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Posts Tagged ‘Virginia Alber-Glanstaetten’

Op-Ed: Taco Bell Takes a Lickin’ But Comes Out Kickin’

Virginia Alber-Glanstaetten, group director of planning at Huge, has returned with her monthly column for this here site, this time discussing a certain fast-food chain that has gone from zero to hero in the shortest time. Now, who’s in the mood for a Fiery? Take it away, Virginia.

Just earlier this summer, Taco Bell faced a Public Relations nightmare when an employee posted a picture of himself licking taco shells on Facebook. The photo was part of an internal contest supposed to feature employees enjoying their first taste of a new product. While the news was everywhere at the time, it did little to slow down the Taco Bell marketing juggernaut, hailed last week as 2013’s “Marketer of the Year.” So, for anyone not already paying attention, I decided to crowdsource from my team the biggest lessons for marketers from Taco Bell’s recent success:

1.    Fail fast, and move on. Taco Bell realized quickly in 2011 that dumb white guy humor wasn’t getting them what they needed. A focus on product innovation and the realization that Taco Bell was, for many, a staple part of their diet — helped them successfully Live Mas. Taco Bell did not waste a cycle on lame humor, but quickly sought new ways to position themselves as both relevant and real, leaving their past positioning behind.

2.    Partner Smart. Partnerships come in many forms. Whether it’s a product, brand, or a digital technology partnership, you need to associate with brands that will add value to the customer experience. We all know that the Doritos partnership was super smart—it makes total sense—and 45 product tests later, Taco Bell was in the money with their first Doritos shell. It wasn’t just a great product innovation, it tapped into an emotional and experiential component that lives on long after you’ve finished eating: nostalgia, deeply appealing to Taco Bell’s target market. Nostalgia aside, there are a total of 126 different types of Doritos flavors around the world, which leaves Taco Bell a plethora of options and can guarantee that people will be less and less consumed with where the beef is, and more about which taco shell to choose.

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Op-Ed: Idea Before Experience – The .Com Era Repeats Itself

Virginia Alber-Glanstaetten, group director of planning at Huge, has returned with her monthly column for this here site, this time discussing among other things, the mobile web, couponing, digital performance and how a certain well-known retail chain is playing into it all. Why say any more, let her take it away.

I was recently reminiscing about the early days of .com: an era where big ideas came first and the business model came later, if at all. We can look back now at what were essentially large scale experiments in digital:, brought down by its free shipping on any order;, the founding fathers of cute overload but otherwise useless for pet owners; and WebVan, whose razor thin margins couldn’t support their vision resulting in 2000 people out of work.  We didn’t really know what we were getting into and, at the time, few people were thinking about things like the user journey, the consumer experience, or basic usability for that matter.

Fast forward to 2013 and we’ve made strides in technology but we continue to make the same mistakes. Perhaps not with the same pageantry as with Webvan or, but every day agencies produce work where good user experiences and viable business results take a back seat to a big idea, or at least something that will generate a cycle of good press. As digital has become more sophisticated and extended to multiple platforms, so have our audiences and their expectations.  The gap between great idea and another failure is getting smaller and smaller.

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Op-Ed: Don’t Ask Me How I Feel; You Stopped Caring Years Ago

Ladies and gents, meet Virginia Alber-Glanstaetten, group director of planning at Huge who picks up the baton from Josh Seifert on monthly writing duties. In her debut column on this here site, Alber-Glanstaetten, who’s also worked on the strategy side at Organic and Razorfish during her career, shares her thoughts on Facebook’s new emoticons feature.

I’ve never been a fan of the emoticon. Perhaps it’s generational – or my own form of language snobbery and elitism – but whenever I see grownups using smiley faces in a sentence I just want to issue the common parental command “use your words.” So you can imagine my feelings about the news that Facebook has added emoticons to its arsenal of self-expression.

Not only does it add to the injustices inflicted upon the English language of late, but I believe it actually pushes Facebook further away from its stated intent of connecting people. Over the last few years, Facebook has succeeded in commoditizing our relationships with each other – remember when you used to visit your friends after they had kids rather than leaving it at a Like and a comment on their photo album?

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