Created with Sketch.
The Marketing Rescue Podcast
27 minutes | 3 months ago
EP46: The Kindest Brand
In this episode, the guys chat about the incredible legacy of Fred Rogers and how every time people tried to use his likeness or intellectual property for branding purposes it never ended well. Nico plays a guessing game with Chad that goes way beyond winners of an EGOT. Burger King: Mister Rodney Here is Mister Rogers in the first episode of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood: Here is ‘Mister Rodney’ in Burger King’s 1984 commercial for their flame-broiled burgers: Parodies aren’t uncommon in marketing. While it’s not unheard of for a parody to cross the line and be offensive enough that it gets taken down, it doesn't happen that often. Burger King’s 1984 ‘Mister Rodney’ ad is one of those parodies that got taken down - but not for being offensive. To understand why it was taken down, it might help if we know more about Fred McFeely Rogers. Mister Rogers - A Brief Overview Rogers earned his bachelor’s degree in music, worked in children’s television for a few years, returned to school to earn a bachelor’s degree in divinity, and became a Presbyterian minister before attending the University of Pittsburgh's Graduate School of Child Development. Rogers was not only educated on child development but he also began his 30-year long collaboration with child psychologist Margaret McFarland. From there, he was able to begin developing children’s shows that had value. Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, ran for 33 years from 1968-2001. More than just childrens’ entertainment, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood was critically acclaimed for focusing on children's emotional and physical concerns, such as death, sibling rivalry, school enrollment, and divorce. Why Burger King Dropped the CommercialOr it's half the reason. The other half is kindness. In the spring of 1984, Rogers started to receive “countless” phone calls from parents complaining about the commercial. Having seen the ad himself and taken issue with it, Fred Rogers contacted the Senior Vice President of Burger King, Don Dempsey. Many people who take offense to being parodied cite libel or copyright infringement, or lack of royalties. But not Fred Rogers. He said, "To have someone who looks like me doing a commercial is very confusing for children.”Rogers didn’t threaten Burger King with any legal action. He simply called them and politely asked them to stop running the commercial. Rogers explained that "It's a real testimony to what fine things can occur when people of goodwill can talk to each other." No lawyers. No mess. No fuss. Just gentle, kind conversation. That’s the Mister Rogers way. Target and Mister Rogers A decade after his death, the Fred Rogers Company licensed “Won’t You Be My Neighbor,” the theme song from Mister Rogers Neighborhood, to Target in 2013. 2013 Target ad. William Isler, president of Fred Rogers Co, told The Globe and Mail “when we were first approached by Target, we immediately felt very comfortable with the respect they had for Fred and his legacy. That is paramount to us.” Like Burger King in 1984, it's easy to understand why Target would want to use Rogers in their marketing. But why would the Fred Rogers Company license out the legacy of a man who was so outspoken in his stance against commercialization? Google and Mister RogersIn 2018, Google launched an ad for the Google Pixel 3. Unlike the Target ad from five years earlier, rather than using a cover of one of Rogers’ songs, in Google’s commercial Rogers's own voice can be heard talking and singing about wonder. It seems there are two ways to view the ad: The first being that in Google’s defense, Mister Rogers always tried to instill a sense of wonder and intellectual curiosity in his audience members and Google hoped to do the same with the Pixel 3. The second is that Rogers was also very clearly, explicitly, and publicly against not just advertisements aimed at children, but his voice and image being used to advertise to children. Suzanne Masri,
25 minutes | 3 months ago
EP45: The Accepted Reality
In this episode, the guys chat about how easy it is to go off target with data security and how people are so willing to give up their privacy for a good customer experience. Nico talks about why it's better to come out with problematic information quickly versus holding on to it until you have every detail down. Target got worse before they got better. While that may be unusual, what isn't unusual is that - like most brands, products, and people - no matter what order they did it in, Target still had to fail before they got better. Prior to the early 2010s Target seemed to be making consistent but more or less uneventful accomplishments. After 2013, however, is a different story. Today’s topic - Target data breach in 2010s. What Happened then? Target Canada In 2013, two things happened that caused Target to be subject to a brief and mortifying downfall. One of those things happened to Target while the other was an experiment gone wrong on their end. The smaller and first to happen of those two is Target Canada. In March, 2013, Target opened its first Canadian stores. Sadly, they weren’t meant to last. The expansion into Canada presented Target with a host of problems. The most notable obstacle might be the supply chain issues that resulted in stores with aisles of empty shelves and higher-than-expected retail prices. On January 15, 2015, Target announced that all 133 of its Canadian outlets would be closed and liquidated by the end of the year. The failure of Target Canada certainly didn't help Target by any means. But this failure wouldn’t have hurt them as badly as it did if it weren’t for the timing of their second failure - the one that happened to them. Data Breach Had Target’s 2013 data breach not happened eight months after the company launched its soon-to-be-short-lived subsidiary, it might not have felt like a second punch to the face. On November 27th, 2013, Target started experiencing a data breach. ‘Started to experience a data breach’ because the breach lasted for a total of 19 days - from November 27th (two days before Black Friday) to December 15th. Part of the kicker here is that the breach reportedly went on for 16 of those 19 days before it was even detected. It would be 20 more days after the discovery before Target would notify the public about the breach.Initially, Target believed around 40 million consumer credit and debit card information - including customer names, card number, expiration date, and CVV - had been stolen. In one of their earliest statements, Target claimed consumer PIN data hadn’t been part of the breach. On January 10th, 2014 Target had another announcement to make. They announced that an additional 70 million people had been affected by the breach - bringing the estimated total to about 110 million customers. That wasn’t the only thing Target had to add. They also had to inform the public that on top of credit card information, the stolen customer information included names, mailing addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses. Obviously, there’s a moral of the story here but there’s a technical takeaway too. The most effective way to learn from the latter might be to break down the attack. The anatomy of the attack on Target’s data consists of five different points: preliminary surveycompromise of a third-party vendor or vendorsleveraging Target's vendor-portal accessgaining control of Target serversTarget's point of sale (POS) systems. Yahoo Data Breach After the breach was announced, the biggest public criticism of Target was that they didn't announce the breach sooner. For the customers whose personal information was stolen, that’s a fair criticism but, when looking at data breaches in the 2010s, it doesn’t give Target nearly enough credit. Target is not the only company to experience a data breach in the 2010s (or 2013 alone for that matter) but the 20 days they kept the breach under wraps pales in comparison to how long other com...
