Archive for August, 2005

Curves or Curves?

Wednesday, August 31st, 2005

Curves is a national chain of women’s fitness centres. I heard a radio commercial recently that made it sound like here in town, there is a strip club called Curves.

I feel very badly for the fitness-minded woman who goes online to look for her local Curves and drives to a strip club.


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Sailors Drunk Driving

Friday, August 26th, 2005

Toyota is running an ad campaign for their latest sale. The commercial seems to come from corporate since at the end, it has the contact info for BOTH of our local Toyota dealers on the screen.

Someone wanted to choose very dramatic music for this sale. It’s a sweeping, orchestral number. But I recognise it as "What Can We Do With A Drunken Sailor." Yet another example of a song that really doesn’t go with the commercial. Hands up those who want to associate drunk people with Toyotas!

Bad marketing.


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Come Check Us Out

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2005

Tucson seems to have a zillion churches. Each church is looking for an angle, or so it seems when we read their newpaper ads or see them on TV.

We have "The Cool Church" with a matching website. Their TV commercial shows a guy, evidently the pastor, casually dressed showing old video of himself playing drums at the church. He makes fun of his old haircut. His new haircut isn’t much better. He wants you to check out The Cool Church.

I just saw a commercial for another church. Their positioning is that they welcome everybody, and they have a sign language interpreter signing what the casually-dressed pastor is saying. Their commercial ends with, "Come check us out."

We saw ads in the movie theatre for another church. Their big point was they don’t like when Sunday mass is held. Come to their church on weekday nights!

This is all new to me. I’m not used to "competing" churches doing so much advertising. I’m not used to casually dressed "pastors" telling people to check their church out. It seems like bad marketing, but maybe because it’s new and different, it’s good marketing. But what are you selling me? Are you really going to sell me religion? Acceptance? Fitting better into my schedule? It’s just a little weird to me.


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Your Private Information Is Public

Monday, August 22nd, 2005

There is a guy who called us last year and again this month wanting us to help him sell online. We were interested until he sent us a spiral-bound book of his testimonials. You’d think that a large book of testimonials would make us MORE interested because people love his product. Not exactly.

His testimonial book was made up of printouts of emails that came straight from his website. He has a form on his website that asks you for all of your contact information and then your comments. If you left a positive comment about his product, he printed out that email and put it in his book. Unedited.

In case you need that spelled out, that means that the email with your contact information was photocopied over and over and sent to people all over the country. He doesn’t just send your comment. He printed the whole email where you typed in your address and phone number. I got a spiral book with HUNDREDS of people’s names, home addresses, and phone numbers. I felt this was a horrible breach of privacy.

I went back to his website and found no privacy statement, no disclaimer, and no text that anything you email to him could be used in his marketing. So people who had an expectation of privacy probably don’t even know that their information is going around the country.

Last year, I brought this to his attention. He told me he can show all of these private emails to anybody he wants. I asked if he’d mind if I started calling the people in the book to let them know that their personal information is being shared around the country. He asked why I’d want to make trouble where there isn’t any, and he hung up.

Cut to this month. He calls again. Dave was going to take this one so I didn’t rip this guy a new one, but I decided to answer. I asked him if he remembered talking to me last year and hanging up on me. "Why would I do such a stupid thing?" I asked him if he was still sending out the spiral book of testimonials. "Of course." I asked him if he intended to continue sending it out. Then he remembered who I was.

He told me that his attorney told him that it’s perfectly OK to take your phone number and address, and send it to everybody. That’s right! His attorney advised him that once someone types their information into the web, it’s public information. Obviously, I’m not going to bother debating this with him, but if you are emailing a company or person, you clearly expect that to be private. Typing something into a web form doesn’t make that information public. Things on the web aren’t public domain. I’d love to know who his attorney is. The guy could probably get sanctioned for ridiculous advice… assuming he even asked an attorney.

