Clever Marketing

Innovative healthcare marketing example #13.


What do you want to do when you're 100? If you're like me, you don't think much about it. Too busy with today's priorities - like getting to work on time, packing lunches and making the next track meet. But Florida Hospital's Healthy 100 campaign, especially the beautiful Healthcare Advertising Award winning spot below, will stop you in your tracks and make you ponder.


A successful marketing program emotionally connects and can make you think about things you really don't want to think about. We've done it with healthcare issues like organ donation, drunk driving and AIDS prevention. This hospital has me convinced of their vision of a world where people live to be a healthy 100 years old. They offer a wealth of positive body, mind and spirit tools to motivate longevity. Like healthy recipes, inspirational videos with adorable centenarians, healthful events, newsletters, deals on healthy products and services, even a mobile app to track your daily water intake. But it doesn't stop there. The hospital has forged ahead with community extensions into Healthy 100 Kids, Healthy 100 Church and an executive program. Facebook, Twitter and YouTube successfully echo each component of the vision, rounding out a wonderfully convergent campaign.

If you're not convinced you need to think about what you want to do when you're 100, use the Life Expectancy Calculator to see if all of this is worth your time. This innovative campaign makes me want to live to be a healthy 100, how about you?

Making shade.


Listening to a friend’s house-decorating stories often means enduring a litany of woes: the rug that was too scratchy, the paint color that was too bright, the upholstery that cost a fortune, and on and on.

But my cousin, Elizabeth—who’s sprucing up her new house in Atlanta—called the other day with a happy decorating tale.

It’s also an example of some great marketing to women.

Elizabeth had an enormous window in her stairwell that needed covering. She found the perfect solution at The Shade Store—a pretty roller shade made of grasscloth. Being a green type, she liked that the shade was made from organic materials and had a natural look to it. 

The Shade Store

I wasn’t familiar with this company but from what Elizabeth told me, it sounded great. The website tells you how to measure your window, customize your window treatment, and install it by yourself. Skilled customer service people will walk you through the process if you need extra help. For a busy working mom like my cousin—or myself, for that matter—being able to order and install a quality window treatment without having to hire (and meet with and pay) a decorator is a great time-saver.

Elizabeth and her husband loved the shade, her neighbors were grateful for the privacy, and that was that—or so they thought.

A couple weeks later, Elizabeth received a “Give a Tree” card from The Shade Store. As a thank you for her business, the company (through the Arbor Day Foundation) had planted a tree in one of our fire-depleted national forests.

What a great business move.

Since The Shade Store uses a lot of natural materials (organic ones, to boot), planting trees is a great way to promote its own brand.

It’s also going to help sales. The Shade Store’s products are naturally going to attract plenty of green customers. (Incidentally, a majority of those will probably be women. According to She-conomy, women make 85 percent of all consumer purchases and more than 50 percent of women say they want more green choices.) These customers are going to love the fact that The Shade Store gives back in the form of tree planting and they’re likely to give the company repeat business because of it.

It worked on my cousin. She’s now considering using the company for window treatments in her front room. I’m sure I’ll hear all about that decorating venture, too. But given the Shade Store’s inspiring business model, I don’t think I’ll mind.

Bring Facebook shopping with you.


I stared at two pairs of wedges for about twenty minutes unable to decide which to buy until a woman came up behind me and said, “Definitely go with the yellow.” That’s exactly what I needed and what most women want while shopping - a reassurance that they are making the right decision.

Surprisingly, Facebook is here to help. According to Mashable, in Brazil, the social media powerhouse is unleashing a program that puts Facebook likes on the top of hangers in the fashion retail store, C&A. Every time someone likes a product in C&A’s online store, the number on the physical hanger goes up.

This is a win for all types of shoppers. If you want what’s popular, you can pick up a hanger with a ton of likes. If you like to be different, you can go for something with less online prevalence. You no longer have to feel anxious shopping on your own.

