Friday, August 10, 2007

These Colors Don't Run, They Drive

"Rethink American" is Saturn's new tagline. Everything in the commercial (below) by Deutsch LA, to my knowledge, is driven to be American -- except for the song. "Higher" is performed by British band Soundcage, composed by Daniel Cage. He's also written music for major brands like Nike, Reebok, Pepsi, and Coke. According to Cage's official Web site, he graduated from the University of Southern California, and his next show is in New York -- performing at a charity benefit with Bette Midler and Kanye West. But he's still from the UK; it's an American-themed spot with a British song. This contradicts the whole message and makes me wonder why more people aren't seeing this disconnect. Details shouldn't go unnoticed. Isn't it Rethink Canadian, anyway?

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

The Drop Zone

Another company that's right on target is Perris Valley Skydiving. They've uniquely placed themselves as California's only resort skydiving center.

Driving to work, I saw a large plane on its approach. I get excited when I see jets because our airport is small, and the only flights are on a Beechcraft 1900D to Kansas City International. The airport is located in the middle of the United States, and one runway is long enough for the Space Shuttle to land on. Piloted by Steve Fosset, Virgin's longest flight around the world started and ended here. The airport is also a testing area for aircraft companies, training for the military, and a semi-frequent refueling stop for private jets and props. Back to the story. Driving 75 on the Interstate, I quickly glanced up a few times at the large jet. It couldn't be private; it was too big and didn't look like a Gulfstream or Learjet. My eyes only saw "Skydive", which immediately made me question if I needed my eyes checked. Skydive out of a jet? No way.

After further investigation, Skydive Perris is not only the sole skydiving center with a resort in California, but it also uses the only jet in the world that is certified (just last year) for skydiving. It's nicknamed the "pocket rocket", as it can take off on reasonably short runways. The McDonnell Douglas DC-9-21 is commissioned once again. (It may sound a little scary to use an old aircraft, but as long as the maintenance is kept up, you're good to go.) What used to be a commercial airliner for Scandinavian Airlines in the 60's, is now flying to drop people off who hardly ever land. There are only three of these planes left in service. Even better, the jet can take 80 experienced jumpers up to 15,000 feet, going 220 MPH -- at the price of $85 a person. Amazing.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Mailing Maelstrom

Junk mail is everywhere, attacking your mailbox like a tempest. About 44% of it is thrown back without reading, and after it's read, there's a 95% chance you'll throw it into the Neverending Pit of Garbage. You can fight it and sign up for "do-not-mail" lists, but most likely, the sea of mail will keep surging.

Why not invite them onto your boat by encouraging them to use other means of communication? Like e-mails you receive with an "unsubscribe" option, businesses could include an "unsubscribe" envelope -- guaranteeing no more mail from them if you send it back. Using this, they could reach their target audience better. (Hopefully they have one.)

If junk mail was reduced, it would leave a much smaller carbon footprint. "The average American household receives unsolicited junk mail equal to 1.5 trees every year—more than 100 million trees for all U.S. households combined" ( And that's what this is all about, right? As much as we would like to think businesses care more about Mother Earth's green than your green, it's usually quite the opposite.

Targeting the right audience is a major dilemma for companies.

This week, I received an invitation to a retirement planning seminar. A complimentary meal for myself and three adults is included. There is no mention of anything free in the letter, besides the toll free number I am supposed to call for reservations. But I am not retiring anytime soon. I'm still in college, as a matter of fact. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2000, 14.3% of citizens in the city I reside in are 65 years and older. This makes me curious as to how many young people like myself received this letter. It's only one piece of paper, an envelope and a stamp. But it costs them more money than they should be spending. They're spending it in the wrong place. If I went to the lunch or dinner seminar with three guests who are not close to the age of retirement, that company is losing four possible clients and an innumerable amount of money.

But there can be a calm in the storm. Procter & Gamble's Gillette does it right. Soon after I turned 18, I got a free Mach3 razor. After my sister turned 18, she got a free Venus razor. We use the product and become familiar with the brand we become dependent on -- for our hygienic and cosmetic needs. When corporations, small businesses and the like spend money on targeting the right audience, there's more chance the consumer will develop a relationship with their brand, which is much more valuable than a "catch of the day" to the business.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Contagious Commercial

This commercial by BBDO New York for Diet Pepsi Max interacts with the audience, and sometimes -- depending on if yawning is contagious for the individual -- the audience interacts with the commercial. I yawn just thinking about yawning. The other commercials in this campaign aren't as focused. Is Diet Pepsi Max trying to get the consumer to identify (the absence of) yawning with their brand? It's a somewhat creative approach, but any caffeinated product can give you a kickstart in the morning. Now I can't...stop...yawning.

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