MK 354 Spring 2010

February 1, 2010

Duracell – Trusted Everywhere

Filed under: blog #1 — Tags: — jlptzld @ 1:55 pm

People do not typically devote a great deal of their time to thinking about batteries. The low battery signal on a cell phone or digital camera is often met with minor irritation and semiconscious plans for renewing the power source, but unless a battery loses its ability to power a device it is scarcely thought of. Even when consumers find themselves in need of a new power source, batteries are a commodity—after all a battery is just a battery, right?

Given the characteristically low-involvement in this product category, as well as the ever present challenge of breaking through the media clutter, Duracell faces the common, yet challenging, task of gaining consumer loyalty. In order to promote the brand, the makers of Duracell have developed the “Trusted Everywhere” campaign. These commercials highlight real world situations where a battery is more than a few digital files, but is often a defining difference between life and death.

The Trusted Everywhere campaign is an example of the “simple” concept discussed by Chip Heath and Dan Heath in their book Made to Stick. Duracell developed a campaign that was simple without overly simplifying the brand’s message. Duracell’s top priority, being a reliable and trustworthy power source, is clearly and effectively communicated through the Trusted Everywhere campaign. Additionally, this “simple” message is given a layer of complexity with the larger than life scenarios Duracell illustrates in its commercials. The implications are clear enough, if Duracell can be trusted to help firefighters safely navigate through a burning building then Duracell can be trusted as your power source in everyday life.


Nausea, Heartburn, Indigestion, And All That Other Crap

Filed under: blog #1 — michaelryan89 @ 1:31 pm

Yup, you’re covered. That’s the first thing I see when I go onto Pepto Bismol’s website, along with a man who is getting ready to eat nachos, onion rings, pizza, chicken wings, and anything else that could make an elephant’s intestines explode.

Pepto Bismol is great at what it does, which is sticking to its core message. This coincides with one of the key tools that brothers, Chip and Dan Heath, describe in their book, Made to Stick. In order for an idea to “stick” in the mind of the consumer, it must be stripped to its core. That is not as simple as it seems because we are a details-oriented society that wants to give people as much information as possible to help guide them along the path. The path never stays the same though. Forks are stuck in it all the time. This is why it’s so important to have one core message to remember that can help with decision-making.

Now I know that discussing a person’s bowel movements can traumatizing for some, including me, but when watching commercials for Pepto Bismol and seeing people dance to a song about nausea and diarrhea, I can’t help but chuckle. They make all of these disgusting things common and accessible. Everyone has these problems so let’s get straight to the point and let people know that they can eat whatever the hell they want, because with this product you will be fine 3 hours from now. I mean yes, these ads are funny and bizarre but after you’re done watching/looking at them, they stick with you. When it feels like you’re stomach might actually burst out of your body, just remember the little jingle and reach for the pink bottle!

america runs on dunkin’

Filed under: blog #1 — marissagkelley @ 12:46 pm

­­Does this sound like your weekday morning?

You are lounging in a warm, well-decorated kitchen listening to birds chirp outside your window. Your hunky husband (or beautiful wife) flashes you their million-dollar smile. There may or may not be a happy, blond-haired youngster sitting quietly at the kitchen table coloring with crayons. In your hand is a steaming cup of freshly brewed coffee. You breathe in deeply, without a care in the–

No, I don’t spend my mornings like a Folgers commercial either.

Realistically, most of my mornings are spent scrambling to get up and get out the door. My internal monologue is running at high speed, “gym, shower, eat breakfast, dress for work, get out the door, don’t be late!” Then the rest of the day is filled with to-do lists, homework, grocery shopping, cleaning, doing laundry, group meetings, etc. And that is just my perspective of a busy day. I know that millions of Americans have their personal version of my chaotic schedule.

Bottom line, as a culture, we are constantly on the go, looking to complete the next task on our to-do lists, succeed in our endeavors, and just get through the day. This observation of consumer behavior is exactly what Boston agency Hill Holliday considered when they created the “America Runs On Dunkin’” campaign.

Rather than position the daily cup of coffee as a relaxing escape to a busy day, Hill Holliday promoted Dunkin Donuts coffee as human fuel, used to help the everyday American succeed in their hectic life. As it turns out, the idea stuck. In fact, “America Runs on Dunkin” possesses all of the qualities of a simple, sticky idea that Chip and Dan Heath promote in their book, Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die. According to the Heath brothers SUCCESs model, a simple idea must fit a simple formula:

Simple = Core + Compact

In the case of “America Runs on Dunkin’”, Hill Holliday nailed the above formula. The campaign phrase is indeed compact, and the four visuals associated with the copy further strengthen its streamlined nature.

