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Guinness is on a roll!

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Guinness recently released a commercial that goes against the grain of typical alcohol advertising. Instead of featuring the product or social lifestyle, the ad “flips the switch” by picturing six men in wheelchairs engaged in a lively basketball game. The ad culminates in five of the men standing up, and then proceeding to celebrate with the friend who is physically disabled. This ad speaks to basic human emotions and the deep intrinsic desire for social interaction as premised by Rajat Paharia, author of Loyalty 3.0. The tagline “the choices we make reveal the true nature of our character” reveals Guinness’s agenda: encourage consumers to consider if the brands they are engaging with truly reflect the values and identity they strive to project. By embracing this human element, Guinness will become an overall more relatable brand to their consumers.

Guinness is also implementing NFC (near field communication) technology in thousands of their taps in bars across the UK (with the goal to finalize over 50,000 founts by 2015). Customers who sign up for the Guinness loyalty program can touch their smartphone to the tap to see if they have won a free drink. Adopting the NFC platform places Guinness at the forefront of mobile engagement. By offering consumers instant access to “offers, vouchers, competitions, and content,” it also adds a subtle layer of gamification to help motivate consumers. According to Emily Heitkamp of Loyalty360, this type of loyalty tracking is coined “Small Data.” It collects only data that is gathered from “opt-in” or “permission marketing” to build active customer profiles based on their “preferences, needs, and desires” throughout the lifetime relationship with the company. This mode of effective engagement is contrary to Paharia’s emphasis on the possibilities of “Big Data.”

By articulating human empathy and staying ahead of industry tech trends, Guinness is effectively creating a new image for the company — while simultaneously adding a much needed dimension to traditionally standard alcohol advertising. Between the inspiring new commercial and utilizing innovative NFC technology to foster engagement and loyalty, Guinness is taking a comprehensive approach attract and retain customers.

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French fashion house Lanvin has been widely celebrated for casting ‘real people’ in its autumn/winter 2012 campaign. Based on the premise of “owning one’s individuality,” the ads feature a diverse range of individuals, ages 18 to 82, who were spotted on the street for their eclectic style. In Lanvin’s promotional video, each “non-model” showcases an ensemble from the collection while sharing a snippet of an offbeat personal story about anything from eating frozen blueberries to collecting salt and pepper shakers.

The luxury brand has been praised for not only avoiding current industry conventions, but also for challenging the misconception that ads must be brimming with exaggerated cheer and optimism in order to convey positive values. Lanvin’s creative director explained the intent as “showing how everyday people are interesting beyond what they are wearing,” in a way that is positive, yet quirky and provocative.

The Lanvin campaign stands in contrast to the underlying assumptions of Vroom’s Expectancy Theory as it defies the stereotypical roles and behaviors that its audience has come to expect. The fashion industry has a long history of using unrealistic beauty ideals and the cumulative impact of these ideals is increasingly problematic. Gerbner’s Cultivation Theory asserts that repeated exposure to similar images cultivates the reality that people come to believe over time; therefore, one can see how failure to possess the ‘desirable’ attributes perpetuated by the industry can often lead to feelings of inferiority.

Advertising, as an institution, will always selectively echo and reinforce certain values, beliefs and attitudes at the expense of others; however, advertisers have the opportunity to use ‘selective reinforcement’ as a positive cultural force. The Lanvin campaign gives us hope by demonstrating that an advertiser can choose a handful of uniquely endearing individuals to promote a product, even in high fashion, and still have an incredibly successful campaign. Advertisers must acknowledge that they have a key role to play as agents of socialization – now and in the future. It’s time to follow Lanvin’s lead (in addition to other recent, noteworthy examples) and show people that diversity is beautiful. Beauty is in the trained eye of the beholder.

