Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey dove into social media this month, and early signs point to the 140+-year-old brand being a natural for these au courant communications channels. With the intention to promote the September birthday of Jack Daniel's creator Jasper Newton "Jack" Daniel (born in September 1850, although no one knows the exact day), the Brown Forman brand charged Dallas-based agency Slingshot with creating online experiences. One of the challenges: virtually no media support. Slingshot focused on leveraging Facebook and Twitter. Simultaneous with establishing the brand's official Facebook page at the start of this month, it created an application that enables fans to create and share toasts to Jack Daniel's birthday. The "Give A Toast" application analyzes a user's Facebook friend list, uses their profiles to automatically screen out any friends under 21, and identifies friends to toast based on their profile information or activities on the network. The user's friends are ranked into seven categories based on their data: social friend, photogenic friend, musical friend, mysterious friend, all-around friend, active friend or interesting friend. The app does all of the work for the user: No need to answer questions or manually select friends to send toasts to. The toast and the Jack Daniel's cocktail selected by the user are posted on friends' Facebook walls. The app also identifies those friends who have September birthdays, and encourages users to toast them. The only promotional support for Facebook was an email to Jack Daniel's' opt-in friends list announcing the new Facebook page and the toast application. In less than three weeks, the brand has attracted more than 332,000 Facebook fans, and more than 6,000 toasts have been made (the average number of toasts per user is 2.5), Jack Daniel's brand manager Jennifer Powell tells Marketing Daily. As for Twitter, although Jack Daniel's doesn't have a page, it has asked fans to use #ToastJack in their tweets so that the brand can identify -- as it monitors its Twitter messages -- those tweets that are about the toasting application. These tweets are then aggregated on a dedicated area within the jackdaniels.com site (behind the age screening function), along with a map showing the geographic origin of the tweets. "So far, we're very impressed with the viral effect. We've gotten tweets from more than 25 different countries," reports Powell. To get the ball rolling, Slingshot simply sent test tweets in Dallas, which spread through the U.S. and then onto other countries. The only other Twitter support consists of "prom cards" at Jack Daniel's' on-premises events that explain the toast application and use of #ToastJack in tweets. The month-long celebration also includes new cable TV flights of the brand's "His Way" commercial (message: Jack Daniel's unique distilling process was "not the easy way, but it was his way"). On another front entirely, this month also marks the national availability of a line of Jack Daniel's ready-to-eat, refrigerated meat entrées. The brand partnered with Completely Fresh Foods, Inc. Pilot distribution in Southern California began a year ago, with subsequent expansion into other regions. The line is already one of the fastest-growing meat product introductions in the last 10 years, according to the companies. The entrées follow successful launches of Jack Daniel's barbeque and grilling sauces lines.
Global electronics and electrical engineering giant Siemens, AG this week launches an U.S.-only extension of its $80 million "Answers" global effort. The new effort extends Siemens' global message detailing how Siemens' technology and engineering prowess supports both customers and society. The print, online, TV, out-of-home and radio ads are intended to show that Siemens has a major role in the U.S. energy, industry and health-care infrastructure. They also work to portray the company as American by showcasing some of its 69,000 U.S. employees and U.S. projects. The campaign features the first Siemens U.S. TV ads in several years, which will break in October on channels like CNN and Fox Business, with radio spots set to air in markets like Washington, Houston and Chicago. The effort, via Ogilvy and media agency PhD, launched Thursday with a four-page "manifesto" in The New York Times, with additional print ads to run in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Washington Post, Forbes, and Business Week, among others and online at sites like HuffingtonPost.com, Time.com, and Economist.com. Out-of-home elements will run in major airports across the U.S., and via Captivate Networks' elevator media platform. Bill Stabile, Siemens' senior director of brand and marketing communications, tells Marketing Daily that the effort is not just for decision makers. "We are looking at public opinion leaders and influencers including government audiences, and even though it's not a mass-market campaign, if we are going to encompass all of those groups, it's not just a narrow target either." He says awareness is the main consideration. "Siemens is not a consumer brand in the U.S., so there isn't the depth of awareness [versus other markets]; we wanted to do more here and get that story out to relevant targets so that Siemens would be seen in a way we haven't been perceived in this country. We create jobs here -- we have 69,000 employees here -- these things not broadly known." Tom Haas, CMO of Siemens Corp., tells Marketing Daily that the "Answers" campaign in 2007 followed a corporate reorganization. "Initially, we were looking, as a global company, to redefine Siemens," he says, explaining that Siemens had just reorganized into three primary energy industry and health-care sectors. "So it was kind of a way to introduce the broader world to this new organization and what we were capable of doing." Stabile says the U.S. campaign is also something of a pilot program, since Siemens may roll out other country-specific campaigns in the future. "There are opportunities in other countries, but we won't jump on that right away. The goal would be to pick key regions." The Bavaria, Germany-based company -- with operations in industry, energy and healthcare in some 190 countries and sales of $116.6 billion in fiscal 2008 -- says the U.S. accounts for $22.4 billion in total revenue.
