Friday, March 21, 2008

Ford: The Lost Cause

If there was ever a tagline shift from somewhat "OK" to the blunt, "buy our crap now," it would be this new tagline from Ford, "Ford. Drive One." Is it possible a marketer has finally realized the purpose of advertising is to get people to buy stuff? Sadly, no.

The new tagline was developed in meeting with car dealers who don't give a crap about how Cannes-worthy an ad is as long as it gets people into the dealership and cars off the lot. Who knew a great tagline could come from a room of slick-haired used car salesmen.

Ford CEO Alan Mulally put Group VP of Marketing Jim Farley, recently "stolen" from Toyota, on the job last fall and my guess is the first stipulation he added to his employment contract was the ability to dump the "Bold Moves" tagline. How unlike management to have to put their name on a new pet project.

Of course, time will tell whether or not what appears to be a good tagline actually becomes one. If not, they could always take it one step further and institute "Ford. Buy One... Now" (Insert picture of dealer holding a gun to the customers head).

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Easter plans?

If you live in Greenville and are looking for some good grub on Easter, be sure to check out Azia. Patrick and his team are doing Sunday Brunch in a BIG way for Easter Sunday!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

I love seeing our clients grow!

Two New Managers to Join Liquid highway Team

(Greenville SC) Liquid Highway, which has brought quality coffee drinks to Greenville for the last eight years, is proud to announce the addition of two managers. They join the team as Liquid Highway gears up to open two new stores in the next two months.

April Brooks, currently a manager at Waffle House, brings years of experience in management, and customer service. She's a restaurant professional looking to work for a company that's not a 24-hour operation.

Jamesia Smith, most recently with Moe's Southwest Grill, brings skills in marketing, sales and customer service. She's looking forward to the business challenges offered as a Liquid Highway manager.

The primary focus of Liquid Highway is to bring the top roasters in the country into the Greenville marketplace. Our customers drive miles out of their way to experience a quality cup of coffee and the best customer service around.

While Liquid Highway has an intense passion for handcrafted and micro roasted premiere coffee, the greater mission of our Touch the Ground Foundation is Saving Lives One Cup at a Time. The Foundation supports medical clinics, missionaries, schools, orphanages and feeds starving families in 27 countries around the world. Every cent of profit after taxes is dedicated to reaching out even further and deeper, into all cultures, to help humanity live a healthier and more fulfilling life.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

An Award, how nice

Awards can be great. It boosts your confidence, gives you some bragging rights, and reinforces the fact that you truly are the best. But what about when your award comes at the cost of others. By cost, I mean real money, thousands of dollars. Please note that the statements I will make in this post are not blanket statements, but a general observation.

How many of the awards that an ad agency has won, has been for an ad or campaign that really delievered results? Sure, they look good and sound good and are pretty darn creative. On the flipside, your client hires you and pays you good money to create and execute campaigns that will make them money. Most of the pieces that win awards (again, not a blanket statement, there are exceptions to this) could not possibly deliver results for the client.

My agency has never submitted a piece for an ADDY, and we never will. I have always said that the day that my agency wins an award is the day that we will shut our doors because we have lost focus on our real goal. Instead of awards, I prefer to get rewards. Rewarding feedback from my clients that call with an excited piece of news... "we beat our goal for this month", "we just had our best quarter ever", "i can't believe how busy we are!" Our ads walk the fine line of being creative and accomploshing the goals of our clients.

A happy long-term client that grows because of our work is worth more than all of the ADDY's in the world to me.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Gonna have a party!

That title makes me start singing the old polka tune "Polka Party" by Jimmy Sturr. I'm having a party, every week. It's a marketing party. It's not AMWAY, it's not what you ladies would refer to as a "toy part", it's not even a kegger. One of the things that I miss about spending more time in the Columbia office is the brainstorming sessions. Many of my media reps and friends who read this blog could benefit from a marketing party too.

