Change-up in Headless Ads

January 15, 2009 at 8:37 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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The pharmaceutical industry sometimes presents us with some pretty strange approaches to communicating medical messages. When it comes to strange, though, you’ve really got to take your hat off – or maybe your whole head off – to the latest migraine medicine campaign from Treximet. 

Have you seen the TV spots? (Click here if you haven’t; as of this writing the first version is still showing on the brand’s Web site.) Think they’re creepy? Apparently some others do, too. Today I noticed that altered ads are airing; now instead of looking so realistic, there is a torn paper effect, as if the person were appearing on a two-dimensional sheet of paper and just the part with the head on it was torn out. No less creepy, in my opinion, because the person is still in motion, which implies life. Still, a change like this is costly, so the brand managers probably have some evidence to show that part of the target audience is being seriously turned off by the original ads.

Is it possible that the original ads were produced and aired with insufficient research into the target audience? If that was the problem, then was there possibly time to conduct tests on the new, “improved” spots? Or has Treximet rushed to tear out a bandage for the problem without making sure that the changes are heading the same direction that the audience would drive them?

It will be interesting to see the future of this campaign and this brand.


When Consumers Pay for Advertising

September 30, 2008 at 8:23 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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In my last entry, I posed the question, “would you mind seeing a logo all over your game if it were fun and free?” Many companies wonder about the answer to this question, too, as many “branded” mobile games are provided for free rather than for sale. This means that companies are pouring significant money into game development in hopes that consumers will take advantage of a free download and immerse themselves in the brand environment.

Some brands, though, have achieved the recognition and coolness factor required to charge for the brand experience. Think you would never pay to be advertised to? Let me ask you this: do you own a Harley-Davidson jacket? A LOST T-shirt? Companies do give away promotional items like John Deere caps and bank pens, but some companies have the brand clout to draw consumers in willingly. If you are ever in Atlanta and want to see a branding phenomenon, go to the New World of Coca-Cola Museum. Not only do people stand in line to pay admission – $15 for an adult – to be surrounded by Coca-Cola history and memorabilia for a couple of hours. Granted, there is the sample room, where you can enjoy limitless samples of Coke beverages from all over the world, including some unusual selections like mango fizz. What I really want you to notice, however, is the gift shop behavior. People pore over selections of Coke branded playing cards, picnic sets, clocks, and especially T-shirts, then shell out the money to take the brand home with them and display it for friends and family to see.

Other companies have succeeded in this brand fascination, too, such as Aflac, which in response to requests began selling stuffed ducks that quacked “Aflac” on its Web site. The proceeds – over $75,000 – went to a Children’s Cancer Center, while consumers all over North America played with plush brand quackers.

So how does a brand get to be so beloved? Are there any brands that could bring you to part with your money for more than just the product or service? Would you pay for an Aflac ringtone? Would you buy a Volkswagen Beetle T-shirt? Would you go pay admission to a Purina Pet Park? I’m eager to hear your opinions!

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