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Brand Strategy

Paul Sage - Marketing


Elvis meets Nixon 12 21 1970
Maybe you’ve heard the story.  Maybe you’ve seen the photos. In case you haven’t, here’s the recap:

Forty-two years ago today, early in the morning of December 21, 1970, Elvis Presley showed up, unannounced, at the gates of the White House to deliver a letter he had written to President Richard Nixon.

Elvis Letter Page 1

Transcript of letter from Elvis to President Nixon 12 21 1970

Elvis wanted to meet with the President and he wanted the title and badge of Federal Agent for the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs.  Elvis got everything he asked for.  By lunchtime.  That day.

How did Elvis do it?

THE BRAND:   By 1970, sixteen years into his show biz career, Elvis Presley had evolved into Elvis.  The bejeweled, cape-wearing, “See See Rider” singing, Vegas-playing Elvis.  Elvis was a brand that everybody recognized and many respected.   When Elvis showed up at the door — even the…

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If you don’t live in Arkansas (and there’s a good chance you don’t) you’re missing the fun of Arkansas advertising.  Today in my fair city of Little Rock I was listening to a local radio station and the spokesman for a Chevrolet dealership pitched the Impala as “the car for the man who’s not trying to impress anybody.”

I doubt that’s what the folks in Detroit had in mind for copy, but you have to admit it’s unique. Not unique in the way Rosser Reeves intended for a USP.  I’d bet nobody else positions it the way we do in Arkansas.  The 2014 Impala. Shown here in Razorback Red.

The 2014 Chevy Impala. It's nothing special, and that's what's special about it.

The 2014 Chevy Impala. It’s nothing special, and that’s what’s special about it.

 

Conroe store ACADEMYIts name is simple, its logo features a capital A, but too many people call it “Sports Academy.” WRONG!!  It’s Academy Sports. OK, officially Academy Sports + Outdoors (with a plus sign).  Maybe people confuse it with Sports Authority, a smaller competitor with little to no retail presence in my neck of the nation.  Drives me nuts. It’s a good store with good stuff.  Get it right.

Have a nice day, and enjoy the 4th of July weekend, States United of America.

 

 

I feel like the kid who just found out about Santa Claus, or, in keeping with the season, the Easter Bunny.  My illusion has just been shattered.

Ozarka® water is not made in Arkansas.

I just assumed it was.  But what do I know, I live in Arkansas.  Nonetheless, I was just being logical, or intuitive, at least.  “OZARKA” sounds like it’s from around here, our “Natural State” of hot springs and rolling hills and trout fishing.  And the Ozark Mountains.

2014-04-15 Ozarka 2

Ozarka’s packaging boasts it’s made in Texas.  Texas?  Texas water?  Is that supposed to be good? I grew up in Houston.  I think the tap water in Little Rock tastes better. And there’s no such place as Hot Springs National Park, Texas.

Pull back  the curtain, Toto.  Egad, the Wizard of Ozarka is just one of many brands pumped out by Nestlé Waters North America.  Thus we have an Arkansas-sounding label coming from the Texas operations of a North American company based in Switzerland. Yodelayheehoo.

2014-04-15 Ozarka 1

Oh well, it’s just water, the commodity that’s increasingly never common.  Last time I checked, a liter of Evian was selling for $1.99 at the local Kroger.  A liter of Kroger’s store-brand water was 69 cents.  That’s a 188% premium for Evian. Some people take this brand thing way too seriously.  And the marketers smile.

Tide Cleaners

It’s as difficult to grasp as seeing Michael Jordan wearing a minor league baseball uniform.

Tide, the iconic Procter & Gamble brand of heavy-duty laundry detergent, is now a dry cleaners.

https://www.tidedrycleaners.com/WebPages/Home.aspx

Their website says, “We’ve been in your home for over 60 years. It’s about time we got our own place. Discover a fresh approach to dry cleaning…We combine GreenEarth® technology with amazing stain removal, color maintenance, and a clean so fresh you can smell it. All to bring your clothes back to life with an experience you’ll love from your very first visit.”

A bold move in brand extension.  It will be interesting to see how this goes.  Will consumers, awash in a mix of mostly local and regional dry-cleaning brands, move to something so popular yet so foreign?  Will Tide lead the pack?

Tide Car

Maybe it was just a bad run of their label-making press. Maybe it’s my inability to discern fifty shades of pink. Maybe I just don’t grasp the concept of subtlety in packaging.

I’m having a hard time reading the label on this bottle of Aquafina Flavor Splash Sparkling Berry Loco Four Berry Blend Flavor, a product of Pepsico under its popular Aquafina bottled water brand.

Image

I like the beverage, but I can’t read the label easily.  It doesn’t jump off the shelf at me.

In British slang, the word “bottle” means “courage” or “mettle,” as in “He’s a skilled footballer, but he lacks bottle.”  Pepsi had the bottle to design a pink-on-pink bottle, but I don’t think it scored a goal.

Today is College Colors Day.   http://www.collegecolorsday.com/   It looks like an event cooked up to sell more NCAA-licensed merchandise.  An incremental lift in t-shirt sales on this first weekend of college football.  Group shots of people wearing the names of their schools in the workplace are scattered across social media.  Lots of “my school can beat up your school” Friday chatter.

People like to affiliate, to belong to something, to join a brand. Around the world, we cluster around professional sports teams, especially soccer clubs.  Here in America we are blessed with the bigness of collegiate sports AND our pro leagues.  And here in Middle America – the towns and states without major league franchises – big college brands fill a void.

USC Trojans v Arkansas RazorbacksSome schools own their territory.  Others, not so much.  I live in Arkansas.  And here in Arkansas, the school that calls itself “Arkansas” is not just the flagship university of our state.  It’s our state’s brand. The red Razorback is worn proudly by the masses: people who went to the University of Arkansas, people who went somewhere else, and people who never went to college at all. We have other great schools here in the Natural State:  Hendrix College, Arkansas State and Arkansas Tech, to name a few.  But nobody sports those schools’ colors unless, at some point, they really went to college there.

Affiliation with a college team is easy.  Nobody asks to see your diploma.  There’s an old saying in Texas:  “Somebody who wears a Texas A&M shirt went to A&M.  Somebody who wears a Texas Longhorns shirt went to Walmart.”  I said that was an old saying.  The recent success of A&M and the phenomenon known as Johnny Football have turned the tables in the Lone Star State.  Now being an Aggie is cool, even if you aren’t really an Aggie.

As for me, even though I walk through the valley of cardinal-clad “Hogs” fans, my colors today are purple and gold for LSU, with a touch of red and blue for SMU. Because I actually went to school at those places.  Imagine that.
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