When experience fails advertising.

I've been in NYC the past few days. Please excuse the massive break in the blog. My next few posts will probably be based on my trip. This entry is about living up to your brand promise.

I flew Jet Blue for the first time, with very different results going and coming.

Our local airport does not have a Jet Blue terminal. In fact, there are only a few flights a day that go to NYC. Jet Blue really has no control over the terminal or airport situation. And that's when the experience starts to contradict the advertising message. 

Jet Blue has this idea of "Happy jetting." When you see this message on the little screen in front of you, during the second time you've boarded the plane, right after they've told you that you're going back to the gate to get off it again, you might have a similar reaction to mine. I was infuriated. I mentally declared I was never "jetting" again, that this brand promise had not only failed me, but made me more angry than I would have been otherwise.

Also, our airport pretty much shuts down at eight or so. We had no food, no entertainment. And the measly offer of Doritos snack mix didn't make me any perkier. I was stuck in a grey airport in an uncomfortable chair with people telling me my flight "may" take off soon. Ultimately my flight was delayed eight hours - not Jet Blue's fault, it was the weather, but still I irrationally blamed them.

My return trip showed me what "Happy jetting" was supposed to be. JFK has a Jet Blue terminal, so ultimately the company can fulfill their brand promise because they are controlling the situation. The carpets were bright blue with streaks of orange. There were people everywhere just to answer questions. There was a Jamba Juice and other good food. They had special stuffed, soft seats with free-standing ottomans in all different colors that could be moved around. I was reclining. The announcements were loud and clear. Everything was clean and gleaming. They had free Wi-Fi internet and stations for people without computers. It was terminal heaven.

Of course my flight was on-time here. My only complaint is that some of my channels were out on the way back, so I didn't get to see the "Happy jetting" message again. That time I might have liked it.


Overheard while voting.

I know I just did an overheard entry, but this was too good for me to pass up.

The place where I voted yesterday (for Obama, in case there was any question) was run by four older women and an older man. I'm second in line at this point and can clearly hear this conversation.

Older man: I'm going to run to the bathroom. (Walks off)

One older woman to another: I think he has a problem. That's the second time he's gone.


Heather the writer.

I don't think the McCain campaign is ever going to cite me or my profession in their laundry list of "[first name] the [profession]" people they're trying to win over. But I suppose I'm not a prime target.

It's an annoying and infuriating tactic, but it's one of the few concrete things I've seen from the McCain campaign since it began. The name/profession game is definitely some sort of branding, something you can hold on to. I sincerely hope it's not successful, but for me, it's about to turn into fun.

Who else is not the McCain target?

Bill the philanthropist.
Eunice the librarian.
Dora the explorer.
Tina the lesbian.
Ryder the college student.
David the unemployed.
Tyrone the teacher.
Colin the former Secretary of State.
Candice the journalist.
Lee the designer.
Stephen the Hawaiian.
Derek the agnostic.

And hopefully more.



Small child at Chick-fil-a:

Ama gah blue EEEEEEEVA.

And repeat. And repeat. (Father clamps hand over son's mouth for approximately 10 seconds.) And repeat. And repeat.

Ama gah blue EEEEEEEVA.


If television becomes obsolete.

Last week was a mad rush to the finish. Sorry I didn't do any updates.

I've had a couple conversations lately where I or someone around me has casually said, "Television will become obsolete." Nobody has offered any further explanation orally, so I thought I'd expand my thoughts here.

I think I first need to clarify that television, as we know it, will become obsolete. There will certainly be shows but I doubt they will be delivered in the same manner. The ability to DVR and fast-forward has decreased the value of television to advertisers. To remedy that, television will move towards an on-demand system where viewers choose their own shows that are sponsored by one advertiser at a time. We have that now with on-demand channels that have limited offerings and online where television shows stream from network sites. Advertisers and viewers both benefit from this delivery. Why can't every show be like that? Seems like shows would be viewed more if people could try them out on their own schedules. I'd be interested to see which shows survived this Darwin approach.

But that's just thinking in the short-term. I'd like to see all household media come into one place, the place where the television used to be. Could the "television" now run off the internet so that it was actually a type of computer screen? Could you run security off of that, choosing different parts of your home to monitor, making sure windows were locked and lights were out? Could you choose news segments, skipping through the weather report to find out how alligator sightings will impact your weekend? How about picking your own sponsors - your given a list, you have to watch at least two ads, you choose? What about YouTube? 

It seems like a few of these are happening - my parents' caller ID comes up on their TV screen. And my Wii runs the news and weather. My computer lets me choose segments and shows. There are a few on-demand channels. But it could definitely be better. All of these technologies could be combined to cater to the individual and help advertising become more effective.

Television will not be the same and I probably couldn't sit here and tell you how. But I'm excited to find out.


Keeping up.

Media moves fast. I always feel like I'm behind, but that's probably because almost everyone is. Here's an inventory of what am I using, what do I want to find out more about, and what's slipping away?

