Sales Here with Cynthia Harley

Communications student exploring sales and advertising

The Lanham Act

The Lanham Act was enacted during Harry Truman’s presidency in 1947 and established enforcement against false advertising, trademark infringement and trademark dilution.  Today the Act is coming in handy for the Pom Wonderful vs. Coca Cola Supreme Court case.  Pom Wonderful is suing Coca Cola for misrepresenting their product through labeling.  Pom Wonderful only contains 0.3 percent pomegranate juice and the rest 0.2 percent blueberry juice and 99% apple juice.  The backlash from Pom to Coca Cola comes from the labeling promoting the main ingredient as pomegranate within its name and typography on the bottle. 

The interesting part of all this is that the Coca Cola designed labeling and name has long since been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.  And the scary part of all this for advertisers is if Pom wins their lawsuit because this would prompt many food labels to come under scrutiny for misrepresentation.  Moreover, is it even justifiable for the lawsuit to entertained by the court system? 

Products that personally come to my mind that could be re-reviewed by the FDA for label misrepresentation include Fig Newtons and the Naked label juice brands.  So many health food products are actually mislabeled when you look at their ingredients.  In my opinion it’s the responsibility of the consumer to check the labeling of products to ensure true ingredients but opinions like this is why I’m on the marketer’s side. 

As well as being on the side that the Pom vs. Coca Cola case should be dismissed.  Besides who even drinks Pom? 

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Targeting Millennials Continued

Advertisers are quickly learning new ways to promote to millennials. As electronic dance music and festivals gain in popularity, so begins the competition for brands vying for a part of the action.  At music festivals brands are able to create interactive promotional tables, everything from free giveaways to demonstrations.  The ultimate means of promotion is sponsoring a music festival such as Coachella, Bonaroo or Electric Zoo.  For about a million dollars a brand can buy the rights to name a concerts stage.

Over the past year revenue from festival advertising has increased 4.4% and collectively advertisers have spent $1.34 billion in festival promotions.  The key here is that festival goers are going   to be attracted to the festival regardless of whether Red Bull or Sony is sponsoring an event.  Advertisers have caught on to this and hence realized which festivals they can sponsor are limitless. 

With summer approaching, so is the season for advertisers to target festival attendees.  Coachella kicked off the festivals this past April and had sponsorships from Heineken, Red Bull, Samsung, H&M, JBL and Sephora.  On the venue side of things they will turn away sponsorships that aren’t customized to the audience, hence the appropriateness of the aforementioned brands.  Last year at Bonaroo, Garnier Fructis set up a hair washing stand furnished with all of their products. The best part of this type of promotions is that concert attendants don’t even realize they are being advertised towards; rather they are taking advantage of a free service.

On the cusp of innovative advertising is brands hosting their own concerts and with million dollar plus price tags for a simple stage ad, it’s no wonder that Budweiser came out with their Made in America Philadelphia concert series.  Alcohol companies are especially germane to concerts appealing to millennials.   What brands would you be excited to see at a festival? 

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Advertising should Appeal to Emotions

According the latest study which analyzes the content of some of Billboards top songs, there are a handful of emotions that most appeal to people. These include, “loss, desire, aspiration, breakup, pain, inspiration, nostalgia, rebellion, jadedness, desperation, escapism and confusion.” Which means for advertisers that they should be appealing to these emotions more often in their campaigns.

It is to be noted however that many of these emotions are on the more down trodden side. Some ideas for the more light-hearted toned ad campaigns show the funny side to escapism and confusion.

I think what’s important to take away from this study, is not what emotion an ad appeals to but how strongly it is appealing to emotions. Appealing to emotions is especially critical for attracting new consumers to luxury products, a certain level of sentiment will be sure to garner their attention.

I personally prefer products campaigns that bring back a certain level of nostalgia, be it nostalgia for childhood or any time long forgotten (even if its before my own time). What kind of emotion would most likely sell a product to you?