39 minutes | 3 months ago
EP44: The Government Agency Trying To Be Cool
In this episode, the guys get back to their regularly scheduled programming. Nico takes us back to a time when typefaces were a symbol of nationalism, and Chad talks about why its a good idea not to run a scam related to the CIA. Credit: Central Intelligence Agency https://www.cia.gov/Typefaces aren’t just related to art and advertising, they also have a long history with politics. Think of Fraktur. Fraktur is a gothic font. It's also calligraphic meaning that rather than just being gothic it has a handwritten quality to it that makes it somehow both curvy and pointy at the same time. Fraktur arose in the 16th century and remained popular until the 18th century, at which point many European countries moved away from Fraktur in favor of the much easier to read Antiqua typeface (for example Times New Roman is technically Antiqua in style). Germany viewed Antiqua as a symbol of the classicist age and emerging cosmopolitanism in most of the European countries that had previously used Fraktur. The Antiqua-Fraktur Dispute was such a big deal that two centuries later, it has its own Wikipedia page. The Fraktur typefaces remained in use in Nazi Germany, and was represented as “true German script.” In fact, during World War II, German presses were “urged” to only use “German script,” meaning Fraktur. “Urged” because the Fraktur font was heavily associated with Nazi Germany. This association was partly, if not largely, because of the Bauhaus. The Bauhaus is a German art school founded by German architect Walter Gropius after World War I in 1919. Bauhaus was founded on principles of how design could be used to serve people and transform society. The Bauhaus School led to the first concrete foundations of modern design. Additionally, its influence was not only limited to Germany. The revolutionary art movement not only helped create what is now known as modern design but shaped cityscapes and entire urban centers elsewhere in the world. The nationalist movement that soon developed into Nazi ideology in Germany considered Bauhaus to be a rejection of traditional German values. On January 3, 1941, the Nazi Party ended this controversy by declaring Fraktur to be Judenlettern (Jewish letters) before prohibiting it and switching to Antiqua. German historian Albert Kapr has speculated that the regime viewed the hard-to-look-at-let-alone-read Fraktur as inhibiting communication in the occupied territories during World War II. War took precedence over having a “German” font. What's Up With The Art History Lesson? Today, when we see illegible fonts in advertisements, it's considered a marketing fail. Which is essentially what happened with Germany. By insisting on using Fraktur for - give or take - four hundred years, as a metaphor you could say Germany turned themselves into a bad billboard. Whether you’re a company or a country, the lesson here is to embrace art, marketing, and the place where those two overlap. On January 8th, 2021, the Central Intelligence Agency unveiled a new design for its website, CIA.gov. Not a big deal, right? Well… Apparently, it was.Or at least it was a big enough deal that the rebranding made news. Why? Same reason the Bauhaus did 100 years ago. Simply for breaking the status quo. CIA.gov abandoned the formal signifiers of government authority: dense bureaucratic text, link directories, declarative headers, nothing too fancy CIA.gov is now set against a stark black background, offset by dots and lines that form topographical contours. There's pops of red, bold, white font, and a clear design theme. In other words, the CIA seems to have discovered graphic design and modern art. There are subtle hallmarks of modern web design, like the site’s animated scroll. The crisp lines and muted color palette suggest a minimalist branding strategy. Like with all things political, artistic, or both, the website has received a lot of mixed reactions. Online,
41 minutes | 3 months ago
EP43: 2020 Recap Part 3
In this episode, the guys continue their look back at their favorite episodes of 2020 in the final episode of a 3 part mini-series with condensed highlights from the top episodes of the last year. The highlights covered are from EP21: The Brand Building It’s Legacy Brick By Brick, EP23: The Most Successful Rebranding Of All Time, and EP27: The Brand That Raced With Nostalgia. Enjoy the show! We speak about: [05:25]: The Brand Building It’s Legacy Brick By Brick[14:00]: The Most Successful Rebranding Of All Time[27:30]: The Brand That Raced With Nostalgia Website: https://www.marketingrescuepodcast.com
42 minutes | 4 months ago
EP42: 2020 Recap Part 2
In this episode, the guys continue with their look back at their favorite episodes of 2020 in the second of a 3 part mini-series with condensed highlights from the top episodes of the last year. The highlights covered are from EP11: The Comeback Nobody Saw Coming, EP13: The Time History Caught Up With Greed, and EP15: The Tactic That Shouldn’t Be Used. Enjoy the show! We speak about: [1:20] The Comeback Nobody Saw Coming[14:20] The Time History Caught Up With Greed[27:10] The Tactic That Shouldn’t Be Used Website: https://www.marketingrescuepodcast.com
39 minutes | 4 months ago
EP41: 2020 Recap Part 1
In this episode, the guys kickoff the new year with a look back at their favorite episodes of 2020 in the first of a 3 part mini-series with condensed highlights from the top episodes of the last year. The highlights covered are from EP1: The Man Who Flew Too Much, EP3: The Brand That Went Back For Their Future, and EP5: The Pledge That Changed Us. Enjoy the show! We speak about: [02:15] The Man Who Flew Too Much[12:35] The Brand That Went Back to Their Future[25:10] The Pledge That Changed Us Website: https://www.marketingrescuepodcast.com
32 minutes | 4 months ago
The Conspiracy Dilemma
In this episode, the guys talk about when fake news takes over your brand and where the line might be in getting involved with debunking conspiracy theories. Chad talks about why eCommerce sites can't let the algorithms run wild and Nico lays out all the latest conspiracies. There are a lot of conspiracy theories out there: plenty of people believe there’s more to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and some think that the U.S. military experiments on aliens and their spacecrafts inside Area 51 that there is a tourism industry in Roswell, New Mexico built around the conspiracy. Another popular conspiracy theory is Bigfoot. Just how popular can Bigfoot be? Well, as of November, 2020 there have been 2,032 reported sightings on Bigfoot in Washington state alone. What these three conspiracy theories have in common is that they have nothing to do with marketing. However in today’s episode we talk about one case where corporate marketing and conspiracy theories meet. CSN Stores was founded in 2002, the name derived from a combination of its two founders' initials: Niraj Shah and Steve Conine. CSN Stores did well in the beginning. In 2006, the company earned $100 million in sales, and between 2007 and 2010 it expanded in the United States and in international markets. In 2008, Boston Business Journal ranked CSN Stores as the #1 fastest-growing private e-commerce company in Massachusetts, and the #4 fastest-growing private company overall. By 2011, Shah and Conine decided to rebrand CSN Stores. The goal of the rebranding was to direct traffic to a single site and to unify the aesthetic of the company. One of the major ways they accomplished this was by changing the company’s name from CSN to Wayfair. Some people may still be stuck back on the name change thing. If so, you might be wondering, ‘What does Wayfair even mean?’ Nothing. It was chosen by a branding agency. ‘Wayfair’ is simply a combination of two words that tested well with focus groups. After all, as of June 2020, anything to do with Wayfair and names is suspicious. Names are what led people to believe Wayfair was part of a human trafficking ring. Claims of Wayfair’s human trafficking first appeared on June 14th, 2020 having originated in the QAnon community. It started when a well-known activist tweeted about the high price of storage cabinets being sold online by Wayfair. They went on to point out that the cabinets were "all listed with girls' names." Other users then began alleging that the pieces of furniture were named after girls because they actually had children hidden in them as part of a supposed child trafficking ring. QAnon followers continued to make supposed links between the fact that some pieces of Wayfair furniture are expensive and named after girls, the names of whom match actual cases of missing children in the US. Wayfair claimed the astronomical pillow prices were a glitch. That’s when QAnon activists started to put a new theory forward. They said that after they put stock-keeping unit (SKU) numbers of specific Wayfair products into Yandex - a major Russian search engine - images of young women would appear in the search results. Putting Wayfair products’ SKU numbers into Yandex did return image results of young women. The explanation for which came down to… a glitch in the search engine. In fact, Newsweek reported that a Yandex search for "any random string of numbers" would return the same results. Despite any and all debunking, the digital wildfire had spread. According to Facebook-owned social media analytics tool CrowdTangle, as of July 2020, the term Wayfair generated 4.4 million engagements on Instagram and prompted more than 12,000 posts nearly a million direct engagements on Facebook. As far as their response goes, Wayfair kept it short and simple. They came to their own defense saying, "there is of course no truth to these claims.” Fortunately for Wayfair and their rather unenthusiastic defense,
