March madness is one of the most exciting sporting events of the year. A significant portion of America watches the tournament unfold - and advertisers invest large sums to access that audience.
The taxi stops at the hotel curb; you leap out of it into the hot desert sun, and after shoveling a few bills through the driver's side window, you pull your bag from the trunk and dart toward the automated doors before breaking into a full-on sweat. Seconds later, you're under assault.
Fans attending games one and two of the 2008 World Series at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., might've noticed something a little different about the stadium experience, beyond the fact that the historically inept Rays were actually playing baseball before a full house - real live fans! rooting for the home team! - in October. They probably couldn't put their finger on it, but there was something distinctly ... well, citrusy ... about the park those two nights. Maybe they noticed the vague trace of odor and commented about it to their seatmates. More likely, they didn't.
Rather than aurally bludgeoning their targets with everything from minute-long jingles to rejiggered pop songs, marketers attempting to appeal to consumers' ears now prize consistency above all else. You'll hear the same melodies in the lobby of every Westin Hotel, whether it's located in Istanbul or Iowa. You'll hear the same ambient tones in Singapore Airlines lounges and cabins as when you're placed on hold.
Save for the ones confined to radio ads, nearly every marketing program boasts some kind of visual component. Martin Lindstrom, author of Brand sense and Buyology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy, notes, in fact, that 83 percent of all commercial communication appeals only to the eyes. So you'd think that marketers have continually pushed the boundaries of sensory wonder with their sight-first programs, right?
In media, touch tends to be the most neglected of the five senses. The reason for this is obvious: It's kinda tough to squeeze the Charmin through your car-stereo speakers or television screen. That said: It's not as if marketers have ignored touch completely.
Getting consumers to taste new products has long been the bane of food and beverage marketers. Sure, they can set up a fresh-faced kid at Costco with a plate of brand-new fat-free picante mini-pita pockets, but even the most persuasive huckster can't lure too many shoppers to accept food from a stranger in an unfamiliar dining environment. Besides, the process isn't cost-effective: One estimate puts the cpms of in-store food and beverage sampling in the 800-1,000 range, meaning that even those marketers who are inclined to give tasting programs a chance can only afford to do them on a limited ...
There's an inherent shortcoming in self-reported media diaries. It is that they are self-reported. "Of course the variable is human behavior," says Mike Bloxham, director of insight and research at Ball State's Center for Media Design, and a man who regularly uses observational and eye-tracking methods to record what people are exposed to and what they actually look at.
Managing Editor, Media magazine6:00-6:15 a.m. Wake up to WNYC-FM, the NPR affiliate in New York, on the alarm. Wish they would go back to playing "Morning Edition" at this hour, or the BBC, or anything besides "The Takeaway."6:25-6:35 a.m. Read The Approval Matrix on the back page of New York magazine and find a new idea to rip off (NPR still on in the background).7-7:30 a.m. Running on elliptical trainer at the gym. ABC-TV, CNN and ESPN are on the flat screens hanging from the ceiling, but not really paying attention to them, because I am listening to iPod ...
Freelance writer and author of this month's cover story6:32 a.m. Get out of bed. Curse father for passing along inability-to-sleep-past-6:45-even-when-hungover genes.6:33 a.m. Complete harrowing 13-step commute to work station. Flick computer open. Pull up separate Web browsers for personal and work email addresses, which are kept open all day and obsessively re-checked every 19 seconds.6:36 a.m. Open browser No. 3 for general research and procrastinatory purposes. Start off by reading the headlines up and down my Yahoo home page, then flip over to my fantasy hoops league. Shake a frustrated fist at the Big Guy/Gal above for having felled Kevin ...