Posts con el tag ‘Medios Masivos’

From Goodvertising to Meaningful Brands

It’s a fact: people value brands less and less. Ninety-one percent of Spaniards say that they could do without brands altogether. The Meaningful Brands study, conducted since 2008 by the Havas Group, shows that a majority of consumers wouldn’t mind if practically all brands disappeared.

One proposed solution is to create “advertising for people”, as argued by Thomas Kolster, who coined the term goodvertising. This is the concept of sustainable communication, which proposes that advertising should be used to improve the planet and educate society.

Just advertising? Communication as a transformative element, as we saw in the last Super Bowl, where ten spots were clearly oriented toward the social value of brands? Or communication as the tip of the marketing iceberg? Let’s review the question of whether brands need more than advertising. Here are two examples I love (two steps forward):

-          Mattel’s iconic Barbie doll is now available in three more realistic body types – tall, curvy and petite – and seven different skin tones. It’s an attempt to make the doll relevant and beloved again. More dolls, more ways for girls to use their imagination with a Barbie. Doing good and making a positive change in people’s lives.


-          Pontevedra has been recognised by numerous international bodies – the Urban Institute of Beijing, the prestigious Centre for Active Design, the UN Habitat programme, etc. – for a mobility design that increases the livability of this small Spanish city. The main marketing contribution is Metrominuto, a pedestrian map that indicates walking distances, which has now been introduced in more than 30 cities around the world.

In the words of Miguel Anxo Fernández Lores, the mayor of Pontevedra: “Sometimes I feel like a preacher.” Or, as implied by the Soul Marketing concept, when managers embrace their role as citizen-consumers, learn to grasp contradictions and understand the need to enhance positive effects on society, they can create projects that end up generating solutions and advertising that is valuable to people.

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Social marketing craftsmen: 2015 ESADE vintage

This year, I am once again proud to present two projects that our students are developing alongside faculty members according to the problem-based service learning methodology. Year after year, this is one of our best teaching experiences –the sort of project that, in the words of the professors, “gives meaning to our work, experience and dedication”.

-          The ACIDH group is working with an NGO focused on persons with limited intelligence (PLI) with the marketing objective of increasing their online presence.

-          The blood bank group is once again fighting to increase blood donations on our campus, in terms of both total donations and first-time donors. Great claim (“product costs nothing, but worth everything”), great video

Both projects are developed in a way that allows students to reach their own conclusions about whether marketing is a way to address social problems. And they decide what kind of impact they want to have in their professional career (to quote Seth Godin, “the impact comes from the craftsman, not the tool”).

So far, they have convinced various marketing professors to join the cause – which is easier than an ice bucket challenge.

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Breast is best: marketing vs. marketing


“Marketing is all we see,” grumbled Keith Jarrett a few years ago in a masterly way. But marketing is also a technology employed by those who wish to achieve sales, exchanges or social goods, or all three at once, as defined by George G. Brenkert.

Breastfeeding has enjoyed all of these wishes. There’s no doubt that breast is best: breast milk is the gold standard for infant nutrition. It reduces rates of infectious diseases, sudden infant death syndrome, various chronic and non-infectious illnesses, and post-neonatal infant death. Nursing mothers also obtain considerable postpartum and long-term health benefits. American experts estimate that at least $4 billion could be saved each year in overall healthcare and indirect costs if at least 75% of mothers start breastfeeding and 50% breastfeed for at least 6 months. How could anyone beat such a great set of competitive advantages?

The baby formula industry did, through marketing. The first baby formula television commercial aired in 1989, targeting consumers directly. Brands give hospitals free or discounted products and encourage health workers to recommend their products. Product innovations include anti-gas bottles and nipples of every shape and size – some even with tattoos of Mickey Mouse. Supermarkets use data-mining techniques to send motherhood-related marketing materials to teenagers before their parents even know they are pregnant. Samples, coupons and membership in discount formula clubs are offered to the expectant mother as soon as she walks into a maternity store. The final effect of all this in Spain: 76% of new mothers are breastfeeding when they leave the hospital, but only 44% continue to do so after three months (compared with 90% and 63% in Austria). In marketing terms, that’s a great result. So let’s come back to marketing.

