Mixed Signals: Skype's Campaign Wants to Bring Back Social Graces

Mixed Signals is Erin Straza’s weekly musing about marketing miscellany in advertising, branding, and messaging. Social etiquette is like the English language: It’s always changing. Prescriptivists -- in language and etiquette -- call us to adhere to certain rules for Propriety’s sake. The rule-makers forget, however, that Propriety is a moving target. Somehow we know what’s expected of us, even though there are shifts in Propriety from generation to generation. We know which … [Read more...]

Mixed Signals: Target Shooting for Non-Violent Types

Mixed Signals is Erin Straza’s weekly musing about marketing miscellany in advertising, branding, and messaging. Let’s say you had a political disagreement with someone — maybe your spouse or your kid. Let’s say your brother. The discussion got heated over an important topic that would direct the course of your lives and those around you. When neither of you would back down from firmly held stances, you both decided to end the discussion and part ways. Later, you stop to see your … [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 … [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 … [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. … [Read more...]

Mixed Signals: Christmas Rage Available at Kohl's (Rebecca) Black Friday

Mixed Signals is Erin Straza’s weekly musing about marketing miscellany in advertising, branding, and messaging. Holiday advertising has been increasing over the past few weeks as stores gear up for our country’s infamous mega-shopping day, Black Friday. One store's advertising, however, may have just destroyed its Black Friday rush. Kohl's Department Stores released a TV spot promoting its Black Friday midnight opening by tweaking a song that got plenty of press this past year. Just … [Read more...]

Mixed Signals: When Your Free Will Infringes upon Mine

Mixed Signals is Erin Straza’s weekly musing about marketing miscellany in advertising, branding, and messaging. Dread. That’s the emotion I experienced in high school driver’s ed. The students in the first class spoke of The Video being shown that day. With actual footage of brutal and bloody car crashes, the video was meant to scare us young drivers into driving safely and soberly. I remember dreading the class and wishing I could skip it. I went to class, but I closed my eyes as much … [Read more...]

Mixed Signals: Creative Lessons from a Thermostat

Mixed Signals is Erin Straza’s weekly musing about marketing miscellany in advertising, branding, and messaging. Have you seen the new thermostat that’s taking the marketplace by storm? It’s called Nest. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=QCJ1PnVlzIE Pretty nifty, eh? Nest is a start-up company whose founders hail from Apple. The thermostat’s ease of use and sleek aesthetic form an intricate and complex system, reminiscent of Apple product design (a recent … [Read more...]