What happens to brand equity during a recession? One might think that getting a deal is more important than the brand when the market gets soft, and that consumers dispense entirely with concerns about things like a brand's trustworthiness. But the latest annual Interbrand report on the Best Global Brands says that ideas like trust, loyalty, familiarity and innovation matter more -- not less -- in an economic brown-out. The ranking, in its 10th year, arrives at its list from an alchemical mix of publicly available financial data, including current financial health of the business and brand, the brand's role in creating demand, and the future strength of the brand as an asset to the business. In the latest study, the top 10 brands are the same as last year -- but some are heading up, while others have seen worsening scores. Coca-Cola, IBM, Microsoft, GE, Nokia, McDonald's, Google, Toyota, Intel, and Disney are on top. Of those, Coca-Cola, IBM, McDonald's, and Google are the only brands that have seen their brand value improve versus 2008. Andy Bateman, CEO of Interbrand in New York, says the leading brands have been insulated to some extent by their brand equity. "Stock market declines and earnings declines have contributed 10% and 30% to overall decline in brand value among all brands, but for the top 100 brands the overall decline was only 4%," he says. "It's very well when the tide is coming in and all brand values go up, but when the tide goes out and there's a reset, what we see is that first, trust is the number one driver of any brand at the most fundamental level. We buy what we trust and keep buying; familiarity and trust are big, big drivers of loyalty and brand value." No. 1 again was Coca-Cola, which has been busy with a raft of new beverages and new marketing initiatives. Interbrand notes that Coca-Cola is the number one producer of sparkling beverages by volume and dollars, and has launched more than 700 products in 2008 worldwide. Coke expanded Coke Zero to 107 countries and launched the "Open Happiness" campaign. Among all brands on the Best Global Brands list, the biggest gainers in the study were Google, up 25%; Amazon, up 22%; Zara, up 14%; Nestle up 13%; Apple, up 12%; and H&M, up 11%. Big surprise: the financial sector made a sucking noise, with UBS' brand value down 50%, Citi down 49%, American Express down 32%, and Morgan Stanley down 26%. Bateman says evaporating trust has hurt the financial services. "It's interesting how we tend to forget that trust really matters until it's gone," he says. While finance was fallow, consumer packaged goods were golden, benefiting from consumer loyalty: Nestlé's score improved by 13% versus last year; Wrigley by 10%; Danone was up 10%; Heinz was up 9%; and Kellogg's was up 7%. So did tech companies that consumers judged as innovative: Google was up 25%), Apple (up 12%), BlackBerry (up 7%), Nintendo (up 5%), and HP (up 2%). Dell fell 12%, as did Sony, and Yahoo fell 7%. Bateman says innovation drove gains for those tech companies whose brand value improved, but also for some non-tech companies. "You expect it from tech brands like Google, IBM and Apple, but not from retail brands like Azara and Amazon, which are continually coming up with innovative ideas," he says. "What's also interesting is brands that are embracing the Internet and driving engagement with an online audience. One that is probably less obvious is Coca-Cola, which has three million users on Facebook."
