Entries Tagged as 'marketing'

what can voiceover talents learn from the kendall jenner pepsi commercial?

jenner_pepsiBack when I drank colas, Pepsi was my go to beverage. I drank Pepsi at least 3-4 times a day, from my high school days up to maybe 5-6 years ago. I loved the stuff, especially from a fountain. Mmmmmm!

Coke was not my beverage, always Pepsi.

Always.

One day I stopped drinking Pepsi, cold turkey, because I decided it wasn’t good for my stomach. No doctor’s orders, no major medical issue. Just a common sense decision for me.

If you still drink it, please enjoy one for me because it tastes great.

So this week when the controversy erupted over a new Pepsi ad featuring Kendall Jenner, I was immediately interested because it was Pepsi. Then I was interested because the world was losing its mind about Pepsi being insensitive and tone deaf to social issues.

I’m going to blow right past that last part about Pepsi being socially insensitive, thus having to avoid reminding people that almost every brand is only as interested in an issue or position (social or otherwise) if they think it will somehow help them make money or save money.

Rather, I’m going to go to the lessons in this debacle that can be learned by voiceover talents because, really, nothing else matters. 😉

  • Lesson #1 ALL VOICE TALENTS ARE KENDALL JENNER

No, we’re not really attractive and wearing Victoria Secret underwear on stages. Only some of the voice guys do that. Allegedly!

But we, like Kendall, are given a script to follow, we agree with the concept, are unsure of how it will all turn out but have faith in the producers and directors we work with that they will perform professionally and responsibly. With that faith in hand and our God-given talents, we perform the job to the best of our abilities.

Sometimes the finished production is a masterpiece that we are proud to have our voice (if not our face) associated with. Sometimes it is so terribly produced and embarrassing that we are ashamed to even cash the check.

There are risks in every job and for voice talents and on-screen performers, that’s one of ours. Rarely when the finished project goes badly is it our fault and in this particular case, it’s not Kendall Jenner’s fault either. Note to KJ: cash the check kid, the embarrassment will fade and you’ll be fine.

  • Lesson #2 VOICE TALENTS DO NOT CONTROL CONTENT

Copywriters, executives, directors and producers get input into scripts, visuals, music and even what voice to use on commercials and narrations. The talent just performs as directed. Many a voice talent can tell you horror stories of a script that had such amazing potential but must have been “committeed” to death after the talent heard or saw the finished project. But their voice was still in there and there was nothing left to do but quickly and quietly move on to the next project. Note to KJ: do that. Move on to the next job. But if SNL or Kimmel calls you to do a spoof ad…if it’s written well, consider doing it.

  • Lesson #3 COMMERCIALS AND NARRATIONS HAVE NOT  YET CURED CANCER OR ENDED FAMINES

Voice talents and actors perform our work to the best of our abilities and we take our jobs seriously because we like the responsibility established when clients and brands entrust us to perform.

But let’s not take ourselves TOO seriously.

We love and respect our voice acting and on-camera acting professions because they are noble ones, but our work has little (not none but little) significant impact on our world. We educate, we inform, we lobby, we sell, we entertain.

But our work is highly unlikely to prevent or cause the end of the world.

This Pepsi ad wasn’t so much insensitive as it was just…a crappy ad. That point has nothing to do with any talent shown in the spot.

The visual message of this Pepsi ad tried to commercialize the nation’s highly charged opinions (bad starting point) into a marketable, happy, non-political spot. The only nice thing I can envision for the brand on that point is that Pepsi may have meant well.

But the spot failed well beyond people’s hurt feelings. And those failings are the reasons the spot should have never aired, beyond the politically charged subtext.

The spot didn’t influence the audience, it didn’t build up the brand and most importantly —above everything else…it didn’t sell any soda. Had that spot run for a year, I doubt it would have move any cans off the shelf.

Pepsi’s job is not to bring about peace. The product satisfies a physical thirst. Sell THAT guys!

Capturing the modern zeitgeist may have been Pepsi’s objective, tying the brand in with the target audience’s desire/demand for justice and equality.

They just forgot to sell the soda.

And selling the soda, not selling world justice, is Pepsi’s only real job.

That’s our job too.

That’s it.

Some quick thoughts on a successful email blast

Voiceover talents love their email blasts.

