Enzo Woo's Blog

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COMM 296 Blog Post #5 – Tim Tebow & New York: A Divine Match? (Not So Fast)

April 4th, 2012 by enzowoo
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As my good friend Mehrad pointed out in his excellent blog post about the UFC and its PR problems, marketing a sport can be a problem. Scandals and concerns about a sport’s safety are all bad. Tim Tebow and his extreme, and somewhat inexplicable popularity, on the other hand, is good. On a complete opposite spectrum from the UFC and its problematic image, Tim Tebow has been a marketing wunderkind for the NFL.

Tebowing has become an American phenomenon

Despite pulling off miracle comebacks with his rugged Christian-boy good looks, and stealing the nation’s heart with the Denver Broncos this past season, with the signing of soon-to-be NFL legend, Peyton Manning, by already-a-legend, John Elway, he was made expendable. Tim Tebow has been a galvanizing force everywhere he plays, beginning with his days as a Florida Gator, to his time now as a New York Jet. His jersey sales were second only to bona fide star Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers last year, and he has made millions for the NFL, pulling in new fans who cannot tell apart a touchdown from a fumble. So it only makes sense that his trade to the New York Jets, in the world’s largest football market, can only be a good thing for ‘Tim Tebow Enterprises’…right? Not so fast.

John Elway would let Tim Tebow marry his daughter, but not his Broncos

Conventional wisdom states that Tim Tebow moving to a market 10 times the size of Denver’s should get him into the Peyton Manning range in sponsorship money: $10 million. However, the NFL is a different animal entirely – many of its top earners can to be found squarely entrenched in the smaller fanbases. Peyton Manning earned 8 figures in the NFL’s 10th smallest market, Indianapolis. Brett Favre earned high 7 figures in the NFL’s smallest market, Green Bay. Drew Brees earns the big bucks calling New Orleans, the 2nd smallest market, home.

Favre (with the Minnesota Vikings) & Drew Brees

The common theme here is that appeal can only take you so far; one needs to back up market appeal with clutch play to have sustainable legitimacy. Tim Tebow may have had deals, his contract with underwear maker Jockey standing out, before even stepping out to make his first NFL snap, but to truly establish his value as a long-term marketing pillar, he needs to (1) become a real starting quarterback and (2) win the Super Bowl, or even just the AFC title. As the agents of instant marketing sensations like Michelle Wie have found out, no matter the flash, ultimately on-field performances are what matters for true return on investments and genuine marketing viability.

Michelle Wie has not met expectations; her bottom line suffers as a result

Tim Tebow’s technical ability and his long-term future as a starting NFL quarterback have always been under fire, and for good reason. His throwing always in doubt, and his ‘football sense’ constantly being questioned, his only inarguable merit seems to be the fact that Tebow simply wins. He willed the clearly inferior Broncos to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers last season, but even that monumental achievement was not enough for a return ticket to INVESCO Field.

The beautiful INVESCO Field...no longer Tebow's home

The Broncos pitched hard for aforementioned legend Peyton Manning, and got him. John Elway, the man most responsible for Manning’s signing and Tebow’s eventual departure said, “If there was one guy I want to marry my daughter it’s [Tebow].” Yet, he could not show him the door fast enough from the Mile High City – even marriage appeal can only get you so far.

YouTube Preview Image

Whether Tebow really succeeds on and off the field in New York remains to be seen. He probably received the most media coverage the NFL has ever seen for a backup quarterback acquisition, and has been given a massive billboard welcome by Jockey along the famed New York subway. Unfortunately for Tebow if he does not perform, his honeymoon phase will only last so long, and the money can only flow so much. The unconventional, unpolished QB needs to produce, and whether he can do so or not is rightly questioned. All eyes are on the Jets for the 2012-2013 season, and you can bet that this fan’s attention will be right there at kick-off.

