Sunday, December 31, 2006

Coke Placing Bets on Zero

Coca-Cola is reportedly going to put more money behind Coke Zero in 2007. In fact, it will be spending an estimated $13 million on advertising. Coca-Cola will be changing packaging design to improve shelp impact. In addition, its 2007 media schedule for Coke Zero will include national TV and digital support including the NCAA, national print around football and sponsorship of Notre Dame. Ads will also be placed on AOL, Grey's Anatomy, 24, MTV and late-night talk shows with radio ads in 20 markets.

Coke is attempting reposition Zero around its "Coke-ness" theme. The "Coke-ness" theme illustrates how Coke Zero tastes more like regular Coke. Coke Zero was originally positioned as a carbonated beverage for males. Despite widespread skepticism since its June 2005 launch, Coke Zero has logged five months of growth since July, steadily climbing to a 1% share. (By comparison, the country's No. 10-selling brand, Diet Mountain Dew, holds 1.4%.) Sales volume for Coke Zero increased 154% in mass channels excluding Wal-Mart in the first nine months of last year, according to Beverage Digest, making it one of the best performers in the company's fizzy-drink portfolio.

An interesting note: Pepsi ranked No. 1 in Customer Satisfaction Despite New Products, Quarterly Surveys Shows Coke Lagging.

Coke Zero Website

Source: Adage

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Intel Multiplies Inside

Intel has purchased the rights to use Time Square's bookend video billboards for its 'Multiply' campaign which goes through January 7, 2007. Intel's goal is to have people upload photos of themselves. Each persons' photo will show as one image, then mulitply into many smaller ones.

"'Multiply' is now our overall campaign for all we do at Intel," said Thom Campbell, Intel senior media manager. "Our mission is to manifest 'multiply' in media."

The term 'Multiply'is used to describe Intel's new processing architecture, the Core brand. Intel plans to use creative media solutions to advertise its brand. Mr. Campbell said. "We're pushing creativity with media; it's really in the forefront now of what we're doing." It is generating good traffic thus far.

Source: Adage

Pepto Bismol on YouTube

Here is an interesting Pepto Bismol commercial that I saw on

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Ford Edge Commercial Too Much Like GM Flying Cars

Now don't get me wrong. I like Ford. In fact, I'm the proud owner of a 2006 Ford Explorer. However, I see to many similarities between the Ford Edge commercial and GM's Flying Cars. I have listed three main similaries below.

1. Both commercials show cars off the ground
2. Both commercials focus on exterior shots primarily
3. Both commercials focus on the ease of traveling with one of their vehicles

I don't like the fact Ford had to think that the Edge needed to be off the ground to send the right message. Overall, I like Ford's marketing strategy for the Ford Edge. They have enlisted several hip-hop stars in an attempt to attract 30-sometings. Unfortunately, Ford needs to make sure its commercials don't resemble GM's if it wants to differentiate itself.

In addition, I find it very interesting that both commercials show off the exterior features (i.e. design). However, I do feel Ford placed slightly more emphasis on presenting interior quality and comfort.

The third and final point I'd like to make illustrates how both brands show the ease of travel when driving one of their commercials. It is important to note that both brands made this point in different ways. GM focused on the speed of getting to where you need to be by showing its cars flying. In contrast, Ford showed that it provides a more comfortable ride when going from point A to B. This eludes to why I feel Ford place a little more emphasis on the interior compared to GM.

Overall, it looks like Ford is positioning the Ford Edge to be an affordable, comfortable ride with and edge (no pun intended). Likewise, it should be able to compete with the Chevy Equinox and Nissan XTerra very easily. Ford has always been known for building high quality SUVs. I may even go out on a limb and say it may compete as a lower cost alternative to the Lexus RX. However, Ford will have to place much more emphasis on comfort and quality if it ever plans to go in that direction.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Do Customers Separate Product From Service?

Do customers separate product from service? Most people I talk to feel product and service are equivocal. However, I beg to differ. I feel that customers do distinguish between product and service.

I see a product as something that meets my needs. For example, I may purchase a Snickers because I'm hungry and want a nice mid-afternoon snack. Snickers really satisfies! Therefore, I find myself full and not hungry. Hence, I am satisfied with the product since my need has been met.

Customers realize they have an issue with a product when their needs are not met. For instance, a credit card holder may feel their needs are not met if their APR is too high or they are continuously charged an annual fee despite being a long time cardholder. It is at this point when a customer sees a problem with the credit card (product) they are using.

Now it is possible for a product issue to be confused with a service issue. In fact, most people feel they are one in the same. A bad product equals bad service and vice versa, supposedly. However, product issues and service issues are distinguishable. It is important to note that product issues (i.e. candy bar has a bad taste) may be worsened by bad service (i.e. inability to contact a representative to handle the situation). This is due to the fact that many people expect to get through to a representative quickly.