25 minutes | 4 months ago
The Brand That Went Back to Its Bean
In this episode, the guys talk about one of our favorite beverages and how one coffee brand started a grammy-winning music production company in the hopes of increasing coffee sales but almost destroyed the company. Chad talks about why leadership is so important and Nico talks about why your employees are your most important customers. Today’s episode isn't about how one of the worst became the best and it isn't a story about how one of the best became the worst. This is a story about how a mediocre product turned a brand into an 80 billion dollar business. This episode of the Marketing Rescue Podcast is about Starbucks. Plenty of people believe Starbucks’ coffee is great. However, in some blind taste tests, their coffee has finished middle of the pack. In other blind taste tests, Starbucks coffee even came in last after brands like Dunkin’ Donuts and Folgers. Starbucks had been around long before it started to appear in blind taste tests and solidified its status as one of the most beloved modern brands of coffee in the early 2000s. In 1971, Jerry Baldwin, Zev Siegl, and Gordon Bowker founded Starbucks at Seattle's Pike Place Market. They sold the company to Howard Schultz in the early 1980s. It wasn’t until after a business trip to Milan, Italy, that Schultz decided to turn the bean store into a coffee shop. Under Schultz’s tenure as chief executive - which lasted from 1986 to 2000 - the franchise underwent an aggressive expansion and experienced tremendous success in growing its brand throughout the 80s and 90s. Feeling good about where they were as a company, Starbucks started looking for new opportunities to grow beyond coffee and they started to define their brand as an “escape.” For many of its consumers, Starbucks does offer moments of escape between home and work. Some even believe that the experience the brand creates makes the coffee taste great. However, in 2003, Starbucks’ may have lost control of its ego. The mermaid slapped on a metaphorical pair of ‘too-cool-for-you’ aviators and the company: Created its own music recording companyWon eight GrammysLaunched a movie with Lionsgate in 2006 called Akeelah and the BeeStarted a partnership with William Morris - the longest-running talent agency - to scout for music, books, and filmsOpened an “entertainment” office in Los Angeles By 2008, it was clear that Starbucks had lost focus of who it was. With these new businesses serving as distractions, the coffee-centric core of the brand suffered dramatically: coffee sales plummeted, stock prices fell from $37 to $7.83 and the company had to cut 18,000 jobs and close 977 stores.Thankfully, Starbucks realized they were falling before they actually hit the ground. Most turnaround stories start with a question. Some of the best turnaround stories specifically start with, “So, what do we do best?” Unsurprisingly, Starbucks found that the answer to that was coffee. Starbucks exited the entertainment business and rebuilt everything so that the focus was back on coffee. It closed each store location for an entire day to retrain every barista. This accomplished a couple of things like It told consumers that the most important thing Starbucks does is make a great cup of coffee. It also told baristas themselves that they are essential to the brand. Exiting the entertainment business, retraining their baristas, and creating a food menu all had two things in common: the same overarching purpose: rekindle the consumer experience and Howard Schultz. Schultz originally became Director of Retail Operations of Starbucks in 1982. At that time, there were only four branches of the coffee company in the Seattle area. Less than two decades after Schultz came on board, Starbucks had a presence on six continents, with 3,501 total stores and well over $2 billion in revenue. When Schultz stepped down in 2000, he did it because he was exhausted. By 2008, he could tell the coffee chain was drifting from its core...
37 minutes | 5 months ago
The Untruth That Marketing Makes Us Believe
In this episode, the guys talk about the multi-billion dollar supplement industry and the influence of a Nobel prize winner on spreading one of the largest pseudo-science campaigns in marketing history. Nico talks about his pre-flight travel routine, and Chad talks about the persistence of memes and the value of transparency. A common myth is that vitamin C will prevent you from getting sick - a wives’ tale that can be beneficial for dietary supplement companies. What “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” and assertions that chicken noodle soup can cure a cold have in common is that they’re old. What isn’t old is the idea that vitamin C will keep you from getting sick. In fact, the idea came about as recently as the 1960’s. Some benefits of vitamin C, as claimed by dietary supplement companies like Emergen-C, include boosting your immune system, increasing energy, and providing extra protection against infections. Not only will vitamin C completely wipe the common cold from the face of the earth but it can also be used to cure snakebites, AIDS, and detached retinas. To you that may sound like pseudoscience...but to Linus Pauling, it's not only fact but the product of his own extensive scientific research. Linus Pauling, an American chemist, biochemist, chemical engineer, peace activist, author, and educator, is credited with popularizing vitamin C as a health supplement. Pauling is one of four individuals to have won more than one Nobel Prize. Aside from his Nobel Prizes, Pauling is remembered as one of the founders of the fields of quantum chemistry and molecular biology. Today, Pauling is remembered most for the work he did in his later years including the promotion of nuclear disarmament, as well as orthomolecular medicine, megavitamin therapy,and dietary supplements. Given Pauling's history and his 1200 published works spanning 850 topics, the diverse array of his later studies isn't that odd. What is odd is that the esteemed, record breaking, two-time Nobel Prize winner isn't most commonly remembered for his awarded accomplishments. He’s remembered for being an acolyte of vitamin C. Pauling believed - and publicly insisted - that vitamin C could be a cure-all for numerous ailments and because of his work, he’s not one of the only ones who seem to think so. According to a Gallup poll from 2013, half of Americans regularly take vitamins or other mineral supplements - despite the fact that new medical studies assert that vitamins do not provide health benefits. In 2012, Euromonitor International reported the vitamin and supplement industry topped $23 billion in consumer spending.In 1978, Alacer Corp., based out of Southern California, released their newest and fizziest sensation; Emergen-C. Simply Vitamin C plus minerals with B Vitamins, the dietary supplement drink mix quickly gained popularity among people seeking a new and refreshing way to support a healthier immune system. More than popularity, Emergen-C vitamin drink mix rapidly established an impressive and dedicated following. As vitamin supplements gained more and more traction over the years more and more dietary supplement companies began to emerge. One such company, Airborne, was founded in the early 1990s by school teacher Victoria Knight-McDowell. She began brewing herbal and vitamin cocktails in the early 1990s and selling them in tablet form to local drug stores until Trader Joe’s bought 300 cases in 1997. Something companies like Emergen-c and Airborne have in common, aside from promoting vitamin supplements and their uncanny, continued success, is their marketing. The effectiveness of having a tasty variety of flavors does wonders for marketing and also, according to William Curry, internist and professor of internal medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, makes it all too easy to overdose on the stuff. It might be hard to imagine “overdosing” on vitamins and what that could entail. After all, according to Healthline,
