Marketing: February 2011 Archives

united-cont-plane1.jpgSo the new United Continental "interim" ad campaign prefaces the new signage that will appear on billboards and in stadiums bearing the new United typography and somewhat familiar logo. As reported by the Wall Street Journal, the new ads will not have a tagline but will focus on the company's rosy new "outlook" as well as "low-fare guarantees and various product attributes, according to a review of six examples."

The new logo will be on all of the online and offline advertising and will mark the official end of United's "tulip" logo, which travelers have known since the 1970s. This has caused some consternation among tourists who remember the tulip fondly. old-united-logo.pngThere is even a Facebook group with 24,550 members devoted to saving it. At least United's theme song, Rhapsody in Blue, by Gershwin will remain.

United Continental has found prosperity in these hard times and the generally positive outlook of the airline seems to be rubbing off on industry watchers, who at first seemed skeptical about the awkward company naming (one blogger wondered if Continental "feels like the kid whose mom forces him to take his stepdad's last name").

I have watched this merger for some time and feel that the earlier proposed designs were not as good as what is now on the planes. The new design "combines the United brand in a new sans serif font across the fuselage with Continental's familiar globe on the tail."

As far as the demise of the tulip goes, I am impressed by how much emotion its loss has evoked in the blogosphere, but I am not surprised. That tulip really stood for the United Airlines of yesterday and the new design melds the two huge brands rather well. It was time to say good-bye.


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Code Naming For Ram's New Adventurer Likely to Stay

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Ram-1500-Adventurer.png

The Ram 1500 Adventurer (that's its code name) looks like a pretty solid truck to me. It's a low cost ($23,800) version of the Tradesman and it looks like the name is going to stay despite some statements to the contrary.

The press release has it down as "yet to be named" but I sense that they are floating the name to see how the press likes it. I note that may blogs simply call it the Adventurer and the name fits the youthful, first time buyer demographic that it is aimed at.

Just think about it: your dad may be a "Tradesman" but you still have wanderlust and a taste for adventure. Plus, it carries the same "HEMI V8" engine as the Tradesman - leading one blogger to note that "even if it was rubbish just the name HEMI is enough reason to like it because it's just so cool!"

That HEMI name, a clipping of hemisphere, is a trademarked name for the Chrysler HEMI engine that uses a hemispherical combustion chamber, which has been an object of desire for Chrysler lovers since the 1950s.

Putting it in all-caps highlights its importance and is designed to draw attention to this enduring trademark. Cars with Hemi engines are often collector's items and linking that trademark to this new entry level vehicle is a stroke of brilliance for Ram.

The whole issue of assigning code names to cars that are still in production is an obvious means of drawing interest to a new brand category. I see it most often in the world of computers, where the code names seem to actually fall away when the gizmo is released.

I think of Microsoft's "Vistagami" code name. Apple, on the other hand, has been naming its operating system after cats - a practice that began as code names. Apple's "brick" code name for its aluminum manufacturing process related to the creation of its notebooks thankfully, did not go as far.

I'm betting that the Adventurer name stays because it fits and it would be silly to rename a product that has already gotten such positive attention in the press.

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big-flats-beer.pngWalgreens is selling a beer with an unusual name: Big Flats 1901. The beer seems to be named after the Town of Big Flats in upstate New York with a retail price of $2.99 for a six pack.

Until its release, however, the good people of Big Flats had no idea the beer was being made and still don't have a clear understand of why this name was chosen by The Winery Exchange Inc. of Novato, California.

My intuition would say that it might have something to do with the fact that the beer is created in a nearby Rochester brewery, but upon the release of the suds, The Wine Exchange claimed that the name "pays homage to the flat boats that traveled upstate New York rivers delivering goods to early settlers."

Whatever the reason for the name, the people of Big Flats hope this might drive an unexpected surge in tourism this summer. However, Stephen Colbert has already poked fun at the ultra cheap beer on his show, saying, "Yes, Big Flats!...Big, as in the quantity that you can buy with the change between your couch cushions, and flat, for both its taste and the position it'll put your body in." He also said "Big Flats is also the name of a 19th century venereal disease." Ouch.

Still, the beer has a small fan base on the blogosphere but an even larger group of retractors.

I just have to wonder how anyone could put the word "flat" in a beer name.

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In the naming and branding business, brand loyalty is almost a mantra. So it is with some chagrin that I reviewed two articles that seem to indicate that brand loyalty is quickly fading, especially among consumers who are 25-49.

The problem seems to be that these consumers are able to do hefty amounts of research online about products that they want. No longer can a strong, recognizable brand name swing the buy, it appears.

I am willing to agree that today's savvy consumer is not going to blindly buy products made by one brand name or another - but is brand loyalty actually dead? I think that reports of the death of brand loyalty have been greatly exaggerated.

Hyundai.pngThe fact is, we still see tremendous amounts of it. Hyundai, for instance, has been telling all about its second consecutive place at the head of the Brand Keys Customer Loyalty Engagement Index (CLEI). Surely Hyundai buyers are between the age of 25-49?

Those same people are busy updating their Facebook pages, and giving further loyalty to a mighty brand name that is pulling ahead of Twitter, MySpace, and LinkedIn at a rapid rate -- while those same brands also retain a broad loyalty base.

Media brands of all types top the brand loyalty index - Netflix edged out Apple, which has been sitting there ever since the first generation iPod came to us. And again, the major users of these brands are that same demographic that supposedly does not have much customer loyalty.

Today's demanding consumer wants to be "delighted" by innovation, quality and performance. No longer will customers accept a sub par product bearing a well known name.

And, given the sheer amount of brands that we interact with on a weekly, monthly and yearly basis, it seems unlikely that we will be loyal across the board. But should the brand name be married to a great, innovative, "delightful" product, loyalty will and does ensue. This is Brand Management 101.

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Super Bowl Naming and Branding the Big Winner on Sunday

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Super Bowl brand naming and branding is here to tell you that the recession is over, according to CNN.

The ads are no longer about wounded Americans and instead in the familiar territory of "post-adolescent guy humor" bought and created at huge expense. Coca-Cola's "Siege" ad gave us a fantasy world of warring humanoids, while Kia brought us to alien planets. The tagline on a Chrysler ad featuring Eminem, "Imported From Detroit," was a big hit indeed.

VWCommercial.pngThere were big brand names jockeying for position alongside big celebrity names to create an advertising sideshow that almost dwarfed the game itself.

Think Audi, Best Buy, Careerbuilder, Coca-Cola Doritos, E-Trade, GoDaddy, Pepsi, Skechers, Snickers, Volkswagen and Bud Light meet Justin Bieber, Kim Kardashian, Roseanne Barr and Ozzy Osbourne. And, oh yes, a mini-Darth Vader who did a brilliant job shilling for VW.

Best Buy handed Justin Bieber a million bucks to promote its brand name alongside Ozzy Osbourne.
GoDaddy gave us new girl to ogle, a move that earned it a great deal of hatred on the internet.

But the real loser this year was Groupon, who decided it would be funny to lend their brand name to making fun of Tibet.

You can get a good round up here and here.

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