What does the social marketing process look like? Government supports research focused on the health benefits of breastfeeding. An official “baby-friendly” brand is developed to signal that a hospital supports breastfeeding through real policies: babies can remain in the room with their mothers, skin-to-skin contact between newborns and mothers is encouraged, etc. Aggressive advocacy positioning is toned down to avoid turning off some mothers. Claims of “you must and you will” are avoided; instead, mothers are supported with the message of “do as much as you can”. Campaigns target all kinds of stakeholders: family, friends, healthcare providers, etc. Breastfeeding is positioned as being better for all involved, less expensive, but requiring tons of stamina, time and indefatigable conviction.

“Marketing is all we see” – no doubt!

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Updating Obama’s Political Marketing

Elections to the European Parliament were held in Spain this week, and one “true winner” has emerged: Podemos. The mass media scorn this party, calling it by the most pejorative of names: a marketing operation, a media soufflé. The party’s leader, Pablo Iglesias, has predicted that Podemos “will be studied in university-level political science courses”. Allow me to weigh in on the social marketing angle.

Let us summarise the marketing-textbook reasons for the success of Podemos.

-          It has a successful specialisation strategy. Its segmentation is based on a concentrated strategy: young, educated “digital natives” who despise the right and are disillusioned with traditional political parties. It has positioned itself in terms of difference (it’s just four months old!) by dramatising in the media its antagonism towards Rubalcaba, Intereconomía and the right.

-          It has a coherent action portfolio. Its “sloganish” name is a nod to Obama. Its communication is focused on social media. It is an innovator in ambush marketing: it attacks right-wing television channels until they bite and invite them on the air, first to ridicule them and only later to offer a rebuttal. Its world-weary leader, a professor of political science, has been operating an online television channel for three years. His simple, emotional discourse steers clear of intellectualism and avoids alienating the mainstream culture. All this is mixed with simple messages: I won’t travel in business class; while on the campaign trail, I will eat for less than €10/day thanks to a crowdfunding campaign.

Podemos has been especially successful among young and middle-aged people. The mainstream parties dream of courting these segments, but they don’t even know how to get their attention. Pablo Iglesias has managed to do just this: he combines Gramsci’s concept of cultural hegemony with the emotion of the “homeland” concept, deployed judiciously; he accepts television as the medium and manages to get free, debate-heavy access, plus subsequent views on YouTube; he defines his leadership as a political communication device and plasters his face all over the party’s ballots.

In the five days since the elections, the other parties have been frantically throwing together talking points about Pablo Iglesias: he’s a marketing operation, he’s a populist disaster, he’s a freak. As our invited lecturer Toni Puig (who you really ought to hear speak) once said: the best marketing defines its strategy on the basis of strong values. Any values.

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Bananas speak louder than words

A round of applause for Alves and Neymar’s #WeAreAllMonkeys! This excellent social marketing campaign has achieved incredible quantitative results, as well as criticism from the usual anti-marketing quarters. Let’s take a closer look, now that the criticism has started to drown out the praise.

Barça football player Dani Alves has continually been the target of racist insults, monkey noises from the stands, and bananas launched onto the field during breaks in play. Throughout his 11 years playing in Spain, Alves has been calling for greater awareness and measures against racism.

Actions speak louder than words: During a match on 27th April, Alves picked up a banana that had fallen at his feet and took a bite. His friend and teammate Neymar subsequently launched the hashtag #WeAreAllMonkeys. The quantitative results on the Internet speak for themselves. Let us add our qualitative analysis:

-       Criticism: It’s not original – Pa Dembo Touray ate a banana during a match 10 years ago. Solidarity is not the same as fixing the problem, and awareness is not enough. (These critiques are heard in the non-profit and public sectors, which firmly believe that marketing is negative and trust only their brainy public policies.) The hashtag is wrong – it should say #weareallhumans. And the worst: It’s not spontaneous; there’s an advertising agency behind this; it’s a professional job.

