Monthly Archives: August 2008

creative insight – how’d they do that?

Steve Bauer takes readers behind the scenes for an in-depth look at how Polaris’ Victory division served up the revolutionary Vision in the August 11 issue of PowerSports Business.

The article features interviews with lead designers Greg Brew and Michael Song as Bauer breaks down the importance design and focus feedback played in creating Victory’s bold stroke in the touring market segment.

Obviously Polaris had the resources to mount the effort, but the takeaway here is why they’ve succeeded in launching a truly breakthrough product that goes far beyond slapping new graphics on familiar styling and calling the result fresh.

Recommended reading for a variety of reasons – team goals, administrative encouragement, marketing insight, breakthrough styling and creative freedom.

guerilla marketing olympic event

guerilla olympic marketing effort wins gold

GM’s Chevy division’s Olympic ad blitz, smart and contemporary, is attracting the buzz. And at $750,000 every prime time 30-seconds, that’s good, especially if you’re curious about the Volt.

But out back of the swim cube, BMW cooked up a tasty little guerilla marketing campaign of their own. That’s a whacked in half MINI Cooper trundling around town behind the front end of what used to be a pedicab.

Which proves – again – the worth of creativity in the right situation. No word, though, on how the a/c’s holding up.

brand id required

PR Week reports on what’s surely the tip of the iceburg – the hijacking registration of a major corporate brand by an imposter “employee”.

Twitter, the social flavor of the week site that’s attracted a huge following and is now closely followed by corporate America – just ask Comcast – began issuing tweets from ExxonMobil, registered on their site by someone called Janet.

Imagine the surprise when the corporate cats at the real ExxonMobil found out after the brandjacking was first reported in the Houston Chronicle a few weeks ago. A quick petition to Twitter and control of the account name reverted to the real owner, no damage done for now. But it doesn’t take a genius to figure out how bad the mischief could have been.

The lesson’s probably this: if you’ve got a brand worth protecting, it’s your responsibility to perform the due diligence required for policing the internet and making sure everything said in your name is, in fact, something you meant to say.

harley charts new, uh, territory

Curious about the new ’09 Nightster I instinctively Googled “Brazilian waxing” and wasn’t disappointed for my effort when this smart little banner popped up.

This is the kind of synergy that can only happen when you combine a healthy interest in stylized female hygiene and Sportsters. Thanks to the web, TMC can parse their market finer than frog hair. Or similar.

Was this serendipity or a carefully laid Google adsense trap? Either way, we’ll keep searching. The truth is out there.

marketing dilemma: ink or web or…

While no one’s writing obits for the most popular titles in automotive print, it’s difficult to fathom how the most popular form of information delivery for the past half-century’s going to fare in the very immediate future.

Folio yesterday put up a jaw-dropping stat (left) on the 07-08 half-year change in circulation among automotive and tech titles. Not good, definitely not good.

We’re not bright enough to know why, or what to do next. We suspect a combination of more and more info posted to the web, mostly free and increasingly sophisticated, combined with a shrinking newstand market. Albertson’s Supermarket, for instance, is closing down most of their remaining stores over the next few weeks.

In the end the answer may be nothing more complicated than a finite resource – time – and a nearly infinite information source – internet – on a collision course that’s competing with print’s limited page count and production cycle.

Are those, like us, who continue rooting for print’s survival hopeless romantics? Or is there a solution, a hybrid, that can blend the best of both in a fresh and utilitarian way? The answer can’t be far off, that much we know.

planes, trains and – planes and trains

“When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.” Even HST couldn’t have seen this quiniela coming down the toll road of what the hell else can go wrong.

We won’t dwell on the details. If you somehow missed the Bus Ride From Hell, you can get up to speed here.

And no joke, when it comes to GPS and navigation sometimes you really do have to Just Say No.

What do these two tales of the psychotic kind have to do with each other? They’re pr nightmares with no good ending except for the competition, should they choose to play the hand.

The GPS manufacturer with the slightly faulty POI will no doubt be revealed soon, as in just as soon as the competition gets to the survivors with a fistful of cash and an exclusivity agreement for what surely is the ultimate comparison ad.

And Greyhound? It’s a safe bet Jack Nicholson’s not in their plans as a corporate spokesman. So the next time some insurance type brings up road rage in response to your screaming at the idiot who cut you off on the way to the airport, wave this story in their face as to the real consequences of getting on someone’s bad side during a road trip. At least in Canada.

does F-R-E-E advertising work?

You’ve seen the ads, maybe TiVo’d one or two. “Now my legs’re stickin’ to the vinyl and my posse’s getting laughed at,” all because of Bad Credit. F-R-E-E does spell free, except it’s credit reporting monster Experian trolling for consumers to take the bait and sign up for monthly hits for something that’s – well – free here, just not there.

Online sign-ups are up 20%, a pretty remarkable stat for the likeable ads from Martin Agency as part of a $70M campaign (up 200 percent since 2002) to drive new biz. Viral? Ya’ think? This thing’s crawling all over YouTube, which we think is a little weird considering the core message. Read more details about the campaign and why it’s taking flak here on the New York Times site.

can you spell y – m – c – a?

Blame it on Florida’s exquisite bureaucracy, of course, and the fashionistas lurking in the Department of Transportation. Who knew they could be so stylish and yet so clueless? I’m all for improving the visibility of bikers, but at the same time reserve the right to maintain a little dignity.

Midnight Cowboy’s the only thing that comes to mind when I saw the state’s latest genius approach to reducing bike fatalities. Somewhere in Tallahassee, there’s a career desk jockey who’s life’s work is to make day-glo chaps a requirement for a two-wheeled endorsement. Ride safe, little Hulksters.

pr, schme-r – you say tomato, i say rutabago

Hollywood gospel says there’s no such thing as bad p.r. Unless it’s no p.r. Which is exactly what happened to Clearwater Wednesday night, as the A&E (originally named for arts and entertainment – how far we’ve fallen) cable channel beamed live footage of illusionist Criss Angel ‘s escape from a blown to smithereens beachfront hotel.

Except that the on-air program guide described the hotel as a condo. And the location as Miami. Be assured this was not what the city bargained for when they put up the security and such needed to accomodate a live feed and a crowd estimated at perhaps 50,000. I know this because I’m right down the road from an event that dominated the local papers. As Casey Stengel said, “You could look it up.”