Category Archives: advertising

A Tale Of Two Garages

The two garage doors face each with only a small parking lot in between. Both companies do auto repair – but that is where the similarity stops. Both have large bay doors that allow cars to move continually through the service bays. As you can see from the photos, one owner sees the garage as the perfect place to post a warning. It is the same kind of warning people see continually as they drive around town. The other company sees the giant white doors as an opportunity to reinforce their brand. It is a sign that people won’t see on other businesses.

What opportunities are you missing to market your business? Your invoices, your building, or maybe even what your staff wears. All are opportunities to show prospects and customers that you are different and the experience that they receive will be different.


Good Ol’ Days

One year, my parents bought me a Toronto Maple Leafs jersey for Christmas. It was awesome. Our public school had an outdoor rink and I would wear that jersey and skate for hours – pretending to be Darryl Sittler taking on the dreaded Bobby Clarke. Sometimes other kids from the neighborhood joined me on the ice – sometimes I skated alone. While heading to a client appointment today, my mind was flooded with this memory and with it came a touch of happiness.

Was this flood of nostalgic memories brought on by seeing some kids playing hockey? Nope. It was brought on by my cup of Tim Horton’s coffee. It is wintertime – and each year Tim Horton’s changes up their to-go cups from the classic brown to include scenes of wintery togetherness. Invoking emotions from childhood can be a powerful tools for marketers. If you can successfully connect your product to positive, rich childhood memories – you will see your sales take off.

Remember when Volkswagen relaunched the Beetle? Dealers had waiting lists of people who happily put down deposits to buy them because of the strong memories of these great cars. Those memories seem to gloss over the facts that they were horrible in the snow, had lousy heaters and brakes that required you to pre-plan upcoming stops.

Tying your service or product to the “Good Old Days” and nostalgia – when done right – will reward your organization with warm feelings and a premium price. If you miss the mark or change the product so it doesn’t invoke the same feelings, be prepared to be punished by the consumer. Using nostalgia in your marketing has a high risk reward attached to it so if you decide to use it, make sure to do your homework.

Now, I am off to see if I can find my skates and take my sons out to make some memories of their own.

Happy Sellng!

Keeping up with the Joneses

I need your help. Before I make my ask of you, let me give you some background…

Do you ever wonder how to get publicity for your business? I often encounter organizations who think ‘publicity’ means writing press releases to the local papers regarding their latest service or product offering. The problem is that most of these releases have no story to them and nothing of interest to write about. If you would like to get your company promoted in the news, consider a page out of Jones Soda’s playbook. As a publicity stunt in 2003, Seattle-based Jones Soda released Turkey and Gravy flavoured soda for the holidays. Yes, you read that correctly.

They produced 6000 bottles of this limited-edition soda. It sold out online in 2 hours and the money went to a local Toys For Tots program. The media attention and national publicity that Jones Soda received could not have been purchased. Every year since, Jones Soda offers new flavoured sodas for the holidays with the proceeds often going to charities. Some of the flavours they have offered includes:

Turkey & Gravy Soda
Green Bean Casserole Soda
Mashed Potato & Butter Soda
Fruitcake Soda
Cranberry Soda
Antacid Soda

These get people talking about Jones Soda. Jones Soda has even started to offer limited edition soda on other special events.

Halloween Limited Edition: 4-pack included: Candy Corn, Caramel Apple, Strawberry Slime and Scary Berry Lemonade

Valentines Limited Edition: 2-pack included: Love Potion #6 soda and Love Potion #6 flavored lip balm.

Seattle Seahawks Collectors’ Pack included: Perspiration, Sports Cream, Natural Field Turf, Dirt, and Sweet Victory.

Easter Limited Edition: Robin’s Egg Lemonade, Chocolate Bunny, and Little Bunny Fufu.

This year’s holiday package flavor was one I was quite excited for… It arrived at my door just a couple of days before US Thanksgiving. Ready for this? Jones Bacon Soda. Yes, bacon lovers. Bacon flavored soda. I love all things bacon. My pack came with 2 Bottles of Jones Bacon Soda, 1 Tube of Bacon Lip Balm, 1 Package of Bacon Popcorn and 1 Package of Bacon Gravy Mix. I think I’ve died and gone to bacon heaven. The problem is – I can’t bring myself to open the bottle. Much like a kid with a treasured piece of candy, I sit and hold it – staring at the label and wondering what it tastes like – but can’t bring myself to twist the cap and give it a taste.

