If you want to get atop the list of "most read" Marketing Daily stories, look to have your marketing involve a celebrity, new media and food, with a little sex thrown in on the side.
According to our Top 10 list of most-read stories for 2009, the stories had at least one of those ingredients. Two of them (Serena Williams signing on as a spokeswoman for Tampax and Peyton Manning signing on as a gift finder for MasterCard) featured celebrities. Two featured the innovative use of new media (HP sponsoring "The Beautiful Life" on YouTube and Pizza Hut hiring a "Twintern"). And four were about food and food trends.
"In a recession, people tend to go back to basics, and one of those basics is eating," Laura Ries, president of marketing and branding consultant Ries & Ries, tells Marketing Daily in offering her perspective about the list. "Celebrities are a huge trend and that only seems to be accelerating."
Timing is also a key factor. Marketing Daily's most-read story of 2009 -- Serena Williams signing on as a spokeswoman for Tampax -- came shortly after the tennis star's much-publicized tirade at a line judge about a call at the U.S. Open. Public interest in Williams was enough to push an often only-whispered-about product to the top of the list.
"Usually people are really turned off by tampons," Ries says. "But the fact that something that was supposed to be a hush-hush product was signing such a big celebrity is a big deal."
The year's second most-read story is not particularly striking. HP signing on as an exclusive sponsor for a cancelled network program shows the interest of Marketing Daily readers in new media ideas. Similarly, the high ranking of a story about Pizza Hut hiring an intern to help the company develop a Twitter strategy is not particularly surprising. "That Twintern was a huge story because it was a massive brand that jumped on the Twitter idea," Ries says.
Given the proclivity of readers everywhere -- not just on Marketing Daily -- to find interest in celebrity stories, Ries was surprised that the year's biggest celebrity story, Tiger Woods, was not on the list. "I think that's a fluke. He should be number one for a year," she says. "Twitter made a big impact [in 2009] of getting not just people, but brands, too."
Other surprising omissions: Barack Obama (though really that's a 2008 brand story), Oprah and iPhone applications. "That's what made the iPhone," Ries says. "I'm also surprised to see the Tropicana story (in which consumers and blogs harshly criticized Tropicana's design change) didn't make the list."
And now, for your own debates, here's the list of Marketing Daily's most-read stories in 2009: