Sunday, January 20, 2008


Just a follow-up to my post a month or so ago called "Supersize My Report Card." If you read the post, you know that McDonald's was sponsoring the printing of report cards in Seminole County, Florida, in return for advertising on the report card covers.

Advertising Age reports this week that McDonald's has voluntarily pulled its sponsorship of the report cards (and thereby its coupons from the covers). A PR rep said McDonald's is pulling the ads because the company believes the focus should instead be on getting a good education. (Novel idea.) Read the article here: "McDonald's Pulls Ads from Florida Report Cards."

Interesting that all this sponsorship business happened AFTER McDonald's signed the Better Business Bureau's Children Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative. (Read about it here.) The initiative is meant to encourage companies to create healthier food options and to reduce companies' advertising to children. Oops.

But hey, the school district approached McDonald's for the sponsorship. McDonald's approached the school district for its termination. You've got to give them that. Even though we all know McDonald's pulled the sponsorship because of the bad press the company was getting the longer the story stayed in the news. Either way, backing out was the right decision on McDonald's part, from both a crisis communications standpoint and a branding standpoint -- and for the general welfare of the kids, too.

Well-played, McDonald's. Well-played. If only you'd refused the report card sponsorship in the first place -- now THAT would have shown corporate responsibility. Maybe next time.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Branding at its best

Check out this site: Emma Email Marketing. I saw an ad for it in the AAAA Smart Brief this morning. (The smart brief is an advertising news email and also a vehicle for advertising to advertisers.)

Anyway, the copywriting and branding on the site is excellent. Even the site's marketing efforts like planting 5 trees for every new customer. It's all incredibly cohesive. Clearly Emma is speaking to a specific demographic. (Me.)

Beyond that, Emma's advertising not only speaks to its target demographic... it speaks OF its target demographic. There's obviously a lot of research that's gone into this creative strategy, and I think it deserves a shout-out for its mad street cred. So I leave you with Emma's AAAA ad:

Emma® Email Marketing: Stylish, just like you.

You wear hipster glasses, and so does Emma. Your hair always has that just-mussed look, and so does Emma's. Your t-shirt says "Camp Awesome," and Emma is a fictional email-marketing icon and doesn't have arms. If you've been searching for a stylish email marketing service (at an equally stylish price), maybe it's time you met Emma. Let's be stylish together, shall we? Request your Emma tour today. And seriously, nice t-shirt.