If it’s OK for him to tell everybody your private information, it must be OK for us to tell you who he is. Here’s the contact form I told you about. And in case it wasn’t clear from this post, this is bad marketing. This guy will bury himself if he doesn’t care more about what sounded like loyal customers. He should be protecting them, not whoring them out for his marketing. It comes down to laziness. He can use what they say IF he lets them know on his website that he will, and if he edits out their personal information. But he’s too lazy.

Be very careful of what information you share with people on the web. Look for a privacy statement, disclaimer, terms of service, or legal notice. If there isn’t one, you can’t really be sure what will be done with what you email or fill out.

PS to the guy doing this to his customers: It’s not slander if it’s true. You ARE sending out spiral books with people’s personal information, and you seem quite proud about it. Surely you won’t mind the free publicity I’m giving you here. :)


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It Didn’t Work In Elementary School

Wednesday, August 17th, 2005

We all knew a kid in elementary school who asked us for something we had (money, part of our lunch), and we said no (we liked having money and eating our lunch!). Some kids’ response to that "no" would be the offer of being your best friend. Pretty odd psychologically if you think about it now! They must have been awfully grateful for that 25 cents!

Some kids took another approach. When you said no, they made a threat or told you you were ugly or a loser. Did you ever notice how much LESS you then wanted to give them money or your cupcake? This may not be the future codependent kid who wanted to be your best friend, but this is also another interesting psychological study.

Where this gets more interesting is when a full-grown adult with what many would consider a good job does the same thing as kid #2. We know of an item that got taken off of eBay for a bogus reason (not eBay’s fault – someone lied to them). Everybody’s trying to get the auction put back up, which is the right thing, but something interesting got thrown into the mix. Someone representing the people who own the item that was up for sale has become so belligerent over the auction coming down that it feels like elementary school again.

He has spoken abusively to everybody who could possibly HELP him. He has threatened to ruin everybody involved with the power of bad press that he would generate. Evidently, he’s not afraid of being sued for slander or business interference. For some reason, he was unable to be patient and understanding that MANY people around the country were working on getting his auction back on eBay.

If this guy were not in the mix, I would be very confident that eBay would see that the reason the auction got taken down were fake. I would think that once some people had some discussions, it would go back up. However, with this guy calling and emailing threats, demands, and ridiculous language, I wouldn’t be surprised at this point if eBay wants nothing to do with him and refuses to allow his item back on eBay. eBay doesn’t need to be threatened, and eBay doesn’t need anybody on a bad press mission, but that’s not going to make them kiss his butt. If the item goes back on eBay, it’ll be despite this guy and how he has treated everybody he could get his hands on.

He’s bad marketing for himself primarily and the company for whom he works secondarily. It didn’t work in elementary school. Why should it work among adults trying to do business?


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As Good As Vegas

Tuesday, August 16th, 2005

Out of all the marketing campaigns our local Native American casino could have used, they chose a campaign centering around the concept that going to their facility is as good as going to Vegas.

I guess it depends on why you’re going to Vegas.

This casino has very few games, and the shows have people with their clothes on. It’s one large building and then empty land for what feels like miles. Other than the idea that you can eat, drink, play slots, and play blackjack there, what does it have in common with Vegas?

This is bad marketing because this casino forgot that just being in Vegas is an experience unlike any other (for better or worse!). You can’t compare your small  slot and poker place to one of the most visited cities in the country.


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Do Not Overcook

Monday, August 15th, 2005

I bought tofu hot dogs from the Tofurky brand. They tasted pretty good, but we were a little confused about how long to cook them.

Well, the packaging cleared that right up with a big:

DO NOT OVERCOOK

How do you know when you’ve overcooked a tofu hot dog?


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The Wrong Song

Friday, August 12th, 2005

Once in a while, I hear a song in a commercial or movie, and it’s just the WRONG song in that moment. Some ad guy or music director thought it would be just fine if we DON’T play the offensive lyrics. What happens when people find out what that song is… and want to play it… and are shocked by the actual content?

