Flying back from Atlanta yesterday, I purchased and attempted to read through the September issue of WIRED magazine.
Talk about “57 Channels and Nothin’ On”. I’ve been in the business for more than three decades now and I still had to struggle to figure out where the editorial started and the advertising ended. And when all was said and done, the advertising was more interesting and more informative than most of the editorial.
Once upon a time in America, news actually had value. Now everything is pitched as news. A tweet of Anthony Weiner’s wiener is news. And the real news is so sensationalized and overhyped, it appears to be a farce. As I watched Jim Cantore on the Weather Channel last night hunkered at the intersection of Hurricane Isaac and Cheap Ratings Avenue, I couldn’t help but wonder when the world became so… patronized?
It’s probably just me. I know many people (mostly my age) who live for their daily newspaper and their nightly TV news. And I know an equal number of people (mostly not my age) who salivate with each news alert that appears on their iPhone and each new Tweet they receive.
But for my taste, it mostly all sucks.
I am ever so grateful to those handful of news resources that continue to fight the good fight. People like Charlie Rose on PBS who actually understand what a newsworthy story is (even when it is an entertainment story) and deliver it in an engaging format. Magazines like Fast Company that provide meaningful and interesting insight in a well-designed publication. And even shows like ABC Nightline that at least attempt to deliver real news in a professional and entertaining manner.
I guess the only good news (pun intended) is that when news is finally taken off of life support and allowed to take its last breath, we won’t know, since no one will be there to report it.
The study, conducted for a national cereal brand, presented consumers with two cereal boxes – the company’s current cereal box with no eco-friendly claims and a cereal box made with sugarcane bagasse that featured eco-friendly packaging claims. When told the price and the cereal in the box were identical, one in six consumers expressed purchasing preferences for the eco-friendly box.
However, when the same consumers were told the cereal was the same but the price was 10 percent higher for the eco-friendly packaging, 2 to 1 chose the cheaper box that was not environmentally friendly.
The bottom line: Consumer attitudes are not changing. Cheaper still beats eco-friendlier. And we are talking females ages 25-45! They want to save the environment, but they prefer to save their household budgets.
For more information on the study, click here.
Fact: We Americans love our fast food.
Fact: The medical community and the Federal government are doing everything in their power to lead us onto a healthier path.
Fact: We Americans love our fast food.
A recent survey by Harris Interactive looked into consumer quick-service restaurant (aka fast food) preferences. And for the first time, the top slot went to the world’s foremost sub-sandwich chain: Subway – the “eat fresh” and “lose weight” QSR! Subway is the top QSR chain on the Harris list, with an approval ranking of 73.07 (out of a possible 100.00). And it continues to win nutritional kudos as well. In a recent Consumer Reports ranking of breakfast sandwiches (of 106 sandwiches tested) only 6 ranked as “very good” nutritionally, and all 6 of those were from Subway.
That’s promising, right? Until you see that Dairy Queen ranks second in preference behind Subway. And DQ is followed by Wendy’s, Five Guys, Chick-Fil-A, McDonalds and Burger King.
So in the grand scheme of things, burgers and ice cream and french fries and chicken sandwiches and all sorts of other good mood foods, including pizza and hot dogs and anything coated with barbecue sauce and cheese continue to rule.
Fact: We Americans love our fast food. But we are making progress, one baby step at a time.
Inundated with media kits, phone calls and too many choices for your ad dollars? Take a deep breath. Allocating your advertising dollars is not about applying some mathematical formula. It’s about your overall goals for your ad campaign, what you want to accomplish with your ads, and who you want to reach… and how much money you have to spend.
Keep in mind there are endless advertising possibilities out there, especially now in the digital age. The biggest mistake you can make is spreading yourself too thin.
1. Depending on your goals, advertising may involve a mix of online and print media. But with diversification comes the risk of spreading yourself – and your budget – thin.
2. Do your research. Don’t take ad proposals at face value. Explore all offerings using media kits, and if it’s a publication, make sure to request a BPA statement to confirm circulation and target audience.
3. Consider testing competitive outlets and media using the same creative. Track the results and see what was more effective.
4. Don’t hesitate to ask for something different – or even ask for more. Proposals aren’t the end-all be-all. Many ad reps are willing to work with you and your budgets to help meet your needs. Oftentimes they are also willing to use test campaigns as a way to secure long-term commitments.
Resistance may be futile, but acceptance is insane.
Yes, the convenience of paying your dog walker or your baby sitter with a credit card instead of cash may seem alluring. But at what price? You are inviting the world to take an exclusive and all-inclusive peak into your personal diary.
Talk about insidious, the reader is free (just like the first snort of cocaine… on the house). And users are encouraged to share their world with the rest of the world. This way Square can have “a better understanding of their reputation in the ecosystem.”
Yes, those are the precise words of Square founder Jack Dorsey. He wants to know everything about you so he can protect you from fraud. Suddenly “transparency” has a whole new meaning. Square isn’t looking at your payment history, they are looking at your social media history. Through Square you can be completely naked to anyone and everyone who wants to know what you do and where you do it and how you do it. You are officially the biggest, fattest target on the street.
And why is Howard Schultz (Starbucks) so interested? In the words of the Borg, “Resistance is futile. Negotiation is irrelevant. You will be assimilated.” And oh yeah, there is money to be made here.
I have heard some talk lately that 50, which used to be the new 40, is now the new 30. That’s just great. It’s not enough to be young at heart anymore, you actually have to be young… or at least act like you are younger than you really are.
Perhaps this is the reason why energy drinks – a product once relegated to pimply boys on skateboards – reached nearly $7 billion in sales last year, outpacing bottled water by $200 million. And we are not just talking Red Bull and Monster Energy and Rockstar, we’re also talking Starbucks and Jamba Juice and V8. Main Street marketing, baby.
Because while teenagers will put just about anything into their bellies that tastes good and gives them a sugar high, 50-year-olds (and 40-year-olds and 60-year-olds) want to be healthy and natural.
According to a recent story in Food Product Design, “the greatest long-term opportunities in energy likely still exist firmly in the beverage sector—but with a decidedly “natural” spirit (think whole-food ingredients, juices, tea, whole grains, etc.).” Better still, the article reports “Aging consumers regularly cite a desire to have sufficient energy for the day’s activities.”
In other words, “We may be the new 30, but we are tired, and we would like to be laying in a hammock on a beach, but we cannot afford to retire, so we must keep working, and we cannot take drugs without a prescription (or the risk of arrest), and we really don’t want to mess up our bodily functions (we’re talking urination, bowel movements and erectile functionality here), so can someone please give us an all-natural and apparently healthy energy boost to help us make it through the day?”
If that’s not a marketing opportunity waiting to happen, I’d like to know what is.