I Am.. Authentic?

What makes an advertisement authentic?  Is it the product, or the ways in which marketers try to make the product seem appealing to you, the consumer?  In today’s society, companies are constantly trying to discover the next great idea that can sell a product.  Whether it is a new logo on the product or a new commercial you see on TV, they are all aiming towards the trend of being considered “authentic.”

 

Let’s take this Dr. Pepper commercial for example.  An uplifting ad telling you to embrace your “inner you” by breaking out of your everyday routine and go with the crowd of people that are all doing the same.  What is this commercial really trying to say, that the product is authentic, or the consumer is authentic?  Do people who want to express themselves drink Dr. Pepper?  This is authentic right?  You are going against the norm by showing off your “inner you” and storming the streets in joy.  But in actuality this ad is the furthest thing from authentic.  The entire commercial is just a clever new way that a corporation spent millions of dollars on to get you to buy their product.  They want to appear authentic to consumers because that notion of scarcity and realism is what is driving the consumer market today.

This is a common misconception among today’s society; the secure feeling of knowing the product you are buying is authentic.  Companies are trying to persuade you into buying their product because of how exclusive and different it is from all the rest; when in actuality, most of them are comparable to one another and the methods they take to explain that to you are exactly the same.

Dr. Pepper is not the only product employing this notion of authenticity.  It seems that this effort must be working because these products are still thriving.  Are the products you buy and consume daily producing authentic advertisements?  Are these advertisements the reason you choose their brand, their product?  And are these products authentic or are you, the consumer authentic?

- Jessie Butner, Meaghan Beam, Zach Abramo, Jack Lane

Does Humor Sell?

During the 2010 NFL Super Bowl, Old Spice started a new marketing campaign, releasing the above commercial online and on television. It quickly became the “number one all-time most viewed” branded channel on Youtube. How did they achieve that success? By targeting women, who dominate the body wash market, and men with humor, it created for the first time a topic of conversation for couples around the nation. The marketing team also showed the commercials in certain movies where there was a “high amount of couples” were projected to go. So because of the topic of conversation that was generating millions of hits on YouTube, women began to buy Old Spice for their husbands and boyfriends so that they could “smell like the man your man can smell like.”

But how did this campaign have continued success? Old Spice continued to use the “man your man can smell like” guy and let him interact with fans all over the internet who would ask him random questions that he would answer in his fashion. In one day alone Old Spice generated more hits on Youtube than Obama’s presidential victory speech, on day two he had 8 of 11 top videos on Youtube, and by the end had over 40 million people view his videos.

The success of this campaign is astounding considering that ; the brands twitter following increased 2700%, Facebook fan interaction went up 800%, and traffic to the Old Spice website increased 300%. This made the bottom line of the company increased 107% 10 months after the release of the first Old Spice commercial.

Shortly afterwards many companies have tried to have the same success, copying the Old Spice guy commercials to a certain degree but still enjoying some success. By making some of the funniest and memorable commercials of all-time Old Spice increased their brand awareness while making people laugh and had one of the most amazing marketing campaigns for a business ever. So does humor sell? This guy thinks so.

Ally WaltonLauren HabigErin KiffmeyerHannah EureGene Lee

“Google Chrom-otional”

The number one purpose of television commercials is to make the consumers believe they need a product. Many companies rely on humor or a catchy jingle to gain interest in their product. Another tactic that can be a tad more difficult to accomplish involves making that emotional connection with the viewers. Evoking an emotional response through the use of commercials has proven especially hard to do these days. It is difficult for companies to make an emotional impact on their viewers with such little air time. Additionally, companies face the difficulty of connecting the commercial’s story-line to the lives of a diverse group of viewers. Despite these challenges, Google Chrome has released a series of commercials that have actually been able to tug at the heartstrings of many viewers.

These new advertisements not only display all the features that Google Chrome has to offer, but they are also able to leave a lasting impression on those who watch them. This emotional connection Google is able to make with the audience sets their advertising apart from competitors. They do this by using the short time of the commercial slot wisely. Instead of trying to get a jingle stuck in your head, they create what could be described as incredibly short films. By telling the audience a story, Google does more than show the audience a product. The audience feels a connection with the characters in the commercial. This type of connection is what Google is counting on. Their slogan “the web is what you make of it” gives the consumer the creative freedom to express themselves in any way, shape, or form. It challenges us to showcase our thoughts and to put ourselves out there in a way that has not been possible before. This is Google’s way of saying, “look what has been done, what will you do?”

