Weight Watchers: When Good Ideas Go Bad

So, the idea of loving yourself no matter what your size or shape — and allowing your sex partner to do so as well — is certainly laudable. Dove has received accolades for years for this very same sentiment. But when Weight Watchers Australia & New Zealand used this insight as the basis for marketing weight loss, well, it hit a sour note.

If you are supposed to love yourself regardless of weight, why is a weight loss brand involved? The insight is solid and powerful. And we’ve all been told that “Sex sells.” But Weight Watchers just went in the wrong direction.

GWH Reality Check: Got to make sure you connect ALL the dots from multiple points of view when you try to be bold and daring. Otherwise, you can do more harm than good.

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Dollar Shave. Did Acquisition Kill The Funny?

Dollare Shave Post AcquisitionEver since Dollar Shave Club was purchased by Unilever for $1 Billion, many fans of their original viral sensation, owner, and spokesman Mike Dubin’s hysterical spots have wondered if, and how, they would continue the look and feel of those breakthrough ads, now being, uh, “corporate” and all.

If you listen closely to an initial post-acquisition video on Twitter,  you’ll here the voiceover of Mike himself (who has stayed on as a rather wealthy CEO) toward the end of the ad. And that’s just what this brand needs to maintain, for in Mike they have an affable, mediagenic spokesman who, possibly due to his training in improve comedy, has a hard-to-define absurd quality, not to mention a now recognizable voice that will, and should IMHO, be forever linked to this brand.

So many grassroots success-story brands lose their personalities under the auspices of their new corporate owners, at least at first, that this is refreshing to see. Well done Dollar Shave Club for knowing your brand. Well done Unilever for seeing that, too. The BRAND is King!


Posted in Branding, Content Marketing, Lifestyle Marketing, Social Media, Spokespeople, Twitter | Leave a comment

Can Brangelina Split Fill Airline Seats?

Brangelina Split Ad Campaign


When the whole world was talking about Angelina Jolie filing for divorce from Brad Pitt, one smart brand got in on the conversation before it became a flash in the pan.

Two days after the announcement, Norwegian Airlines began running this very clever ad campaign hinting at the opportunity awaiting Brad-mirers if they could get on a flight to LA. By tapping into a high-profile topic with very simple reactive ads, the airline was able to create a social media success.

How many of our agencies, brands or organizations could react this quickly? And should we? While there are some naysayers claiming insensitivity, most can see this as simply a fun tongue-in-cheek attention getter.  I think it’s a win. I now know how I can fly directly from London to LA quite affordably, now don’t I?


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A Little Doggie Sampling Goes A Long Way

Denver Human Walking ProgramThere is a bit of a parallel between office workers and shelter dogs. Both are cooped up in cubbyholes all day. No walks, no fresh air, no fun.

So, to provide a little relief to both the human and canine type, the Human Walking Program allows office workers to get out of the office and take a walk with an adorable shelter dog as their guide. The inaugural year of the program in 2015 resulted in several dogs being adopted, and was a great tool to raise awareness for the Denver Animal Shelter, who partnered with the Denver Public Library to sponsor the event.

Cute story? Sure. But way more.

It’s a really creative way to get awareness of a product (the pups) by focusing on a niche target (Office Workers) and a specific benefit. Even if  just a “quick sampling event” over lunch, this is an awesome pairing of interests and opportunities that creates a win-win for everyone. Smart thinking for a greater good. Little lesson in here, yes?

Now it’s time for me to go take a walk with a pooch, we will see if he comes home with me.



Source: http://www.denverpost.com/2016/09/13/shelter-dogs-denver-office-workers/

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Not So Silly Trix Rabbit Gets Real

In their ongoing effort to make their breakfast cereals healthier, and to spread that word, General Mills has introduced an honorary REAL Trix Rabbit, and started an online “Rabbit Showdown” to drive the REAL point home  — a competition to find the nation’s “greatest rabbit athlete.”  Cereal fans are encouraged to enter by submitting videos of their own pet bunnies running, jumping, and just being rabbits, naturally.

It’s not a bad thing for manufacturers work harder to be REAL, to eliminate artificial colors and ingredients from their products, as consumers are paying way more attention to what’s in the processed foods that they buy, particularly if it’s their children eating them. trix-cereal-then-vs-now-9-HR

A noble goal and a fun contest to watch, even if you don’t have your own pet bunny, and perhaps a good sign that the number of brands being made healthier is multiplying.


Posted in Advertising, Brand Equity, Food Marketing, Spokespeople, Video | Leave a comment

Your Bathroom, Your Brand?

Bathrooms Mean MoneyTarget’s recent initiative to go one step further in response to the gender identification conversation and add single-stall bathrooms to all stores is just another way that they are defining their Brand to the world. And that translates to cash — or not — at the registers.

Whether it’s through the clothing and merchandise selections they offer, or the departmental merchandising and signage decisions they make, Target is reinforcing the value they place on “inclusion”, on making sure that their customers — no customers— are  “limited by how things are presented,” and on their interest in being a brand that is not afraid to change with the times. While the gender identification issue is a current hotbed, and I am sure that no decision will make every shopper happy, Target, as a brand, has worked to make it clear what they stand for in the most UN-Marketing-like ways. And Branding is Marketing, right?

GWH Reality Check: Do all brands realize how far-reaching their seemingly everyday decisions or ‘unrelated-to-Marketing’ actions may be? Do they realize that every single thing they do or manifest in the world speaks about the Brand. Daunting to think about it when “Branding” is your job. But how many opportunities to make a well-branded impact might we be missing by defining the sphere of influence too narrowly?


Source: http://brandchannel.com/2016/08/18/target-gender-081816/

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Real Sponsorship Gold

Olympic sponsorship comes with a hefty price tag, so simply paying the sponsor fee and popping off a few ads just isn’t enough. In recent Olympics, the brands that have made an impact created a deep emotional connection with their audience. With a push to go global, Under Armour (UA) is doing just that. Not only is UA providing uniforms and apparel for many of the US teams, but the sporting giant is airing one of the best TV spots during the 2016 games — Rule Yourself featuring Michael Phelps.

Sponsoring athletes is the norm for the sport-related brands, but there are always inherent risks. In Michael’s case, his risks were not in his athletic performance, but how he behaved out of the pool. He made a real splash at 2004 Athens, 2008 Beijing, and 2012 London Olympic Games, but his recreational drug and alcohol use after the Games caused a great deal of controversy with the whole world watching.

But UA was smart. They knew we all watched Michael win and we watched him struggle. And still, America was rooting for him. Rule Yourself tapped into those emotions. The tagline neatly summed up Michael’s story: “It’s what you do in the dark that puts you in the light”

UA stuck with Michael Phelps through thick and thin, and it was a WIN. Knowing how to pull at our heartstrings in an honest, human way was an even bigger one.

It is now indisputable that world loves Michael Phelps, that he is the greatest Olympic swimmer of all time, and that UA is reaping the benefits. There’s a lot to learn in this.


Source: http://qz.com/758289/the-moving-michael-phelps-ad-that-has-been-gold-for-under-armour-at-the-2016-rio-olympics/

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