Three-quarters of Americans have been confused by ads on TV

I’ve been saying for a while now that “brand awareness” is a limited goal all by itself, especially in a grim economic climate where people are watching what they buy for entirely practical reasons. They need to know what it is they’re getting and why it matters, and how using it will impress other people (a sad but enduring truism of advertising). Besides, if we’re going to be surrounded by ads everywhere we go, they might as well be useful.


By David Kiefaber

ConfusedAccording to an AdweekMedia/Harris Poll, 75 percent of Americans have been confused by ads on television. This is readily apparent if you’re an ad blogger like me, but it’s not as serious as you’d think once the numbers are broken down. One curious result of the study is how little education matters to the final tally. College and graduate students are just as likely to be confused by advertising as people whose formal education ended in high school, so either we’re all getting dumber (possible!) or marketers have gotten too cute with their concepts at the expense of content, usually by overestimating their aptitude for absurdist humor or social-media navigation. Leer más “Three-quarters of Americans have been confused by ads on TV”

Netflix caught hiring actors to pose as fans at events in Canada


By David Kiefaber | http://www.brandfreak.com

Netflix

Netflix’s arrival in Canada, already a mixed bag in terms of public perception, sank into further ignominy when the company admitted to hiring actors to pose as enthusiastic Netflix fans in front of the Toronto press. The actors were encouraged to play “types” corresponding to Netflix’s core demographics, including “mothers, film buffs, tech geeks and couch potatoes,” The New York Times reports. I could be insulted by their typecasting, but admittedly I’m half of those things, and I use Netflix. Of course, I use the American version. Canada’s wonky copyright laws, which apparently restrict them from enjoying streaming sites like Hulu, mean a small selection of movies for the Great White North. That’s gone over about as well as you’d expect. So, it looks even worse for Netflix that they drummed up all this publicity for a service that’ll be subpar until they get rights worked out with the appropriate parties. On the other hand, while what they did was unethical and stupid, it wasn’t illegal. They still have a long way to go before usurping Comcast’s title as king of the shitheels.

Westin believes you’re overworked … and could use a hotel stay


By T.L. Stanley | http://www.brandfreak.com

WestinRoyal Caribbean already reminded us how overworked and underappreciated we are in this crappy economy. Now, it’s time for Westin Hotels to tell us bedraggled American drones just what that all-work, no-play attitude is doing to us: making us miserable, shortening our lives and ruining our marriages, that’s what. Yikes! Better get out of town! Westin’s new campaign urges people to take the time off that’s owed them—and, naturally, spend it at one of the marketer’s many fine properties. A Westin study found that 58 percent of those surveyed said they need more vacation time, and 64 percent have canceled trips because of work. The campaign, anchored by Westin’s Travel and Be Well site, aims to educate 9-to-5ers about the health benefits of vacations and nudges them to sign an online petition promising to use their company-paid time by the end of the year. Leer más “Westin believes you’re overworked … and could use a hotel stay”

Brewers in California would much prefer you get drunk than high


By David Kiefaber | http://www.brandfreak.com

PotCalifornia heshers will have a stiff choice to make pretty soon, because the California Beer & Beverage Distributors association is opposing the state’s upcoming proposition to legalize marijuana. Beer sellers have long been opposed to legalizing pot because of the feared impact on sales, and onlookers are waiting to see if liquor/wine dealers and pharmaceutical interests claim a stake in this debate as well. Local microbrews Sierra Nevada and Stone Brewing Co., which have become national brands in their own right, are pro-legalization and have lashed out at the CBBD for its decision. Stone has even removed itself from CBBD’s listings over it. Prop 19 has become a microcosm for how confusing and hopeless California’s political landscape really is, so it’s hard to say which side of the beer-industry squabble is the right one in terms of brand image. Leer más “Brewers in California would much prefer you get drunk than high”

How a solid brand strategy helped Vivid conquer the porn world

You might’ve thought that porn DVD peddlers had gone the way of Times Square peep shows, what with the worldwide interwebs bringing in as much free smut as anyone with a DSL connection can handle. But in the case of Vivid Entertainment, you’d be wrong—to the tune of nearly $100 million a year in revenue.