I would like to set a time once a week that we can all gather and help each other with some brainstorming for our clients. Whether it's as simple as a new radio/tv script or as big as coming up with an entirely new campaign, let's help each other. Some of my best ideas have come from group brainstorming sessions, marrying together a hybrid of different ideas.

Maybe once a week for lunch? Maybe a Thursday evening at 6 for cocktails (a vodka and tonic proves to be the basis of many great ideas!) Even just two or three people can make this work. Are you up for a party? I offer up my office and complimentary eats and liquid idea enhancement. EMail me your time preference:

Now, I'm taking my first real vacation since 2006... My first time heading to Asheville. Any restaurant recommendations?

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Under Where?

It's the question on everyone's mind. How do you rid yourself of that annoying wedgie without anyone noticing? Not to worry! Hane's has the answer to not only that, but the age old question of how do you advertise underwear, without crossing "the line".

The new campaign features two television spots, plus a print ad with actress Sarah Chalke (of Scrubs fame) and directed by Scrubs co-star Zach Braff.

Spot one shows Chalke trying to rid herself of the wedgie while two fans look on. Perfect timing! Chalke notices a display featuring the new Hanes product that promises "no more wedgies!"

The second spot shows Chalke, now sporting her new wedgie-free drawers, watching other women trying to find creative ways to rid themselves of their wedge problems without drawing too much attention.

Kudos to Hanes on pulling this campaign off. While it could have quickly turned into potty humour, Chalke was the perfect person to pull off the goofy antics in a very innocent way. The ad also addresses the problem without subjecting us to any close-up shots of the rear. Visit the hanes "wedgie free" campaign site for the creative:

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

An overwhelming responsibility.

Owning an ad agency is an incredible responsibility. Everyday, many small business owners look to us for results. Off the cuff, it may seem like a small job. Write an ad, produce it, place it. Write a news release, distribute it, follow up. Not to mention the research that goes into the clients target audience, the market research, the media research, the brainstorming, the big idea... you get the picture. A lot of behind the scenes stuff to make everything come together as it should.

Now, think about this. The employee of my client who just got married two years ago and is about to welcome their first child into the world. How does that affect me, the agency owner. He's not my employee. But, he is my clients employee. My job as an agency is to produce results for my client, to make them filthy rich and pass that wealth onto their employees in the form of a paycheck, health insurance, bonuses etc. If I fail in my job to produce results, my client suffers and the chain of impact runs down to his employees, their families etc.

That's not a light load to carry on a daily basis. My I encourage my fellow business owners to reflect on their decisions. Think about how it affects you, your family... your employees and their families, your clients and their families, your clients employees and their familes. One bad decisions can have an impact on many people you may not think about, and a good decision can be very rewarding.

So why the incoherent ramblings above? As I was meeting with a client yesterday he was sharing with me some good news. In the past year, he has gone from about 80 clients and two employees to over 600 clients and almost 10 employees. Granted, I can't and won't take credit for all of the hard work that my client has put into growing his business... but to know that I played a small role in something so significant that has impacted so many others in a good way, is a bit overwhelming.

This post may be a bit serious so tomorrow I promise some light hearted humour!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Thanks Laura!

Many thanks to WIS tv web guru Laura Otero in Columbia for this link. Yet another great spot, this one viral in nature.

Many thanks to Jackson-Dawson Marketing in Greenville, they are hosting a luncheon next week for the PRSA of Upstate SC, with a very interesting topic. Discussion will be on new media such as web, blogs, and what you saw above, social media. One of my co-workers at Entercom of Greenville, Bob McLain PM Drive talk host of Newsradio 1330 and 950 WORD is part of the 4 person panel. I love listening to Bob, but he strikes me as not being up to date on the discussion topics. Of course, I can't claim a doctorate in the topic either.

Here is the registration info... RSVP by noon March 17, 2008. For online registration, visit our website at If not registering online, contact Melea Mauldin at


Here is the link to the Tide Stain Pen... if you watched the Super Bowl, you know which commercial it is!

You Have Got to See This!

