I was crushed to learn that this is fake

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Despite how much I wanted it to be real, it turns out that this screen grab is fake. But trying to verify its authenticity reveals an interesting comparison of corporate run Twitter accounts.

I started by looking at the Cottonelle Twitter feed which reveals a boring one-way broadcast of corporate written marketing messages. It’s as boring as their product. No mention of this screengrab, though you can see the actual tweet that kicks off the war.

Then I had a look at the Charmin feed, where they recently tweeted that it was fake (I can only imagine that the “it” in question is the screengrab).

But then I had a look at the rest of their feed, and was surprised to see that there’s an actual personality here, and it’s entertaining. Here’s a funny tweet from earlier in the week:

Before today I didn’t have much of an opinion on this category beyond “not newspaper,” but now I am decidedly more fond of Charmin. Funny how that works, isn’t it?

How did this come about?

Sometimes I see ads and I wonder what the pitch meeting looked like. This ad for Volvo is pretty fantastic, but for the life of me I can’t figure out why. It’s such an odd collection of elements, especially when you consider the likely audience for the ad:

  • Gold Volvo Trucks
  • Jean-Claude Van Damme doing the splits
  • Enya
  • An aircraft runway in the desert, at sunset

I’m not sure what the audience for these Volvo trucks is like, but I can only imagine that the client demanded an ad designed to go viral. Still, I enjoy the ad. It’s got a certain grace to it.

I keep seeing QR codes everywhere, but I’ve never ever seen anyone stop to use one. Just think, that marketer could have done something interesting instead of putting a QR code there.

Don’t Waste Your Customer’s Time

Marketers require empathy for their customers. Having some compassion and respect for your customer’s time is a necessary part of building a brand that is taken seriously by its audience.

Here are two easy ways to undo that work:

Website Surveys

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Here’s a great explanation of the problem with these site surveys, from Neven Mrgn:

As you’re about to take that first bite of your food, the server puts a comment card between you and the plate: PLEASE RATE OUR RESTAURANT

Pointless Emails

From Zach Holman:

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Kill me if I ever work for a company that carpet bombs their customers with shit like this.

Steve Jobs Branding Lecture from 1997

The thing that stuck in my head about his explanation of branding is the notion that the audience has so little room in their memory for your brand, that you had better distill your core values – things that your brand believes and will never stop believing – into a concise message that you apply consistently.

Some of the other rules of advertising he lays out, Apple would go on to break in the next 15 years (or so). The famous “I’m a Mac” campaign was devoted entirely to talking about Apple’s rival, Windows.

Apple’s Advertising Folly

While it’s easy to pick on a company that gets so much right, Fast Company did a great job pointing out the problem with Apple’s ad shown above. The ad opens with the words:

“This is it. This is what matters. The experience of a product.”

The problem is that the ad should open with:

“This is it. This is what matters. The experience of a person.”

Apple should be showing how their products enrich the lives of their users by complimenting their lives. Instead the products are shown as the end, instead of the means.