Unfortunately, level of service is something that is set by a customers expectations, not a companies evaluation of its ability to handle claims efficiently. Everyone has their own perception of what they deem to be good service. This may be why it is so hard for companies to meet the needs of so many consumers.

Servicing issues occur for many reasons. Now, I don't mean to keep going back to credit cards, but they are a great example for my case that product and service are different. Many customers call the bank issuing their card to have fees removed (late once - shame on me, late twice - shame on you). Customers who expect the fees to be removed find themselves dissappointed when they are told that the fees cannot be removed. This is due to their expectations about what should've happened.

To sum things up, I have included the following.

Product = Needs
Service = Expectations

Failure to meet a customers needs is a product issue.
Failure to meet a customers expectations results in a service issue.

Therefore, any company looking to get my dollar will have to meet my needs and expectations. Will you hold companies to the same standard going forward?

Anyway, I've put my two cents in on this interesting topic. I feel taking a deeper dive into this topic may prove very beneficial. Unfortunately, its 3:29 AM and I'm tired. Also, I'm just a recent college graduate who thinks he's found the holy grail for problem resolution between businesses and their customers. I have much to learn about this topic. However, it is very important in the world of Sales and Marketing. We live in an age where customers are always looking for a win-win situation with businesses (i.e. I forgot to read the fine print when I signed the contract. Is there something we can do about this since I'm unhappy with my decision?) In contrast, businesses are looking for ways to make a profit (i.e. You should've read the fine print. That's what its there for!). Obviously, customers have a lot to learn and so does business.

Monday, December 25, 2006

I'm Not Thinking Arby's...I'm Thinking Online Video Contest

Here is a commercial that Arby's has been running for quite a while. I like Arby's slogan, "I'm thinking Arby's." However, I'm not that impressed with this commercial. The sheer fact that three adult men (construction workers) would pass on a hot model for curly fries and a drink is wrong! Also, why are the construction workers slacking on the job. Perhaps they are already on lunch. However, they should just go directly to Arby's if that's the case.

I feel a better ending to this commercial should show the three men exiting an Arby's restaurant with their food. Arby's can illustrate its point even better if they used this alternative ending to this commercial.

I noticed a few consumer videos created by consumers about Arby's on YouTube. Arby's slogan is not all that bad. In fact, it could be more viral in nature if they take the correct course of action. I think Arby's could capitalize on an "I'm thinking Arby's" online video contest. Arby's could offer prizes to consumers posting the best video's about their experiences thinking about Arby's. This would be a great way for Arby's to be one up on the burger chains.

There are three ways Arby's could do this. They could have consumers submit videos on YouTube, to their corporate office, or create a website (i.e. similar to Coke) where consumers can submit creative content related to their experiences with Arby's. However, Arby's would need to be opened minded about such a contest since. Customers who have had bad experiences with Arby's would likely view take advantage of the contest to voice their opinion.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Chad Johnson Partnering With Degree

Unilever has signed up Cincinnati Bengals Wide Receiver, Chad Johnson, to promote its Degree deoderant. There are multiple billboard signs around Cincinnati featuring Chad Johnson and Degree deoderant. The advertisements are based on the list of cornerbacks Chad Johnson feels could not cover him in 2005. Do you remember who can cover 85 in 05'?

Degree deoderant also set up a website for Chad Johnson as part of its sponsorship. The website is called

Kay Jewelers Targeting Males

I was watching NCAA basketball over the holiday weekend and noticed a bunch of advertisements by Kay Jewelers. This sparked some thoughts about the audience Kay was trying to attract. It is apparent to me that Kay Jewelers is trying to attract a male audience. And this makes sense to the extent that many men buy jewelry as gifts for their significant others. I'll be tracking advertisements by Kay Jewelers over the NCAA basketball season. Also, I'll see if I can find some market research on purchasing habits of consumers who buy jewelry.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Chock Full o' Nuts Expanding Cafes

Chock Full o' Nuts currently has 135 cafes and kiosks throughout New York's tri-state area. However, it plans to expand to other markets such as Las Vegas to introduce a new generation "for whom coffee is as much a cultural phenomenon as a beverage," per the company.

"Chock full o' Nuts has been on of New York's most beloved brands of coffee for generations, known for having the highest reputation for quality, consistency and value," Jim LaGanke, svp-Chock full o' Nuts Cafe division said in a statement. A recent company survey showed more than one-third of consumers asked chose Chock full o' Nuts as teh brand of coffee that best represents New York.

