Jon Michaeli’s Blog

Examples of good recessionary marketing

Posted in Uncategorized by Jon Michaeli on January 28, 2009
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In challenging economic times, it is even more important to infuse creativity in your marketing campaigns, especially for high-priced discretionary items. You need to compel people to buy your product today given all the risk and uncertainty out there.

Where do you begin? Well, as always you need to address head on the primary pain points of your target customer. In a recession, these pain points likely will have shifted in priority. Here are two of the more innovative campaigns I have found so far.

Hotels Trade Stays for Stocks – Elite Island Resort customers can purchase a stay with a choice of 100 S&P stocks, their share values rolled back to pre-collapse, July 1. What could be better? No loss on your investment, and no need to spend cash.

Hyundai’s Economic Stimulus Package – Amidst one of the softest markets for new cars in recent history, Hyundai allows people to buy a vehicle, then return it if they lose their income in 2009. Right on. 90+% of the population is still employed, but we’re all in fear of losing our jobs, which is making matters worse.


Snickers ads good but not a home run

Posted in Uncategorized by Jon Michaeli on January 28, 2009
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I really like the Snickers TV spots where you see banners and billboards spelling out “Nougatocity”, “Substantialicious” and “Peanutopolis” on the wrapper where you would typically find the brand name “Snickers.”

The other day, I picked up a Snickers at the check out counter and “Nougatocity” was written on the wrapper of the candy bar itself. Pretty cool I thought. I then realized that “Snickers” was written on the other side. Too bad.

Snickers is such a powerful brand, and the packaging is so instantly recognizable, why didn’t Mars have the guts to take the big “Snickers” name off the candy bar entirely? Sure, using the contrived terms alone would have been a riskier strategy, but such a stunt would have had people really talking.

Turner Broadcasting needs a grammar lesson

Posted in Uncategorized by Jon Michaeli on January 28, 2009
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I admit I’m no English grammar expert, so perhaps I’m speaking out of turn here. But I believe if you’re going to put a marketing message in front of millions of viewers, you should go through an intensive enough review process to make sure you get it right. So, yes I’m a stickler for grammar, and I can’t help that when used incorrectly in an overt fashion, it negatively impacts my impression of the offender. In my view, large corporations should be embarrassed when they repeatedly make highly visible mistakes, especially with seasoned copywriters and editors on staff.

Have you watched a movie on TBS or TNT lately? In the lower left corner of the screen in large letters, the phrase “More Movie, Less Commercials” is periodically displayed throughout every movie. I cringe every time I see it. “More Movie, Fewer Commercials” is the correct phrase.

I’m sure Turner’s writers refer to a trusty style guide when drafting copy, but perhaps a 7th grade English grammar book should be on the desk as well.

Coke Zero vs. Pepsi One – A marketer’s perspective

Posted in Uncategorized by Jon Michaeli on January 28, 2009
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Coke really got the best of this one. Pepsi was first to market with a new better tasting diet soda, launched over 10 years ago in Oct. 1998. The ad campaign featuring Cuba Gooding Jr. (very popular at the time thanks in huge part to his role in Jerry Maguire) was actually quite effective. Ten years later, along comes sucralose (Splenda) and the Coke Zero launch.

While I understand and appreciate the significance of the word “One” in “Pepsi One” (i.e. it has just one calorie), psychologically speaking, you cannot beat “Zero”. In terms of consumer perception and propensity to purchase, it’s a lot like comparing the difference between “Free” and “90% off”. Nothing can compare to “Free”.

In addition, somehow Coke Zero has alluded the categorization as a diet soda, at least by some percentage of the population. Recently I was on a flight, and I asked the flight attendant to list the diet soda options. She ran through them but didn’t mention Coke Zero.  When I asked about Coke Zero, she replied, “Yes, we have that too.” I have had similar experiences on at least two other occasions.

After doing additional non-scientific research, it seems Coke has been successful not only in creating a better tasting diet soda, but also in convincing many Coke loyalists to make the switch. You could make the case then that Coke Zero will simply cannibalize sales of both the regular and diet varieties. I would argue, however, that a diet that truly tastes like the real thing, will increase overall demand; diet drinkers will drink more because it tastes better (and Splenda has fewer proven long-term side effects – though the jury is still out on that one), and regular drinkers will drink more because every can consumed won’t expand their waist lines.

Hello world!

Posted in Uncategorized by Jon Michaeli on January 27, 2009

Welcome to my blog. I don’t plan to have a set “theme”, but in general, it will draw attention to innovative marketing ideas as I become aware of them, my noteworthy experiences with Customer Service (both good and bad), and daily observations that I feel compelled to comment on. You might notice a Seinfeld bent to my posts. 🙂