America Runs on Attack Ads

Having worked at a local coffee shop for five years in my hometown, I know how many dedicated coffee drinkers there are in this world, me being one of them. (Not all of us are lucky enough to be able to give up their caffeine like Professor Weinberg.) Many people need, I repeat, NEED a coffee in the morning to start their day and some will even go back for a second or third. Because of this, almost any coffee shop you drive by in the morning will have a line out the door and that still won’t stop costumers from going in to wait for their daily brews. But how does someone choose which coffee shop to give their service to? The famous Dunkin’ Donuts has taken it upon themselves to try and sabotage their competition to make themselves look better and more appealing, but did it really work in their favor?

Starbucks, being another well-known coffee shop, would obviously be a threat to Dunkins. Especially because Starbucks have over 11,100 shops and Dunkin’ Donuts have only 7,200 shops (Boston.com). Since Dunks are a step behind in size, they took the opportunity of lashing out at Starbucks in their advertising. Dunkins has created commercials, new slogans, and even their own website to attempt to bring down their competition. This war started off with making fun of Starbucks’s fancy sizes (for those who don’t drink Starbucks; the sizes are in Italian), but has escalated to performing a taste test where Dunkin’ Donuts claims they were preferred 58 to 42 percent. With this news, Dunks made this known with their new phrases, “The Truth Is Out, Hate To Say I Told You So,” “Friends Don’t Let Friends Drink Starbucks,” and “More hard-working Americans preferred the taste of Dunkin’ Donuts over Starbucks,” (RedLimeMagazine.com). Seems a little harsh doesn’t it?

In my opinion, Dunkin’ Donuts has reached a new level of attacking with their attack ads. Even though the family owned shop that I work at only has 13 stores in total, we would never think to put another coffee shop down like Dunkins has in attempt to help our sales. After seeing things like this, it makes me want to turn my back to Dunkin’ Donuts and support other shops who can advertise in more considerate ways.

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Those Pesky YouTube Ads

Anybody else annoyed by the YouTube ads nowadays? I remember being able to go onto the website and pick out a song knowing that I wouldn’t be bombarded by them. Now I have to stick around for 14 seconds to be able to press “skip this ad.”

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Over the years, I’ve gotten so used to just going to the site and choosing a link then switching to another tab on my laptop or just walking away completely knowing what I searched for would immediately play. Now I don’t have that comfort. A little part of me dies inside each time I go to a video and the first thing I hear is a little jingle from a Good Housekeeping ad when all I was expecting was a little Phil Collins.

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The worst is when I want to watch a video on my phone and I have bad service. The video takes forever to load and will finally does after a few minutes BAM!!! ADVERTISEMENT!!! Now I don’t even want to listen to this song I was so excited for anymore because I don’t want to wait and listen to your boring ad. Thank you YouTube you just shot me down when all I wanted to do was jam out! It’s my music and I need it now!!!

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I’ve since broken off my relationship with YouTube and moved onto different websites such as 8tracks to satisfy my musical needs and I wouldn’t be surprised if other people have done the same. I know that YouTube is trying to make money through ads, but I wish there was a better way they could have gone about it.

I won’t lie though, no matter how annoying and inconvenient I think most YouTube ads are, I actually do enjoy the movie trailer ads. I love movies and I don’t mind spending a little time getting excited for movies that are coming out soon.

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Other than movie ads, I don’t like what you’ve done with the place YouTube. RIP old days. Please come back… Like Twinkies…

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No Question It’s The NCAA Tournament

The Largest display of marketing for a single company that I have ever seen with my two eyes was my trip to the NCAA Men’s Division 1 Basketball Tournament with the UMass Men’s Basketball Team. I am a student manager for the team and traveled and worked with the team in the NCAA tournament. Our tournament site was PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina. When we arrived at the airport in Raleigh we were welcomed with a sign just off the runway, the sign contained a large NCAA logo with the words “Welcome to Raleigh”. We arrived at our team hotel and were greeted with our teams fight song. There were balloons and multiple large NCAA logo stickers on the floor in the lobby. Each member of the travel party received an NCAA towel and an NCAA Fat Head. Both items contained the NCAA logo for all to see. Later we went to a restaurant for dinner near our hotel, as the waitress brought us our drinks she placed coasters containing the NCAA logo on our table. Later in the trip we went to practice at PNC Arena. PNC Arena displayed its own marketing with a large sign on the side of the building. Adjacent to the PNC logo was a Large sign about twice the size of the PNC logo containing the NCAA logo and welcoming the fans to Raleigh. The NCAA logo was displayed everywhere inside of the arena. The court contains a massive logo in the center leaving the tournaments viewers no question what they are watching. At a typical NCAA basketball game sponsors signage would be up all over the arena on public display. However at this event the only advertisement inside of the building was for the NCAA itself. The NCAA even covered the PNC logo above the large scoreboard hanging from the rafters in the middle of the arena with its own logo. The NCAA logo was everywhere at a positive event for the organization. The NCAA claims it’s Division 1 Men’s Basketball tournament for itself. Marketing is the reason why the NCAA brand is so well known and successful.