33 minutes | 5 months ago
EP37: The Charity That Lost Its Cause
In this episode, the guys talk about the balance between marketing and working dollars in charities and the importance of addressing things that might make you uncomfortable head-on. Chad talks about Jigsaw Puzzles and Nico talks about what it means when organizations go nuts with competitive litigation. Quick disclaimer: we are not going to have a point of view on this organization. We discuss some facts about how foundations (and this one specifically) think about marketing. We would like all listeners to form the opinion themselves. Komen and Legal Battles In 2007 the foundation’s name changed to “Susan G. Komen for the Cure” and they trademarked the running ribbon and the phrase “for a cure” as part of their branding. In Pink Ribbon Blues (2010) by Gayle Sulik, Komen says they protect their trademarks as a matter of financial stewardship to prevent confusion among donors. Others would suggest that their trademark issues are more about dominating the pink ribbon market. In a 2011 interview with Star Tribune, Komen spokeswoman Andrea Rader explained that "There is a potential for donors to make assumptions. We want them to be confident that if they want to donate to Susan G. Komen, that their money is going to Susan G. Komen." One such organization Komen employees like Rader worried might confuse donors is “Mush for the Cure.” A small dog sledding fundraiser for breast cancer, “Mush for the Cure” was started by Sue Prom in 2006. For a small fundraiser in Grand Marais Minnesota, it was doing pretty well, raking in a total of about $30,000 in 2010. Until Prom received a letter from Susan G. Komen attorney asking her to not only resend her request for a Mush for a Cure trademark but to stop using the phrase “for a cure” altogether.In fact, since 2007, more than 100 small charities have received legal opposition from Komen for use of the words "for the cure" in their names. It begs the question of how much money Komen has spent in the last decade or so not raising awareness, but “raising awareness” against other, smaller charities in court. Suing not just smaller companies but smaller charities isn’t just mean – because it is mean, isn’t it? - but it’s indicative of what the bigger guy’s priorities really are. If Komen really cared about funding breast cancer research then wouldn’t it be the more the merrier? In the words of Sue Prom, "People are donating money to this organization [Komen] to fight cancer -- not to fight another organization fighting breast cancer.” Komen and Perception They’re promoted as a research-first organization rather than a foundation that, according to their budget, is more focused on raising awareness. Regardless of how much money the leaders take home annually, how many times they sue other, smaller charities, and what percentage of donations go where, what else keeps the most popular cancer research charity from being one of the best? Is it simply that donors feel misled? At Komen fundraising races, CureKomen members recorded on video the reactions of racers and other supporters when told that only about 19 cents of every dollar they donated went toward research. Komen and Marketing Komen has teamed up with multiple water bottle retailers for marketing campaigns “for the cure.” The problem with water cooler bottles is that many of them are made of polycarbonate which may contain BPA which according to a 2014 study from the University of Texas at Arlington, has been linked to breast cancer tumor growth. In 2008, just a year after Komen set the stage for their years-long trademark-infringement-suit-palooza, Komen partnered with Ford Motor Company. They built 2,500 limited edition Ford Mustangs that came with a “Warriors in Pink” package with an additional 1,000 models to be offered the next year. What’s equal pats unfortunate and ironic about this is that a longitudinal study found that women employed in the automotive plastics industry are almost five ...
34 minutes | 5 months ago
EP36: The Coke Of All Trades
In this episode, the guys talk about Coke and how they managed to marketing their product a very challenging market. Nico thinks back of his time in the Middle East and Chad get the "Hey Chad" right twice in a row. Coca-Cola embodies the American dream so much that, according to Webster, during the Cold War, Coca-Cola became a symbol of capitalism and a fault line between capitalism and communism. Tom Standage, author of ‘A History of the World in Six Glasses’, explains that Coca-Cola wasn’t marketed in the former Soviet Union due to the fear that profits would go straight into communist government coffers. Standage also says, "Coca-Cola is the nearest thing to capitalism in a bottle." In today's episode we discuss how does something so..American..translate internationally? The emotional appeal of Coca-Cola’s brand goes back farther than in the late 20th century. Coca-Cola is and has been understood as something so intrinsically American that during World War II, American troops that were overseas fighting in the war were provided with Coca Cola. Because much of Coca-Cola’s first international contact came via interaction with soldiers, the brand quickly became associated with American patriotism and America in general. One good example of how Coca-Cola took an active and creative role in connecting with their consumers came about in 2008 when Coca-Cola started Coke Studio. In all regions, Coca-Cola strives to be about bringing people together. To Coca-Cola, simply bringing people together in local communities in the Arab World was insufficient. Coca-Cola wanted to convince Arab consumers that they should embrace both each other and those from the West. Coca-Cola’s marketing team wasn’t just determined to accomplish the goal set out by the company; they were creative. Coke Studio - a music television series that gained huge popularity. Originally piloted by Coca-Cola in Brazil, and subsequently, in Pakistan, this effort in the Arab world alone has been credited with increasing sales of Coca-Cola to levels higher than before the Arab Spring. For Coca-Cola, the obvious reason that most people buy the product is the brand. But after campaigns like Coke Studio and Crazy for Good, what is Coca-Cola’s global brand? Webster claims that the company’s brand might not strictly be the American dream anymore but it's still American or at the very least western. He also points out that, “America itself as a brand is more tarnished now. People are more ambiguous towards it." This is unfortunate because, as Webster also says, "The whole strength of the brand is plugging into a way of life that so many people wanted. As an ideology, it polarises. And sometimes those associations become unattractive.” Coca-Cola’s brand may be about happiness, friendliness, and good times but associations with America and the West persist. Intended to be as pejorative as it sounds, the term "Coca-Colonisation" came about in the 1950s. It was created by the French while they were overturning Coca-Cola trucks and smashing Coca-Cola bottles. Protestors, according to Standage, saw the drink as a threat to French society. The French weren’t the last to publicly and physically denounce Coca-Cola. Half a century after "Coca-Colonisation" became a phrase, in 2003 in a wonderfully ironic protest reminiscent of the U.S.’s own Boston Tea Party, protesters in Thailand poured Coca-Cola onto the streets as a demonstration against the US-led invasion of Iraq. Coca-Cola sales were then temporarily suspended in Thailand. Coke didn’t invade Iraq. The U.S. did. But to the people of Thailand the two were synonymous enough that the pouring out of Coke sufficiently conveyed their message - and not on a local scale but a global one. For example, the 1968-1991 boycott in the middle east, created an inherent hostility towards the brand in the populations of middle eastern countries, something which Coca Cola has been battling ever since with campaigns lik...