Obviously smarter than its counterparts in the music industry, Vivid is thriving because it’s learned how to brand its product, according to our sister pub, The Hollywood Reporter, and trade heavily on two cash cows: celebrity sexcapades and superhero parodies. (The former, via Tommy Lee and Pamela Anderson’s honeymoon romp, helped put Vivid on the map.


By T.L. Stanley

VividYou might’ve thought that porn DVD peddlers had gone the way of Times Square peep shows, what with the worldwide interwebs bringing in as much free smut as anyone with a DSL connection can handle. But in the case of Vivid Entertainment, you’d be wrong—to the tune of nearly $100 million a year in revenue.

Obviously smarter than its counterparts in the music industry, Vivid is thriving because it’s learned how to brand its product, according to our sister pub, The Hollywood Reporter, and trade heavily on two cash cows: celebrity sexcapades and superhero parodies. (The former, via Tommy Lee and Pamela Anderson‘s honeymoon romp, helped put Vivid on the map. Leer más “How a solid brand strategy helped Vivid conquer the porn world”

Why aren’t companies committed to easier-to-open packaging?

Amazon.com’s efforts to ship things in “frustration-free packaging” (meaning no plastic cases, bubble wrap or other irritants) keeps hitting roadblocks because a lot of manufacturers, and other online retailers, are slow to adopt it. But why? It’s environmentally responsible, less expensive and better for customers who hate complicated packaging. The answer, according to environmental experts like Anne Johnson of the Sustainable Packaging Coalition, is that a lot of big companies drag their heels in response to change, be it fair or foul. “One of the biggest hurdles is to convince a company that it’s worthwhile, or the volume is there, to sell the same product in two different formats,” Johnson tells The New York Times.


By David Kiefaber

Wrap-rageAmazon.com’s efforts to ship things in “frustration-free packaging” (meaning no plastic cases, bubble wrap or other irritants) keeps hitting roadblocks because a lot of manufacturers, and other online retailers, are slow to adopt it. But why? It’s environmentally responsible, less expensive and better for customers who hate complicated packaging. The answer, according to environmental experts like Anne Johnson of the Sustainable Packaging Coalition, is that a lot of big companies drag their heels in response to change, be it fair or foul. “One of the biggest hurdles is to convince a company that it’s worthwhile, or the volume is there, to sell the same product in two different formats,” Johnson tells The New York Times. Leer más “Why aren’t companies committed to easier-to-open packaging?”

For Hollywood actors, voicing car commercials is getting cooler

More interesting, though, is the fact, mentioned in the article but not really explored, that few actresses get voiceover work for car commercials. Standing beside a car in a bikini, sure, but talking about cars in any depth? It’s still a male province, to judge by current marketing. In an AdweekMedia/Harris poll earlier this year, 28 percent of viewers said a male voice was more likely to sell them a car, versus 7 percent preferring a female voice. Since that leaves a whopping 65 percent unaccounted for, maybe most people don’t care either way. In which case, would it kill automakers to bring in some famous female voices once in a while?


By David Kiefaber

Voiceover1

The new trend for Hollywood actors these days seems to be car commercials. USA Today points out that Tim Allen and Robert Downey Jr. are doing voiceovers for Chevy and Nissan, respectively, joining guys like Jeff Bridges (Hyundai) and Patrick Stewart (BMW), both of whom padded their résumés and wallets with this easy, high-paying gig.

We could also add Michael C. Hall’s Dodge work to the list. Allen, who just voiced Buzz Lightyear in Toy Story 3, is a Chevy nut in real life who owns a personally designed 1996 Chevrolet LT5 Impala SS, among other cars, and his unsophisticated everyman identity is unbreakable thanks to his time on Home Improvement, so he’s ideal for a brand like Chevy. Leer más “For Hollywood actors, voicing car commercials is getting cooler”