Friendly Spam Mail Fire

So I received an email from a friend the other day. No harm in me opening that, right? Wrong!!! Marketing and advertising firms won’t have to bother spamming its consumer targets anymore – they’re getting the consumer’s friends to do it for them. Ok, I must admit when I opened the email from my friend Tory I was expecting to see a message from her. Oh yeah, it was a message from her and it read: I thought you might like this email service called SailitToMe its great. In the body of the email was the sign up information for this service that allows its potential consumers to pick out all of his or her favorite designers and products of interest. The sign up also allows the target to choose how many days a week their mailbox will be getting hit by the service. So the email, camouflaged as a message from my friend was also a direct marketing ploy.

I probably should have deleted the email but I am interested in direct marketing, so I took the bait. I signed up for the program and here I am 4 weeks later waiting for the service to annoy me as most invasive direct marketing ploys tend to do. Well my patience paid off and this week, I noticed several “non-designer” items that “popped” into my weekly “sale” email. My first reaction was….ok, now the service is no longer a service. See, I had viewed it as a service and not advertising until the “service” shoved some things in my email that I don’t recall asking to view. I knew it was advertising all along, I didn’t regard it as such because it was so convenient. SailItToMe combines your wishlist into one convenient email so that you don’t have to view several different websites for sale items.

I may not purchase anything via the special discounts from my SailItToMe account. Does it matter? Probably not. Why? Because the service has probably built a nice little customer relations management database filled with wonderful demographic information to sell like names and addresses, preferences, lifestyle and family status.

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Why Buy “Made in China”?

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I just recently read an article on MSNBC about the latest defective product made in China – drywall. According to the Associated Press, “the Centers for Disease Control says prolonged exposure to the compounds found in the drywall, especially high levels of carbon disulfide, can cause breathing problems, chest pains and even death; and can affect the nervous system.” Ok, I’m scared – are you scared? So why is it that we keep importing products from China on a regular basis as if they’re working with a pristine track record? What marketing ploy is responsible for US citizens buying from China even though China has been known to sell defective merchandise.. Besides the defective dryway, there are many other notable representative “Made in China” products of the same defective caliber: tainted baby formula, lead based toys, melamine tainted candies, and sub par prescription drugs.

I seriously had a thought wave trying to understand why Americans still import twice as much product from China as we export. I can’t recall ever seeing anything marketed specifically as a product of China. The fact that products made in China are not under one big “Made in China” brand may contribute to Americans disassociation between all “Made in China” products and China’s highly publicized flawed products. Yet, the tie that does binds all of the “Made in China” products together is the word cheap: cheap labor, cheap materials, thus cheap prices.

So why is it that we keep importing products from China on a regular basis? It’s obviously the price. I can’t say any of the other 3 marketing mixes (Product, Place and Promotion) are a factor. The country’s reputation is surely shot to hell and therefore can’t be used to lure buyers. Seriously, what would a promotional ad for a “Made in China” product say: “Buy From China – We Sell Defective Products”? Obviously, the fact that many products are made under different brands belies buyers inability to connect “cheap” to “defective”, thereby allowing lower pricing to keep Chinese imports on American shelves.

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You Are Watching Captivate TV

LONG BEACH, CA - JULY 16:  A USA Today newspap...
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“You are watching Captivate tv.” – Sound familiar? Been on an elevator lately? If so then more than likely you are one of the millions of people ambushed by the unique advertising of Captivate TV. Captivate TV is a brand of information service hitting the airwaves on little tv monitors in….the elevator of all places. As a unique form of guerilla marketing Captivate TV hits its target where and when he/she least expects it in a most unexpected form. Yes, while the elevator rider can catch up on sports scores, the weather, crime statistics, world news, popular court cases; he is also exposed to many ads! With Price Waterhouse reporting in Bloomberg on June 16, 2009 that ad revenue for radio and media are on the decline and given the latest statistics on dwindling newspaper ad revenue and dwindling newspaper sales, it is obvious that firms with the money to pay advertising dollars are looking for new and innovative ways to capture the attention of its audience. Why not take a chance on tvs on an elevator? Face it, people aren’t buying as many newspapers but everyone at one time or another has to ride an elevator.

What makes Captivate TV such a perfect advertising tool is that it lives up to its name. The rider is captivated, well mostly because the rider is captive. Where else can you go on an elevator in between floors? Is it too invasive? Of course not – the great component of this form of advertising is that the target (that would be the rider) doesn’t feel coerced. Obviously, people like choice – telemarketers who no longer have a job can confirm that a marketing campaign that pushes too hard can be a fatal mistake. There’s no sound so no one is forced to listen to annoying, intrusive ads. One actually chooses on his or her own free will to look at the monitor. What a psychologically genius innovation! Why? The monitor seems to serve as a source of relief. People are compelled to look at it and to read every word on the screen because the alternative is the uncomfortable awkward silence of an elevator filled with strangers. Captivate TV makes the “straightforward elevator glare” unnecessary.*

What ultimately makes Captivate TV a top-notch marketing tool is its ability to deceptively serve as a portal to vital information while slipping its viewer a mickey in the form of the newest movie trailer or a picture of the greatest cigar to smoke while golfing. It’s true, the elevator is no longer just transportation from one floor to another, it is now a source of everything one needs to know all in a concise neat package without the editorial bias generally attached to a newspaper or radio piece. Ever want to know the time, the weather, the highlights of Beyonce’s latest concert and the down-low on Taking of Pelham 123 or even the day’s stock market recap? Just find an elevator, the weather is on the lower left and the ads show up on the upper right – everything else is in between…bon appetite.

*100 Elevator riders polled at the Wanamaker Building, (Center City Philadelphia) and 100% of those polled habitually relied on the monitors daily

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“Self”….Low-end Ads High-end Appeal

The 1933 King Kong movie poster and the March ...
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What makes a high-end magazine…the ads? I don’t think so. In Marketing Class I found out that Self magazine was considered a high end magazine. I have to say I was stunned. I took a look at some of the ads and I couldn’t position that magazine anywhere near a magazine like Vogue or even Elle. Most of the actual ads in Self are for everyday products that you can buy in the local pharmacy like Covergirl and Revlon. This certainly didn’t shriek “high-end” to me.

Then I took a closer look. Once you actually read Self you will see that the classification of high-end pertains to Self’s position as an opinion leader and not to the class of ads. You see, Self’s writer’s often lay out their opinions on everything from healthcare to hygiene to clothing and food. All of these opinions point to one thing: endorsement. The thumbs up in Self lend a far greater “pull” to the reader than actual ads. If I were an advertiser, I sure would want my hotdog to make the healthy cut in the top 10 healthy foods article. So I’ve discovered that product placement in Self is actually less expensive and more effective. I could see companies tripping all over themselves sending in samples to be included in the next edition.

Sure there are low-end ads for Walmart. Unfortunately, most of the products endorsed in the articles more than likely won’t be found at a Walmart. For instance, April’s article titled “Look Younger By Your Next Birthday” is boasting $50 facial scrub by Estee Lauder and $42 Peptides to fight wrinkles not to mention High Resolution megamoisturizers that cost $75. I found that I could be “sweet and sassy” in a jacket from Tibi for $395 – basically because Self says so and it did so on the page facing a full page ad for ACT Total Care. Basic advertisers such as Walmart, Welch’s and other national brands foot the bill for magazines like Self through advertising but it is the opinion leader articles that fulfill the desire for high-end products for the readers.

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