Saturday, July 28, 2007

The Art of Creativity - Applied in Advertising (Brazil)

Found this nice piece of creativity at advertising for peanuts. A fine example of how simple concepts of design can communicate a strong social message. Made for CVV (Suicide Prevention Center) by Leo Burnett, Sao Paulo (Brazil), the campaign symbolizes how the best person to help you in your times of trouble is you yourself. Hence, the campaign “Help Yourself

Incidentally, found an interesting blog, Mer-chan, whose author, Katy, had identified a similar design piece created by Peter Callesen.
Peter’s work - designs made by cutting sheets of paper – seems to have inspired the creators of this campaign.

Katy mentioned in her post that the work of the artist from Denmark would have either designed the posters himself or would have inspired the admen….both in Brazil as well as in China

Nonetheless, excellent pieces of design - in fact, I would recommend any aspiring designer to visit Peter's website and learn how he has created wonders out of simple sheets of paper.

Commendable work indeed!
[via Advertising for Peanuts]

One for the Smiles…

Caution: Even though it may seem to have, and may provide additional incentives for window-blog-visitors, this post does not contain any Adult content.

Have been watching some advertisements at YouTube lately. Out of the 50-odd I scanned through today, these are the best 10-minutes spent presented here..

What's common in all this pieces? Each of them ensures high recall value and strong humor association. However, what remains to be seen is, as I keep reiterating time and again, how much of this translates into sales and brand recall - ultimate objective for most of the sane marketers.

An addition to this perspective, however, is the significance of recall value – If the ad ensures high recall and it’s a low involvement category, then this very recall drives in-store pick ups or impulse purchases at the POP.

All said and done, a nice treat for the weekend – Kudos to the agencies and the contributors for these. :-)

This is a series of four commercials that were banned, but were presented at NBC back-to-back. The 2-minute video features “The most read newspaper in SwedenExpresse (Swedish Newspaper), “Get in ShapeCompanhia Athletica, BCCheering Works” and “We blow up your favorite Holiday Picture!Time Foto.

Just Load it, sit back and earn some smiles...

Additionally, the following three were my pick from the lot – commendable conceptualization, excellent execution and of course, high humor content…

The commercials are of Polisan wall paintsGet used to it”, Braathens SafeWe’re flying your in-laws at half price! and Zazoo condoms

Brilliant execution, undoubtedly – and for all the people who have some sense of humor – definitely worth the load…

Friday, July 27, 2007

“Walking Dead” Customers – Recall or Abort?

Guess the seemingly consistently inconsistent behavior of irregular blogging has been all the more apparent, and it has more or less been a norm for me to start my entry with this comment. Though I have been rationalizing this for some time now, I seem to have run out of reasons now…..traveling, work pressure, partying, net connection….anything else?

Nonetheless, I am glad that finally, something goes out at this place once again….and hopefully this one should make sense for the customers…er..readers of this blog… :)

Talking of customers, for every marketer, they are the source of bread and butter for him. He would do anything, and I mean anything, to keep them happy, to keep them coming, to keep them buying whatever he wants to sell….

Having said that, if that may be the case, are there a set of customers a marketer shouldn’t bother about, anymore? A set who you think you would not want to talk to anymore; if they need something, they would come themselves, and if they leave, so be it? Strange, isn’t it?

Surprisingly, there IS a class like that…at least for those who have this written in BOLD BLACK on their annual planner documents… “its either the bottom line or your bottoms!

So who are these step-kings, after all? These are those customers who you know are consistently disinterested in the big flashy pitches you have been making to them, who stare at your face with a expressionless discontent, a set who are still using your services, but today they are, tomorrow…might not be!

The “borderline customers” who are ready to defect to some other service providers, and are not keen to take any more services from you….or a more refined interesting term coined by the experts – “Walking Dead”. That’s what they are called, defined as …"customers who currently maintain service but whose next action will be to discontinue all services, an important economic consequence to the firm"

According to a recent article in Knowledge @ Wharton - "Beware the 'Walking Dead': Analyzing Customer Data from a Multi-Service Firm", this particular class of customers might just suck up your additional advertising and marketing dollars, without giving even a single penny back….they are still using your services, still there holding on to what WAS offered to them some time back, but don’t find anything that is being offered recently interesting, and just might be on the lookout for something “better” (the dangerous ambiguous word this is!)