The number of consumers using their mobile devices to access the Internet is growing, but many mobile Web sites are not particularly mobile-friendly. According to Yankee Group, 31% of phone-owning customers are using their phones to access the Web at least once a month. However, in its second evaluation of 27 popular mobile sites, the average score (on a scale of 100) was 52 -- still not passing, Carl Howe, director of Yankee Group and author of the company's "Best of the Anywhere Web 2009" report, tells Marketing Daily. "The average has not gone up. But there are a few standouts," he says. The most common usage of mobile Web sites is news, search and weather. Perhaps not surprisingly, two of the best mobile sites are Yahoo's and Google's, Howe says. Both sites are able to adapt to the device through which people are accessing the Internet and optimize the content and appearance to it. They also present enough information to be valuable to consumers without overwhelming them. Google also uses location technology to further tailor searches, which is of value to users, Howe says. The report also cites Major League Baseball's MLB.com as a good example of tailoring content to the mobile device. Many mobile sites in the sports category tend to overwhelm users with information that is not easily readable or understandable on the Web. For marketers, the lessons of the report are simple, Howe says. First, it's worth the investment to set up device detection on mobile Web sites for an optimal user experience. "It's not simple, and it's not easy, and it takes a lot of testing. But it says I care about what you as the consumer sees," Howe says. He also suggests using location Web addresses that may be used. And finally, hire a mobile design specialist to help create the site. "There's a temptation to think of a mobile phone as a mini-desktop, and it's not. There are a lot of things you can do, but you have to design for them," Howe says. "Our prediction is that more people will be browsing from mobile devices than from their desktops. If you want to interact with them, you've got to figure it out."
Esurance is launching a 90-second Bollywood-inspired music video spot that will run through October exclusively on IFC during the network's "Wake Up To Bollywood" film block on Sunday mornings. "We are hoping to incorporate this Bollywood music video spot into our national media schedule after its run on IFC," says Melissa Chapman, Esurance's brand and public relations manager. "Ideally, we would love to have it air across some music networks where it makes sense, such as VH-1 or MTV. However, we have no definitive schedule in place as of yet." The spot includes Nikita Patel, the winner of Esurance Bollywood Casting Call Contest, which concluded in July. Participants visited http://www.esurance.com/Bollywood and submitted videos of re-enactments of their favorite Bollywood movie scenes for a chance to be animated into an Esurance music video. Patel stars in the spot along with Esurance's animated icon, Erin Esurance. It was created by the San Francisco-based online auto insurance company's longtime animation partner, Special Agent Productions. An homage to the great tradition of Indian filmmaking, the spot features Bollywood-style dancing, vibrant costumes, and exotic settings. IFC was extremely flexible in letting Esurance go with the longer format for this music video spot, Chapman says. "IFC was appealing to us from the get-go in relation to this Bollywood sponsorship," Chapman tells Marketing Daily. "Since IFC does not run traditional advertising, this was a great opportunity for us to engage with Bollywood viewers by associating our brand with bringing Bollywood films to the U.S. for the first time." To promote the long-form video, Esurance is running banner ads on the IFC network pushing to the microsite, where visitors can view the video as well as other video submissions from the Bollywood Casting Call Contest. "With the popularity of 'Slum Dog Millionaire,' we have been very interested in doing something fun and innovative with the Bollywood genre," Chapman says. Esurance is not the only insurance company to jump on the Bollywood bandwagon. State Farm is running a Bollywood Karaoke contest.
