Liberation wrapper lets Japanese women open wide

Freshness Burger, a national burger chain in Japan, came up with an innovative way to convince reluctant female customers to take a great big bite of the chain’s biggest burger. For Japanese women, having a small and modest mouth – “ochobo” – is regarded as attractive, and having a large, open mouth in public is regarded as “ugly” and “rude”. It’s considered good manners to cover one’s mouth when women need to open up wide. Enter the Liberation Wrapper – and it worked – boosting sales of that big burger by 213% compared to the previous month’s sales after introduction at Freshness Burger.

A grateful hat tip to Sociological Images for this unique cultural marketing example.

“Punytive” damages: the biggest corporate fines ever

Since I’ve discovered the website called Information is Beautiful, I’m afraid that all my available free time for at least the next year or so will be consumed by pouring over this fascinating time-sucker of a site. The book of the same name has been published across the world in nine languages. All of it was conceived and designed by David McCandless, a London-based author, information designer and data journalist. As he explains:

“I’m into anything strange and interesting. A passion of mine is visualizing information – facts, data, ideas, subjects, issues, statistics, questions – all with the minimum of words. Love pie – hate pie-charts.”   Continue reading

Branded content: advertising dressed up in a thin disguise?

Pity the poor marketer.  As reported in Forbes earlier this year, a lot of us simply do not trust advertising.  For example, a study called ‘Does It Really Ad Up’ from Lab 42, a Chicago-based research firm, revealed:

  • 76% of respondents said ads in general were either “very exaggerated” or “somewhat exaggerated”
  • 87% think half or more cleaning ads are photoshopped
  • 96% think half or more weight loss ads are photoshopped
  • 81% feel beauty ads are exaggerated (although – alarmingly! – 77% of men believe beauty ads are “very accurate”)

And that pervasive sense of mistrust (except for those guys watching beauty ads) helps to explain why industry has jumped all over the advertising concept called “branded content”Continue reading

Can you stop buying for just one day?

“Dreading the holiday season? The frantic rush and stress? The to-do lists and sales hype? The spiritless hours trapped in malls? This year, why not gather together your loved ones and decide to do things differently?”

Thus begins the invitation from supporters of the 20th annual BUY NOTHING DAY campaign. This year the global event is being celebrated in North America on Friday, November 23rd (always the day after American Thanksgiving – also known as Black Friday, the busiest retail shopping day for Americans and an obscene extravaganza of over-consumption).  Continue reading

The alcohol industry’s “alcopop” strategy hooks underage drinkers

I remember the first time I tried a chilled bottle of lemonade-and-vodka at a backyard barbecue for our running group many summers ago. Fantastic!  It was such a hot afternoon, I had another icy cold one immediately after the first.  I may have had a couple more, in fact – they were that good. And, best of all, they didn’t even taste like real alcohol! Now a recent study* published in the January 2012 issue of the American Journal of Public Health investigates the sophisticated public relations and marketing strategies that industry is using to re-make the image of distilled spirits like my lemonade-and-vodka to specifically target underage drinkers.   Continue reading

How many of these 20 advertising slogans can you complete?

Welcome to today’s pop quiz and nostalgic trip down marketing’s memory lane, courtesy of sloganeer Eric Swartz at Tagline Guru, and Brad Phillips over at Ragan’s PR Daily.  As Brad explains:

“Most of you will answer more than half of these, and some of you will complete all 20. Your ability to instantly recall so many of those advertising slogans is a testament to two things: message consistency and message repetition.”

See how well you can complete these ad slogans (answers are below):  Continue reading