Mixed Signals: You Might as Well Abandon the Catholic Church

Mixed Signals is Erin Straza’s weekly musing about marketing miscellany in advertising, branding, and messaging.I wanted to be mad at this Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) ad, which will soon be placed in the New York Times. It calls for Catholics to take action against the Catholic Church’s opposition to free-contraception-for-all. The action FFRF recommends? Quitting the church. Check it out:When groups cry out against religion and church and call it all negative, I get a bit per … [Read more...]

Mixed Signals: Why Christianity Doesn’t Get the Sympathy Vote

Mixed Signals is Erin Straza’s weekly musing about marketing miscellany in advertising, branding, and messaging.When Apple’s iconic TV spot premiered back in 1984, it portrayed mindless folks sucked in by the unnamed (but obvious) computer dictator of the day.The message was clear: Apple had come to set the captives free through its Macintosh computer. Through the new Macintosh, computer usage (and users) could be redeemed.That messaging tapped into the desire we all have to be free and no … [Read more...]

Mixed Signals: What the Christian Message Says to the Masses

Mixed Signals is Erin Straza’s weekly musing about marketing miscellany in advertising, branding, and messaging.Branding strategy is all about precise target definition with custom messaging developed to reach that particular group of people. It works. That’s why most brands, companies, and organizations do it. But there is a danger in becoming ultra-focused on the specific preferences of the target while disregarding the preferences of the market at large.Case in point: Burger King.Seth S … [Read more...]

Mixed Signals: Newsweek and "Mad Men" Unite

Mixed Signals is Erin Straza’s weekly musing about marketing miscellany in advertising, branding, and messaging.Mad Men fans rejoice: March is almost here. That’s when the Season 5 premiere airs. And it’s also when Newsweek magazine will revert to its 1960s design in honor of the show. Tina Brown, editor of Newsweek, explains: “Newsweek was very much on the cultural forefront at the time of the show,” Ms. Brown said. “It covered the events that are so much of the background for the show's dram … [Read more...]

Mixed Signals: Special K's Lose-Gain Philosophy

Mixed Signals is Erin Straza’s weekly musing about marketing miscellany in advertising, branding, and messaging.According to the latest NPR-Thomson Reuters Health Poll, almost one-third of those surveyed made losing weight a New Year’s goal. Plenty of marketing platforms take advantage of these New Year’s hopes and dreams by escalating promotions for their weight-loss solutions between Christmas and New Year's Day.Special K cereal launched their What Will You Gain? campaign with an intera … [Read more...]

Mixed Signals: Brands Want More Than Facebook Fans

Mixed Signals is Erin Straza’s weekly musing about marketing miscellany in advertising, branding, and messaging.Facebook makes it easy and painless to give a thumbs-up approval to everything from a snarky status update to a favorite product or celebrity page. With a single click, we add to the number of loyal fans and gain a few seconds of cyber-transcendence.But as business and brand pages seek to increase their fan count through social media campaigns and pushes, I am left perplexed. What … [Read more...]

Mixed Signals: Red Cross Invites You to Give More than Stuff

Mixed Signals is Erin Straza’s weekly musing about marketing miscellany in advertising, branding, and messaging.At this late date, I bet most of you have finished your Christmas shopping. But if you haven’t, here’s a gift idea from an unlikely source: Red Cross.In its new TV campaign, Red Cross beckons: “This year, let’s take a break from all this stuff and give something that means something.” Their first spot is titled “2011 Holiday Giving with Fred.”http: … [Read more...]

Mixed Signals: Harvey Nichols Sells a Cure for Shame

Mixed Signals is Erin Straza’s weekly musing about marketing miscellany in advertising, branding, and messaging.Marketing messages are often crafted to sway commonly held perceptions about a specific product or a usage situation. If the message is strong enough, consumer perception will shift, opening the door for a larger customer base or an increase in sales.Fashion designer Harvey Nichols seeks to do just that in a new TV spot titled “Walk of Sha … [Read more...]

Mixed Signals: Your Best Work Now!

Mixed Signals is Erin Straza’s weekly musing about marketing miscellany in advertising, branding, and messaging.As a writer and marketing communications specialist, I regularly need lengthy chunks of time to think and stare at the blank page (or out the window). When that time shrinks, so does my creativity, and my work suffers.Therefore, I am constantly reassessing my schedule to ensure that I have time to do my job well. Scott Belsky calls this our “sacred space” in an article titled “What … [Read more...]

Mixed Signals: Influencing People for Good

Mixed Signals is Erin Straza’s weekly musing about marketing miscellany in advertising, branding, and messaging.There are people in this country who missed Thanksgiving dinner, on purpose. They gave up the yummy casseroles and sleep-inducing turkey to camp in front of a retail store and await its opening for Black Friday's consumerist goodness. Marketing specialists call this phenomenon “social proof.”In an article written by Aileen Lee, social proof is defined as “the positive influence cre … [Read more...]


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