AT&T has said it expects availability of its telco TV offering to reach 30 million homes over the next several years. On Thursday, CEO Randall Stephenson suggested growth won't stop there. Expansion of the U-verse footprint should follow the trajectory experienced by AT&T's broadband offering, the top executive said. In 1998, the company said the goal was to make the service available in 45% of its turf. Then costs decreased and the technology improved, which has propelled broadband's current availability to 90% of the customer base. "There is no reason why it should be different on the video side," Stephenson said at an investor event. Providing U-verse service to customers continues to allow AT&T to sell more bundled packages -- something cable competitors have been successful with -- and is driving average revenue-per-unit (ARPU) increases. Among customers buying U-verse, Stephenson said, 75% subscribe to either a TV-broadband-phone trio or a so-called "quad-play" -- with wireless service included on a single bill. AT&T did not release the size of U-verse's current footprint in July, or specifics on customer uptake, saying only that where available, a double-digit percentage of customers are signing up. At the end of the April-June period this year, AT&T had 1.6 million U-verse customers. Growth rate in the quarter -- 248,000 new customers -- was slower than the prior quarter. Also at the event, Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg spoke about the company's own telco-TV offering, FiOS. He said an increasing hunger among consumers for interactive TV should be a growth driver. In July, FiOS began to offer a Widget Bazaar platform that allows people to use Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, as well as to receive news and scores on the screen. More applications are coming as FiOS is looking for developers to write programs specifically for the service, Seidenberg said, likening them to iPhone apps. Turning TV into an interactive buffet is "a huge opportunity," he noted. Speaking to the audience, he quipped: "If you don't live where you can get FiOS, you should move." As of June 30, there were 2.5 million FiOS customers.
1 Coca-Cola 2 IBM 3 Microsoft 4 GE 5 Nokia 6 McDonald's 7 Google 8 Toyota 9 Intel 10 Disney Source: Interbrand
Age and gender are the foundation upon which the great majority of marketing plans and creative are built. In most cases, this information is inferred based on the collection of syndicated data such as Nielsen or consumers' actual behavior offline (e.g. purchase history) and online (e.g. web browsing history). These data have been considered so valuable historically that virtually all companies involved in product marketing and the buying and selling of media have dedicated significant resources to understand and reach specific sets of consumers based on these two demographic points. They key word here is "historically." It's no longer efficient or effective to target consumers based on narrow, potentially inaccurate demographic points at a moment in time when there is much more insightful information available to drive targeting decisions. Acknowledging that there is some "prospecting" involved in many mass media buys, marketers buying just age and gender never the less run the risk of wasting impressions on uninterested consumers or missing an audience that may be exactly the right customers to embrace, and possibly evangelize, the message and the product. The new media ecosystem can yield data that enables targeting based on rich, multi-dimensional profiles of consumers, and reduce the risk of waste. The fact is, self-selecting interests and actions are more important targeting barometers than age and gender. Customers also don't behave as you would expect based on their age or gender. Consumers today have shattered conventional mores, and it is not possible to neatly categorize entire segments of the population. Is the electronics marketer reaching Men 18-34 to sell gadgets, games and technology? Or are they also considering the suburban Mom who is, in her own right, a serious consumer in this category as well as an influencer for her peers through reviews, commenting, and blogging? Is the mortgage broker targeting Men and Women 34-49? Or are they thinking about the 24-year old venture-backed entrepreneur who may be exactly the right candidate for a jumbo loan? Messaging is being driven largely by traditional media standards, but basing executions solely on targeting by age can be particularly ineffective. For example, the idea that a: 30 spot developed for a daytime television audience will resonate with that audience online is not necessarily a foregone conclusion. It is merely economical. Online messaging affords marketers an opportunity to tailor messaging in terms of both creativity and offer based on the customer behavior as opposed to an age group. Ad targeting is not a one dimensional solution for marketers. Early online targeting based on IP address evolved to incorporate inferred age and gender. The next genesis brought contextual targeting based on adjacency and relevance to market. Contextual targeting is now only part of the picture, with behavioral targeting, or targeting based on browser history, a key decision-making factor. Later stage targeting can capture actual age and gender when the user offers it via profile. However, we are still using age and gender, inferred or actual, as a foundation. Successful marketers understand and accept that their new customers won't fit into the historically correct box. These marketers will embrace the diversity of all potential customers based on what they tell us through their behavior, interests and actions. New, highly evolved technology allows marketers to get a deep, nearly 360 degree profile of potential customers. We can combine demographics where available and reliable and the traditional online behavioral targeting metrics, such as contextual relevance with insights based on the consumers' social interaction with any media. Understanding who customers are and what they might purchase adds previously unavailable dimension. For example we have found that people who create content online tend to be more affluent. In and of itself a tentative data bit, but when combined with factual data on what they're actually doing and how that relates to the content being created, a profile of the user emerges that is far more accurate and actionable than would be available using demographics alone.