August 14th, 2011
The Gap is rolling out their new marketing campaign just in time for back-to-school in a style that’s more back-to-the-future. The campaign is the first major marketing push by Gap Inc. since a management shake-up in February ended with a new brand president, chief marketing offer, and ad agency.
“1969: L.A. and Beyond” is composed of 30- to 90-second online documentary-style videos centered around the goings on at its denim design studio in Los Angeles. Print ads support the urban fashion mashup as well. Taking the show on the road, “Pico de Gap” vintage taco trucks with celebrity chefs will hit New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and San Francisco, tweeting locations for each.
While food trucks have become a coast-to-coast craze, boasting everything from sushi and dumplings to street sweets and schnitzel, Gap is sticking with the “original” food truck that started the now nationwide trend. “The idea of Pico de Gap — and the taco truck used in our fall campaign 1969: L.A. and Beyond — came about one night when I was having dinner with our 1969 design team in downtown L.A.,” said Seth Farbman, Gap’s Chief Marketing Officer. “It’s these types of everyday moments that shape who we are as people and inspire the product we design for our customers. We thought it would be an unexpected, engaging way to share a little more about ourselves and the experience we had that night.”
To create an authentic aesthetic, each Pico de Gap truck was hand-painted and includes a replica of a vintage Gap ad and neon sign from the ’70s. Customers can check out the latest 1969 fall denim styles on display while enjoying tacos for a $1.69. With proof of a same-day Gap denim purchase, the meal is free.
Gap’s campaign launches in a back-to-school season in which consumers are expected to cut back spending because of economic woes and rising prices. Not good odds for a brand struggling to regain position — and profits. The once-leading brand is up against a half-decade of shrinking sales and shrinking stature.
Seth Farbman, CMO since 1Q 2011, says the campaign is not a quick fix, but an effort to drive sales and revive Gap’s image, which he says has “lost a bit of relevance.” Farbman says the focus of the campaign — jeans — is appropriate because they have been one of Gap’s strengths, accounting for about a quarter of the Gap brands revenue.
“This is the start; one step. This campaign begins to put us on the right course,” Farbman said. “Longer term, it starts a conversation about the brand.”
August 10th, 2011
You know something’s gone mainstream when USA Today runs a piece, and food trucks are no exception. Foodies have known this for a long time. You know something’s hot when there are apps on virtually every platform, and apps for locating food trucks are also no exception. Tech savvy foodies know this as well.
The most recent addition to the collection of food truck–locating apps was developed by The Barbarian Group for the Android OS. Gastrodamus, a free app for iPhone and Android, is also uniquely built to aggregate Twitter content. Unlike other apps that rely on self/consumer reporting or GPS, the digital agency’s creation lists trucks and locations based on Twitter mentions. No location, no listing.
Developed as a side-project-in-progress — and taking recommendations for more food trucks — there are some obvious hiccups. The “nearby” functionality is glitchy and some vendors don’t show up as expected. The fact that the app is tracking and collecting specific content may have something to contribute to the less-than-perfect user experience, but should this app’s popularity pick up we may see that vendors and fans alike optimize their tweets, ensuring inclusion in each day’s display of not-to-be-missed locales.
Here are some of the mobile apps built to connect the hungry with local food trucks. Take a look. Is your favorite on the short-list? Could your agency design and develop something better for you and your famished colleagues?
September 21st, 2010
COLOURlovers, an online community of folks who love all things color and creative, has put together a comprehensive color study of the top 100 websites. Not satisfied to simply rank these sites in numerical order, the team there created — and kindly shared — an infographic that tells an interesting story.
The bottom line: If you’re aiming for the top, you’d best be blue.
Take a look for yourself. It’s a great piece of info at a glance.
For those thinking that the Web’s big brands have broken out of the tight bounds of corporate identity, you may be surprised to find that just as traditional brands gravitate to the indigo end of the spectrum, so too do their Web-based brethren. What is striking is the crowd of social media sites — Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and MySpace — clustered in blue.
David Zax, blogging for Fast Company, suggests that the “phenomenon called ‘economies of agglomeration’” could be at work here, and in creating a “’blue district,’ (the color blue) becomes the only respectable place for a social media company to set up shop; a brilliant but fuchsia-branded networking site may flounder. He also cites a Wired study, conducted in 2003, that noted the import of location and proximity in the color spectrum and similar groupings as the ones found and illustrated by COLOURlovers.
As the boundaries blur between a brand’s owned (and controlled) website and its social media space (who needs a microsite anymore, really), it will be interesting to see how identity and brand are maintained. If this social-equals-blue equation bears out, what’s to become of the established brand that’s orange inside and out? What of the new brand just starting out, looking to stake out new territory and shake up its category?
It would appear — with this infographic and the reality it reveals — that online brands, and those spending more and more time there, will follow a tried-and-true, paint-by-numbers approach to color.
August 15th, 2010
The new integrated campaign for Dickies launched via online video “tough tests” last week. This initial offering — the first round of work from Goodby, Silverstein & Partners — shows 874 Work Pants taking a beating, literally, as they’re ripped apart by squealing choppers, torn and shredded by massive wrecking balls, and rolled down a meticulously groomed hillside.
Each black-and-white clip is a combination of the old “don’t try this at home” instructional film and “don’t try this with stuff you’ve paid decent money for” product demonstration. Taking what has been a staple of skaters, surfers, hirsute tradesmen, and wannabe rockers, the GSP team brings this brand to the hard core. You know those guys and gals: the ones with the biker chain clipped to their belt loop, the steel-toe boots, and the compostable lunch bag in their recycled rubber messenger bag.