I use: Blogger, Google Analytics, Facebook, Flickr, Picasa, iPhone, AIM/iChat, YouTube, Wii, DVR, Netflix, personal website, Linkedin, Wikipedia, television online, iPod, digital cameras, Craigslist.org, TripAdvisor, online shopping, iTunes

Sub category - How I communicate: text message, email, in person, instant message, phone, mail, links, blog, Facebook

I want to learn more about: Twitter, Google Reader and the full extent of Google, XBox Live, online gambling, streaming music sites, file sharing sites, Blinkx, Nike +, Apple tv, digital video cameras, Tom Tom and other GPS, Digg.com, Spore, and all the things I've heard of but can't think of and all the things I haven't even heard of... I'm ambitious here.

I know but I've let go of: MySpace, Mobile Me, Skype, Widgets, online dating (just let it be known that I know how to navigate them), Podcast, Friendster, Photobucket, Webkinz, Second Life



I tried to write this entry last night from my iPhone, but it wouldn't work. It's sad when my technology fails me. It hurts my faith in the iPhone's seemingly limitless power.

Yesterday I spent a portion of my day surfing stock photo sites. Eventually I got extremely frustrated with the stock photo process and thought to myself, "I'm a writer. Why am I doing this?"

But I did not and would not say that out loud. The truth is, I love being included on all aspects of projects. And I welcome help on my copy from art directors as well.

I find the disconnect happens most often when a logo project comes up. It's not enough to just have a designer on it. Copywriters think differently. They can add to a design project and offer suggestions that designers may not come up with on their own. A logo will be smarter and more conceptual when two opposing thinkers are working to create it. Just like any project.

Go team.


Exclamation points

My writing teacher once told me that you only got two exclamation points for your whole life!!

Since I used them all up just then, I'll have to rely on other things to get emotions across.

"Look," she said, raising her voice and her arm as swiftly as I turned my head.

She held the door opened and inhaled deeply, filling her lungs to capacity before she let it all go in a rush of words. "Get out of here."

He looked behind us. He looked down. He looked behind us again. The decision was made before he even said, "Jump."

When the spotlight hit him, his body contorted and stopped mid-motion and his eyes went wide as he spat out the words, "Don't shoot," before guns were even drawn.


ATTACK and surrender.

Attack advertising does not get anybody anywhere. I'm not talking about the mildly funny "I'm a Mac"ads. I'm talking about being downright mean to your opponent. I'm talking about ignoring your own inadequacies while lashing out at your opponent.

If your company is struggling in the market, there is something inherently wrong with your brand. It might be that your product doesn't work. It might be that you've gone astray in earlier advertisements. It might be that your message is not speaking to your intended audience. A lot of the times, it's because you're afraid of change.

Listen up: if the only thing you have going for you is an old name, you will fail. Relying on your name or your experience will not be enough. You have to change with the times, not fight them because they don't make sense to you.

Change happens. New, young, hip brands come into play. And you have to adapt your product and your message to stay current. Attacking those brands because they are young and hip, criticizing them for inexperience, is not going to win you a place in the hearts and minds of consumers.

Try to think about yourself. How are you young and hip? How do you tackle a problem? Forget about the other guy. He's got his share; he's got his message. Focus on yourself and making those changes necessary to your brand's survival.

John McCain (yes, here we go) needs to take an honest look at what he is trying to portray about himself. What is his message? Because if his only message is, "Hey, this new guy is a stranger and I've been here forever," he's in trouble. Not only for contradicting his own decisions, like his desperate attempt at saving his failing brand with the incredibly new Sarah Palin, but for calling attention to the very reasons we like Obama and not McCain.

Obama is young and fresh. Obama has a plan. Obama does not stoop to calling another person a terrorist with no basis. In fact, if he does mention McCain, he talks about real things that happened in the past, relevant things. Obama seems to be focused on his own plan and his eventual presidency so much that he barely acknowledges the crazy man in the background shouting lies about him. McCain comes off as old, whiny and out-of-touch.

Obama is definitely the Mac. McCain isn't even a lovable PC.


Mall ads.

Nice space if it was used to its fullest. 

Follow-up: I was back at the mall the next day (I failed to reach my goals the night before) and looking at this escalator again. Seems like a great place for a shoe or sock ad, since that's the part of the people the ad takes up. A string of shoes going down would be funny, especially when people lined up with them. It'd be a great ad for a store in the mall but maybe an even better ad for DSW, to drive people out of the mall to a free-standing store.

You could do the same with clothes, if you covered the window portion instead of the bottom area.

Posted by ShoZu


Why can't advertisements be genius?

Okay, iTunes Genius is brilliant. I'm constantly amazed at the excellent songs it pairs up. It's all I listen to now. I pick a song I'm in the mood for and just jam out.

Why can't advertising be as smart as iTunes Genius? Is there not some way to leverage this?

Here's a commercial I like for a product I would buy. Now show me more! I know this happens a little bit, mainly on the internet. Television needs to catch up. I'm so much happier influencing my surroundings. A commercial break tailored to me? I might actually watch that. (I also may be a little bias.)