Category Archives: Branding

Worst Social Campaigns of 2012 has posted the 11 worst social media campaigns from this year.  Of course, with the holiday season just now upon us some of these could get leap-frogged.

I think the one thing other brands can take away from these flubs is to

Topping the list are McDonald’s, Snickers, the NRA, Chick-Fil-A, and Microsoft. Most of the flubs had to do with the 2 items mentioned above and are centered around Hurricane Sandy, the Aurora, CO theater shooting or having an inappropriate post posted to the company’s account by an employee who thought they were posting to their personal accounts.

Read the entire post on


The perfect headline


So I’m flipping through the channels, enjoying my time off from work, and I see ‘Top Gear’ listed on the DirecTV channel guide.  I’ve heard about it but really, most car shows are over my head and bore me.  Usually its guys talking about torgue ratios, gear ratios and more engine stats than I want to know.  But then the description catches my eye, “Dodge Viper SRT vs. Cobra helicopter.”  Can I really watch a Dodge Viper race a helicopter!!!  In a word: SWEEEEEEET!

So I click over and the first thing I see is 3 guys showing off 3 different Lamborghinis.  They demo each car, show how fast they are, talk about how much they cost and other very top-level (non car geek info) stats about the car.  (i.e. These things go 0-to-60 in 3.4 seconds).  Holy cow!  They get into a discussion about which one is fastest.  So, naturally, the next thing they do is RACE THEM.

By this time I’m hooked.  I even missed the car vs. helicopter stunt but who cares this is a bad ass show!  I may even go ‘Like’ the show on Top Gear’s Facebook page

My point is that because the producers (or network) wrote a killer headline, who wouldn’t want to watch a sports car race a helicopter, I tuned in and sampled their brand/show.  And, as a marketer, that’s all you can ask for — a consumer to sample your brand.  After that it’s up to the product to deliver on whatever promise the marketing guys made.

The bonus here is that the brand/show actually delivered on it’s promise to me, the consumer.  The headline said I would see something really cool that I had never seen before.  And I did.

Keep that in mind when writing headlines for your blogs, print ads, radio spots, TV spots or any other marketing materials.  Be sensational. Find the most sensational (truthful) point of what you are selling or writing about and use that to draw in customers.

Oh and in the next episode they raced two skiers down a mountain in a Mitsubishi Evo. 🙂  The car won.

Facebook Fans Help Protect Brand

Back in January, when I posted the final update to promote a video contest on our website to win tickets to CMA Music Festival it sparked a conversation (for whatever reason) about another music festival and how it was supposedly ‘better’ than CMA Music Festival.

This is a great example of how social media can affect a brand in a VERY POSITIVE way.  Fans were quick to jump in and argue in favor of the CMA Music Festival (and protect the CMA brand) and did it better and with more creditability than we (CMA) ever could.

Now, I think some Marketing Managers would rush to delete these negative or not-so-nice comments about their event or brand.  But fortunately by the time I saw these comments plenty of other fans had already rebutted the argument.  So, I just let them keep on doing the same.

I think the challenge we have as marketers is to harness that power to push sales, drive new customers to sample our product (whatever it is) and capture data so we can more affordably message back to these hyper-loyal fans. Continue reading

Get people buzzing about your brand! #NABradioshow

Presenter: Mark Hughes


  1. Push buttons (what do people talk about?)
    1. the Unusual
    2. the Outrageous
    3. the Taboo
    4. the Hilarious
    5. the Remarkable
    6. Secrets
  2. Capture media
    1. Types of Stories (STORIES ARE CONTENT!!)
      i.     David & Goliath
      Ben & Jerry’s did in 4 years what it should have taken 18.  They took on the giant Pilsbury corporation and drew attention to itself when Pilsbury threatened their common distributor that they would pull their business if the distributor trafficked Ben and Jerry’s ice cream.  B n J’s held a press conference, picketed Pilsbury and created a lot of BUZZ in the media.
      ii.    Unusual & Outrageous
      Half, Oregon was pursuaded to change it’s name to, Oregon by founder Mark Hughes.  Good Morning America did a story on the company the day it launched.  Mark had an offer from eBay 19 days later!!!)
      iii.   Controversy
      iv.   Celebrities
      v.     What’s Hot in the Media Already
      Bush’s Pretzel – Lay’s Potato Chips harnessed the power of what was already happening and inspired the country to “save the country, buy Lay’s instead of pretzels”
      Swiftboat Veteran’s harnessed the power of what was already going on in the market and lead George W to victory!
  3. Advertise for attention (Mark said to read his book 🙂
  4. Climb Buzz Everest (Mark said to read his book 🙂
  5. Demand Creativity
    Mark gave the example of how Heny Kissenger told his speech writer to re-write the first draft of his speech.  Upon submission of the second draft Henry remaked, “I guess I’ll read it now.”
  6. Police your Product
    1. Volkswagen example, “on car sign ‘Don’t buy a Volkswagen’.”  Volkswagen hadn’t been policing their own product and had a LOT of makeup work to do.

