Marketing Genius from Maple Creative

Marketing tips, observations & philosophy, plus a few rants and random musings - from those who practice, preach and teach marketing, research, advertising, public relations and business strategy.

Monday, August 30, 2004

Branding, Positioning, Chanting

Here is a story about position.

Tonight I stood in front of twenty-two public relations students and asked them to shout out a product name when I gave them a category.

Ketchup: Heinz
Toilet Paper: Charmin
Toothpaste: Crest
Shoes: Nike

It was amazing, 85-95% of group answered the same thing, almost in unison. It was rather chantlike the way they responded.

Does this support positioning? How can you say that it doesn't.

Here's the really interesting part. I asked them to say it again, but I added a little twist.

Tell me the toothpaste again: "Crest," they said.
Another toothpaste: "Aqua Fresh, Colgate, Mumble, Grumble..."

The toilet paper: "Charmin."
Another one: "Kroger, Mumble, Grumble..."

In all of the categories I mentioned, their was a dominant leader and a slew of products that came in second.

One product dominated the class in each category, except one.

Name an automobile: "Mumble, Grumble, Bamble, Fumble..."

No one dominated this group. A Brand did not ring clear.

I tell you this story for three reasons:

1. there is a psychological process that a person goes through to categorize stuff. Some products have very clearly carved out the dominant position in the minds of these college students.

2. The number two position is dilluted. If you are not number one, you will have a tough time getting market share.

3. Automobile marketing has not hit this group square on. That may be an indicator that they are not in the market for a vehicle, so they are not paying attention to advertising, but it still struck me as odd at how diversified the answers were for a brand of vehicle.

Positioning, Branding - the product that stands for something in the mind of consumers will win.

Friday, August 06, 2004

Mr. Six is Scary

I read an article today that showed where Mr. Six (Six-Flags-Selling-Old-Marketing-Icon-Fellow) is selling t-shirts -and other paraphenalia like hotcakes (remember the Taco Bell Chiauaua? Yeah, didn't sell any tacos either.)

But, sales are down 4%.

Mr. Six is violating the age old rule of "execution overshadows product" defined by some "old school marketing folks" many years ago.

I'm more likely to go to Six Flags because the roller coasters rock, not because some "Freddy Kruger look alike" can do the running man.

Good lord, where's the beef! Oh, that was another attempt to get me to buy something for no reason.

My point: people still need to be presented with a reason to do something. A reason to decide to try a service. A reason to put my kids through a four hour drive to get to a place that can make me have a great, adrenaline filled experience, that justifies dropping $200!

If I saw that man, in the park, coming at me - I'd run like hell!

Show me the fun. Show me the clean bathrooms. Show me the cool rides. Show me the funnel cake. But for goodness sake, don't show me a guy that is going to give me nightmares just because he can attract some attention.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Right-Hand Ring Creates a New Market

When I first saw the campaign from the diamond industry for the right-hand ring, I wasn't that impressed. Now, several months later (after many repeated, consistent impressions) I think that it is a brilliant marketing concept.

The diamond industry owns the market of women's left-hand ring fingers. Practically every married woman in the world has a diamond ring on that finger.

Given this near-monopoly position, what do the giants of the gem industry do? Do these rich cats simply sit contentedly and allow the profits to accrue? No ... of course not! The diamond industry goes out and creates a whole new market.

The diamond industry tells the world that every woman (all women - not just the married ones) needs a diamond ring for her right hand!

This is pure brilliance, I say. Like all great marketing campaigns, its brilliance exists in layers of genius. Let's peel this campaign apart.

The diamond industry has just fabricated a new market with hundreds of millions of potential customers. How many right-hand, female ring fingers are alive today? In 2004, the diamond industry says that it wants to sell you another ring ... for your right hand. You deserve it, after all. C'mon, raise your right hand if you deserve one.

It has reached out to embrace all women ... single women, divorced women, married women, short women, tall women ... all women. Not just engaged-to-be-married women and their fiances.

The campaign says to women: buy it yourself. You no longer have to receive a ring as a gift. Go get a diamond ring for yourself. Wear it on your right hand.

But it's still okay, if you want to drop a hint that you'd like one as a gift. That's fine too. In this sense, the campaign reaches men. Some men will, upon exposure to this campaign, decide on their own to purchase a right-hand ring as a gift.

One criticism - the campaign website is not so great. Visually it's elegant and crisp, but the site is slow to load and transition between screens. Also, its navigation buttons are old java-script code that tends to be clunky and sluggish.

About the campaign (from is an information source on diamonds and is sponsored by the Diamond Trading Company, the world's leading diamond sales and marketing company. Combining promotion with education, exists to help build interest in diamonds among consumers, as well as helping their confidence in the diamond buying process. does not sell any jewelry featured on the site as the pieces shown are provided by many different manufacturers across the United States.