35 minutes | 5 months ago
EP35: The Short-Lived Logo
In this episode, the guys chat about the the time GAP rolled out the shortest lived logo in brand history and some of the problems that plague brandmark development. Nico Talks about how many logos children recognize by age 3 and Chad talks about the right and wrong ways to crowdsourced logos. 1988, Gap debuted its now-iconic blue square logo. In 2010, when Gap unveiled their new logo, the first redesign since the birth of the iconic blue square in the late 80s. Even if a new logo failed to get Gap’s sales back to where they would have liked, it’s not like something as little as a new logo would hurt them right? Consumers’ reactions to the new Gap logo in 2010 were swift, decisive, full of memes, and, most importantly, bad news for Gap. The redesign quickly brought mainstream attention and a kind of wrath you can really only find on the internet that, for a marketer, must be what nightmares are made of. At the same time, if you’re looking on the bright side of things, it was the same kind of reaction that provides valuable lessons that make it possible for other marketers to (hopefully) avoid making the same mistakes. On October 6th, 2010, Marka Hansen, president of Gap North America, unveiled the company’s new logo. Hansen said it was more contemporary and current, honoring the "heritage through the blue box while still taking it forward.” Reactions After introducing a new logo, a slew of criticism rolled in, some of it coming in the form of more than 2,000 comments on Facebook, prompting Gap’s above Facebook post the night of the unveiling. Additionally, a ‘Make Your Own Gap Logo’ site went viral on the internet prompting nearly 14,000 parody design versions. Meanwhile, Hansen said that “the outpouring of comments” showed that the company “did not go about this in the right way.” On October 6th, Gap announced that they would be reconsidering the emblem and promised to take on board customers’ personal suggestions. This tactic might have been an attempt to hit two birds with one stone, find a better new logo and get back in their customers’ good graces. Instead of exuding confidence and professionalism, Gap showed their uncertainty when they turned to crowdsourcing. Days after Gap announced they would be taking suggestions ‘from the audience’ as it were, the company folded, admitting its mistakes in not consulting its customers first. Gap reverted to its original design after announcing its new logo to the public. What Gap Got Right It’s a shame that a well-intentioned attempt to shake things up a bit cost Gap so much money. To Gap’s credit, they were quick to notice the online criticism, which made a good example of how social media can be an ally and significant benefit to companies. More importantly, Gap wasn’t just quick to notice; they were quick to respond. Gap performed what is possibly one of the fastest branding turnarounds of all time when they reverted to their original design just six days after putting their new logo out into the public. Some people say Gap’s turnaround was so speedy that it’s suspicious. But with Tropicana’s mistake as recently as the year before, it’s possible that Gap was able to do what people are doing with Gap’s story now, and learned from others’ mistakes. Gap did all of that - released the new design, received criticism, tried to crowdsource, admitted defeat, and reverted to the original design - and they did it all in a week. Gap’s one-week-lived logo is a testament to how imperative it is as a company to be wary of but not afraid of social media and to remain reactive and engaged with your consumers.Don’t try to fix what isn’t broken Gap insisted that its new logo was part of how the brand was evolving and represented an effort to align its product and brand with customers more closely. However, for that to actually be true, Gap would have had to reach out to its consumers before they made a change to a twenty-plus-year-old aspect of the brand o...
33 minutes | 6 months ago
EP34: The Spine-chilling Love Letters
In this episode, the guys chat about the mystery and intrigue of an anonymous love letter and how it became a really big marketing problem. Nico talks about how perception is reality and where the line is between clever and creepy and Chad decides to buy more roses. Italian carmaker Fiat once famously developed an idea for a new marketing campaign. The idea was cute, fun, catered towards the “independent, modern working woman”, and was meant to market Fiat’s new Cinquecento, of course. Otherwise known as the Fiat Cinq Cents to speakers or the Fiat Five Hundred to those who speak English. After doing their homework and running a pilot test of the campaign - which, for the record, received positive results - Fiat felt that their new campaign was ready. In March of 1994, Fiat sent letters to some 50,000 women in Spain. Each one was personally addressed and written on pink paper. In these letters, the writer heavily compliments the recipient and encourages her to go on a "little adventure" saying they believe she should because "we met again on the street yesterday and I noticed how you glanced interestedly in my direction". The writer and the letter's recipient were made for each other, or so the writer said. The letters also included the line, “I only have to be with you a few minutes and, even if it doesn't work between us, I promise you won't forget our experience together.” Designed to be fun and also mysterious, the question as to who penned the letter was supposed to be answered six days after the first letters went out. Fiat’s idea was charming in theory, but not in practice. Fiat had hoped to compliment their consumers and encourage them to get out and explore the world (in a new Fiat). Their PR manager in Spain said, “The campaign was supposed to play with factors like intrigue, love, and romanticism which surrounds our car advertisements.” But the impression the letters ended up giving the recipients was that of a psycophathic, sex-mad stalker. Knowing Fiat’s intentions and the reaction they expected to generate makes it fair to say that the reaction they actually got couldn’t have been further from what they were going for. The original plan was for these 50,000 independent, modern working women to receive a second letter six days after the first in which their admirer would be revealed as the new Fiat Cinquecento. Following the release of the first letters, the newspaper El Mundo reported that the ad campaign had unleashed jealous scenes among married couples. Worse than that, one woman canceled her weekend plans and had her brother escort her to work. She even had family members begin a private investigation. In fact, the newspaper El Pais reported that not just one but several women felt significantly threatened by the letter. Believing they were being stalked by a psychopath, many women locked themselves inside and would only go out if they were escorted by male company. Embarrassed, Fiat stopped the campaign early once they heard about women’s fearful reactions.mFiat did end up sending out a second letter, just not the one they had originally planned. This time, it was an apology letter with a signature, a brochure, and an invitation to the closest Fiat store. These apology letters also reportedly contained a third letter explaining the campaign. The High Court in the city of Zaragoza fined Fiat for sending the letters. And while being called to court can’t be good for any company's reputation, Fiat’s fine was a symbolic 155,000 pesetas (about 1,100 USD). The court also ordered the company to pay 140,000 pesetas (993.54 USD) in damages to a Zaragoza woman after she personally brought the issue to court. Two years after their merger with Chrystler, Fiat was back in the spotlight for pointedly making women uncomfortable in 2016. Fiat’s Argentina branch started to hand out booklets to new car owners. The booklets came with a manual on how females — referred to as co-pilots — should “at lea...
