Throwback Thursday: Glitz, Flash and Sparkle

Sell Me About It is introducing a new idea to pay homage to some favourite ads of the past. It is inspired by Facebook and Twitter’s infamous Throwback Thursday, where posters proudly present their followers with snapshots of their grade eight graduation (braces and all) or last Halloween’s hilarious hi-jinx.

This week’s Thursday throwback is Dior’s J’adore advert that graced our screens in 2011. This glittering tribute to old Hollywood glamour was directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud and is set at the Versailles’ Hall of Mirrors. Accompanying Charlize Theron in the bustle of backstage preparation are the likes of Marilyn Monroe and Grace Kelly who have been digitally added. Charlize commands the catwalk to the vocally electrifying Heavy Cross by Gossip.

The campaign was a celebration of a new version of the Dior scent, released that year. The beauty of the remastered imagining, the music selection and all the glitz, flash and sparkle  earns it a place in my collection of favourite ads from the past.

Coke of a Kind – Why Mass Customization is a Way to Sell Anything

The Share a Coke campaign designed by soft drink corporation Coca Cola has spread it’s way around the world since it’s launch in Australia in 2011. The concept is simple – each Coke beverage has a unique name printed on them, leading buyers to maul through store fridges and friends’ beverage coolers to find their name. 3a3b67dFinding your name on a Coke has shown to be an Instagram-worthy experience as I’ve noticed on my newsfeed since the Canadian campaign launch this past summer.

Now Diet Coke Israel is jumping on the bandwagon with their new campaign. Coca Cola Israel crafted the idea of manufacturing 200 million colourful, uniquely composed bottle labels ensuring no Diet Coke will be alike. diet-coke-algorithm-3The campaign is promoted by rich rainbow out-of-home ads. Diet Coke has been experiencing a slump in sales recently. Their last campaign failed to save the day, as it was criticized for being a subliminal drug reference. More on the “You’re On” campaign:   (http://sellmeaboutit.com/2014/03/08/company-alludes-being-on-coke-is-cool/)

Mass-customization is popular in our society, especially among millennials who want to express their individualism but still be among the swarm who participate in corporate culture. Think of how pleased many of us are when the barista spells our names correctly on our favourite cup of Starbucks coffee, making it our own.

Jones Soda did it first. jonesMany years ago Jones Soda manufactured their bottle labels with various cool photographs that customers could submit themselves. The soft drink company began releasing limited editions such as their Halloween pack which featured new, limited edition flavours as well as bottles. The Jones Soda website also offers customers the chance to upload a photo to be printed on specialty bottles that they can have shipped to them.

The parallel of consumer culture’s need to proudly advertise our own selfhood with our equal need to cohere to what everyone else is doing reveals how the mass customization of products really is a genius marketing tool. Coke explains in the video above that the essence of their brand is that there’s something extraordinary in every person. It’s a broad yet personal statement. It is exactly the way that mass customization is broadly personal, an ever contradictory concept that today’s consumer is wanting more and more of.

Pre Order Your Pumpkin Spice! Starbucks Introduces Mobile Ordering App

6:00 AM – Your alarm is chiming. You fumble for your phone to hit ‘snooze’.

6:04 AM – That wasn’t enough of a snooze but your routine of putting yourself together for the day doesn’t allow you any more sleep.

6:45 AM – You’re running for your bus.

7:00 AM – You’re running for your second bus.

7:45 AM – You’ve made it to Starbucks with 15 minutes to spare before your meeting/interview/presentation and you’re ready to order your favourite venti mocha/chestnut/pumpkin/caramel with whip. Always get whip. Alas, the line to the counter is ten miles long! And the front runner of the eager orderers has never set foot in a Starbucks! She doesn’t know whether to get whip! You watch the clock tick as the line is at a stand still. Does this sound familiar?

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Starbucks has come up with a solution! The coffee shop heavyweight, which originated in Seattle, is testing a mobile ordering app in 150 of their stores in Portland, Oregon. The app for smartphones will allow customers to pre-order their beverage and pick it up without waiting in a massive line-up.

This sounds like a great innovation for consumers because, as a society, we are moving towards a digital future. If the tests are successful the app will give Starbucks an edge on competitors and make it easy for the company to collect data on customer ordering patterns. It will also be another platform to infuse with targeted ads.

Studies conducted on digital ordering have shown that consumers will spend more when placing orders online. Pizza delivery companies such as Domino’s have seen a very positive response to their online ordering option. 