Google has also conquered an even harder challenge with this advertising campaign. Making superstars relatable is a challenge many people face working in the entertainment industry. Google managed it in just around one minute. One might think using Lady Gaga as a spokesperson would make a product seem out of touch with this world. However, Google focused in on how she draws support from her fans and showers them with love. All the while she is encouraging them to be who they are. It is hard not to be a Lady Gaga fan after watching the video. This is what makes Google Chrome’s campaign so successful. Not only does their product look good and have celebrity endorsement, the celebrity also looks good and the fans feel included in the production of the commercial as well. Everyone wins.

Google Chrome has also recently made a commercial depicting the interaction between a father and daughter. The daughter, Jess, is struggling to find her place away at college and her father is her main support system as her mother has passed away. The commercial demonstrates the benefits of using Google Chrome to communicate and presents the ability to support loved ones even though they may be miles away. This commercial touches not only the hearts of homesick college students but also the parents suffering from empty nest syndrome. Suddenly, Google Chrome is a light in the confusing darkness and it can satisfy all of a family’s communication needs. Again, everyone wins.

Google Chrome has taken a risk by using an emotional appeal in their recent commercials, straying away from the many humorous or just downright strange commercials aired today. The integration of Google Chrome as an instrument to change human behavior is a major move on Google’s part. The notion that we can use Google Chrome to improve the way we live our lives is bold, but after all… the web is what you make of it.

- Alexandra Huss, Caroline Merrill, Alyssa Morrello, Lauren Van Trigt, Dann Williams

The Lack of New Advertising Ideas Leads to Controversy

In the world of advertising, it is becoming increasingly difficult to come up with creative ideas. One market that has witnessed this first hand is the automobile industry.  Car companies are constantly trying to create flashy commercials to catch the eye of the consumer.  Newer companies have felt even more pressure to stand out in order to be successful and survive.

The company Fiat first released the Fiat 500 in the USA in March 2011. Their most recent commercial gained success, but it also came with controversy. Since Fiat is an Italian company and Italy is where their business originated, they decided that an immigration theme for advertising would deem most successful in gaining support. The commercial, titled “Immigrants,” depicts a bunch of self-driving cars driving around in Italy until they eventually all drive into the ocean. They resurface in New York and the commercial announces, “The next wave of Italians has come to America, and they’ve come to party. The Italian-Designed Fiat 500.”

Although many thought that the commercial was a stab at the immigration issue disrupting American political waters, Oliver Francois (head of the Fiat brand and chief marketing officer at the Chrysler group) commented “I’m aware that this is a country where you can expect controversy, but we’re just trying to connect the product in the USA to its Italian heritage. Putting the 500 in its context is what we need to do.” He also stated that there is no reference to the vehicles as immigrants, nor to the abnormal way they arrive on the American soil.  Francois obviously disregarded the fact that the commercial was bluntly titled “Immigrants.”

This particular Fiat commercial is not the only one that has made headlines for controversial reasons.  There are many other examples of ways that advertisers have tried to take a new, innovative approach but failed miserably.  Another example includes that Lung Cancer Alliance’s attempt to fit in with modern day society.  Their billboards consisted of slogans such as “Hipsters deserve to die” and “Cat lovers deserve to die,” insinuating these people should die as opposed to lung cancer victims.  While it is dually noted that someone at these advertising agencies should have exercised more common sense, these examples show just how difficult it is for agencies to find new ways to advertise.  In an age where we are more advanced than ever, there are limited ways left to make advertisements new and exciting, which is what gets people listening and eventually buying.

-Sasha De Vecchi, Lindsay Gallagher, Jay Reilly, Cary Welborn

Apple vs. Everyone Else: Are Ads the Key to Success?

Which smartphone is the best? That’s been the million dollar question since Apple first launched the iPhone in 2007 and forever changed the standard for mobile phones. Since then, brands such as Samsung, HTC, and Motorola have tried to answer this question with some pretty impressive designs.  Even though these brands may have the same, if not better features than the iPhone, Apple still reigns supreme in the smartphone market. How do you even compete with a brand as beloved as Apple? The answer is quite simple: you take a page out of Apple’s book and create an ad that highlights all of your competitor’s shortcomings.

For three and a half years, Apple fiercely convinced the general public that a Mac computer was far superior to a Windows PC through a total of sixty-six commercials.  Each ad featured well-known actor, Justin Long, as the cool, hip Mac computer while conversely portraying the PC as a more formal, suit and tie individual.  The main point of these commercials was to emphasize weaknesses in PC’s and highlight all of Apple’s best features.  Not only were the commercials a hit with the general public, but they also solidified the idea that Apple would always be the superior brand for computers.

