ethanbeute

Marketing | Environment | Culture

Tag: ad

Facebook Ad Targeting by Hashtag: Context Matters

I expect you’ve seen ad targeting by hashtag. If you’ve not got your own example top of mind, you will if you start looking. Leave a comment below or tweet me up if you have.

My recent example started with a short afternoon walk outside my office. Yesterday, I saw an odd scene in a nearby park, so I shot and shared it.

sweatpants, tree, Colorado Springs, Instagram, ethanbeute

The image went up on Instagram with this description:

“#Sweatpants in a #tree. #Really.”

The intent of the image is to conjure either a comical or a sordid story for its viewers.

The image is generally unfavorable toward sweatpants; it doesn’t likely produce sweatpants-desiring thoughts or behaviors.

But … Continue reading

ForbesLife: Bridal Magazine for the Super-Rich

I like holding reading material in my hands and turning pages as I read.  I like folding a corner or tucking in a piece of paper to mark where I left off before setting it down.  As regards reading, I like not ever having to plug in, power up or power down.  I like books and magazines in physical form.  All that said, I also read a ton online, but that’s beside the point.

One of the magazines I enjoy reading when it arrives in my mailbox by way of the USPS is Forbes.  Occasionally, the magazine is supplemented by the obscenely rich ForbesLife, positioned as “Celebrating the Best of the Best.”  I’ve never seen a publication stuffed with more ads for watches that cost more than my car.

Speaking of being stuffed with ads, here’s the primary observation of this post: ForbesLife is stuffed with ads of all kinds.  Jammed.  Loaded.  Choked.  With advertising.

luxury, watch, Cartier, wristwatch, time piece

The Calibre de Cartier 1904 MC is advertised opposite the table of contents and is priced starting as low as $6,500.

One thing I like to do when a new magazine arrives at my home is to pull out all the postcard-sized, heavy stock inserts.  With the latest ForbesLife, though, I decided to pull out every page with advertising on both sides.  Just for fun and of curiosity.  The issue to which I refer is the 20th Anniversary issue, dated September 2010.

I pulled out 14 pages (28 single-sided pages).  That included a couple multi-page “advertorial” sections for Marquis Jet and for Charleston, South Carolina.

That left just 35 pages.  Of those remaining, 20 had advertising on one of the two sides.

In this tabulation, I was gracious enough to except the “Down Time, For Fall: Effortless Dress-Down Chic” photo spread from the advertising counts, despite the fact that every clothing item is brand-named and priced.  For your reference, I’ll run down item and price on one of those pages (randomly selected): $11,390 wool coat, $535 cotton shirt, $790 jeans and $70 belt.

To summarize: 49 total double-sided pages, 98 total sides, 48 sides with advertising.

That’s a fat lot of ads!  More than 50% the printed piece is advertising.

Bottom line: ForbesLife is a bridal or high fashion magazine for the super-rich.  In bridal and fashion mags, the advertising plays an important, functional role as content.

Beyond the obvious role of revenue-provider to the privately held media company Forbes, Inc., the ads are critical element of the publication for the reader.  The advertising in this type of magazine complements the content proper, provides supporting images and information and casts upon the reader a sought-after sense.

In the case of ForbesLife, it’s a sense of opulence.

Too Little, Too Late for Kindle?

(((Disclaimer: this is not a technology review or product comparison.  This post is about product positioning in prospects’ minds.)))

They’re the best commercials on TV right now … but they’re probably too late.  The first of these hit the air in March.  The iPad dropped on April 3.

Amazon hit up Ithyle for these fun, imaginative and insanely stylish ads for their Kindle reader.  Between the visual technique, music, props, scenes and transitions, they sing “the simple pleasure of stories” to me.  The feature or benefit sell is strictly limited to “books in 60 seconds,” which is subtle and sound.

Too bad this effort wasn’t undertaken a year or two back.

Check out the first three:

The Kindle has a very specific purpose.  It’s uniquely focused – no apps, no color, no video, no internet, just reading.  3G wireless provides access to a huge library of books, each of which can be downloaded in a minute or less.  That 3G access requires no subscriptions or monthly fees.  The battery life is very, very impressive.  Quite simply, it’s the best e-reader currently available.

