Patagonia lives by its strong environmentalist values. Now it has produced a new short (23 minutes) film, “that outlines the fight undertaken by the Communities for a Better Environment group as it lobbies city council and Mayor Eric Garcetti to establish a 2,500-foot distance between oil drilling operations and Wilmington’s schools, hospitals, and churches.” (Fast Company, February 27, 2020) The film differs from many of Patagonia’s typical outdoor images — as this one focuses on the challenge to a community in Los Angeles that is home to 479 oil wells. It might be interesting to watch or assign the film to your students and ask them why Patagonia does this? If you know Patagonia, and watched some of its previous promotional efforts, the answer is not immediately obvious. They really do it because they support the environment and they believe this is the right thing to do. It does burnish their brand and it is authentic, too.
This Slate podcast, How Targeted Ads Started Watching Us All, gives our students a bit of context for how advertising has evolved into the targeted ads. It is an interesting look at advertising, reflecting the past, the present and a look into the future. This will be insightful for some faculty and remember that few of our students know any other advertising world.
It seems like we talk about Amazon a lot here at Teach the 4 Ps. For several reasons Amazon is a great class example. First, it is a brand that everyone knows and most of our students use on a regular basis. Second, they are at the leading edge of so many new marketing practices. Third, Amazon offers the opportunity for examples that reflect many marketing practices (and many chapters). Today, we are talking about Amazon the online retailer, as an advertising medium. After Google and Facebook, Amazon is growing fast as an advertiser. A Wall Street Journal article earlier this year pointed out that “54% of people looking for a product now begin their search directly on Amazon…” Search advertising has traditionally been Google’s sweet spot.
This article, “Ad Business a Boon for Amazon But a Turn-Off for Shoppers,” (November 26, 2019) points out that Amazon may need to be careful with all the advertising. Some customers are getting annoyed with the online retailer for serving up too many ads. Customers just want the product they are looking for–but they often have to search through many “sponsored posts” before they get there.
This article or example may be used in your marketing classroom in a number of ways. If Amazon wants to do well by customers, is this the right way? Is this customer-oriented behavior (Chapter 1)? An interesting counter-example might be drawn out by asking students if they have ever gone to Amazon looking for one thing, then seeing an ad for a competing product, and ended up buying the competing product. Was that information useful?
The question gets further muddled when the article also notes that ads like this might help Amazon deliver one-day service that customers love (Chapters 10 and 12). It also suggests changes in consumer behavior (Chapter 5). And then of course the article highlights how Amazon is becoming a new advertising medium (Chapter 15). Lots to potentially talk about here.
We all know that consumers can more easily ignore advertising. So how do advertisers sneak past our defenses. One way may be to disguise the advertising as “art” — maybe a short story movie. Of course advertising has been doing this for years–think of all those Bud Light Super Bowl commercials (we discuss them in our What’s Next box in Chapter 13). This article from the New York Times, and the video below describe how far we have come along that path. The ad below also shows how a firm might target a niche group.
Earlier this week I posted a list of the “8 Best Brand Moments of 2019” from CMO by Adobe. Today, I have Adweek‘s “The 25 Best Ads of 2019” (I am not sure if you will have to sign up to get access — but you should not have to subscribe because I don’t but I do get 5 free articles per month). Once again, an expert identifying a bunch of great examples. Of course advertising examples can fit anywhere (the McDonalds ad below could add to our Place Chapters 10, 11, or 12), but work particularly well to demonstrate positioning (Chapter 4), segmentation (Chapter 4), branding (Chapter 8), Promotion (Chapters 13 and 15). Check out the full list.
I love this commercial for Jif Peanut Butter…
And of course McDonalds always has great advertising campaigns…