A billboard for a backup quarterback...only with Tebowmania

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COMM 296 Blog Post #4 – The Importance of MIS

March 14th, 2012 by enzowoo
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As a keenly interested marketing student with a particular interest in Brand Management, I was doing some personal research. Through this informal investigation, I was able to come up with a laundry list of a Brand Manager’s duties, which included dealing with: finances, advertising agencies, media agencies, promotions agencies, PR agencies, design agencies, legal staff, R&D, market researchers, supply chain & logistics technicians, and trade marketing specialists. Clearly, this is an enormous breadth of employees, but a spread required of any successful brand. As much as it struck me how many faces there needed to be for a brand to be held on its highest possible pedestal, it amazed me what commonality was linking all of these very different divisions.

Coke & Pepsi did NOT get this far dilly-dallying with MIS

My classmate and friend David Huynh asserts the importance of Management Information Systems, which can be seen in detail in his eloquently written blog, but in a nutshell his declarations are absolutely founded. Information systems are the lifeblood of brand management, and it always struck me how underrated, for the lack of a better term, properly maintained networks were. I could go through every single facet of a successful brand; using 7-Up as an example, how can we expect clear finances, accurate agency recommendations and briefs, relevant legal consul, product innovation, market surveys, and punctual logistics to be provided without up-to-the-second information systems?

Why don't we see 7-Up marketed like this anymore? MIS serves as a lifeblood for innovation.

It is simply impossible for a company to take the proper steps and appeal to the right people at the right time without ample information telling them how to do just that; with the lack of a nearly completely transparent information flow, the cogs cannot work with each other to provide a well-oiled, fluid machine. (Watch the video in the link!)

All those parts need serious oiling

And here we were, thinking marketing was all about flashy graphics and design. That school of thought, best reserved for a time long in the past, is completely contradicted by the realities of the modern brand manager. Many seek jobs that give them an opportunity to uphold and stimulate a high-functioning brand, but without impeccable management information systems, a brand is no better than the paper its printed on – and that is a hyperbole that may not be as far-fetched as you think.

Brand managers do not want to be left in the 50s; that's where MIS comes in

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COMM 296 Blog Post #3 – Paying With a Tweet?!

February 8th, 2012 by enzowoo
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Whether you are conglomerate like Altria (formerly Phillip Morris Companies Inc.) and Time Warner, or just a new start up like Sauder’s pride and joy, Kiip by alumnus Brian Wong, word of mouth is an absolutely invaluable asset for any company. Really how valuable is it though? As the writers at Social Commerce Today explain, it might be just as valuable as money in exchange for your product or service. Would a company really be willing to accept a simple Tweet, a message on the ubiquitous social networking site Twitter, now proving to be a gold mine for advertising?

Pay With a Tweet, the world’s first pure social network payment system is doing the previously unthinkable. Allowing companies to give away products for a simple online click is not yet something that has quite caught on in the mainstream marketplace, but how farfetched is this idea, really? At the tip of the iceberg, it seems like a simple concept, but the potential impacts could be gigantic. Each time a consumer pays with a tweet, their ‘followers’, a number that can range from five to millions, hear about the product. With a popular product or service, the multiplier effect comes into place, and has the potential to create a massive advertising campaign that would have likely cost bundles more to generate on a more traditional model.

Legitimate Multiplier Effect or Pyramid Scheme?

Don’t believe the power of Tweets? Check out Sponsored Tweets an advertising service that allows users to promote anything from a new song to a product, paying huge sums of money, yes real cash, per Tweet; for example, a celebrity like Lindsay Lohan draws $2985.80 USD and Michael Ian Black an impressive $5882.50 USD to click a button.

Want to get Kardashian to Tweet for you? $8,000 USD.

So now, you know that this kind of service exists – will you use it? It does not appear that the idea has caught onto significant sellers, although the service claims that around 500,000 transactions have been made so far on this futuristic platform. Unfortunately for marketers, even celebrity Tweets have been shown to have limited success as a customer, Campus Live, explains, and if the average Joe Tweets a message to his 50 followers, will it be a worthwhile return in lieu of cash for newer companies, who are also the ones that are the most cash-strapped?

Time will tell, and although this idea is certainly interesting to think about, whether it actually becomes relevant in the mainstream market remains to be (somewhat dubiously) seen.

Is this Tweet service the real deal or a salesman's pipe dream?