I'm a fan of British Comedies (Last of the Summers Wine, Are You Being Served, Keeping up Appearences, and of course As Time Goes By). So you know that I like hokey corney humour.

One new television spot to watch out for is for the Tide Stain Pen (not sure of the official name of the product). It almost seems like a 30 second John Cleese produced vignet. Of course, it's so creative that I have a hard time remembering the product. I'll see if I can find a link on YouTube and post it on here this afternoon. In the meantime, be looking for it. I won't give away the details but you'll know it when you see it!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

You should be...

If you live in the great state of South Carolina you should be thankful. If you own a business in the great state of South Carolina, you should be doubly as thankful. I just returned from a Venture Capital forum hosted by the Greater Greenvile Chamber of Commerce and... WOW. There are so many great things hapenning (many of them under the radar) to encourage new businesses to blossom, and encourge those thriving businesses that South Carolina is the place to be.

Say what you will about our often backwards political system, or our somewhat unhealthy lust for pork smothered in your choice of a zillion different sauces... but you should be proud. Not only should you be proud, but you should be a part of it. Good things are happening and even better things are coming!

When you have a moment, make a leisurely click to You can see just the tip of the iceberg! (Or for those of you from SC, the tip of the nose on the smoked pig).

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

More on Public Relations

Continued from yesterday's discussion on PR, here are the three main principles of PR that are widely accepted, and why they are important to you.

1. Your Story: If you don't come out of the box and clearly define your story, you leave the door wide open for someone else to do the job for you, and you don't have control over that. You should clearly and concisely define who you are and what you do, and most importantly what is your message. A great example of this is my church, Seacoast Church. At every service and at every event we are reminded that our main goal is to Love God and Love People. Simple... but very powerful. Now the great thing about defining your message and telling your story is you don't need to have the marketing budget of McDonald's or Toyota. So now that you have your story, what do you do with it?

2. KISS: Keep it simple stupid! Lay out your story in plain english. A fancy marketing message will certainly impress the stuffed shirts in your boardroom, but on the street to your customers and to the media it's the spin cycle, and will get no traction. Leave the spin cycle to your washing machine and tell your story in good, clear plain english without the fancy industry lingo.

3. KISS 2: Keep it short, stupid! Face it, it's year 2008 and we are what we eat... we are all fast cheap and easy. Your marketing message should be the same. Shakepseare wrote that "brevity is the soul of wit", and nothing is more true than when it comes to PR. Most news releases are sent via email, and if you can't capture the attention of the news desk editor in 5 words or less in the subject line you're doomed from the beginning.

To practice what we rpeach, here's a summary of PR. Before setting sail on the PR ship, define your story, who you are. Once you've established your story, learn how to communicate it in a very simple, quick and straightforward way. No amount of creativity can make up for a lack of clarity (unless of course you are runnig for president!)

If you're still baffled, take the advice of 70's singer Billy Swan, let me know... I can help.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

A politial statement...

I never planned on getting politcal on this blog, but what the heck. I had to share this email my wife (the liberal) forwarded me:

A young woman was about to finish her first year of college. Like so many others her age, she considered herself to be a very liberal Democrat, and amount other liberal ideals, was very much in favor of higher taxes to support more government programs, in other words, redistribution of wealth.

She was deeply ashamed that her father was a rather staunch Republican, a feeling she openly expressed. Based on the lectures that she had participated in, and the occasional chats with a professor, she felt that her father had for years harbored an evil, selfish desire to keep what he thought should be his.

One day she was challenging her father on his opposition to higher taxes on the rich and the need for more governmental programs. The self-professed objectivity proclaimed by her professors had to be the truth and she indicated so to her father.

He responded by asking how she was doing in school. Taken a back, she answered rather haughtily that she had a 4.0 GPA, and let him know that it was tough to maintain, insisting that she was taking a very difficult course load and was constantly studying, which left her with no time to go out and party like other people she knew. She didn't even have time for a boyfriend, and didn't really have many college friends because she spent all her time studying.