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Changing the Music Biz

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Back in 2007, Radiohead released their newest album ‘In Rainbows’. What made this release different than any of their previous releases was how they went about marketing and selling the album. At the time the bands contract with EMI records had expired and they began brainstorming ideas on how to successfully market an album in a time of blatant internet music piracy. What they ended up doing soon became one of the industries most controversial sales methods. But as controversial as it was, and seemingly insane at the time, may have just changed the very way musicians sell their work in a market as tough as todays.

Radioheads marketing strategy for ‘In Rainbows’ was to make it available to consumers using a ‘pay what you like’ system. This literally meant paying whatever the consumer deemed reasonable, or just taking it for free no questions asked. Up until this time not only was this unheard of, but seemed to completely go against the traditional way bands made money off their work. Other musicians and the media didn’t take to kindly to the method and subsequently trashed it saying it was an embarrassment to the industry. But what ended up happening is a great example of how an industry sometimes needs to transform in order to adapt to a changing market. To the surprise of everyone, the band included, the record ended up being perhaps their most successful. Not only was it more widely distributed than their previous albums but the band ended up making more money on it too. As it turns out people are willing to pay for music and support their favorite bands even when they don’t necessarily need to. In many cases people listened to the album for free at first but then decided to contribute after enjoying it. After all most avid listeners know that if no one pays then everyone loses as the band may lose incentive to keep recording material. In some cases people even paid more than they would have if they’d bought the album at a normal price just as a way of saying “thanks”.

That was seven years ago, now its completely common for musicians to market their music by offering it for free. This way in essence they’re not restricting anyone from listening to it. Not to mention lets get serious, people just don’t buy music like they used to, so at least by offering it for free makes it more available. Plus there will always be people willing to pay for it as well, something Radiohead proved first hand. Just recently musicians such as Beyonce, U2 and Jay Z offered albums for free, something that may have been unheard of if not for Radioheads innovation. But one things for sure, in order to be successful in an ever changing market its important to learn to adopt marketing strategies that aim to adapt to current trends. Sometimes using traditional methods just wont cut it, this is why staying up to date and knowing one’s industry inside-out is so important.

 

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Geico: Marketing 301

Throughout the history of television, there have been mind-numbingly boring advertisements. They have frustrated viewers for decades by interrupting their entertainment for a (usually) dull and irrelevant 30-second block of garbage. At best, these boring ads quickly slipped out of consciousness and into the back of the mind. At worst, advertisements can cause a viewer to become angry enough to negatively influence the brand’s image. The vast majority of ads that I see either cause me to change the channel.gecko

Once every so often though, I see a funny ad. These funny bits do more than just break up the monotony of countless dry pharmaceutical advertisements and injury lawsuits. If they are funny enough, they can cause people to not only remember the ad and the product, but they can positively influence a viewer’s perception of the company. Enter GEICO

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Insurance is surely one of the most boring of all services. No one talks about insurance until they need it; and when they do talk about it, it’s just to complain about it. Marketing and selling insurance surely must be a bland and boring enterprise as well, right?

It was for many years until a company with the most boring of names began a marketing effort that was anything but conventional. The Government Employees Insurance Company surely doesn’t sound like a fun group, but tell that to their animated gecko spokesperson, or his surprisingly intelligent Neanderthal counterparts. A funny side-note about the now famous GEICO gecko, he was introduced in 1999 when an actor’s strike prompted the Martin Advertising Agency (Whom are responsible for nearly all the famous GEICO ads in the last 2 decades) to create an animated spokesperson.

