A model of Generic Brand?

We have seen a lot of advertisements in our daily lives. Have you ever noticed that there are some clichés or similar ways that every business likes to use in the commercial?

There is a popular clip called “This Is a Generic Brand Video” which generated 602,000 views on YouTube in just a week. It was based on a satirical poem written by Kendra Eash for McSweeney’s Internet Tendency then turned into an actual video by Dissolve, a stock footage company.

Why does this video make you feel so familiar? It is an amalgamation of every single generic brand video that you have ever seen; regardless of what is it for. We can see some similar elements of different advertisements from the clips, including doctors’ experiment in a laboratory with professional white uniforms, views of cities, smiling face on people of different ethnics.

As an audience, this video is so hilarious that makes me laugh. However, as a marketer, what do we do after watching it? Do we just admit, “That’s exactly how we work on the commercials,” and move on? Can we do something different?

This video can be a start point to stop a while and think about what we really want to convey to audiences or consumers. It seems that we have talked a lot in the advertising, but are they meaningful or just some clichés?

Someone may argue that we use the same model to tell the story because it works. However, can we break it out? Is there any more creative way or scripts that can really make our products, services, or the brand outstand from our competitors? Some creative advertisements we mentioned in the previous blogs are good examples. Even though content marketing is important, the key point is to send meaningful messages to our target consumers to increase their interests and improve the relationship. As we do not like to talk to someone who always talks with clichés without his or her personality, so do the target consumers.

Therefore, think of the goal first, and then incorporate the characteristic of your brand when producing any commercial.


Second Screen as a new advertising medium

Another interesting shift in advertising is the use of second screen. Consumer are increasingly engaged on second screen content. According to Nielsen data, 75 percent of mobile (smartphone and tablets) users are engaging with second screen content more than once a month as they watch TV. In addition, about half of those people (50 million) are engaged with second screen content daily. This pose a great opportunity for brands and advertisers to engage consumers across devices. Below is data on connected devices usage while watching TV.

Nielsen_Connected Devices Owners Usage while watching TV
Source: Nielsen

Good examples of second screen engagement has mainly been around live events and episode premieres. Something to watch for this summer is Fifa World Cup. According to an article “World Cup to deliver extra content for second screen”, the World Cup will have access to an extra 1,500 hours of content, all of which will be available for delivery to second screen devices for the first-time.

For brands and advertisers, the opportunity to engage consumers in real-time with relevant targeted information is in the horizon. In addition, with the rise of second screen, advertisers can extend consumer engagement longer than the traditional 30 seconds TV advertisements. It will be interesting to see how second screen will evolve in the world of advertising.

One logo 21 Names; Implications for Global Brands

One logo 21 Names; Implications for Global Brands

In our second post featuring London-based CPG conglomerate Unilever, we address some of the implications of their worldwide ice cream brand portfolio. Brands in the portfolio have one thing in common: the Heart logo but over 20 different names accompany such logo worldwide.

As part of their corporate strategy Unilever has acquired local players and brands within multiple segments, the ice cream segment is no exception. Such growth strategy represents a challenge for Marketing professionals. Prior to 1998 the heartbrand did not existed; different companies across the world used their own logos and names. In 1998 Unilever introduced the Heart shaped logo that replaced most of previous designs in several countries, but local names were carried on. This is not the traditional Multi-branded strategy that consists of having two or more similar and competing products by the same company under different brands.

One of the main advantages that a single logo strategy has is graphical consistency; this facilitates customers to associate a logo to a product category (ice cream) and to a brand. I personally experienced this, while the brand is called Holanda in Mexico during a trip to Spain I was craving for Ice cream, via the logo I was able to immediately recognize the brand Frigo.

Along the same lines maintaining a name that customers are already familiarized with represents less of an impact when companies try to standardize logos across the world; this can translate into maintaining brand loyalty. Another implication of implementing a multi name strategy is ease of pronunciation; the majority of times there is no one size fits all solution to such challenge. A single name across the world might represent a challenge for customers; in some markets it might harder to pronounce and as a consequence remember a standardized brand name.




UN Women and Sexism in Searches

This morning I woke to a CNN special discussing women in the workplace and the evolving role of women in the world today. This theme reflects International Women’s Day which was celebrated this month on March 8. Notably, the United States is ranked #23 overall out of 136 countries in gender equality, according to the World Economic Forum 2013 Report. Clearly, the continuing debate over the emergence of women in business, politics and women’s rights advocacy remains a global issue.


In 2013, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, known as UN Women, launched a series of ads based on sexism in authentic autocomplete Google searches. Google autocomplete generates predicted searches based on “the search activity of users and the content of web pages indexed by Google.” Google autocompleted phrases including: “Women need to BE PUT IN THEIR PLACE,” “Women cannot BE TRUSTED,” “Women should STAY AT HOME,” and “Women shouldn’t HAVE RIGHTS.”