The development of these apps and features highlight the way our purchasing behaviour is changing. We are drifting away from the person to person aspect of the purchase, cutting more time off our already fast food. Apple launched Apple Pay this past Monday, an app I’ve been expecting for a while now. It lets iPhone users pay by simply pulling out their device. No longer must you plunder through your pockets or dig for your wallet as you approach the checkout. Lopping off precious moments spent scrounging, and detaching you from the idea that money is being removed from your account. Passbook_ApplePay_JPEG_800

Starbucks customers in other parts of the world will have to wait until Christmas time to try out the app for themselves. This is good news to those of you whose mornings are plagued with lengthy lines and indecisive imbeciles imploring baristas as to what exactly is a “dark roast”.

Life in Plastic Becoming Less Fantastic for Barbie Doll Brand

cm05_barbie_at_50.JPGBarbie has been a competitor in the toy market since her launch by Mattel Inc. in 1959. For many years the Barbie doll has been a sought-after edition to young girls Christmas lists, and a cause of tears and tantrums in toy aisles worldwide. It appears in recent years that is changing, as Mattel is seeing a significant sale slump.

Barbie has been everything from a zoo keeper to a mermaid in her 55 years of shelf life, but with global sales dropping in double-digit percentages each quarter, there is evidence that young girls interests seem to lie elsewhere. It’s not only Barbie who’s feeling the pinch. Mattel’s high-end American Girl dolls which retails for around $100 are also declining in the marketplace.

American Girl doll
American Girl doll

Mattel had hopes of maintaining the merchandising rights for the wildly popular Disney movie “Frozen”, but Disney shifted production to rival toy maker Hasbro. The loss of the Frozen dolls are a contributor to Mattel’s slumping sales, as demand for Frozen anything is intense these days (ask any 5 year old girl).

Frozen dolls
Frozen dolls

It’s a tricky task, winning over the affections of Barbie’s target market. Small children are known to be a bit fleeting, and the doll market only allows a short window for repeat sales. Gone are the days when Barbie was the main fashion doll as shelves are now saturated with competitors. Another sad reality is that children are more immersed in digital platforms  then real-life toys. Now dress-up games can be played on an iPad, with rich graphics and customizable features. Who would want to go through the hassle of buying a Barbie and struggling with her Velcro clothes always sticking to one another? (Remember that? Always stuck together…)

Monster High's "Frankie Stein" doll
Monster High’s “Frankie Stein” doll

Is it all doom and gloom for Mattel? Can they deal with a future that maybe doesn’t include  Barbie, Ken or Kelly? Despite Barbie’s downfall, their smaller scale productions of Monster High (punky, Gothic high school going dolls) are keeping them afloat.

Max Steel
Max Steel

And they have a trick up their sleeve for the boy demographic, a new action figure named Max Steel. Steel has a solid online backing, with promotional videos, cartoons and games being released before his debut.

Like any market now-a-days faced with the rise of the digital age, the only options are innovate or falter. Barbie may be on the verge of retirement, but 55 years is quite the achievement.
130 careers and a true queen of controversy, Barbie the legend will never be forgotten.

“A Better Tomorrow” Highlights a Different Future for Record Sales

Most of us are guilty, to some degree, of music theft. For the millennial generation, the mere concept of “purchasing” music must be archaic. I recall buying my first iPod at the age of fifteen and hearing rumours that the government was going to enforce illegal download laws and arrest me for my Limewire account. However these soon died away with the rumours that Facebook was going to shut down and I went on my merry way of downloading the latest Lady Gaga tracks (please reserve your judgements).

illegal_downloading_music-1

Artists and record labels have been trying to combat this trend of free tunes for a long time. It just hasn’t been going in their favour. Forbes Magazine reported that in August of 2014, album sales hit the lowest of the lows. This includes 99 cent digital downloads such as iTunes.

This has labels pulling out all the stops to profit from what the are producing. U2 recently annoyed a lot of iPhone users (myself included) by dropping a free copy of their album right into your music library without warning or consent.

Wu-Tang-Clan-Speaker

Wu-Tang Clan has come up with a cooler approach to increasing sales. The Wu is selling their new album, A Better Tomorrow, exclusively inside a portable, wearable speaker. The legendary rap group has partnered with Boombotix speakers. Boombotix has created this unique Wu speaker that retails for $79.99 and is available in limited quantities online. The speaker will house 8 songs from the new album.

This isn’t the first unconventional album idea from group. The Wu released a rare album that exclusively toured museums and galleries, where eager listeners had to pay a fee to hear it.

Even in the age of declining record sales, some artists are able to stay on top. It’s just a matter of creativity. Take a hint, U2.