It gets the message out to your “people” and putting a blast together is not terribly burdensome with all the online services available to help (they are not very costly either).

Depending on who you speak with, of course, email blasts are either the dumbest or the smartest marketing you can do. I’ll let you guess which side thinks they get better results from their blast.

There are two main drivers to a successful email blast: your list and your content. Which is more important? Both.

Let’s look at this two ways.

1. General Email Blast

Some voice talents write one email message or newsletter and send it to their entire list, without segmenting the list by categories (I’ll explain categories in a moment). This is the simplest way to do email blasts and can work if the message applies to everyone on your list.

2. Targeted Email Blast

This kind of blast involves creating an email message to just one portion of your list and sending the blast to them. For example, say you had a great idea for an email blast about your commercial production work. Let’s also say in your database, which you have previously broken up in to categories of people you work with and contact, you had a ton of commercial production contacts. BUT in your database you also had a ton of audiobook producer contacts too. In such a targeted email blast, you would omit the audiobook producer contacts from this specific blast because the message does not apply to them.

Which blast is more efficient? Depending on your message, both.

But I would suggest that voice talents send more general email blasts because it’s easy and are missing the marketing boat.

If you can target a specific message to a specific audience that would benefit from that message, spend the extra time to reach out to the RIGHT people, not just ALL the people.

Hope that helps.

answers to your voiceover database question

audioconnell contact managementYou may be saying to yourself: “Self, I did not know I had a voiceover database question! So how is Peter K.O’Connell going to answer a question I did not know I had?”

I am going to answer it extremely well, especially if you are using Google Contacts as your customer relationship management tool. Based on discussions I have had with many voice talents as FaffCon, alot of people DO use Google Contacts…mostly because it’s free!

What you see on the left is my groups list for my database, which has about 1,250 contacts, pruned down significantly from about a year or so ago. At the bottom, you see a red circle around OTHER CONTACTS. That’s what I will be talking about here, specifically regarding when users export their contact list for things like email blasts.

If you’re smart, and I know you are, when you export your contacts to services like MailChimp for email blasts, you review the exported list before you upload the list to Mail Chimp or some other blast service. In doing so, many times you look at a number of email addresses on the list and ask in a loud, bold and italicized voice:

Who’s email address is THAT and how did it get in there?

The email address you are looking at is not familiar to you nor does it  match any names in your contacts, yet there it sits in your excel or comma separated values sheet.

Most likely it came from OTHER CONTACTS and my advice to you here today is to review, edit and/or delete any names in OTHER CONTACTS before you export your next list.

Briefly stated, Gmail and Google Contacts will save email addresses of group emails you received and some individual emails too if there is not a contact assigned to it. OTHER CONTACTS is where these emails get stored.

It’s not a bad thing. Sometimes when you get an email from a prospect who turns into a client, in the haste to provide your product or service, you don’t always create a prosper contact account for that person (i.e. you did not put that name in your database).

Google Contacts helps make sure you hold on to the email address and let’s you decide later if it is “Contact Worthy” or if it gets deleted.

If you have not gone through OTHER CONTACTS in a long time, spend some time to go through it and don’t just immediately delete everything. Copy an unfamiliar email address into your emails and see what comes up. You’ll know pretty quickly if it’s a keep or toss.

And don’t forget to sort your contacts by groups. But that’s a blog for another day.

the new los angeles chargers seem graphically challenged

SanDiegoLosAngelesFootballLet me be clear, I really like the city of San Diego. I would consider living there if only the city was not in the state of California.

As far as football, this week they announced they are leaving San Diego and going to live in Los Angeles. Oh well, that’s sports.

But with a new city comes a new logo and that’s where I become interested. Don’t get me wrong, I like sports. But logos, I really like.

As I have noted here before, team like the Los Angeles Rams can really botch a logo opportunity. Badly.

Well in just a few days, the Chargers of Los Angeles have quickly botched their new logo opportunity as well.

The logo roll out gives you a pretty fair indication of what kind of operational chaos the Chargers of (pick any city in California, I guess) are in.

sandiegochargersNow, to begin with, the Chargers, late of San Diego, seem to me to have lost a bet when it came to logos and colors. Certainly, they didn’t have as bad a situation of it as the Cleveland Browns, but logo and word mark wise, the Chargers could certainly do better with the move to LA and a new icon.

