Why Audiences Should Fear Your Ads


A baby doll sits with its eyes closed in almost empty room. The walls are white and bare. Opposite the toy is the black box of a PlayStation 3. The doll’s eyes snap open. It gurgles like a baby and reaches towards the console. The doll’s laugh shifts from a baby’s giggle to an adult’s maniacal laugh. Then it releases a scream. Tears flow as fire flashes in the doll’s eyes before the tears roll...

Marketing After Facebook


Whistleblowers are supposed to come out of defense institutions. They’re supposed to alert the world to abuses of power, expose egregious cover-ups, or reveal atrocities that have been swept under the carpet. They’re not supposed to come from Silicon Valley hi-tech companies built to help people show pictures of their cats. But when Frances Haugen sat down with 60 Minutes in October 2021, what...

The Best Way to Tell a Story


How do you tell a market to buy your product instead of your competitors’ products? One approach is to focus on your product’s unique features. Your product is faster, cheaper, and generally does the job better. It’s like the other products but gives customers more bang for their buck. The other approach is to tell a story. Ignore the characteristics and build an emotional engagement that will...

The Right Way to Choose a Marketing Agency


It should have been the moment the fast-growing shoe company made its breakthrough. Just for Feet had started in 1977 with a single shoe store in Birmingham, Alabama. By 1999, it had grown to 140 superstores in 25 states, was making $775 million of annual sales, and was ranked sixth in Fortune magazine’s list of “America’s Fastest Growing Companies.” Now, as the new millennium came...

What’s Really In a Name


It was one of the biggest—and at the time, one of the most head-scratching—brand re-naming events ever. In 1993, rock star Prince declared that he was changing his name… to an unpronounceable love symbol. Faced with having to mime a combination of gender ideograms whenever anyone wanted to talk about the man behind Purple Rain and Sign O The Times, people soon started calling him “the artist...

Top the App Store in 2021


For mobile app developers in 2009, life was easy. The iPhone was just two years old and had sold little more than 40 million units. The App Store had launched the year before, with an initial offer of just 500 applications. By November 2009, the store had generated two billion downloads from only 100,000 apps. The number of apps available varied from region to region though. So when Rovio, a...

The Hit and Run of Guerrilla Marketing


In 2018, Olly Bolton and Tom Proctor, co-founders of drinks company, What a Melon, entered a business competition run by Richard Branson’s Virgin Voom. They won the crowdfunding part of the contest and received as part of their prize… a double-decker bus. Instead of selling the bus and using the funds to grow their new business, the pair modified it. They wrapped it in watermelon colors, removed...

Make Your Customers Brag Your Brand on Social Media


In 2017, RetailMeNot, a coupon site, launched a new marketing campaign. After years of focusing on television advertising, the company switched to digital video. It aimed one part of the campaign at millennial moms who search and shop with their phones, while another part of the campaign targeted slightly older moms who still use Facebook. Both parts of the campaign used videos hosted by model...

Your Next Corporate Logo


You have to feel for Asao Tokolo. In April 2016, the Emblems Selection Committee of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games announced that the little-known artist had won an open competition to design a logo for the 2020 Olympiad. The original logo, designed by Kenjirō Sano, had been accused of plagiarizing the logo of Belgium’s Théâtre de Liège. (Sano had said that he had never even seen the...

The Business Owner’s Guide to Marketing on TikTok


It was the world’s least expected fight—and the least expected victory. On one side was the President of the United States and his online campaign guru, Brad Parscale. On the other side were some teenage K-pop fans and TikTok users. One was the leader of the free world with a nuclear arsenal and a multi-million dollar professional organization. The other was a mixture of well-meaning young people...

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