Categories : Cultural Force
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In a day and age where fast food is made up of ingredients many of us are oblivious to, it is refreshing to see a company stand out from the rest and base their entire marketing mantra on a concept unfamiliar to many people in this fast paced, “I want it now” society we live in. The idea of “Going Back to the Start” is the face of Chipotle’s new viral marketing campaign aimed at informing consumers that there is such a thing as “food with integrity,” which is simply natural, family-grown or raised, and ultimately socially responsible.

An article by the Chicago Tribune discusses Chipotle’s recently released video featuring Willie Nelson’s rendition of Coldplay’s popular song, “The Scientist,” which depicts a small town farmer shifting away from his traditional farming roots and adopting an industrialized and unnatural method of cultivating his livestock. Eventually, the farmer realizes his original way of farming was far superior and decides to do the environmentally responsibly thing and “go back to the start.” Chipotle does an excellent job in getting people to think about the serious issue, while promoting its brand in the meantime.

The advertisement, which is intended to create somewhat of an emotional reaction to people viewing the harmful effects that industrialized farming brings with it, creates a sense of sadness and empathy for the farmer. It really gets people thinking about the differences between Chipotle as a fast food chain, as opposed to say, your typical McDonalds ad.

Sustainable farming, which Chipotle bases their entire positioning off of, “uses techniques such as crop rotation, soil conservation, natural fertilization and polyculture planting. In livestock production, they use pasture-based systems, feed animals what their bodies are designed to digest, and treat their animals humanely. Sustainable farms produce foods that are tastier and more nutritious than foods produced on factory farms, while also preserving the long-term health of our environment.”

Simply said, this is responsibility at its finest, despite the negative stereotypes that many fast food restaurants must battle. Chipotle seizes that opportunity in the marketplace to finally provide a fast food experience that defies the typical processed and unnatural methods of creating food and opts for an experience that provides healthy, fresh, locally grown, and socially responsible options. By raising awareness about what responsible farming is, they are fostering a need for healthy and naturally raised food that many people were unaware they had.

As many people are trying to do their part in going green and helping the environment in any little way, Chipotle has made the responsible choice. The powerful “Going Back to the Start” video sets the agenda that people should be concerned about where their food comes from originally. But, while many people may view this as just a healthy food option, when going to the roots of what Chipotle is really doing, they are keeping small family farmers in business and helping the economy along the way.

Many people may think, however, why haven’t I seen these advertisements? Chipotle is again set apart from the rest, they choose not to engage in heavy television or radio advertising, but instead to stick to simple movie-theater ad placements, word of mouth, and public event sponsoring to raise awareness of their brand’s positioning as an environmentally responsible company. These ads create a positive impact on those who view them, while informing and motivating consumers to learn more. Chipotle also discusses their farming methods and responsibility in using sustainable farming techniques all over their website in order to raise awareness about the importance of such a trend.

This popular concept of going-green, being environmentally responsible, and incorporating organically grown food helps Chipotle to solidify their standing as a company that truly cares about the implications of their actions. Their growing popularity and extreme success in the business world teaches other companies in the fast food industry that caring about the long-term effects of your business’ actions will carry with it many positive benefits.

In the case of Chipotle, this is truly marketing with integrity.

Chicago Tribune Original Article

Chipotle’s Webpage: Food With Integrity

Sustainable Table: The Daunting Techniques of Factory Farming


On the Road to the Emerald City

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The General Electric’s “Road Trip” commercial by BBDO New York is a clear and clever example of how the institution of advertising reflects society’s consumer trends and goals. Currently, there is an active movement towards eco-friendly lifestyles and therefore by design, corporate social responsibility. According to an article in AdAge by Bob Liodice, while this is vastly argued, exhibiting corporate social responsibility supports both the consumers’ agenda to do good and benefit oneself as well as the company’s agenda to profit. Liodice supports this argument with GE’s revenues for the Ecomagination program increasing over 20% in a year’s time, which is ever growing. Ecomagination was designed to build up consumer awareness of how the company works to improve the environment through renewable energy and reducing carbon emissions. This ad for GE’s Ecomagination with a tag-line of “Imagination at Work,” illustrates what GE is doing to encourage and contribute to the eco-friendly movement prominently associated by consumers with the electric-car. This coalition helps push the message presented in the ad by personifying the car’s goals and saying GE watt stations are “going to change the way we get to where we all want to go.” Even within the context of this singular statement one can infer the juxtaposed meaning of literally where we want to go as well as where we want society and the green movement’s influence to go or endure.