The most obvious one is Lust For Life used in the Royal Caribbean ads. They left in "lust for life" but took out the part about the "liquor and drugs."

I just stumbled upon one when seeing a film trailer for a new Disney movie about a teen golfer from the wrong side of the tracks. The song they started playing is Angel (Lust) by Joe Jackson from his Heaven and Hell album (where he writes a song for each of the seven deadly sins). I assume the credits of the film will list the song, and what happens when someone tracks it down and listens to it? I’d say that song is even more graphic than Lust For Life. And in a Disney movie?

Bad marketing, especially if anybody tracks down these songs!


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Why Isn’t Anyone Bidding, Part 1

Thursday, August 11th, 2005

Someone posted to a discussion group I run on eBay asking why he’s not making more sales. I immediately came up with 8 reasons, of which all were bad marketing. How about reporting a non-paying bidder to a collection agency? Some sellers do that and feel that the threat of that makes people pay. However, this seller’s listing was for around $22. You’re going to report me to collections over $22? The listing also said that non-paying bidders would be charged a restocking fee. If I don’t pay you and you never send it, why would you expect me to then pay you to put something back on your shelves that you never took off your shelves?

He also had one of the many painful color combinations you see on eBay.

He had teal text on a light teal background. Can anybody comfortably read this? Maybe because it’s a huge font size.

Then, he had smaller pink text on the same light teal background. This vibrated for my eyes. Ouch!

I’m not sure why people who use interfaces that can write HTML for you them in this direction. What makes them pick unreadable colors and think that it’s a great design and marketing idea? This seller also had misspelled words, which can really lower what eBay buyers think of sellers.

He also had a listing that sold clothing. The images he showed, according to the text in his listing, were NOT of what you would be getting. These were just examples of the "quality" of the merchandise. So you’d buy that and get TOTALLY different items than what you saw. The images also showed people in hats, and the text said the hats aren’t included. Good luck to the visually-based people who actually believe that they’re getting what’s in the pictures. Meanwhile, this guy has totally set them up… he can later tell a dissatisfied person that she didn’t read the listing well enough because he said they wouldn’t get those clothing styles or hats. UGH.

Bad marketing. Don’t be surprised that you’re not making sales!


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Our News Anchor Likes Yoga

Wednesday, August 10th, 2005

This is one of those things that makes me feel that Tucson is a small town. We evidently have a million people spread over around 600 square miles, but we’re the biggest thing around "southern Arizona." I grew up in the suburbs of New York City, so this is a small town to me. My area of Tucson has a population of 40,000 spread over 30 square miles.

We’ve fallen in love with the sheer confidence exuded by our news anchor, Guy Atchley. All of his commercials for his news are very compelling. Guy is writing the news. He’s researching the news. When a commercial is on, he is re-writing and checking the facts. He’s been reporting about the monsoon for 20 years. He’ll keep you safe. "He’s the accurate guy. The reliable guy. The guy to trust. He’s Guy Atchley," as the commercials say.

Since we moved here, we loved that Guy did the news basically alone. The 5pm and 6pm news was wholly read by him, and he’d throw it to a weatherman. One day, the weatherman was out, so Guy read the weather. He was super confident about that one!

Guy’s personal website will tell you that he got into yoga 7 years ago and is now a yoga instructor. That means I can go to a Guy yoga class. Can you take piano lessons from Sue Simmons? I didn’t think so. Yes, that’s Guy to the left, right off his website.

But something changed. On Monday, August 1st, Guy’s not reading the news alone. A very young woman named Jennifer is his co-anchor. We’re outraged! Guy should be able to read the news himself. I wonder if the station will receive complaints. Guy’s clearly a Tucson institution, and the only anchor I’ve ever seen read the evening news alone (for months).

I think Guy’s got a good but very local marketing machine going. He’s available to speak at events, he hosts the local MDA Telethon each year, and you can take his yoga class. He’s the grooviest.


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