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Traffic Update June 11, 2007

Posted by Celso in Announcements.
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Just a quick update to inform that our blog, which is about 1 year old has registered about 20,000 hits up to this day. Thanks for all the support. Let’s keep the M experience alive.

PowerPoint Lessons June 7, 2007

Posted by Celso in B-School, Humor.
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It has been 2 years of Business school: classes, assignments, dysfunctional group projects, cases and much more. From Day 1, the ability to deliver sound presentations as a result of a team analysis has been a top priority for Pepperdine. And yet, some groups – including my own at times – have come to deliver presentations that are beyond bland and time-stopping. Many of them, because of mistakes presenters make when using PowerPoint, a visual aid that many mistakenly use to hide their public speaking mediocrity. I may have posted this before but it’s noteworthy to bring it back up. It’s a rule that should be in every corporation’s best practices manual and certainly in every syllabus of every class that requires an oral pitch. It’s what Guy Kawasaki has once baptized as the 10 20 30 rule of PowerPoint: simply put, in order to keep the audience captivated, the presentation should be about 20 minutes long and your visual aid should consist of 10 slides and use at least 30 pt. font. It’s a simple, yet great guideline that surely makes up for some of the mistakes the video below so tastefully displays.

To give credit to whom it’s deserved, I first saw the video above here, soon after seeing it as a top article on Digg.

This post was originally posted at celso/oliveira.org. The video can be found there since WordPress doesn’t allow embedded videos yet. Anyone in b-school can relate to it.

User-Generated Advertising May 26, 2007

Posted by Keith in Advertising, Uncategorized.
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The High Price of Creating Free Ads

A.J. Mast for The New York Times 5/26/07

Amateur filmmaker Dan Burke recreates a scene where he brushed his teeth with ketchup for a Heinz ketchup commercial contest at his home in Dayton, Ohio.

From an advertiser’s perspective, it sounds so easy: invite the public to create commercials for your brand, hold a contest to pick the best one and sit back while average Americans do the creative work.

AJ Mast for The New York Times

Brushing his teeth with ketchup wasn’t enough. Dan Burke sets up a camera while creating another video for the Heinz contest.

But look at the videos H. J. Heinz is getting on YouTube.

In one of them, a teenage boy rubs ketchup over his face like acne cream, then puts pickles on his eyes. One contestant chugs ketchup straight from the bottle, while another brushes his teeth, washes his hair and shaves his face with Heinz’s product. Often the ketchup looks more like blood than a condiment.

Heinz has said it will pick five of the entries and show them on television, though it has not committed itself to a channel or a time slot. One winner will get $57,000. But so far it’s safe to say that none of the entries have quite the resonance of, say, the classic Carly Simon “Anticipation” ad where the ketchup creeps oh so slowly out of the bottle.


Consumer brand companies have been busy introducing campaigns like Heinz’s that rely on user-generated content, an approach that combines the populist appeal of reality television with the old-fashioned gimmick of a sweepstakes to select a new advertising jingle. Pepsi, Jeep, Dove and Sprint have all staged promotions of this sort, as has Doritos, which proudly publicized in February that the consumers who made one of its Super Bowl ad did so on a $12 budget.

But these companies have found that inviting consumers to create their advertising is often more stressful, costly and time-consuming than just rolling up their sleeves and doing the work themselves. Many entries are mediocre, if not downright bad, and sifting through them requires full-time attention. And even the most well-known brands often spend millions of dollars upfront to get the word out to consumers.

Some people, meanwhile, have been using the contests as an opportunity to scrawl digital graffiti on the sponsor and its brand. Rejected Heinz submissions have been showing up on YouTube anyway, and visitors to Heinz’s page on the site have written that the ketchup maker is clearly looking for “cheap labor” and that Heinz is “lazy” to ask consumers to do its marketing work.

“That’s kind of a popular misnomer that, somehow, it’s cheaper to do this,” said David Ciesinski, vice president for Heinz Ketchup. “On the contrary, it’s at least as expensive, if not more.”

Heinz has hired an outside promotions firm to watch all the videos and forward questionable ones to Heinz employees in its Pittsburgh headquarters. So far, they have rejected more than 370 submissions (at least 320 remain posted on YouTube). The gross-out factor is not among their screening criteria — rather, most of the failed entries were longer than the 30-second time limit, entirely irrelevant to the contest or included songs protected by copyright. Some of the videos displayed brands other than Heinz (a big no-no) or were rejected because “they wouldn’t be appropriate to show mom,” Mr. Ciesinski said.

Heinz hopes to show more than five of them, if there are enough that convey a positive, appealing message about Heinz ketchup, he said. But advertising executives who have seen some of the entries say that Heinz may be hard pressed to find any that it is proud to run on television in September.

