#SNL takes aim at Super Bowl’s political ads – "Cheetos…"


A small number of brands saw Super Bowl LI as an opportunity to share where they stand along the political spectrum in light of Trump’s charged rhetoric.  On their February 11 episode,  Saturday Night Live took some of the most noteworthy commercials from the Super Bowl telecast to task, especially those using immigration-related themes.

In addition to Budweiser’s founder story, 84 Lumber’s “The Entire Journey” commercial depicted the immigrant struggle, albeit each focusing on very different circumstances and time periods.

The building and construction supplies company’s ad featured the border wall, a Trump campaign promise to curtail illegal immigration. The commercial shows the arduous journey from Latin-America to the U.S. of a mother and young daughter. As the two arrive at the border, they encounter what seems like an insurmountable obstacle – a very tall wall.  In a twist, a large wood door allows the travelers entry.

The emotional ad provoked a strong reaction from those on opposing sides of the immigration issue. Some saw the ad as encouraging illegal immigration; others as a reprieve to the anti-immigrant sentiment so evident during the presidential campaign. But 84 Lumber’s CEO Maggie Hardy Magerko told People Magazine she supports Trump and his immigration views, and did not actually intend to take a political stand. http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2017/02/07/chief-84-lumber-speaks-out-super-bowl-ad/97583534/

So, as the SNL parody suggests, brands do not necessarily espouse the political views depicted in their ads, but are looking instead to capitalize on the ongoing social media conversation around political issues which often results in instant twitter buzz, webpage hits, and earned media. Nothing more. Neither Budweiser nor 84 Lumber have revealed any corporate-level immigration-related initiatives, unlike many of Silicon Valley companies that depend on immigration for key talent.

For now, it appears that 84 Lumber and Budweiser were successful in cutting through the clutter of a less-than-memorable batch of Super Bowl ads.  Whether there will be any long-term positive (or negative) brand impact remains to be seen.

“Hard cut…Cheetos”


Keys to Achieving Customer Service Excellence – UTEP P3 course

customer-service-300x213Keys to Achieving Customer Service Excellence – UTEP P3 course

“Customer service excellence leads to consumer evangelists” – the importance of this statement for start-up businesses, business owners, retailers and managers in service industries will serve as the starting point for this course. The entire customer service process will be discussed, identifying areas most likely to result in service failures for various industries. Service recovery strategies and the role of social media in the customer complaint process will be explored in depth. The role of logistics, management and marketing strategy in achieving excellent customer service will be discussed.

Hands-on exercises will allow participants to identify customer service strengths and weaknesses at their own organizations. Guidelines for establishing a systematic customer feedback program will be offered as a starting point for customer service excellence.

Dates: October 2-9, 2013
Meets: W from 6:00 PM to 8:30 PM, 2 sessions
Hours: 5.00
CEUs: 0.50
Location: Miners Hall, Room 301
Instructor: Norma Mendoza
Fee: $99.00
Workshops: Workshop Listing

The unpredictable ROI of the Summer Blockbuster


Who would have predicted “GrownUPs 2” would yield a better ROI than “The Lone Ranger”?
“If a film costs $200 million to make and another $200 million to market, it needs to generate $800 million at the box office just to break even, because distributors and theater owners keep roughly half the revenue. Not that many films generate such big numbers. Last year, only seven films had worldwide grosses of more than $750 million, according to Box Office Mojo.”

Box Office – July 12-14, 2013 – Studio Estimates

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What branding and relationships have in common


When teaching college marketing courses, I would often use the analogy of romantic relationships as a way of getting students to understanding how companies/brands/advertisers use their powers to “seduce” (not manipulate) customers with the hope of establishing long-term relationships.  However, unlike many a-college-hook-up, Marketers are rarely going for the “one-night stand” and spend a signficant amount of their budgets to keep consumers interested and coming back.  This article from Entrepreneur asks the question  “Would you date your brand?” a provocative question that leads marketers to ponder “is your brand capable of infatuating the person you want for a customer? Read on. Well worth it to consider – in terms of marketing…and romance.

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Jay-Z and the new age of music marketing

Jay-Z and the new age of music marketing

The release of #JayZ’s latest work featured innovative marketing – but at midnight on 7/4 twitter was on overload as fans struggled to make the #Samsung app work while #iPhone users had no problem. At one point “#mchg app not working” -was trending on twitter and radio stations capitalized by live-streaming the album. Dozens of links to leaked tracks- some legit and some not, are still cluttering twitter feeds.

A touch of genius- releasing the cover art next to a copy of the real Magna Carta.

A new age of marketing music and artists-as-brands is here.

A long way from Draper’s carousel: Instagram unveils video

A long way from Draper’s Carousel: Instagram unveils video

“This device isn’t a spaceship, it’s a time machine…it takes us to a place where we ache to go again” – the pitch Don Draper delivered to Kodak brilliantly captures the power of images and of preserving moments. With video, Instagrams takes it to a whole new level:

“Capture and Share the World’s Moments”  Instagram is a fastbeautiful and fun way to share your life with friends and family. Take a picture or video, choose a filter to transform its look and feel, then post to Instagram — it’s that easy. You can even share to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and more. It’s a new way to see the world.”

Like the Kodak carousel, Instagram is looking to facilitate the permament record of everyday meaningful moments – no longer in static images but 15 seconds at a time – in videos that can be altered with custome filters in case the natural beauty of our reality fails to achieve the beauty central to Instagram’s appeal.

In 15 second snipets, Instagram video will allow brands to tell better stories in social media, with Facebook now able to sell highly targeted ad space in a format familiar to advertisers, but providing instant feedback and engagement.

TV commercials seem so quaint now, don’t they?


Men’s Warehouse – Rebranding without signature spokesman?

During the NBA finals, Men’s Warehouse has presented very compelling ads about the state of men’s work dress – casual but put-together. The ads are effective until the last 5 seconds when Mr. Zimmer delivers his signature line. While he is well known and recognizable, he does not fit with the brand image and customer base Men’s Warehouse is trying to shape. It remains to be seen if they will replace him with a different spokesman or craft their brand image without one.

“Men’s Wearhouse fires founder George

Zimmer; no reason given”

Excellent series CONSUMED from APM’s Marketplace

Excellent series CONSUMED from APM’s Marketplace

Take a look – and a listen – to this week-long series from American Public Media’s Marketplace show – a series of stories about the state of the consumer economy after the financial crisis.  Their Infographic: The consumer economy at a glance is a must see!  http://www.marketplace.org/topics/sustainability/consumed/infographic-consumer-economy-glance