Category: Advertising

Nike TVC: Don’t Listen to Words of Discouragement

Nike Korea TVC Motivates and Gives Chills

Every athlete, professional or amateur, has heard words of discouragement. Nike knows this.

Nike also knows that younger athletes often hear such negative comments from the very adults who should be encouraging them.

And that’s what makes this recent Nike commercial in Korea so powerful:

Kudos to the agency Wieden + Kennedy Tokyo and Nike for showing young athletes, or any of us for that matter, not to let these outside voices of deterrence become our inner voices. In fact, in keeping with the powerful Nike brand, the underlining message is that our inner voices should always be telling us “Just Do It.”

This is a well-executed commercial, one which will undoubtedly give chills to a few viewers. And it is so congruent with the Nike brand.

I suspect it will also help motivate a few of us as well.

Top 10 Weird TV Commercials

Are these the weirdest TV commercials ever?

In keeping with the theme of recent blog posts on Superbowl commercials, I thought I would share with you this list of the 10 Weirdest TV Ads in History.

Some are simply weird, others are just too strange to explain. And in almost every case, with the exception of the Coca-Cola I’d like to teach the world to sing spot, you have to ask yourself “what were they thinking?”

But if you are a fan of TV advertising, or interested in the history of the TV commercial, all are worth watching.

Let me know what you think of these.

Super Bowl Commercials: a sport all its own

Watching the annual Super Bowl commercials has become quite the spectator sport.

Of course, not so long ago you had to actually watch the game in order to see the commercials. Now, of couse, all of the commercials are readily available the day after on various websites.

For those of you who missed the commercials, and for those of us living outside the US and not able to view these, here are two websites feauring all of the spots:

Advertising Age


I haven’t had the chance to view all of these yet, but I writer I admire, Thom Forbes in his MediaPost blog, was less impressed with this year’s collection. From the ones I’ve viewed thus far, I must admit I agree with his comments that “it was all much ado about mediocrity.”

Do you agree?

Super Bowl TV Commercials: Best, Funniest, Overpowering

Marketing and Sports Are Interwoven on Super Bowl Sunday.

It’s Super Bowl Sunday in America.

This means the two most talked about topics for the next 48 hours will be a football game and the advertising shown during the commercial breaks of the TV broadcast.

I cannot tell you much about the game itself, except that most forecasters predict a closely fought battle between two evenly matched teams.

But to get you into the marketing mood for the TV commercials, here are two compilations of previous Super Bowl commercials worth watching:

10 Super Bowl Ads That Overpowered Their Products

Are These the 10 Funniest Super Bowl Commercials Ever?


You can also vote at Huffington Post on some of the best Super Bowl commercials of all time.


And let us know what you think about these spots in the comments section below. Which is your all-time favorite?

Neil French: The Man Who Wrote The Ads

Advertising (and other) lessons from the master copywriter.

To describe Neil French as rakish is utterly wrong. There has never been anything “ish” about this giant of a man.

(You could classify him as a rake, but that probably does injustice to all the other tools in the shed.)

I recently finished reading his memoirs, whose title Sorry for the Lobsters will resonate with everyone who can recall what traveling around Asia was like 30+ years ago. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to truly understand how powerful great advertising can be, and unfortunately how most of what the advertising industry produces is mere crap disguised in loudness, padded ideas and a pandering to the lower common denominator of a targeted (though not necessarily understood) audience.

This is a great book for those of us who have personally known Neil and admired the brilliance of his thinking and the profundity of his copywriting skills. As such it is a wonderful voyage down the numerous paths he has taken  from novice bullfighter in Spain to part-time gangster along the streets and back alleys of London, to a rock band promoter and eventually as a paradigm shift changing, Godlier than God Creative Director first in Asia and eventually globally.

A revealing and worthy narrative on his personal journey through what has certainly been a life truly lived, Sorry for the Lobsters is a fabulous read with just enough sidetracks in the tale to make the reader wonder what Neil will get up to next.

Far more important however, especially to those in the advertising industry who are unfortunate not to have been directly impacted by Neil’s devotion to creative thinking and execution excellence, is the book’s Appendix.

For in the Appendix are shared Neil’s frank and forthright gems on the pluses and minuses of advertising. These essays and short pieces, written in the latter stages of his career for various industry and in-house publications, include a plethora of golden nuggets, such as:

In any ad there is a minimum of four elements: headline, picture, copy, logo. If you can do an ad that really works using only one of these elements, you’ve got a winner. Two elements only, and it’ll be pretty good. If you can’t get below four, it’s possible that the basic idea isn’t strong enough, or that you haven’t expressed it well enough.

