Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Disliked. Very, very , very disliked.

Apparently, people aren't to accepting of the Citi "Very, very, very Rewarding" commercials. According to people polled in the USA Today AdTrack study, only 7% of respondents reported liking the ad, 52% said they disliked the ad and only 8% believed the ad was effective.

The campaign aired during the holiday season to showcase how easy it is to pile on the points with Citi's holistic rewards approach. From what I can tell, Citi's reward program and long list of services are respectable. The ads are one part of Citi's agressive consumers marketing campaign. Other growth tactics include:

• New financial products, such as its online Citibank e-Savings.
• More branches.
• Expansion into new markets, such as Philadelphia and Boston.
• More one-stop shopping, such as putting Smith Barney brokers in some Citibank branches.

Obviously, Citi isn't suffering a decline in profits due to overspending and under performing. Fourth quarter profits were up 14%. What I wonder is how effective Citi customers found the ads? I don't know this for sure, but if one of the campaign's goals was to get current customers to use more products, then the strategy makes sense, regardless of what a random sample of survey respondents said. Maybe they didn't get a lot of new customers, but if the ads spoke directly to current customers showing them how easy it is to improve their banking experience, then, maybe it worked.

Link to the article.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

This t-shirt says it all...

If you want one for yourself go here.

Death of a copywriter

Over at Brand Story, I read that the writer/story teller Martin Conroy died last week. To be honest, until a few moments ago I had no idea who Martin Conroy was or why he is famous. As it turns out, he's famous for writing the "two young men" letter 28 years ago for a direct Wall Street Journal direct mail piece. A piece that is one of the longest used ads in our history. It hasn't been altered. It tells the same compelling story today as it did in 1980.

Conroy died of lung cancer last week in Connecticut at the age of 84.

His story reads:

On a beautiful late spring afternoon, twenty-five years ago, two young men graduated from the same college. They were very much alike, these two young men. Both had been better than average students, both were personable and both — as young college graduates are — were filled with ambitious dreams for the future.

Recently, these men returned to their college for their 25th reunion.

They were still very much alike. Both were happily married. Both had three children. And both, it turned out, had gone to work for the same Midwestern manufacturing company after graduation, and were still there.

But there was a difference. One of the men was manager of a small department of that company. The other was its president.

Clearly, Conroy wrote a great story. But, I would add that he also followed a great strategy. The target is clearly defined and the Wall Street Journal is depicted in a useful way.

In The Brand Gap, Marty Neumeier says that brand messaging has evolved from saying what it is, to what it does, to how you feel, to who you are. 28 years ago I don't think it was common practice to take this kind of stance in an ad. Conroy's copy draws a clear line between the Wall Street Journal reader and nonreader. It's bold and very clear. Not everyone wants to be the president of the company, but it is nice to see yourself out ahead of the pack.

The story follows the Ruler archetype. According to Margaret Mark & Carol S. Pearson's The Hero and the Outlaw:

People with high Ruler archetype tendencies are concerned with issues of image, status, and prestige-not because they are superficial, but because the understand how the way things look can enhance power. They act with natural sense of authority that makes it easy for others to follow them. at their best, Rulers are motivated by a desire to help the world. At their worst, they are just domineering or controlling.
Conroy was clearly appealing to the Rulers. Or, at least, the part of people that desires to be a ruler. The Wall Street Journal is represented as a tool for the bosses, leaders, politicians, responsible citizens, managers and administrators among us. Great writing, clear strategy.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

55% of online Americans, age 12-17 use social netwoks

According to the most recent Pew Internet Research release:

Key findings:
55% of online teens have created a personal profile online, and 55% have used
social networking sites like MySpace or Facebook.

66% of teens who have created a profile say that their profile is not visible to all
internet users. They limit access to their profiles.

48% of teens visit social networking websites daily or more often; 26% visit once
a day, 22% visit several times a day.

Older girls ages 15-17 are more likely to have used social networking sites and
created online profiles; 70% of older girls have used an online social network
compared with 54% of older boys, and 70% of older girls have created an online
profile, while only 57% of older boys have done so.