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Tag Archives: Buzz Marketing

Nike says “Oops!” over T-Shirt uproar…


Is it better to be safe or sorry?

International brand/phenomenon Nike is facing its biggest match yet. In an effort to reach out to extreme sports enthusiasts, the brand has replaced its signature slogan "Just do it" on a line of products to these that go "Dope", "Get High", "Get Wet" and "Ride Pipe" with the purpose of imitating the lingo the target is accustomed to.

The response has been nothing short of a conundrum. Anti-drug groups have condemned the phrases in a letter sent to thousands of people, including officials in the White House and the National Drug Policy. Even though Nike has denied the claim, some still consider that it promotes addiction to drugs, instead of resembling the language of surfers and skateboarders.

The commotion has been further instigated by Boston Mayor, Thomas Menino, who told the Boston Herald: "This is outrageous. What we don't need is a major corporation like Nike, which tries to appeal to the younger generation, out there giving credence to the drug use. That is the wrong message for Nike to send."

It's only a matter of time until we witness the effect this backlash will have on the brand and the actions taken in order to salvage its image. Will the products be discontinued? Or will Nike stick to its guns? All in all, it's a pretty delicate situation if you ask me. Having a historic slogan such as "Just do it" so imprinted on a brand followed by this, it's a thin line between hip and politically incorrect. In the end, Nike is associated with health and stands as an inspiration to many (especially youngsters around the world), who view the brand's raison d'être as a motto.  But who knows? Like they say in the field, "There's no such thing as bad publicity..."

Let the games begin!

* Special thanks to Edgar Estévez who broke the news...

MINI asks Dominican Republic: “Who wants to play?”

They say the best gifts come in small packages. It seems like today it's definitely true.

Recently proclaimed as the "Car of the Decade" by German publication Automobilewoche, the MINI brand has been a pioneer in the creation of a new market segment called "the Premium Small Car." It was also voted as the Best Resale Value Car 8 years in a row*, and as one of the Top 10 Green Cars* of 2010. Adding to all of that grandeur is the fact that the brand is finally available in Dominican Republic.

The European automobile hit the streets of Santo Domingo with its recent campaign called "Who wants to play?". Inspired by the brand's new tagline entitled "Be Mini", TBWA's Creative, Copywriting and Art Directors Katy Capriles, Fernando Muñoz and Alejandro Capellán say the inspiration came naturally. With the idea of associating the brand with the mindset of playfulness, openness and extroverted personality, a MINI model was strategically placed outside one of Santo Domingo's most important shopping malls during the past Christmas season, with a giant remote control that made the car seem as a miniature version that a child could play with.


The reaction to the campaign was nothing short of extraordinary. From international automobile blogs giving great reviews, to Facebook mobile uploads from bystanders, to endless posts on Twitter, the campaign was a success in generating awareness, transmitting MINI's brand values and communicating that it was available in the Dominican Republic.  Its exposure was an excellent tool that generated sales right on the spot.

It's only a matter of time we see what other bright ideas are on the horizon for the brand as a new contender in the market...

There was something I read on the MINI USA website that seemed to fit like a glove:

"After 50 years of motoring, we still can't wait to see what's around the next turn..."

Funny you should mention that. Neither can we.


Verizon turns up the heat with the new iPhone commercial…


Talk about suspense. Verizon announces the launch date for the iPhone and takes the time to "thank" everyone for their long wait...

Fidgeting hands, the tick tock of a clock and hyperactive feet are all you need to illustrate the anticipation of this arrival.

The voice-over?  "To our millions of customers who never stopped believing this day would come- Thank you."

And so it begins....


MTV’s ‘Street Smarts’…

MTV Spain goes public. Literally. The folks of the popular network hit the streets of Madrid in order to ask "Who wants MTV to be open?", or in other words, who wants the network to be available for viewing without the need of cable TV service. Going around from street to street, the MTV crew posed interesting examples of how people were demonstrating their love and agreement to the idea of the channel going 'public'. Whether it is because they sat still on a bench, climbed a staircase, or crossed the street, people were definitely caught off guard. And with the help of that funny and witty Spanish sense of humor (which I particularly love), you can't argue that the video is simply a great idea to spread the news.

Check it out (in spanish):

 The result is nothing short of hilarious and extraordinary. This viral video called "MTV's 'Encuesta Nacional'" (National Survey), is simply one the funniest things I've seen in a long time.

Now that's what I call being street smart. Enhorabuena.

* Thanks to Edgar Estevez for the news!


It all started with a guitar…

My previous post dealt with the topic of just how much we listen to our clients - that which gives life to our brand.

Part of my message was that now, more than ever, it is clear that customers want their voice to be heard. They want companies to listen to them.  Just like the customer said in "The Break Up" video: "You SAY that you love me, but you don't BEHAVE like you love me... It's not genuine!"

I was discussing this topic with my friend Ivan, who drew to my attention the following case:

The year was 2008. Canadian musician David Caroll boarded a flight with United Airlines travelling from Nova Scotia to Nebraska with his fellow band mates, Sons of Maxwell. They noticed how the baggage-handling crew handled the guitars as they threw them on the plane. Upon arriving to his destination, he finds his $3,500 Taylor Guitar with a broken neck. Caroll filed a complaint but was informed that he was not eligible for compensation due to the fact that he had not proceeded to do so within the 24 hour time-frame of the airline. Despite endless requests, negotiations lasted nine months.

And then there was a thing called Youtube.

The year is 2009. The month July to be exact.  And the day, the 6th. Caroll writes a song called "United Breaks Guitars" and posts the music video on Youtube about his experience. 150,000 views within a day. Three days later, more than 500,000 views. 5 million by mid-August 2009. Today? 9,312,175 views.

Time Magazine named the video as #7 in the list of Top Ten Viral Videos of 2009.  According to and CBS News, United Airlines spokeswoman Robin Urbanski "even asked Carroll for permission to use the video internally to amend its corporate culture." Since then, he has acted as a speaker on customer service. The irony? On one of his trips, United lost his luggage. (Apparently the message has not gotten through to him yet...)

The Times newspaper reported that "...within 4 days of the video being posted online, United Airline's stock price fell 10%, costing stockholders about $180 million in value..."

Consumers have never been as empowered as they are today, and the Internet has been very much responsible for that. Forget consumer protection agencies. The middle-man is being whipped off the chart. People can now say what they need to say in less time and to a bigger audience. And you know what? They can say it right to your face. They are getting used to the ability of expressing their emotions and communicating their experiences with brands on a greater scope than before, consequently having a bigger impact on positioning and brand image. The power of the sum "word-of-mouth + Internet" should never be underestimated.

"The ability of social media to quickly connect one person to the world makes it easier for invested people to create change without a bureaucracy to back them up." (Sarah Kessler, "Why Social Media Is Reinventing Activism" )

As I write this, I notice that I've been humming the song the entire time. But all my attempts to get it off my mind have been to no avail. It's just too funny...

Have a great Saturday, folks!