To Honey Maid, Wholesome Means Acceptance

Honey Maid takes its “This Is Wholesome” campaign to a new level yet again in their latest evolution of the three-year-old campaign. Wayyyy beyond applying to the lowly graham cracker itself, the tagline continues to take on even more controversial hurdles of social acceptance and tolerance.

In the new series of sobering, yet endearing 30 second spots,  they expand their coverage of social diversity issues to include sexual orientation, cultural differences, adopted siblings, and disabled veterans, all with the product serving as that same understated, unifying link that helps bring people together.

Glad to see that all the controversy of the past hasn’t dissuaded them from their strategy — if anything, it seems to have emboldened them.  This approach was a risk, for sure, but one that seems to be paying off. In a world where Marketing can be trite and self serving, they show us that Brands really can help serve as a catalyst for change. And it’s those kinds of moments that create a lasting impressions in consumer minds.

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Controversy, Food Marketing, Lifestyle Marketing, Social Responsibility and Philanthropy, TV Commercials | Leave a comment

Tax Day Marketing As Bad As The Day Itself?

Tax Day MarketingSound branding and marketing investment, or me-too junk?

More brands than the usual H&R Block are jumping on the April Tax Day bandwagon this year. From a slew of offers for a “1040” asking price ($10.40 at Boston Market, $1040 at Kimpton Hotels, including a no-tax perk) to free paper shredding (!) at Office Depot/Office Max, and a whole bunch of seemingly random “It’s Tax Day so buy from us!” offers in between, you just have to wonder where the creativity went?

“Get Relief, Here’s a Deal”  “Spend Your Refund Wisely,” even a “Chill Out” request from Kona Shaved Ice Trucks… all doling out discount after ho-hum discount. Where is all the old fun and imagination that brought Excedrin sampling to the steps of the US Post Office (in the days long ago before e-filing) for Excedrin Headache #1040?

Here’s a partial list of this year’s culprits. See what you think.

I’m giving everyone on it a GWH W.T.F. Award (Winner, Toss-Up, or Flop) an “F” for NO FUN. (OK, maybe Kona gets a “W.”) There just has to be something more clever out there on such a unique and ubiquitous occasion. What a waste of a good opportunity. GWH would have done so much better. Going to keep looking for winners out there— fortunately this year, I’ll have a couple of extra days to look.



Posted in Advertising, Awards, Flop, Promotions, winners-toss-ups-flops | Leave a comment

Shazamable Coke Bottles For Sharing, Of Course

Shazamable Coke PromotionDon’t think “The Haters” could possibly “hate hate, hate” this one! Coke’s latest #ShareACoke foray for the Summer of 2016 creates Shazamable cans and bottles with popular song lyrics for fun and sharing. And they didn’t seem to skip a note integrating all the elements.

Shazam your bottle or can’s lyrics and you can record a digital lip-synced video, which of course, you will share,  or personalize bottles with your own choice of lyrics and images at Going way beyond the creative and effective “Popular Name” bottle initiative, this one builds in even more engaging reasons and value added for sharing. Yet it is wonderful in its end user simplicity and integration with real life behaviors.

Strategy, Brand Equity, Technology and Novelty can be forced bedfellows at times today. This is simply perfect harmony (corny pun intended).  Once again, Coke gets a GWH W.T.F. (Winner, Toss-Up, or Flop) WINNER award. There’s a reason why they are the #1 most valuable soft drink BRAND in the world.  So much to learn from them.



Posted in Awards, Beverage Marketing, Branding, Experiential Marketing, Interactive & Mobile, Packaging, Partnerships, Technology, Winners, winners-toss-ups-flops | Leave a comment

Gatorade: The Science of Re-Branding

Gatorade WebWell, it wouldn’t be a Gatorade ad without showcasing a world-class athlete, now would it?

Yet while the brand’s new campaign, Your Game Is Our Lab, continues to feature some of the biggies, like track Olympian Usain Bolt, NFL defensive end J.J. Watt, MLB hitter Bryce Harper and WNBA guard-forward Elena Delle Donne, it also brings Gatorade back to its scientific roots. This refocus on sports fuel and hydration allows for the introduction of innovations like: protein bars, vegetable-based nitrate boosts, protein-enriched yogurt, and even a new bottle cap technology that measures/tracks hydration rates. This cool new “smart bottle” uses a microchip and disposable sweat patch to actually update athletes on their sodium loss. When the light flashes on the cap, it’s time to drink!  What a great example of bringing brand promise right to the playing field.

