Sunday, August 31, 2008

First Maxi Pads, Now Senior Living

Before reading this reference my post regarding the maxi pad direct mail from a few weeks ago. Same point, different direct mail.

This past week I got a piece of direct mail for a senior living facility/community or whatever you call it. The people in the pictures on the cheesy brochure were easily in their eighties and apparently having pone hell of a time - or at least getting some dandy meds from their caretakers at this facility. Regardless - I am far from being an octogenarian and am even too young for my mother live in one of these places. So, since this blog discusses effective, and not so effective marketing, why in the world am I getting direct mail for the silver eagle living community and why is someone poor sap paying someone to create and mail this crap to my house??

For the record, if I was shopping for a "senior community" I would not move into this place based on the obviously overstated exuberance of the people captured for the brochure. All it made me think of was the place Happy Gilmore sent his grandmother when she lost her home. Ben Stiller as a fu-man-chu sporting orderly still has me freaked out.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

On the Offensive????? Really, is That What You Call it?

I was actually reading our trusty Indy Star a few weeks ago and came across this headline,
War of the wireless
Emmis CEO is on the offensive as iPhone's popular applications for radio on the go tread on traditional industry's turf

Basically Emmis (Jeff Smulyan) is trying to convince somebody that, hold your laughter, cellphone service providers should put AM/FM tuners into their cell phones. Isn't that the equivalent of putting old school tubes into a digital HDTV??? Oh wait, maybe it's like duct taping a walkman cassette player on your iPod, pouring leaded gasoline into your get the point. I do not know what made me chuckle more - tuners in cell phones or the fact this was declared offensive. Maybe offensive in the fact that a cell phone would have a tuner in it. i can see the commercial now, "Get the new Tuned phone from Verizon and you too can hear Freebird for the 5,000,000th time - on your phone!!!! Be the coolest person in your office while you laugh along with the ZANY morning show as it emanates form your pocket and get the latest weather report when the static isn't totally screwing the listening experience."

Well, the ever "on the offensive" Smulyan doesn't seem to be convincing many industry folks to downgrade their digital devices with AM/FM tuners. He is not convincing many with his pitch on conserving bandwidth, so he is going to the old tried and true strategy of lobbying politicians to mandate it - wow, a business man in this free market economy can't get his way so he tries to get the government to mandate that his product be shoved into an industry that really doesn't want or need what he is hocking. Pretty sad. Here is a how it was described by the article...

Neither Sprint nor AT&T seemed concerned about conserving bandwidth.

"Sprint has a very robust network that can handle streaming (Web) radio," said spokesman Aaron Radelet.

That may be strike one.

The iPhone doesn't have an AM/FM tuner and may not get one for quite some time. It's a hardware issue, not a software issue that can be changed with a download from the App Store.

That may be strike two.
Creative uses

So Smulyan and the radio industry are also going in the back door.

They are hoping to persuade the federal government to modify the WARN Act of 2006, which ordered carriers to create an alert system for mass notification during emergencies. A text messaging system is under development, but Smulyan argues that broadcast radio's existing Emergency Alert System could handle it if tuners were put in cell phones.

"If one broadcaster survives, everyone is alerted," he said.

Note to Jeff - quit playing catch up, get in a room with folks who actually understand the future of the media landscape and come up with some real innovation. You are still positioned with an audience, thus have a vast opportunity. Find the right transition that leverages what you have with the desire of your audience to move beyond it. Repetitious tunes that are created on a tired formula, even more exhausted on-air "talent" in addition to many new ways to acquire new music, commercial free, is killing your business so move on and quit trying to make it fit.

Tuners in cell phones???????? Are you serious??? Larger radios with antennas cannot even get good receptions half the time - how in the world is a cell phone? Moreover, obnoxious commercials and extremely played out formats. iPhones now can handle the job of the iPod - it will only continue to evolve without the likes of the local yahoo carnival barker spinning Steve Miller and yelling in my ear. Move on Jeff, move on.

