Mixed Signals: Do Products Deliver the Simple Life We Crave?

Mixed Signals is Erin Straza’s weekly musing about marketing miscellany in advertising, branding, and messaging.With all the busyness we face trying to do it all and more in this life, we speak wistfully of our need for more time and less pressure. We pine for more and for less, depending on what we have or lack. And more often than not, we watch it elude us even as we choose one more activity, one more commitment, one more assignment. Busy rules us.Marketing gurus play into this helpless f … [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: Your Life as a PR Campaign

Mixed Signals is Erin Straza’s weekly musing about marketing miscellany in advertising, branding, and messaging.Why is the use of social media so popular? It’s fun. It’s lighthearted. It offers a reprieve from life's heaviness.This is also why businesses are benefiting from social media. It provides a place for customers to interact casually with the brands they love, personifying them, integrating them.Although our personal updates are in-the-moment comments about the dailyness of life, f … [Read more...]

Mixed Signals: McDonald's, Photoshop, and Why We're Lovin' It

Mixed Signals is Erin Straza’s weekly musing about marketing miscellany in advertising, branding, and messaging.Psst. Have you heard?McDonald’s is coming clean.That delicious burger you see in its ads? The one with the cheese melting and the mustard and ketchup dripping?It’s not your average McDonald’s hamburger. All the components are the same—bun, burger, condiments—but the execution of a drive-through burger is nothing compared to the rigorous assembly of a burger heading to advertisi … [Read more...]

Mixed Signals: What Your Facebook Likes Say about Jesus

Mixed Signals is Erin Straza’s weekly musing about marketing miscellany in advertising, branding, and messaging.What is it about that plucky, thumbs-up Like button? Facebook has taken a simple engagement tool and turned it into a marketer’s dream. With every click, we consumers are cataloging the businesses and brands we are partial to. And it’s so easy to do—just a click links us to something that charms us.However, our participation in this community-wide click-fest has given Facebook a stu … [Read more...]

Mixed Signals: Kraft Mac & Cheese on Generational Sin

Mixed Signals is Erin Straza’s weekly musing about marketing miscellany in advertising, branding, and messaging.Sometimes I wish I didn’t know so much about advertising strategy. It would be nice to watch TV and flip through a magazine without my advertising eyes searching for meaning behind the pitch.It ruins any enjoyment there may be from an advertisement well executed.Take for example, this spot titled “A Father’s Lesson” for Kraft Mac & Cheese. It’s part of a campaign designed to … [Read more...]

Mixed Signals: How to Make a Proper Apology

Mixed Signals is Erin Straza’s weekly musing about marketing miscellany in advertising, branding, and messaging.We’ve heard plenty of public apologies recently. First was Rush Limbaugh. Then Ann Rosen. Now Mitt Romney. Each one tried to own-up to erroneous attitudes, comments, and behaviors by crafting a statement of regret and releasing it for the world to read, analyze, and judge.Why is it that these public statements tend to fall flat on our ears? And why do they rarely touch the heart de … [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: Giving Grace to the Airline Industry

Mixed Signals is Erin Straza’s weekly musing about marketing miscellany in advertising, branding, and messaging.Bring up the topic of air travel, and you are likely to get plenty of harrowing tales about long lines, unpleasant food, white-knuckle turbulence, and frustrating airline employees. Air travel, in all its uncontrollable glory, is one of those first-world blessings that many people love to hate.Travel is stressful because travelers must yield to the almighty airline their s … [Read more...]


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