Tuesday, February 16, 2010

NBC's Brian Williams Talks Zamboni's With Al Michaels

I posted the following quote from NBC's Brian Williams during his coverage of the Winter Olympics as my Facebook status just because I thought it was funny. But, the more I think about it, the more I find myself thinking about the branding implications of what he said (unbeknownst to him).

"...problems last night with the Zamboni - didn't use a name brand Zamboni. You know we've learned in life, you want Kleenex? You want Formica? You want a Xerox copy? Ask for them by name ladies and gentlemen. So, they're bringing in, Al, a genuine Zamboni here to the games, uh, to do the, ice uh, stuff. So ,we're up to our you-know-whats in Olympic news here."

What do you think?

Monday, February 8, 2010

Toyota's Commitment TV Commercial

Today, I was watching a show I recorded from Sunday. I was skipping through the commercials (even marketers do it occasionally) when this new Toyota ad caught my eye. I pressed rewind and watched it from the beginning. Take a look (click the link - embedding was disabled on YouTube)


I watched this commercial several times, and my impression is that this ad is the right move at the right time. There has been a lot of negative publicity for Toyota lately due to recalled vehicles, and perhaps some perception that the auto maker was not approaching the situation correctly with the public. Some major action had to be taken.

Toyota has long been perceived by consumers as a safe, reliable brand. A line of vehicles that would last long and cause minimal headaches for owners. All auto brands seem to have recalls at one point or another. Things happen. To some extent, it is to be expected. But, there appears to be some surprise that Toyota, the "perfect" car company, is not so perfect. For their products, it was not expected. Now, it seems that their brand image may suffer greatly due to this recent incident.

In order to regain the confidence of the consumer, Toyota put together this commercial and released it at a time when there is much speculation on whether or not their products can be trusted. The commercial is sincere and forthright. They begin by reminding consumers of their long history, and why their image of high-quality is as strong as it is - it has been earned. Toyota then admits that they have not lived up to the expectations of their customers, and discuss, in detail, how they plan to make things right. It is a brilliant plea to consumers, and it goes a long way further than a quick statement to the press, or a news interview would.

In my view, Toyota has taken a major and (most likely) successful step in maintaining their brand image with this commercial and reassuring consumers of their commitment to quality.

What do you think?

Friday, February 5, 2010

Ford Demonstrates Innovative Viral Marketing

I've written about Ford several times on this blog for several reasons. One was in response to their move towards a brand image built on innovation as they rolled out the new Taurus model; another was to give an account of how one of their direct marketing programs failed for them while succeeding for me financially. I find that Ford offers a lot in the way of marketing case studies. It is one of our great American corporations with an undeniably rich history of innovation during a period of rapid change (technologically, and otherwise), lending itself to a bevy of marketing challenges along the way.

Today, I read an interesting article detailing the way Ford has benefited from social marketing by utilizing regular, tech-savvy citizens as catalysts for the viral distribution of their brand message towards a broader public. The program is called the Fiesta Movement. You can read about this program, its effects on Ford, and what it may mean to the marketing industry at the link below.