Marketers hit global stage for World Cup

16 06 2010

While 32 Nations from around the world battle it out on the pitch in South Africa, a wide-range of advertisers are jumping in on the action. Various brands have launched major campaigns and buzz initiatives in hopes that Rooney, Kaka, and Ronaldo aren’t the only names being talked about this month.

The Good
Although the victor of the World Cup won’t be determined until July 11th, we already know who has won the advertising game: Nike.  Even though Adidas is an “Official FIFA sponsor”, Nike has completely stolen the show with their “Write The Future” campaign with huge buzz and over 15 million views on YouTube since it was launched just one month ago.  According to Nielson, Nike has an incredible 30.2% share of official and competitor buzz, while Adidas is a distant-second with 14.4%.

Budweiser, who is no stranger to shelling out boatloads of money on advertising, is the Official Beer Sponsor of the World Cup (surprise, surprise).  While their “Kick” ads, are only ok (one man’s opinion), their “Bud House” fully-integrated social media campaign where they have put one fan from each country in the same house and followers vote for who they like best is actually quite interesting and consumer-involved, but has yet to create much buzz.

Carlsberg, on the other hand, has capitalized on their sponsorship of England’s team with their “Team Talk” campaign.  According to Nielson, these spots have created 3.9% share of buzz, which is more than both McDonald’s and Hyundai (which are both Official FIFA Sponsors).  Just goes to show, you don’t have to be a giant to compete; you only need good ideas.

The Bad
Possibly the most talked about brand in the last couple months is BP.  With so much bad press lately regarding their royal screw-up in the Gulf, it would probably be a good idea for them to lay low for a while.  They thought differently.  BP has taken it upon themselves to become the “Official Fuel Sponsor” of the World Cup.  And not only that; they are boasting to “brighten” the games in South Africa in ads and on their Web site.

In fairness to BP, their WC sponsorship was inked years ago, but seeing them trying to promote themselves as a good corporate citizen in South Africa and around the world is just maddening.  Does anyone know the Zulu word for “dick heads”?

The Naked?
I read in an article in AdAge today that if Argentina wins the World Cup, Pepsi plans to follow the example of Argentina’s coach Diego Maradona, who says he’ll celebrate by running around naked in Buenos Aires, by selling their products with no label for a week in Argentina.  It’s a fun idea and one that has already caused major buzz in Argentina and around the world.

Pepsi has already made their mark on the World Cup with their “Oh Africa” campaign featuring soccer studs Didier Drogba, Thierry Henry, and even Argentina’s golden boy, Lionel Messi.  Even though Coca-Cola is an Official FIFA Sponsor, Pepsi has made sure they weren’t left out of the party.


New home in the Second City

11 02 2010

“My kind of town,
Chicago is my kind of town,
Chicago is my kind of razzmatazz
And it has all that jazz.”

If you couldn’t tell from the above, I have packed up and moved to the Windy City.  I am now working with Great Lakes Marketing Group in conjunction with the American Sail Training Association (ASTA) to promote and strategically plan the Great Lakes United Tall Ships Challenge 2010.  The GLU Tall Ships Challenge 2010 is a series of port festivals across the Great Lakes in up to 10 different ports.  There will be 25-30 Tall Ships in the Great Lakes this summer making their rounds the various ports.  Working and living in Chicago, my focus is on the Pepsi Tall Ships Challenge 2010 event that will take place at Navy Pier (downtown Chicago) from August 24th-29th.  It will be a grand event that will start with the “Parade of Sail” on the 24th, where all 20-22 ships will come into to dock with their sails at full mast.  There will be fireworks every night and we are expecting 1-2 million visitors over the course of the event.

I am also working very closely with the Tall Ship Windy and Red Witch (Chicago’s official Tall Ships) to plan and execute their 2010 marketing and advertising plan.  This year, Tall Ship Windy and Red Witch will be brought together under the umbrella “Tall Ship Adventures of Chicago”.  I am working closely with Captain Bruce Randall to initiate a strategic branding campaign. I’ll have a ton of responsibility but it’s going to be fun.


Aside from work, I am getting use to living life in Chicago.  I’ve never lived in big city before (unless you count Hamburg), so I’m adjusting to the hustle and bustle.  I’m living in very interesting and diverse area of the city.  I live in Lakeview on the edge of Wrigleyville and neighboring Boystown.  There are tons of cool bars, local restaurants, and interesting shops and theaters.  We are in the dead of winter right now (foot of snow the other day), so I am really looking forward to the summer.  It will be nice to be away from Florida’s harsh summers as well, living a block from Lake Michigan will also be very cool.

79 Questions

11 12 2009

Well not really, but I had a lot.  Last week, I was in Chicago and I got the opportunity to meet with an awesome planner, AJ Livsey, from Element 79, a mid-sized ad agency.  She is the planner on one of E79’s biggest accounts, Harris Bank.  The agency is located in the AON Center, just a couple floors below ad giant, DDB.  As the elevator doors opened, I walked out into a gold-themed lobby and let the receptionist know I had an appointment.  After sitting there for a 5 or 10 minutes, a guy ran out a said “Hey!  Are you Brian?”  Awkwardly I told him yes, and he had me follow him around the corner.  We came to a group of people doing a video shoot, as AJ was lacing up a pair of 1970’s style roller skates.  Evidently it was part of new business pitch, but it was interesting to get a glimpse of the agency culture at E79.