Hill Holliday also stripped away the layers of value of Dunkin Donuts into one core idea: Dunkin Donuts gets you through your busy day. Even though the franchise also boasts qualities of convenience, variety, and low-prices…Hill Holliday chose the core value of the product and used it to create a very successful campaign.

Always Low Prices. Always.

Filed under: blog #1 — csomerville @ 12:34 pm

When I think about a company with a “simple” marketing campaign, Walmart stands out in my mind, uncontested. Since the first store opened over 40 years ago, Walmart has grown to be the biggest retailer in the United States. Even though Walmart has transformed from a single shop, to an international corporation, the mission has remained the same. The mission is simple: save people money, so they can live better. The mega retailer claims that the money customers save on Walmart’s products, will add up and help them live better lives. Walmart offers quality products at the lowest prices, and that’s the message the retailer sends to its customers. You may remember the company’s former slogan, “always low prices.” Commercials depicted a big, yellow smiley face that bounced around the store, knocking prices down.

Today, Walmart’s slogan is “save money, live better.” Walmart’s advertisements stopped using the price-cutting smiley face, in order to focus on the customer, and how his or her savings at Walmart have ultimately led to living a better life. A recent advertisement argues that a family of four can save over $400 a year, by replacing a restaurant meal with a Stouffer’s frozen dinner from Walmart once a month. That’s a lot of potential savings, which is particularly attractive in this economy. Though Walmart’s slogan and advertisements have changed, the simple message has stayed the same. Walmart continues to bring customers the lowest possible prices. By lowering costs along the supply chain, the retailer is able to offer the same products found at other retailers for less.

Buying quality products at the cheapest available price is Walmarts best selling point, because who doesn’t want to save money? By convincing customers that Walmart’s prices are the best, the retailer has amassed a loyal following. About 100 million people visit a Walmart store in the U.S. – each week! People choose Walmart over the competitors such as Target and Kmart because Walmart is positioned as always having the lowest prices, and there can only be one place with the lowest prices. This marketing strategy has no doubt contributed to Walmart’s international success.

Did you hear about that nor’easter coming down from Canada?

Filed under: blog #1 — Tags: — morganhowell @ 12:33 pm

When it comes to conversation there are few topics more clichéd and overused than the weather. There are people with whom I have had very few conversations with about anything other than the rain in Spain or when the next snowstorm will hit. To be honest, I have never had a serious conversation about the rain in Spain. But the fact remains; the weather is a popular and overused topic of conversation. It’s a pretty simple topic also: it is something everyone is affected by, something that anyone can relate to.

When it comes to the weather, there is one definitive source, trusted above all others. For the past 28 years, The Weather Channel has been broadcasting weather forecasts on TV, the radio and the Internet, twenty-four hours a day. Yet for some reason, when an advertising team approached The Weather Channel with a campaign built around that simple idea of weather as the conversation topic of any circumstance, the idea was killed. I came across this ad campaign on, a website that compiles the best of the worst—the killed ideas that really shouldn’t have been killed in the first place. The “Commander’s Intent” of the campaign is clear and simple: weather is always a safe topic that can rescue us from the most uncomfortable situations.

What makes the directive shine, is that it can be handed out to anyone on the marketing team, and he or she can create a script that will enhance the brand image, engage people with a solution to a real-life problem, albeit a slightly exaggerated problem, and help get the company in the consumer’s head. provides three storyboard examples, one of which is shown below.

When Jan mistakenly congratulates her friend’s overweight friend on her pregnancy, things get awkward. It’s a fairly common comedic situation, yet never before has one successfully used the weather to diffuse it. Yet Jan, quick on her feet as always, remembers the nor’easter she heard about on the weather channel, and a mutual dislike for Canadian’s and their weather makes Jan and Sara fast friends.

Admittedly, it’s a pretty unlikely outcome—and I embellished it a bit myself—but since I came across that ad, I’ve found myself watching The Weather Channel more, and using—or at least trying to use—the weather to get out of sticky situations. So why is this now filed under “killed ideas?”

Got a Core Message?

