Friday, June 1, 2007

Marketers - "Still Crazy After All These Years"

Why Do We Continue To Do Nutty Things?

By David Miranda

In the 1990 comedy, "Crazy People", Dudley Moore played a Madison Avenue advertising executive who had a mental breakdown. Before he was committed he developed new "let's be honest with consumers" campaigns for a number of clients including Jaguar, United Airlines, Metamucil, and AT&T. I am not able to publish all of the hilarious ads in the film, but the one created for AT&T will give you a hint.

"You may think phone service stinks since deregulation, but don't mess with us, because we're all you've got. In fact, if we fold, you'll have no damn phones. AT&T - we're tired of taking your crap! "

Today, the craziness continues, albeit in different forms. Here are some examples.

Cingular is now "the new AT&T". I am still confused why the name change. Better service? Better deals? Different positioning? Different strategy? Nope. Looks like all that's changed is the logo. Crazy!

The Coca-Cola Company created Coke Zero that has zero calories. I thought Diet Coke was Coke with zero calories. Crazy!

The Ford Motor Company retired the Taurus model and created the Ford Five Hundred . The Five Hundred has had disappointing sales and Ford has now decided to rename it the Taurus. Crazy!

Major corporations continue to pay exhorbitant marketing fees for the naming rights to sports venues. Some examples include Philips Arena (Atlanta) $160 million, FedEx Field (Raljon, MD) $205 million, and American Airlines Center (Dallas) $195 million. Do these investments really pay off? That's a lot of electronics, overnight deliveries, and airline tickets to justify. Crazy!

The typical NASCAR car displays hundreds of sponsor logos, some the size of a business cards. With these cars doing laps at nearly 200 mph do race fans (the intended audience) in person or on TV really notice them? Crazy!

Craziness? I will leave the final determination to the Board Of Directors and shareholders of companies based on the return on these marketing investments.

Unless that is a crazy idea!