Google TV is Coming!

March 18, 2010

I know that I don’t update this blog as often as I used to, or as often as I probably should.  But upon scanning the headlines of the blogs that I follow this morning, one inspired me to get back in the game, if only for this one post.

Awhile back I posted a blog titled “When Will Google Take Over TV”.  And apparently, the answer is soon.

From Mashable yesterday comes a report that Google is already a few months into a project to develop an Android based TV platform that may include both set-top boxes and internet connected TV’s.  Google is partnering with Sony and Intel on this project, which is sure to shake up the media world as it gets closer.

This is a big move for Google, whose advertising possibilities will increase greatly with control over a television based platform.  Obviously we’ll have to wait and see what kind of experience the Google based TV platform will give us, but this is a big step in the converging of traditional television media and the internet.

I for one am excited.

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Marketing in an Age of Endless Needs

June 24, 2009

518SD2MD3VL._SL500The following is a small piece of dialogue from the movie, Roger Dodger, a favorite of mine.

Roger: You can’t sell a product without first making people feel bad.

Nick: Why not?

Roger: Because it’s a substitution game. You have to remind them that they’re missing something from their lives. Everyone’s missing something, right?

Nick: I guess.

Roger: Trust me. And when they’re feeling sufficiently incomplete, you convince them your product is the only thing that can fill the void. So instead of taking steps to deal with their lives, instead of working to root out the real reason for their misery, they go out and buy a stupid looking pair of cargo pants.

The movie is about a young man learning how to attract women from his womanizing uncle.  Check it out if you haven’t seen it.

In the movie, Roger works for an ad agency.  His belief about advertising is captured in the short back and forth featured above.

What this post is about is the dilemma that this theory creates.  As marketers, are we creating the need that our product fills, or fulfilling an actual need?  This is a question that you need to answer before any type of marketing campaign, because it will change your entire strategy.

If you are advertising something completely new, something we may not even know that we need yet, you are going to have to work a little harder at educating us.  Make us realize the need before you tell us how your product or service fills it.

If you are advertising a new version of an existing product, or some type of upgrade that fulfills an existing need, then don’t bother educating us.  Just sell us straight up.

It makes a huge difference, and could affect the success of any product launch.  So one of the first steps you should take when drafting any new marketing plan is to identify which category that you fall into.  Are you creating a need, or just filling one we already have?

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Direct Comparison Ads: Do They Work Best?

June 16, 2009

49d620c72962eAdvertising works when it is done right. There is no question in that.  Companies spend millions of dollars on ad campaigns trying to target the right market and convince them of something.

I have always been somewhat of a self-appointed critic of advertising.  Partially because of my fascination with the industry and partially because I have very strong opinions.  I love investigating what the ad is saying, where the message is coming from, and whether or not it is successful.

Sometimes you see an ad on TV and you think to yourself, how did this make it out of the original brainstorming discussion?  Other times you see something that blows you away and you wonder how someone could dream it up.

Lately there is an intriguing trend that I thought was worth analyzing.  Direct comparison ads are becoming quite popular, and companies are sticking with them for an extended period of time.  So one has to think that they see better results.

Direct comparison ads, for the sake of this post, are any advertisement that calls out the competition blatantly and says why one product is better than the other.  Some companies that are currently running these type of ads are Microsoft (vs Apple), Apple (vs PCs), 5 Hour Energy (vs Energy Drinks), Time Warner (vs Verizon Fios), Dominoes (vs Subway/Quiznos), and Total Cereal (vs Go Lean).  There are many others as well but that is enough to prove my point.

This has long been a popular style of advertising, going right after the competition and trying to lure away customers because of a claim that you are better.  That are rules and guidelines surrounding it, and you have to be careful about what you do and do not say about the competition.  But, if executed well, these companies have seen that the effects can be strong.

For a long time Apple ate away at the market for personal computers with their “Mac/PC” ads showcasing how easy Macs were to use.  Now, Microsoft has countered with ads featuring “real people” looking for new computers and choosing the more affordable, just as useful, Dell or HPs with Windows.  And those ads have resulted in a spike in purchased of those PCs over Apple Computers.

My only issue with this type of ad campaign is that you run the risk of sounding bad.  Personal attacks against other brands can come back to bite you if A) They are found to be incorrect or B) The competition changes something to top you.  Personally, I have found that Time Warner makes some useless claims in their direct comparison ads (such as comparing the ease of reading the bill with that of Fios).  I have Time Warner, and the bill is confusing.

What do you think?  Do you find direct comparison to be effective?  Let me know why or why not in the comments below.

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