Thursday, July 29, 2010
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
I have been waiting to see something dynamic from Kraft Macaroni and Cheese ever since word got out that they moved their business over to Crispin Porter + Bogusky in March of this year. Only recently have I taken notice of their new advertising and it intrigues me as both an adult Mac & Cheese lover and an appreciator of interesting advertising.
- Spending $50 million promoting this campaign for the year (30% increase from last year)
- Moving from their economy-motivated taglines emphasizing price to slogans that focus on making adults feel like it’s okay for them to love Mac & Cheese too: “You know you love it,” “The most fun you can have with your stove on,” “Outgrow outgrowing it,” “Imported from your childhood,” and “Parents need warm cheesey hugs”
- The usual advertising: Commercials, Print, Billboards, Online, Website and Social media
- The not-so-usual:
- Noodle Art (20 feet long and 9 feet high macaroni sculptures) placed in national landmarks (Wrigley Field, Fisherman’s Wharf, etc.)
- Interactive store front displays that say “Cheese” and use face recognition technology to make the noodle smile at customers in the top 3 markets
- A Homestyle Tour that visits 15 midwestern state fairs to showcase the Homestyle Macaroni & Cheese
- Die-cut noodles on taxi tops in New York
- Wallscapes in New York, Chicago and LA
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Everyone knows the YMCA. When someone says this acronym there’s generally no question as to what they’re talking about. Some people may not know that it stands for Young Men’s Christian Association or that it’s one of the oldest and most important non-profit organizations, but just about every person has a familiarity with the letters YMCA.
This is exactly what the YMCA found troubling- every person was familiar with the letters YMCA but a lot of people had no idea what the organization actually did or the values they stood for today. The YMCA realized that there was no clarity or cohesiveness in their logo, brand, or message throughout their thousands of YMCAs across the country and invested time and money into the most extensive research the organization has ever conducted.
With their findings, the YMCA has just rolled out a new nickname and a new style with a clearer message:
- The YMCA will begin being known officially as “The Y.” They will of course be keeping the full YMCA acronym in their brand, but they will be emphasizing their identity as "The Y" because that is how they are known in the community.
- Rather than letting every Y branch pick their own style of Y logo (this has been the case for about 50 years and there are thousands out there), there is now only one usable Y logo that comes in 5 colors. The new logo is a more modern, sleek, and vibrant variation on their traditional Y logo
- The Y has had dozens of mottos, slogans, and missions between branches, and they have now replaced their old “We build strong kids, strong families, and strong communities.” The new slogan is: “For Youth Development, For Healthy Living, For Social Responsibility.”
This rebranding campaign was launched ten days ago and all of their websites have already fully incorporated the new logo, as well as making the new logo launch a big part of their Wikipedia page. Although this seems very abrupt, the full integration of this brand revitalization is scheduled to be very gradual with the entire new look and message completely incorporated by 2015.
I did gymnastics at the Y for 13 years, worked at the Y since I was 16 and even spent four years on the San Diego YMCA Board of Directors, so I am no stranger to the organization or its message. I had been hearing whispers of a rebrand for about a year now and I was delighted when they finally unveiled the new logo and ideas at our staff meeting last week (I was the only one taking diligent notes on the presentation).
I am extremely impressed with the direction they're going- I think so many people have really inaccurate and dated perceptions of the YMCA and it's really important for the Y to finally address this. The YMCA has always had strong brand recognition because they are so prominent and well-known but it's really great to see them start to be in control of their brand and pay more attention to the message of their organization. I think a 5-year window is a very realistic goal to get this rebrand in full swing and it's smart to do it at a slow pace so that people aren't thrown off by it or start thinking their "favorite YMCA is trying to get all hip" on them (that's actually what I was told by one of my level three gymnast's grandmothers).
This is a really great move for the YMCA and they are yet again setting the bar for other non-profits to follow. But that is one thing I find so interesting and incredible- even non-profits are now finding it necessary to pay close attention to their public image, perceptions, and brand! Non-profits do wonderful things and amazing work but even that is not enough anymore; companies who do tremendous good are finding it necessary to take a more hands-on and active approach to how they are perceived by the public. I think that just proves how powerful good advertising and PR are for every company and it's amazing to see one of the country's oldest and most influential non-profit organization jumping on board with that.
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
The Facts: New York digital agency MRM is providing five interns a 6-month internship with the company while living rent-free in an Ikea-furnished 3-bedroom Brooklyn apartment. The program is called “The Apartment” and the interns share their experiences in New York and at MRM on a blog.
The Reasoning: MRM Execs say they are offering this to interns in order to better recruit the top ad students because, in recent years, MRM has missed out on top intern talent because students choose to line up at agencies like Weiden & Kennedy or Goodby Silverstein.
The Interesting: The thing I find most interesting is that this is not funded solely by MRM- because the interns are considered billable staff on accounts, MRM clients like Microsoft, Exxon, Mastercard and Diageo will be footing part of the bill to house these interns.
This seems like a really cool idea from an intern perspective- getting to live rent-free in New York while interning? Pretty good deal. But I have two major issues with this and I will address them accordingly:
1. Should clients really be footing the bill to house these interns?
I understand that, when it comes down to it, an agency runs on billing clients. But if I were an MRM client and saw my advertising dollars being spent to put interns up in a Brooklyn apartment, I’m not sure how thrilled I would be about that. MRM definitely has some big-budget clients, but no matter how much money I had to burn, I would much prefer to be putting that into a better campaign rather than funding some students to live in NYC. It’s reasonable that some companies arrange housing for interns, but a deluxe swanky NYC loft seems like an inefficient way to spend client money.
2. If you want to attract the top ad students in the country, put your energies into becoming an attractive top agency rather than just bribing students with extravagant accommodations.
While I can’t knock MRM for launching an effective way to get interns significantly more interested in their program, it does seem like a bit of a cheap way to go about it. They obviously have an abundance of money to throw around and I feel like it would be better spent doing innovative and creative things for their clients to make MRM as attractive and desirable to interns as Weiden & Kennedy or Goodby (or Bailey Gardiner) are.
All-in all, I think this is a dynamite opportunity for interns (I’ll always applaud fellow interns for getting a sweet hook-up and I do love Ikea furniture) and it’s cool to see interns get cool recognition in Ad Age for being involved in something like this. However, from an agency perspective- I’d rather have people intern because of a genuine interest in the company and not because they’re looking to live rent-free. I think, in the long run, I’d prefer to have a company built with loyal people that were all there because they sincerely believed in the work being done.