Reductio ad absurdum. Try it. It works.

* * * * *

To me, writing an ad is talking on paper.

It’s not really writing at all. It’s just a chat.

The art is all about knowing to whom you’re talking.

You lose them the moment you stop talking one-on-one, and start pontificating to “the audience.”

* * * * *

An ad that resembles what the competition is doing is likely to help the competition.

* * * * *

It’s your career. It’s your life. And I can assure you nobody’s last words were ever “I wish I’d made that logo a bit bigger.”


With katana sword precision, Neil gave a cutting and penetrating soliloquy on integrity, and the relative lack of it in the advertising business, in his acceptance speech when given a Clio Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003. If anything, his words are more relevant today, almost a decade later, and equally consignable to the worlds of business, politics and government. But that’s another story for another day.

In the meantime, if you want to see great advertising from a master of copywriting and strategic thinking, go to the Neil French website. The examples there will simply amaze.

He was a master craftsman and a crafty wordsmith (and undoubtedly still is).

In Neil’s words, he “just wrote the ads.”

And many a brand manager and CEO (not to mention agency heads) whose bonuses he enlarged were glad he did.

Advertising and PR 10th Most Negatively Viewed Industries

Continued decline in how Americans view advertising and PR industries.

The Advertising and PR industries in America have an image problem.

Each August Gallup asks Americans to indicate whether they have positive or negative views of various business and industry sectors. The 2011 Gallup survey was conducted in mid August and the advertising and public relations industries ranked 10th from the bottom with a net negative rating of -5.

37% of the respondents rated advertising and public relations negatively, compared to 32% who view these industries positively (the remaining 29% were neutral).

The computer industry was by far the most positively rated industry, with a net positive score of +62, while the federal government hit an all-time low, coming in last place with a net negative rating of -46.

The nine industries viewed less favorably than advertising and PR were:

Pharmaceutical industry                   -7

Airline industry                                 -10

Education                                           -12

The legal field                                    -16

Banking                                               -17

Healthcare industry                          -28         

Real estate industry                          -29

Oil and gas industry                         -44

The federal government                    -46

The industries scoring higher than advertising and PR were sports, movie, telephone, automobile, publishing, accounting, travel, retail, grocery, farming and agriculture, Internet, restaurant, and computer.

Gallup has been conducting this survey annually since 2001, during which the positive rankings for the advertising and public relations industries have dropped from 38% to 32%. This is the tenth highest drop of the 25 industries surveyed annually.

Do you agree with these results? Where would you put advertising and PR? Add your thoughts below.

Steve Jobs: Marketing Genius

Why Apple’s Steve Jobs is a World-Class Marketing Genius

Like many consumers I have long been enamored with the product designs, enhanced functionalities and overall quality of the Apple products brought to us by Steve Jobs.

As a marketing professional, though, I have also been enthralled by the power, story lines and production values of the TV commercials produced by Apple under the eagle eye and branding brain of Jobs. And yet this is only part of the story behind the marketing genius of Jobs.

Apple is often seen as a company built through product design. But it is more, much more.

Led by the instinctive and intuitive insights of Jobs, Apple has had a foundational focus on the customer experience, long before “customer experience marketing” entered our industry jargon.

The customer experience was often the focus of Apple’s advertising campaigns. And it has certainly been the key element in how the Apple retail stores have been designed, from free availability of products test and trial to the clever concept of the Genius Bars. It is little wonder that Apple’s retail stores have a higher sales-per-square-foot level than any other retail chain in the USA, including high-end retailers like Tiffany’s, Gucci and Coach.

How was Apple able to produce a steady flow of brilliant advertising over the years? Two key factors:

a) Jobs was heavily involved in the creative process at all times

b) Jobs used only one agency (Chiat/Day, which eventually merged into TBWA)

Together they produced a litany of powerful, emotive, brand building advertising campaigns, including:

  • 1984
  • Mac vs. PC
  • Meet iPad
  • Silhouettes
  • Think Different
  • Meet Her
  • Stacks
  • Quotes

Which of these were your favorites? Any to add? I will be adding the ones I like best to my favorites at our Howard Marketing YouTube channel.

Designers call Steve Jobs an inspiration to their craft. Computer geeks claim Jobs as their own guru. And those of us in the marketing profession know that, above everything else, Jobs is a marketing genius.

We can only hope that Jobs will do for marketing in the Boardroom what he has done for marketing as CEO.

