When valedictorian Kenya Mejia professed her still unrequited and previously undisclosed love for classmate Jake Minor at the close of her address at the Alexander Hamilton High School graduation in Los Angeles this spring, she was speaking from the pocketbook, not the heart.
Spouting "I love you, Jake Minor!" was a set-up by marketing executives and consultants for Twentieth Century Fox who wanted to create viral buzz for the July 10 opening of the romantic comedy "I Love You, Beth Cooper," Ethan Smith and Sabrina Shankman report. Mejia got $1,800 for the stunt but the 67-second YouTube clip that captured the moment had generated a mere 2,000 views when the reporters checked, and the movie itself has been a bit of a flop.
Still, write Smith and Shankman, staging events that look spontaneous but aren't is an increasingly popular Hollywood marketing tactic. They provide details, such as a stunt at the MTV Awards where Sacha Baron Cohen, in Brüno mode, got suggestively entangled with Eminem in what wasn't a technical malfunction after all. Read the whole story...
Bryant Urstadt takes a hands-on -- hands down, really -- approach in his look at the yoga brand Lululemon, which a subhed claims has turned fitness into a spectator sport. He opens his piece in downward dog position, surrounded by about 400 women colorfully and provocatively garbed in Lululemon attire atop Lululemon mats at Manhattan's Bryant Park, where biweekly open-air yoga practices are held.
"The signature Lulu piece is the $98 Groove Pant, cut with all kinds of special gussets and flat seams to create a gluteal enclosure of almost perfect globularity, like a drop of water free from gravity ... ," Urstadt writes, before taking a cold shower and discoursing on the brand's popularity among starlets, Upper East Siders and Westchesterites. He also traces its growth from a single store-with-a-mission launched by one Chip Wilson in Vancouver in 2000 to today's ambitions to build no more than 400 outlets, more like J. Crew than Starbucks.
Get the picture? If you do, you know that the brand is bound to "annoy as many people as it has outfitted," not only because some feel that it has all the trapping of a cult but also because it commercializes yogic practice, which is meant to be practiced free of material trappings. But Lululemon has a 21st century take on the venerable mind-body discipline: "Good karma and great cash flow." Read the whole story...
I had occasion to wait for someone by the information booth at Grand Central Terminal yesterday and passed the time observing a clerk doling out timetable and travel advice with a smile, cheery voice and obvious relish for her job. I remarked to an out-of-town companion that you would not have seen such a pleasant demeanor just a few years ago when "surly disposition" seemed to be the main job qualification for the position.
Maybe corporate friendliness is a byproduct of a product of these otherwise disagreeable times. Barbara S. Peterson reports that some airlines, "stung by a wave of negative publicity about their treatment of customers," are bringing agents back to assist confused or woebegone travelers.
Delta, for one, has revived its "Red Coats" program at New York's Kennedy and Atlanta airports and, starting Saturday, 500 additional agents will be circulating at about a dozen more air terminals across the country. The program has been grounded since 2005. Agents will be able to make "battlefield decisions," says Gil West, Delta's svp of airport customer service, and will use hand-held devices to print boarding passes and issue vouchers to airport clubs.
Delta today will also announce new frequent flier perks such as free upgrades, the opportunity to cut to the front of lines and waivers for checked luggage fees, Nathan Hurst reports in the Detroit News. "Delta is saying, 'Hey, you're among the best customers and we're going to treat you the best,'" says industry analyst Terry Trippler. Read the whole story...
Kids start talking about what they like at age 3 and that's when you should start marketing to them, Lisa Mancuso, Fisher-Price's SVP of marketing, tells Vivienne Manning-Schaffel. That's not to say that mom is out of the equation -- of course not, she controls the purse stings -- but she doesn't have a lot of extraneous time or money in this day and age. It's more efficient to consult with the child and let them make the buying decision in categories that are appropriate, points out Dave Siegel, president of Wonder Group and co-author of Marketing to the New Super Consumer Mom & Kid.
"You have to understand what your product category is, where your product is going to deliver and so forth," says Greg Livingston, Siegel's co-author. "Sometimes the packaging, and branding element calls for 75% kid and 25% mom. It all depends on the target child's age and product category."
Meanwhile, a report that is slated to be released at a seminar in Australia on the sexualization of children in marketing finds that although teenagers may claim they are immune to marketing messages, ads are getting through to them on a subconscious level, Simon Canning reports in The Australian. Furthermore, both parents and children seem to have difficulty distinguishing between what is advertising and what is not in the digital media world.
Melbourne University researcher Cordelia Fine cites the example of a mother whose daughter plays a lot of games on a Barbie Web site. "I asked her if it made her daughter want to buy lots of Barbie items and the mother responded: 'Well, there isn't any advertising on the site,'" Fine says. Read the whole story...
On the other side of the spectrum, the venerable Mark Dolliver rounds up reports and experts and provides a clear picture of perhaps the murkiest demographic in marketing: the 65-plus consumer. To start, a recent Pew Research Center Social & Demographic Trends survey confirms what anyone who plays in a senior softball league knows anecdotally: 60% of respondents age 65-plus say they feel younger than their actual age -- "in many cases much younger."
People in the Silent Generation (including those born from 1925 to 1942) are pioneering a change in what this life stage means, Ann Fishman, president of Generational Targeted Marketing, tells Dolliver. "They're having a second middle age before becoming elderly," she says. "And they're making it up as they go along, because it's never been done before."
So you want to use images of people who are actually younger than your target by a few years, or practice "ageless marketing," or combine the two. Or just make sure that the models are "vibrant." Or "authentic." Actually, there's lots of advice, from copy length to appealing to his cohort's desire for connectedness that make this longer-than-usual piece well worth the read. Read the whole story...