Summarized from a detailed paper on how Customers manage their service portfolios "Modeling the Evolution of Customers' Service Portfolios" by Marketing professors David Schweidel (University of Wisconsin), Eric Bradlow and Peter Fader from the Marketing Department of University of Pennsylvania, this concept is akin to the basis for CLV, or Customer Lifetime Value, where the measure of putting customers in the “Walking Dead” category is nothing but the remaining CLV for them.

Few years back, Knowledge@Wharton had published another article by Wharton marketing professor Peter Fader on Customer Lifetime value “Which Customers Are Worth Keeping and Which Ones Aren't? Managerial Uses of CLV” Some of the learnings from that article are still applicable today.

“The goal is not only to identify customers, but to reach out to them through cross-selling, up-selling, multi-channel marketing and other tactics – all of which are tied to metrics on attrition, retention, churn and a set of statistics known as RFM – recency, frequency and monetary value

I wouldn’t delve into the details of the customer equity management as of now, but in a nutshell, though consumer profiling is based on strong assumptions and is highly intuitive, a basic framework can be built, based on the market segmentation, consumer purchase pattern and RFM measures – all critical to any CRM exercise; accordingly, marketing investment can be optimized. As part of this optimization exercise, the “Walking Dead” have been identified.

Coming back to the original paper, it classifies the customers according to the level of engagement they have with the service provider.

The first level is when you just start using the services of the company – you aren’t really sure about the credibility of the company and its offerings, so you want to try with the “minimum” risk, yet you explore what are the options with you, and what are the pros and cons of moving further with the offered services, etc.

Once you build some trust in the company that is when the customer enters the second level. It is here that the customer looks at the company more like a partner, as he/she intends to engage with the company on a long-term basis. So premium offerings are taken, and additional services are purchased. The relationship/partnership goes to a next stage – the state every marketer aspires to be in, with his customers, and wants this way all the time.

Alas, the story doesn’t always end the “Happily Ever After” way – and some customers start getting uncomfortable with their current portfolios. They either believe in something better outside, or something worse inside…..that is when they move into the final level….the state that is considered one state before they are “dead” (for the company) and so are called the “Walking Dead” - Services are dropped, scales are reduced, no more initiatives are taken, no new experiments or offers lure them…

When do you know which customers are “Walking Dead”?
According to the paper, these customers might want to shift, but maintain their current portfolio due to inertia. This is when their service levels get more or less constant. Consequently, it’s a matter of time when they would drop all the services.

A major flaw in most of the companies’ assessment of their customers is the assumption of customer behavior life cycle as a pattern – that customers are linear in their purchase pattern and move from one level to the next, and then the next. This is generally not valid, since customers skip levels and may also use multiple services at the same time. Thus, predictability of services should add another dimension for companies and factor these as well.

Interestingly, to address this behavioral predictability, Fader defines a concept of “co-purchasing map”, wherein all the services offered to a customer should be evaluated, and not each of them in isolation. (For Technical details on the calculations, please refer to the paper!). Thus, there might be services (offered by the same company or other companies as well) that act as complements rather than substitutes, since customers tend to take all services together

More so, it is important to view customers in terms of their entire history of purchasing decisions, not a single recent decision, since "the entire sequence of portfolios is informative of his current lifecycle state and future behavior," the paper states.

Coming to the point, with all this understanding, what are the options that we, as marketers, have with us, to get out of this, and get back to our numbers?

Marketers attempt to retain customers in Level 2 itself, and in a way, slow down the aging process (transition to level 3). For this, they use tactics like cross-selling, upselling and multi-channel marketing to augment customer lifetime value. Additionally, the findings in this paper state that such services should be extended ONLY to those customers, “who are likely to adopt new services, as well as those customers who are at risk for discarding some or all of the services to which they currently subscribe.

This “Risk for discarding” factors in the level of dependency on the existing operator/supplier/vendor. If the “switchover cost” for the customer is high, then inertia keeps him tagged to you. Else, there is an instant transition. At this stage, marketers have two options – either overwhelm the customer with attractive offers and appease him to sign up, making him further dependent on your services. Or, leave him to his own, until he says goodbye to you completely.

To conclude, when customers start unsubscribing to your services, an orange signal is triggered. But what is important to note (and inferred from the article) is that when such a thing happens, it is not automatically implied that the customer is moving out, or transitioning to another service provider. One needs to assess if he has taken up some other services from the same provider only through the “co-purchasing map”….If that is the case, he is not a “defecting” customer – he simply is exercising his options with you..

But even after all the optimistic assessment, if the customer seems to be looking for alternatives and does not seem to get too impressed with your dance, maybe its time to bid him goodbye….and show the walking dead…the path to the grave!

