Thursday, March 17, 2005

Sexy ads: 3 tests and the Reef girls

Sex sells. Sexy ads are attention grabbing ... a well executed sexy ad stands out from the media crowd. Sexy ads also generate great word-of-mouth. People will spread the word about titillating ads, and nothing is more powerful in marketing than free buzz.

What makes a good sexy ad?

In the classic Ogilvy on Advertising, David Ogilvy wrote:
The first advertisement I ever produced showed a naked woman. It was a mistake, not because it was sexy, but because it was irrelevant to the product - a cooking stove.

The test is relevance. To show bosoms in a detergent advertisement would not sell the detergent. Nor is there any excuse for the sexy girls you sometimes see draped across the hoods in automobile advertisements. On the other hand, there is a functional reason to show nudes in advertisements for beauty products.
Relevance is a good start, but I suggest 3 tests for evaluating sexy ads:
  1. Do you remember what the ad sold? Or do you only remember the sex? There's a car ad airing on television that features a beautiful woman in a very tight skirt. She picks up her keys, struts outside to her car, and presses the gas pedal with her very high heels. I've seen the ad several times, but I have no idea what car is advertised.
  2. Is the ad "hot" enough to be remarkable (literally)? Good sexy ads generate blog entries and water-cooler talk. Bad ones are as easily forgettable as any other ads.
  3. Is the sexy ad part of a whole brand identity or just a one-off titillation? Reef is a world leader in beach sandals and such ("surf-inspired footwear"). The company's success is closely linked with the Reef girls, although a girl in a tiny bikini in a surfwear ad is hardly remarkable. The remarkable thing about Reef ads is that the girls have their back to the camera, and the ad theme carried on year after year. Years of repetition of ads featuring the nearly naked rear-ends of surfer babes have fixed the brand in the mind of teenagers. Reef "owns" the perky-butt sexy-ad-niche.

You too can make powerful sexy ads like Reef. Just follow the 3 rules. I'll post more on sexy ads in a week.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Retail marketing: publicity

Local recognition is grand. It's the stuff of which all successful small businesses are made. But when a mom-and-pop shop receives a positive nod in a national publication, get ready for the phone to ring off the hook.

That's what's happened at Legacy Chocolates since owner and chocolatier Mike Roberts' handmade truffles were prominently featured in the March 7 edition of Newsweek.

And it's not just telephone orders that have been pouring in. As of Thursday morning, more than 50 people from coast to coast decided they needed to sample some of Legacy's deliciously distinctive wares.

The flurry of activity comes on the heels of a City Pages article about Roberts' expansion into the Twin Cities market with the opening last November of a new Legacy Chocolates store and coffee shop on Marshall Avenue in St. Paul.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Retail marketing: sexy sells

A model put on a prom dress wrong and created a sensation. The dress became more revealing and was soon a runaway success. Just goes to show that sexy sells ... especially to teens.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Retail success: Michael's Fine Clothes

In 1905, Theodore Roosevelt was president, Albert Einstein introduced his Special Theory of Relativity, Greta Garbo was born in Stockholm, and a young Russian immigrant named Michael Novorr opened a business in downtown Kansas City, selling everything from diamond engagement rings to shotguns to a few men's suits.

Michael's survived on regular downtown foot traffic for years, but when most stores relocated to the suburbs in the late 1960s and '70s, the loyal customers made it a destination location and saved them the high overhead of stores in malls.
“About 95 percent of the people coming through the door will buy something; in a mall about 95 percent are just looking,” Eugene Novorr said.
Michael's has expanded four times and serves three generations in its original location. It offers suits; fine clothing; casual wear, including jeans, accessories and outwear; and formalwear for men in a wide variety of sizes, along with boy's suits.

The store is also known for its charity golf tournament, Michael's Invitational, which has raised more than $1 million for such charities as Children's Mercy Hospital since the mid-1970s.