Advertising

The 2016 Pirelli Calendar and Staying on Top of Cultural Changes

Yao

Earlier this week, the 2016 Pirelli calendar made the news for its radical departure from past years’ editions.  It’s not so much marketing news but I wanted to recognize the impact of the change they made this year to the calendar.

The Pirelli calendar has always been known for its choice of models and overtly sexy photo shoots.  Over the years, the calendar has featured Hollywood stars and “IT” models of the moment in the fashion industry.  Not only that, the women were always dressed and posed provocatively (if not topless altogether).

This year however, photographer Annie Leibovitz took a major departure with her set of photographs for the 2016 caelndar.  Instead of selecting fashion models or actresses, Leibovitz selected a group of accomplished women, all with significant contributions to their name.  The 2016 calendar features Serena Williams, a top ranked tennis player, American author Fran Lebowitz, businesswoman Mellody Hobson, humanitarian Yao Chen amongst others.

As well, gone are the beaches and the exotic locales! The 2016 set were all shot in black and white in a studio. All the models were photographed in their element, looking strong, majestic and authentic.

In fact, I would even say they were sexy!

Pirelli is just one of many companies that have recognized the need to recognize strength in women.  Strength, not just as in physical strength but their intellect, their courage to ‘lean in’ and their willingness to break barriers.  These companies have listened to their consumers, felt the shift in expectations and have risen to meet them.

With one photo shoot, the 140 year-old tire manufacturer showed that they could still be relevant.  After all, women are capable of bringing so much more to the table than being subjects in a photo shoot set of pretend reality!

Companies that have not recognized this monumental shift are faced with harsh consequences.  (See most recently, Bic’s attempt to market to women with their sexist ad).  Today’s consumers are very tough critics afterall!  So, from a marketing perspective, companies must stay in tune with public perception and recognize these shifts in culture. Yes, culture does evolve all the time which means that as organizations, you have to be in tune with what your customers care about and what they are talking about.

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Talking About Tourism Marketing

One of my greatest passions (aside from marketing, of course) is travelling.  I love seeing new places, learning about other cultures and getting inspired by local marketing and advertising too. I am currently planning for my next adventure – in about a month’s time, we will be heading to beautiful Alaska!

When I research and plan my travel itineraries, I usually like to head over to the local tourism websites.  They are usually a great resource with planning tools and links to upcoming events, restaurants, must see hot spots and even promotions. In recent years, I’ve noticed so many non-profit tourism marketing organizations branch out from their website and venture into new digital mediums for their marketing.  From Instagram accounts to Vine videos, contests and even working with local bloggers to help highlight what their cities have to offer – from an outsider’s perspective, it definitely looks like a fun industry to be in!

I would say that the industry as a whole has really upped their game! Just take a look at the major difference in these 2 videos, created 4 years apart. Granted, they are not from the same organization but I think it depicts just how much the industry has grown in recent years!

This video from Tourism Jasper popped up in YouTube while I was searching for videos on Alaska. I say, ad dollars well spent there!


Title: Venture Beyond
Agency: Stormy Lake Consultants and C&B Advertising
Client: Tourism Jasper

The respective websites also tell a very different story.  The Travel Alaska site is a bit chunkier to use and researching on my phone proved to be difficult since many of the pages were text-heavy. The main focus was on Alaska’s natural beauty (no doubt what the majority of visitors are looking for). There were also many layers with a lot of information buried deeper into the site.  I wonder if many of the readers delved as far as I did (or if I was just a tad bit less patient than the average user… ;D )

Tourism Jasper Venture Beyond

On the other hand, the Tourism Jasper site was highly visual. The pictures highlighted not only of Jasper’s natural beauty but also the many other activities and experiences the destination had to offer.  It incorporated Instagram and benefited from the efforts spent on social media. While the site also presented a lot of information, there were fewer layers (and fewer clicks to get to information).  The site also made it very easy to connect with local vendors for accommodations, food and activities.

While I will be proceeding with my trip to Alaska, the exposure to the “Venture Beyond” video from Tourism Jasper has certainly opened my eyes to what Jasper has to offer.  It might be time to start exploring my own country!

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Ram Truck Targets the Elusive Female Truck Buyers

I saw this ad from Ram Trucks the other day – and it really blew me away.  It wasn’t so much the content of the ad but the fact that it was Ram Trucks targeting the female market. How very different and yet, awesome at the same time!  I think I am so conditioned to seeing truck ads with heavy rock music, rugged terrains, and trucks pulling something heavy that seeing this one really threw me in for a loop.  Picking up on the female empowerment theme, Ram Trucks does a good job of sending an inspirational message that is strong yet feminine.

Check it out:

Title: Courage is Already Inside
Agency: The Richards Group
Client: Ram Trucks

Accompanied by a short caption “Have you ever thought you just didn’t have anything left in the tank? Well — you do. Guts. Glory. Ram.”, the ad is just so powerfully and thematically effective.