-       My professional recognition. These two professional football players are not just mindless poster boys. They decided to act when no one else would. (Two years ago, the Spanish football federation chief declared that “racism does not exist in Spain”.) Theirs is a simple campaign that has been professionalised (by Loducca Publicidade) to ensure excellence: the simple gesture of eating a banana is the essence of a global viral phenomenon. And what’s more, it works.

Studies show that young people see racism as a stigma on a par with suicide or drugs. They conclude that no adult is willing to intervene. And they dream of global multimedia campaigns in the popular media featuring the testimony of bystanders. We happily overlook the Samsung product placement in selfies posted by celebrities, but if Neymar hires an advertising agency, it strikes us as pre-planned. Neymar and Alves are bystanders who knew how to kick-start a social media campaign.

Have you done anything this big or this useful?

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Everything in the world is about sex (except sex)

Applying marketing to social issues always raises eyebrows and gets people talking – yet another advantage of striking chords that are still capable of surprising the customer/citizen. Here are two examples that recently made headlines in Europe:

-       The Danish travel agency Spies is selling city holidays with a campaign called “Do it for Denmark”. Market research has shown that Denmark’s birthrate is very low and falling, and that Danes have 46% more sex while on holiday. The resulting advertising campaign appeals to patriotism by encouraging Danes to take a libido-boosting getaway. The special offer: Couples who can prove that they conceived during the trip receive a three-year supply of baby essentials. The result: “Do it for Denmark” now has more than a million Google hits and the campaign’s YouTube video has been viewed more than 7 million times. Likes and dislikes: Some blogs are sensibly debating why the Danish protagonist of the video is not wearing a wedding ring.

-       Six recent political science graduates from Pompeu Fabra University have created a website called Sexy Europe that aims to “get new generations interested in Europe’s promising political future”. The founders believe that information about Europe is lacking in the media. They went to fill this gap specific values tailored to young people: a particular communication code, an “EU for Dummies” section, and opinion pieces.

How should we measure the success of these marketing campaigns? Pregnancies? Votes? YouTube views? The percentage of Danes conceived abroad already stands at 10%, and early forecasts indicate that only 28% of young Spaniards will vote in the upcoming European election. Perhaps we shouldn’t call this social marketing, but rather private companies capturing attention, awareness and differentiation using social values.


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Invisible maladies: disease, illness and sickness

“Society pays a lot of attention to neurodegenerative disorders, cancer, and other diseases that can easily capture an audience’s interest. Other devastating diseases are victims of invisibility, like tuberculosis, the Cinderella of marketing,” wrote Imma Monsó in La Vanguardia. Or as the great Keith Jarrett once said, “Everything is marketing.”

The stakeholders surrounding a particular disease need to understand that diseases must be marketed in order to secure resources, to get patients to follow treatment, and to raise awareness about prevention.

We recently conducted a study to find out which diseases spark the greatest interest among Spaniards: in first place was cancer, followed by AIDS, leprosy, Alzheimer’s disease and anorexia. Let’s compare these results with the list of the most common diseases: in first place, obesity, followed by anorexia, cancer, asthma and AIDS. The public’s level of scientific literacy is low, but we must remember that understanding follows motivation. Only when people believe they can get something out of knowledge will they make an effort to acquire it.

Gaining knowledge about health essentially depends on the media – that “old goat”, in Norman Mailer’s metaphor, that eats tidbits, gristle and garbage cans but eventually expels stories that seduce readers. The media know how to emphasise the patient’s human side, and in so doing they achieve an applied understanding of the difference between disease (that which doctors detect and treat), illness (the subjective experience of health changes and their consequences), and sickness (the “sick role” played by the afflicted individual).

People’s beliefs are the main factors that determine their health-related behaviour. Healthcare and social-marketing professionals should therefore aim to bring invisible diseases out of the shadows – even if it means mounting endless telethons.


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If You’re in Marketing, Kill Yourself

I found this lovely headline on social media, spewed forth by someone – probably an engineer – who hasn’t been convinced by the message of this blog: that marketing can help society and marketing professionals can create value for society.

The outburst was in response to a new marketing application: train windows that talk. If you’re riding the metro and you lean against a window, advertising – about insurance, detergent or whatever – can now be delivered directly to your brain. The advertising agency BBDO created this new application, known as Sky Deutschland. Tired commuters who lean their head against a window receive vibrations that are translated by the brain into sound – a voice inside their head that no one else can hear. Talking windows.