This campaign is a GWH W.T.F. Award (Winner, Toss-up, or Flop) WINNER! Gatorade’s approach is spot on to deliver against its stated mission to “search for and study new and innovative ways to help athletes improve performance by facilitating proper hydration and nutrition.”



Posted in Advertising, Awards, Beverage Marketing, Branding, Celebrities, Experiential Marketing, Health Marketing, Innovation, Packaging, Technology, Winners, winners-toss-ups-flops | Leave a comment

Politics, Entertainment & Marketing: Any Rules Anymore?

Larry David Plays Bernie Sanders Politics and Late Night Comedy have become well-acquainted bedfellows over recent years. Equal-Opportunity barbs seem to level the playing field.

But Politics and Prime Time Network TV shows? Politics and Marketing Conferences? Even Politics and First Responders on duty? Is there a line anymore between marketing tactics, freedom of choice, freedom of speech, personal endorsement and… too far? The rules seem to be mixed.

3 examples with different social responses:

President Obama as  keynote speaker at SXSW 2016. 1st sitting president to do such a thing. They are calling it the ultimate “Obama Brand Activation.” The quintessential Experiential Marketing tactic.

Shonda Rhimes, along with her lead characters — Scandal‘s Olivia Pope (aka: Kerry Washington), How to Commit a Murder‘s Professor Annalise Keating (aka: Viola Davis) and Grey’s Anatomy’s Dr. Meredith Grey (aka: Ellen Pompeo)  — star in a pro-Hillary spot that aired initially during an episode of Grey’s.

And what about the Hartford, CT cop who put a Trump bumper sticker in his cruiser?

At a time in history when lines are blurred between pushing the envelope in marketing/promotion — whether yourself, your views or your brand — how does one know when it’s strayed too far?

Posted in brand image, Celebrities, Celebrity Endorsements, Controversy, Experiential Marketing, Legal, Gvt, Marketing Tactics, Publicity | Leave a comment

One Too Many This St. Patrick’s Day?

Guinness Ad ErrorApparently this was the case for Guinness – their St. Patrick’s Day ads in Canada featured a four-leaf clover instead of a shamrock.

Now, legend has it that St. Patrick used the shamrock to demonstrate the concept of The Trinity as part of his efforts to bring Christianity to the Irish. The shamrock is very much regarded as the national plant of Ireland and it is always worn on St. Patrick’s Day, which is both a Holy Day and a National Holiday there.

So safe to say, shamrocks are kind of a big deal when it comes to the Irish. Which makes this clover/shamrock gaffe even more unbelievable coming from Guinness, a very Irish brand if there ever was one.

GWH Reality Check: Details matter, Brands. Just a few moments of research (or QC) could have easily prevented an embarrassing ding on their Irish authenticity. Besides, shouldn’t a marketer or their agency know the brand inside out?

Posted in Advertising, Beverage Marketing, Controversy, International Marketing, Marketing Tactics | Leave a comment

Mickey D’s Creates VR Happy Meals

You may have heard about, or even experienced, the wonders of today’s Virtual Reality headsets. To Boomers like myself, they are more than just an update to the View-Master® of our childhood (which themselves are quite a bit more than they used to be).

They are real game-changers — whether sophisticated like the soon-to-be-released Oculus Rift , or “simple”  like the low-tech approaches to VR, using paper or cardboard cleverly folded to hold your smart phone.

Proving the potential impact of the latter, McDonald’s recently began selling these Happy Meal boxes in 14 stores in northern Sweden that can be punched-out, folded, and turned into relatively sturdy VR headsets. Customers who purchase them can then access a link to the “Happy Goggles” VR game, a low-fi ski racing experience.

Not hard to see how, in the very near future, VR headsets will no doubt be as ubiquitous as smart phones are now. This current cardboard and paper approach is a fascinating marketing tool — relatively inexpensive, charmingly low-tech, and surprisingly immersive. Bet we see a lot more of this soon.


Source: Wired 3/2/16

Posted in Content Marketing, Creative Thinking, Experiential Marketing, Interactive & Mobile, International Marketing, Lifestyle Marketing, Marketing Tactics, Packaging, Technology, Travel, Hospitality, Restaurants | Leave a comment