Internet Ad Spend to Surpass Newspapers in 2013

Prediction from ZenithOptimedia Adspend Forecast

Internet advertising expenditures will surpass newspaper advertising in 2013, to become the second largest advertising medium, according to the most recent quarterly forecast on global advertising expenditures by ZenithOptimedia (July 2011).

With a forecasted growth rate of 14.2% per annum, Internet advertising will grow from $63 billion in 2010 to almost $954.5 billion in 2013. Advertising in global newspapers is predicted to decline over this same period from $95.2 billion last year to just $92.8 billion in 2013.

If these projections come to fruition, Internet advertising will account for 18.3% of all global advertising expenditure (up from 14.1% last year), while newspapers will receive just 17.9% of the advertising pie, down from 21.3% last year.

Television advertising is forecast to have moderate growth, going from 40.4% share last year to 41.4% in 2013. Television accounts for the most new ad dollars over this period, growing from some $180 billion last year to almost $216 billion in 2013. TV advertising will remain at twice the level of the second highest medium.

While advertising in China will be approximately 50% higher in 2013, all markets are miniscule compared to the behemoth USA market, which at $151.5 billion last year was 3.3 times larger than second place Japan at $43.3 billion.

Over the next two years China will surpass Germany for the third spot on the advertising expenditure leader board, while Australia will climb one spot from 9th to 8th. Italy is projected to drop out of the top ten ad markets and will be replaced by Russia.

An interesting break down of Internet advertising expenditures shows paid search advertising accounting for almost 50%, with display advertising (36%) and classified ads (15%) accounting for the rest of this $90+ billion advertising pie.

Which Way Is Internet Advertising Headed?

A pair of expenditure reports on Internet Advertising has us wondering in which direction is this headed?

First, Britain became the first major market in which advertisers spent more on Internet advertising than on TV ads, with a record £1.8 billion (US$3.2 billion) invested online in the first six months of the year. Earlier this year Denmark became the first country where Internet ad spending overtook TV advertising spend.

Internet advertising now accounts for 23.5% of all advertising in the UK, with TV ads (down 17% in actual spend from the first half of last year) at just 21.9% market share.

Then, about a week after this report from the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) and auditor PricewaterhouseCoopers, the pair released a report stating Internet advertising in the U.S. dropped 5.3% to $10.9 billion in the first half of this year. Of course, that’s not as bad as the 15.4% decline in total advertising expenditure in the first six months of the year according to Nielsen figures.

Even more concerning (for those selling online advertising), IAB and PwC predict that total online advertising expenditure this year will fall in the $21 billion to $22 billion range, a significant drop from the $23.4 billion recorded last year.

So why has Internet advertising become the biggest advertising sector in the UK with a 4.6% year-on-year increase, while at the same time Internet advertising expenditures have dropped 5.3% in the U.S.?

And what’s happening in other major advertising markets, such as Australia, France, Germany and Japan?

Anyone have any insights on this?

Personal Recommendations More Trusted Than Advertising

Personal recommendations and consumer opinions posted online are the most trusted forms of communications, according to the latest Nielsen Global Online Consumer Survey. Over 25,000 respondents from 50 countries participated in the survey.

According to the survey, which is conducted twice yearly, 90% of Internet consumers worldwide trust recommendations from people they know, while 70% trust consumer opinions posted online.

Brand websites, the most trusted form of advertiser-led communications, are also trusted by 70% of the survey respondents. Fortunately for marketers, all forms of advertiser-led advertising, except ads in newspapers, experienced higher levels of trust in this most recent survey.

Brand sponsorship is the marketing category that has seen the most significant increase in trust levels since the Trust in Advertising portion of the survey was initiated in April 2007. Almost two-thirds (64%) of Internet consumers now trust Brand Sponsorships, up from just 49% two years ago.

Significantly, text ads on mobile phones have the lowest trust factor, with less than one-fourth of respondents saying they completely or somewhat trust this form of advertising. This is not going to make the folks at the Mobile Marketing Association happy!

Here’s the ranked order of the results for some degree of trust in the following categories:

1. Recommendations from people known (90%)

2. Consumer opinions posted online (70%)

3. Brand websites (70%)

4. Editorial content {e.g. newspaper articles} (69%)

5. Brand sponsorships (64%)

6. Television (62%)

7. Newspapers (61%)

8. Magazines (59%)

9. Billboards / outdoor advertising (55%)

10. Radio (55%)

11. Emails signed up for (54%)

12. Ads before movies (52%)

13. Search engine results ads (41%)

14. Online video ads (37%)

15. Online banner ads (33%)

16. Text ads on mobile phones (24%)

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