Where’s the Marketing Bailout?

Ok, time for a rather random post, compared to some of the marketing how-to commentary you read in this blog. But here it goes anyway.

In a daydream-type moment today, I couldn’t help but wonder that given all the coverage, debate, angst and fuss given to the government bailout of the financial industry (including Citi and now possibly automakers, too), what if there was a bailout fund for bad marketing campaigns?

Yes, that’s right. A huge fund of public money to help marketers in need. Ok, that may be too much of a folly for some to comprehend. So instead, what if the money came from an insanely-wealthy, smart businessman who just decided to give bad marketing a second chance? Say, a Mark Cuban or Richard Branson. Think of all the marketers and campaigns this bailout fund could help breathe new life into. Here’s a few famous ones:

  • New Coke would get a fresh start, rejecting market feedback since the first launch in a second attempt at reinventing this soft drink. How about a crazy new campaign with new packaging (using a completely different color pallette than the traditional suite of Coke products), a new tagline (maybe “New Generation, Another Try“), and a grassroots online marketing effort backed by advergame sponsorship (official drink of all the felons in Grand Theft Auto V)?
  • In an attempt to market its way out of the potential Big Three Bailout, Ford relaunches the 2009 Edsel X Series. It’s a hybrid, practical vehicle targeted to families via mobile events at Wal-Marts in 50 major metros. Ford also partners with H&R Block to provide mobile tax-completion services in branded Edsels, associating the vehicle with financial prudence.
  • Instead of trying to capture adult tastes with a 610-calorie burger, McDonald’s repackages the Arch Deluxe brand as the Deluxe Arch Salad. It incorporates the same elements at the original burger, yet slightly healthier — fresh tomatoes, onions and lettuce; low-calorie cheese; bacon bits; and low-cal croutons. It’s marketed as part of a value meal with yogurt, an energy bar and a non-bottled water. Marketing includes coupons distributed via gyms and health clubs, in-store events with athletes and celebrities, and grassroots sponsorship of sporting events and fairs.
  • Can you think of other products that would qualify for funds? I sure could (hell, I’d love to see my Cingular brand come back, but that’s not bad marketing just a bad decision…did I mention I hate AT&T?).

    Not to bring up a sore subject, but can you think of your own campaigns that would qualify? If so, then go take a good, long look and fix them right now.

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    The Evolution of Event Marketing Venues

    The explosion of event marketing, mobile tours and other mega-events may be partially responsible for the death of the American mall as a top-tier marketing venue.

    If you take a good, long look, certainly there are other factors, as the article describes — the economy, the growth of the low-cost retailer, a trend towards more manageable and balanced personal consumption (especially in the face of recession), and the emergence of the green and now “dark green” demographics. The economics of the mall are struggling to adapt to the new retail landscape, for sure. And when consumers aren’t showing up like they used to, that makes for a difficult marketing venue no matter what.

    However, marketers now bring impactful events out to the consumer, instead of vice versa. A stand-alone retail store used to be a pariah when compared to the multi-store power of the mall. Now, you may show up at that stand-alone retail outlet and find an event that beats the essence and excitement of a mall. And most stand-alone stores nowadays provide some kind of retailtainment atmosphere to keep the traffic coming. Outside of the retail venue, you may show up in a variety of places and find the same impactful events — sporting events, transportation hubs in major metro areas, high-traffic city blocks, local fairs and more.

    The mall used to be such a strong venue for events because the masses were there. And surely they’re still there to a certain degree, and so are events. Yet marketers started delivering great events outside of that venue, and it worked. And now that consumers don’t rely on the mall as much, they expect to find the experience and engagement with brands in those other venues. And marketers know those other places deliver the demographics and volume. So it’s a good match. And we haven’t even discussed the online channel, which dovetails with the live event experience on multiple levels to keep the engagement lasting.

    Surely, the mall will rebound and find ways to remain relevant in some fashion. Or, as the article above hints, with low-fashion or thrift-fashion. And when it does, event marketers will surely charge ahead and be there too.

    An Interesting Option From YouTube (Yet Probably Thought of by Google)

    We knew it was only a matter of time before the advertiser-friendly wisdom of Google seeped deep into the business model at YouTube.

    Well, that time has come. YouTube is selling video ads against its search volume. For YouTube, it’s another effort to monetize its search volume and sizeable user base — they’ve also done a few other things recently with the same purpose. It’s a play for the paid search dollars we’re all pouring more of our budgets into right now.

    Sponsored video ads appear at the top of search results

    Sponsored video ads appear at the top of search results

    For marketers, it could be an opportunity to stand out amongst a tech-savvy, diverse audience. And the concept works, feels and sounds very similar to another language we all currently understand: AdWords.

    What? You don’t understand AdWords you say? I don’t believe you. Every marketer worth their salt understands how paid search works, and AdWords is the biggest kid on the paid search block.

    (If you read that last paragraph and it sounds like a conversation that you could seriously be a part of, then type in http://www.google.com and go take a good, long look at AdWords right now.)

    Election Over — Obama Is The Guy

    Finally! We can have our airwaves and email and phone lines back. No more attack ads, fundraising emails and robo-calls. And congrats to Barack Obama!

    More importantly, what can you learn from this election? As I gathered my thoughts to sum it up, I came across a wisdom-filled post from Seth Godin that does just that — sums up exactly what you can learn from what happened during this election. Enjoy.

    If nothing else, embrace the power of compelling online content, relevant messaging, and engaging social media. Clearly these things motivated the masses on both a grand scale and grassroots level.

    Election Marketing Update

    Yes, I know, the posts have waned in the past few days. I’ve invested some time in doing my homework on the issues — I’m in that 5% of Americans who are undecided going into election day.

    But that’s neither here nor there. Get a last-minute glimpse at what the campaigns are doing from a marketing standpoint. Actually, while you’re at it, you’ll notice that surely Web 2.0 has become a part of the political scene (and campaign strategy) that will never be impeached.

    Beyond learning more about marketing tactics, make sure you’re an informed voter tomorrow, no matter what your party preference or affiliation. Take a good, long look at this list of relevant candidate and political websites from Mashable before you charge ahead to the polls — it provides alot of sources to get you up to speed quickly.