Showtime’s New Series is Built on Deception and Bad for America

Writing about marketing and business is more fun when sharing excellent examples and great creativity.

However, just as important, sometimes we have to learn from what’s not excellent. A new “comedy” series from Showtime is a glaring example.

Authenticity and transparency are important go-to-market levers. Consumers want that in their products and services. Citizens want that in their government. We don’t always get it.

Part of the reason is that we all, even implicitly, allow it to happen.

Credit: Showtime (sho.com)

Take Showtime’s new series with Sacha Baron Cohen, Who Is America? According to the network, the series “features his first new characters in 15 years, which are so believably performed that they can exist in the real world.”

Let me translate: these “believable new characters” are fraudulent impersonations of purportedly real people, designed to trick targets into participating in on-camera interviews.

With all the challenges we face as a society, why does Showtime feel the need to pay for and promote “gotcha” deception? Continue reading

Why Every Marketer Dreams of a Wiffle Ball Type Customer Connection

WIFFLE®, the beloved and iconic American brand of white plastic ball and yellow bat, celebrates its 65th birthday this year.

While you can buy other baseball-size, plastic balls, there is no comparison when it comes to the combination of Wiffle’s performance and emotional attachment. These two factors make the 65-year sales run an excellent marketing and brand management achievement. The National Toy Hall of Fame agrees. They inducted the ball last year.

Photo Credit: Harvey Chimoff.

Continue reading

This Is Marketing: We Are in the Holy S*** Business

A new corporate brand campaign for MGM Resorts International has a hidden benefit.

It helps translate and demonstrate what some business leaders consider “mumbo jumbo.” That would be marketing cornerstones such as branding, positioning and customer experience.

These critical building blocks, and others, are like oxygen to marketers and business leaders who believe in the power of smart, disciplined marketing to help build and grow profitable businesses, and keep them relevant.

But, not everyone is a believer, and not all practitioners have instilled confidence.

Credit: MGM Resorts International.

So, particularly for the marketing skeptics, this new MGM marketing is instructive. It’s strong, bold marketing that grabs attention. And seemingly has a chance to be effective.* Continue reading

Gatorade’s High-Tech, Sweat-Reading Vending Machine Delivers Brand Positioning

For the Gatorade marketing team, the old adage “never let them see you sweat” does not apply.

Quite the opposite.

Credit: Gatorade.

Credit: Gatorade.

The Gatorade brand is all about sweat and countering its effects on the body. For the past three years, Gatorade has activated marketing around the “sweat it to get it” idea.

Now, Gatorade’s team in India has evolved the idea with a high-tech vending machine that dispenses free bottles of Gatorade to workout warriors. It’s technology powered marketing that delivers positioning and product benefits in a fun, content-friendly activity that’s well-suited for social media and mobile Internet sharing. Continue reading

Stories Make a Difference – Expert’s 6 Points for Great Storytelling

“Stories create connections that are emotional and inspiring.”

That’s what Kristian Aloma reminded an audience of marketers at a recent MENG (Marketing Executives Networking Group) event in New Jersey.

Kristian Aloma. Credit: Brandtrust.

Kristian Aloma. Credit: Brandtrust.

Mr. Aloma is the Client Partner, Group Director of Client Service at Brandtrust. “He’s been pivotal in building Brandtrust’s storytelling services and training sessions, which are extremely popular among clients looking to more effectively influence their customers and organizations.”

An important reason for business communicators to use stories is that “presenting a story helps everyone understand the same point.”

In his New Jersey presentation, Aloma offered “how to” pointers and demonstration examples for telling effective stories in the business world and beyond. He also challenged the group by stating that the “best storytellers win.”


6 Points for Great Storytelling Continue reading