The morning of the Daytona 500 I awoke to my iPhone mail box ringing. It was a note from Jack Daniels (JD). The timing of their newsletter was perfect as I was in Daytona and they were launching their new car. When I arrived at the carnival JD had one of the best mobile displays. It was a mobile distillery, to get in you had to present your ID. This extravagant set up was made for the NASCAR audience. It even included a vendor who was mixing Jack and Coke at 11am. Nice!
I am giving their brand folks a high five! Know your audience. Know why they love you. Try to make yourself accessible to them and their friends where they're most passionate. All brands should be so consistent and deliver on a promise of mellowing spirits since 1866.
Seems so simple and worth every penny if you do the right thing with the data that you collect.
Check out more photos of their set up at http://www.flickr.com/photos/jojobickley/sets/72157615255695409/
An intriguing ad caught my eye today on CNN. It started with a headline that read "Dream the Impossible"
Refresh. It seems like a simple task. Hit a button on your browser and the page changes. Easy, right? It isn't. A refresh usually takes complex systems and or labored work to make real change. The same can be said of the state of affairs around the world. The arrival of the New Year has come and gone. While 2008 was a year of promises and hope, 2009 should shape up to be a year where we buckle down and begin the change required to refresh our world while achieving our sales goals. It will take complex and fundamental change.
Dictionary.com defines change as: to transform or convert, to transfer from one to another, a transformation or modification; alteration.
What will you CHANGE this year? From the environment, to the economy, to your health, to brand plans, to the way agencies work, we are due for rapid systemic change. In a time when we face mass unemployment, a war, unrest in the middle east, rapid climate change and an impending economic depression, we have fallen in love with people and products that exuded authenticity and promised radical yet positive change. They have refreshed our outlook.
Why are so many brands retreating to their roots?
In focus groups, people are saying they want stability in unstable times. Of course they do. That seems logical. When we are shaken to our core we want the basics to remain the same. Many brands are taking a step back, reflecting on their roots. Some will tell you "You can depend on us" - look at this Allstate ad.
This is a beautiful ad. (well written, acted and art directed) "Back-to-basics" is a simple idea. It reflects on the past, establishes trust and reinforces the brands strongest attributes. Hey, who doesn't want to protect what they love. However, it does nothing to get me to consider switching. Nothing that says come with me, change something. It takes a practical approach to hard times. That is merely one example of a slew of brands who are missing out on what we desire. The big opportunity is not that we have roots. It's what in our roots or brand DNA that can make change and refresh our world.
We still desire a Hero! Someone or something we can look to who will make us laugh, smile and refresh the outlook on the future. Who needs another somber ad when watching Inside The Actors Studio on Bravo? Don't most of us use TV as a cheap get away?
Don't be practical! Be emotional! Be a Hero.
While many brands retreat to their roots, the few products that exude confidence and show fundamental change will prosper. They will see sales of product. Brand Managers need to examine our conversations to determine their Brand DNA. They should ask themselves "What will inspire a moment of happiness?" More importantly, "What in their brand will evoke an emotional buy it now response?"
A great example of a Refresh is Pepsi's 2009 launch of their new advertising and brand look.
Simple & smart. Offers a smile. A pick me up. It establishes a different tone from the big celebrity-filled production numbers that Pepsi helped invent for my generation. Its a great happy-greeting-card to the world. I like the music, by indie rockers the Apples in Stereo. The upbeat lyrics "And the world, is made of energy/And the world is electricity." reminds me of the early British pop invasion after World War II.
Many have been critical of the Pepsi refresh. They have said that it was jumping on a political bandwagon. They are wrong. That is a short-sided view that seems to lack insight into what the audience desires. In torrid times we need a smile. We need a dose of happiness. We are going to need a lot of energy to make a change. What is brilliant and incredibly consumer-centric is that we buy things that make us feel good. We always have. We always will. This is America.
Insight: When I need a pick me up, I want something that gives me a fresh, fun moment of optimism to get through the day.
The Idea: Pepsi. A Pick Me Up.
What is unfortunate is that the website does not live up to the happy innovation of the brand. RefreshEverything.com began to show some promise when it was simply a refresh button. Now it has been taken to the mundane. It does not help pay off the promise. It's design is dated and done. The site would have been great before the election. The idea that you are asking of the president seems off when, it should be about what are you going to do to refresh everything. The design lacks the fresh simplicity of the product and does not allow me to share or spread the joy of Pepsi with friends. The site is a missed opportunity. Shame on their digital agency, this seems surprisingly off brand. A Refresh is needed.
Retreating is not the answer.
One size does not fit all. Brand is about how I feel about your product. Branding is about ubiquity, visability and functions; its about bonding emotionally with people in their daily lives. Only when a product or a services kindles and emotional conversation with the consumer can they realize their sales potential.
I think we will help support brands that offer us an opportunity to refresh. A brand who is willing to get passed the practical and help us act irrationally (emotionally) through entertaining function that facilitates the change that our worlds need will realize revenue in a downturn.
Be a change agent this year. Begin to innovate it will lead to a Refresh! Happy New Year!
Each car is about $48,560. The interior offers Hermes signature shades of pinks, oranges, and blues. For those of us in the Beta-Class who want style, smarts and a car worthy of its own exhibition, this seems like a great buy!
For those of you who follow me via twitter - you have probably noted that my team and I are working on a NASCAR project with a Serise sponsor Nationwide Insurance. Over the next few months I will be reporting the nuances of developing our 2009 campaign that will be launched at the Daytona 500. So far there has been incredible insights developed while immersing ourselves in the the habits and trends happening in the NASCAR tribe. This tribe is 75 million strong.
The NASCAR Nationwide Serise is promoted as NASCAR's "minor league" circuit (it is often compared to Triple-A baseball), and is a proving ground for drivers who wish to step up to the organization's "big league" circuit, the Sprint Cup. Nationwide Series races are frequently held in the same venue as, and a day prior to, the Sprint Cup race scheduled for that weekend, encouraging fans to attend both events.
The series was previously called the NASCAR Busch Series. In December 2006, NASCAR officials confirmed that Anheuser-Busch, parent company for Busch Beer, would not renew its sponsorship of NASCAR's No. 2 series after the end of the 2007 Season. On October 3, 2007, it was announced Nationwide Insurance would become the title sponsor beginning with the 2008 season.
While developing our campaign we have studied success stories. One of those success stories is the Sprint and their sponsorship of the Sunday race. Their campaign Speed is Beautiful has stretched the results of their sponsorship. Here is the creative that continues to drive results for the Sprint brand.