After AJ finished her roller skating video, she showed me around the agency.  It really wasn’t what I was expected as it looked more like a law office than an ad agency.  AJ informed me that the office was built like that before they moved there so they didn’t have much to work with from the beginning.  However there were flurries of creativity throughout the agency for example in the hallway completely covered with graffiti tags as well as the conference room with chalk boards as walls with colorful, inspired drawings covering it.

After getting Starbucks, we headed to a quiet spot to talk.  She asked me about my projects at MASE and I asked her about her work at E79.   Evidently, there are only 4 planners in the entire agency (not a very strategically minded agency), and she works solely on the Harris Bank account.  She explained how they have branded the bank as “help”, and how she works with the creatives to create campaigns to express the brand.

We had a great talk about planning, getting a job, and advertising in general.  Evidently, she has a roommate that is also a planner who has experience at Wieden as well as Y+R, but has been jobless for the last 7 months.  It was kind of a blow to my optimism, but she gave the advice that a lot of smaller agencies don’t get people from ad schools so maybe that would be a good route to go.

Guinness Storehouse re-invents 250 year-old brand

6 11 2009

This summer, I spent 12-weeks in Germany for school, but after that I got the chance to backpack through seven countries in Europe.  My last stop before returning to the US, was Dublin, Ireland.  Ever since I was little, I always wanted to go to Ireland for the beautiful countryside, but since I hit college, and got a taste for beer, there became another reason I wanted to go.  When telling people I was going to Dublin (or “Publin” as many Europeans playfully call it), they always said, “Make sure you go to the Guinness Storehouse!”

When I arrived to rainy Dublin, there were many things on my to-do list, but at the top of that list was the Guinness Storehouse.  As I approached the imposing, seven-story brick building in a gritty, industrial part of Dublin, I really didn’t know what to expect except that I would see how the famous “Black Gold” is brewed.  When I stepped inside, I was blown away by the ultra-modern design that awaited me.   As you arrive, you are almost in awe by the sight of the modern glass-and-steel interior which is illuminated by a dramatic combination of natural and artificial light. When you walk in, you climb a short, narrow set of stairs before emerging into a cavernous atrium.  It’s shaped roughly like a pint glass, with a circular pub, the Gravity Bar, at the top that glows white at night (like the suds atop a freshly poured Guinness).  Set into the floor is the contract that Sir Arthur Guinness himself signed for the brewery site — a 9,000-year lease for the price of just 45 Irish punts a year.

Guinness Storehouse

The Storehouse Lease

As I was strolling through the Storehouse, I was realizing something.  This isn’t just your average tourist attraction.  This is the personification of the re-invention of the Guinness brand.  After doing some research, I learned I was right.  The Storehouse was built in the year 2000 to breathe life into the aging brand.  While I was in Dublin, Guinness was celebrating its 250 year anniversary, so it’s no surprise the brand is looked at as old and traditional.  So in an essence, the Storehouse is the physical manifestation of a serious marketing challenge: to reconnect Guinness with younger drinkers in Ireland. While the brand has conquered the world (the stout is brewed in 50 countries and sells an estimated 10 million glasses a day), Guinness started to go a bit flat at home. In the second half of 2001, sales of Guinness in Ireland actually fell by 3%. Why the slip? Because Guinness, like so many other well-loved but old-fashioned products, had come to be perceived as the choice of the senior set. Ireland’s younger crowd were switching to lighter drinks: lagers such as Heineken or trendy cocktails.

After dark, the Storehouse also hosts special events that attract both locals and executives: awards ceremonies, concerts, corporate parties, fashion shows, and gallery openings.  The evening events make the Storehouse a kind of community center.  And by bringing people in their twenties and thirties to the brewery, the events help Guinness connect with the brand’s future.

My free pint in the Gravity Bar

My free pint in the Gravity Bar

In my opinion, the Guinness Storehouse sets the bar for brand experiences.  I feel like Guinness has definitely accomplished their task of re-energizing their brand with Dubliners and tourists alike.  When I was at various pubs in Dublin, everyone (man, woman, young, old, whatever) had a Guinness in their hand.  And I have to admit, since being back in the States, I’ve ordered Guinness a few times and every time thought back on my time at the Storehouse.

What happened to us?

5 11 2009

A lot of bad stuff has happened to The United States in the last decade.  To start off the decade, we were attacked during 9/11, which was a terrible tragedy.  But what came from that tragedy was the true American spirit shined again.  Americans hadn’t had that much pride and brotherhood since WW2.  But then it got old, people got tired of Bush starting wars left and right, and then among many other problems, our economy crashed.  In a short 6-7 years, our country went from a prideful, unified nation to bitter, small, and extremely bipartisan.  In the last year after a new President was elected, half of the country was filled with hope of a better tomorrow, but the other half remained bitter and cold, and infected the rest of us like a virus.  Where has all that post 9/11 unity gone?  Where is the hope of change?  Where is the American spirit?

