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Adventures in Marketing

A Pumpkin Spice-Flavored Summer? The Too-Early Trend Making Us Crazy

spotthespicechallengeJPEG

As has been made abundantly clear in previous posts about the pumpkin spice marketing craze, this PRNewser writer loves Fall. Like, really, really loves it. As a New Englander, there’s nothing more magical to me than a crisp October morning kissed by the scent of fresh apples, piles of leaves, and — yes — my mug of pumpkin spice tea. I’m a sucker for the Autumnal marketing madness and I’m not sorry. But though I may be a full-fledged Fall-ophile (is that a thing? I’m making it a thing), even I know there’s a time for nutmeg and Jack-O-Lanterns, and it is not — I repeat, NOT while the beaches are still crowded and kids are enjoying their last days of summer vacation.

We’ve been griping about the holiday creep for years when it comes to Christmas decorations lining store shelves before Halloween, and now, it seems, those pesky marketers have figured if they’re going to bulldoze Halloween for Christmas, why not just move the whole calender up a couple months and bulldoze summer with way-too-early Fall? I mean, the logic is undeniable.

We’ve been seeing Halloween candy in stores for a couple of weeks now; the seasonal Sam Adams currently being sold is Octoberfest; Starbucks is releasing its Pumpkin Spice Latte on August 25 (if you have a super secret passcode), and Twitter has even been aflutter over the potential introduction of Pumpkin Spice Oreos.

All way before we’ve even had our Labor Day barbeques. Read more

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Cinnabon Doesn’t Need Advertising; Good Marketing and Branding Are Enough

Cinnabon-Reaches-1000th-Bakery-Milestone

Today’s conventional wisdom would suggest that aggressively expanding a brand solely focused on a singular sugary baked good is folly. Cinnabon isn’t quite the ill-fated Crumbs, despite some similarities, and President Kat Cole has been aiming high:

  • “We’re building the world’s greatest brand,” she told Nation’s Restaurant News.
  • “Eventually it will end up in the bucket with brands like Oreo and Hershey,” she told Forbes.

Indeed 2013 was a busy (and profitable) year for Cinnabon; the chain added 110 new locations, bringing its total now up to nearly 1,200 and saw $1 billion in retail product sales from all divisions worldwide, including franchising, consumer package goods and food-service licensed products.

It also spent only $33,000 in advertising.

Read more

‘How You Webinar’ Turns Every Marketing Buzzword You Hate into a Rap Video

You may remember DJ Dave from that time he “got real” in the Whole Foods parking lot, rapping about the frustrations of trying to navigate an unreasonably tiny shopping cart through a sea of hybrid cars and reusable bag-toting yuppies. Now, the comedic rapper has taken on every marketing and business-building buzzword you love to hate in his latest video, entitled “How You Webinar.”

Some of our favorite cringe-worthy words are so much more fun when rapped, including: innovation, actionable, integrated platform, tweaks, social networking, marketing guru, interactive tools, digital space, and core competencies. Gagging yet?

Newark, N.J. Named Unfriendliest City in America Again

NJ SucksBeing part of a Convention & Visitors Bureau (or, as they are called now, Destination Marketing Organizations) can be thrilling when national publications release the lists.

The “Best Of” this. The “Most Of” that.

These hallowed dispatches are the Holy Grail for many cities. And then, there are the bemoaned mentions in travel publications or websites that suggest your city — for lack of a more appropriate term — sucks.

Crisis communications can’t help an entire city, can it? Look at Detroit and tell me how that’s working out. Unfortunately, the one we know as Newark, New Jersey now finds itself at the bottom of just such a list.

Again. 

Read more

Kellogg and Special K Hope to Gain Profits by Losing the Weight Loss Message

special-k-cerealsWe’re all accustomed to the Special K ads that traditionally hit the airwaves during the fall and winter, urging us to stave off seasonal weight gain by eating cereal instead of huge meals or sweets, with taglines like: “What will you gain when you lose?”

Well, it seems Kellogg is about to answer its own question, but from a marketing standpoint.

Kellogg Co. CEO John Bryant said during an earnings call last Thursday that reduced-calorie messaging no longer resonates with consumers, referencing weaknesses with other similar food categories like diet sodas and reduced-calorie frozen meals. “I think consumers are changing their views on weight management from ‘reduce calories’ to ‘nutritious foods’,” he said. Special K can “absolutely meet that criteria…It’s a very nutrient-dense food form. But we haven’t been communicating it that way. So we are increasing our communication more down that path as opposed to reduce calories.” Read more

September 11: How The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (of Australia) Forgot

never_forget“Never Forget.”

It was the rallying cry heard ’round the world following that fateful day of Sept. 11, 2001–and it’s still a very sensitive topic for many in the United States and beyond.

Paramount Pictures Australia came a little too close to that memory for comfort in promoting its upcoming film Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles–and had to issue a quick apology after social media took notice.

Read more

APOCALYPSE WATCH: This Temporary Tattoo Can Unlock Your Smartphone

temporary tattoo

Show us the nearest flip phone dealer, because this newfangled device looks like a special delivery from Lucifer himself.

Anyone catch this news from TechCrunch?

A temporary tattoo that you can place anywhere on your body (if you are into that sort of thing) will unlock your phone. No secret code. No tricks. No thumbprint. Just a mark of the beast called technology hanging out and waiting to gain access into your soul.

Read more

5 Myths About ‘Viral’ Video Marketing

can-i-make-a-viral-video

Confession: I have been at this PR thing for a while. In that time, I have learned a few irrefutable truths:

  1. There will always be a client that thinks he or she knows more about the media than you.
  2. There will always be at least one agency that can — and will — do it cheaper, faster, and worse than you … and they will still get the business.
  3. There will always be a couple of PR pros on your team who believe the only way to get ahead is to place a knife in your back.

Recently, a new dogmatic fact has crept its way onto the scene, lifted its leg, and marked its territory with authority: Someone — client or fellow flack, it doesn’t matter — will always exclaim, “Oh, we can make that go viral. Easy.

Can we please take that animal out back and make it into glue? Like today?

Read more

7-Eleven’s Birthday Week Thwarted Because of New App Glitch, Makes It Right All Month Long

slurpees

ICYMI: these glorious sugary rainbows of greatness were being given away 12 ounces at a time on July 11. Free. (Get it? 7 [July] 11?)

It’s been a tradition since 2002 that anyone can waltz inside a local 7/11, grab a small 12 oz. cup, and fill up on this sweet elixir of Texas love (born here, based here, y’all). This year, something went awry when 7-Eleven attempted to bring more technology to the mix. For months, the convenience empire has been promoting its fun little ‘Only at 7-Eleven’ app. When you download it, you would benefit from push-text offers sent exclusively to your phone.

Only, that didn’t happen for some folks, and America went nuts.

Read more

STUDY: How Effective Is Sponsored Content? Not Very!

CONTENT!!

Probably not a sponsored story

Every agency with its head on straight began creating or facilitating the creation of content some time ago, and quite a few brands and publications have followed suit. Today The Washington Post added a former PR/journalist to its roster to manage a growing content production house.

Yet few can agree on what a successful piece of sponsored content looks like or on best practices for enhancing and measuring its effectiveness.

Expect the debate to continue with the help of some challenging research.

Read more

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