This ad influences consumers through various consumer behavior specific tactics in, including but not limited to: attention and motivation driven through relevancy to the audience and society. According to Hoyer and MacInnis’ text Consumer Behavior, to capture consumer attention–which is noted for being limited, divided, and very selective–this ad is relevant, pleasant, surprising, and easy to process. Relevancy to the consumer is clearly seen in the message illustrating the importance of using energy sufficient vehicles. The ad is viewed as pleasant, which can be attributed to certain aspects such as the music (“I’m Glad I Hitched My Apple Wagon to Your Star” by The Boy Least Likely To) and the portrayal of young hipster attractive people, which can be construed as a reference group depending on the target audience. The ad is also surprising by nature solely based on the innovative product being showcased and the breadth of locations with the implemented watt stations. Finally, the ad is easy to process because it is simple, has a clear message, and presents contrasting visuals between the novel product and its environment. Without having captured the consumer attention, motivation (which is critical to the message) is impossible.

General Electrics is already established as a well-known brand, which is positively associated with its programs such as Ecomagination supporting the consumer and corporate agendas. Therefore, the consumer has established a positive brand familiarity that builds credibility for the brand image, meaning, and actions. Also increasing credibility is the fact that this ad is an information based message not asking the consumer to buy something, but rather simply to get involved in addressing the needed change between the actual state (current environment) and the ideal state (healthier environment). This in itself increases the perceived consumer effectiveness, which is supported by the classical liberal tenant of quietism stating that as self-focused consumers we want a benefit (making a difference) before entering in consumption. The benefit or perceived effectiveness stimulates the viewer to actively inquire more about Ecomagination via the website call-out strategically placed at the end of the segment. This further outside research, seen in the classical liberal tenant of intellectualism meaning that the viewer is an active rational consumer, expands the message’s influence from that of solely the advertiser and brand on the consumer to the consumer on society as a whole because their intrinsic role as an newly educated consumer to spread the message and further the cause or movement.

Overall, as seen by the example of GE’s Ecomagination ad, corporate social responsibility can positively influence the corporate agenda to profit and maintain sustainability as well as the consumer’s agenda to fulfill needs, values, emotions, and goals for the self and one’s environment. As James Datri, president of the American Advertising Federation, said during the recent ExxonMobile Lecture Series at Southern Methodist University, “doing good is good business” for all parties directly and indirectly involved.



Daddy Dearest

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This is one of a series of media ads that encourages fathers to be a part of their children’s’ lives. Sponsored by the Advertising Council, the US Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families Office of Family Assistance, and the National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse, these ads were launched coinciding with Father’s Day. The reason this campaign was launched is because millions of children live without their biological fathers and are more likely to be poor, use drugs, experience educational, heath, emotional, and behavioral problems, among other things.

The series of television spots created through this campaign applies to people through humor and depicting a diverse range of family types. I found this ad to be my favorite because the ad depicts a father helping his daughter in ways not many fathers would. The other spots can be seen at

The series shows a diverse range of relationships between father and daughter or father and son. With the popular belief that money equals happiness, this campaign serves to portray the value that family is happiness. The variety of the roles depicted through these television spots also serves to reverse gender stereotypes where the father practices cheerleading with his daughter (commonly believed to strictly be a girls’ activity) or the father makes lunch for his son (believed to be the mother’s job).

One of the main reasons I believe this campaign to be socially responsible is because it wants to fight community evils like theft, drug abuse, educational issues, and much more by showing how father child relationships can make people happier. Yes this campaign mainly endorses father children relationships, but it also serves to encourage healthy marriages. Culture, background, and life experiences all influence consumer behavior and buying decisions. The campaign for responsible fatherhood serves to promote the health and happiness of consumers and their life experiences.


