Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Sandwich IV: “You Don’t Have to Be Jewish to Love Levy’s Real Jewish Rye.”

The world’s greatest sandwich ingredient promotion started in 1960 with just a couple-three ads and some subway posters. The Levy’s Real Jewish Rye campaign was created* by Bill Bernbach of DDB.

Among any group of thoughtful advertising people today, Bernbach is one of our industry’s greats. But everyone has to make a start somewhere. In the beginning of DDB, the little Yiddische bakery in Brooklyn known as Henry S Levy and Sons could get Bernbach for a $40,000 budget. DDB worked for Levy’s for years before giving birth to the “You don’t have to be Jewish” ad campaign, which used photos of people of different ethnicities and cultures enjoying the Jewish rye. The shooter was Howard Zieff.

In one interview, Zeif said, “We wanted normal-looking people, not blond, perfectly proportioned models…I saw the Indian on the street; he was an engineer for the New York Central. The Chinese guy worked in a restaurant near my Midtown Manhattan office. And the kid we found in Harlem. They all had great faces, interesting faces, expressive faces.”

Bernbach, Zieff and DDB were the creators – the 50-years-ago architects – of today’s Hellman’s® ads and Nature’s Pride™ ads and Oscar Mayer ads. Those Zieff photos with their humorous connectivity to real people were fresh in the ‘60s. The copycats don’t have much to say for themselves that’s innovative.

Bernbach has gone to the great deli in the sky. The Levy’s brand (no longer very good according to one review) is now submerged in George Weston Limited. And I have shorthanded a remarkable advertising story.

The Levy's campaign is great sandwich advertising by a great advertising agency. That’s my last word on the subject. But I’ll leave the capper to Jiffynotes:

“Levy’s had its competitors, but their names were largely lost to history simply because none of the competing bakeries in Brooklyn hired ad agencies that immortalized them.”

*The Mirror Makers credits DDB copywriter Judy Protas and art director Bill Taubin for the actual campaign creative (page 254). I will too.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Sandwich III: Our Lady of Grilled Cheeses Offers Prayers for Stronger Ad Creative.

Honest, officer, I didn’t know it was loaded. Having started a look at advertising the sandwich in Signalwriter’s previous two posts, though, it’s a difficult subject to put aside.

Is the sandwich really capable of being turned into a metaphor for advertising creativity? I suppose so. Just how far can the idea be taken? If current ads are too bland and undistinguished, what’s at the opposite end of the spectrum?

My candidate comes from a post by Mike Stanley some six years back. He carefully collected parodies surrounding the woman who, having seen an image of the Virgin Mary in her grilled cheese sandwich, promptly offered it on eBay. Read about Stanley’s entire adventure here.

Executionally, “Our Lady of Grilled Cheeses” could hardly be more of a standout. It’s as though the image’s creator* realized the ultimate power of icons and translated that force directly into his or her visualization. The illustration is artistic. It features a woman (ie, homemaker). It includes the sandwich. No headline required.

Opportunities to offend abound – as if people today need a wider range of options. Consider it something to aim for: just how much breakthrough can be had in a single (potential) print ad, elevating the humble grilled cheese into heavenly fare.

*The person who created this visual is not identified. Who it is? Please let me know so I can credit the outstanding work. For more hours of fun, Google “Virgin Mary, Grilled Cheese Sandwich.”

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Sandwich II: the Fashion for Smiley Consumers Here, There and Everywhere.

No sooner written about (below), than more sandwiches are showing up in more ads everywhere. Example: the latest number of Real Simple magazine (which editorially seems now to be equating “body” with grown women who weigh no more than 67 pounds). In its pages, you will not only see another Hellman’s® ad with a different sandwich-stuffed face; you’ll also find the Nature’s Pride™ ad pictured in this post.

Next move on to Woman’s Day. Look at the print ad from Oscar Mayer entitled “Score.” This time, it’s a kid with the sandwich. Sean Marks, Oscar Mayer’s director of marketing, is quoted as saying of the ad campaign launched in January, “Our goal is to capture these spontaneous, real-life moments to demonstrate the relevance our products have in the lives of people today.” It doesn’t look to me like the Kraft brand’s agency broke much of a creative sweat on the sandwich execution.

Maybe all of America’s art directors met and pronounced, “Let’s always show a happy smiley face our product(s).” Maybe it’s the summer cycle, time for casual eating.

On the biz-side, we have called this the “rig-in-the-sunset” problem. A huge number oil and gas-related ad executions shows an oil rig, onshore or offshore; with a sun either rising or setting in the background. For our industry right now, sunset is probably appropriate.

The real question (for both food and energy industry advertisers) is this: can you afford to look just like your broad-image competition? In the cases of Hellman’s, Nature’s Pride and Oscar Mayer, apparently so.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sometimes It’s the Simplest Headline that Appeals the Most.

It’s possible I’m tired (momentarily) of pretension. More likely, as you look back through this blog, you’ll see that I pay more attention to the ad campaigns with the simplicity of human emotion than with the bombast of high fashion.