32 minutes | 6 months ago
EP33: The Spooky Tactic Part 2
In this episode, the guys continue the previous discussion about the evolution of digital analytics at a basic foundational level and the ethical considerations marketers should consider. Chad shares a personal story about being considerate of feelings of intrusive marketing practices and Nico advocates for more ethical leadership in the advertising industry. In the first part of this episode we cover: How ad tracking worksWhy ad tracking exists and how advertisers use itWhat companies like Google and Facebook know about you, just from following your digital breadcrumbsThe advantages of ad tracking for both marketers and consumers In today’s episode we discuss: Main privacy violation rulesCases of privacy violation that actually made it to courtEthical aspects of ad trackingHow can the ad industry improve There have been many attempts to create a single privacy protection standard: In Feb 2020, Kristen Gillibrand, Democratic senator from New York, proposed the creation of a Data Protection Agency. This federal agency would enforce US laws on data privacy and conduct investigations into potential violations. As with any such legislation in the United States, the concerns of business and industry are weighed heavily (some would say far too heavily) in the process. As of this recording, the Congress.gov website says the act was introduced on February 13th, was “read twice”, and was referred to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. It hasn’t been discussed or voted on since. Out of Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Zoom, the worst offender when it comes to violating users’ privacy is arguably Facebook. Repeatedly, to concerns about users’ privacy, Mark Zuckerberg has issued statements or given testimony before government bodies, in which his response has essentially amounted to: get used to it. Zoom’s terms of service not only give it the right to extract data from users and their meetings, that data can (and does) also make its way to advertisers like Google. Since more and more public attention has been drawn towards ad tracking, and consequently to Zoom, in particular, the video call service has quietly rewritten its privacy policies. Unsurprisingly, one of the companies that finds itself on the wrong side of protection issues the most often is Google. In 2012 Google was ordered to pay $225 million to settle charges that claimed the company lied about user data privacy in Apple’s Safari browser. In the fall of 2019, Google (and YouTube, which it owns) were fined $170 Million after being sued by the Federal Trade Commission and the Attorney General of the state of New York for illegally collecting personal information from children without their parents’ consent. In May of this year, the state of Arizona sued Google over allegations it illegally tracked Android users’ locations, even when they’d turned off location tracking settings. Just this summer in June, Google was sued for $5 Billion for supposedly tracking “private” internet use. The class-action lawsuit alleged that Google was tracking millions of users’ activity even when their browsers were set in private or “incognito” mode. Marketers don’t need to steal private information to get what they need in order to barrage consumers with ads because most of it is signed over willingly when the user clicks ‘agree’ on the terms of service. Companies like Google and Facebook may (or may not) have their ulterior motives for violating privacy laws, but when it comes to plain ol’ marketing, consumers have already given advertisers everything - they don’t need to lie to get it. What about our responsibility as an industry? Shouldn’t we be advocating for the privacy of our audience? So far, the ad agencies and the ad industry as a whole have been pretty quiet on the topic of privacy. Still, more and more voices are starting to come out in favor of balancing ad targeting with the need to protect our fundamental hum...
29 minutes | 6 months ago
EP32: The Spooky Tactic Part 1
38 minutes | 6 months ago
EP31: The 22 Seconds of Greatness
Nathan Apodaca, whose username is Doggface208, uploaded a video to TikTok on September 25th of himself skateboarding to Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” while drinking from a bottle of Ocean Spray Cranberry-Raspberry Juice. The video went viral and had over 61 million views as of October 20th. In today’s episode, we discuss what did Apodaca’s viral video does for him, “Dreams,” and Ocean Spray, and how do short form or viral videos impact marketing. Apodaca’s video got many responses, and most of them were as wholesome as Apodaca’s video itself. The lovable Apodaca inspired many remakes of the video, many of them also TikToks, as the content was a much-needed break for many from the barrage of negative election and coronavirus news. All the remakes brought on a new surge in popularity of the song “Dreams,” which prompted Mick Fleetwood himself to create a TikTok account. Fleetwood created the account on October 4th for the sole purpose of posting a recreation of Apodaca’s video. Stevie Nicks joined the platform on October 14th to post a video of her own. Ocean Spray reached out to Apodaca on September 29th - just 4 days after he posted the video. The stage was certainly set for Ocean Spray to jump in and acknowledge that their juice had inadvertently acquired global fame by responding to the video sooner. Instead, the brand played it cool. They planned and organized their response while the meme unfolded naturally and gained more and more popularity online. Two days after Mick Fleetwood himself had already joined the hype surrounding the viral video, Ocean Spray responded in the form of their chief executive Tom Hayes joining TikTok to post yet another recreation of the video. When the video went viral, Ocean Spray reached out to Apodaca and learned that he had been longboarding in the video because he was on his way to work, and his car had broken down. Ocean Spray gifted Apodaca a cranberry-red truck stocked full of Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice. While this might be indicative of Ocean Spray plotting a long term marketing strategy, it also speaks to the immediate effects of the viral video. Events from late 2019 to the present have prompted many consumers to seek positive and uplifting content and interactions to combat what’s going on in everyday life. Fueled by COVID, there has also been a noticeable uptick in desire for more inclusivity and realness and over storytelling, and with many people working from home, storytelling has started to take on new forms. Those new forms expand from the hilarious and lighthearted to the educational, meaningful, and even life-changing. “New forms” of storytelling can also include creating or expanding mediums such as podcasts or short-form videos on platforms like TikTok. What’s important for Ocean Spray and all companies wanting to stay engaged with their consumers and remain reactive is that platforms like TikTok - and arguably only TikTok - are changing how companies interact with consumers. Apodaca’s viral video and its responses are a succinct example of why companies must connect with brand ambassadors - or just everyday consumers - by listening to social media conversations and reaching out with responses and kudos. What was important for Ocean Spray specifically in the Ocean Spray/”Dreams” event is that Apodaca wasn’t the only one who benefited from the increased demand for cranberry juice. For consumer/brand interactions like this to happen, not only does there need to be a platform, but the platform has to be big enough to generate national or even international attention. So, if the OceanSpray/”Dreams” situation were an equation, its factors would include Apodaca, Ocean Spray, Fleetwood Mac, and...TikTok. “Dreams” had already hit No.1 on iTunes by the time Mick Fleetwood and Stevie Nicks joined TikTok and posted their recreation videos. By the time their videos went up, they had already experienced inadvertent gain and could have gone without repl...