Watching the series, I couldn’t help but think brand loyalists aren’t the type to be sold with old-school show-and-tell demos like these. They’ve been trained over a lifetime to be skeptical of these well-choreographed tests and product performances. Folks new to the brand are probably in the same place in regard to what influences their purchasing decisions. The rough characters who star in these films aren’t buying it either, and they certainly are not watching videos online. Hell, they’re still rocking classic rock radio in their pickup trucks for a good time.
What’s going on here? Choppers pulling a pair of pants apart. Levi’s denim tags sport a mule team doing the same and have been for decades. Product is attached to a swinging steel ball and aimed at a thick concrete wall. Check out classic commercials of the ’60s and ’70s, and you’ll see this has been a staple for more than half a century. It didn’t get more tough than a Timex watch attached to an arrowhead, shot through a pane of glass by a gentleman wearing a plaid flannel shirt.
What was that last “test” again?
That’s right. Those tough twill pants are worn by a gravity-loving, bearded hipster who simply cannot resist the urge to rock, roll, and bounce down a beautiful hillside obviously landscaped by a professional film crew and production team. Parkour, I think not. This guy likes a good tumble it would appear, and, well, it just isn’t that easy to get yourself a chopper at the last minute, let alone a wrecking ball without calling ahead. What better way to show the world that you — and your new pants — have earned the badass Dickies label?
July 30th, 2010
It’s funny how things come to you at the oddest times and in the strangest situations. I’m getting used to it, but ideas and solutions can still strike me when I least expect it. I had one of those experiences recently, as I worked to find the Holy Grail of “selling social” to clients — and even colleagues — that aren’t there yet in understanding the how and the why of it.
If you pitch pixels you know what I’m talking about. You’ve got a Marketing Director, an exec out of the C-suite, maybe even someone out of biz dev that hasn’t yet seen the shining light of their first badge or felt the rush of a retweet. You can throw all the stats you’ve got like so many Ninja Stars, but they just don’t get it. One too many of these meetings and I realized I needed to pull it in and rethink my approach.
Then it hit me. It was really quite simple. I broke it down into four simple steps. Take a look. Try it out. See what you think and let me know if you don’t agree that sometimes (and this is one of those times) it’s best to go low-tech and keep on truckin’!
Step 1: Get In
Social Media should be experienced. If you want to know what’s going on, join in. Reading, researching is no substitute for total immersion. Sure there’s the obvious — and the ubiquitous — but maybe you walk in slowly at the shallow end. Just get off that chaise lounge and get in!
Step 2: Sit Down
Get comfortable too. You’re going to be here for a while. If you’re going to make this a worthwhile venture — and meeting business objectives is certainly worthwhile, to say the least — you’ll need to take the long-view on this. And you’re going to need to be present, actively present, when you’re here too.
Step 3: Hold On
The ride can get bumpy, so reach up and grab that handrail when you feel the need. Remember, this is why you’re here — to take in everything. The good. The bad. The ugly. The “hell-I-had-no-idea-they-felt-like-that.” Social Media is like a focus group on some really good stuff. And once you get your bearings, you’ll be glad you rode it out.
Step 4: Shut Up
This is sometimes the hardest part: the listening part. There’s a reason why we call these intentional communities “listening platforms.” And this is where the gold is. That tripped out focus group I mentioned earlier — they come up with some great stuff. And if we take the time to let it soak in, inform our thinking and insights, change and improve our perspective, then it’s a ride that’ll take us to some very interesting — and fruitful — places.
April 12th, 2010
I recently attended a one-day working session at HP headquarters in Palo Alto. With nine presenters scheduled in just as many hours I came prepared to gain actionable insights on technology, strategy and the future of interactive advertising. Presenters showcased the agency, advertiser, supplier, VC and developer challenges each face today and hinted at how they planned to meet new challenges in the future. Here are some of the more interesting take-aways:
Gary Elliot of HP
Everything is a service.
Michael Theodore of IAB
Online brand building is ineffective. Sponsorships, search and digital video are most effective.
As the “most accountable medium” we are still tweaking and arguing over measurement models and methodolgy; we need cross-industry consensus on this.
To avoid FTC regulation, there is an immediate need to create a self-regulating framework and process for working within that framework.
Curt Hecht of VivaKi
After a spending a year and observing 25 million users, the efficacy of user-selected pre-roll ads on Hulu.com is confirmed. Users will choose which ads they watch in exchange for the video content they crave.
Chris Curtin of HP
“Searchandising” — make it easy for users to find the product that interests them.
Technology + behavior = Mobile at retail
Ideas don’t count until you do them.
John Coyne of Goodby, Silverstein & Partners
Bring your discipline, leave your department.
The fear of irrelevance should drive us all to change.
Change + Convergence + Collaboration
Emma Cookson of BBH USA
When looking for creative talent consider two key attributes: Diplomacy and Generosity.
“Getting it done” is the new heroism.
Moving beyond networking, working harmoniously and to each person’s mutual benefit, sharing expertise and disseminating information through the agency is key to an agency’s evolution.
George Gallate of Euro RSCG 4D
Put digital at the core of everything.
Technology does not equal ROI. But technology to the power of creativity does.
Erin Clift of AOL
Build platforms to scale, allowing for smart growth.
Even with perishable content, the portal can flex to deliver relevant content to a built-up “fan base” user group.
Nancy Hill of AAAA
Work to extinguish outdated compensation models and tensions between agency and client
Calvin Lui of Tumri
Chic versus Geek — we need to marry art and science, knowing how to inspire consumers.
Consider “interest-based advertising” versus behavioral targeting