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: 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 situations neces … [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: Sanctify Your Easter Bunny Basket with a Chocolate Cross

Mixed Signals is Erin Straza’s weekly musing about marketing miscellany in advertising, branding, and messaging.When I was a kid, my family celebrated Easter by going to church and sharing a basket of candy treats. Neither of these events happened regularly as I grew up, so I equated special days with both church-going and candy-eating.As an adult, church-going is now a regular thing. (Admittedly, candy-eating is more frequent these days too.) And I also find that Easter is now more c … [Read more...]

Mixed Signals: Christians and the American Dream

Mixed Signals is Erin Straza’s weekly musing about marketing miscellany in advertising, branding, and messaging.Traditionally speaking, the American Dream has referred to each citizen’s right to pursue ongoing and ever-growing economic success, usually defined by home ownership, a bulky retirement, and plenty of gadgets and toys. In sum, it’s materialism. It defines our mindset and rules our lifestyle. Materialism could be argued as the American Christian’s polytheism of choice: stuff + Jesus. … [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 brother, just … [Read more...]

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: This Year's Best Super Bowl Ad

Mixed Signals is Erin Straza’s weekly musing about marketing miscellany in advertising, branding, and messaging. This week's installment is a guest post by Jason Morehead.While most people watch the Super Bowl for the football, there are many like myself who watch it for the advertisements. Super Bowl Sunday is prime advertising time, given the game's massive audience, and companies shell out millions to produce high profile ads for the event. (This year, companies spent an average of $3.5 mi … [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...]


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