Marketing is mean, isn’t it!!! ;-)

[Photo sources: Choices, Walking dead pic and Child in Pumpkin patch. Special thanks to Steve for allowing me to use the pic of his daughter Melody, for the purpose of this entry – depicting the choice consumers have today! Thanks Steve!]

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Did you check your parking area?

Boredstop had a nice billboard published sometime back. A strong way to communicate the "risks" involved in your life.....for Nationwide Insurance.

Located in the north side of the Atlas Building in downtown Columbus Ohio, this billboard seems to be doing more rounds online than it would have attracted offline. Great execution - Just that one needs to see all the 3 billboards at the same time, and of course, in the right sequence!

Incidentally, a closer look just made me think - is this an ad for Coop's paints as well? ;-)

So, do you want to go and check the parking area once? ;-)
[via Ilya of Billboardom]

Sunday, July 22, 2007

All you need is “Luvs” – but All you get is Controversy!

How many times have you hummed a tune, which you really liked, only to realize that it featured in one of the recent Ads you saw? How many times have you seen a product in a store, and suddenly remembered the cute song that plays in its Advertisement? How many times have you purchased a product, only because you remember its ad on the TV/radio, and believe in the promises it has made?

Such is the power of a tune…a jingle in an advertisement. Any marketing 101 book would tell you that one of the key brand elements critical to any campaign is the jingle – a background tune that enables a strong brand association and recall. As a marketer, one would ideally want a tune that sticks to the consumer, such that it acts as a cue for her future purchases, and keeps his product high on recall.

Wikipedia defines a jingle as “a memorable slogan, set to an engaging melody, mainly broadcast on radio and..on television commercials. An effective jingle is constructed to stay in one's memory .. the best jingles could stick with a consumer for their entire life.. People still retain lingering brand loyalty to companies that are no longer in service, all because of one well-crafted tune

Such an effort of retaining brand loyalty was made by Saatchi and Saatchi, when they created the “All you need is Luvs” Campaign for Procter & Gamble’s diaper brand, Luvs.

Any rock fan (or even friends of rock fans!) would recognize the background song – the famous ‘60s number “All you need is Love” from Beatles. The song was meant to be a tribute to the world, and had a different meaning when it was released. So this time, when it is featured in a diaper ad, does it offend you? Do you feel agitated about a number of your favorite band being used for a diaper Ad?

If you are a smart marketer, passionate about your brand and focused towards ensuring “recall”, chances are you would not be bothered. However, considering that some topics are sensitive in nature, and the song was inspired by the Vietnam War, there is a possibility of hurting someone down the road. As articulated at Adrants,
.."if you're going to use "All You Need is Love" to push diapers, expect to be swathed in shit"

Yes, to a certain extent, it is valid. There are some fans, who did get offended, and have raised concerns over it too. Have a look at a recent article in the Times of India that gives a flavor of the sentiments of the fans.

But, this is not the first time that Beatles have inspired the ad makers. Beatles’s numbers have been used for Advertisements before, but not in such a direct controversial manner. More so, there are emotions attached to the Vietnam war, and the current Iraq war is akin to the conditions in Vietnam.

Since this song was inspired by Vietnam, some believe it is pertinent to the Iraq war as well. And with such emotions attached, if one tries to leverage it for diaper brands, they are bound to face some resistance!

And what are the marketers saying? Brandweek reported the comments from Saatchi & Saatchi’s Account Manager, Mark Rolland - “The song helps us break through the diaper advertising clutter and simply communicate to moms that Luvs diapers are ‘all you need’ to keep your baby happy

According to Promo Magazine, the song plays an important role in creating a stronger connection to the Luvs brand and awareness of its core benefit – leakage protection for less (Mark’s comments).

According to the article, the campaign is designed to offer a fresh approach to keep the brand relevant and top-of-mind with mothers.

Indeed, the Ad not only has reached the moms, but has reached few others too. Has it overstretched its “Clutter-breaking” attempt, or is it just another manner to get high recalls? Would this campaign follow the “Benetton” Advertising strategy of controversial advertising, or should we take this as an exception? I guess the coming month or two would be worth tracking the responses!

The campaign is not only restricted to National Television, but also features in DTC samples, a Net campaign, coupons and in-store displays and would move on to the next phase of their campaign in February. Wondering what “All we would need” then? Or after the Beatles fans, would it be the Elton John fans, when they hear the next one from Saatchi and Saatchi with the moms asking their kids….."Can you feel the Love tonight?” er…Luvs did you say? ;-)