Powerful Branding Through Promotion

What does pet adoption have to do with home buying? Well, a recent TV spot from Coldwell Banker will make you believe it’s quite a lot.

In a promotional campaign that has been going on for 3 years now, Coldwell Banker and Adopt-A-Pet have found homes for over 20,000 dogs. That’s pretty impressive in itself, but what really makes the promotion so outstanding is its ability to raise awareness about the importance of pet adoption without coming off as self-serving in any way.

It’s a beautiful spot — from the direction to the editing, the casting, the set design — everything comes together so perfectly. Repeated viewings will impress anyone, so perfectly edited.  (Just take for example how quickly we understand the man’s loneliness after a failed relationship. That all happens in about 4 seconds. Bedside photo. Doors open. Doors close. It’s really quite astounding in its efficiency.) There isn’t a wasted moment and the payoff is truly emotional. Don’t miss the behind-the-scene video as well.

The admirable fact: when your promotional efforts are so right and so strategically aligned with your brand message that emotional impact isn’t sullied by overt self-promotion or commercialism, that’s a total win.

Posted in Branding, Lifestyle Marketing, Partnerships, Promotions, TV Commercials | Leave a comment

Trends With Benefits

Freak Shake ConcoctionHow can a tiny little ice cream shop in the small town of Bethel, CT go from months of lukewarm success to suddenly quadrupling their business practically overnight — in the middle of winter no less?

The internet.

Frustrated with their struggling business, Alyce Kallman, co-owner of Cream & Sugar Café, turned her home kitchen into a test kitchen and began experimenting with more inventive frozen creations beyond the typical sundae. Inspired by initial results, she and her husband (and business partner) did some research to soon discover the growing phenomenon known as the “freak shake”.

Launched in Australia, through an explosion of Instagram photo sharing, it soon took off in the UK and then the U.S. With a mason jar as the vessel, freak shakes are “milkshakes topped with cream, cake, chunky house-made garnishes …and every kind of over-the-top edible flair you could possibly dream up.”, according to Hillary Osborne of Australia’s The Guardian.

But I think there’s more to the C & S Café’s success beyond their frozen offerings. There’s a sociability component, making it more than just a place to get ice cream, but a hip, new social hangout. A shareability component, as most of the creations can be shared with two or more people. And a trending component, empowering customers to partake in an irresistible new food craze.

So, I raise my spoon to the ever-expanding universe of  innovators, and especially to the Cream & Sugar Café. Sweet success all the way from Australia!

CReam & Sugar Bethel CT









Posted in Creative Thinking, Food Marketing, Innovation, Local Marketing, Word of Mouth | Leave a comment

GE Pledges to Close Gender Gap Like a Rockstar


Marketing creativity at it finest. Take a look at GE changing the conversation in its efforts to close the gender gap in science.

With a goal of employing 20,000 women in STEM roles by 2020 and achieving a 50/50 gender split in entry-level positions by the same time, GE is doing its part to increase female representation in IT roles. Its new campaign confronts old stereotypes head-on by turning a celebrated female scientist into a Kardashian-like rockstar. The camera follows New York’s own, unassuming Millie Dresselhaus, first woman to win the National Medal of Science in Engineering, as if she were a celebrity. It’s super clever, since it juxtaposes science (AKA  typically male-dominated and “geeky”), and our cultural obsession with celebrity entertainers— forcing us to assess what we value, and inspiring us to look at science differently.

So, ladies, it’s now cool to be a scientist and GE wants to hire you!

Inspiring and beautiful message. Extremely compelling and really fun marketing — what a concept. Only time will tell if it becomes part of our national fabric. Let’s hope we won’t be having the same discussion in 2020




Sources: Business Insider http://www.businessinsider.com/ge-commits-to-placing-20000-women-in-technical-roles-by-2020-2017-2

Adweek http://www.adweek.com/brand-marketing/ge-imagines-a-world-where-we-treat-female-scientists-like-celebrities/

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Celebrities, Celebrity Endorsements, Lifestyle Marketing | Leave a comment

Plum Organics Hopes That Sex Sells… In A Totally Different Way

Once again, organic baby food Plum Organics, proves it is not shy about pushing the envelope when it comes to lifestyle marketing activation — their latest TV spot actually encourages parents to have more sex! And right before Valentine’s Day nonetheless.