Five days ago, Samsung premiered a new commercial for their newest smartphone, the Galaxy S3. The entire commercial, spanning one and a half minutes, essentially diminished all of the new features of the iPhone 5. For every “new” feature the iPhone 5 offered up, the Galaxy S3 countered with bigger and better ones. After viewing this commercial, one might start to question whether or not the iPhone 5 is really all that it’s cracked up to be. If you were to do some research, you would find that multiple technology sites named Samsung’s Galaxy S3 as the clear winner for the best smartphone of 2012 over Apple’s iPhone 5. While many other sites proclaim the iPhone 5 to be the superior choice, it’s not hard to see that the Galaxy S3 performs just as well if not better than the iPhone 5. But will Samsung’s Galaxy S3 outsell the iPhone 5? Probably not.

So why is the iPhone still the reigning champion of cell phones among consumers? It begs the question: is Apple indeed the superior brand or do they just have a stellar marketing team with brand name advantage? You decide.

- Nicole Betterbid, Rachel Betterbid, Lucy Rojo, Shauna Seaver, Sierra Scellato

Drink Neuro: Functional Beverage, Functional Branding?

Founded in 2007 by Diana Jenkins, Neuro has become a premium functional beverage.  The beverages slogan “Light it Up” hints at the drinks infusion of science to spark the body’s reaction in order for consumers to live and not merely exist.  Neuro provides a beverage that ignites your passions and stimulates your mind, fueling consumers to live life in color.  Neuro created a beverage for a healthier life through vitamin D and appetite control.

Image

The creator, Diana Jenkins creatively designed each Neuro bottle to be fully recyclable.  There are 8 flavors of Neuro water, all only 35 calories, and none contain artificial flavors or colors.  Some of the flavors include neuroTRIM, which slows your appetite, neuroSONIC to increase your ability to focus, neuroSLEEP to help you rest, and neuroGASM, which makes your blood flow.

Do these drinks actually do what Neuro promotes or is it just a giant branding stunt to help sell their product?  According to warnings on each bottle or Neuro, the statements made by the company have never been evaluated by the Federal Drug Administration and are not to be used as daily supplements.  This makes it seem that the statements made by the company are purely for branding purposes and to catch the consumer’s attention.

Following these claims Neuro has completed other stunts in order to hitch their brand image.  We all know the saying sex sells and Neuro hopped on the idea by publishing photo shopped images of half naked women covered in Neuro beverages.  By surfing the Internet for Neuro ads there are three main photos of headless, half clothed women, all which read “It’s All About You.”  Are these photos also how they hope to create their brand image or is it just another way to draw attention to their product?

Image

Neuro is a fairly new product and company; it is vital that the company produces a strong brand image.  It is those companies who are able to create that positive brand image that successfully compete with competitors.  Neuro sounds like a new trendy beverage but are they employing the right tactics to brand themselves effectively.   Neuro is a functional beverage but are their branding methods functional?

- Jessie Butner, Meaghan Beam, Zach Abramo, Jack Lane

Walmart: A Rebranding Genius.

Consumers all over the world are becoming more savvy and sophisticated with each passing year. In order to survive in today’s marketplace, companies have to update and revitalize their identity while retaining brand equity. This is the unavoidable challenge that companies must face. Brands are struggling to maintain relevance in the eyes of evolving consumers and even the most established companies have to undergo brand re-inventions. Losing loyal customers in an effort to attract new ones is always a pitfall of making a possible change for the worse… but that’s just a risk many brands are willing to take.

Walmart had one of the most successful rebranding campaigns ever. It is the world’s largest retailer and one of the most distinguishable brands in history. Since its first store opening in 1962, Walmart has evolved from a rural American company to a globally recognized corporation. Historically criticized for having hostile corporate practices, mistreating employers, and being a target for environmentalists, Walmart reconsidered their brand identity and took action in creating a fresh image for their company.

In 2008, Lippincott brand designers developed a strategy to shift the focus of Walmart from just low prices to an overall positive shopping experience. They unveiled the new tag line “Save money. Live Better.” to highlight the emotional benefits of shopping at Walmart. They hoped to get the message across to consumers that spending less allows people to live better lives, not only save money.

Image

A new logo and innovative store design was also implemented. The logo no longer showed a choppy, antiquated Wal-Mart; it now showed a fluid, refreshing Walmart. The star in between all caps was replaced by a bright orange starburst for a finishing touch. The new store design included higher ceiling, lower shelves, wider aisles, and a color palette of vibrant orange, yellow, and green. The signaling of Walmart’s appetizing products in the grocery department and the creation of a more enjoyable and friendly shopping environment was the goal of the new design.

Image

This rebranding campaign proved to be a tremendous success for Walmart. The customer ratings for how “clean,” “fast,” and “friendly” Walmart is increased radically between 2008 and 2010. Not even the Walmart haters can deny that in the world of branding, Walmart takes the crown.

-Erin Kiffmeyer, Hannah Eure, Ally Walton, Lauren Habig, Eugene Lee