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Posts Tagged ‘Adventures in Marketing’

Adventures in Marketing: Headphones by Snooki

Say you’re promoting a “premium” product with minimal production costs and you want to heighten its appeal to a certain target audience. What do you do? First you label it “premium” or “exclusive”. Then you slap a barely-related celebrity’s name on it and jack up its price well beyond reason. Score!

The latest industry overcome by celebrity endorsement deals is audio equipment. Headphones appear to be the new sneakers–when the $300 Beats by Dre model debuted a couple of years ago, they were the earwear equivalent of Nike Air Jordans. The first question to ask someone wearing Beats by Dre was either “When’s your album coming out?” or “How can I get tickets to the release party?”

Once marketers realized how profitable this racket can be, everyone and his brother (and his brother’s nephew, who appeared on one episode of some reality show) jumped aboard the C-list headphone train. Are they better than iPod earbuds? Do they offer deeper bass and crisper high-end sounds for compressed, low-quality mp3s? Sure–but this is more than a little ridiculous.

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Adventures in Marketing: Downton Abbey Homewares

Downton Abbey PBS Masterpiece TheaterFacebook fans of PBS‘s “Masterpiece Theater” mega-hit Downton Abbey may have noticed a strange request today following the show’s third season premier: producers looking for new ways to monetize the Abbey brand asked followers to make suggestions for a planned homeware range.

Carnival Films, the UK production company responsible for the well-suited soap opera, wants to “bring the beauty and elegance of Downton Abbey to homes” of plebians like us via “Homeware, crockery, pots and pans, kitchen items” and the like. The Facebook post also mentions furniture and lighting, calling upon manufacturers to volunteer their own product lines for branding.

We’re all about the newest trends in crowdsourcing and we understand the value of giving the people what they want, so we came up with a few ideas and figured we could work them into the show itself:

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Adventures in Marketing: Doritos and Taco Bell, BFFs

Dorito's Taco BellWe usually love the idea of two complementary brands coming together and doing great things, but when we first heard about the ongoing collaboration between Doritos and Taco Bell, we were a little skeptical.

We understand that these leaders in the “corn-based foods with ridiculously high levels of saturated fat” market appeal to the same audiences (namely drunk college kids and adults in a rush), but we wondered if a taco served inside a big Dorito dusted with nuclear red “cheese” would be a little too much.

We were very, very wrong: The Doritos Locos Tacos quickly became the best-selling item in the history of the Tex-Mex chain, which got mouths watering again this week with a Facebook post sort of announcing the pending release of the Cool Ranch version. We still can’t quite get over the fact that this simple post got 120,000 likes, 11,500 shares, and more than 8,000 comments.

The Huffington Post recently attempted to discern exactly why this co-branding exercise worked so well, and we have to agree with most of their points:

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Adventures in Marketing: ‘Fifty Shades of Chicken’

Fifty Shades of Chicken Random House Today we bring you what is, without a doubt, one of our favorite marketing projects of the year.

First: You may have heard that Random House employees recently received hefty $5000 holiday bonuses thanks, in large part, to a certain obscure author/handcuff enthusiast named E.L. James.

In case you thought the publishing house couldn’t wring a single cent more from its whips-and-chains smash 50 Shades of Grey, you thought wrong: the company recently released a lighthearted companion piece in the form of a cookbook titled Fifty Shades of Chicken. It’s ostensibly a collection of recipes, but it’s really just an excuse to milk that juicy property ’til it’s bone dry.

Why do we love this project? We’re suckers for satire and clever, pun-filled copy, so we’ll just let the official Twitter feed speak for itself:

…and it keeps going, people. There is apparently no shortage of sexual innuendos in the culinary world.

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Adventures in Marketing: Sexy Adult Diapers

You know, we’d love to come up with a different phrase for the newest product from Rhode Island lingerie maker Dear Kate (which calls its line of full-coverage underwear “functional cool-girl underthings”), but we just can’t get past thinking of these hip bottoms as sexy adult diapers.

Of course we understand that certain products require a bit more finesse when it comes to messaging, and we have to agree with the company’s decision to move away from the phrase “Sexy Period”, though we’re a little surprised by the explanation: according to New York Magazine’s The Cut, founder Julie Sygiel dropped the “in-your-face” copy and performed a little re-branding magic after discovering that her company had “a cult following among the…mildly incontinent.”

PR pros: How would we market this product? What do we think of Dear Kate’s campaign?

(P.S.: Make sure to click on the post and read the part about Sygiel’s first elevator pitch. It’s very amusing.)

Adventures in Marketing: Pizza Hut, the Fragrance

Pizza Hut perfume Today in Necessary Things News: When we hear the words “Pizza” and “Hut” together, perfume is NOT the first, second or third thing that comes to mind. Yet the deep-dish pie chain’s Canadian marketing agency has a sense of humor, so they thought it might be fun to ask their Canuck Facebook fans about names for a theoretical pizza perfume. It was a great idea for a post, but when the company’s internal marketing department heard about it, they loved it enough to take it a step further.

That’s right, Pizza Hut Canada hired a aromachologist (word of the day alert!) to celebrate its 100,000th Facebook fan by brewing 110 bottles of “Eau de Pizza Hut” that smell like “freshly baked, hand-tossed dough” for a few dozen lucky cheese-and-red-sauce fanatics up north.

Will the average shopper find this perfume at the pharmacy or salon anytime soon? Of course not—but this stunt won the company a bit of free coverage in otherwise respectable publications like The Washington Post and CafeMom, whose bloggers came up with a list of ten other apparently ridiculous scents they’d like to sample. Examples include coffee, fried chicken, Kentucky bourbon and pad thai–which tells us that these ladies have incredible taste.

We call this a PR win. As the wise Mel Brooks told us so many years ago, it’s all about “Merchandising: where the real money is made.”

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