28 October, 2010

Intern Sweatshop: I'll Take a Fajita Burrito with a Side of Social Responsibility

It was cold, and it was dark, and we were standing outside...wrapping each other in tinfoil for free burritos. On Halloween, Chipotle Mexican Grill does their "Boorito" promotion. If you come in on October 31, dressed as a burrito, you get a free, well, burrito! My friends and I have participated for years. The costumes range from elaborate tinfoil suits to simple tinfoil bracelets. This year, however, Chipotle is mixing it up a bit.

For Boorito 2010, instead of coming dressed as a burrito (wearing varying amounts of tinfoil), Chipotle is asking people to come dressed as a "horrifying processed food product." When you come dressed as a "horrifying processed food product," you can get a burrito for a discounted price of $2. Chipotle has promised to donate up to one million dollars from the Halloween proceeds to Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution.

Chipotle has taken what was a playful promotion and upped the ante considerably. Though honorable, is this really a good move marketing-wise?

Jamie Oliver is a celebrity chef and health food advocate who is dedicated to helping people eat healthier. His Food Revolution is aimed at changing how Americans eat (you mean a box of Twinkies a night is bad for me?). A big part of Chipotle's identity is that all their ingredients are naturally raised and never processed, so it makes sense that they would team with Jamie to help raise awareness about processed vs. organic food.

Chipotle is one of the largest food chains in the country to be fully dedicated to organic ingredients. I will venture so far as to say that Chipotle could be a case study on how to operate a large, organically focused food chain. With Boorito 2010, they are going the extra step, advocating for a cause they believe in. It shows them as socially conscious and willing to sacrifice for it.

The fast food industry is continuing to get knocked over health concerns, so Chipotle's fresh, caring image is something they are wise to play up. This promotion with Jamie Oliver has the potential to build extra awareness about Chipotle's practices concerning their delicious food and hopefully bring in new customers to eat said food. Continuing to get their name associated with health food causes is a big step toward this.

However, Chipotle could catch some backlash from consumers over the change.

The problem is, despite it being for a good cause, a lot of people will be upset that the burritos are no longer free and that the costume requirements have gotten more demanding. People can no longer put some tin foil on their head and get free food. A few of my friends didn't even know about Jamie Oliver's involvement or the donation. All they had heard, via word-of-mouth, was that what was once free was now $2.

Chipotle is going to have to work hard to make sure people get the full story. They have sent out mailers, made a Youtube video with Jamie (see the bottom of this post), and put up a page on their Facebook, all of it explaining the Boorito 2010 promotion. The social media push was an especially good idea because most of previous years' Boorito participants have been us millennials. It’s a good outreach, but come this year’s Allhallows Eve, we’ll see how well it worked.

I think this promotion is a smart move. They took a promotion that was essentially bringing them nothing besides tinfoil to clean up, and turned it into something that could move their whole brand forward in consumer’s minds. There is the risk that some people won’t come out this year because of the price, but overall, the potential gains vastly outweigh the potential backlash. I’ll be there and I plan on dressing as some good ol’ high-fructose corn syrup! No, I haven’t thought through the logistics of that yet.

-- Kyle Sacks, High-Fructose Corn Syrup

Intern Sweatshop: I'll Take a Fajita Burrito with a Side of Social ResponsibilitySocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

25 October, 2010

Intern Sweatshop: 'Pink' is the new black...for advertisers

Ever since October became National Breast Cancer Awareness Month in 1985, pink ribbons and pink merchandise have taken over this festive fall month. It’s normal to see pink yogurt tops and pink ribbons on water bottles. Even the NFL ran a campaign this month called “A Crucial Catch” to support breast cancer screening. Games featured players, coaches and referees sporting pink gloves, hats and cleats. (We appreciate the sentiment Steelers, but mustard yellow so clashes with carnation.)

This year, however, the “pink” campaigns promoted by alcoholic beverage companies like Mike’s Hard Lemonade and Chambord, have stirred up some controversy (pun intended).

Chambord has started a campaign called “Pink Your Drink,” saying that by adding Chambord to your favorite cocktails you are supporting the breast cancer cause. Chambord has contributed a total of $50,000 to the Breast Cancer Network of Strength, and is donating $15,000 this month.

