably aren’t that good. The really bad ones, probably aren’t that bad.
Requires a Filter
The flawed concept of “What are you going to do for me” leads to flowery campaign promises that more often than not are simply fantasy. Don’t believe them. Politicians do this for the 5-second snippet that will get reported in the news cycle to promote themselves. Remember, your dad is a marketing guy. I know how this works.
Is Not a Bet
Many adults simply want to vote for the eventual winner so they don’t feel that they are on the losing side. If this is all you care about with your vote, then you will be easily swayed by the polls which are premature. The only poll that counts is the one taken on Election Day that includes your vote.
Counts, Especially in Ohio
All votes count. As an Ohioan, your vote really counts. Since 1964 with the election of Lyndon Johnson, the road to the White House has run through Ohio. In the last 13 presidential elections, as Ohio goes, so goes the president.
Is Your Voice
Each election is your opportunity to have your voice heard. While you may know very little about politics as a 20 years old, your voice and your vote count when it comes to electing one of the most powerful leaders in the world. Put thought, time and prayer into your vote.
No matter who you cast your vote for in 2016, by recognizing the responsibility of voting, taking actions to be an informed voter and actually voting, you are supporting the best candidate in the race which is Lady Liberty…she is recognized around the world as a universal symbol of freedom and democracy.
When you consider the opportunity that we have today and that I’ve done nothing to earn it, I’m humbled to be an American.
How to Lead Customers in Delivering Compelling Testimonials
Testimonials can be positive or negative. Powerful testimonials must be planned and well executed. To get these powerful testimonials, you must lead the customer through the testimonial process.
A recent and dynamic example is the VP Debate. Tim Kaine was well prepared in leading Mike Pence down the road to create a compelling negative message about Donald Trump. This was so well executed, that I believe that from the Democrats’ perspective, the purpose of the VP Debate was to create this video:
In just 48 hours after the debate, this well-produced video hit the Internet. I’m fairly confident that this spot was on a story board well before the debate. Support video was collected, a script written, and Kaine showed up with a list of questions inquiring of Pence to defend Trump’s statements. The only thing left to procure were Mike Pence’s head-nodding reactions and debate denials. As soon as the debate ended, the editing of the spot began.
Business owners can procure compelling testimonials with similar advanced planning.
Identify the areas of your strengths or your competition’s weak points.
Identify which prospects are going be willing to respond to these points. Customers either complain about your competition or tell you what they love about you. You know where your customers stand.
Request their specific feedback – Ask your selected customers to make a specific statement about a strength or weakness they are familiar with. This avoids the dreaded “They’re great!” testimonial that is worthless to a new prospect.
Capture their feedback – You could ask for an email response or one printed on letterhead, depending on what your market values.
Lead them – Say to your customers “Based on our previous conversations, I’m looking for a testimonial that addresses the speedy response of our customer service team. I don’t want to put words in your mouth, but based on what you shared with me previously, I am thinking something like ‘Normal industry response times are 48 to 72 hours. I was stunned with the 12 hour response from ABC Company. They said they were the fastest. And that was my experience!‘ Do you think you could take a few moments and write us a testimonial about customer service?”
In my experience 60% of the time, your customer will say, “That sounds great. Can I use what you just said?”
And now have a customized, authentic testimonial that is compelling toward your strength or your competition’s weakness. Do your homework, get prepared to ask for specific testimonials…they rarely happen by accident.
A Movement Spawned by Vision, Social Media & Broadway
In April of 2016, the US Treasury Department announced that it will fast track the re-design of the $20 bill and feature abolitionist Harriett Tubman bumping Andrew Jackson. How did this change come about and what can a business owner learn from it?
The Moment of Inspiration 2012 – While waiting to pay for her coffee, the founder of the Women on $20’s (W20) movement notices something is missing in her wallet. She resolves to find a way to get a woman’s portrait on paper money to celebrate the centennial of women’s suffrage rights in 2020.
Building a Strategy Feb 2014 – With just a team of three and no funding, a voting platform is developed, branding is finalized, compelling statements are written and a website begins to take shape.
PR Impact #1 – Obama Jul 2014 – President Obama reacts to a letter from a young girl who wants more women on our currency. He thinks it’s a “pretty good idea.” His comment adds credibility to the basic concept of W20.
Whose Face is Featured? Aug-Dec 2014 – W20’s research identifies 15 American females with historical impact as potential candidates.
Cast Your Vote Mar-Apr 2015 – Leveraging social media and public relations, a five-week primary is held to narrow the candidates from 15 to 4. Top 4 vote-getters: Harriet Tubman, Eleanor Roosevelt, Rosa Parks and Wilma Mankiller. (Who is Wilma Mankiller?) Another five-week primary with 360,000 votes cast reveals that Tubman edges out Roosevelt as the winner.
The Final Result May 2015 – A petition from W20 is officially submitted to the White House and Treasury Department requesting that Harriet Tubman be placed on the $20 bill. Credibility was added to the petition with these statistics:
600,000 voters and 1 million votes cast
2 million website sessions and 9 million website page views
66.7% of website visitors were female
Over 24,000 Facebook “likes”
Note: Ohio was in the top 10 states with the most visitors
Treasury Announces Different Change Jun 2015 – Treasury announces that a woman will be featured on the $10 bill replacing Alexander Hamilton. While pleased with the announcement overall, W20 is dissatisfied with placement on the $10 because for several reasons:
The $20 is much more widely circulated than the $10
The alignment of celebrating the centennial of women’s suffrage rights on the $20 in 2020
Replacement of Andrew Jackson (slave owner) on the $20 with Harriet Tubman (abolitionist) made a strong statement
PR Impact #2 – Broadway Intervenes Sep-Dec 2015 – The Broadway musical “Hamilton” becomes a mega-hit and raises awareness and respect for Alexander Hamilton’s story and subsequently demand to keep him on the $10.
More PR Pressure Mar 2016 – W20 takes to the media with op-eds in the New York Times, Time Magazine, CNN and Univision pressing for simultaneous re-design of the $10 and the $20. The release of #NotWillingToWait continues the pressure via social media.
Movement Realizes Result Apr 2016 – Treasury Department announces design changes to the $20, $10 and $5 bills including Harriet Tubman as well as referencing the Suffrage and Civil Rights Movements.
Takeaways for Business Owners
Every movement begins with an inspiration. Have you had a “what if” moment.Build your tribe. You won’t get anywhere by yourself. Even Jesus had 12 disciples.
Build your tribe. You won’t get anywhere by yourself. Even Jesus had 12 disciples.Prepare for
Prepare for opportunity. W20 laid the ground work to take advantage of the influence of President Obama’s comments and Hamilton, the musical’s success.
Be persistent. When Treasury announced the re-design of the $10, W20 continued to push for Tubman on the $20.
Movements That Moved Me I personally participate in the following list of movements:
GoCaroling.com – Do something meaningful this Christmas. Go Caroling. After 5 years, this movement is in its infancy, so being persistent is critical.
AtWorkOnPurpose.org – Mobilizing the work world for Christ. What started out as a workplace ministry in Cincinnati has organically grown into a movement locally and nationally.
QCommons.com – Working to heal a divided nation. Healing our racial divide is a deep seated issue for me and it starts with honest discussion. Q Commons uses events featuring national and local speakers to set up roundtable discussion on topics of importance. The next event in Cincinnati is on Oct 13. I’ll be there. Registration information.