Blog Posts

Watching Tomorrow This Weekend

Posted on June 12th, by JCH in Blog Posts, Screenwriting. No Comments

I saw one of the best Science Fiction films I’ve seen in a while, this weekend. Tom Cruise’s Edge of Tomorrow. I’m not a huge Tom Cruise fan – I’ve never really forgiven him for Days of Thunder, but being the open-minded kind of guy I am I gave him another chance. The buzz on social media among the film folks I follow was strong, so EoT got the popcorn money this week. It’s everything folks who work on the creative side of the movie business say the movie business needs, but it’s the textbook case study for why the business side of the movies works the way it does.

The film has everything a great summer blockbuster should have – an inventive story, taut writing, solid star power in the leads, off-the-charts special effects and dynamic action sequences. You genuinely … Read More »

The Humble Hashtag Comes to Facebook

Posted on June 13th, by JCH in Blog Posts. No Comments

Social media just took a big left turn. Facebook now does hashtags. If you aren’t Twitter literate, a hashtag is what the ancient Mayans called a pound sign – #. But several years ago a bright young web guy – Chris Messina –  started the idea that a word or phrase following a hashtag could be a type of topical hyperlink. The concept caught on and Twitter users began hashtagging everything. That led to trending topics and became a means to see what the twitterverse thought was the most important or at least most popularly discussed idea of the moment. There are humble hashtags in use on Flickr, Instagram, Tumblr, Google+ and probably it’s coming to every social media platform there is.

Now the hashtag phenomenon on Facebook. In my opinion – it’s gonna get messy. Facebook says it isn’t “selling” … Read More »

Putting More Blue in the Blue Light Special

Posted on June 7th, by JCH in Advertising, Blog Posts. No Comments

Kmart has never been a brand to stand for class and sophistication, so perhaps it’s really little surprise their new campaign aims for the scatological shopper Shipping Their Pants and the sophomoric snickers of Big Gas Savings. These aren’t just mind-numbing yucks from the Will Farrell – Jonah Hill school of “it was funny when we were 10, why wouldn’t it be funny now?”. These are bad advertising at its fundamental worst, with a hat tip to the fine folks at Sofa King.
Is it bad because it’s cheap laughs and bathroom humor? No, not completely. The biggest problem is it doesn’t sell. That’s the first thing an ad needs to do. I’ve only seen the Ship My Pants ad run once – but I’ve seen it linked to online, posted on Facebook and referenced dozens of times. As viral marketing … Read More »

That was a great ad. Or was it?

Posted on February 14th, by JCH in Blog Posts. No Comments

Paul Harvey for Ram Trucks

A zillion people watched the Superbowl. How many ran out and bought Ram pickups because they ran a really good ad?

I heard from two camps – some friends who are agriculturally enlightened and some who believe that hamburgers come from somewhere they don’t think about and then magically appear at McDonalds.  The urbanites gave the Dodge ad a small WTF? and moved on. Not exactly the target audience for a half-ton pickup. They don’t need a truck to haul the Bichon Frise to the groomer.

But I come from a  rural part of the world and Dad still owns a small wheat farm. Those friends and compadres from the barnyard world were ecstatic that Dodge would run a spot praising the hard work of farmers. Even the ranchers were impressed. There were large amounts of warm-fuzzies throughout … Read More »

The Golden Quarter

Posted on December 6th, by JCH in Blog Posts. No Comments

We are right in the middle of the most important marketing time of the year for retailers. So why is the advertising so dang dull? This should be the time to break through. Ads should be slashing through the clutter like a hot knife through gingerbread.

I just did a quick mental rundown of TV commercials I’ve seen this year that make me stop and say, “Wow! Wish I’d done that.”

This year, I’ve got nothing.

Car companies usually do something – I mean I kinda like the Chevrolet campaign with Santa’s day job as a car salesman. They are funny and the guy playing Nick the salesman is dead-on. But there’s something sad at its core about Father Christmas hawking pick-ups at the Chevy dealer. Acura has a different kind of spooky going on – Celebrities driving like maniacs. In … Read More »

Chasing Stingrays

Posted on December 4th, by JCH in Blog Posts. No Comments

Every 5 or 10 years a marketing event comes along that I really enjoy. It’s the introduction of a new model of Corvette. January of 2013 will be such an occasion. The seventh generation (C7 to those of us in the community) will bow on January 13th at 9:00am Eastern, to be exact. But who’s counting?

