Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Small Market Myths

Just this past weekend I was at the Mid Ohio Sports Car Course, outside Mansfield, OH. Clear Channel owns a couple stations in the area and they've recently made a big stink about "Less Is More", their corporate mandate to sell :30s instead of :60s. They said as a company "It's more about the message!". Bravo, I say. Yes!

Except, their folks in Mansfield, OH were still airing a bunch of crap.

Why is mediocrity tolerated if the city isn't large enough to be written in BOLD on a map? I argue that if you're an advertiser spending your money, you should get what you pay for regardless of market size. Sometimes that means you'll have to be smarter than the 22 year old DJ that's voicing your spot (he's certainly not "creating your advertising"). Sometimes that means you'll need to spend a few bucks on an outside service to do better-than-your-market-sized-production (of course, I'm a big fan of hiring BigMouthAudio...those guys are BRILLIANT!)

See, Clear Channel is on the right track: Less IS More. It IS about the message. But while corporate pats themselves on the back, Joe Advertiser outside of the big cities is still getting hosed.

Don't wait for good advertising to come to you...go out & CREATE it, then watch your business grow!

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Musical Images or Jingle Gypsies?

These last couple of days, I've been the middle man in meetings between a few clients and a broker of Musical Images ("Jingle" is such a dirty word!).

The big question is: "Do jingles work?"

Yes. And no.

Your mind remembers sounds very well...think of your ABC's...recite them right now & I promise you that you'll stop at "G", "P", "V" and "Z. It's that tune we learned them with. At the same time, we learned how to spell B.O.L.O.G.N.A. from a song. The examples of proper use of music are countless. BUT... It can be done VERY wrong too.

One of my clients just sent me his mockup this week...he plays in a bar band so he did his own "jingle"...I won't let him air's THAT bad!

So, should you use a jingle? I can't answer that...but I will say that it had better be good and it better say something to your customers. I mean, if you really want to throw money away that badly, you can just buy me a couple of Scotches & we'll talk about it more!

Monday, September 19, 2005

For Sale: Free Time

This is from the Wizard Of Ads, Roy Williams. What does it have to do with marketing? Branding? Sales? Nothing...and yet, everything.

Do you want more free time? Then you must buy it. Free time is never free.

There are only four ways you can buy free time:

1. Work fewer hours. Learn to say no. You'll have more free time immediately.
Cost: Lost opportunities, reduced income.

2. Develop systems, methods and procedures that save time.
Cost: Time and money spent in developing those systems, methods and procedures.

3. Recruit, hire, train and manage other people to do your work for you.
Cost: Time and money spent in recruiting, hiring, training and managing.

I heartily recommend these three methods. But I recommend against number four:

4. Be the recipient of a large inheritance or insurance settlement, win the lottery, marry a rich person.
Cost: Loss of identity, loss of self.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


The Brand and the Brain:
What science is telling us about consumer behavior

Recently a team at the Baylor College of Medicine in Texas studied the brain scans of 67 individuals who were asked to do blind taste tests of Coca-Cola and Pepsi. Participants were split virtually 50/50 over which soft drink tasted better. But when the same people were tested again and told which brand of soft drink they were drinking, 75% said they preferred Coca-Cola.

Coke vs. Pepsi
Why did the test subjects change their opinion? Why would they be split 50/50 in blind taste tests, but prefer Coca-Cola three to one in the non-blind test? Because two different parts of the brain control taste preference and brand preference. During blind taste tests, something called the ventrolateral prefrontal cortex lights up, which helps drive sensory preferences such as taste. But when consumers know which brand they’re drinking, the medial prefrontal cortex lights up, which helps drive brand preference.

In other words, because of Coke’s brand image, about 75% of the population think they prefer Coke over Pepsi even though blind taste tests show that only about 50% do...

Sunday, September 11, 2005

BigMouthTeaching ;)

What an honor: I've been invited to deliver the first ever "Copywriting 101" course for the Midwest Family Broadcast Group's annual Sales Conference. All new sales reps will be required to attend the seminar which will give them the do's & don'ts of copywriting. Think of it as "Copywriting for Dummies." Should be a blast, I'll have a recap for you in October.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

BigMouthRacing's Season Finale

The Spec Miata took to the track for one final weekend of wheel to wheel racing over the Labor Day holiday.

Practice on Friday night showed the car was quick, then the team competed in 2 race groups meaning LOTS of track time on Saturday. Team driver John Hammer tells us about it: "It was a blast out there. Actually, my first race was a really good one with plenty of action around me. It was my best qualifying ever: 9th overall (out of 28 cars!). I finished 8th, but dropped back from 7th after I got caught when an errant orange cone had been kicked up onto the track at Turn 7. I had to swerve to avoid it & the #189 SM got by me at that point. Check this out though: after that battle...the owner of the #189 car came to me & complimented me on my driving, then offered me a co-drive in next year's 10 Hour race in his car!"

Later that afternoon, the team took the green flag again.

"The second race was pretty scary: my tires burned down to cords and got VERY slippery. Believe the guys on TV when they say how important your tires are...the car pushed like a pig that 2nd race. I did make some early passes, but slowed down once the tires went away...I was still able to keep my position though: started 12th, finished 12th out of 26."

The car will now see limited practice time as the Summer ends & Michigan weather cools quickly. Up next: the British Car Show & Go where the team will help novice track day enthusiasts explore a real racetrack! See for all the details.
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