Mike’s, who has once again released their seasonal Hard Pink Lemonade, has been contributing to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation for years and donated more than $500,000 over the past two. Also, Jacqueline S., a member of their team since they were founded, passed away from breast cancer. So not only, are they donating money to a good cause, they are donating to a cause that means something to them as a company.

But breast cancer survivors are angry these companies are using these “pink” campaigns to market their alcohol products. Studies have shown even moderate consumption of alcohol heightens your risk of developing cancer, especially in women. So advocates of cancer research aren’t exactly pleased with companies selling something that can contribute to cancer risks.

Breast Cancer Action, a non-profit group, calls this “pink-washing”--when a company raises money for a cause, while also marketing a product that negatively impacts the cause.

And this isn’t the first time a company has been accused of pink-washing.

For 13 years, BMW has partnered with the Susan G. Komen Foundation. They donate 80% of the retail sale price to Komen for every item purchased from the BMW Pink Ribbon Collection of apparel and lifestyle merchandise. But the Breast Cancer Action group took issue with this, because the exhaust given off by cars contributes to cancer risks. Also, makeup companies like L’Oreal were forced to change the ingredients in some of their products, because the makeup contained harmful toxic chemicals linked to cancer.

Interestingly enough, Coca-Cola is a current sponsor of the Breast Cancer Foundation, and there have been studies questioning whether or not the sweetening agent in Diet Coke, aspartame, contributes to cancer. But I’ve found little evidence of cancer survivors calling for boycotts of their soft drinks.

Now Breast Cancer Action is only one group, but the issue really becomes one of: Do breast cancer survivors, families of victims, and those fighting for breast cancer awareness want what they may see as "blood money" from these particular corporations? And that's a really tough question.

Now one must consider that breast cancer awareness has has been spreading like wild fire for years, and while I am all for the pink explosion of awareness that takes place in October, at this point in time, you have to admit people are pretty aware. The task of promoting awareness has been done amazingly. And now it's more research and and more funding to support that research that what will find the answers and possible cures. And that's the end goal, right? A cure.

Of course we should never stop raising awareness, but should we call out these companies for doing the right thing, even though we think their product might be wrong? Again, that's a difficult question. I realize I'm not going to convince someone if they've already made up their mind on this subject, but the way I see it, the money raised from marketing these very specific products, which is then donated directly to research foundations, is money that may actually help find out more about breast cancer. Wearing a pink shirt and raising awareness shouldn't stop, but Mike's is showing a commitment to helping find a cure. Why would we want to stop them?

Mike’s Hard Lemonade gets an A+ in my book for smart marketing, because they have shown that as a company they support a good cause not just for the sales benefits. In fact, they note on their website that the money has already been donated. So whether you buy Mike's or not doesn't change how much the give. In all honesty, if someone is in a liquor store, they already made the decision to buy alcohol. Mike's is simply showing people that Mike's support this cause, and if a customer decides that aligns with his or her personal philosophies, then that costumer might want to support Mike's too.

Also, Mike's offers their Pink Lemonade as a seasonal drink, unlike Chambord who uses their campaign year round. While I think it’s nice that Chambord is recognizing the cause, I'm not sure they're doing it the right way. One, they haven't donated nearly the amount Mikes' has, but I'm okay with that because any donation is a good donation. But two, it's seems more of a campaign for convenience, because, well...Chambord happens to be pink. So to me, this campaign looks like it's more for recognition than for just supporting a good cause.

Mike’s Hard Lemonade has raised a lot of money and can continue to raise contributions if they don’t get shunned by people who don't look deeper into the issue. Breast Cancer organizations make a valid point that they don’t want to look like they are partnered with companies selling products that are actually hurting the cause, but these companies seem to genuinely care about the cause and are willing to contribute a lot of money to support and fund research.

Yes, cause marketing can be about exploitation and selling stuff, but in this case, it may someday save lives. Organizations should follow the example of Mike's Hard Lemonade and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation to show how companies and organizations with seemingly opposed ideologies can work together and do something. In the case of breast cancer, it’s important to remember what we are all fighting for: a cure.

--Lisa Lucantoni, Boobie-Saving Creative Department Intern

Once again, the interns are coming up with their own clever nicknames. Just wanted to make sure everyone knew that.

