Tag Archives: advertising

The “Field of Jeans” and a red zone that has fans seeing red

It’s that time of year, that’s right it’s football season! And football season means one thing to the advertising world—lots and lots of new branding. If you’re like me you probably tuned in to the 49ers-Broncos game not really expecting much besides a few hours of second-string football and a chance to check out the shiny new Levi’s Stadium. What I got was that and a one two punch of advertising that inspired this week’s article. Let’s take a closer look at the good and the bad.

First up, lets get the absolutely awful out of the way…

The photo above needs very little explaining (and is the NFL’s image not mine). I got my first glimpse of the atrocity, which appears to be the future of the NFL red zone, during the middle of the first quarter. Yep, that’s right the entire red zone was blanketed with a giant Toyota advertisement…and not even a good one. It actually looks like someone hijacked a teleprompter and slapped a clipart on at end zone. The stretched out text seemed to grab hold of the players as they sliced through the on screen sea of red. Not only did it annoy me, it actually interfered with my ability to watch what was happening on the field. Not since the invention of the popup ad can I remember being so agitated by a form of advertising. Hopefully the NFL hears the fans on this one, although it’s planned for all the home games. I guess they had to do something to offset the $1.3 billion dollar price tag…

And now on to the brilliant…

Once I got past the eye trauma, let me rephrase that, once the action moved beyond the 20’s were the field was much less Toyota, it gave me a chance to absorb the NFL’s newest stadium, the brand spanking new Levi stadium.

Let me first say the idea of branding a stadium beyond the name and various items within has always been slightly annoying to me as a fan, but working in design and advertising I know these things are an absolute must for all parties involved, not to mention a cash cow which has allowed professional sports to become what they are today. I have to give Levi’s props though, they actually executed stadium advertising quite beautifully and even pushed the marketing envelope without making fans hate them-for that I applaud everyone involved.

So how is this stadium branding different from any other?

The first stroke of brilliance is the harmonious marriage of the 2 company’s primary color-red. By no mean is this the first time companies with similar identities have partnered together so Levi’s isn’t breaking any new ground here but rather it’s the way Levi and the 49ers have woven the two brands together that I can really appreciate. The 49ers red and the Levi’s red fit together so cohesively that I actually had check to see if one of the two companies had altered theirs Pantone colors to complement the other-They didn’t but the colors are so close it actually gives the illusion they are one and the same. In doing so, Levi’s slapped a giant red tab on everything 49ers without upsetting the masses and compromising the integrity of the 49ers brand.

Beyond the color connection, one of the coolest aspects of the merging of the brands is the history between Levi’s and the actual 49ers of the 1800’s. Levi jeans were designed specifically for the 49ers during the gold rush, and the have finally reunited in the advertising world some 160 years later.

And then they took it a step further…and I’m still okay with it

Speaking of a gold rush, the stadium will also include a giant pro shop which will feature staples such as Nike, New Era, Mitchell & Ness and, of course, Levi’s products. By doing so, for 8+ games a year, roughly 550,000 fans will pass through the gates of the “Field of Jeans”.

In addition to constant NFL foot traffic and brand exposure, Levi’s has essentially bought themselves a 3 and half hour Super Bowl commercial in 2016, which the stadium will be hosting, for a fraction of the price. A slice of the Super Bowl advertising pie will reportedly climb to $4 million dollars in 2014. Not only did they get a bargain in that sense, the stadium is brand new and located in a warm weather climate, which makes it a lock to host future Super Bowls.

Partnering with the Niners looks like a huge victory for Levi. The acquisition has positioned the company in the passenger seat of the Cadillac that is the NFL. Sporting events are one of the few places people still spend money frivolously and Levi’s has plenty of products to sell. The only question that remains now is, with its new footing in the sports world, can a full on entrance into the sports apparel market be far behind?


American’s aren’t drinking as much pop and Coca-Cola’s taking it personal

By now everyone has seen Coca-Cola’s latest ad campaign or, like a lot of people I know, own their own personalized bottle. The success isn’t by accident, as Coca Cola is no stranger to producing the stuff of legend. Last year, with the help of the team at Leo Burnett and the World Wildlife Fund, Coke turned its traditionally red cans white to save the polar bears. The white cans then turned to green-roughly 2 million dollars of it, to be exact. Their latest attempt at advertising gold hits a bit closer to home, as they attempt to reverse the slide of soda consumption by asking customers to come back and drink more Coke…literally by name. The initial roll out has proven effective, but it’s how they’re doing it that’s truly something to behold? Let’s examine:

We are currently living in an era where physical fitness and exercise has become a staple of American culture. You could even go as far as to say health and nutrition are enjoying a bit of a renaissance, need proof?

2013 was somewhat of a milestone for H2O as it marked the first time in over a decade, in which Americans consumed more water (58 gallons per year), than the 44 gallons per year average of the popular sugar stacked beverage. Realizing the sharp decline in soda drinking, Coca-Cola along with Weiden and Kennedy (who handles Coca-Cola’s Coke and Diet coke product lines) enlisted the aid of what you will commonly refer to as the human element. The result? Personalized bottles for everyone…well almost everyone. If you aren’t lucky enough to have a fairly common name, you’ll have to settle for the “family” bottle.