This technology – also found in Google Glass – could be used to pipe music, public-transit information, weather forecasts and, of course, advertising directly into commuters’ brains. This development was foretold not by Orwell but by Professor Farnsworth of Futurama: “It’s very simple. The ad gets into your brain.”

The technology is out there, and marketers must now decide how to apply it. It’s a technology suited to sensory marketing. The sense of sight is relatively simple; we can identify around 200 different colours, whereas the sense of smell can distinguish up to 10,000 aromas. We know that the sense of hearing brings emotions into perception. Even as adults, our brains react to sounds we first heard in the womb. In one study, when people were asked to describe an emotional experience, 96% recalled hearing a song (compared to 70% who mentioned some sort of sexual activity).

The list of potential social-marketing applications for talking windows is already growing: fundraising, public-health messages, campaigns against antisocial behaviours. But to paraphrase Jurassic Park’s Ian Malcolm, when faced with a horde of velociraptors: scientists have been so busy developing technology that they haven’t stopped to think about whether they should. God help us, we’re in the hands of engineers. And engineers are the death of marketers.

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Neymar means happiness

Various studies reveal that sports fans behave strangely. There is the well-known ‘March Madness’ as American university basketball hits the news. It is marked by a 50% surge in vasectomies, with men using convalescence as a lame excuse to stay ‘glued to the box’. Then there are all those tone-deaf Britons and Greeks who are spellbound by ‘the ‘talent’ singing and jigging around at Anfield Road or at the OAKA Sports Hall.

A fascinating finding is that sports fans are often much happier than lesser mortals and that match results are less important than the idle chit-chat they give rise to. This helps them share things and strike up relations that makes them psychologically healthier. As a result, they suffer fewer depressions and enjoy greater self-respect. It also makes them feel they are backed up by the rest of the tribe — something that helps them stay in good mental health.

Many kinds of fans benefit from this effect. Men overcome their inhibitions and hug and kiss one another with gay abandon — 67% of football fans have wept at least once in a football stadium. Couples find an activity they can enjoy together. Pensioners find that watching sports makes them forget their cares.

We have been asked to evaluate from our marketing expertise the signing of Neymar Jr. Evaluation on the transfer fee Return On Investment (ROI), his position as the world’s biggest marketing money-spinner and his attributes in terms of charisma, willingness and cross over appeal.

We find that Neymar Jr. also represents a social marketing policy — his signing creates happiness. Over 350 media networks turned up at the public presentation and there are now 80 million Internet pages bearing his name — he is the footballer with the greatest presence in Instagram. Neymar gives rise to millions of conversations among fans, reduces depressions and leads to new outbursts of joy. Neymar will make fans happier. Perhaps The State should pay his transfer fees as part of a Benthamite social marketing policy seeking the greatest happiness of the greatest number.

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Would you like to be described as a game-changer?

Pulling off a successful marketing campaign/project that has social impact is easier said than done. In my own work with the SCACS advertising team we’ve tried to this; aiming for excellence of the Booker T Washington type – “excellence is to do a common thing in an uncommon way.”

The kinds of campaigns that generate these sorts of remarks can, I think, be described as “excellent”:

  • “they are also providing a significant change in redefining the standards of advertising and the unrealistic ideals for the way women look”
  • “this campaign is a game-changer for advertising and more should follow in their footsteps”; “a powerful video, but it doesn’t mean is perfect”;
  • “a campaign that shows how a company chooses when and how to jump into the commercials landscape with the right marketing scheme”
  • “women have reportedly wept over this video, and who could blame them?”

Any idea which campaign I’m talking about? Did you work out who the critics are getting themselves into a lather over? Just a cream soap.

Marketing campaigns that link to societal issues can be game-changers. Check out the examples on Publizia, a fantastic blog that compiles the best advertising samples. Count how many are linked to social issues, both in societal marketing terms or as social marketing campaigns.

A nine day’s wonder?. Last check, Coke ad bringing tears to your eyes.


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