You can see social media being integrated into the real world all over the place now. There have been plenty of online campaigns where people vote online for a new clothing design and the winners are produced and sold. One of our favorite examples is Bobbi Brown bringing back lipstick shades on Facebook.

What do you think about social media entering your everyday world outside of the internet? Do you think this is an effective way to market to women or is Facebook out of place?

Facebook Hangers

Target does it again with The Shops.


You can probably tell that we’re big Target fans here at Brogan & Partners. Forgive me for visiting the subject once again, but Target keeps stepping up its game, especially when it comes to marketing to women. I just can’t ignore it.

Their latest bit of brilliance? The Shops at Target.  These are five actual “Main Street” type of shops—from a Boston dog bakery to an Aspen cosmetics boutique—that will be reproduced in Target stores.

I can’t tell you yet if I love the shops themselves. They don’t debut until Sunday, May 6th, but I already know the online marketing is breaking new ground for the store.

While we’re accustomed to Target partnering with cool designers like Missoni and Dwell Studio, these lines’ online presence blends right into the rest of the Big Red Dog website.

The Shops part of the website, on the other hand, looks completely different.

It starts with a chic storefront window that you really want to peek through. Then the page for each shop features the brick-and-mortar version’s colors, fonts, and vibe. The page for the Miami clothing boutique, The Webster, for instance, is sexy and lit up in neon. Privet House’s page evokes the cozy Connecticut housewares store with a fresh, green color and a romantic tree. 

Here’s the best part: there’s a short documentary film about each shop. The videos are sweet, slickly produced, accompanied by jaunty xylophone music, and narrated completely by the shops’ owners, with whom we’re on a first-name-only basis.

“When people walk into Target and see our collection,” says Diane, co-owner of The Candy Store, “you’re going to feel like you’ve walked into our small store in this little neighborhood in San Francisco.”

Her other half, Brian, adds, “We want to bring a little piece of the boutique experience to Target.”

In other words, Target is letting us know: We know you’d rather shop local. We know you’d rather have unique, boutique goods, rather than Big Box ones. We also know that’s hard to do if you live in a distant suburb or you don’t have the time or money for boutique browsing.  So we’re giving you with the next best thing.

With their adorable online presentation at least, I think Target is doing a pretty good job of it.

What do you think of Target’s new marketing approach?

Sisterhood of the magical pants.


There are clothes I’ll keep forever for sentimental reasons, like my old sorority sweatshirt and the shoes I wore at my wedding.

And then, there are the clothes that seem to be a permanent possession because they just won’t wear out. I’m referring, of course, to my Lululemon yoga pants.

Those of you who’ve splurged on a pair of super-comfy Lululemons know what I’m talking about. You stretch and sweat in them, you wash them a gazillion times, and they continue to hold their shape (not to mention flatter your shape) and look brand new.

So I was fascinated—as both a marketing expert and a consumer—by this Wall Street Journal article about “Lululemon’s secret sauce.”

With some brands, the high quality of  the clothes alone is enough to draw a loyal following. When Lulu added some savvy marketing to the mix, it turned their loyal following into a cult one, giving the company a market value of $10.4 billion last year.

A couple interesting bits of Lululemon wisdom:

  • Don’t try to gloss over high prices with sales. Own the fact that high quality clothes are expensive and make that part of your caché. Lulu never discounts the prices on its staple items and rarely holds sales. According to the article, 95 percent of Lulu togs are sold at full price.
  • Leave ’em wanting more: When Lulu introduces new styles or colors, they’re released in limited quantities. Customers know they’ve got to grab their goods quick before they’re gone. According to the WSJ piece, “a hot-pink color named ‘Paris Pink’ that launched in December was supposed to have a two-month life cycle but sold out its first week.”
  • Pay close attention to consumer feedback and don’t be afraid to act on it. Lulu doesn’t punch focus-grouped data into a computer to make business decisions. Instead, they design the stores so that salespeople fold clothes right outside the dressing rooms—the better to eavesdrop on customers and learned what they really think. Sometimes it’s Lulu’s CEO, Christine Day, who’s listening in. Another great quote from the WSJ: “Ms. Day spends hours each week in Lulu stores observing how customers shop, listening to their complaints, and then using the feedback to tweak product and stores. ‘Big data gives you a false sense of security,’ says Ms. Day.”