My wife would like to video me tasting carbonated bacon – I think she just wants something to post to her facebook account to amuse her friends. But I can’t decide. I think knowing it is a one-time limited edition has made the decision tough. Do I open it – or don’t I? For the next few days, I’d like to take a poll. What do you think?

Pizza Anyone?

Every couple of days Dominos pizza sends me an offer.  The kids love Dominos, and I have often used their on-line service to order a pizza for pick up on my way home.  The Dominos emails are graphically appealing, well written, and they offer specials only for email customers.  I have only one problem with their advertising – they send it to me at 8:30 AM.  I’m not in college anymore, so the last thing I am thinking about at 8:30 AM is pizza.  Honestly, the photo makes me feel a little queasy.  Cheesy, gooey pizza and chicken wings don’t go well with my morning coffee.

The problem Dominos now has is that is their coupon will now be buried in my daily barrage of email.  It possibly will get deleted before the window of opportunity comes along in which I might place an order.  Dominos knows my location because when I signed up for the online service, it asked me my province.  I guess maybe Dominos is just to lazy – or hasn’t thought about the implications of something such as email timing – to segment their data.  Because of that, they are missing a prime opportunity.  Something as simple as a change of the delivery time of that email to 4:00 PM and it is likely that my reaction and redemption rate would dramatically change.   A small detail like email delivery time can be the difference between a big success or a big failure.

Swagger Wagon

Social Media gives you the opportunity to tell a much larger story than traditional media. Take Toyota’s “Swagger Wagon” campaign.  The kick off piece is a two minute and thirty six second video. Followed by a twenty one shorter videos all to help promote the Sienna mini van.

The Swagger Wagon video has been viewed over 4 million times on You Tube. Think of it in context to television and the cost involved to have your 30 second commercial shown on say American Idol. It makes me wonder why more companies are not embracing social media as an option.

All In

Yesterday I spoke about dividing your marketing materials in to smaller, more relevant and targeted pieces. The first comment I received on that post was typical of what I often hear. “My customer base is too varied to allow me to divide up my marketing materials like you suggest.”

It is tempting to believe that everyone is a prospective customer. It is so tempting to add a little bit of everything to your product offerings so you can appeal to everyone. The problem with this approach is you often appeal to no one in particular. Your message gets watered down. You become another generic business in a sea of generic businesses. I have seen time and again that a wide and varied customer base goes hand in hand with poor sales results and lack of focus. The better a business knows and understands their customer demographics – the more efficient their sales and marketing tend to be.

When you go all in, your attention and effort are focused. Do you have the guts to go all-in for a targeted customer base? Are you all in?

Anticipation is Making Me Wait

The advertising campaign theme song used by Heinz Ketchup has been coming back to me in my office commute over the last couple of weeks.  On the side of the highway I noticed a small construction project.  Because of the location it struck me a little odd, and I had a number of thoughts about what it could be.

The little structure seemed to get a bit bigger each day and on day three I realized that it was a new “Welcome to West Kelowna” sign.  I must admit – as I pass each day I look to see if the sign has been revealed yet.  I am curious as to what this will look like.  It seems like other people are also interested.  Three times now I have seen cars stopped by the side of the road and people heading up the embankment to see what is under the blue tarp covering the sign.  This is where the anticipation comes in and a good example of how it can be an effective marketing tool for your business.

Steve Jobs at Apple uses anticipation to build excitement about new products months before they are ever released.  Anticipation builds as new bits of information are made public.  When done correctly, anticipation does three things:

Anticipation builds buzz and conversation as people start to talk about you and you new release.

Anticipation builds traffic as customers and prospects go to your web site to find out the latest information on what you are doing.

Anticipation builds sales as customers and prospects decide that this is a product/service they must have.  The wait adds to the feeling that you must get the product or services as soon as it is released.  It builds demand.

So next time you are going to release a website, product or service, tease the release to your audience.  Offer sneak peaks and just portions of the features in advance to whet the appetite of your audience.

Two warnings before you try this at home:
Release on time.  Late release could turn all that buzz into negativity in a big hurry.
Don’t over promise or over hype the product.  Save some of the features and benefits as a surprise.  We will cover surprise in a later post… Stay tuned…