Career Advice

Always Help a Friend’s Cause

9 Mar , 2016  

This week my daughter Claire and I have been asking local businesses to donate items for an upcoming silent auction event. In June, Claire will head to Panama on a service project with Amigos de Las Americas, a non-profit group that brings volunteer opportunities to high school and college students. To support the trip, the […]

Brands in the News

Playboy Wisely Covers Up

24 Feb , 2016  

Last October Playboy announced a dramatic and surprising change – the brand would no longer publish pictures of nude women. It was a shocking announcement. Playboy, after all, was a pioneer among adult magazines. When Hugh Hefner launched the magazine in 1953, its defining characteristic was racy photography. Many people wondered where Playboy was heading with […]

Super Bowl Ads

Super Bowl Advertising: 2016 Results

8 Feb , 2016  

Super Bowl 50 was a remarkable event for advertisers. Brands were reported to be paying $5 million or more to run spots during the game. Overall, it was an impressive collection of advertising. Many of the spots had strong branding and communicated a benefit. Compared to last year, there was a notable competitive tone. We […]

Super Bowl Ads

Persil’s Super Bowl Statement

1 Feb , 2016  

There will be several new advertisers on the Super Bowl this year. One unfamiliar name is Persil ProClean, a brand that will be making a statement with its spot. Persil is an enormous global business. The washing detergent dates back to 1907 and now has global sales of more than one billion euros. The brand is […]

Super Bowl Ads

Super Bowl Advice for Squarespace

18 Jan , 2016  

Last year, Squarespace ran the worst spot on the Super Bowl, according to the Kellogg Super Bowl Advertising Review. Take a look: Squarespace will be back on the Super Bowl again this year, spending at least $5 million for the opportunity, so I thought I would provide some advice.   Dear Squarespace Team— It is […]

Brands in the News

Chobani’s Dangerous Game

11 Jan , 2016  

Chobani is out this week with some bold new advertising. My assessment: this is a risky strategy. The new campaign from Chobani takes aim at yogurt giants Yoplait and Dannon, attacking their ingredients. Here are some highlights from the full-page newspaper ads Chobani ran yesterday: Look, there’s potassium sorbate as a preservative in Yoplait Greek 100. Potassium sorbate? Really? That stuff is […]

Brands in the News

Five Brands to Watch in 2016

1 Jan , 2016  

The new year will bring challenges and opportunities for brands around the world. Here are five brands that will be particularly interesting to watch. Chipotle Things are not going well for this high-flying restaurant chain. After a stunning run, the brand is facing significant safety issues, its healthy image battered by a series of outbreaks. Customers […]

Brands in the News

Looking Back on 2015’s Brands to Watch

23 Dec , 2015  

Last year, I identified five brands to watch in 2015. With the year winding down, this seems like a reasonable time to check in on them. I’ll post a list of brands to watch in 2016 on January 1. Lufthansa Lufthansa began 2015 facing some significant competitive challenges. The company needed to respond to the growth of both […]

Defending Your Brand

AB InBev Fights Back

8 Dec , 2015  

Great companies defend their turf. When a new entrant shows up, they respond to the threat. They innovate and invest to hold their market share. This is what firms should do. You can’t relax and watch as your market share falls year after year. With each customer loss, the business weakens. Profits may hold up […]

Defending Your Brand

A Branding Problem for ISIS Pharmaceuticals

17 Nov , 2015  

Yesterday, ISIS Pharmaceuticals announced that it was considering changing its name in light of the attack on Paris. Wade Walke, vice-president for corporate communications, told CNNMoney, “Even though people know we’re not associated with the terrorist group, the name itself has so many negative connotations. It’s obviously not getting better over time.” My reaction: what […]