But why is it so successful?

1) The “Name Game”

Coca-Cola is a smart company that knows who its existing and potential customers are, so what have they done? They’ve reached out to us…by name, which resonates on a stronger emotional level. Think about the way you feel when someone calls you by name. What happens? You feel good, you feel important and a sense of trust is created without you even noticing. Why? Because it connects with you on a level, in a way something like a simple “Hello” or “hey you” cannot. By doing so, Coca-Cola is speaking directly to us. The result? We’re eating it up (or drinking it up) to be more accurate.

2) It adds a bit of excitement to an otherwise trivial task of selecting something to drink.

This one’s pretty self-explanatory. If you haven’t already been to a store that features the new bottles, head to a local grocery or convenience store and try to resist the temptation of looking for your name at a display–It’s hard, trust me.

3) It encourages the lost art of sharing.

Long before the word sharing was relegated strictly to your Facebook newsfeed, people actually did physically share things and enjoy a personal connection when doing so. Coca-Cola has revitalized this idea and it’s working.

4) It’s making people want to buy Coca-Cola that normally wouldn’t

Last, but most important, the folks at Coca-Cola have done something that truly separates a good company from a great company: They’ve found a way to sell their product to those who normally wouldn’t buy it… and their doing so in droves.

So, while it’s still early on, early indications are the “Share a Coke” campaign is working and aside from the minor drawback of people constantly turning over display racks when searching for hard to find names, Coca-Cola’s appears to have hit another home-run and judging by the initial popularity I’ve seen, the momentum shows no signs of slowing.

So Cheer’s to you Coca-Cola, I may not be a soda drinker but you’ve definitely caught my attention.

Give it away now: Are guerrilla marketing giveaways effective?

What do a few memorable words from the popular 1991 hit single Give It Away by ageless rock wonders, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and guerrilla marketing handouts have in common you ask? A lot more than one might think.

A few things before I get into my article: (1) When it comes to clothing and apparel, I generally don’t wear merchandise with logos or branding on it, (2) I don’t like blatant product placement and (3) because I am a designer, I love a great design.

In the past, I’ve always been on the fence regarding how effective guerrilla marketing handouts are. Are they cool? When done correctly, hell yeah! Are they effective? Debatable…well at least I thought.

Fast-forward to a recent visit of to Navy Pier. I’ll be the first to admit I’ve collected more than my fair share of marketing knick-knacks. In doing so, I know there’s no better place to find one than in downtown Chicago. My latest target that day? A Brazilian style floppy hat from the folks at a technology company you may have heard of.

I approached the marketing rep and quickly discover just what I’d expected, they where FREE. He handed me a survey and began to educate soliciting the new product. As I scribbled through the 10 question survey, all I could think was “I can’t wait to own this hat”. Being a fellow marketer, it was hard to ignore the spiel (after all, the two of us hailed from the same universe (marketing and design) but I really just wanted the hat. Did the product interest me? No (After all I already owned the only computer I’ve ever needed: the MacBook Pro).

I walked away from the booth, threw on my goofy hat and suddenly the strangest thing happened; people all over the city were eating it up. The number one question on everyones mind? Where’d you get it? Without even realizing it I had become a walking billboard for the hats creator…

“Check out the Microsoft booth, I repeated more than a dozen times before realizing what I was doing”.

I finally caught myself, “They got me at my own game!” I told my girlfriend, also a designer.

After laughing off what had just happened, this got me thinking about some of the giveaways I’ve received in the past few months. Sure enough, I could remember each item and the name of almost every vendor that had handed me a clever one; the a plush ninja from Print Ninja, the matchbooks from Out of Print Clothing , GNC’s Burn Bag …the list goes on. I remember them all and every time someone asks me where I got them, I become that walking billboard again. These products are so effective, I’m given them yet another plug.

So I think we have our answer!

And….I’m Off! (and excited as you can see by all the exclamation points)

Well, after a few weeks of kicking around the idea, I’ve finally decided it’s time I get with 21st century and take the plunge; It’s time to start blogging! I’ve always been a designer and I’ve always been writer so what better platform than a blog to express them both simultaneously.

In the spirit of design, this blog will be simple and functional. I want to educate.

Well, that’s a bold statement…Educate who you ask?

For starters, ME!

I’ve been a designer for several years now and the single most important thing I’ve learned is every time you think you think you’ve got your finger on this field, somebody else is reinventing the wheel…and I want in! Feel free to share anything on here with me…It doesn’t matter if its digital or print related Leave no stone unturned and share, share, share.

And since it’s my blog, of course it’s my duty to educate as well

For those of you who know me personally, I’m a communicator…I love to share knowledge. It doesn’t matter the channel I’m always game! I’m hoping that by blending my experiences as a manager of print and design as well as those as a freelancer, I can create some enlightening posts here that can help people through their day to day in our field.

All this being said, I believe the direction of this blog will take care of itself. I’m sure there’ll be a few bumps and hiccups as the blog gets off the ground but with everyone’s help, I think something awesome can be created here. So sit back and enjoy the ride!