I like the straightforward approach of Lulu’s marketing. It’s not right for every business or every product, but in the age of search engine optimization and algorithmic everything, it’s refreshing to see a business become hugely successful by kickin’ it old school.

Lululemon Website

What about you? Do you have more examples of successful companies who’ve ignored current marketing trends to do things their own way?

A secondhand smoke YouTube singing sensation.


Never underestimate the power of a good idea. It will stick in your head for years. It will push itself to the forefront among other ideas. And when the right people see it and believe in its potential, they will jump on your bandwagon. I came up with the idea for “Secondhand Smoke, Secondhand Rose”, 17 years ago working on the Michigan Department of Community Health account at Brogan.

At the time, we were doing some TV spots, so radio wasn’t in the budget and YouTube did not exist. But the tune, “Secondhand Rose,” (which is in public domain) and my rewrite of the words had a sticking factor. And the tune stuck in my head for years. So recently when I heard MDCH needed a radio spot about secondhand smoke for parents of young children, I remembered that idea from long ago. Of course, the original script was gone, considering it was written on one of the first Macs! But I recreated it. And I couldn’t have scripted what happened next better. Our wonderful clients at MDCH, Kelly Niebel and Jason Holben, let us produce it as both a radio spot and a YouTube video (the latter has over 4,000 hits just after a couple weeks). Serendipitously, we found the perfect talent shooting another spot for STEM awareness. We called in favors to make it amazing and stay in budget. But the icing on the cake: powerful results. The calls to the Michigan Tobacco Quit Line were so dramatic, one of our clients exclaimed she “almost fell out of my chair.” So that great idea you have, it can happen. It just may need a little longer incubation period. What do you think of our “Secondhand Smoke, Secondhand Rose” spot for the Michigan Department of Community Health? I'm glad it stuck in my head all those years!

Celebrating Michigan Stem Awareness Week.


Did you know that March 25th is the kickoff date for Michigan STEM Awareness Week? You’re probably wondering what is STEM and what does it have to do with me? Well, STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. It turns out that STEM occupations are the highest paying, fastest growing, most influential jobs of the future to drive economic growth and innovation. Which we all know is important for the State of Michigan. Michigan STEM Awareness Week is being sponsored by the STEM Alliance of Michigan (SAM).

I had the pleasure of working with these forward thinking folks on a TV spot to promote STEM education awareness. Working with the kids featured in the spot was too much fun, they were spontaneous, charming and hilarious. It’s times like this that I love my job. A job I couldn’t do without my MAC and technology. So learn more about the good stuff going on during Michigan STEM Awareness Week, March 25-31. How will you build STEM awareness? Start by sharing the spot with your family, friends and social networks. I did.



Marketing to women that connects, example 5: Allstate or Travelers?


Sometimes great marketing to women is simply just great marketing.  So for this post, I would like you to weigh in. I polled the women at our agency and most of us love the Allstate “Mayhem” campaign. According to Bridget Brennan, author of Why She Buys, women like “humor without victims”. But I would contend that this campaign is an exception, despite the car crashes, electrical sparks, trees falling and black eyes. The humor is so clearly metaphorical and satirical; many women I polled think it is hilarious.

We all relate to potential of mayhem in our life (we are against it vehemently) and like the humor of this male personification of it.  As a female creative director, I wish I thought of it—it’s smart and memorable with endless possibilities. I do not know if Allstate was targeting women specifically (my guess is it was for the general population), but maybe they should be.  According to a 2011-2012 Prudential Study, Financial Experience & Behaviors Among Women, “95 percent of women are financial decision makers, and 84 percent of married women are either solely or jointly responsible for household financial decisions.” While I am personally not offended by the stereotype of the hot pink jogger spot, others seem to be from blog posts I saw online. Hey, it’s a man in a suit acting like a girl so I think that’s funny.