While it may seem to have been created for shock value, this spot is actually supported by real facts of life: a new parent’s emotional need to balance life, guilt and happiness. The Do Your Part(ner) campaign was developed based on real insights from real people in Plum’s Unfiltered Look at Sex, Parenting and Relationships survey, not just a desire to be bold:

  • 70% of millennial parents feel guilty when they’re away from their child for a night out with their partner
  • Nearly 70% of parents with significant others talk about their kids the majority of the time they’re alone together
  • Over 1/3 of parents say the thing they do most in their bed besides sleeping is catching up on news or social media
  • 39% of millennial parents think their partner voluntarily cleaning up the house is more of a turn on than foreplay

According to a press release, Ben Mand, SVP of brand marketing and innovation at Plum Organics said: “We’re a challenger brand, so pushing the envelope is nothing new for us. From our marketing to our product innovation, we’re constantly redefining what’s seen as ‘typical’ or ‘safe’ for our category, and we’re definitely not afraid to ruffle a few feathers here and there. That said, we’re also a team of parents who have experienced all the ups and downs of parenting firsthand, and we’re not just doing this for shock value.”

Sassy and smart. We at GW Hoffman Marketing love that.

The TV campaign is also supported by DoYourPartner.com, which is full of fun, educational and interactive tools to help parents find that special “alone time” with each other. Who knew?

So kudos to Plum Organics for playing the “we give you permission to be happy” card in such a fun, creative way. Parenting is hard, marriage is hard, heck life is hard, but with a little levity and reality-check thrown in, it can work. For Plum, too we hope.


Sources: http://www.adweek.com/brand-marketing/plum-organics-wants-you-to-have-more-sex-to-be-happier-have-more-kids-and-buy-more-baby-food/


Posted in Advertising, Branding, Creative Thinking, Food Marketing, Lifestyle Marketing, Reality Check, TV, Video | Leave a comment

Snicker’s Gets Real for Super Bowl

Someone once said that if the end of the world was announced, Americans would want to get a preview the day before. Super Bowl spots are kinda like that. I know that they cost so darn much that brands want to use every means possible to get more than just their ‘Day Of’ exposure and the few days of glory post game. But I guess I am one of those purists who still likes to watch for all the hyped creativity on Game Day — notebook in hand — and judge for myself. (Anyone else?)

So Snickers has made me smile. Yes, they went for pre-game sneak peaks. But just at a sneak peak teaser. AND they were typical Snickers-bold with their innovative REAL TIME (as in during the game) TV spot production!  Love it! Now THAT is an ad I am going to be looking out for.

Innovative new approach to a traditional medium, while keeping a successful campaign (“You Aren’t You When You’re Hungry”) and not trying to go all “new for new’s sake,” pre-game exposure for impact and spending efficiency, with added hype to actually see the in-game spot. How much better could they get?

Spots better be good.


Posted in Advertising, Branding, Creative Thinking, Media Creativity, TV | Leave a comment

Bad $$$es Welcome

Helsinki Slush ConferenceWhen planning business travel calendars, most hope to get in a little warm weather indulgence during bleak winter months. “Educational” Conferences in Palm Springs, Miami, and Scottsdale are pretty popular right about now.

But what do you do if you aren’t located in such a geographically desirable spot but you still have an awesome event? Take a lesson from the recent Slush tech conference in Helsinki, Finland and the brave soles attending. Messaging made the moment. And the Community.

With Helsinki’s notorious few hours of sunlight and bleak, cold, wet, winter days, it was kind of hard to gloss over the reality of the situation. But with Slush’s values of “originality and honesty,” they extended an apropos kind of welcome that was right on brand. Certain the attendees shared the same sentiment.

Kudos to Slush for embracing and having some fun with their reality. When life hands you lemons…




Source: https://www.indy100.com/article/helsinki-has-the-best-tourism-posters-7458496

Posted in Brand Equity, Content Marketing, Creative Thinking, International Marketing, Local Marketing | Leave a comment

NY Lottery Wins By Redefining Winning

The Zeitgeist is a funny thing. Have you ever noticed that just as you begin to think in a certain way, you suddenly find examples everywhere of other minds following that same thought process?

Take for example this new campaign for The New York Lottery. I love dogs, I support dog rescue groups, and perhaps because I am inching ever closer to “retirement age”, I’ve been thinking, “What would I do if I won the lottery? I know! I’d spend every day rescuing dogs!!” I have seen similar thoughts from friends on Facebook, as well.

Well, seems the NY Lottery is on the same page too. Their latest campaign works to change the image of winning from a blinged-out life of luxury filled with gold-plated toilets and exotic super-cars, to a life where you just get to do things that you want to do without thinking about your paycheck. I’d like to believe that is what most people really do dream about, and hey, most lottery marketing has traditionally been about “dreams.”

I have never really been that big a fan of lotteries in general, and even less of a fan of the marketing tactics generally used to separate people from their hard-earned money; but these spots feel “right” to me. When you can successfully tap into how consumers really feel about something, you make an emotional connection, you get a “Hey, that’s just what I was thinking” response. And just like in real life, you may even make a friend out of a stranger. Good strategy, no?

Now excuse me, I’m off to buy some dog leashes and a lottery ticket.


Posted in Advertising, brand image, Lifestyle Marketing | Leave a comment