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Looking into this further, it seems that Ram Trucks also partnered with country singer Miranda Lambert to create this song (or ad?) released back in May titled “Roots and Wing”. “I am very inspired by what the Ram brand stands for — being who you are, working hard, staying true to your roots,” Lambert said in her press release for the song. “I wanted to write a song that would represent all of those things. ‘Roots and Wings’ is personal to me about where I come from and where I am going. The guys at Ram really made the lyrics come to life with the imagery and I hope it speaks to people the way it does to me.” Miranda Lambert is such a great fit for the brand – the perfect mix of country, home grown American roots, strength and mass appeal to cater to the female pickup buyers!


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How to Make the Most of Your Vehicle Wraps

Last week as I was walking to work, I passed by a man standing on the sidewalk starring at a van.  As I was approaching, the man took out his phone and snapped a few photos.  I thought it was a bit odd until I walked by the van myself and noticed a picture of a cleaning bison!

The bison was an illustration but he was fully dressed and using what looked like a carpet cleaner.  It was a cute mascot for the company and it did what mascots are supposed to do for branding – it made the company memorable and top of mind.

Days later, as I was searching online for this company, I remembered the cleaning bison and typed in just that into the Google search bar – ‘Bison cleaning services’.  I didn’t remember the name of the company but the image of the cleaning bison in a service uniform had stuck with me.

Cleaning BisonI found the company (it was the first listing on the SERP). I clicked on the website but unfortunately did not see any cleaning bisons!  I immediately left the website thinking I had clicked on the wrong company.  After further research (because I am persistent), I could not find any other cleaning service providers in my city that referenced a bison so I concluded that the first website I visited must have been the one I was looking for.  Yellow Pages confirmed my suspicions when I saw the cleaning bison in one of their listings for the same company.

This made me realize – while it is useful to brand your company vehicles with promotional decalling, it is equally important to make sure all your other pieces in your advertising mix are consistent and carry the same messaging or look!  When you only have a few seconds to capture someone’s attention as they are driving or walking past your vehicles, they will likely not be able to retain a lot of information.  What they do retain, you have to make sure they will be able to easily make the connection to your website or easily locate your contact information on the web.   This applies to other outdoor advertising as well such as billboards, bus benches and refuse bins for example.

If you are looking for new business, you want to make sure your customers are reaching you when they are searching for you on the web!  (Not everyone will take a photo like the man I walked by on the street!)

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On Repeat – Lord and Taylor’s Handkerchief Dress

Lord & Taylor’s latest campaign will have you seeing double… or 50 times to be more exact.

Last weekend, Lord & Taylor debuted its handkerchief paisley dress from its new Design Lab collection.  The dress didn’t debut on Lord & Taylor’s Instagram feed though. It showed up on the feeds of 50 influential fashion bloggers that were hand-selected to help with the announcement.

I am a regular user of Instagram. Something about the easy, image-focused format makes the app so addicting!  Personally, I love using the app for inspirations on photography, quotes, news and of course, fashion. In the world of fashion blogging, what sets each fashion blogger apart from others is their own sense of individual style.  So imagine my surprise when I saw several bloggers wearing the same paisley handkerchief dress from Lord and Taylor on my feed!

Snowing again 😔 dreaming of a getaway – thanks @lordandtaylor for this dress from their Design Lab collection.

A post shared by Jean | Extra Petite Blog (@jeanwang) on

 

 

Perfect weather for a day at the beach in my #DesignLab dress exclusive to @lordandtaylor #ad

A post shared by Walk In Wonderland • Sheryl (@walkinwonderland) on

After a little digging around, I realized it was a concerted effort by Lord & Taylor to get the word out on their new Design Lab Collection.  The company had selected each of the bloggers for their unique sense of style and of course, their fan base! Each of the bloggers selected had sizeable follower counts – anywhere from 50,000 to 1.4 million followers.

This got me excited about #thedress (haha) but even more so, about the marketing!  In taking this unprecedented move, Lord & Taylor had found the perfect way to reach their target market of 18 – 35 year old fashion conscious women, bringing exposure to the brand in a bold, new way.  Whatever your perception of the brand was (or lack of, in a lot of cases, I bet!), Lord & Taylor had successfully attached itself to some of today’s most respected and followed fashion bloggers in America. This must have injected some new energy into a brand that has  been around since the 1800’s!

I read through some of the comments on the paisley dress photos.  Some followers were genuinely interested in the dress. Others were not so amused – there were a few people who expressed disappointment that their favourite bloggers had ‘sold out’ and received compensation for a a very sponsored post.  But overall, the way I see it – Lord & Taylor is ready to fight for this coveted consumer market and it has entered into the fight in a very bold way! So far the strategy seems to be working, as the sold out within a week!

This has been an interesting campaign to follow! Does this affect the way followers consume these blogger’s editorial content? Will they be more leery now to these fashion ‘collaborations’? or has it been a mutually beneficial exercise for the bloggers and the brand?

