Archive for April, 2010

April 20th, 2010

Green Marketing: Be Careful What You Wish For

By Kyle Morich

Ad Age had an interesting article yesterday about a shift in Earth Day advertising this year.  Take a second to look it over: Marketers Blame the Consumer in New Save-the-Planet Pitches.  A quick excerpt, in case you are busy:

“The focus of most green advertising has primarily centered on marketers’ own products and process changes to reduce waste and environmental impact. But a growing number of marketers are shifting the focus toward consumer behavior, either in their sustainability PR efforts, their advertising or both.”

Unilever’s latest sustainability report stated that 70% of their environmental impact comes from its consumer’s use and disposal of their products.  P&G is asking its consumers to lower their use of hot water, which is reportedly the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the life cycle of P&G products.  Of course, they also offer Tide Coldwater as the perfect solution for this quandary.

We talk a lot about the role context plays in behavior; more specifically, that there are three layers of context that play a determinative role in consumer habits.

  1. The Meta-Context – an overarching perception of a particular behavior
  2. The Contextual Event – a situation-specific behavior
  3. The Sub-Context – influencing vectors that impact behavior

Sub-Context is one of the more fascinating components of context because of its fluidity.  Consumers create rules, heuristics, and choices that align with their personal sub-context vectors.  As sustainability and environment-friendly messages continue to permeate the advertising landscape, we have begun to see a “Green” vector emerge.  A consumer may create a rule where she only buys recyclable packaging, or, as P&G hopes she will, only use products that work with cold water.

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April 20th, 2010

New Product Development’s Uphill Battle

By Neale Martin

The failure rate for new product introductions is a staggering 85%.  This massive percentage has prompted numerous expert theories that lay out convincing explanations for the errors that companies make routinely and repetitively.  Incidentally, these explanations are almost always based on the author’s particular discipline, and each is capable of assembling an impressive set of examples from his field to give the theories weight. But what if the problem behind the high rate of new product failure is not with a company’s new product development process, its research, or its design? What if the problem is with customers?

Bringing new products into the marketplace is like attacking a well-defended medieval castle. However, the massive fortress being attacked is not the dominant position of incumbents but instead the established habits of would-be customers. Thousands of new products drown in the moat of indifference that surrounds consumer behavior and countless more are thrown down from the high walls of unconscious repurchase. Only the few products that surmount these defenses actually battle with competitors’ brands for an opportunity to become the choice (and ultimately the habit) of the customer.

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April 7th, 2010

Being “Health-Conscious” Just Won’t Cut It

By Kyle Morich

The health and wellness of our society has been under heightened scrutiny these past few months. Outside of the polarizing political issues of regulation, deficit spending, and social programming, the most salient topic has been our unhealthy lifestyles. We’ve seen mountains of data shoved through the newswires illustrating this point. 58 million Americans are overweight, and 40 million are obese. 78% of us are not achieving basic activity level recommendations. Diagnoses of Type II Diabetes in adults 30 to 40 years old have increased 76% since 1990. Oh, and McDonald’s profit is up 23%

Up to 75% of healthcare costs are caused by behavioral factors, such as over-eating, forgetting to take medication, smoking, or a lack of exercise. As we learn more about the brain and the influence of unconscious habits on our everyday lives, it becomes readily apparent the unhealthy lifestyles of the American population are not the results of bad morals, but bad training.

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April 2nd, 2010

The 3-D Remake

By Kyle Morich

A swarm of 3-D films will be hitting your local theater this weekend (Dreamworks’ How to Train Your Dragon, Disney’s Alice in Wonderland, and Warner Brothers’ Clash of the Titans). Motivated by the financial success of James Cameron’s 2009 3-D epic Avatar ($740.4MM in US box office receipts as of this writing), Hollywood is scrambling to deliver more 3-D films to audiences, along with a pair of uncomfortable glasses and a $3 to $6 per ticket price premium.

Wait, haven’t I seen this plot before? (more…)