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White House Disapproves of Samsung

 The White House disapproves of Samsung’s latest social media tactic, which has celebrities posting for selfies and uploading them to Twitter. The controversy began when Obama took a selfie with rapper Rico Ross. Later Obama took another selfie with baseball player David Ortiz, which Ortiz (spokesperson for Samsung’s Selfie Campaign) posted to Twitter. The White House fired back with this statement following the selfie incidient. “As a rule the White House objects to attempts to use the president’s likeness for commercial purposes,” White House spokesperson Jay Carney said during his press briefing Thursday. “And we certainly object in this case.”

The cultural phenomenon of “selfies” can be dated back before the app Snapchat. However, the Snapchat app fueled selfies to become engrained in our social media vernacular. Oxfrod dictionary even has a definition for selfies,” A photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website”, which makes this whole craze pretty official.

As far as companies using it for their own benefit, once again as far as I’m concerned if its not inappropriate and they’re not harming anyone then its all fair game.

Now, on to President Obama getting in on the selfies…once again I see no harm in this. If the White House is going to go so far as to say that the Presidential figure cannot endorse anything, then they would also have to stop allowing the President to appear on late night talk shows and day time shows. After all, by the President appearing on a television show which is inherently raising the shows ratings, is this not a form of promotion?

With the rapid rise of technology the White House needs to get on board with the changing times. Otherwise the future Presidents interactions with social media and companies are only going to become more convoluted.





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April Fools, Even for Advertisers

It seems ad agencies have gotten in on the April Fool’s jokes alongside their public. Several prominent ad agencies played some marketing tricks on their audiences, launching faux and seamlessly ridiculous products to garner the public’s reactions.

First up is Washington states publicity company, Publicis Seattle. Which launched a video on Vimeo depicting water droplets that release a scent to coincide with brands. The video featured graphics, scientific commentary and word from “Brand Drops” CEO.   The rouse was well elaborated on and although the concept seemed ridiculous, considering some of the products launched as of late, it didn’t seem unrealistic to some viewers.

Secondly Cheetos started their elaborate rouse on March 26th and carried it into the April Fools Holiday, with a new perfume line called “Cheetau.” Their website featured a Calvin Kelin-esque video promoting the fragrance. On April Fools Day the company had a sampling on Madison Avenue from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.

 My personal favorite company April Fools joke comes from American Eagle Outfitters. The company launched a dog line, called “American Beagle Outfitters” and sold gift cards online. Before actually purchasing the gift card customers were segued into giving a dollar donation to the ASPCA. The fact that American Eagle not only tried to make an April Fools joke but also make it for a good cause, good for them!

 What are your thoughts on companies participating in April Fools, quirky or simply unprofessional? As far as I’m concerned if the company can gain from it and its not inappropriate humor then it’s a great promotional tool.

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What happened to the jingle?

As mentioned in a previous post detailing the declining popularity of television ads, I love TV jingles.  Part of me certainly wishes that jingles were more often incorporated in advertising campaigns.  After all, if the only people watching television ads anymore are the Baby Boomers, then I think product jingles need to make a comeback in a big way.  The thing is I’m being completely serious because I know from living with my grandparents the resonating impression a good jingle can leave on a generation. 

I’m certainly not a Baby Boomer but this Woman’s Day article ( The All-Time Catchiest Commercials made me recall some of my favorite jingles. 

The first being Meow Cat food’s “Meow, meow, meow…” jingle.  And for those of who remember the ad I’m referring to, you’ll also recall that there’s no much more the lyrics except meow.  Which if you ask me is the brilliance in it. 

The second jingle on the list that caught my eye is the Folgers coffee tune of, “The best part of waking up is Folgers in your cup.”  I think part of the appeal of this jingle is the emotional tie that I have to the product because my granddad drinks Folgers instant coffee. Not so much a fan of instant coffee, definitely a fan of rhymes in jingles.  I think product like instant coffee warrants a level of cheesiness, there’s nothing wrong with playing into brand perception. 

My all time favorite commercial jingle didn’t make the Woman’s Day article’s list.  It’s the K9 Advantix flea line tune.  It’s one of those ads, where whether you like it or not when it comes on you catch yourself singing…

Hello Mother
Hello Father
Fleas, ticks, mosiquitos
really bother
thank for the package
thats why I’m writing
k-9 Advantix quickly stopped all the biting!

