Nontraditional Traditions

Posted by Ellen

QR codes are popping everywhere - in magazines, on real-estate signs … even on tubes of toothpaste. As more and more businesses start to incorporate QR codes into their marketing strategies, they tend to use them in the same traditional way: to direct potential customers to their websites. However, J.C. Penny is adding a new dimension to QR codes; they are using them to differentiate the gift giving experience.

This season, J.C. Penney shoppers will receive a "Santa Tag" sticker with each purchase. These stickers contain individualized QR codes that can be scanned with any QR code reader to record a personalized voice message. Gift recipients can then scan the codes to hear the recorded voice message when they open their gifts.

The program offers their customers a little extra incentive to shop at J.C. Penney during this very important part of the retail-shopping season.

How will you use QR codes non-traditionally to make the most of your business' holiday traditions?


Samsung: 1 Apple: 0

Posted by Emily

Samsung throws some low blows at the iPhone 4S in its new ad for their Galaxy S II, mainly targeting the "new and improved" iPhone's smaller screen size and lack of support for faster 4G wireless networks. However, the humor comes from Samsung's no-holds-barred stabs at Apple's cult-like following of wannabe techies, which leaves you nodding your head in agreement because you know exactly what Samsung is talking about. “I could never get a Samsung; I’m creative,” says one of the Apple-loving hipsters. To which his friend replies, “Dude, you’re a barista." The ad is definitely clever and points out "why someone might want something other than an iPhone without resorting to a bunch of 'speeds and feeds'." I have an iPhone 4S and I love it, but the attractive, thin design of the Galaxy S II doesn't hurt Samsung's argument.


Benneton does it again!

Posted by Terry

So, what do you think about the latest offering from Benneton...competitive world leaders kissing one another under the campaign line: “Unhate”?

We get it – “kumbaya,” etc. Nice sentiment and a goal worth striving for. However, does anyone think that at some point, advertising campaigns should connect with the product?  We know Benneton has had a long history of controversial messaging and, to some extent, that approach has been successful for them. But, not always in the long run.

Often when you lead with controversy, that can be the sum effect of what you achieve. Not necessarily sales – or the consumer’s embrace of the product you are selling.  I applaud Benneton for sticking to its former strategic direction – but how much is too much when you are trying to resurrect the brand? A few very wise industry analysts are saying that “you won’t be rewarded for creating controversy – the product must fit the advertising." I think I might have to agree. What say you?



Adorable babies tucked into bed with…knives?

Posted by Emily


A PSA by the Milwaukee Health Department that warns against the dangers of sleeping in the same bed as your baby has angered people who think the ad goes too far. The ad's message asks the question: Would you tuck your baby into bed next to a butcher knife? And, if not, you should not co-sleep. The ad was discussed on the TODAY show earlier this morning and NBC's Chief Medical Editor Dr. Nancy Snyderman said, "Look, co-sleeping in this country leads to infant deaths. We know that parents can roll over on babies and smother them, but I think this is over the top, absolutely over the top." The message of this ad is undeniably important and it needs to be communicated, but is the shock value too much?



Introducing a Kindler, Gentler Raider Fan

Posted by Jennifer

Raider Fan has an image problem. For years he's been loud, painted up and ... let's be honest. Scary.

But now he wants to make amends with his not-so-adoring public.

Raider Fan wants you to like him. Really, really like him.

How does he do this? He hires a PR firm and starts giving out money.

The Black Hole, a group of devoted Oakland Raiders fans, decided they were tired of the image most people had of Radier Fan...that of a "...bunch of criminals."

So, they've launched a new website, made a donation to a local private school and have now begun the "Solidarity Campaign to Black Out Violence." The cause, benefitting the Biletnikoff Foundation, supports women recovering from substance abuse and promotes education and the prevention of domestic violence.

Raider Fan has a long history of rioting and causing the police to work overtime (whether their team wins or loses), but I am honestly pleased to see the core fans take issue with that image and do something to turn it around. And there is no better cause for a group of burly, macho, spike-collar-wearing fans to support than education and women's issues.

Good for you, Black Hole Fans! Keep up the good work, and I look forward to hearing about the impact you've had on your community at the end of football season.


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