Category Archives: Weekly Win

Vancouver Harley Davidson Dealer Rides a Tsunami Toward More Well-Earned Positive PR

Ikuo Yokoyama's Harley motorcycle washed ashore on Vancouver Island. Image: Peter Mark / AP

It’s no secret the Harley Davidson’s marketing team is doing something right – the company has a passionate social media following and passionate customers, but one Harley Davidson dealer on Vancouver Island, British Columbia just earned some well-deserved PR, not as a result of a major media campaign, but because it decided to do something good for someone who had lost almost everything.

A Vancouver Island resident recently came upon an unexpected find washed ashore on a local beach – a damaged, heavily rusted Harley Davidson motorcycle in a Styrofoam-lined storage container.

Japanese writing on the license plate gave clues to the bike’s origin – turns out it had floated over 4,300 miles across the Pacific Ocean – washed out to sea by last year’s devastating tsunami in Japan.

After a bit of research and collaboration between a Harley Davidson dealership in Vancouver and a Harley representative in Japan who saw a television report of the bike’s discovery, the Harley Davidson company hatched a plan. They would restore and return the bike to owner Ikuo Yokoyama, who lost three family members, his home and all his possessions when the tsunami battered Japan’s northeast coast.

Harley Davidson’s decision to restore and return the bike makes for the best possible type of PR – the kind generated by companies that know the value of their product or service, appreciate their customers as people (not just dollars) and most importantly – show good, old-fashioned human kindness; because it’s the right thing to do.

So kudos to Harley Davidson! A company that’s gone out of its way to restore and ship just one motorcycle halfway across the world – you’ve just given the term “earned media” a whole new meaning.

It’s a Dog Meet Dog World

Image via Flickr (Tracy Lee)

The Internet is going to the dogs — literally.

There’s a new beta service in New York (other cities likely to follow soon) that allows dog owners to find playmates for their pets.  Known as MatchPuppy, the new service allows you to enter your pet’s photo, name, size, age, gender, energy level and favorite parks on a website.  Then, we assume, the MatchPuppy matchmakers do their work to create a balanced playgroup.  The pet parents are provided a choice of times and parks and told how many other dogs are already planning to attend – we’re guessing the owners are also invited.

You can even check out details on little Dita Von Dog, Powsimodo, Pucca Valeria, Iodzia or even larger Ganymede.  (What’s up with these names?)

However, we don’t think dogs are all that particular — at least ours are willing to sniff and be sniffed by just about any other canine.  And one park is just about as good as any other.  MatchPuppy is an interesting concept, but we wonder if it isn’t really just a dating service for lonely dog owners.

But, at least this shows that when it comes to the Internet, be willing to be creative and take a chance with a new concept. Maybe something for pet turtles?

Huggies Bases Ad on Stereotypical Dad, Thousands of Customers Know a Load of Crap When They Smell It

NEW Huggies "Easy Chair" Commercial

Huggies was recently forced to pull its potentially chuckle-worthy, but highly misdirected “Test Dad” campaign after a Pennsylvania dad started an online petition that quickly garnered over 1,300 signatures.

The campaign, basically depicted fathers as bumbling, incompetent caregivers, with a commercial voiceover that said leaving dads alone with their babies for five days, is the “toughest test imaginable.”

More dads than ever are taking on child-rearing chores, with one in three fathers regularly acting as their child’s primary caregiver, according to the 2010 U.S. Census. So it’s no surprise that an ad like this was bound to anger hard-working, sleep-deprived dads (and moms) of infants the world over.

As a result of the online petition and a meeting with angry fathers at the Dad Summit 2.0, Huggies poo-poo’d the most reviled spot that showed dads apparently more engrossed in watching spots on TV than minding their young kids. Huggies has since replaced the canned ad with a more subtle version that goes a long way toward accomplishing a kind of “dad’s rule (with help from Huggies)!” message they were aiming for.

Although Huggies responded quickly and cleaned up its act with a revised campaign, some commenters remain fussy about the campaign’s entire premise – that leaving dads alone with their babies constitutes “the ultimate test.”

Let’s face it, stereotypes are often funny and often true, but as we’ve seen time and time again exploiting stereotypes in advertising has the potential to hit a hilarious homerun, or sink customer credibility, and there’s a fine line between success and failure.

I’m certain that I’d naturally be a little concerned about leaving my diapered little one with a husband if he were a new father. But I’d also be confident that he’d have enough sense to know when it’s time to re-diaper junior. Apparently Huggies didn’t give their customers as much credit with “Test Dad.”

– Marrissa (Twitter: @marrissam)

Identity Crisis: Kraft Rebrands, Chooses a Name Most American’s Can’t Pronounce

Mondelēz – the new brand name soon-to-replace the historic Kraft brand, is a bit of a mouthful.

In case you’re wondering how to pronounce the new brand name to be slapped on Kraft Foods’ global snacks business later this year, the company says it should be pronounced “Mohn-dah-LEEZ.” That little squiggly line above the last ‘e,’ that’s a macron – and it’s supposed to make sure you pronounce the new brand name with an “eez” instead of an “ayse.” Got that?!

Let’s go beyond the obvious recognition challenges that come with changing your brand’s name from a monosyllabic, five-letter word (Kraft), to a made-up word with three syllables and a macron, a macron! As a college-educated English major, I have no clue how a macron functions – forget the vast majority of Americans that have no idea what sound a squiggly line is supposed to help them pronounce.

Diane Brady at Businessweek raised a great point regarding the rebrand – most journalists (the people who’ll be covering your products and news, Kraft) don’t even have a macron on their keyboard (or know what it is without grabbing a dictionary). That’s a problem, because most news coverage of the new branding is already failing to include the symbol that’s so integral to the new name.

Apparently Kraft spent several weeks searching for a new name before deciding on Mondelēz. Maybe they should have spent several months looking for something newer, fresher and easier to pronounce instead?

Rebranding a multi-national company famous for producing household favorites such as Cadbury, Ritz crackers, Oreo and Chips Ahoy! cookies is no easy task. It’s also something that shouldn’t be taken lightly – we’re sure Kraft, I mean Mondelēz, has done it’s market research, but we just can’t see Mondelēz Macaroni & Cheese becoming a household name any time soon.

– Marrissa (Twitter: @marrissam)