Right now, although things have gotten a little bit better, we are still in a terrible situation.  We are still involved in 2 wars, the economy is barely alive with unemployment numbers in the double digits, and millions of American still live without healthcare (including me).  But we’ll pull through it, right?  Just like after 9/11 and Pearl Harbor, right?  Wrong.  The problem today is we don’t have an enemy to rally against this time.  The enemy is ourselves and the only solution we’ve come up with so far is blame the other guy.

The New Guy

The New Guy

I say it’s time to forget about whose fault it is and just get started on a solution.  Although the government can only do so much, it is up to us to come together again.  If we aren’t unified, then we will stay in this crappy situation forever.  We need to stop listening to the main blamers like Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, and Keith Olbermann and start listening to Dodge.  Yep, that’s right.  Dodge.

Last night, while I was watching the World Series, a new Dodge Ram commercial came out that I had never seen before.  The title of the spot is “Manifesto” and it was done by The Richards Group out of Dallas.  The ad’s theme is “I am Ram” and carries quotes like, “I am fueled by optimism and a can-do spirit”.  Although the commercial is supposed to be selling trucks, it is really selling something that can’t be bought.  The renewed American spirit.

So the time has come.  It’s time to stop bitching and complaining about our current situation.  It’s time to stop sitting around a waiting for someone else to fix it.  It’s time stop blaming everyone but yourself.  The time has come to come together as American people and pull ourselves out of this mess.  I’m proud to be an American but I’m tired of it being a loser.  It’s going to be tough and the road will be long, but my name is Brian, and my tank is full.

Karma always catches up…even in the ad biz

4 11 2009

AT&T Wireless (the network provider for the iPhone) is suing Verizon Wireless over its “There’s a map for that” campaign, which compares the density of Verizon’s 3G network on the US map compared to that of AT&T’s (which is much sparser).  AT&T claims the spot is causing the No. 2 wireless carrier to lose “incalculable market share” and “invaluable goodwill.”  Verizon’s ad has gotten many good reviews from consumers who appreciate the humor of making fun at the iPhone’s “There’s an app for that” campaign.

There's a map for that

There's a map for that

AT&T is not actually disputing the comparison of their 3G coverage, but they are insisting that Verizon is painting a misleading picture that AT&T offers no coverage at all in the white space on the map, when it’s suppose to indicate where they don’t provide 3G.

This loss of market share comes very unsettling for AT&T and Apple as the holiday season quickly approaches.  According to, this will be the first holiday season since the iPhone released when it’s not the only viable option for a trendy smartphone.  Perhaps the biggest challenger is the new “Droid” by Motorolla, which not only runs off a Google operating system (one of Apple’s biggest competitors), but the network is provided by none other than Verizon.  At this moment, if you are a self-titled “Mac” (the cultish name Apple lovers give themselves) you might start feeling bad for their current woes.

However, I argue that Apple did this to themselves.  Although it is AT&T who is losing market share, it is at the hand iPhone sales and Apple is anything but an innocent party.  How long have we been watching the played-out Mac vs. PC ads that depict PC users as nerdy, awkward and accident proned?

It’s my opinion this is a direct effect of karma.  Karma is defined as “the cosmic principle according to which each person is rewarded or punished in one incarnation according to that person’s deeds in the previous incarnation”.  All of those ads making fun of innocent Bill Gates and his sometimes malfunctioning personal computers has finally caught up to them.  Apple has laughed all the way to the bank and a growing market share over the last few years off the backs of these ads.  But now, when someone does it to them, they throw a fit and sue (The American Way).

I think this instance should set an example to the rest of the advertising world.  It’s like my mother always told me, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all”.  It will catch up to you in the end…it’s the rule of the Universe.  Maybe TBWA/Chiat Day (Apple’s Ad Agency) and the people at Apple will now think twice before slinging mud since now they know it’s not too fun to get it in your eyes.

First Day of School!

6 07 2009

Today was the first day of school and it went really well.  It started with an orientation with Niklas, the school headmaster and then we went right into Account Planning work with a woman named Alison Segar of “Segar Planning” who is currently working with companies like Hyundai, Coca-Cola, and Naked (popular fruit juice).  She is really cool and very smart.  We had class from about 11am to about 5pm with a few breaks in between.  After that we had a tech-orientation thing and I realized I was the only one in the program without an Apple computer…whatever, I’m different and being different in advertising is cool.

The library at MASE (Miami Ad School Europe)

The library at MASE (Miami Ad School Europe)

After school, I went to dinner with Matt, Joe, Justin and a few other people from school to this really good (and cheap) Thai restaurant.  We then went to the Internet Café, had a beer and headed home which is when I decided to start this blog and I am now up to date…Yay!