Mixed Signals: Nike Redefines Greatness

Mixed Signals is Erin Straza’s weekly musing about marketing miscellany in advertising, branding, and messaging.It was sort of sad, really—the bungled attempts the International Olympic Committee (IOC) made to ensure their select sponsors received the bulk of the spotlight during the London games. The athletes were forced into a two-week blackout period, restricting them from any mention of unofficial sponsors. And unofficial sponsors were in no way allowed to benefit from Olympic-themed mes … [Read more...]

Mixed Signals: B-cycle Bike Sharing Checks American Dream Excesses

Mixed Signals is Erin Straza’s weekly musing about marketing miscellany in advertising, branding, and messaging.The cornerstone of the American Dream is ownership—of land, a home, vehicles, and all the gadgets and tools that make living in America easy and comfortable. Companies have built upon this rock largely because it means a mighty profit for them. Advertising campaigns are crafted to whisper discontent sweetly in our ears so that we will be ever-seeking the latest and greatest the mar … [Read more...]

Mixed Signals: Jedi Mind Tricks of Advertising Really Do Work

Mixed Signals is Erin Straza’s weekly musing about marketing miscellany in advertising, branding, and messaging.Lots of people claim that advertising doesn’t really work. I disagree. Good advertising works so well that people don’t even realize what hit them. It’s sort of like the Jedi mind trick of the Advertising Realm. With the wave of a hand and the power of suggestion, good advertising leads the viewer to think the thoughts they want them to think.That’s what happened to the people of T … [Read more...]

Mixed Signals: Global Warming Debate Leads to Chicago Billboard Slander

Mixed Signals is Erin Straza’s weekly musing about marketing miscellany in advertising, branding, and messaging.Chicago commuters had ringside seats to the latest bout in the fight over global warming. In one corner, it was the global warming opponents (represented by The Heartland Institute). In the other, the global warming advocates. And Heartland’s recent, very public punch, was delivered via this Chicago billboard:Wow. That’s harsh.On its Web site, Heartland has compared global warmi … [Read more...]

Mixed Signals: T-Mobile's Good Girl Goes Edgy but Do Customers Care?

Mixed Signals is Erin Straza’s weekly musing about marketing miscellany in advertising, branding, and messaging.T-Mobile’s girl-next-door spokeswoman Carly Foulkes has traded her super-sweet personality and pink dresses for super-sassy black leather and some serious brooding. And she’s got a motorcycle.It’s all part of T-Mobile’s new "Alter Ego" campaign to redefine itself as a cutting-edge carrier (i.e., a leather-clad Foulkes) with a speedy wireless network (i.e., a blurry-fast motorcycl … [Read more...]

Mixed Signals: Fast Phones Expose Your Inner Ugly

Mixed Signals is Erin Straza’s weekly musing about marketing miscellany in advertising, branding, and messaging.Advertising isn’t all that complicated. Simply show the greatness of having product X as compared to the awfulness of not having product X, and you’ve demonstrated just cause for a purchase.A recent campaign by AT&T uses this sort of comparison in its TV spots (additional spots linked below):http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1WKX46HCaxAAT&T uses this comparison technique t … [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: The American Heritage Dictionary Says Words Still Matter

Mixed Signals is Erin Straza’s weekly musing about marketing miscellany in advertising, branding, and messaging.It’s been said that actions speak louder than words. Our words fall flat when our actions aren’t aligned with the tongue. But that doesn’t mean words have no value. Our deeds fall just as flat when our words do not support and define the work of the hands.A new campaign for the launch of the fifth edition of the American Heritage Dictionary (AHD) stresses the power of words to defi … [Read more...]

Mixed Signals: Seeking Some Quiet in the Media Storm

Mixed Signals is Erin Straza’s weekly musing about marketing miscellany in advertising, branding, and messaging.Years ago when I was working with my church’s youth group, the youth leaders challenged the students to a week-long media fast. We were all in it together, leaders and students alike—no entertainment via TV, movies, video games, iPods, or the Internet. The goal? To create some quiet in our lives so that we would have more time for God and more mental space to hear what He was sayin … [Read more...]


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