Bowls of brand flakes

It’s that time of year again—college football bowl game time. The TicketCity Bowl in Dallas, the Allstate Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl in Nashville…

What the hell do these names have to do with football?

And what sort of brand value comes from simply slapping your name on an event?

TicketCity doesn’t even sell tickets to the Bowl game they sponsor. (Thanks, SportsPickle!)

Only a few game sponsorships make sense, like Tostitos Fiesta Bowl and Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl. Anyone can see the relationships there.

Who cares if there’s a relationship? Well, that relationship makes the brand easier to remember. And isn’t that the point?

These brands could all learn from Mountain Dew.

A while ago, I heard Mountain Dew was coming out with new flavors again—something that hasn’t gone too well for them in the past. This time, they let Dew-drinking fans decide. And the new one, as they say, “chosen for the people, by the people,” was White Out.

Snowboarder over halfpipe and Dew White Out signs

A week ago, I tuned in to the Winter Dew Tour on NBC. The snowboard halfpipe competition was airing live from Breckenridge, Colorado. I could barely tell which snowboarders were in the pipe because of the heavy snow falling. It was a literal white out.

The camera zoomed in to the starting area and there it was, the most perfect brand placement ever. A barrel cooler of Mountain Dew White Out…in white out conditions. What a way to promote the product!

Dew definitely knows its target audience.

Other brands should be more like Dew and put more thought behind choosing events that make the most sense. Yes, sometimes the decision might be based on the amount of  reach and visibility. And that’s ok, as long as the audience the event is most visible to is your target audience.

As for the college bowls, brands would get more bang for their buck if they sponsored events that made sense. Like instead of Allstate, maybe UPS could sponsor the Sugar Bowl and name it the Brown Sugar Bowl.

Well, I was going to say Domino, but it’s kind of not their target audience. And hey, how much fun could UPS have with that? Maybe someone can forward this blog to them??

Or, do you have any better ideas?


Have you seen Mountain Dew’s “Waves” commercial yet? I love the creativity, and it’s what inspired me to talk about Dew this week. And tune in to the Winter Dew Tour. There are two events left. (Above photo of snowboarder JJ Thomas is from the official Dew Tour site.)

Toys for Tots: A simple idea, an easy way to give

Many companies and organizations start based on a very simple idea: Someone sees a need and decides to fill it.

In 1947, Toys for Tots started in this same way. Diane Hendricks made a doll and asked her husband, Major Bill Hendricks of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves, to give the doll to an organization that would give it to a needy child at Christmas.

Major Hendricks couldn’t find one, so he started Toys for Tots. That year, he and his group of Marine Corps Reservists collected and gave out 5,000 toys. Not a bad start! (No wonder he ended his career as a colonel.)

If you’re not familiar with Toys for Tots, it’s one of the easiest ways to help needy kids smile. Each year, more and more places become toy drop-off locations. You’ll see drop-off boxes in stores, in doctors’ offices, in office buildings and even at other charity events.

You can spend as much or as little as you want. Buy a football or board game. Buy a doll or a toy truck. Toys“R”Us usually has Toys for Tots drop boxes, so you can add one more toy to your cart and drop it off on your way out the door. You don’t even wrap it.

The Marines have kept this donation program going for 63 years—44 years without an official foundation to support their national efforts. Pretty darn impressive—but then, would we expect anything less from Marines?

I love kids, and this is such an easy way to donate that I give every year. Another reason I give, though, is because of the Marines. I figure, if these men and women can find time to help even in times of war, then I have no excuse not to give.

And, since this is a marketing blog, I’ll add what a great example this is for businesses to follow:

  • Find a need and fill it.
  • Make it easy for your customers to take action.
  • Maintain a strong, honorable brand.

But today’s blog isn’t really about marketing. I just thought I’d take this holiday time to focus on a real story of giving.

And, Toys for Tots is a great way to introduce your kids to the idea of giving. It’s so easy, even a 2-year-old can do it. (The above picture is my niece–with her mom–after she donated her first toy last year. )


Happy Holidays everyone! Enjoy the time with the ones you love. Let’s keep the spirit of giving going, every month of each year. Can’t afford to give this yea? Try these free ways to help others: Fight hunger and learn new words at the same time at Free Rice. Click to help the cause of your choice at the Hunger Site.

Small business support + Innovation = Intuit

Last week, I talked about how Logitech missed the mark with their Kevin Bacon ad. This week, I want to show you a company that does it right—Intuit.

In their “Small business, rejoice” commercials, they entertain, but they also inform. (If you remember, Logitech was weak on the inform part.)

Let’s look at this first ad:

Is it as entertaining as the Kevin Bacon commercial? No. But, do you walk away knowing what you’ll get from Intuit? Yes. And that’s what’s important.

Intuit’s products and services make you feel like you have a back room full of business experts ready to help you. That’s the message the audience gets.

It’s also the message Intuit wants you to get. Know how I know? After I started writing this, I found Intuit’s own statement on their YouTube page:

“Intuit helps small businesses thrive. Our products and services simplify small business financial management, marketing and payroll.”

Their different commercials address these points. How much more simple can you get than running credit card payments through a cell phone? Check this out:

Small businesses rely on innovation and flexibility to thrive. Intuit proves—with their advertising and their product development—that they know their audience.

Small business, rejoice, indeed.


Crisp Bacon but soggy Logitech

Kevin Bacon has truly outdone himself. Logitech’s new commercial is hilarious! See for yourself:

The problem is the ad is a waste of money. The buzz created isn’t about Logitech, it’s about Kevin Bacon. And who really knows what the commercial was for?

Ok, sure, it’s for some keyboard doohickey that lets you use Google TV. Well, what does that mean?

They spent so much time on the funny Kevin Bacon part that they left too little time to explain what their product does. Assuming that we already know is a risky move.

Did Logitech create the ad only for the narrow audience that understands Google TV? Or did they think being funny was enough to drive people to buy their product?

Either way, that’s bad advertising.

Watching the commercial, I kept asking myself, “How is that any different from me using my Verizon guide? Or the guide and a web-connected Blu-ray player?”

And, if Verizon isn’t quite up to speed now, won’t they be soon? Given Verizon’s competitive abilities, I think that’s the safe bet.

Why would I buy Logitech’s keyboard?

Kevin Bacon gave us reasons to laugh. Too bad Logitech didn’t give us a reason to buy.


If you want to know more about Google TV, check out Gizmodo’s site. They did a good job of explaining it.