On a side - I like and appreciate what Emmis has done over the years and love the fact they are in Indy. It pains me to read articles like this because a great organization, who has lots of opportunity, is not capitalizing. This ultimately hurts not only that company, but its investors, staff and community.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Good Piece in Ad Age About Digital Production

Creatives and Producers Grapple With a New Era of Production

What's coming? Is there a new production thing on the horizon? "Yes, of course! As the definition of interactive marketing gets bigger, there will be a lot more specialists. There are already some excellent interactive production companies that only do installations or mobile or 3-D, or games. And there are some giant ones doing massive productions of banners. I think it will fragment and actually make it much easier for agencies to go back to being brand agents, and there will be a wealth of specialists to make it easier to get good work done." -- Benjamin Palmer, president-CEO, The Barbarian Group

That is why we formed The Basement - higher level of specialization yields higher quality of work, which ultimately yields greater results for the objective of the production.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Men and Maxi Pads

So my wife went to a baby shower today for one of my sisters-in-law. My Mom, many years after I have left the nest, still feels compelled to bring all the junk mail she receives, addressed to me, to us when we see each other. I have let her know it is okay to throw it all away, but she refuses, she must give the junk to us - like we do not get enough at home.

So today she got a real laugh, as did all of the female members of my family, as she gave Beth one very special piece of junk mail at the baby shower - a piece of mail addressed to me, at my mother's address, containing a free sample of Stayfree Ultra Thin maxi pads. Yes, that's right, Jacob Leffler received a free maxi pad in the mail - to utilize to convince me that it would be the best thing ever for my "moderate to heavy" period. After all, once I used this product, they are sure I will switch to their brand of maxi pads and be a faithful customer for life - or until menopause. Go ahead, get the laughing out of your system now.

But wait!! They are sending these samples of pads to men. Reverse psychology to reach the females in my life? I seriously doubt it since it was sent to not only the wrong sex, but also the wrong address!

Someone needs to let McNeil-PPC, Inc. (good luck getting on their web site - it timed out each time I tried to get on) know that sending direct mail, which houses a free sample for Stayfree Ultra Thin pads to a man no less, who at the last time I checked, does not experience periods, is a pretty good sign that the most basic of marketing tasks is not being executed properly.

This is just a microcosm of the poor direct to consumer marketing that runs rampant in today's push-more marketing and advertising environment. The company that is front and center as the vender to McNeil for their direct mail is RedPlum.

Note to McNeil and RedPlum - how much money are you wasting to not only send out direct mail, but free product to wrong addresses and completely off target individuals?? How many men do they know named Jacob?? This is a great indication that their databases rarely, if ever, get scrubbed, and the sad thing is McNeil is paying a lot of many to mail out tons of product that will ultimately get thrown in the trash. Moreover, any female who is part of this experience, and the actual target audience - in this instance - my wife and all the female members of my family, no less than ten, will look at the product as a joke.

I am all for free samples, when they are relevant in some way, shape or form. I noticed on other non-McNeil sites (web sites that actually worked) that McNeil is owned by Johnson & Johnson, who also makes and distributes Tylenol. Next time please send me some free Tylenol to help rid me of the pain I suffer from experiencing such poor marketing execution.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Deconstructing Hulu (and other content aggregators)

Well I am a confessed Hulu fan. I love the model. Take old content, and even some new , and throw it out onto the web for folks to view, and maybe even make a little ad revenue off it in the meantime. I mean after all, where else could you offer up reruns of The Facts of Life?

Seriously, it is a clean interface, makes content easy to find, and they seem to be adding content to the network based on user feedback. Not too shabby.

One thing I think is tell tale network is the ad model. It is pretty weak. Kudos for limited commercial interruption, but when will they take the next step and completely re-think and deliver a better model? One that brings more value to both audience and advertiser? I have spent enough time on this blog spouting off about ad models, even step by step putting out models that would be more relevant to the audience than the "30 second spot." Usually I would link to all my past posts on this subject to prove my point, however today I will not. I will simply sit on them and let you find them yourself.

A wise man once said, "There is always a better way."

Friday, August 1, 2008

In Good Company

I just discovered today through a heads up from some friends at the School of the Arts
at Virginia Commonwealth University that The Basement Design + Motion is sitting with some very good company on the Motion Design Directory.

It is nice to be on a directory next to the likes of Blur.