The alarming negativity and discrimination toward women in mainstream searches, from stereotyping to denial of rights, motivated the UN Women’s campaign by Memac Ogilvy & Mather Dubai. A woman working on the campaign stated, “the ads are shocking because they show just how far we still have to go to achieve gender equality.” UN Women utilized the blatant search sexism in the controversial ads to incite a global dialogue.


Though autocomplete adjusts slightly according to country, when I searched today, I experienced similar results: “Women need to SHUT UP,” “Women cannot HAVE IT ALL,” “Women should STAY AT HOME” and “Women shouldn’t VOTE.” I am horrified that mainstream searches reflect this sexism, and worse, feel guilty for never having noticed it before. I fear I am desensitized to the media sexism that surrounds me, yet I feel empowered by the UN Women ads that seek to encourage awareness, enlightenment and change.






Shift towards Social Media Advertising

The rapid adoption of social media is now a well-known fact.  With such large number of users on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, it is difficult for companies (especially consumer-oriented companies) to ignore social media as a marketing channel.

Source: http://www.mediabistro.com

Most consumer-oriented firms have established Facebook and Twitter accounts to listen and engage their customers. Some firms have also started advertising to customers on theses social platforms. A big driver for this shift was mobile, as mentioned in a previous post (Shift towards Mobile Advertising). Data from a recent Nielsen report: “The U.S. Digital Consumer Report”, states that almost half (47%) of smartphone owners visited social networks everyday in the last year, and the unique audience for social media smartphone apps increased 37%. The data also shows that the highest year-over-year increase of social media usage is on smartphones applications (compared to usage on computers and usage via smartphone browsers).  With more consumers embracing smartphones (approximately 75% penetration in the US.) and using social media on these devices, firm will follow suite to capture consumer’s attentions on these platforms.

Some eCommerce firms have even shortened the consumer journey by providing direct purchase options on their advertisements on social media. Brick-and-Mortar stores can also take advantage of social media on smartphones to target, engage and attract consumers who are within a specific geographic location into their stores.

I believe that we will start to see more firms moving towards advertising on social media and leveraging these platforms to create a path to purchase and even fulfillment.

A picture is worth a thousand words

Although there has been a significant reduction in the popularity of print media advertising, print media advertising is still a valuable marketing tool for reaching out a wider range of consumers who are not used to online media. Just as online media, there is a lot of information in a newspaper or magazine. How to create a powerful print advertisement which can capture consumers’ attention? An idea or message must be communicated simply and swiftly. One of the tips is to use a single, eye-catching visual to provide the central focus with humor. It is easier and unforgettable for consumers to keep the brand or the product in mind when thinking of interesting advertisements. The following are some examples.

1. Timotei Styling Mousse



Timotei Natural Style Hairspray, Gel, and Mousse were promoted in 2005 with an eye-catching portrait.


2. Chupa Chups Lollipops



From this advertisement, it clearly conveyed the main idea “sugar free” without any word. This simple picture also created an “aha” moment.


3. Utopolis, Group of cinemas



Referencing popular mass culture phenomena can be a highly creative and effective way for businesses to tap into consumers’ desire for familiarity.


4. WMF Knife

04_WMF Knife


From this advertisement, it is easy to memorize the feature of WMF knife: sharpness.


5. Olympus: Optical zoom


When you look at things through Olympus Binoculars, they get closer than you had ever imagined.

Although funny advertisements can attract attentions, humor is not a simple task. It is important to realize that humor is not universal. It varies from different culture. A global audience is, unfortunately, unlikely when it comes to humor. Humor in communications must transcend those local lines as best possible. Knowing your product or idea and its audience can avoid misuse of humor and improve the efficiency of your advertisement.

Advertising in the World Cup: Coca Cola

The FIFA world cup is one of the major sporting events taking place every 4 years around the world; the event represents an outstanding opportunity for global brands such as Coca Cola to launch worldwide advertising campaigns.

In 2010 (Last year a world cup was held) Coca Cola’s advertising budget reached 2.9 Billion Dollars; expenditure in print, radio, television and other advertisements are considered in such figure.

Less than 100 days away from Brazil’s 2014 World Cup opening ceremony (June 12th – July 13th) Coca Cola and other important brands are securing advertising spaces during such an important month; we will start to witness the launch of Coca Cola’s 2014 World Cup campaign in the upcoming weeks. 8 advertisers spending over $ 600 Million including Coca Cola have secured TV presence with Brazil’s leading TV broadcaster (Globo). According to Globo TV Marketing Director a $ 75 Million budget per advertiser equals 1,120 video insertions; including 451 30-second TV commercials amongst other advertising prints.

According to FIFA research more than 3.2 Billion people (46.4 % of the world’s population) watched live coverage for a minimum of one minute of 2010’s World Cup; without a doubt the World Cup is an event worth investing for brands with a global reach. Coca Cola’s World Cup campaign is not only interesting from a reach perspective but also due to the cultural considerations accounted when tailoring such a global campaign to more narrow markets.






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