But perhaps a campaign that speaks to women better is the Travelers campaign with the dog. The first spot which featured the dog worrying about losing his bone had the tagline “Take the scary out of life.” Now they have a new tagline “It’s better under the umbrella.”  I guess since the dog was such a hit, it’s become their “spokes animal” and now they are putting a more branded, positive spin on the campaign. I guess all insurance advertising has to have a spokesperson these days, whether it’s the Mayhem guy, a gecko, Flo, the nationwide nerd or Snoopy. I like both the Allstate and Travelers campaigns for different reasons. And I think they appeal to both men and women. What financial or insurance marketing connects with you? And do you think Allstate is doing a better job or Travelers when it comes to creating great marketing to women. Want to see more, check out my first post in my series 20 examples of marketing to women that connects.

A new era for JCPenney.


Every once in a while, a big retail chain reinvents itself, and I always find it fun to watch. Remember, for instance, when Abercrombie & Fitch  was a place for great, white hunters to shop? Or when Banana Republic was all about safari chic?

The latest store to do a big switcheroo is JCPenney. This reboot isn’t a simple case of hipping up the middle-American staple and shortening its name to JCP (though of course, they have shortened the name to JCP).

According to this piece in the Wall Street Journal, JCP’s new CEO, Ron Johnson, is trying to turn the whole concept of a department store on its ear. The store’s main floor is no longer a sea of cosmetic counters. Now, it’s a wide-open “town square,” surrounded by dozens of tiny specialty shops. The ubiquitous .99 has been lopped off of price tags. And instead of pricing items high, then holding sale after sale after sale, all merchandise will now be offered at lower prices from the get-go, and there will be regular sales two Fridays/month. (For a full breakdown of JCP’s new pricing structure, check out this great blog.

All of these changes seem made for busy women who can’t exactly plan for spontaneous sales, and don’t like to be toyed with when it comes to pricing. Considering that a majority of department store shoppers are women, this seems like a smart move.

My favorite part of the new JCP is its marketing. Ellen Degeneres, whom I adore, has been hired as spokesperson. She and the company were both the picture of grace in the face of a recent anti-gay protest by the group One Million Moms. And Ellen’s JCP commercials were one of the only entertaining parts of the recent Oscar broadcast!

In addition to advertising the store’s new game—which includes no coupons and no receipt necessary for returns—Ellen’s commercials introduce the chain’s new motto: “Fair and Square.”

I love the cleverness of this phrase. Not only does it refer to the classic community gathering place that is the small town square, it also pokes a bit of fun at JCP’s old image—which was definitely square. Such sweet, self-deprecating marketing is winning, and I hope it works. Next time I’m at the mall, I plan to check out the new JCP. I’ll also be curious to see if their rebrand impacts other department stores, which are all suffering in this economy. Johnson is the genius behind the futuristic Apple Store, so the odds are in his favor.    

However it goes, I admire JCP for shaking things up, and for following through with some great marketing to women.

Have you been to the new JCP yet? What do you think?

Innovative healthcare marketing example #10.


How often do you get to do really cool healthcare transit advertising? I have to give our client, Covenant HealthCare, a big pat on the back for being great partners in letting us create 6 really cool buswraps for them. And for wrapping up a Silver Addy at the Great Lakes Bay Addy Awards last week for their transit campaign. Here are photos of 2 of the winning buses. The big idea?  Use the entire bus to break through and create a wow factor for Covenant's messages.

Caution tape wraps the Emergency & Trauma bus. The Pediatric bus uses the actual wheels of the bus for the baby stroller wheels. Kudos to Covenant for taking their brand to the streets. 

Let us know what you think. And please share your really cool transit advertising with us. 


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