Social Media + Billboard = Creative Jell-O Pudding Promotion

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Can you say “Way cool multi-channel advertising”? Continue reading


Is this the Ulimate in Text Analysis?

When we talk about text analysis, we often discuss it in terms of looking at hundreds or thousands of comments or lines of social media dialogue. And most often, this type of text analysis is very insightful in terms of the particular issue at hand. Now, imagine what you might be able to uncover if you could text mine 5 million books from across a few centuries.

A group from Google Labs, MIT, Harvard, The American Heritage Dictionary, and The Encyclopedia Britannica spent four years working on just this concept. Erez Lieberman Aiden and Jean-Baptiste Michel demonstrated a few of the results in a recent TEDBoston conference and what they shared is nothing short of fascinating. Here’s what we can learn from 500 billion words.

What’s That Taste and How Does It Make You Feel?

“What’s happening in modern cooking is that cooks are changing the ground rules in order to stimulate the mind—in order to stimulate emotion and in order to stimulate thought…”

At a recent Association of Psychological Science (APS) conference, a fascinating panel of experts from the industry,  as well as, food critics, writers, and spice manufacturers sat on the same panel. They were not trading recipes. They were discussing the latest findings of studies involving spices and their link to human emotions.

According to Marianne Gillette of McCormick & Company, together the new science of spices and a rising concern for eating healthy are “creating this new interest in spices that we haven’t seen in hundreds of years.”  New York Times writer, Harold McGee told the audience, “What’s happening in modern cooking is that cooks are changing the ground rules in order to stimulate the mind—in order to stimulate emotion and in order to stimulate thought…”

What does this mean to marketers?

Advertising and consumer insights can not stop at the television screen or magazine page. Images and copy can also be linked to food, flavors, and spices thanks to early hard wiring of the human brain. If you close your eyes and concentrate on biting into a lemon, with all the juice running down your hand, it is hard for most people not to start getting a bit of tightness in their throat or mouth.  And for most people born in the US, a watermelon screams 4th of July. 

Marketers must think literally “out of the box”. How does your product smell? Does the smell evoke memories of childhood, or the beach, should it? How does it taste; new and different or completely familiar to your target consumer? All these issues can easily be used for other non-food items. Who has not had the experience of breathing that new car smell? So what does the smell of pot roast just out of the oven mean to you?

Broadband Adoption on the Rise

The adoption rate of broadband Internet service in American homes continues to rise despite economic worries. With more broadband in more homes, advertisers should plan on taking advantage of this new outlet for creating dynamic advertising.  The predicted merger of television and the desktop computer is well on its way to coming to fruition.  Consider the latest push of advertising by, and Internet site dedicated to offering TV viewers a select group of prime time shows to be viewed on demand on their desktops.  Streaming video is not the future;  it is now. And if you are a business that is looking for new, savvy customers you need to be where they are shopping – online. I know, online advertising is nothing new, but the rules are about to change and you need to be ready. Forget about taking your existing local TV spots and just throwing them up on the net. The “tiny screen” is a whole different world. Think of taking a billboard and scrunching it down to the size of a pizza box. What details would you lose? How would you have to change your message… logo… or traditional ad layout if you had much less space and much less time? Consider investing in real advertising research (that is not done by your agency or spouse) to see what is really going to work for you. A little investment upfront can set you up to take full advantage of streaming video advertising on that computer you are using right now. This is not your grandfather’s Internet!

 Broadband vs. Dial-up


Farewell George

George Carlin (1937-2008)

He was 71 years old with known heart problem, yet he left us too soon. Comedic genus George Carlin, passed away on Sunday, June 22. His quirky observations of human nature made his comedy relevant and hit close to home for many. A man who had to recreate himself more than once in his career, Carlin had an amazing talent to adapting and commenting on the times in which he lived. An inspiration for many other comics and humorists, his innovative style will be missed. I will especially miss his sharp and pointed commentaries on politics, lauguage, and everyday life.

Goodbye George. Write if you get work.

We Know Why You Fly. Oh Really?

Some radio and television commercials from a major airline seem to suggest some form of empathy for the airline passenger, because, according to the commercial, “We know why you fly.”

Isn’t it bad enough that the National Transportation Safety Authority is consistency watching over us? Now the airlines claiming to be nowing before we travel why we’re traveling.

 Suppose I wanted to leave town and take someone other than my wife on a trip to Las Vegas. Does the airline have the right to know this? And if they indeed do know this, who told them? Is this just another arm of the President’s illegal wiretapping of citizens? Has the airline planted a mole in every office? Or do the booking agents get a bonus if they can get the true nature of my trip out of my while I am selecting my seat?

“Now, Mr. Bernstein, you wanted 2 seats to Bermuda for this weekend?”

“Yes, of course.”

“Will you be needing those seats together? Or will your business partner be able to sit alone?”

“No, we prefer to sit together, thank you.”

“And what is his name?”

“HER name is Ms. Peterson.”

“I see. Will Ms. Peterson be needing a separate hotel room? We just like to help in any way we can, sir. Perhaps you would like us to notify Mrs. Bernstein of your hotel while in Bermuda?”

“No thank you that will not be necessary” 

“Oh…. I see.”

And so it goes. We have enough people tracking our travel, expenses, and what we eat. Do we really need an airline that keeps tabs on where we travel and WHY?

I think not.

What’s next? We’re Kelloggs and we know exactly what you are eating. Please put down the Twinkie and move away from the table before someone gets hurt.

More Bars in More Place?

After watching and listening to AT&T Wireless’ commercials for several months now I think we have a real problem on our hands. I believe AT&T Wireless is trying to get people to get drunk while using their cell phones. Why else would they choose the tag line “More Bars in More Places”?

It makes some sense. After all, if I go into a bar and have a few drinks, I am more likely to pick up my cell phone – forget trying to find a pay phone, AT&T is doing away with those – and call the girl friend who just dumped me. Or even better, I can call my boss and tell him what a crap he has been lately. That’s what a few good stiff drinks can do for you. And besides, when you are drunk are you really paying attention to how much you are talking and running up your bill? It’s all about the money. They give away the cell phones like they are candy, in much the same way a cocaine dealer gets you hooked by giving away free samples. You get a hot new phone but the texting, photos, music, and live streaming videos hit you in the wallet. And now they want you to stay drunk so you don’t remember all those prank international phone calls you made. Frankly, I would not be surpirsed it many AT&T reps are also bartenders on the side. Just a thought.

So what’s next AT&T? “Our Towers are Higher Than You Are?” or maybe “Talk Until You are Blue In the Face” directed specifically at the asthma sufferers? Maybe it’s time to get just come out and say what you really mean. Hey folks… our cell phones suck less than everyone else’s.