39 minutes | 6 months ago
EP30: The Beverage With A Shameful Past
We are happy to share the 30th episode of The Marketing Rescue Podcast with you! In today's episode, we talk about an extremely well-known brand that has a very interesting, historical story. Now, what was once a concoction of scraps in the Third Reich, and then a fizzy brightly colored soda in Italy, is now a drink shared internationally by all types of people. We discuss the importance of social responsibility in both - traditional marketing and nostalgia branding. When is it valuable to use 'good old times' and when better to leave the past in the past? Today's topic - CocaCola in Europe and the invention of Fanta. Did you know that Fanta originated as a Coca-Cola substitute during the American trade embargo of Nazi Germany, which affected the availability of Coca-Cola ingredients, in 1940? By 1933 Max Keith, a German-born man described as an “imposing leader” became the head of Coke's subsidiary. After he took over, it went from selling 100,000 cases of Coca-Cola in 1933 to over 4 million in 1938. From around 1936 to about 1940 the German economy was booming. During that time Keith paid extra attention to marketing Coca-Cola to the hardworking people of his country. To do this, he had to establish the reputation of Coca-Cola in Germany which meant adapting the brand so that it wasn’t seen as an American icon, but as a brand fit for German consumption. Before he took over the company in 1938, Keith saw an opportunity for the rebranding he had in mind. One of Keith’s first marketing triumphs for the company was supplying massive amounts of Coke to the 1936 Berlin Summer Olympics. Keith’s aggressive and effective marketing at the 1936 Olympics featured more than just the Coca-Cola logo. Like most brands in Germany at the time, their logo appeared beside waving banners emblazoned with swastikas. His efforts to rebrand Coca-Cola in Germany involved taking steps to identify Coke with Nazism, including sending sales teams to mass patriotic events. In 1940, Keith’s chemists invented Fanta. With little to no soft-drink alternatives, Fanta exploded in popularity. Nevertheless, after the Allies entered Germany in 1945, the production of Fanta ceased. Keith then handed over the profits of his creation to Coca-Cola headquarters in Atlanta and when the German and Dutch Coca-Cola branches were reunited with their parent company Fanta production was discontinued entirely. In 2015, Coca-Cola launched this ad celebrating Fanta's 75th anniversary. The ad references the drinks Nazi History The company faced critical backlash for its apparent reference to World War II-era Germany as the "Good Old Times." Specifically, the ad says, “This German icon turns 75 years old. And to celebrate this, we are bringing back the feeling of the Good Old Times with the new Fanta Classic.” In response to the backlash following the ad, Coca-Cola took the video down and issued a formal apology. From Fanta's origin, we learn what happens when necessity meets moral ambiguity. Max Keith needed a product to sell and did the next best thing to creating something out of thin air by creating one out of scraps. Keith is also an example of how the determination to keep a company afloat during a trying time can pay off in the long run.From Fanta’s 75th Anniversary, we learn that companies have to be careful when using phrases like “The Good Old Times” in advertising in case the times they’re referencing refer to times of rampant sexism, racism, oppression, war, or genocide. When it comes to long-standing companies or companies with questionable origins, it might be better to leave the nostalgia behind. We speak about: [04:25] CocaCola's history and historical legacy[06:50] CocaCola reaches Germany[11:30] Cola's branding in Nazi Germany[14:45] Invention of Fanta[23:50] Historical lesson of 'a brand promise' and its relevance today[26:00] Fanta as we know it[29:40] Fanta's 'good old times' ad in 2015[31:30] What can be learned
36 minutes | 7 months ago
EP29: The Promotion That Couldn’t Handle Its Liquor
In this episode, the guys chat about the infamous 10 cent beer night and other examples of when ‘free becomes bad’ in marketing. Over the years, there have been some pretty bad promotions - Oprah Winfrey and KFC's Great Chicken Fiasco of 2009, McDonald's 1984 Olympic Scratch-Off Giveaway Campaign, and American Airlines’ Fly Free for Life are all risks that ended up causing companies to operate at a loss (we talked about them at our first and one of the most popular episodes). But nothing can beat the perfect storm that was the 10 cent beer night. On June 4th, 1974, the Cleveland Stadium hosted what is now regarded as “the worst promotion in history,”- 10 Cent Beer Night. It wasn't the worst promotion in history because of the cheap booze or because it was an experiment gone wrong. In fact, it wasn't an experiment at all. Promotions that offered discounted beer during sporting events had happened before. While they were all deemed successful, after the 1974 Cleavland debacle, whether that success is attributed to monetary gain or lack of violence is now unknown. Ultimately, like Oprah Winfrey and KFC, McDonald’s, and American Airlines, the Cleveland Indians proved that free isn't always free. Somehow what was intended as a fun way to get fans into the stadium ended in a riot. Given the Rangers and the Indians’ aggressive past, with team-wide altercations taking place as early as the week before, it feels like Cleveland’s management should have known better or at least should have seen this coming. That's tricky. In hindsight, it’s easy to see where everything went wrong. The game against Texas was a perfect storm. There had been other successful promotions of the same nature before, so it’s easy to understand how Cleavlands’ marketing team was able to overlook the looming “10 Cent Beer Night” catastrophe. Still, that doesn’t negate the fact that someone should have seen it coming. “10 Cent Beer Night,” whether it was at the Cleveland, Arlington, or any other stadium, was always a bad idea – a disaster waiting to happen. There’s nothing that unites two opposing teams and gets them to work together quite like a riot led by drunk and violent fans does. The desire to attract more fans and the marginal success of similar promotions before took precedence over the possible consequences. Questions like: “Hey, could offering cheap, unlimited beer at a sporting event that fans are passionate about cause problems?” or... “Hey, is it possible that there will be more people wanting to use coupons for free chicken than there is the chicken we have to sell?” or... “Hey, could a flyer actually use these unlimited, first-class flights to live in the sky, going from city to city eating and sleeping on planes?” weren’t asked. Discounted alcohol is a promotion that has been repeated many times since the riot in ‘74. But, it’s been repeated with more rules, additional security, and understanding of the risk involved. Listen to the whole story and our thoughts on what could be learned from this in today’s episode. We talk about: [04:40] Examples of unsuccessful promotions[07:40] History of the infamous 10 cent beer night[14:40] What was the marketing team thinking[15:00] Description of the promotion[19:40] Main safety issues[23:35] How could this happen?[27:40] Aftermath[31:10] What can be learned? Enjoy the show! Episode Script Writer: Grace WallResearch Analyst: Gertruda Gilyte Website: https://www.marketingrescuepodcast.com/
36 minutes | 7 months ago
EP28: The Brand That Became Cool Again
