Posts Tagged ‘marketing’

And for Dessert, Have a Survey!

Posted in General on October 8th, 2010 by Eugene Finerman – 4 Comments

Last night the family and friends celebrated my wife’s birthday at a popular restaurant, part of the California chain not founded by Father Serra.  (Mind you, think of how well he might have done offering pepperoni and avocado communion wafers!)  At the bottom of the check was the now all too familiar enticement:  “Tell us about your experience for a chance to win $500 in our weekly cash drawing.”  Go to a drugstore for coughdrops and your receipt will have a similar survey request.  I will admit that I have occasionally gone online to fill out these surveys.  It is my way of thanking some anonymous MBA for doing nothing more harmful than crafting a ridiculous questionnaire.

So what did I divulge to the marketing department of “California Pizza Kitchen”.  Here are some of the questions–at least how I remember them.

Why are you here?

  • 1.  I like the food. 
  • 2.  There’s got to be something on the menu to please my picky nephew, although he then will waste half of the food.
  • 3.  To atone in this life for the undeserved success in my previous incarnation.  (Was I Louis XV or James Dean?)

Would you notice if your server had a hideous skin disease?

  • 1.  Yes.
  • 2.  No.
  • 3.  I might have mistaken the eczema flakes for croutons.

Name your three favorite signatories of the Treaty of Westphalia.

Are you still here?

  • 1.  I was a history major and a Hapsburg junkie.
  • 2.  I made up the names of the three signatories, as if a second-rate MBA like you would know the difference. 
  • 3.  For the chance at $500, I went to Wikipedia for the answers.  It says the Treaty of Westphalia established standards for baked ham.

Do you really believe that we are giving away $500?

  • 1.  Yes, but I am obviously an idiot.
  • 2.  Of course not, but my boss just passed by and I didn’t want to be caught looking at a porn site.
  • 3.  It’s me, Scott from your Marketing class at Northwestern.  Hope you don’t mind but but I am plagiarizing this survey for Burger King.

Masterpiece Marketing

Posted in General on April 6th, 2010 by Eugene Finerman – 3 Comments

Branding Comes Early in Filmmaking Process


LOS ANGELES — Jordan Yospe had some notes on the script for “The 28th Amendment,” a thriller about a president and a rogue Special Forces agent on the run. Some of the White House scenes were not detailed enough, Mr. Yospe thought. And, he suggested, the heroes should stop for a snack while they were on the lam.

“There’s no fast-food scene at all, but they have to eat,” he said.

Mr. Yospe was not a screenwriter, not a producer, not even a studio executive. No, Mr. Yospe was a lawyer with the firm Manatt, Phelps & Phillips. He was meeting with the writer-producer Roberto Orci, who co-wrote “Transformers” and “Star Trek,” to talk about how to include brands in “The 28th Amendment.”

In the past, studio executives made deals to include products in films. Now, with the help of people like Mr. Yospe, writers and producers themselves are cutting the deals often before the movie is cast or the script is fully shaped, like “The 28th Amendment,” which Warner Brothers has agreed to distribute.

Now, having Campbell’s Soup or Chrysler associated with your project can be nearly as important to your pitch as signing Tom Cruise.  

For the moviegoer, the shift will mean that advertising will become more integral to the movie. The change may not be obvious at first, but the devil is going to wear a lot more Prada.

Manufacturers can stipulate that a clothing label must be tried on “in a positive manner,” or candy or hamburgers have to be eaten “judiciously.” A liquor company might sponsor a film only if there is no underage drinking or if the bar where its product is served is chic rather than seedy.

The more intricately a film involves a product, the more a brand pays for the appearance, offering fees ranging from a few hundred thousand dollars to several million a film.

Trying to justify my exorbitant cable TV bill, I recently watched “The Island.” It was two hours of death-defying adventure, intelligence-defying plot and taste-defying product placement. For instance, after a busy day of eluding death squads in the dystopic future, you can refresh yourself with a bottle of Aqua Fina. And why not make your harrowing escapes in a BMW.

(BMW’s publicity was minor compared to the product placement that Mercedes Benz received in “Triumph of the Will“. Now that was a celebrity endorsement!)

But why should product placement be limited to movies or television?

Wouldn’t the astute corporation want the Bible, William Shakespeare and Leo Tolstoy to shill for its products? I am pleased to announce that my new editing service–Masterpiece Marketing– can offer product placement in the greatest works of literature.

Think of the promotional opportunities in The Odyssey. For instance, the astute sponsor could add some helpful details about the construction of the Trojan Horse.

“Now sing of that wooden horse,

the ambuscade Odysseus planned,

The wily Greek knew where to shop

For all his needs at Home Depot.”

Among other Homeric endorsers, Circe is very popular among pet-lovers, and Polyphemus would make a credible user of Visine. And, as each member of Odysseus’ crew is devoured or drowns, his dying words could be “This wouldn’t happen on a Carnival Cruise.”

The Bible can perform miracles for your marketing. For instance, the Ten Plagues of Egypt needs corporate sponsors. Frogs, flies and locusts tie in nicely with Orkin; boils and the deaths of the first-born are good reasons to have Blue Cross/Blue Shield. And why did the Magi bring gold, frankincense and myrrh?  They first checked the baby registry at Target. We can also arrange to have your company included in the Beatitudes.

Would your company like to appear in Shakespeare? “Now is the winter of our discontent made glorious summer by YOUR NAME HERE.” “Oh, brave new world that has YOUR PRODUCT in it!”  For a slight additional fee, your endorsement will be included in Cliff’s Notes.

Masterpiece Marketing also offers a multi-media package, providing product placement in a novel and its film adaptation. For example, “Anna Karenina” offers memorable endorsements for vodka, mattresses and trains.

Masterpiece Marketing: creative ways to improve the truth.