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Dare Greatly

I caught this commercial from Cadillac a few weeks back and it left me completely speechless! Not many commercials have left such an impression. See for yourself:


This commercial is part of the ‘Dare Greatly’ campaign by Publicis for the 112 year old iconic brand Cadillac.  The campaign is part of the effort to revitalize the brand and reposition it as an alternative to its German competitors.

The campaign is bold and enlists the stories of today’s innovators, game changers and movers and shakers.  The stories of Steve Wozniak, Jason Wu, Richard Linklater, Njeri Rionge, and Anne Wojciciki are stories that we know and through them, we are able to understand what Cadillac is trying to accomplish.

On the campaign page, Cadillac’s president, Johan de Nysschen
 tells us:

“To once again become the standard for excellence around the globe, we cannot follow any of the examples set by the luxury market “establishment”, nor meekly succumb to preconceived notions about this great brand, or even, perceptions about our rivals. We respect each and every one of our competitors, but Cadillac will chart its own course, and we will speak our own truth.

Cadillac is on a mission to shatter the status quo. Cadillac will lead with highly aspirational products packed with advanced technology, superlative craftsmanship and distinctive design. And a brand character that symbolizes quality and respect. We don’t aim to be the biggest. We aim to be the best, the highly aspirational domain of the few.”

Dare Greatly comes from Theodore Roosevelt’s 1910 ‘Citizenship in a Republic’ speech – “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Dare Greatly Cadillac

Cadillac pulls inspirations from figures past and present for their big revival and produces something great and daring!  While these stories resonate so powerfully, I wondered about how they were selected.  Richard Linklater, Anne Wojcicik and Steve Wozniak as we know are all American. However, Jason Wu and Njeri Rionge are Taiwanese-Canadian and Kenya respectively. I wondered if featuring all American stories would not have helped the brand showcase their all-American heritage even more!  Check out the rest of the videos and the letter from the president here.

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Movie Watching: Chef and the Use of Social Media

Chef Movie Jon Favreau

I just finished watching Chef – a feel good movie about a chef who loses his restaurant and bounces back by starting up a food truck.  As with every good movie, there is a journey and chef Carl’s takes him from Miami back home to Los Angeles. Along the way, he finds his passion again, regains his dignity and reunites with his family.

But why am I writing about it here?  Well, in the movie, chef Carl has a very public breakdown after being called out by a food critic.  The breakdown is captured by nearby by-standers and made worse by going viral on the Internet. When he attempts to respond on Twitter (without understanding fully how Twitter works, I might add) he accidentally starts a (very public) war with the food critic that results in him losing his job at the restaurant.  The marketing nerd in me was very amused by how Twitter was incorporated into the movie.  Later, he has an opportunity to take over a food truck in Miami, thus beginning his ‘journey of self-awareness’.  His 10 year old, tech-savvy, marketing genius of a son, Percy decides to join in on the road trip, along with Carl’s sous chef/good friend, Martin.  They re-invent themselves and El Jefe, the Cuban food sensation / food truck was born. Throughout the road trip, which takes them from Miami to New Orleans to Austin and finally home to Los Angeles, Percy tweets, vines, and uses a Facebook page to promote the food truck and saves his dad’s bruised reputation.  The marketing nerd in me loved the idea.  Percy was an absolute little marketing genius! He posted real moments captured on the trip and allowed the public to get to know the chef – offering the real human side that people didn’t know before he had his breakdown.  He tweeted live updates to let the crowds know where they were and what they were doing.  He made Vine videos to capture the moments and in the end, compiled an edited video of 1 second clips captured throughout the trip.  What amazing content to do marketing with!  Throughout the movie, I was reminded of how important it is to be real with your customers.  After all, as Seth Godin says “Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but about the stories you tell.”

Consumers now a days are so used to advertising and so skeptical to marketing ‘lies’ and half truths. Even when they are not lies, consumers just assume the worst. That is why it’s so important to find other ways to speak to your customers – such as using testimonials or showing results.  But what’s also interesting for consumers too is understanding the ‘why’ behind why you do what you do, sell what you sell, etc. Letting them know your vulnerabilities, your passions makes your brand more relatable, more human even and therefore more trust-worthy.

Anyway, it was a fun movie to watch. A bit long at times but with Sofia Vergara playing Carl’s ex-wife, John Leguizamo as the trusty side kick / sous chef and Jon Favreau as the chef you can’t help but root for, it definitely was a light-hearted, fun watch.  Plus, as I was looking up the links for this movie, I found out that Jon Favreau actually trained with real life chef Roy Choi to prepare for this role.  The duo even brought El Jefe to life and served the truck’s signature ‘Cubano’ sandwiches in LA! There were even plans to open up an El Jefe restaurant too – the ultimate marketing move for cross promotion!

Here’s a chef Carl getting a lesson on Twitter from his son, Percy:

 

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