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COMM 296 Blog Post #2 – A Brief Foray into Nike’s Marketing Genius

January 18th, 2012 by enzowoo
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Although this topic is partially covered in my previous blog post, being the sports nut that I am, I figured that Nike deserved a little more attention from my part. Hands down my absolute favourite marketers, there have been instances where I have sat down and done nothing but watch Nike commercials on the Internet (see: Take It To The Next Level, Write the Future, Lebron Rise,  Fate, and Failure) – a reward on Nike’s part that they have worked long and hard for.

Long story short, what was formally Blue Ribbon Sports debuted as Nike in 1972 during the Munich Olympic trials, and their first real foray into the world of marketing would come with the company’s sponsorship of prominent, and flamboyant, runner Steve Prefontaine. There’s no debate that the signing of Prefontaine, at one point the most popular athlete in Oregon and a revered runner, was big news for Nike. His tragic death in a 1975 car accident would be a big blow for Nike, but luckily, its true prodigal son would be coming.

A legendary runner and a huge first step for Nike

The 1980s would be an extraordinary decade for Nike, with one of their most important marketing decisions ever to come in the 1984 decision to bring aboard a 21 year old talent named Michael Jordan – a prodigal basketball talent from the University of North Carolina. He would begin the marketing rise for Nike into uncharted territory, and to this day, the company’s unparalleled and amazing array of star-filled advertisements continue to dazzle the industry and the public. More cinematic experiences than sales pitches, the advertising team at Nike continue to set the bar with innovative, yet deadly effective, campaigns.

The prodigal son at UNC

Though arguably the most important marketing decision Nike has ever made, there have been other crucial developments in their history, including, but not limited to:

Source: Wikipedia’s Nike Timeline (All sources verified by author)

1984

*Nike signs Michael Jordan to an endorsement contract. The first model of his signature shoe, the Air Jordan, originally is banned by the NBA, drawing a tremendous amount of publicity

1987

*The Nike Air Max shoe is introduced, which for the first time makes visible the Nike air bag.

A television ad featuring the Beatles‘ song “Revolution” is the first time that a song performed by the Beatles is used in a TV ad.

1988

*The famous tagline, “Just do it”, is introduced at the suggestion of 4th grader Tiffeny Speir from Urban Park Elementary School in Dallas, TX.

1994

*Nike wins Advertiser of the Year at the Cannes Advertising Festival.

1996

*Nike signs Tiger Woods soon after he gives up his amateur golf status.

 

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COMM 296 Blog Post #1 – Taking Marketing to the Next Level

January 12th, 2012 by enzowoo
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Greetings fellow marketers in section 201, my name is Enzo Woo, and I am a similarly excited student in second year, ready to take on the exciting world of marketing, with its rough edges and all. A planned HR specialist, I am also heavily considering taking future marketing courses, as I’ve always had a keen interest in what I know to be an absolutely integral cog of any business. Regardless of option, COMM 296 is a course that I want to take, because I want to have at least a passable knowledge of marketing; the practice of getting one’s product’s known and sold is both an art and a science, and has a huge role to play in the business world. Simply put, not having any knowledge of marketing will leave a huge hole in anyone’s repertoire of commerce skills, and that’s something I obviously want to remedy throughout this course.

In terms of experience with marketing, I am an active competitor in NESTEA: The Recruit, a national marketing competition hosted by Coca-Cola and Inventa, a marketing firm based in Toronto. The goal is generally to raise awareness of the NESTEA beverage in our university community, and the whole ride, from training in Toronto, to the execution of an amazing first challenge, has been a memorable ride thus far. As a student, I am targeted with marketing ads specifically aimed at my potentially lucrative demographic; often, frugality is emphasised, while attempts to capture student attention through flashy promises and ads are also commonly seen. Some examples include: BMO Student Banking/SPC discount card promotions and Blackberry’s ‘flirt’ BBM commercial.

In my mind, it is rather unfortunate that so many people simply choose to dismiss marketing and claim that they ‘hate’ it. Innovative and thoughtful marketing is something to embrace, and not simply viewed with disdain – without marketing, so many products and services that North American society readily depends on would be unavailable. Some could argue that the increasing commercialization great marketing brings is a bad thing through and through, but it is not nearly as cut and dry as that simplistic conclusion. The role of great advertising, and the overall debate about marketing in general, is a contentious issue, but is also an excellent segway into my favourite piece of advertising.

