Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Ideas which changed the marketing world

Ad Age recently published a list of 10 ideas which changed marketing and advertising given the innovation represented in each.

Here is the list (in no particular order)--let me know if you agree or disagree:

1. L'Eggs packaging hatches a new look--Revolutionary packaging, shaped like an egg which, of course, rhymed with "leg."

2. Absolut vodka's bottle speaks for the brand--Coupling old-school packaging with the "Absolut (something)" ad campaign designed by TBWA. Absolut became the #1 selling imported vodka in 1985.

3. Woodbury soap dares to use sex appeal--Dating back to 1911, J. Walter Thompson challenged ad industry norms and introduced ads featuring elegant young women enjoying the attention of good-looking young gentlemen.

4. Apple computer: one mention, one airing--The "1984" commercial, naturally, directed by Ridley Scott. The groundbreaking work mentioned Apple only once...and the Board of Directors initially rejected the spot. Ultimately, the board relented and the rest is history...

5. Avis tries honesty--A campaign which broke all the rules--the tagline of "We're #2. We try harder" still resonates with consumers today.

6. Burma Shave lines the highways--This brushless shaving cream--a revolutionary product at the time--used consecutive out-of-home advertising signage to capitalize on the birth of the automobile.

7. Benetton brings people together--This brand's commitment to ethnic diversity was the foundation for their campaign, "The United Colors of Benetton."

8. Volkswagen tells it like it is--Doyle Dane Bernbach capitalized on the quirkiness of the VW Bug by advocating the negative truths about the car (it's not fast, big or beautiful) while sneaking in the positives, i.e., it's gas efficient, doesn't require a big parking spot, and is low on maintenance.

9. Burger King's "subservient chicken" dominates--The first interactive campaign which actually got consumers to interact...

10. Nike takes a $35 logo the distance--For $2 an hour, Phil Knight and his then track coach, Bill Bowerman, hired a graphic design student and invented the famous swoosh. Total cost: $35.

While this is a very good list, there are other ideas which should, at minimum, receive honorable mention. Here are my thoughts on those which should be considered:

- The introduction of light beer which begat the infamous "less filling-tastes great" Miller Light campaign.

- Extending a great brand like Coke's into other beverages, e.g., flavored Coke drinks, bottled water, and energy/sports drinks.

- Starbuck's approach of great customer service coupled with a location dubbed "the third place" in order to make coffee consumption an event, not just a retail purchase.

- Southwest's approach to flying, i.e., on-time service plus a fun environment plus value pricing. While everyone grouses about the lack of assigned seats, this is one airline which is making it while others continue to struggle.

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