Intern Sweatshop: 'Pink' is the new black...for advertisersSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

20 October, 2010

I'm Getting the Wrong Impression About Cabs in NY

I'm under the impression that New Yorkers live under the constant threat of any cab they get picked up in tranforming into the mobile-disco that is the Cash Cab. Innocent New Yorkers just looking to go up to Brooklyn live in fear that they will get assaulted by flashing lights, loud sirens and be yelled at by comedian Ben Bailey who will then throw money at them for getting trivia questions right.

Now, Trident's promising a free ride as part of the launch of their new Cool Mint + Melon Fresco gum. They've essentially told New Yorkers, "Show up at Times Square today. Bring the gum. BOOM: free cab ride."

This is a great extension of their "Trident Layers is so good you'll want to get paid in gum" national campaign. But is it too much for fragile New York cab riders to handle? Will people lose all hope when they show up the day after the promotion with knock-off layered gums? What happens to the wise guy who shows up with spearmint or Bazooka Joe? Will they be denied a free ride? Poor, poor New Yorkers.

As far as marketing value goes, I'd love to see this trend of continue so that when I finally decide to make a trip to NYC, all I'll have to do for a free ride is flash a few items or wear the right color socks and it's off to Chinatown!

Hell, this seems like a surefirehit for NY tourism. Free rides to the sights? I'm looking at you, Bloomberg. Make it happen!

So now I'm wondering, what other brands would benefit from the free taxi ride gimmick?

Sean Sutherland Associate Account Executive/Future Cash Cab Contestant

I'm Getting the Wrong Impression About Cabs in NYSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

13 October, 2010

Crowdsource This Blog Post

So this happened and started the ball rollin'.

A helvetica-fonted brand name running into a gradient-shaded blue square.


And after the dust settled, and everyone and their grandma weighed in about how they felt that the new logo was so terrible, speculation began: was it a farce?

Then this happened. The President of Gap, Marka Hansen posted on Huffington Post, dispelling the rumors, sticking up for Laird and Partner's efforts, and playing the role of peacemaker.

At the same time this went live on Facebook. Through all the threats of calls to the AIGA and talk of boycotting, a few groups (them and them) actually stepped up and starting posting designer ideas.

Then, with the threat of the brand losing it's identity through "crowdsourcing", this happened.

Gap fell, like all the other Goliaths to the Davids and their combined slingshots of hate, and returned to using the good ol' blue box.
One question remains, however.

Could this have all just been a publicity stunt?

Harking on the theme I brought up in my first Confessional post, curving the dialogue around the creation of a replacement ugly logo, Gap insured that they would be the on the tip of everyone's tongues.

Could Gap not have been satisfied by the social media bump they experienced after the Groupon spectacle that they had to one-up themselves with this logo fiasco?

If it was just a publicity stunt, it's unclear if this will pay off.

From what I've seen, there's a seething anger coming from designers and consumers alike, calling for boycotts of Gap and claims of being unethical.

Regardless of what it truly was, we'll see how this hurt/helped Gap in the coming months.

Do you think this was some publicity stunt or just another example of the mishandling of a social marketing initiative?

Shout outs to @GapLogo, @OldGapLogo, craplogo.me, and the dozens of other new media machinations created during the brouhaha.

Sean Sutherland, Associate Account Executive/Crowdsorcerer

Previously in logo-speak: Logo Fail of Olympic Proportions; Logolicious.

Crowdsource This Blog PostSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

11 October, 2010

Can't Handle the Green

Much like man landing on the moon or the fall of the Berlin Wall, we will all remember where we were when we learned that Frito-Lay toed the line drawn in the sand by consumers.

Alright maybe not...

But bowing to the combined pressures of the more than 48,000 members of the "Sorry But I Can't Hear You Over This SunChips Bag" Facebook group and a more than 11% drop in sales over the past year, Frito Lay's killed off the 100% biodegradable SunChips bag.

Frito-Lay’s balking on the commitment to bio-degradable bags is truly a shame. And yes, technically they will still keep “Original” flavor in the bio-bags, but they are removing the other five flavors from the rank of eco-friendly.

It was a great idea that just had one problem. Since the bag was biodegradable, it was developed with a different molecular structure than typical bags, which makes them more rigid and prone to be noisy.

