Category Archives: brands

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.


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.

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:

Connectile Dysfunction

Here’s our Sprint ad that ran on the Super Bowl:

I think it’s pretty good, and it’s one of the few where the humor actually came from the product benefit. We had talked about having the guy throw the PC card at the woman’s head, but that’s been done before.

Engagement Matters

Here’s a nice little object lesson in audience engagement.

Go to this new microsite for Windows Mobile.

Skip the flash animation junk and watch the “Caught on video” episodes on the bottom left.

Then watch the outtakes.

In my opinion, the video episodes themselves are good ideas executed badly, mainly because they make the guy ENUNCIATE THE PRODUCT NAMES so blatantly. Who in their right mind would say “I’m updating a WORD(TM) DOCUMENT”? But that’s Microsoft for you.

The outtakes are 1,000% more entertaining. Minimal brand pimping, lots more ad libbing, and just basically letting a funny idea play itself out.

So what? In my case, I started watching each official “episode” once. After #2, I started getting bored and only watched the first 10-15 seconds of the rest.

On the other hand, I watched the outtakes all the way through 2 or 3 times each. And I’m blogging about them now. Because they’re funny. Really funny. The ad libs in the “beaver dam” one are awesome.

I’d love to be able to track the number of views of the official episodes vs. the outtakes over time to see if it proves the old Howard Gossage point right: people will watch what’s interesting to them. Not what’s interesting to the advertiser.

Think Microsoft will make that data public? Anyway, thanks to Microsoft and AdFreak for the example.

(Ported from the old blog.)

Likeability Matters

The headline pretty much said it all: “Kerry Ranked Last On Likeability”. Yeah, it’s easy to kick the guy right now, but if you look at the numbers, it’s impressive how poorly he rated in this poll. The question’s a little fruity (people were asked how warmly they felt towards a series of politicians on a “feeling thermometer”), but Kerry rated lower than noted huggy bears Newt Gingrich and Dick Cheney. People feel less warmly towards Kerry than towards Dick Cheney? Ouch.Yes, it’s sad that politics has become almost entirely marketing, and I like and respect John Kerry as a legislator, but this is what happens when you have no sense of humor, insult the troops, and most importantly, act arrogant and drag your feet in saying you’re sorry. Someone should start a PR course called “How Not To Connect With The Public: Lessons From John Kerry”.

(Ported from the old blog.)

Useability Matters has an awesome head-to-head comparison of YouTube, Google Video & Revver.

(Post ported from the old blog.)