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17 posts from November 2006

Experiencing Credit Cards

4em_3 Now that credit cards and rewards programs have become easily comparable commodities, card issuers are stepping up the innovation and competing to become the "card at the top of the wallet." Two different experiences count: holding and feeling the card when you use it, and showing off the card in front of others. 061117a Right now you can get an American Express card that folds. Soon you will be able to get cards with texture, scent and heft. Perhaps a resurgence in private label cards that communicate a stand such as environmental awareness or commitment to music will follow soon.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Credit-card appeal: a new look, smell, 2006-Nov-15, by Robin Sidel of the Wall Street Journal

...The card-design boom recently got a boost when American Express licensed the technology used to create its popular transparent credit card, Blue. The clear card's unusual look received a wave of attention when it was first issued in 2001. Company executives say that Blue cardholders hang onto the card longer than some other versions and consumers use it more often than the other cards in their wallets. "Everyone wanted a Blue card because it was sexy and neat to have in your wallet," says Nicholas Cooney, president of Versatile Card Technology Inc....

Starbucks Chain of Cheer

4vm Lucky Starbucks visitors are receiving a surprise gift and being encouraged to share the holiday spirit by recording their good deed on This concept seems to getting off to a slow start, but you can print a cheer pass for yourself and see how it works.061115b

Link: Advertising Age - Starbucks' Holiday Viral Effort Doubles as Social Experiment. 2006-Nov-9, by Kate MacArthur

...The idea is to follow how long people can sustain the "chain of cheer." Of course, the site also will promote a trio of holiday coffee blends and other gifts consumers can buy through Starbucks. "I'll be happy if we create a single cheer chain," said Brad Stevens, VP-marketing for Starbucks. He said he's more interested in the qualitative response, as the effort has no traditional marketing metrics tied to it....

Kraft Takes People into New Territory

4ds_1 Kraft has been sponsoring a special holiday edition of People magazine for a few years but this year they are deepening the experience by adding scent-filled food ads, as well as scent to one of the editorial stories. 061115a This special edition will go out to about a million family-cooking oriented subscribers, and the People web site doesn't have anything about it so far. They promise the technology is much better than what's been used for perfume ads so far, with less unintended bleeding of the scent. Whether or not the technology takes off, the level of engagement with this issue of the magazine should still be powerful.

WSJ: Kraft Vies for Eyes -- and Noses, 2006-Nov-13, by Brian Steinberg

...Kraft believes the more a reader can play with the ad, the better the recall of its message, says Gary Gruneberg, director of media buying for Kraft Foods. The company is "challenging ourselves, our brands, our agencies to come up with creative ways to interact with consumers," he says....

Kellogg Shares its Graphic Heritage

4cb Now Kellogg's cereal fans can get toys, clothes and collectibles decorated with their favorite characters, like Tony the Tiger, below. Buy it retail at the Kellogg's store, but they are hoping to see them on eBay soon.

Chicago Sun-Times: Kellogg artwork a grrrreat novelty, 2006-Nov-10, by Denise O'Neal061115c

...said Kathleen Pavlack-Glassman, senior manager worldwide of consumer products for the Kellogg Company. "We at Kellogg are very thankful that we can share the company's visual history with our loyal consumers, giving them back a bit of their childhood to enjoy all over again."...

Brands Sidestepping Media to Audience?

4be Producing entertainment is expensive and risky. Worse than trying to cut through the clutter with a national advertisement? Probably not. A company with a 061115d_1large budget may as well try to bond directly with their audience. Maybe advertisements eventually will only be for companies that can't afford to produce entertainment?

NY Times: Brands Produce Their Own Shows. 2006-Nov-10, by Louise Story 

...Office Max recently created a show on the ABC Family channel. Anheuser-Busch plans to start a seven-channel TV network online, called BudTV. “It’s the exploration of sort of a new world,” said Doug Powell, chief integrator of Maiden Lane, an advertising agency. “Clients would love to have a way for customers to be able to participate with their brands more often and not have to rely on the traditional media world.”...

Shopping Upgraded by American Express

4em Only one place so far to lounge with your fellow American Express cardholders--The Mall at Short Hills in Short Hills, NJ. This holiday season, Amex is experimenting there with exclusive and non-exclusive areas where shoppers can relax and get "shopping support."

Brandweek: AmEx Takes Personal Service to the Next Level. 2006-Nov-9, by Constantine von Hoffman

...said Ralph Andretta, American Express's svp-membership rewards. "We are focused on creating unique and meaningful experiences for our card members, and the Members Lounge provides a relaxing environment where they can get the services they need during a very hectic holiday shopping season."...

Choosy Scion leaves Network TV

4be_1 Toyota would rather find life-long customers than sell more cars. They are strengthening their bonds with younger driver by making Scion into a cult brand. Everyone is thrilled except the car dealers.

WSJ: A Way Cool Strategy: Toyota's Scion Plans To Sell Fewer Cars. 2006-Nov-10, by Gina Chon061115e

...To better position it as an "underground" brand, Scion over the past year has reduced its television advertising...Now it is re-evaluating that strategy and may completely get rid of television advertising so it can focus more on experiential marketing, including event marketing and branded entertainment. Scion already launched its own music label for emerging artists and its own clothing line called Scion Release....