Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The answer:


What, in that stew of facts, could possibly be more relevant to the average parent? Or more exciting to the average child?

Monday, June 22, 2009

Your final exam in Marketing 101 consists of this question:

You need to send out a newsletter to parents and children of all California public schools to let them know of an upcoming event. Here are the pertinent facts:

1) The state has received a $500 million dollar anonymous gift to fund science and math education for every student, K-12, in the state.

2) All teachers, principals, and other administrators will gather next Tuesday in Sacramento to undergo special training for this initiative.

3) Leading scientists and mathematicians from around the world will be in attendance.

What is your headline for the newsletter?

NB: There is only one right answer.

Answer in the next post.

My thanks to Dick and Barbara Holt for supplying me with this wonderful thought experiment.

Monday, June 15, 2009

What if we made periods a happy time?

This is hardly breaking news, or even a new insight. Rather, it's a bitterly funny data point on the endless cluelessness of marketers when it comes to women.

Ir comes in the form of a letter written by Wendi Aarons to the Always brand manager (male, of course) at Procter and Gamble. It's well worth your time to read the entire screed, but here, to whet your appetite, is the opening salvo:

Dear Mr. Thatcher,

I have been a loyal user of your Always maxi pads for over 20 years, and I appreciate many of their features. Why, without the LeakGuard Core™ or Dri-Weave™ absorbency, I'd probably never go horseback riding or salsa dancing, and I'd certainly steer clear of running up and down the beach in tight, white shorts. But my favorite feature has to be your revolutionary Flexi-Wings. Kudos on being the only company smart enough to realize how crucial it is that maxi pads be aerodynamic. I can't tell you how safe and secure I feel each month knowing there's a little F-16 in my pants.

It only gets better from there. Given the fact there is a whole ecosystem of consultants, research firms, academics, agency leaders etc. who specialize in telling the Mr. Thatchers of the world "what women want," it's amazing that these tone-deaf marketing efforts crop up so often.

Even with a wife of 29 years and 3 daughters, I don't profess to know what women want.But here's a suggestion:

Pretend you're talking to a guy.

Whatever you lose in feminine sensibility, you will avoid sounding like a pandering, condescending idiot. If men had menstrual cramps, saying "Have a happy period, bro" would get you killed.

Friday, June 12, 2009

And if this turns into a depression, we're golden!

CMOs continue to the say the darndest things. Wal-Mart CMO Stephen Quinn had this gem in this week's Ad Age:

"We were fortunate that this recession came along. It played to our positioning really well."

Yes, Stephen, it's true. Wal-Mart was very well-positioned for customers facing job loss, foreclosure and loss of life savings. Nothing like that Katrina thing where all the shoppers were cooped up in the Superdome!

Christ, it's enough to make one yearn for the return of Julie Roehm.