Some will do anything to get away from ads

I was travelling in Europe, in Vienna, Austria to be precise, when I was awestruck by something completely unexpected – an advertisement for shoes. I was so transfixed, that I stood like a statue in front of the Viennese Nike store, where the commercial loudly looped on the TV screens, and watched the damn thing 4 times in a row. Predictably, my favourite piece of advertising ever has to be Nike’s ‘Take it to the Next Level’ campaign for Euro 2008. Directed by famed English director Guy Ritchie (aka Madonna’s ex-husband), it captures the meteoric rise of an unnamed Dutch soccer star. From his amateur days, to his contract signing with Arsenal FC, to candid celebrity moments, and finally to his placement on the Dutch national team, the name and faceless star lets us view his experiences through his eyes. His face or exact details are never revealed to the viewers, intending to put consumers ‘in the shoes’ of this football star. An absolutely brilliant concept by Nike, the commercial has star power, featuring the preeminent stars of 2008, realism, brilliant shooting, and a clear message. It does exactly what an advertisement should do: plant the seed of a company’s product, its name, and its differentiating ‘X-factor.’ Long considered to be among the kings of marketing, Nike did a phenomenal job with this first-person concept ad, hitting all of its goals out of the ballpark.

Euro 2008 Campaign

Getting helped up by a Dutch teammate

In terms of a personal fact, I suppose an appropriate thing to reveal is my weakness for star power, especially within sporting advertisement. As an avid athlete, I’ve long been seeing specific targeted advertising, and I firmly believe that appropriate star placement in the right places can have enormous implications in the long run. Sidney Crosby for Reebok, Wayne Rooney for Nike, Derrick Rose for Adidas, Usain Bolt for Puma, and Michael Phelps for Speedo: every sporting brand has its flagship athlete, and effective use of endorsements and sponsorships can mean the difference between a sale gained, or an opportunity lost. I specifically remember buying a set of hockey shoulder pads because it was the same model Sidney Crosby, the best player alive, wore. Did I truly believe that it could raise my level of play? Never, but the knowledge that I shared a similarity with a living icon made it enough; if it was good enough for Crosby, why wouldn’t it be enough for me? This athlete worshipping may have faded as I grew older, but nonetheless, it’s an efficient tactic.

The star of the Reebok show - Crosby's lucrative sponsorship has paid off for both parties

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The Greatest Thing We Learned From Someone Else

April 1st, 2011 by enzowoo
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As much as young people like to deny it, it is true – wisdom comes with age and experience. The greatest lesson I learned from someone else was from my father. He taught me the golden rule: to always treat people the way that you would like to be treated. He always said this when I was a child, I suppose to teach me to share and to not call my friends mean names. But as I have grown up and started dealing with more people, I have realized that this rule of thumb goes beyond the elementary school playground. In university the work place, it is always necessary to maintain good relations with our classmates and coworkers. This is not to say that you should be fake and phony, but rather, to treat everyone you meet with dignity and respect.

To this day when I am in a situation that I don’t know how to act, I remember my father’s words and treat the person the way that I would like them to treat me.

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Henrik Sedin is my Inspiration

March 24th, 2011 by enzowoo
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Being an absolutely avid Vancouver Canucks hockey fan, nothing would elate me more than the team bringing home the revered silver chalice that is the Stanley Cup. The most difficult trophy to win in professional sports, its alluring grace has eluded the Canucks’ desperate grip for 40 years, and while there is not a thing in the NHL that can top this achievement, something almost as good happened last season.

Henrik Sedin looks on

Henrik Sedin has long been one of my favourite players on the Vancouver Canucks, and a player that has especially resonated with me through the years. Although I am a big Daniel Sedin, Hank’s twin brother, fan as well; Henrik’s playing style has captured my adoration.

