At the Doorstep, on the Corner, in the Bedroom

    April 24, 2006

A weekend of real life inevitably includes marketing experiences worthy of a blog post.

“Every Yard a Billboard”

An early morning run included visual distraction from the latest newspaper bag ad. Nearly every driveway I passed told me about Vital Radiance-a new cosmetic aimed at female Baby Boomers.

The ad was served up by The Sunflower Group who sometimes includes samples with their splashy, driveway surprises.

Around Valentine’s Day, all the news that’s fit to print came with a mini Harlequin novel. It was a simple, smart and small way to surprise and delight consumers. While I did not read the “romantic literature,” it was a creative way for two mainstream mediums to team up and remind us of their relevancy.

But like any ad medium, this intrusive tactic can be done well and poorly. Vital Radiance simply offered a brochure, 800 # and URL where folks can get a free sample. This approach seems more like work than it does engaging the consumer. After investing a pretty penny to pull off this Sunday-morning blitz, what’s to keep the brochure from being tossed into the recycling bin along with the bag?

Akeelah Overkill?

Jaffe Juice’s recent Akeelah Experience prompted me to put my nearest Starbucks’ barista to the test. After asking her what Akeelah and the Bee is, she quickly noted “it is a movie that Starbucks produced about a spelling bee.” Mercifully, she left it at that.

Unexpected static cling window stickers greeted me at the door with sample spelling bee names. The cup sleeve pushes me the Web site. These were smart, simple and unexpected. Thumbs up. But the whole store was festooned with shades of light green and yellow. Even the promotional signage, seemingly having nothing to do with Akeelah, was a similar shade as was some of the new packaging.

The end result? AKEELAH OVERLOAD!

Jaffe Juice notes that more should have been done to engage the customer, including online spelling competitions and other ways to build, er, buzz for the forthcoming spelling bee flick. I’ll add they should cease and desist on the visual assault. For the first time since I started picking up my low-maintenance, black coffee (Venti), the hip corner hangout felt like an uber-discount store with a melee of signs, all screaming for your attention but instead wind up pushing you to the door in escape.

Bedroom and Way Beyond

My wife was reading in bed last night when I came upstairs. The only detail making this noteworthy is that she looked like an extra from Apocalypto. She was testing an Olay Deep Cleansing Clay Face Mask. It was in her Vocalpoint sample pack. I’m pleased to report it did make her face feel even smoother, creating two happy customers.

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Kevin Dugan is the author of the popular Strategic Public Relations blog. Kevin is Director of Marketing Communications for FRCH Design Worldwide.

Visit Kevin’s blog: Strategic Public Relations.