Filed under: blog #1 — kathrynflynn @ 12:15 pm

If I were to tell you that the most effective advertising campaigns have a simple message and use a simple way to deliver that message (which is true), there would be many examples that might pop into your head. The simple message at the core of an ad campaign is appropriately referred to here as the ‘core message’. One of the strongest instances of a well-delivered, compact core message is in the National ‘Got Milk?’ Milk Mustache Marketing Campaign.  For those of you that do not know, this is the campaign where famous people are photographed with milky white mustaches. All the print and out of home ads ask, “Got milk?”

I mean, is there any question as to what the core message is in this campaign? No, it’s obviously that people need to ‘Drink more milk.’

The creative people that worked on this campaign for the California Milk Processing Board must have asked themselves, “How could we get people to drink more milk”?  The result was a campaign that uses credible, loved community members and a small story in their words ending in the signature line, “Got Milk?” Two words. Could it be simpler? The success of the campaign, launched in 1993, is remarkable. The idea stuck. Everyone, nationwide, has heard of Got Milk? There are trafficked websites such as,, and of course, promoting the campaign and trying to get people to consume more liquid cow’s milk (a kind of gross concept, if you ask me).

So if the aim, or core message, is to get people to drink more milk, then the celebrity who is being photographed with the milk mustache can say what he or she wants to say as long as it fulfills the core idea. This is brilliant! Taylor Swift is not going to have the same voice or perspective as Serena Williams, but as long as they both can get people to drink more milk with what they say, then it’s all right.

Basically, what I am trying to get across is this: the National ‘Got Milk?’ Milk Mustache Marketing Campaign continues to have success after 15 years because it’s core idea is sticky.  It is simple and their employees/models can easily relay that message to the campaign’s target audience.


Filed under: blog #1 — cathleendbombard @ 12:08 pm

This weekend while hiding from the cold New England weather, I decided to do some long-overdue laundry. I spent five dollars, and two hours waiting for my laundry and brainstorming for my first blog post. When I thought my hope was lost for the perfect topic, it appeared in my hands in the form of a t-shirt. This shirt was given to me three years prior as a Christmas present from my little brother. It is a little aged, but the font and meaning still rings clear in my mind: “ONE.”

ONE ( is a campaign to fight against world poverty. They believe that poverty does not depend on the charity of others; it depends on justice and equality for all, for everyONE. The first time I saw these ads I remember feeling as though I had to do something to be a part of the campaign. It was a short, yet sweet 30-second spot that brought many different voices, races, and ages together as one.

Take a moment to check out the ads for yourself:

Not only do the words stay fresh in your mind, as the ads are clear and simple. They are meaningful and to the point. Celebrities and activists alike are filmed in black and white, as not to distract the viewer with their usual designer garb. They don’t use fluffy lingo or try to be deep; they speak the truth. The camera shots are short and defined and there is only one link to their Web site allowing for better contact. The word ONE is made to stick in our minds as the message gets across, with its simple core meaning.


Filed under: blog #1 — ajblack029 @ 1:09 am

A trip to Starbucks can certainly be an intimidating experience for a novice customer. While ordering a drink is a seemingly easy concept, as you wait in line you constantly overhear new orders that all seem to have growing complexity. A simple latte turns into a grande nonfat no whip white mocha.  The woman in front of you orders a tall half-skinny half-1 percent extra hot split quad shot latte with whip. It’s easy to doubt your latte-ordering capabilities. Am I ordering this properly?  Can’t I just an order a latte, and not to make a fool of myself in the process?

Enter Dunkin’ Donut’s quest to bring the latte to the everyday Joe Smith.

This particular commercial showcases Dunkin’s venture to bring the latte to the ‘common-man’ public they target. It takes the seemingly complicated task of ordering such a sophisticated coffee beverage and makes it simple. In the book, Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die, brothers Chip and Dan Heath discus the importance of simplicity in creating concepts that stick. Dunkin’ Donuts decided to create the sophisticated latte experience on an unsophisticated level for everyone to enjoy, in other words: simplify it. That seems to be something Americans can get behind in an instant; nothing can be too easy. Dunkin’ introduces the idea that there’s no need to rush out and purchase an updated version of Rosetta Stone in order to train your mouth the proper techniques for the skill of ordering a afternoon pick-me-up latte.