I’ve been a Corvette fan my whole life. Literally. My Uncle Phil has had Corvettes since before I was born and he took me riding before I could walk. I was hooked. Power. Speed. Noise. Strangely, this same thing didn’t happen in my Dad’s Studebaker Lark.

I watch these introductions as a fan, an owner and as a marketing guy. GM has had a rough time of it over the last few years, but they still know how to introduce a Corvette. This time there’s the … Read More »

Does the Internet hate everything?

Posted on November 30th, by JCH in Blog Posts. No Comments

There’s a saying that everyone is a critic.
While the Internet has made that old chestnut true, it’s also given the world a situation where the critics have the anonymous power to shape communications. With a sharp wit and a screen name, anyone can derail months of planning and strategy by simply creating the buzz of disapproval, feinted insult and unsubstantiated offense.

Recently, the tourism folks in North Dakota unveiled a campaign touting the ability to visit North Dakota and “Leave A Legend”.  A print ad was moved to their Facebook page and lo-and-behold, someone took offense. The ad shows two gentlemen flirting with three women through a tavern window. Apparently the headline “Drinks, Dinner, Decisions…” was too much for someone.

I’ve done my share of ads that somebody, somewhere, didn’t like. And on more than one occasion a member of the general … Read More »

Improve sales. Use a bulldog.

Posted on November 30th, by JCH in Blog Posts. No Comments

I’m a sucker for bulldogs. English, French, Boston. If Kuala Lumpur had bulldogs, I’d probably be a fan. One of the great things about bulldogs is they also star in some great commercials. This is mostly because they have wonderful dispositions and will pretty much stay where you put them.

My current favorite bulldog commercial comes from VW, purveyors of some excellent advertising recently, and I’m told, fairly decent cars. The spot uses Johnny Cash’s “Dirty Old Egg-Suckin’ Dog” behind Scott, the Scotsman from the Scotts’s lawn care commercials. Scott’s headed to his day job apparently, in a business suit, looking for his keys which he can’t find. He eyes the bulldog, picks him up and carries him to his VW, which unlocks when he holds the dog near.

With the bulldog on the backseat, Scott punches the start button and upon … Read More »

Kill that ad

Posted on November 30th, by JCH in Blog Posts. No Comments

There have always been obnoxious ads. One of the great inventions of the 20th century, up there with the polio vaccine, integrated circuitry and Teflon, is the TV remote.  It’s the single greatest weapon against bad advertising. I wear out the batteries in mine killing off ads. Lately, it’s gotten a workout against a new nemesis:

The Samsung Spider.

The spot shows a typical business lunch until the phone on the nicely placeset table rings and lights up to reveal a tararntula screen wallpaper. The woman at the table leaps from the table screaming a high pitched wail that deafens babies, starts dogs barking across America and probably creates fertility issues. Her colleague leaps to action removing his shoe and begins to whack the thunder out of the Spider-Phone.  (Cue Homer Simpson singing “spider-phone, spider-phone…”)

I guess there is a reason that would … Read More »

How much are customers willing to pay for your social media efforts?

Posted on November 30th, by JCH in Blog Posts. No Comments

Coca-Cola has more Facebook followers than any other brand. Social Media experts and those who are trying to make a buck off new media love to point out the tremendous success and innovative ways that Coke has created and expanded its online community. But at what cost, and exactly who is paying the freight?

Here’s a tale of two sodas – these pics were at the local WalMart. There are plenty of Cokes available at $1.28 (the everyday “low” price) but the store brand which boasts considerably fewer than the 35 million Facebook fans Coke has, is all but sold out at 78¢.

It started me thinking – who is paying for the miracle of social media? It’s not just Mark Zuckerberg sucking dollars out of wallets to fashion an online paradigm shift. Here’s the world’s largest purveyor of colored sugar-water putting … Read More »