Toll House is Spreading the Love

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Perhaps it’s the holiday spirit, but something about the new Toll House cookie commercial almost moved me to tears, and I think it’s safe to say that was the advertisers intent.

Check it out:

In this spot, Nestle Toll House, a relatively low effort processing and decision-making product is presented as the hero.  Since attitudes formed under low-effort processing are often not stored to memory, Toll House uses  emotional appeals and unconscious influences to affect the attitudes and beliefs of the target market and aid the consumer in recalling the brand later.

One of the techniques this ad uses is transformational advertising in which the goal is to create an association between the experience of using the product and certain psychological characteristics. Specifically, Toll House is increasing emotional involvement by creating a richer experience with the product as opposed to just highlighting product benefits.

Additionally, Toll House is increasing relevance to the consumer by using self-referencing, a common strategy used to increase the extent to which a consumer is engaged in relating the scenario or  message in an ad to their own experiences– such as coming home from college to fresh-baked cookies, or providing yummy treats for a granddaughter’s soccer team.

In sticking with the theme of virtuous advertising, I’d also like to point out the genuinely positive message of “paying it forward” that the commercial uses by creating a chain of inspiration between the actors in the commercial to bake some love and pass it on.

A truly great message and utilization of persuasion theories– what more could you ask for on this day of family togetherness? Now I have something to use as an explanation to show my family what advertising is all about, because we know the inevitable topic of conversation at dinner will include asking me what it is that I am doing/plan on doing in the future.

Gotta love family! Happy Thanksgiving!

I am Second

‘I am Second’ is a great example of cause marketing intended to promote God as the source of a purposeful life. Norm Miller, CEO of Interstate Batteries initiated the campaign with the help of partners from e3 Partners Ministry in Dallas. Rather than pushing religion on people who may see the ads, Miller and partners from e3 say that the campaign uses personal testimonials to offer direction and choice to those who may be seeking God’s help. features personal stories from well known athletes, actors, celebrities and regular people who each believe they are second to God and stronger because of the strength they seek from Him.

‘I am Second’ specifically uses testimonials in a way that influences others through the use of celebrity as well as normative influence from regular people sharing stories. I think the campaign shares a fundamental message in a unique and highly interactive way, giving active and interested consumers a way to initiate change and gain insight into the important message the campaign stresses: put God first. In my opinion, an effective and truly virtuous example of advertising for a solid cause. 

On another level, could more campaigns like ‘I am Second’ affect what society thinks about advertising as an institution? Yes. Maybe with more campaigns like this, people would view advertising in a more positive light. 

I don’t know about you, but I’m sick of hearing every, single news reporter and politician (including our President) bemoan the state of the U.S. economy. They ring their hands and pat us on the head as they suggest the ONLY solution is for the government to jump in and save us. Yeah… whatever. Last I checked, we’re Americans–we have a long and distinguished heritage of saving ourselves.

What happened to leaders who inspire… who understand that we are the most resourceful and productive society in human history?? Where are their words of inspiration?

Guess Southwest Airlines, like me, got tired as waiting…

Thank you, Southwest Airlines, for reminding us who we are.


Tom’s Shoes goes national!

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I had to do a double-take when I saw this commercial… actually, I rewound it :) AT&T is featuring Tom’s Shoes in their latest commercial!!

I really don’t have a whole lot to say (probably because it’s nearly midnight and my brain is fried from wrapping up final projects) but thought everyone would want to know.


VISA Olympics: Come Together

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While looking for another VISA ad, I came across this one. I remember seeing this commercial during the Olympics last summer and really felt it captured the spirit of The Games… celebrating what we all have in common rather than allowing our differences to divide us. I loved this message! I remember rewinding it for my kids and expounding on it. (Of course, I wasn’t nearly as eloquent as Morgan Freeman. :D)

Although The Games are over, the message is still important… and this ad still gives me chills!

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