Sunday, August 1, 2010

Make friends AND money?

I'm guessing that most of you know about the Pepsi Refresh Project. Instead of spending millions on a Super Bowl spot, they elected to kick off a Social Media Campaign where folks offer ideas to help others, viewers vote on those ideas and then the winners are funded by Pepsi. Interesting gamble. (Check out the page with the finalists for July)

According to Financial Times, it looks like carbonated beverages use in the US is still dropping - and that includes Pepsi. Not too good. But perhaps the campaign has helped them keep from dropping further...anyone have an opinion on this one?

And good news for the company? Gatorade sales have picked up. Now, that's a taste I never acquired.

Friday, July 2, 2010

If you think "colors" are just for kids, it's time to re-think.

Whether you're walking down the aisle checking out the new fall line at Chico's (my favorite), frozen foods at Martin's, towels at Target or dryers at Lowe's, the colors we all see are anything by random. Color selection and management is big business.

Imagine trying to sell my mom's turquoise washer - dryer - Formica kitchen table - sheets (well, pretty much anything in the house we grew up in during the early 60's in the Atlanta area) to a 50-something market today. Yep, we'll all still buy teal stuff (or it's trendy name "Lagoon") for a few more years, but I'm guessing turquoise would only sell as a cool retro color to a sub-set of folks in their early 20's. And even though these colors are very similar, one could spell success while the other ends up as landfill trash.

Having been a member of the Color Marketing Group years back, it's actually true that they and other like-mined organizations attempt to predict colors that the public will like in the future year vs telling the public what to choose. Their goal is to help manufacturers predict color popularity so all those washing machines stay out of the landfill a little longer.

But I really do wonder about how long it takes consumers who may hate a color palette they see in the store at first, start to get used to it, see it in ads or pubs, subliminally notice it on other folks or in other homes, start to like it and then ultimately buy it.

Check out the May issue of Graphic Design USA for the Annual Color Forecast. It's sponsored by the guys who REALLY own color in my world - Pantone. But, that's another story I'll yap about later...

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Chevrolet: Sacrificing consumer connection for brand consistency

A leaked internal memo reveals that GM wants employees to quit using the Chevy moniker for its 100-year old car brand. What on earth convinced top management and Chevrolet's ad agency that this was a good idea?

Let’s face it—consumers view Chevy as a quintessential American brand. GM has undergone major restructuring over the last year (as would be expected from a company receiving bailout money from the government), however the new rebranding efforts will likely prove to be more cannibalistic than beneficial.

GM claims that by positioning the company as Chevrolet rather than Chevy it will be able to establish brand consistency. The reality—Chevrolet’s have been referred to as Chevy’s for as long as we can all remember. In the mind of consumers, the Chevy nickname does not serve as a source of confusion but rather a term of endearment, a household name that will not fade out any time soon.

Furthermore, the company believes that dropping this moniker will position Chevrolet as a more of a luxury brand. What a laughable concept—it is highly doubtful that Chevrolet will ever be seen as a luxury brand and thought comparable to more well-established brands such as Mercedes, BMW, Infiniti, etc.

No matter how hard company management pushes rebranding, they should face the fact that they Chevy name will always have a place in the hearts and minds of consumers. A recent survey showed that 3 times as many people felt the company should continue the use of the familial nickname. Shocking—not. It comes as no surprise that consumers (especially baby boomers) are reluctant to bail on the Chevy moniker. It’s not a derogatory term, but rather a valued nickname that triggers nostalgia and has throughout the years helped establish a connection between the company, its customers, and the American population in general.

A suggestion for the company: Stop disconnecting yourself from consumers. The people have spoken; you’re not Chevrolet, your Chevy. The rest of America has embraced it, so should you.