The Heath brothers emphasize the idea that simple = core + compact; this equation implies that a successful simple campaign is straight-to-the-point message with one clear message. In the case of the Fritalian ad, the commercial’s’ punchline, “Delicious lattes from Dunkin’ Donuts. You order them in English,” is a perfect example of a core and compact idea. It informs the audience The Dunkin’ is now carrying lattes, and they’re easy to order. Simple enough, right? I think so.

The campaign seems to have been a success, too. Most every Dunkin’ Donuts now carries the latte products, and I constantly see—at least on the East coast where Dunkin’ easily holds its own amongst competitors—nearly as many Dunkin’ branded lattes being caddied around as those ‘fancy’ hand-crafted masterpieces from Starbucks.  Has Dunkin’ brought the latte to the ‘common-man?’ I think they certainly have. A tip of my hat to you, Dunkin’ Donuts.

January 31, 2010


Filed under: blog #1 — pmitch1 @ 9:23 pm

I have never purchased a diamond. I don’t plan on buying one anytime soon. I couldn’t tell a fake diamond from a real one. Everything I know about diamonds I learned from “Blood Diamond”.  However, I am familiar with the slogan “a diamond is forever”. This short axiom has been used since 1947 in De Beers diamond advertisements and was recently named the best advertising slogan of the twentieth century by Advertising Age magazine.

I know more about Neil Diamond than actual diamonds

For all their ethical and political issues, De Beers can certainly create effective advertising. The slogan, “a diamond is forever” is entrenched into the fabric of our society, spanning across many different media and cultures worldwide. This short, simple adage has helped transformed the diamond from a simple rock to an iconic status symbol.

The message of the slogan is clear: a diamond is an everlasting symbol of affection, one that will persist beyond the scope of a relationship or even a lifetime. It is the pinnacle of romantic affection and is essentially the most expensive gift you can give. A diamond is an embodiment of love; it is strong, sumptuous and everlasting. All of this can be condensed into the one phrase: “a diamond is forever.”

Sure there are other factors that contribute to the diamond’s longevity and opulent perception (such as the fact that De Beers essentially dictates the price of diamonds and that they essentially have a monopoly on them), but the slogan of “a diamond is forever” is often among the first things that the average person thinks of when someone mentions diamonds. The notion that this simple phrase has such universal recall speaks volumes about how effective the idea of simplicity can be. If you asked every person who buys a diamond what company produces it, chances are not everyone will know the name De Beers. However each one of these consumers is probably familiar with the phrase “a diamond is forever.” It is an advertisement so effective, that it has superseded the brand it advertises (not that it really matters considering their aforementioned monopoly).

Many companies dream of finding a slogan so effective that it has found its way into a James Bond movie, a Kanye West song, and been referenced in countless other art forms. Its longevity is a testament to how effective simplicity can be.

(Never try to sell James Bond a diamond)

MADD: Broken Teens

Filed under: blog #1 — marissaestrada @ 7:43 pm

Throughout our teen years, Americans are bombarded with anti-drinking public service announcements, most of which are sponsored by Mothers Against Drunk Driving, or MADD; PSAs showing atrocious car accidents, grief-stricken family and friends, and innocent-looking kids behind bars. Most of these, though, get lost amongst the clutter of PSAs telling kids how not to live their lives.

After reading the chapter about simplicity in Made to Stick, though, I realized why MADD’s public service announcements are successful. It has one core message that is clearly stated in all spots; that drinking is detrimental to a teen’s life. Their most recent PSA is one that focuses on the physical repercussions of drinking rather than just the legal ones. This spot shows multiple teens breaking liquor bottles over their heads, implying the physical damage that drinking does to the teenager’s brain. The dramatic music and slow motion collapsing of the actors draws out emotion in the viewer, but the last frame of the commercial reads “Teen drinking causes brain damage,” thus delivering the ultimate message of the campaign. The PSA is only one part of MADD’s current campaign. The campaign’s website,, mirrors the PSAs simplicity by offering short, concise facts about the effects of  drinking on a teen’s brain.

I think that the simplicity in this PSA really works because the message is perfectly clear from the very beginning. Made to Stick says that the most important insight should shine through, and in this case I think this is achieved. The PSA prioritized the main message by using a concise proverb stating “teen drinking causes brain damage” at the end of the spot. It is short, understandable, and effective. Overall, I think this PSA is a great example of the authors’ message in this chapter.

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