Despite all this, I feel strongly that the iPad takes Kindle’s place in the mind of prospective buyers of e-readers.

That said, this isn’t a zero-sum game.  For the sliver who only want to read books and who do a rational side-by-side comparison, the Kindle should come out ahead.

For a couple years now, Amazon has done a nice job profiling Kindle on its homepage, particularly around holidays and other gift-buying times.  They have end-cap displays at Target complete with a live device that you can pick up, hold and explore.  They continue to roll out beautiful ads on television.

I hope it’s enough.

Link: previous post on iPad’s potential value to magazine publishers

The Reconstruction Begins: Tiger Woods & Nike

I’m as tired of the Tiger Woods story as you are.  Really.

However, I’ve seen a ton of nonsense about the first Tiger Woods ad to appear since the revelation of his extensive sexual indiscretions.

Two main categories of nonsense:

  • The ad is an expression of greed by Tiger Woods and Nike
  • The ad is a personal message from Tiger Woods himself

First: of course it’s greed!  The primary reason any athlete signs an endorsement deal and the primary reason any company extends one is, not surprisingly, profit motive on mutually acceptable terms.  The athlete provides associations the brand, product or company wants in order to increase sales.  The brand, product or company provides the athlete money in exchange.  It’s really that simple, so I won’t go any further with this ridiculously easy criticism of the ad and its existence.

Second: an agency (Wieden+Kenney) carefully created this message on behalf of Nike and Tiger Woods.  It’s not a personal message to you from Tiger Woods; do not accept it as such, narcissist.  It’s not a public acknowledgment of indiscretion by Tiger Woods – he’s provided one (sadly, by force).  It’s not a public apology by Tiger Woods – he’s already provided this, too.

So what is it?  It’s polarizing.  It’s talked-about.  It’s the beginning of the reconstruction of Tiger Woods’ image by a brand that stuck with him through the debacle.

Most of the negative remarks are the rightful result of Tiger-fatigue, so nonsense gets a pass.

Here’s the ad:

Here’s a transcription:  “Tiger … I am more prone to be inquisitive … to promote discussion.  I want to find out what your thinking was.  I want to find out what your feelings are.  And did you learn anything.”

Though it would have been the safest option, the absence of a Tiger Woods ad altogether during The Masters would have been quite conspicuous.

Since Nike decided instead to be present, their agency was presented a serious creative challenge.  Nike needs to turn back on as soon as possible the Tiger Woods cash machine they’ve built over the past decade or so.  The challenge: where and how does the reconstruction of the TW personal and brand images begin!?

A few thoughts about this execution:

  • Took the situation head on (did not gloss over it, ignore it or jump past it)
  • Visually simple and clean (no amazing shots, cheering crowds, triumphant victories)
  • Audibly simple and clean (no music, a couple bird chirps, dad’s voice)
  • Dad-as-conscience device works (no one wants to hear from Tiger or generic voiceguy)
  • Message is vague, curious and sensitive (no bold statements or declarations)
  • White logos over black vest and cap absolutely jump off (clearly present with being in your face)
  • All things considered, an above-average starting point (where would you have started!?)

I personally abhor Woods’ selfish and unfaithful behavior.  Though I know nothing about the science behind it, “sexual addiction” strikes me as a weak excuse for weak-minded, shameful behavior.  Climbing down off my moral high horse, as too few are wont to do, I accept this commercial message as the start of the reconstruction.

The commercial doesn’t “speak” to me.  It does not feel to me significant, impressive or provocative in any way.  It does feel a bit human, which is a good start.

Bottom line: Tiger Woods is a living case study that will eventually be published in formal marketing texts.  I don’t know how it will read or how I will feel about this commercial a year or two from now, but today it feels OK.  Nike’s got to fire back up that cash machine slowly and carefully.

Related: I’m quite curious about the original context of the recording, as Earl Woods passed away in 2006.

Also related: considering the financial stakes, “Brand Tiger Woods” moved far too slowly as the PR crisis rolled out and built up.  They had no control over public perception as more and more women emerged with allegations.  The online, print and television tabloids went burned wildly with the story.  To control the flames, it’s always best to be first and to be honest and to in times of crisis.

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