Visitors to Los Angeles are always in awe of the number, scale and permutations of billboards across the city. To those who live here, they can often be lost within the urban sprawl. Because of this, its worth checking out some billboards of interest – and the reasons they are compelling.
The buzz surrounding the final season of the series, BREAKING BAD, is deafening. Even those “in the know” folks in LA are plainly not when it comes to this television show. Is the lead going to live or die? Is the antagonist’s DEA agent brother going to bring him down, or vice-versa? The anticipation for the final story is of the same level of that other popular show where everyone was rooting for the antagonist, HBO’s THE SOPRANOS.
Which leads to a billboard seen around town for BREAKING BAD. With the image of the main character, the marketing team was judicious in their copy – keeping it short, sweet and with absolutely no answers! Whether they meant it or not, the words could be conveyed in so many ways – from that of a drug kingpin demanding respect and immortality to the invocation of a song from the 80s version of FAME (I’m going to live forever.) To me, it’s a perfect billboard in imagery, copy and information.
Angelenos are also used to billboards conveying insider information. For instance, you can easily figure out the paths that studio heads take to their offices as their studios’ billboards, bus sides and others are always on that route. Of interest was this Dos Equis billboard with the quote “He can get from the valley to Venice in 14 minutes.” Certainly, the quote works for a location-specific audience who constantly trades in how long they can get from one part of town to another. But this one intrigued me for another reason.
Though I’ve never met Jonathan Goldsmith, the actor who portrays The Most Interesting Man In The World in the Dos Equis commercials, I do know that he lived in Marina de Rey and the Venice area when the spots started in 2006. With that understanding, I wouldn’t be surprised if the marketing team got the idea from a casual discussion with Goldsmith. I could imagine Goldsmith brashly stating that he could get from the Valley to Venice in 14 minutes – and a billboard quote was born.
Of course, my assumptions about both billboards could be completely wrong – which only proves how much the viewer’s perception plays into these large format advertisements… Stay Marketing, My Friends.
Posted in Ruminations
Tagged AMC, Billboards, Breaking Bad, Copywriting, Dos Equis, Fame, HBO, Jonathan Goldsmith, Marketing, OOH, Out Of Home, Sopranos, Storytelling
Some brands have the ability to inherently place a flag in a date that makes sense for marketing purposes. We’ve covered McDonald’s fries on 11.11.11 and now we’ve come to 7.11. 7-Eleven convenience stores have gone all Summer silly to celebrate Slurpees on 7.11 and it seems they’ve done a good job at having fun with a seasonal marketing campaign.
The 7-Eleven folks have created a number of pieces to be able to celebrate 7-Eleven day on 7.11 – from a dance tutorial to downloadable party favors to a bizarre “motivational” chinchilla. It all forms a bit of silliness that actually makes sense for the brand. It has never taken itself too seriously and has had fun with the Slurpee product in the past. A big recent example that comes to mind is Slurpee Summit 2010 – where they latched on to the political scrum between President Obama and Republicans with a Purple For The People Slurpee and a tour from Dallas to Washington D.C.
SO, 7-Eleven has set up what seems to be a solid agile team for both the stores and their Slurpees. But what issues might there be with their preparation for 7.11.13 and the 7-Eleven Dance Party?
The set up is consistent with the brand with a fun site and campaign announcing free Slurpees and all the bits to make up a party. The party prep is nothing new, but 7-Eleven has put their spin on it – for better or for worse. Starting with the dance video, it is good fun to see a dance begun by brain freeze and the kaleidoscopic colors, unicorns & rainbows and a decent dance tune. I’m still trying to figure out if the dancer in the gold shorts falls under the better or worse category, but one thing is certain – it is consistent with the brand.
The microsite does include a “how to” dance video and entices fans to create their own dance video and post them online with the hash-tag #Slurpeedance, but who knows how many will do it. Where they might have gone astray with this is that they showed the behind-the-scenes making of for the dance video – which beyond removing some of the magic of the video, shows that this wasn’t a simple production that anyone could do. It almost turns people off to do their own thing. Perhaps that BTS video would have been better served as a follow-up piece to help keep the tail going on the campaign.
We are already seeing #Overkill and its no surprise that 7-Eleven has introduced a silly one here – with Laura Gordon, vice president of marketing and brand innovation stating, “We promised an #Awesummer this year with more fun, more free stuff and more surprises, and summer is far from over. There’s lots more to come.” Awesummer? Really? Perhaps the good thing is that they are also doing programming to drag this through the Summer rather than just 7.11 with an app that provides specials throughout the coming months.
The only elements that are questionable are: the Nikki Reed beach bash on 7.9 that seemed to have few people in attendance (much less stars); and, the fact that the free Slurpees are only available on 7.11 from 11AM-7PM (shouldn’t it be the other way around?)
When you look at the whole, the 7-Eleven team has done a good job at being consistent in their brand and being able to pounce when the timing is right. Shouldn’t they now be working to make 7.11 a national holiday?
Don’t forget to pick up your free Slurpee and remember to pace yourself lest you get brain freeze!
Posted in Ruminations
Tagged #Awesummer, #Slurpeedance, 7-Eleven, Agile Marketing, Brands, Laura Gordon, Marketing, McDonald's, Nikki Reed, President Obama, Slurpee, Slurpee Summit
As we know, Apple has established itself as the preeminent purveyors of great technology design. They have that strong history of not only making great hardware and operating systems, they make them actually look great. It’s no coincidence that their competitors have borrowed from some of those designs. While some have gotten close on product design, none have really matched the beauty of their actual packaging. Half the fun of opening a new apple product is the unraveling of the packaging as if it were a beautifully intricate flower. The design always served the product, until now. With the opening of the Apple Store in Santa Monica, CA, they might have tipped their hat and gone too far in packaging their product to be beautiful at first sight – but it fails to place the product in the best light.
When the store opened in December, you could already get a glimpse of the inherent issues. In a video capture of the opening by YouTube personality, iJustine, they mention the heat and the noise near the end of the video.
Apple places a strong emphasis on marketing and innovation in everything they do, but this direction in store design did too much innovation while adversely affecting the product. When you enter the store, it is especially beautiful at night, but still loud due to the flat walls and glass ceilings – it is a veritable noise chamber. When you visit during the day, it has that same loudness but the glare and heat are almost unbearable.
Now, months in, the issues are very clear. If you are trying to check out the products, you can’t see a lot because of that glare, and if you are waiting for the Genius Bar or getting individual instruction, the loudness and heat make you not want to stick around. One woman even brought a box for her one-on-one to place around her product as she was well aware of the issues.
While this is not the first Apple store with a glass ceiling – there has been one in the Upper West Side of Manhattan for a number of years – it seems they did not really take everything into consideration and aimed for looks more than substance. Perhaps the bigger Santa Monica store concerns were never an issue in Manhattan due to more limited direct sunlight and extended cooler weather. It’s a shame that they didn’t take into consideration that there is more heat and sunlight in the beach city of Santa Monica.
I hate seeing Apple miss and I hope this is just a hiccup and not more indicative of what’s to come. If they continue to make decision based more on looks than substance, we will all lose out.
Posted in Ruminations
Tagged Apple, Apple Stores, Consumer, Design, iJustine, Innovation, Marketing, Packaging, Planning, Product Design, Research, Santa Monica