Monthly: August 2015

Professional Development

Epic Marketing Fails

Sometimes, you’ll see an advertisement isn’t very well-thought-out. Maybe their placements are unfortunate (or is highly unfortunate), or their logo isn’t well designed (or is poorly designed). Every now and then, you’ll release an advertisement that you’ll regret immediately and will become the butt of jokes all over the internet. Below are some examples of why you should think, really, really hard, about making sure your ads convey the right message.

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Given the picture, 75% sounds like a pretty reasonable discount.

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At least one of these ads had a clear and concise message.

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Let’s be real, the name “mama’s baking” probably didn’t do the design team any favors.

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Definitely a tough choice.

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If you can’t see the joke immediately, look closely at the heads and arms of the dancers.

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To be fair, they didn’t claim to be auto care experts.

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I’m glad we found marketers whose ads don’t beat around the bush.

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Hey, can’t say they didn’t warn you.

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A reminder of how important the ‘space’ key is.

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Halls and Trojan are certainly targeting relevant markets with this one.

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There’s nothing that would make me want to travel via Turkish Airlines more than an image of their plane headed downward in a 45 degree angle.

Market Information

When Athlete-Endorsements No Longer Make Sense

Besides playing the sports they love, why do professional athletes want to become professional athletes in the first place? Usually to make money. And in an age where celebrities are used (maybe even overused) by companies to endorse products, there’s no question that athletes expect and get a piece of that pie.

Some of the most successful advertising campaigns of all time are a result of athletes becoming the faces of a company or product. In 1989, Nike aired “Bo Knows,” which features Bo Jackson (who achieved all-star status as both a Football and Baseball player) trying his hand at several different sports, with other all-time greats such as Hulk Hogan and Wayne Gretzky. This led to a wildly successful campaign that has been followed by sequels, parodies, and pop culture references. In the 90s, Michael Jordan starred in a Gatorade commercial now called “Be Like Mike” that featured a combination of a brief highlight reel, playing with neighborhood kids, and drinking Gatorade before and after each segment.  That advertisement was recently remade, only this version features shorts of Jordan in the NBA 2K video game and of current NBA all-star Carmelo Anthony and Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton singing to the tune of the song.

In both of those advertisements, the link between the company and the athlete makes sense. Nike is the largest athletic apparel and equipment in the world, and Gatorade accounts for approximately 75 percent market share in the sports drink category. Why do they make sense? Because Bo Jackson actually wore Nike apparel all day every day, and Michael Jordan actually drank Gatorade to aid in his athletic performance.

What’s happening now is different. Now in days, companies endorse athletes even if their products or services have nothing to do with sports. What’s the association between Call of Duty and basketball? Probably none, right? Don’t tell that to Clippers guard Blake Griffin who recently starred in a GameFly commercial that him flying around on a jet pack in a suit. When was the last time you saw a quarterback wearing blue jeans during a game? Never; but that’s not stopping Brett Favre and Drew Brees from rocking out their jeans for Wrangler commercials. Is Sprite a beverage that many athletes would drink, if any, for that matter? Probably not very frequently; even though LeBron James now has his own Sprite edition. And Seahawks’ star running back Marshawn Lynch participating in a Beacon Plumbing commercial is just sad.

Maybe professional athletes just want to make as much money as they can however they can. Maybe companies that find themselves losing market share are desperate to attach a famous name to their products or services. But the truth is that pairing athletes with companies that are irrelevant to the athlete and his/her sport is poor marketing and comes at a cost financially and against the integrity of the brand.

 

Market Information, Professional Development

Why Non-Profits Should Utilize LinkedIn

Oftentimes, a non-profit spending “too much money” will give it a bad rap. This is for a number of reasons. The biggest reason is the argument that non-profits need to limit their overhead costs in order to have more of the donation’s revenue left over to directly help the cause. In English, non-profits take some of the money that one donates (usually most of it) and use it to cover the costs of the business, such as payroll of employees. The perception is that advertising is another cost that will drain the amount of money left to contribute to the cause of that organization.

However, such notions are misguided. First, in the case of non-profits, associating the terms “overhead” and “advertising” would be misleading, because one has nothing to do with the other. Advertising for a non-profit has goals of reaching out for donations and educating the public about an important social issue. That’s not “overhead” by any definition- that’s a fundraising and program expense. But that’s not a common belief held by donors.

 

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(Chart by nonprofitquarterly.org)

While United Way only spends 2% of gross revenue on advertising, Red Cross and YMCA spend far less than 1%. According to a CMO Council survey, the vast majority of business owners spent less than 4% in gross revenue on advertising and marketing costs, and the remaining 42% of businesses spending more than 5%. An interesting point to the contrary is that Wounded Warriors Project spends a reported 35% of its resources in advertising and has become among the most well known veteran services organizations out there, now serving over 83,000 registered members, has offices in nearly 20 locations, and has a line of clothing by Under Armor worn by 3 college football teams. Therefore, if a non-profit (and a non-profit’s donors) is serious about growing for the purpose of raising a greater awareness for its cause, they would advertise more than they are now.

When you think of relatively inexpensive ways to advertise a non-profit organization, and when you think of social media platforms that have more than enough space to facilitate advertising with limited competition, the mind automatically wanders to LinkedIn. The professional networking social media application’s membership has been on the rise in recent years due to the millennial generation setting its footing in the workforce. While its functionality is more limited than Facebook’s, there are reasons why advertising on LinkedIn can make a lot of sense. First, you can “follow” specific companies and non-profits, which will allow you to see their posts directly on your newsfeed. There’s also a “Volunteer” section near the bottom part of your profile page that you can edit to show the broad causes that you’re interested in by editing “Causes You Care About.” For example, if I was interested in “Disaster and Humanitarian Relief,” then Habitat For Humanity could place an ad on my home page the next time I log in.

A user can directly show which causes he/she cares about which will lead to ads of suggested non-profits. And this would have more positive consequences for the organizations than solely fundraising. It would raise awareness of actual hands-on volunteer opportunities and even possibly career opportunities for those interested in the industry. For those concerned about the financial implications for non-profits using LinkedIn to promote itself, LinkedIn also offers the flexibility to set a budget, meaning the maximum amount that the organization would want to spend in one day. Lastly, advertising on this platform will grant organizations exposure to a millennial generation that is career driven and socially conscious, meaning that its users are a good target audience.

Advertising is the epitome of what it actually means to “spend money to make money.” In the case of nonprofits, the phrase should be edited to “spend money to make money to help people”. And today’s digital age allows for these organizations to promote their causes flexibly and inexpensively. While more non-profits hopefully follow Wounded Warriors Project’s model and become less fearful of investing in their advertising campaigns, using LinkedIn as a test run would not be a bad start.

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