Elvis Plates Not Selling in Tennessee

Elvis TN plate

The Wall St. Journal Health Blog reports that a set of special edition Elvis license plates is NOT selling well in Tennessee. The plates were created to raise money for the Elvis Presley Trauma Center in Memphis (hence the Health Blog connection–but who knew there was such a thing?) and they’re 200 short of the 1,000 pre-orders they need to start production.

The problem is that you have to be a Tennessee resident to buy one. Among Tennessee residents, the Elvis brand is apparently saturated. And, to make matters worse, the Elvis plate has to compete against the other 150 specialty plates available in Tennessee.
The cherry on top of this story is this quote from the center’s director, wondering why the research they did led them wrong:

“We did some focus groups and tested out a couple of different plates and the one that resonated the most with people across the state of Tennessee was the one with Elvis on it,” she said. “It’s a classy image that you wouldn’t be offended having on the back of your car.”

Illustrating once again the fallacy that research will lead you to the right answer.


Weird Converter

Ad agencies love weird factoids. But they can be a pain in the butt to find. Weird Converter makes coming up with length or weight-related weird factoids so easy, it feels like cheating.
Did you know…

  • The Golden Gate Bridge is 155 1/2 Weinermobiles long?
  • Or that a blue whale weighs 1,750 Tom Cruises?

I hope you all appreciate that I have kept the examples free of excrement or genitalia. But Weird Converter also gives you those options.

More Silly Nameplay

My alarm clock wakes me up with NPR’s “All Things Considered”, usually too early in the morning. I recently heard a story about some suicide bombings in Morocco, followed by an update from the Democratic presidential campaign trail. In my semi-conscious fog, I thought I heard:

“Barack Obama hit by Morocco bomber.”

Say it five times fast.

The Psychology of Banner Ads

Ars Technica reports on a study that confirms that banner ads improve brand favorability, without requiring a clickthrough, or even conscious notice of the brand being advertised.

The researchers asked people to read an essay on a web page; some subjects also got banner ads for a fictitious brand of camera, at a varying number of exposures. When asked to evaluate the brand, their level of positive feelings were in a linear relationship with the number of banner ad exposures they had gotten.  Even after 20 exposures, they hadn’t maxed out the improvements in perceptions. They do note that after

There are fine points to debate about whether this means anything for established brands that need to change perceptions. But the basic finding is a seemingly obvious one that unfortunately needs reinforcing all the time: greater brand familiarity builds positive perceptions.  And, conversely, if people aren’t familiar with your brand, they are less likely to have positive perceptions.

Tintin movie in the works


Just read that Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson are working on a trilogy of Tintin movies. According to Variety, each is going to direct at least one, and they’re using some kind of 3D motion-capture animation. Not sure how I feel about that… to be honest I kind of miss the warmth and richness of the old fashioned 2D cel animation. (And to confess, I’ve always thought most anime style animation had a cold, mass produced and plastic-y look.) Anyway, I love the old Tintin stories. I’ll keep an open mind that Spielberg & Jackson wouldn’t set out to create anything less than a brilliant tribute to Herge.

Connectile Dysfunction Online

This microsite is the latest in the ‘Connectile Dysfunction’ (CD) campaign for Sprint, a follow-up to our Super Bowl commercial. It takes you inside the Connectile Dysfunction Treatment Center (CDTC) where patients suffering from CD are being cured. Check it out at: www.curecd.com.

Read and Return – Used books at airports

Read & ReturnRead & Return 2

Saw a cool idea at a store in the Burbank airport: Read & Return offers traveling book buyers 50% of the cover price back if they turn in the book at another Paradies airport shop w/receipt within six months. (No help to me, given the time it takes me to even crack the cover of a new book these days.) Then they put the book back on the “Read & Return” shelf, at 50% off cover price. Presumably they pay the next buyer/returner 25% of the cover price, and the book goes into a limbo-like circulation at 30,000 feet at a 100% recurring gross margin to the store… until someone loves it enough to grant its deepest wish and make it a REAL boy.

Kind of a nice win-win: the store gets more book sales, at a decent markup (anyone in the publishing biz want to tell us what the typical margin on a new book at retail is?), and the inventory will naturally trend towards what people are interested in reading. The reader gets a cheaper book (if they buy a used copy and return it, they ultimately pay only 25% of the cover price), which might help some people take a risk on a new author or title they wouldn’t have at full price.