This iconic brand once sat at the top of the heap. Champion meant quality, and people wanted it. Then, just as quickly it died out. But with the resurgence of all things 80’s, Champion has come back strong. And while Champion’s comeback may seem like the lucky product of a fickle market, it’s not just a coincidence… the savvy Champion marketing team carefully crafted their nostalgia-based comeback. History of the brandIn 1919 in Rochester New York, three brothers saw an opportunity. Modern sports were becoming more and more popular, but the uniforms (such as they were) lagged behind. The Feinbloom brothers saw an opportunity to create high quality sportswear that both looked good and served the needs of the athletes and they called it the “Knickerbocker Knitting Company”. In the record cold winter of 1920 - they first marketed their high quality sweatshirts and sweatpants - allowing athletes to compete with the freedom of motion they needed, while still staying warm enough to play outside. In the early 1930s the “Knickerbocker Knitting Company” became “Champion Knitting Mills, Inc.” - the company we know today as Champion. In 1934 Champion became the official apparel provider for The University of Michigan’s sports teams, and the age of collegiate athletic apparel was begun. Michigan’s coaches talked, and word spread of their brand’s durability and comfort. This partnership created one of the most iconic items of clothing in modern history - when Champion designers, looking for added protection against the Michigan cold, attached a hood to their already popular sweatshirts, and created the garment we know today as The Hoodie. Champion pioneered the idea of clothing that would stand up to repeated use in competition, repeated washing, and provide the qualities athletes needed to perform. It was really the invention of purpose-made athletic apparel. Champion had been doing well, especially by Great Depression standards and during WWII, but the best was still yet to come. THE GOLDEN AGE - 1960s-90s n 1956 Champion officially adopted their now iconic “C” logo. The logo caught the attention of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and in the 1960s Champion signed a long-time licensing agreement with the NCAA. In 1968, Champion transformed women's athletic market by introducing stylish, mix-and-match Physical Education uniforms. Champion continued to pioneer styles but also fabrics such as breathable materials and reversible shirts. In 1967, Champion introduced the nylon mesh jersey, designed specifically to meet the needs of football players suffering from heat exhaustion. 1970s - Solidifying their place as the most important sports apparel brand:In the early 1970s Champion became the official outfitter for the National Football League (NFL).Their partnership with professional sports leagues made them famous for the rest of the century. Beloved athletes could be seen wearing Champion’s signature logo on TV in any household.From 1985 to 1988, Champion experienced its biggest growth yet, doubling profits in just a few years In 1989, Champion was acquired by Sara Lee Corporation. In the 90s, Champion became the official outfitter for all 27 NBA teams. The Champion name and logo were used for all NBA merchandise - some of the most profitable sports merchandise in the world. In the 90s Champion was also seen in film, skateparks, and the hip hop scene. The brand started by three brothers from Rochester that just wanted to make quality sportswear, was now an iconic pop culture brand. Fall In the late 90s and early 2000s the divisions between sports stars and pop culture icons started to break down. The NBA, led by stars like Allen Iverson - was moving to an edgier hip hop feel. Champion - the performance apparel brand of the 80s and 90s, started to look dated in comparison. They were still the official brand of the NBA, but in the late 90s and early 2000s,
31 minutes | 7 months ago
EP27: The Brand That Raced With Nostalgia
In today’s episode, we talk about one of the most iconic shoe brands of all time - Converse, its history, downfall, and an amazing rebirth. Marquis Mills Converse was a factory manager for a footwear manufacturing company. In 1908 opened the Converse Rubber Shoe factory in Malden, Massachusetts. Originally Converse made winterized rubber footwear for men, women, and children. In 1915 Converse branched out, recognizing a need for durable basketball shoes for the growing sport, and started making athletic footwear. In 1917 they started manufacturing the shoe for which they would forever be known. The Story of Chuck Taylor In 1923 Chuck walked into the Converse sales offices in Chicago, complaining about sore feet. And he had ideas about how their shoes could be made better. One thing led to another, and this semi-pro basketball player was eventually hired as a salesman for the Converse Rubber Shoe Company. Chuck Taylor became more than a salesman, he became the original Brand ambassador. Taylor made his living as a salesman by traveling across the country, conducting basketball clinics, and selling shoes. Chuck BECAME Converse shoes. And the Converse ALL STAR was Chuck’s baby. In 1932, in recognition for all he’d done for the brand and the Converse company, Marquise Converse put Chuck Taylor’s signature on the All-Star patch, and the classic “Chuck Taylor All-Star” was born. And today the iconic Converse All-Star is widely known by a second name: “Chucks.” Converse after the war Throughout the 1950s and 60s, Converse was synonymous with America. Converse had become the standard among high school, collegiate, and professional basketball players. In the 60s, Converse had about 70-80% of the basketball shoe market with Converse Chuck Taylor All-Stars being worn by 90% of professional basketball players Converse All-Stars were the official basketball shoe of the Olympic games from 1936 until 1968. Due to the success of the All-Stars, the company began to expand and open more factories. They were dominant, ut competition was coming. The game changes…In 1972, Converse bought PF Flyers, their biggest competitor at the time, from B.F. Goodrich. This led to a monopoly in the shoe market that was split in 1975 by an anti-trust lawsuit/ It was a sign of things to come… Converse’s days without significant competition were numbered. During the 70s, the competition heated up and the game of basketball was changing. Players were moving to a more exciting fast-break style of play (as compared to the slower, more “pass-and-shoot” style of the early 20th century), and along with the changes in the game came a need for a shoe with more support, and better protection. Throughout the 70s and 80s, a flood of new brands hit the market including: PumaAdidasNikeReebok Their ubiquitous presence in the NBA was slipping, as many athletes switched to shoes with leather uppers and harder rubber soles. Shoe technology was getting better, and Converse wasn’t keeping up. Converse had been too dependent on the All-Stars brand - and had taken too long to innovate with the game. By the late 80s and early 90s, the market for All-Stars had disappeared in favor of flashier shoes. Converse was left in the dust while at the Converse offices, the attitude was overly focused on nostalgia. The company offices had black-and-white photos on the walls that celebrated the past. In 1992, a frustrated Magic Johnson, a former endorser of Converse, said, "Converse as a company is stuck in the '60s and '70s. They think the Chuck Taylor days are still here." Other companies spent millions on design, research, and advertising to expand their lines to include shoes for aerobics and cross-training. Higher revenues meant rivals could spend more on celebrity endorsements than Converse By 2000, Converse had repeatedly slipped into receivership and had debt piling up yearly. On January 22nd, 2001, Converse filed for bankruptcy.
Terms of Service
Do Not Sell My Personal Information
© Stitcher 2021