Saturday, February 17, 2018

Global Brands Market to China

Nissan Micra
The consumer market in China, which has seen its buying power grow year after year, continues to be the focus of many multinational brands' marketing efforts.

The Japanese automaker Nissan recently announced that it expects China will be the brand's top market within four years. Detroit-based Ford has actively marketed to Chinese consumers for years and, after a reset in 2018 to introduce new products, it sees China as a key market. "In China, you get a big uptick with a new product. And if you don’t have new product, you pay a little bit of a price for that," explains a senior Ford official.

California-based streetwear brand Vans is emphasizing social and digital media in targeting Chinese consumers, using the highly popular WeChat social network in particular. Well-known global fashion brands like YSL, Chanel and Dior are extending their names to makeup products and attracting fans in China, competing with established cosmetics brands popular there, such as Estee Lauder and Shiseido.

Brands can pursue omnichannel marketing to offer consumers in China multiple ways of making a purchase. The ecommerce giant Alibaba, for instance, serves as a valuable distribution channel for global brands like Burberry.

Meanwhile, Chinese brands are targeting US consumers. As just one example, China-based automaker GAC will begin marketing its electric cars and SUVs in America next year. Watch for more Chinese brands to enter Western markets year after year, even as US brands continue entering China.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Consumer Behavior and Ad Blockers


No question, ad blockers like Ad Blocker Plus are increasingly popular. By one estimate, more than 26% of US consumers use ad blockers to avoid advertising when online. And that estimate was from mid-2017. Today, I'm certain the figure is much higher.

The reason consumers install ad blockers is to avoid ads they find annoying, distracting, or intrusive. Of course, that presents a problem to sites like newspapers, which depend on serving up ads to visitors in order to help pay for content. That's why Ad Blocker Plus, for instance, allows some ads through--"acceptable ads" that meet its standards for being non-intrusive.

Google has given registered users the option of "muting" reminder ads since 2012. Users have to sign in for this feature to be operative. This allows consumers to have some level of control over tracking and repetitive ads.

Now Chrome, from Google, will have ad blocking built in as of February 15. This new Chrome feature won't block every ad, just ads that don't meet certain standards. Ads that jack up the volume or that flash will be blocked, among other types of ads. Only an estimated 1% of publishers will be affected, because their ads fail to meet the standards. Remember, Google's parent, Alphabet, derives 84% of its revenue from advertising.

Another key trend is the use of anti-ad-blocking systems to get around the blockers installed by consumers. This trend indicates that the battle for eyes on advertising and consumer attention is still very active, given the high stakes.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Picks for Best Super Bowl Ads of 2018


According to the USA Today Ad Meter, the Amazon commercial where Alexa temporarily loses her voice was the top ad during the Super Bowl, closely followed by my favorite, the NFL commercial featuring Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr.

According to NPR, the best celebrity-studded ad of the game was Doritos Blaze vs. Mountain Dew Ice, starring Peter Dinklage and Morgan Freeman.

ABC chose the Amazon ad as one of its faves, along with the NFL ad, the Budweiser commercial showcasing the company's delivery of clean water to disaster areas, and the Doritos Blaze/Mountain Dew ad.

Time also picked the Amazon ad. In addition, it singled out the funny P&G ads for Tide, featuring David Harbour.

Washington Post liked Tide, Doritos Blaze/Mountain Dew, and Amazon.

Themes this year: funny (as usual), heart warming, and socially-responsible, appealing to emotions rather than logic. Very few ads had anything to do with the old-fashioned USP (unique selling proposition).

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Super Bowl Ad Preview 2018: How to Stand Out

How can a brand stand out during the Super Bowl's commercial-packed ad schedule? This is a high priority issue, given the multimillion dollar cost of the commercial time, not to mention production costs and sheer "noise"--meaning the number of ads packed into a commercial break during the big game.

One strategy being used to stand out in 2018: Publicize NOT running an ad during the Super Bowl. No, this time it isn't the classic Go Daddy technique, as in 2015, when the web hosting firm was "forced" to pull an ad at the last minute due to protests about content. At the time, the CMO said: "Now we are at the point where we don’t need to grow brand awareness domestically any more. A platform like the Super Bowl is really not something that’s necessary for us." Lots of publicity about not running a Super Bowl ad!

This time, the company that is NOT running a Super Bowl ad is Skittles. The candy brand had run ads in the past, but for 2018, it's telling the world that only one viewer (a teenager in California) will be able to view the Skittles commercial starring David Schwimmer. One viewer, one time.

The world will be able to watch the viewer's reaction via Facebook Live (the brand has 23 million likes and 22 million followers). No commercial, just the viewer's reaction. Oh, Skittles is using teaser ads, starring Schwimmer, to publicize the lack of a Super Bowl ad and the exclusivity of the audience. And watch for a "documentary" about the one ad/one viewer experience, right after the big game.

Skittles is highly social, with an active Twitter presence and 393,000 followers, plus 40,000 Instagram followers...among other accounts. Lots of David Schwimmer teaser images for the non-Super Bowl ad.