Her father listened then asked, "How is your friend Audrey doing?"

She replied, "Audrey is barely getting by. All she takes are easy classes, she never studies, and she barely has a 2.0 GPA. She is so popular on campus; college for her is a blast. She's always invited to all the parties, and lots of times she doesn't even show up for classes because she's too hung over.

Her father asked her, "Why don't you got to the Deans' office and ask him to deduct a 1.0 off your GPA and give it to your friend Audrey, who only has a 2.0. That way you will both have a 3.0 GPA and certainly that would be fair and equal distribution of GPA."

The daughter, visibly shocked by her father's suggestion, angrily fired back, "That's a crazy idea. How would that be fair? I've worked really hard for my grades! I've invested a lot of time, and a lot of hard work. Audrey has done next to nothing toward her degree. She played while I worked my tail off!"

The father slowly smiled, winked and said gently, "Welcome to the Republican Party."

What is PR?

Public Relations sounds more like what Exxon must do when there is an oil spill, or the necessary evil of corporations to "spin" their story. I prefer to call those examples the "spin cycle". Public Relations is defined on wikipedia as the management of internal and external communication of an organization to create and maintain a positive image. Public relations involves popularizing successes, downplaying failures, announcing changes, and many other activities.

How does this apply to you, and why is it so important? Because it's CHEAP, and PRICELESS exposure for your business. Sure you can buy a 30 second spot during the evening newscast, but you can't purchase a story. To actually have the news anchor talk favorably about your business is one of the most powerful means of getting your message out. To have a news editor do a write up on your start-up business, your new employee that you hired, the new truck that your company purchased, the medical fair that is being held in your parking lot, and yes... a news editor actually picked up one of our clients press releases heralding the new carpet that was installed in their hallway (that one suprised me too!)

So how do you go about getting this elusive PR thing done? A shameless plug for Mustard N Relish, you can call us and we'll do the research, the writing, the distribution and follow up. But you wonder, how do you tie everything together in a nice neat little package that looks attractive to the media? Tomorrow, you'll learn the three principles of Public Relations.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Auto Advertising... why we don't work with many car dealers

First, read this story from the Spartanburg Hearld Journal here:

Now, what are your thoughts?

Putting My Neck Out...

Sometimes you just gotta take chances. After all, being in business for yourself is a risk. Risk doesn't stop at turning on your open sign, you must take them everyday when you're running a business. So here is my risk... a challenge to you. I want you to write down on a piece of paper this phrase: "But... This is the way I've always done it!" Sound familiar?

What mediums are included in your marketing plan? Radio, television, outdoor, direct mail... maybe even (EGADS!) newspaper? Maybe you've dabbled in internet marketing? What about text messaging? At this time last year I would have poo poo'ed a text message campaign as hokey and pretty radical. Not today. And yes, it's probably outside your comfort zone and you're correct, it's not the way you've always done it.

In January we executed a trial text messaging campaign for a client. I was skeptical. We spent $500 to use the 5 digit text code of a radio station and they included a set of 15 second commercials to promote the campaign. Here's how it worked. The 15 second spot encouraged listeners to text a keyword (for example, FOOD) to the 5 digit text number, 24261. As soon as the listener hit SEND, a text message arrived back in their text message inbox with the clients message and call to action. For as small of a campaign as we did, I would have been pretty happy with about 50 responses. At weeks end we had over 150 responses! That's 150 people who had a text message with a tangible message that they could save and act upon, and some even forwarded to their friends! We also had captured their phone number for future text campaigns (since they opted in to the program by texting... and should the decide they no longer want to recieve messages, they can send the word STOP back to the same number and ithout hassle be deleted from the campaign.) I'm hooked. This is pretty strong stuff.

If you need to reach customers under the age of 35, this is your medium. And in addition to the traditional marketing opportunites that Mustard N Relish can help you with, we have a 5 digit text code at our disposal for your campaign. This is a quick medium to utilize... within 5 minutes or less your text campaign is set up and ready for use.