Audio stimulus stays in the brain 5x longer than a visual stimulus before it starts to fade.  Think the Jaws theme song and how it stuck with you for decades after you last heard it.

QUO VADIS?  Where are you going?

  1. You can: React to biggest communication revolution 2 gain audience.
    i.      Facebook – It only took 6 months for FB to gain 50 million users.
    ii.      iPod took 3 years
    iii.      Internet took 4 years
    iv.      TV took 13 years
    v.      Radio took 38 years
  2. You can also: React to advertising landscape 2 gain advertisers.
    1. Example given was to hold a press conference in your home market and announce “We are no longer selling ads to local advertisers!”  This is an overstatement meant to draw attention.

The most important thing to do is to TAKE ACTION in some way!!!!!
Do something that will create buzz for your station!!!

WHICH HALF OBSERVATIONS: It’s time for Radio to stop thinking of itself as Radio or Broadcasting or the first “social network”.  It’s time to get serious about building the brand of Radio and local market brands.  Create some BUZZ, TAKE ACTION and stop everything you’re doing that even resembles the good ole days!!

It’s Nascar Season Baby!

It’s time once again for the Great American Race, the Daytona 500!!

If you have a consumer product aimed at Men 25-54 Nascar is the place to be.
This half of your advertising is working. It’s almost guaranteed!

Nascar was made for corporate sponsorship. Unlike most other major sports without corporate sponsorship Nascar would NOT be possible. The fans love it, the drivers love it and the sponsors love it.

The fan base is some of the MOST BRAND LOYAL fans on the planet! They love their favorite drivers and everything that driver represents. Chevy vs. Ford. Coke vs. Pepsi. And everything in between.

Jeff Gordon = Chevy, Pepsi, DuPont Paint
Dale Jr. = Chevy, Coke, Budweiser (still), Amp energy drink
Jimmie Johnson = Chevy, Lowe’s
Tony Stewart = Chevy, Home Depot (still)
Bill Elliott = Ford, McDonald’s (still), Motorcraft

It’s some of the most expensive advertising you’ll ever do but done correctly it can also be the most effective ever. Each race is a 3 hour product placement commercial. Plus, all the sweepstakes, spot advertising and driver interaction makes it a 360 degree campaign sure to sell some product.

Now back to the race!

Michelob Pays You to Work Out

I just got home from the grocery story. While walking through the aisles I came across a display of Michelob Ultra beer. There was a hang tang around each of the 6-packs.

The headline was SAVE $50.
I stopped to find out how Michelob was gonna save ME money. Up to now beer has only cost me money. Well that and a few girlfriends and a lot of money on Tylenol.

It turned out that Michelob Ultra is offering to help pay your gym membership. Keeping with their branding that Ultra beer is better for you (health-wise) than other light beers like Coors Light, Bud Light, etc. Michelob has launched a new campaign to sell some beer by helping to keep you healthy.

Good job Michelob guys and gals!

Email Marketing Misses | Coke


Ok, so I got this in my email inbox today.  Yes, it’s my birthday.  Not the point.

What’s missing from this email?  Wait for it…

How about a FREE Coke or some FREE Coke Rewards points or maybe a t-shirt from a Coke Nascar driver for my birthday.

What would that have cost the largest beverage producer on the planet?  Next to nothing I imagine. Plus, so many of these go unredeemed.  It’s the thought that counts though.  The fact that they would offer something for FREE would have bumped them up a notch with me.  I’m a Dr. Pepper guy normally.  But how easy would it have been to invite me to re-engage the Coke website or try a new product they are rolling out.  Don’t they always seem to have a new product coming out?

Anything but a very generic Happy Birthday.  I got 50 of those on Facebook today and a bunch more in my inbox.

The point is that I think they missed a huge opportunity to easily and inexpensively bring me further into the Coke family.