March 30, 2007

This isn't moving forward

So I'm on the phone right now with Toyota Financial Services about my car payment. Camilla, their polite customer service rep just asked me to hold. And the music now coming over the line is "This is Our Country."
Yes. That's right, Toyota is playing me the John Mellencamp tune that achors Chevrolet's latest campaign.

Toyota: "Our hold music."


March 28, 2007

Apu coming to a town near you?

Seems Fox is working on a deal with 7-Eleven to turn a few stores into Kwik-E-Marts for the launch of The Simpsons movie.
(Found the story on boing-boing.)
Even better, customers will be able to buy products from show like KrustyO's cereal, Buzz Cola and Squishees.
It sounds like 7-Eleven is game. Some uptight suit may worry that it reflects poorly on the 7-Eleven brand, but it'd be smart to make it happen.

March 27, 2007

Tune up your brain

Check out Ideaspotting: How to Find Your Next Great Idea by Sam Harrison. He's always given me great feedback/inspiration and this book is no exception. It's a great refresher for anyone who thinks for living. (And who doesn't?)

March 26, 2007

Custom Wired Magazine Cover

This insert came bagged with my latest issue.

I had to check it out. As research for the blog, of course. Because my fragile ego can't admit that it's the only way my mug will ever appear on a magazine cover.
No Xerox branding on the web page. No follow-up email once I submitted a photo. According to the press release, it seems all they have planned is to let anyone create their own fake cover online sometime in the future.
Maybe they could do more with it, but I'm looking forward to the next issue even more than usual.

March 19, 2007

Lost and found

I found a folded up twenty dollar bill on the sidewalk once when I was a kid. At least I thought I did, it turned out to be a coupon. I was as pissed as a twelve-year-old could get until I realized I could prank my friends with it.
Stuart Elliott has a story in The New York Times (log-in required) on a similar effort for the Nissian Altima.
As the article states, "For the promotion, 20,000 key rings will be deliberately “lost” in bars, concert halls, sports arenas and other public places in seven large markets. Each key ring will have three keys, all real, and two tags. The biggest key resembles a car key and the other two look as if they could fit the locks on house or office doors."
The big tag reads, "If found, please do not return. My new generation Nissian Altima has Intelligent Key with push-button ignition, and I no longer need these.” The second tag directs the finder to a sweepstakes.

I like how well this relates to the product, but I think they missed an opportunity to create more of a mystery around the payoff.
The lost wallet thing has been done plenty, but at least this execution for a movie tried to build a story. I think Carlsberg had some fun with the fake passports they left in cabs and bars.
So I think such stunts can be used as engaging misdirection. But if the reward isn't worth the effort, it'll just erode trust in the brand.

March 7, 2007

The three Rs

I scanned this from the side of a shopping bag I got at Target.
Fun copy with a good environmental message.

Wal-Mart may not be as witty, but it sure is more effective.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle can't just be suggestions, you have to turn them into actions. The lesson? Sometimes words aren't enough. And I bet it applies elsewhere in your business and life.