I've always known Chock Full o' Nuts to be a very good coffee at a low price. It is typically available through most grocery retailers. It's like Starbucks, but without the sex appeal. I think urban professionals when I think of Starbucks. However, I see New York, then urban professionals when I think of Chock Full o' Nuts. I see morning commuters in New York City waking up and drinking Chock Full o' Nuts with a bagel and cream cheese. I don't think my vision is too far from reality. There are thousands of bagel shops all over the country touting themselves as replicas of New York City bagel shops. I feel tapping into some of these 'New York' style bagel shops would be a great way for Chock Full o' Nuts to capitalize on their current image. However, I'm not sure entering upscale markets where Starbucks already has a prominent presence is a good growth strategy. Chock Full o' Nuts will need a clearly defined marketing strategy which positions their product effectively in the minds of consumers.

Friday, December 22, 2006

McDonald's Offers Breakfast Value Menu

McDonald's has begun testing morning items on its Dollar Menu in select markets. See more information at Adage.

Is Enterprise Creating a New Image?

Enterprise has gone through a series of recent marketing initiatives such as offering exotic cars, introducing a new logo and expanding its market at airports. But why is Enterprise introducing all these new ideas? Is Enterprise trying to reposition itself or take a different marketing strategy? I am currently trying to figure out why it is doing this.

Hertz introduced a variety of collection cars (i.e Fun Collection, Prestige Collection) which received a considerable amount of buzz. Hertz's offering of a Shelby Mustang GT-H has received a lot of discussion from bloggers and automotive experts. The unique car rental offerings are positioned to attract the "weekend traveler" looking for something different to drive.

Interestingly, Enterprise has began offering Lotus Elises at select locations. This may prove to be a great alternative to some of Hertz's options. In addition, offering a line of exotic and exciting cars to rent will be a great way for Enterprise to fight back at Hertz which has been expanding rental locations in many residential areas. This is important because Enterprise has long held its position in residential areas renting cars to individuals. However, it has recently decided to focus on expanding its product offerings at airports. Airports have been Hertz's primary place for conducting business.

Enterprise deserves recognition for a job well done. In fact, it has done quite well servicing its customers at airports. It received a customer service award from J.D. Powers due to providing outstanding customer service at airport locations.

Below is Enterprise's new logo.

Ford Edge Targets 30-Somethings

Ford is rolling an $80 million blitz for its new Ford Edge which targets 30-somethings.

I am very impressed with Ford's current marketing intiatives. It is taking a very aggressive approach, especially with the promotion of its new Ford Edge. It will be the official sponsor of where visitors can find events and activities in 25 cities or share their suggestions. Ford hopes the community-style site will attract social-minded adults.

"These are very tech-savvy consumers who like social networking and this allows us to connect with them where they naturally spend time," said Jeri Ward, the vehicle's marketing manager. Ford's "Ideas from the Edge" push "really represents where advertising on the web is going -- into much more participatory media that lets consumers be part of the experience.

Ford has also set up an AIM page Ford Edge Profile and is partnering with singer Kelis to promote its urban-marketing effort. The singer created a song, "Push It to the Edge." Kelis also appears in targeted magazine ads and will play a role in various Edge sweepstakes starting in February on radio's "The Steve Harvey Morning Show" and "The Tom Joyner Morning Show."

Despite falling stock prices and declining sales in the U.S., Ford has done a good job capturing majority of the SUV market in South America. I hope Ford continues to leverage market research and technology to make an impactful return on the car industry in the U.S.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Citibank Rewarding Commercials

Some consumers may find the Citibank Reward commercials to be very funny. However, I feel they are very much annoying. I read a similar take at CaffeineMarketing with which I totally agree. Also, I have yet to see a bank or financial institution create a campaign which surpasses MasterCard's "Priceless."

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Fidelity Investments Becoming More Innovative

Have you visited Fidelity's homepage lately? Well, I'm here to inform you to take a look at it. Fidelity is doing a great job of differentiating themselves from competitors such as Vanguard, E*Trade, TD Ameritrade and Scwhab.

It is becoming a very innovative financial brokerage. Many e-brokerages show their innovative side by releasing a new charting services. However, Fidelity is going a few steps beyond offering charts. It is making podcasts discussing market trends, investment strategies, and personal finance availabe to consumers regardless whether they invest with Fidelity or not. In addition, it offers text alerts, and a neat Market Monitor Widget. These are just a few of the great things Fidelity is doing to differentiate its product in the mind of consumers. Might I add that it is more important now than ever before that Fidelity be on top of their game.

Bank of America began offering 30 free online trades on October 11, 2006. Fidelity may find itself in the middle of a brokerage price war if it fails to position itself effectively. However, it is taking a step in the right direction finding creative ways to add value through technology.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Santa Drinking A Coke

Here is an interesting Coke billboard advertisement that I saw on the way to work.