So it’s a little on the loud side. Big whoop. How often do you see people walking down the streets with big bags of chips oblivious to the amount of noise pollution they’re causing? I’m not saying it doesn’t happen, but come on.

Through this commercial misstep, Frito-Lay's illustrated a major caveat of consumers and their call for more environmental products: people tend to buy environmentally friendly things if there aren't any perceived negatives attached to it.

This plays into a larger theme for consumers in general.

While consumers may lobby companies to green things up, most of the time, it's their spending habits that ultimately rule.

Consumers may bang the eco-drum, but they have a nasty track record of punishing brands that change what's comfortable and familiar. Ask Tropicana how their ink-saving package redesign went.

So, are consumers really prepared to make the sacrifices necessary to improve the environment - and back it up with their wallets?

R.I.P. SunChips Bag 2009 – 2010 “We barely knew ye. But we certainly heard ye.”

Can't Handle the GreenSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

08 October, 2010

The Worst Ads in America? Really?

As an avid reader of The Consumerist, I’m a bit baffled that I missed their inaugural “Worst Ad in America” poll. Somehow the celebration of all that rubs consumers the wrong way flew below my radar, and I completely missed out on the voting. It appears that my input into the discussion wasn’t necessary - most of the ones I would've voted for didn't win anyway.

Last week, 30 ad-offenders, from brands as big as McDonalds and as little as 5-Hour Energy, were divvied up into six categories and voted on. When the dust cleared Staples took home the honor for their “WOW! THAT’S A LOW PRICE!” campaign:

The ironic thing about this contest is that, despite these commercials being labeled as the cream-of-the-crap, they all end up doing what an ad's supposed to do: be memorable to the point where it becomes a part of the conversation - and even the cultural consciousness.

Sure it’s a pain in the eardrums to hear “WOW! THAT’S A LOW PRICE!” shouted four times in a row (I enjoyed the one iteration of “HOT DIGGITY DOG”) but it gets the message across: Staples=Low prices. The spots speak to the brief.

Granted, the ads in the contest all have something terrible about them, but in terms of their message and the extent to which the ads succeed, you really can’t question it. We’re still talking about the Toyota Sienna Couple even if we’re saying how weird they’re portrayed to be.

With all that said, I really can’t come up with something good to say about McDonald’s “Not Until I’ve had My Coffee” jerkface ad - winner of the Most Grating Performance by a Human award. Couldn’t stand it, and I’m pretty sure I’m in their target.

So, any campaigns you were surprised to see on the list? Any that weren't?

On the subject of awfulness in advertising: God the Bounty Hunter, Video Game Lame, Local Car Bads.

Sean Sutherland, Associate Account Executive/Arbiter of Bad Taste

The Worst Ads in America? Really?SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

07 October, 2010

The Intern Alumni Program: I'll Take a Large Anti-Marketing Ad with Cheese & Pepperoni, Please

Sometimes our interns refuse to go away, and honestly, that's freaking awesome. Our former intern, Ashly, actually started this piece over the summer - then reminded me about nine times since that I kept forgetting to post it. --George

Pizza is a serious slice of American culture. According to pizzaware.com, about 93% of Americans eat some form of it at least once a month. The gooey goodness is currently a $35 billion dollar industry that continues to grow each year, and its marketing tactics are everywhere.

I admit it. I’m guilty of shouting, “Get the door, it’s Domino’s!” when the delivery girl comes with a steaming hand-tossed crust topped with pepperoni and green peppers. I’ve even probably done a little “Papa’s in the house!” dance when the pizza boy shows up with a spicy Italian specialty. Can you blame me? I’m a college student. Pizza ads always manage to find me. I am assaulted by the “Oh, Big Papa” jingle and that tacky gold Camaro on a daily basis.

You've probably noticed that recently Domino's gave their pizza, as well as their advertising strategy, a delicious makeover. Two successful branding ingredients I can appreciate. The franchise took a fresh approach to anti-competition advertising through a deconstruction of the food marketing industry.

Domino’s first TV spots exploited the inner workings of a focus group and noted that many other companies choose to ignore negative feedback they receive from such research endeavors. This kicked off their completely new recipe along with a recentered effort to instill a sense of trust in the consumer. Domino’s listens to you, so why cook that frozen pizza you don't even like? They can deliver the fresh, warm pizza you’ve been waiting for. It’s your pizza formed from your opinions. Of course, you will like it.