Swimming Hiking
And tent pitching
They’re not biting;
I’m not itching!
Can’t wait to show you
all my new tricks!
Thanks again for sending me K-9 Advantix!!!

Who knows considering my propensity for the jingle aspect of advertising maybe I’ll one day be writing catchy jingles or slogans.  I do have a knack for rhyming… 


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Winter Olympic 2014 Ads

One must admit, even as an aspiring marketer, the advertisements for a special television event can be the most entertaining part of said event.  In the case of the Sochi Olympics I question certain companies logic behind heavily advertising during the Olympics.  Don’t get me wrong I love McDonalds as much as the next American; I will gladly laugh at anyone who says they don’t like fast food but I certainly don’t equate Olympic athletes and fast food in the same schema. 

McDonald’s intertwined their Olympic geared commercial (athletes biting into their gold medals and then into chicken nuggets) with a social media campaign promoting “fan packs” of chicken nuggets.  Great, advertise during the Olympics, obviously everyone is watching but for me I’d like to see more correlation between product and Olympic theme. 

Also, it appears Coca Cola has done it again by producing a special event ad that is raising some eyebrows.  In their Olympic ad they depict Olympic skier Ted Ligety’s success to a Coke before every race.  Once again, I’m an advocate for caffeine and sugary drinks but I have to say this is yet another company that seems to not mix well with the Olympics. 

When I think of Olympics and advertising I think of sports equipment, cameras, smartphones, Under Armour and cold weather gear, not energy drinks, fast food and certainly not alcohol. Once again, advocate and fan of the last aforementioned item on the list but it doesn’t go together.  Like stripes and polka dots, these things will never go together or equate athletic success in my mind.  So don’t bother stretching a marketing concept that far.  To me a huge number of viewers isn’t worth cheapening a brand simply to get an advertisement viewed.  And the more I analyze public reaction to certain ads I’m beginning to disbelieve the old adage bad press is better than no press at all.           

Overall, I think their are certain products that just aren’t meant for advertising during certain events. Have you seen any Sochi Olympic commercials you found absolutely absurd? 


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Demise of the Television Commercial

With the ever prevalence rise of viral social media campaigns, television advertisements are becoming a thing of the past.  The newer and more modern a product is, the more likely their main audience is bypassing right by ads.  The classical demographic of age 18-49 are more often than not watching their shows on Netflix, Hulu and HBOgo.  So that leaves the classical commercial in the dust. 

There are some industries that have increased their TV ad budget within the last third quarter of 2013 sales, according to the trends section in  Honda alone increased their TV ads by 135%, one would assume for the Olympic time rush.  While fast food chains like Dunkin’ Donuts and Subway decreased their ad sales by 22% and 17% respectively.  Now one can only imagine a possible shift in their target advertising demographic, perhaps changing to those who can utilize their mobile apps for coupons.   

One could analyze the massive amount of TV advertising statistics on for days.  However, my big question remains what exactly is going to happen to television commercials in the future.  For that matter even the near future?  As one of the aforementioned devout streamers on Netflix I find myself not being annoyed by repetitive commercials.  Let alone even being able to recall a commercial I particularly enjoyed because they simply are no longer on my radar. 

Even the ads that pop up before streaming a video on YouTube can be opted out of after five seconds of viewing.  Plus my pop up blockers filter out any random side bar advertisements.  It seems our modern society has grown past the method of muting out commercials.  Rather we utilize media that completely protects us from the hassle of TV ads.  But really are trading in TV ads such a hassle when you really think about it.  Don’t the ads on your free phone app prove equally as annoying?   

As someone who thinks the catchy jingles from vintage TV commercials are cute, I’d rather like to see them stay en vogue.  I would much rather have classical ads stay on the classical media of a television screen than inundate me on my smartphone or while trying to stream a specific video on YouTube. 

Do you think television ads will eventually be completely obsolete?   

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