Monday, April 6, 2009

Hey! It's All About A New Way To Roll!

Have you seen the new Kia ad with the gerbils yet?

It is one cool ad that opens with a garage door going up on a suburban tract house unveiling a gerbil doing the stationary running in the turning wheel.

Next you see more and more and more gerbils turning wheel after wheel…there is no music…no voice-over. Just wheels turning around and around.

The camera moves to a traffic light with other gerbils parked in their turning wheels when all of a sudden a Kia Soul car drives up and stops at the stoplight.

Maybe it was the spark that got the creatives thinking, but the Kia Soul kind of even looks like a gerbil.

Then some funky lookin’ gerbils wind down the window and nod at the others parked in their turning wheels.. then hit the accelerator and take off bouncin’ to the music of their iPods.

The spot then ends with the tagline: Soul. A New Way To Roll.

What’s cool about the ad is that the picture it paints is actually reflective of the state of the business mindset today.

This past Friday, Advertising Age posted a story on their electronic daily about David Verklin…the new media guru that heads up Canoe after having served as CEO of Aegis Media Americas and merging together Carat Fusion and Carat USA into the largest fully integrated on/offline agency in the world.

Verklin is showcased in the story as taking a “giant step” forward in “weaving together” the cable nets into a 70 million home national broadcast platform.

For all the cool stuff he’s done… Verklin is a lot like the gerbils running in the stationary turning wheels in the Kia spot.

He is hooked on building the ratings…merging together the media…marketing to the masses…

Mass Media. The Old Way To Roll. Need I say more?

This week, Tropicana got slammed by consumers.

When I started in the marketing biz back in the beginning of the 1980s, Tropicana was one of the then-Beatrice Food brands in my agency account group.

We married their “home grown” image with the grass-roots equity of Martha White Foods. The promotions generated upwards of 4-5% coupon redemption.

Our Baby Boomer clients smiled back then and liked the results.

Oh well.. the GenXers are now running the show.

Not sure just who client-side or agency-side initiated the package change…but someone decided that the classic logo and visual of an orange with a straw was dated and needed to be changed.

I can hear the team already… “We’ve got to get our brand looking clean and refined.” And this was then met with cheer from the MBA bench who added further…”It’s our attribute of being 100% pure and natural that we have to push on the package in big, bold type!”

Industry commentators and consumer bloggers called the new design “ugly,” “stupid,” “cheap,” “generic” and “doodyhead.”

Perhaps more telling…Tropicana brand sales dropped 20% since the roll-out of the new design.

MBAs and their rational benefit models are also a lot like the gerbils running in the stationary turning wheels in the Kia spot.

Tropicana announced this week that it would scrap its newly redesigned packaging and return to the old design.

I’ll bet there will be some MBAs and agency account folks in those March unemployment stats!

And then there’s that story about Microsoft and how the bloggers are convinced that the whole Lauren shopping experience was fake…even going so far as to assess that the shopping at the Apple Store was staged.

When the Kia Soul drives up to the traffic light, the gerbil in the turning wheel right next to the Soul looks surprised and appears to be wishing it was he who was kicked back bouncing to the music in that cool car.

Microsoft and its current ad campaign is kind of like that gerbil who then tries a little too hard to be cool too by adding sound speakers and cool music to his stationary turning wheel!

The best part of all this?

The agency that produced the Kia Soul spot is David&Goliath, the hip shop based in El Segundo, the non-conformist coastal hang-out burb of LA.

Their brand-line says it all…

”We are David&Goliath and we believe in being brave... in using creativity to outwit, outsmart and outlast the opposition.”

Hey! We are BrandVenture.

We believe that success is all about unleashing innovation and creativity that has been stifled by conventional thinking that no longer is delivering results.

So plug in that iPod, turn up that music, put on those shade and come…Let’s Journey!