“These are just so bad,” said Linda Kaplan Thaler, chief executive of the Kaplan Thaler Group, an advertising agency in New York that is not involved with Heinz’s contest.

One of the most viewed Heinz videos — seen, at last count, more than 12,800 times — ends with a close-up of a mouth with crooked, yellowed teeth. When Ms. Kaplan Thaler saw it, she wondered, “Were his teeth the result of, maybe, too much Heinz?”

Heinz Top This TV Challenge
Entry #4: My Entry For The Heinz Commercial Contest

Scott Goodson, chief executive of StrawberryFrog, an advertising agency based in New York, said the shortcomings of contest entries — not just those for Heinz — refuted predictions that user-generated content might siphon work away from agencies. “This Heinz campaign, much like the same ones done by Doritos, Converse and Dodge, only goes to show how hard it is to do great advertising,” he said.

In a traditional ad campaign, a client like Heinz will meet with its advertising agencies to come up with a central idea, often a tagline like MasterCard’s “Priceless.” The creative departments then design the ads while the media planners figure out where they should run. Except for the occasional focus group, consumers are largely on the receiving end.

In campaigns that solicit work from the public, the model appears to be quite different — consumers, after all, create the ads. But, in reality, ad agencies and brand marketers are still doing much of the legwork. Heinz and Doritos spent months planning their user-generated contests, hiring lawyers to vet them and designing advertisements to promote them. Then they assigned employees to wade through entries.

“These contests have nothing to do with cost savings,” said Jared Dougherty, a spokesman for Frito-Lay, the division of PepsiCo that owns the Doritos brand.

While the winners of the Doritos contest may have spent only $12, Doritos spent about $1.3 million on advertising in October, according to estimates from Nielsen Monitor-Plus. And that was when it was promoting the contest, which invited people to create a 30-second commercial that would run during the Super Bowl. Doritos received 1,020 videos and awarded prizes of $10,000 to five finalists.

And then Doritos, a unit of the Frito-Lay division of PepsiCo, spent more than $8 million on advertising in February when it showed the top five commercials, more than any month in the last two years, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

Other companies are also spending handsomely to present user-generated content to the public. Last Tuesday, KFC put on a commercial during “American Idol” that consisted entirely of clips about KFC that consumers had posted on the Internet — even without a contest. Heinz, too, says that customers have been making videos starring its bottle long before its contest and posting them on sites like YouTube.

Heinz has run ads for its contest during “American Idol” and other television shows (as well as in large newspapers like The New York Times), but it has gone a step further: it has converted all the labels on its bottles and ketchup packets into ads for the contest. This was a major initiative that involved everything from building new industrial printing plates to timing the shipment of bottles so they would appear on shelves at the beginning of May, said Mr. Ciesinski of Heinz.

And for all of Heinz’s effort, the interests of many of the contestants lie far outside its own. Steve Sass, 48, who taped two Heinz commercials, is running for president as a write-in candidate. Ed Barry, 34, writes sketches about a character named Vinny and is trying to get his work noticed. Some contestants say in interviews that they prefer mustard or mayonnaise.


Michelle Cale, a 39-year-old Web designer in Morgantown, W.Va., has a more traditional motive. “It is a substantial sum of money, which, of course, caught my eye,” she said.

In one of Ms. Cale’s two Heinz videos, after dropping her children at school, she spends the day playing with a bottle of ketchup at the park. As she plays with the bottle on the playground as if it were a child, she proclaims, “you mean so much to me.” Then she pours ketchup on a juicy hamburger to eat it.

Then there is Dan Burke, who brushed his teeth and shaved with ketchup, and said he hoped the vulgarity would help his video stand out. A 20-year-old college student in Centerville, Ohio, Mr. Burke wants to win and to use the prize money to attend a two-year training program in wrestling.

He described his strategy: “I just thought to myself, ‘What is the single strangest thing I can do with ketchup?’ ”

What’s a Brand? By Seth Godin May 1, 2007

Posted by Celso in Brand Management.
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I hope some of you have a chance to take Prof. Al Stefl’s Brand Management course. It’s a good way to get situated on what the role of a brand manager within the company and to assess if such career path is truly for you. The class was busy and structured with a balanced array of assignments and activities. I give Prof. Stefl all the credit for the great job in his first semester teaching at the B-School, even though the grade curving needs to be smoothed a little to separate exceptional students from really good ones and the really good ones from the good ones. (There’s not really a way you can be “bad” at Brand Management).

The course begins with a discussion of what exactly is a brand, a question I must say, that really varies according to someone’s past experiences and interpretation. His views are based on his extensive experience with P&G and Nestle. Conversely, other definitions can be found out there, some more appealing than others, many of them sharing certain key points. If you are a Seth Godin’s fan, you may want to check out exactly what he believes is a brand or what is made of.

Budget Allocation – Emerging Media April 23, 2007

Posted by Keith in Advertising.
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Data from American Advertising Federation
(AAF), November 2006, via eMarketer. Shows
the percentage of media budgets allocated to
select emerging media according to U.S. advertising
Search                     27.0%
Online video           14.9
Blogs                        8.4
Podcasts                  8.0
Social networking 7.7
RSS                          5.5
Mobile                    5.2
Video games          3.6

(Celso’s wise in seeking a job in search marketing)

Nike Cleverly Uses Current Events April 20, 2007

Posted by Keith in Advertising, PR.
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Nike thanks Imus for raising race issue

NEW YORK April 18 (UPI) — Nike Inc. entered the Don Imus fray with ads suggesting the uproar over his racial remarks raised U.S. awareness of race relations and sexism.

Imus was fired last week from his nationally syndicated CBS radio show, simulcast on the MSNBC cable network, after calling the Rutgers University women’s basketball team “nappy-headed hos.” on the air.

The Beaverton, Ore., supplier of athletic shoes, apparel and sports equipment took out a full-page ad in The New York Times Sunday, followed by banner ads on several Web sites, thanking Imus — without mentioning his name — for bringing race relations and sexism to the forefront, Advertising Age reported.

The print ad says: “Thank you, ignorance. Thank you for starting the conversation. Thank you for making an entire nation listen to the Rutger’s (sic) team story. And for making us wonder what other great stories we’ve missed.

“Thank you for reminding us to think before we speak,” it continues. “Thank you for showing us how strong and poised 18- and 20-year-old women can be.”

The ad says the controversy “unintentionally” moved women’s sports forward.

“And thank you for making all of us realize that we still have a long way to go,” it says.

Good Marketing Goes Beyond the Product March 10, 2007

Posted by Celso in Advertising, Differentiation.
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A good marketer can market everything, no matter what the product is. But what about laxative? Yup, check that too.

Set to Take on Starbucks, Hooters’ Style January 30, 2007

Posted by Celso in Business, Differentiation.
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A drive-thru worth going thru

If you’re committed and go to Hooters these days, it’s probable that the wife or girlfriend wouldn’t care so much. Today, Hooters doesn’t carry the stigma of a strip club but rather that of an all-American restaurant experience, filled with blonds, sports and chicken wings, “The Man Show” style. Cowgirl Espresso is a novel concept. Catered to men, this Starbucks wannabe uses beautiful girls in skimpy outfits to serve coffee, which most claim is pretty darn good.

The Power of the Marmaid

A latte is a latte unless it’s Starbucks latte. It’s like the damn mermaid puts a spell on us or something. With customization and its living room environment, Starbucks conquered the world, corner after corner. So here’s this novel idea: offering a latte prepared by semi-nude beautiful women. The chances Cowgirl Espresso steals much of Starbucks market share? Minimal. For once, they are a local company but even if they were national, they won’t generate mass appeal. They’re instead playing in a niche market but one that may get some average Joes to enjoy Triple-shots Valencia Non-Fat Soy Lattes with a hint of Nutmeg.

This blog doesn’t like it. He thinks there’s a conflict between the coffee house’s claim of having Seattle’s best coffee and girls wearing skimpy suits to attract customers. But who can blame them? Quality alone won’t beat the mermaid, because most people think like me: a latte is a latte, unless it’s served by another type of mermaid.

Viral Marketing / Web 2.0 Event Feb. 7th January 30, 2007

Posted by Celso in Events, Viral Marketing.

Join us for a discussion of how viral marketing, social networking and other Web 2.0 tools are changing the way people and companies conduct marketing.

Dustin Luther, of LA based Move.com will be hosting this exciting opportunity.

Career opportunities may be available

Date: Feb 7th, 2007

TIME: 6pm

Place: Malibu Campus, Room L-1

Cost: Free

RSVP: Leave a comment! (optional but appreciated)

Branding: Beyond the Logo to the Bottom Line January 14, 2007

Posted by Celso in Events.
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Where: Center Club
650 Town Center Drive
Costa Mesa, CA 92626

When: Thursday, February 15, 2007
6:00 p.m. – Hors d’oeuvres, cash bar
6:45 p.m. – Presentation

Cost: Management Partners – $25, Non-Management Partners – $50

Expert brand strategists Ryan Rieches, co-founder of the Orange County-based brand development firm RiechesBaird, and Graziadio School alumna Sandra Sellani, vice president of marketing for Sperry Van Ness and author of What’s Your BQ (www.wbusinessbooks.com), a new book on improving your company’s brand quotient, present solutions to common branding opportunities and pitfalls.

More info: http://bschool.pepperdine.edu/newsevents/branding/