Quirky robotesses, like the Svedka models here, lose their appeal in the face of homemade sandwiches, I guess. So this new print ad for Hellman’s® Light Mayonnaise caught my eye – it’s clearly part of the Unilever brand’s Real Food Project. For this ad, the campaign tagline has been extended: “It’s time for real sandwiches.”

The web part of the campaign is overtly commercial, to me. Still, it’s the place one discovers that Hellmann's Light Mayo will be the first recipe in the product line to contain 100% certified cage-free eggs, part of the “real food” emphasis.

More than anything, though, I just like the ad headline: “Not all love notes are written. Some are made.” Pompous has its place but not in this kind of food advertising.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Every Day in Every Way, Wellness Marketing Gets Better and Better.

Boy, have we come a long way since Wellbee was the spokesinsect for the Centers for Disease Control – in practice if not in theory. The wellness concept has been around a long time. (The CDC poster dates to 1964.)

Selling people on wellness, though, has always been more challenging. That’s been particularly true of not just one but two company stakeholder groups: employees and executives.

Today, sayeth the Wellness Councils of America, more than 80% of America’s businesses with 50 or more employees have some kind of health promotion program, like exercise, stop-smoking classes or stress management. A lot of employers offer wellness programs because they have finally discovered that the benefit is worth the cost. But business leaders continue to wonder: how can they get more employees committed and involved?

When you practice the highly focused form of “internal wellness marketing,” you know that only worksite health promotion stands out as the long-term answer for keeping employees well in the first place. That’s an insight that you have shared with your management, and transmitted to everyone inside your company via employee communications programs like the one I blogged about here.

It’s an insight that drives five outstanding presenters at the next AMAHouston Healthcare SIG seminar, “Marketing Wellness Inside.” You should be there on Friday, June 25.

See, hear and learn about new and effective practices for internal wellness marketing from Mark Poindexter who manages wellness programs in the US for Shell Oil; Health and Wellness Director Andrew Lowe of the Frost Insurance Agency; Michele Nelson-Housley, the program coordinator for employee health and well-being at UT MD Anderson Cancer Center; and Human Resources Generalist Shellie Perez from Mustang Engineering.

The event moderator is Jonathan Lack, who brings his own set of employee-marketing experiences to the show as Executive Director of the Houston Wellness Association.

A bit of imagination will tell you that classic marketing, applied with creativity and power, can work just as well on the inside as it does on the outside. Research will show you the reasons why wellness needs to be marketed as effectively as possible, from the aging of the American workforce to our cultural search for the Fountain of Youth. (I’m hoping for a great tan post mortem, myself.)

And perhaps most important is that this Healthcare SIG seminar will prove to you, once again, that marketing is a profession that encompasses all kinds of industries and markets.

Forty-five years ago, Wellbee promoted everything from washing your hands – sound familiar? – to booster shots…even “oral polio vaccine” if you remember what that was. Register today. So next week you can discover how we’re marketing wellness better than ever. And why it’s so necessary.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Anti-Consumer, Anti-Advertising: “Data Hogs” Is Nasty Propaganda.

The headline of an article by Ryan Kim of the San Francisco Chronicle is “Data hogs on phone networks could see meters on troughs.” To be fair, the term data hogs doesn’t appear in this article; the headline may have been written by someone else.

On the other hand, data hogs appears over and over – like mushrooms overnight – in article after article, such as the one by Matt Richtel in the New York Times. And on AOL. And the Christian Science Monitor. And Yahoo. And US News and World Report.

Don’t believe any of them – data hogs is anti-consumerist propaganda pure and simple. The massive media companies, chief among them being ATT, just want to charge you more for Internet access and bandwidth use.

Maybe you’ve been accused of being a…gas hog. Or a road hog. It is all about a “fair share” of some commodity presumed to be in short supply. It is almost always false. It is false in this case, too.

Data hog implies that data itself is in short supply – sounds provocative but untrue. There’s plenty of data to go around. (I’ll give you some of mine.) Bandwidth? There’s a lot of that as well. No, in this case, I suggest that media companies see all that “freeloading” as missed profit-making opportunity and they want more of it. They are greedy pigs, notwithstanding their supply of phone and interconnect services.

American companies such as Apple have made the world more accessible and more open than ever before, through science and technology that gives more people more access to data. We revel in it. It’s not just data that wants to be free – it’s access, too.

It doesn’t matter if talking heads say differently. In the NYT article, Edward Snyder, an analyst with Charter Equity Research, says: “The biggest data pigs in the world are the iPhone guys.”

I beg your pardon? We (technologists, marketers, advertisers) have spent decades creating a global culture which lives on the free flow of lots of data and which wants more of it all the time. In theory, it’s alright to charge for it.

But not to overcharge for it. That would make you, ATT, a money hog.

So what do you do? If you feel [a] trapped by these data-pig threats, move your data phone sub to other carriers – presuming they don’t all jump on the bandwagon. Or [b] keep checking your favorite social media for a grassroots movement against swinish profit-making – then join the fight.

Do not, however, believe in media corporation propaganda about data hogs.

PS: I may have lost a bit of my normally even temper on this particular issue. But some of my best friends are data hogs – see the attractive engraving of us all praying for more bandwidth, above.