The Saturday Brief

It’s been a slow-going week in terms of Marketing news. With the haze situation dying down and the hail a once-off incident, Singaporeans are finding comfort in the national hobby of queuing up for things.

1. Hello Kitty: A Formula For Marketing Success?
Marketing Interactive
Check out what Marketing Interactive has to say about the Hello Kitty craze that is sweeping our nation. There have been videos of vicious demands that McDonald’s managers cough up more Hello Kitties to fulfill customers’ insatiable hunger for these feline soft toys.

What magic does Hello Kitty hold? It does seem that whenever McD’s does anything to do with Hello Kitty, everyone explodes in excitement. Hello Kitty specialty shops though, don’t experience long queues. Why is that so?

2. Ramsay Too Much For Singtel Brand?
Narketing Interactive
Our hawker fare is dying, and Singtel is trying to revive it by challenging Gordon Ramsay to a fight. I can already guess the ending. We would win, because if Gordon Ramsay takes the trophy, it would really spell the end of an era of great hawker fare, with a national television show to prove it. Then again, it’s something that we all know, isn’t it?

The question here is, what has Gordon Ramsay got to do with Singtel? What is the story Singtel is trying to paint by coming up with this campaign? Does it help the Singtel brand at all?

I believe Singtel is trying to distance itself away from the perception that they are simply a telco, and try to brand itself as an entertainment company with its mioTV, much like what Starhub has been able to do more successfully.

What with their HungryGoWhere acquisition, it sounds pretty credible instead of forced like what Marketing Interactive says. Will it work? We may never know. These things take years to change in consumers’ minds.

3. Is This the Beginning of the End for Barnes & Noble?
Brand Channel
Moving our sights to beyond Singapore, B&N is struggling to keep its ebooks business alive by being a market follower to Amazon. Having just bought a Kindle, I can totally understand how the market forces are aligned against them. It’s not just ebook reader vs ebook reader anymore, it’s LCD tablets vs. a less functional ebook reader. Why then would I go for a second-best one, especially if I was considering something of much higher price?

4. Sony puts micro ads on Wimbledon player, ushers in an era of 4K marketing
Sony puts tiny ads on Wimbledon players to promote their super-large TVs. It’s ingenious really. Normal screens wouldn’t be able to pick it up, but Sony’s enormous 4k screen would show it large and clear in electronics stores. This form of micro-advertising seems to be all the rage too, with Coke and Pepsi doing it as well (see point 6).

5. With new Android gaming console, Google goes to war on Nintendo, Sony, Microsoft and Apple
More in Tech: Android has it’s own gaming device that it is using to pit itself against Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft! It has a super low price tag too. Personally I think the gaming market is too particular to be disrupted, but if Google manages to convince a few big name game developers to defect, or even to create games on its platform, why not?

6. Coke and Pepsi Try Out Back-Handed Advertising
Brand Channel
I said it was a trend didn’t I? Both Coke and Pepsi seem to be finding ways to hide their logos in plain sight, or to create a deeper meaning to the brand to excite customers. Yay or nay? I thought Coke’s execution was better thought through, with an experience to remember the brand by. Static advertisements hardly do the trick nowadays.

7. Coming Soon: Downton Abbey Wine and Breaking Bad Beer
Ad Freak
I LOVE DOWNTON ABBEY! And I would totally buy some Downton-branded wines if they are good enough. I am guessing many would too. TV shows have been selling licensed products for a long time, but it seems like there is an increasing trend. See what AdFreak has to say.

8. As Food Network, Smithfield Foods Cut Ties, Paula Deen Sees Fans Rally
Brand Channel
Paula Deen has been all the rage over social media for admitting to saying “The N Word”. Food Network has since cancelled her show, with many previous sponsors deciding to drop her. Fans are rising up in support of Paula Deen with a Facebook page and all.

The episode shows how sensitive companies and consumers still are to racist slurs. With social media making it so much easier to voice our opinions and for what we say to spread like wildfire, there is a greater need for self-censorship than ever. Panopticon effect yo.

9. Samsung forms carbon fiber joint venture in bid to back away from plastic
Samsung is trying to move away from the plastic casings that have been criticized for making their phones feel like cheap toys. They are doing this by going into carbon fiber. With so many things going for Samsung these days, it is high-time that they do this and upgrade their products to occupy a higher position. But would that mean higher prices for consumers? If it does, would people still be attracted to Samsung, when other phones might offer the same OS at a cheaper price?

10. Beware the Cannibal In Your Product Line
HBR Blog Network
Last but not least, some academic reading for us to learn more about cannibalisation in product lines. It’s a very real issue that a lot of companies face. After all, there is a fixed number of consumers, yet increasing number of brands in the marketplace. When is it really the saturation point?

That’s all for the Top 10 Marketing news this past week. Happy weekend!

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