Henrik (L) with his twin brother Daniel (R)

A hockey player myself, I recognize, more than many, the value of the pass, a far more difficult skill to master than even a deadly shot. Requiring uncompromised unselfishness, a blazing reaction time, enormous amounts of skill, and unbelievable vision, being the best passer in the world is truly an achievement to be lauded. The ultimate embodiment of finesse, Henrik Sedin represents the many things to aspire to in life: sublimely gifted, incredibly humble, unconditionally generous, and an intelligent leader wiser beyond his years. That’s why when last year, he became the first Canucks player in team history to take home the magnificent Art Ross and Hart trophies, he firmly supplanted his place as my hero and inspiration.

Henrik (L) with Daniel (R) again

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Using social media to better connect with the community (Theme: The growing use of social media in today’s marketplace)

December 3rd, 2010 by enzowoo
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A fabulous tool to use when promoting an initiative or getting the word out on a company, social media is now even used in school. Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr are all relevant mediums utilised in this digital age.

The bandwagon looks quite full at this point...

Defined as being media utilised for social interaction employing highly accessible and scalable publishing techniques, social media has innumerable business applications, the most notable amongst them being linked to marketing.

FACEBOOK...one social media platform to rule them all

In some of the recent in-class business plan recommendations that outline what a company should do to further promote its goals, groups stated that they should forego traditional marketing techniques in favour of a cheaper, and a supposedly more effective social media strategy.

While this route may work up until a certain point, I am not of the opinion that a company can really grow without falling back on some from of traditional marketing, such as print, television, radio advertisements, or even just plain old word of mouth – this allows them to outreach to a much wider audience. It also explains why established firms spend billions on marketing; there is still relevance in doing so, although social media is an excellent supplement to have alongside it!

Apparently, traditional advertising is alive and well!

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Ambush Marketing: Evil or just Clever? (Theme: Ambush/Guerrilla Marketing)

December 3rd, 2010 by enzowoo
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Ambush marketing is a concept that I’ve known about for a very long time, but have never given much thought to.

Bell & Telus: A classic ambush marketing example, as seen on Case #3!

Defined as a marketing strategy wherein the advertisers associate themselves with, and therefore capitalize on, a particular event without paying any sponsorship fee, ambush marketing is a term hissed at in industry circles. As undeniably effective as it is damaging, a firm that utilises ambush marketing attracts customers at the expense of competitors, at the same time undermining the integrity of, in most cases, the sporting event. It may even also compromise the event’s future ability to attract future sponsors.

Arguably the greatest ambush marketer of our time, Nike is definitely guilty of these practices; some great examples are on this site.

http://www.brandchannel.com/features_effect.asp?pf_id=98

In some cases, ambush marketing is supremely effective: often edgy and well-produced, Nike’s ambush marketing commercials for Euro 2008 and World Cup 2010, both of whom Adidas was a sponsor of, are some of the most incredible footballing ads ever made.

Euro 2008: Take It To the Next Level

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lZA-57h64kE

The incredible Euro 2008 campaign

World Cup 2010: Write the Future

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lSggaxXUS8k

The phenomenal World Cup 2010 advertisement

Check out the videos and judge for yourselves, but also think about the implications of ambush marketing: evil or clever?

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American Apparel: An example of Corporate Social Responsibility that young people can relate to (Theme: Corporate Social Responsibility)

December 3rd, 2010 by enzowoo
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A world leader amongst many issues, Canada has been slow to latch onto the bandwagon that is Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Though it certainly takes an extra bit of effort and can decrease revenue through increased costs, CSR can definitely help improve the company’s image and increase their bottom lines.

Here is an American example of CSR done right (profitably):

Self-explanatory!

One of the trendiest and most popular clothing companies out there, American Apparel prides itself in making all of its clothes right in the USA – downtown LA to be specific. Though they do charge higher prices for its clothing than a direct competitor might, customers understand that it is attributed to the fact that these clothes cost much more to make than say, had the same articles of clothing been made in Indonesia or Bangladesh.

Coupled with some trendy designs, a reputation for making plain look sexy again, and ‘responsible production techniques,’ American Apparel has garnered quite a following amongst the younger generations and is seen as a very ‘hip’ brand; contemporary clothing that is also totally against unsavoury issues like the complete corporatization of fashion, as well as the inhumane working conditions of textiles labourers.

An American Apparel store in downtown LA

Founded in 1989, American Apparel did two things right in regards to CSR. They identified the right ethics to support, and they did it early.

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