This reverse-psychology campaign is positioned to make the consumer feel involved and intelligent; therefore, reinforcing confidence in their brand choice. Domino’s more directly attacked its largest competitor, Papa John’s, in its puffery awareness ads. They publicized a lawsuit Papa John’s was involved in regarding the puffery in their slogan. Domino’s educated consumers on the definition of puffery (see ad below), revealed Papa John’s did no research to conclude they were the “best,” and plastered the legal documents all over the Internet.

Domino’s was not even involved in this lawsuit. Pizza Hut was, but I guess they didn't see the marketing opportunity. Domino's used it as a way to showcase the newly positive results from their own consumer research. These ads also gave freshly enlightened consumers fuel to feel confident in attacking other brands for using puffery. The central puffery awareness spot ends with a Domino’s chef revealing results of a taste test grinning, “Our pizza tastes better and that’s not puffery, that’s proven.”

A campaign that revolves around exposing traditional marketing tactics is relatively new for the food industry. However, it has been executed elsewhere. The Dove Real Beauty campaign and thetruth.com ads (check out their Shards o’ Glass Pops ads) are just a few examples.

Critics are actually referring to Domino’s latest tactic as the “Real Beauty” campaign, a tongue-in-cheek reference to Dove’s award-winner. Domino’s uses TV spots to reveal the secrets of food styling for print and television ads. Their YouTube channel offers a more detailed look at torching pepperoni edges and bolting pizzas to tables in order to get the perfect cheese pull.

The mission of this particular campaign is to generate a sentiment that Domino’s pizza doesn’t need to be retouched or plastic in order to make your mouth water like the competitor’s pizza. I have to admit, when I first saw this commercial I flashed to the disappointment of once opening a box of Papa John’s. I felt betrayed by the toppings on the delectable print ad that caused me to order it in the first place. Let's just say, sausage is not supposed to look like animal droppings.

This “Real Beauty” campaign has a contest attached to it, which lets consumers submit real pictures of their Domino’s pizza. The winners will be compensated and their photos used in Domino’s advertisements. No more marketing tricks for these guys. They are going all natural. This epitomizes Domino’s 2010 marketing strategy.

Domino's looks like the better brand by shining a light on the fraudulent-type advertising competitors use. Now this strategy is supposed to build stronger brand loyalty by allowing consumers more control over the communicative relationship they share with the franchise. Has it worked? Well, the photo contest has thousands of entries. I can appreciate advertising that works. However, I don't think it's spectacular. I assume consumers feel they possess a better understanding of marketing tricks and have developed a stronger trust that Domino's won't be pulling a fast one on them. But as far as I'm concerned, Domino's has done just that. It seems smart. The anti-advertising sentiment is a scheme in itself. It's all marketing, but people are still falling for it.

When the hype is over, there will just be another reason to change the pizza and resurrect the brand. The real proof is in the pizza. The taste has changed, but not dramatically. They brushed a little garlic and herb butter on the less baked crust to battle the popular "cardboard crust" complaint and gave the sauce a little kick with red pepper and of course, more garlic. The next time they change their recipe, it will be because the crust is too doughy, the sauce too spicy, and it's the number one cause of bad breath. As the taste of this campaign gets stale, so will the consumer sentiment.

You may continue salivating if you click here to find out more information about Domino’s latest campaign, or you could just order a pizza for the office.

--Ashly Oehrl, Ad Hungry Former Intern

Recently from the Intern Sweatshop: 3 Ways Video Games Outplay Other Brands

Also from the Intern Alumni Program: Sex Sells in Thailand. Kinda.

The Intern Alumni Program: I'll Take a Large Anti-Marketing Ad with Cheese & Pepperoni, PleaseSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

01 October, 2010

A history of hip-hop in 3 minutes.

It doesn't all have to be advertising here. And yet, this is the very heart of great advertising: beautifully succinct, culturally-tuned, totally surprising, audience-driven, and commercially relevant.

A history of hip-hop in 3 minutes.SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend
The Renegade Agency Confessional - Blogged

  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP