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Archive for February, 2011

“Technology always changes. Humanity never does.”

The New York Times book review recently had a piece on a new book called “The Net Delusion” by Evgeny Morozov. It examines both sides of the Social Media/Internet revolution. The author points out that the mainstream media have been crawling all over each other to extol Twitter and Facebook, daring not to be un-hip. It’s clearly empowered humans with the means to broadcast to millions in hours. That is indeed a media revolution.

But not an idea, a spirit revolution, or any kind of a human nature revolution. People didn’t risk their lives in the Egyptian miracle for Twitter. They did it because they were humiliated, hungry and afraid, done with tyranny. Katie Couric quoted someone on the news saying:  “The Internet doesn’t create courage. It only spreads it.” Beautiful Micro-Script.

For anyone trying to communicate anything today–lets take a brand message, or a selling idea for instance–the take-away is Social Media doesn’t create a promise, an inspiration, a difference in the mind of a prospect, or an identity. It only spreads it.

Your job one is still to create that promise, that inspiration, that difference, that unique identity. Then spread it.

Don’t be fooled or confused by marketing interests trying to tell you that “joining the conversation” and doing SEO by itself is the key to marketing. It’s real important. But it’s the body. Not the head. And no matter how good technology gets, that’s a part we (and our messages) will never be much good without.

What would Don Draper say about our Super Bowl ads?

You listen to the bloviating about this year’s best and worst Super Bowl ads. The pundits barely mention the products. They don’t care and neither do we because the products play such a bit part in the entertainment. Almost like they’re an inconvenience now to their ad agencies. Those who write articles about the ads refer to them by shtick vs. by name– “the little Darth Vader,” or the “offensive fake Tibetan refugees,” or “the Eminem” ad. The Coke ad (I remembered the product!) was remarkable for having nothing to do at all with the tagline. I saw one with two opposing border guards in Outer Mongolia, tensely handing each other a frosty bottle of Coke from their government issue picnic coolers. They never crack a smile. The tagline after 60 seconds?  “Open Happiness.”  Maybe after the camera shuts off they go and share happiness on Outer Mongolian Brokeback Mountain. How the hell do I know?

Don Draper, who knew what an advertiser’s job was (his personal habits aside) would’ve said:  “They’re paying $3 million per minute to tell a joke? The product has to be the star, the most interesting thing in an interesting commercial. THAT’S hard. But that’s what real advertising people get paid to do. Dumb jokes are easy.”

We know the Superbowl ads are supposed to be fun. That’s okay. But ALL ads are supposed to sell.  Amen, Don

“More Bars in More Places!”

David Pogue’s article in the NY Times today about the new Verizon iPhone included a pretty scathing assessment of ATT’s network (the call dropper) vs. Verizon. He concluded that Verizon iPhone has “More bars in more places.” Then wondered on the page if that would be a good tagline. It would. For about 6 reasons sited in The Micro-Script Rules. Micro-Scripts come from all kinds of places, not the least of which are the remarkably facile pens of writers like Mr. Pogue who probably contruct them in their sleep.

By the way, I like More Bars in More Places as a tagline for the Jersey Shore Tourist Bureau too, but that’s a different story. Context and category count for a lot when it comes to taglines, and Micro-Scripts.