Advertisements aren’t what made GEICO the nation’s second largest car insurance vendor; in fact GEICO has been around since the mid 1930’s and had already sold a million policies by 1964.Warren Buffet bought his first GEICO stocks in 1951, but it wasn’t until Berkshire Hathaway bought the remaining GEICO stocks in 1995 that he vocally supported the large advertisement campaigns the company is famous for. In fact, Buffett is reported to have said that if it were up to him he would effectively double the advertising budget to $2 billion. (In 2010 GEICO spent $1.1 billion on advertising and marketing efforts.

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Since the early 1990’s GEICO has spent the most on advertising out of all the major insurance companies. They are able to do this by going straight to the consumer, thusly eliminating the commissions that other insurance companies pay to their agents. Throughout the past couple decades GEICO has used unconventional advertisements: (“15 minutes”, the Gecko, the Cavemen, and now Maxwell the pig), to reach a larger number of consumers than the competitors. Some of the newer ads aren’t funny, but they still are memorable. And in the end, that’s what counts.

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Vive Bracelets to Help Party Safely

In a college town like Amherst it is inevitable that there will be weekend nights you don’t entirely remember; either that, or nights that you spend searching for one of your friends who got separated from the group. But now, it seems, you may be able to party a little bit more safely.

Recently, at the annual design expo at Microsoft’s Research Faculty Summit a group of students at the University of Washington presented Vive, a non-working prototype for a bracelet that can detect your alcohol and dehydration levels. Not only that, but Vive can connect you to your friends or ‘party group’ through social media and enable you to alert them if you get too drunk or get into an uncomfortable situation. Furthermore, the bracelet checks in on you periodically, and if you don’t respond to the check-in it will alert the rest of your party group immediately.

While I initially thought this idea was a little over the top, and admittedly couldn’t get over how unappealing the bracelets looked aesthetically, I was pretty impressed by how the product was marketed. The group proposed entering the market through events that involve alcohol such as music festivals, raves, concerts, and college parties. The Vive bracelets would act to replace entry wristbands at party venues, and could even be returned to the venues at the end of the night to be reused at future events. Though there are obvious safety benefits to using these bracelets at such events, the innovators also marketed the fun side of the bracelets.

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By tapping your Vive bracelet to someone else’s bracelet, you are automatically connected to the other person’s Facebook profile when you log onto yours and have the option to friend request that person. This cuts out awkward phone number exchanges and allows you to take a second look at the people you met at party events, and potentially connect with them further. As a college student, to me this seemed like a fun and innovative new way to meet people. Moreover, it would be nice to not have to babysit your irresponsible friends, or have them babysit you if you get too drunk.

The University of Washington group ultimately said they envisioned the accessory becoming autonomous of party venues and becoming something everyone has and doesn’t leave home without. They plan to look into making the bracelet more visually pleasing (yay) and smaller. For me, they really sold the product. While at first I was skeptical and didn’t think I’d really want or need a Vive bracelet, I wanted one for my friends and myself by the end of their sales pitch presentation video, which proved that even I couldn’t deny the value proposition of the product.

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Anyone Want To Buy Some Pork?

Market the Mammal

            Have you ever thought about what to make for dinner and had nothing come to mind? As a food management major I have had trouble with this a lot, as I’m sure most people have. One thing that’s being done is the pork industry is advertising the meat in general. Usually you see brand names come across the screen or restaurants, rarely an entire meat industry. In order to have people think of pork as something more than just one thing like a roast or a certain brand they might not like, the National Pork Board has started airing commercials showing the different applications of the product and launched a website with different recipes and information about it.

Appeal to Inspiration

            The pork industry came up with the slogan, “Be Inspired.” When it comes to cooking you can do anything you want so inspiration is a huge thing. The first time I saw this I actually was inspired and went and bought some. There’s a win for their books. Featuring all of the recipes on their webpage also draws people to it, the images and write-ups make an interesting read and all market the same thing, pork. The commercials show all sorts of different gatherings like cookouts and parties while showing tons of different dishes showcasing this product. Seeing happy people and vibrant images always draws consumers and challenging them to create something by calling on their inspiration is an even better trick. The most interesting thing about this whole campaign for me is that it is on the broad product of “pork.” To me it’s like advertising crackers instead of Cheez-Its or Ritz. It worked on me though. I was inspired and continue to be through the constant reminders and media outlets used by the National Pork Board.

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