The logo roll out (such as it was) gives you a pretty fair indication of what kind of operational chaos the Chargers of (pick any city in California, I guess) are in.

The first logo (LA on the left) was, I’m pretty sure, designed on Fiver as it looked like an amateurish mating of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Tampa Bay Lightning.

I wasn’t the only one who caught that (the internet had a blast with it).

Then, for reasons that I perceive as panic driven because of the poor reception given the Los Angeles Chargers “Fiver Logo”, the team went back to their horrible word mark with yellow/goldish lettering on a light blue background about 24 hours later. They must have called the “braintrust” at the Los Angeles Rams for advice and were told, go back to your old imagery and just change the city name.

Then to add insult to injury, the LA Chargers went and hired a coach from the Buffalo Bills to be their new head coach. Who hires anybody from the recent Bills staff and hopes to win anything? Oh yeah, Jacksonville. Oy!

So between this logo fiasco (and I expect it to continue) and the coaching choice, don’t expect season ticket sales to go through the roof next season for the Chargers.

In other sports news, the Oakland Raiders (it seems) will be moving to Las Vegas in a few years. Hope their new logo is better than the horribleness that is the name, branding and worst of all colors for the Las Vegas Golden Knights. Ick!

a free marketing idea for the university of dayton

University of Dayton Mugs - photo courtesy audioconnell.com

Ed.Note: The following is a friendly, open letter to University of Dayton President Eric Spina from UD Alumni Peter K. O’Connell.

Dear Dr. Spina,

First, welcome to the University of Dayton. It’s a nice place (as you now know) and everyone thinks you’ll do great things for UD.

You and I have a couple of things in common. First, we’re both from Buffalo and we both graduated from Canisius High School.

No doubt with all the good things you found at the University, you’ve likely come across some challenges…like big, headache inducing challenges. And I know what’s at the top of the list.

UD’s new sports logo.

It’s awful. You know it and so does the rest of the free-world.

It’s the one the spells out ‘VD’. The V is supposed to be a stylized version of wind or possibly an Indian feather. No one really knows what it is. You’re not supposed to have to guess about logos anyway.

I’m not blaming you…you had nothing to do with it. But you’re kind of saddled with it. On my visit to the campus on Monday, the new logo monstrosity was everywhere.

So, what to do?

Well, evidently the school paid big money to somebody for the “VD” logo. So who ever IS responsible for approving it doesn’t want to be embarrassed for spending that kind of money only to admit defeat in a short amount of time.

Personally, I don’t like to come to a problematic situation like the “VD” logo without a reasonable solution. I have the solution AND it’s a money making solution, at that!

You see those pictures in this post of the UD mug with the last UD sports logo used just prior to the new “VD” logo? The sports logo the basketball team wore during their run in the Elite 8 a few years ago.

I bought that mug Monday night at the bookstore. I couldn’t bring myself to buy any merch with the “VD” logo.

Buying the mug with the nice, old logo got me thinking.

Why can’t the University of Dayton create a, 8-12′ section of the bookstore and a page on the on-line shop dedicated solely to items featuring this last sports logo? Mugs, hats, shirts…whatever! But LOTS of stuff, not just the few measly items I was able to find in the bookstore Monday night. Market it as the “UD Classic Collection”?

Alumni will eat it up! There will be a run on the bookstore and it will crash the on-line store with sales!

You do realize most of the alumni hate the “VD” logo right? The marketing department may say the “VD” logo is ‘widely accepted by students and alumni’ but something tells me the marketing department was in on the creation of the “VD” logo.

Plus, you know how the NFL and NHL play in classic uniforms from days gone by…and SELL merch with those “old” logos? Now UD can do the same thing. So my idea has already been tested and proven successful by the pros.

Everything old is new again!

With this plan, the University of Dayton can avoid the short term embarrassment of having to change the new, awful logo so soon (but UD still should design something new in the next few years), all while still keep alumni happy with the logo they (and everyone with really good eyesight) likes better.

A win-win.

Eric, this idea is yours for the taking! No charge! One less headache for you to worry about.

Hope this helps.

Best always,

Peter K. O’Connell, University of Dayton Class of ’86

los angeles rams have no style

los angeles rams logo

Look at that.

The NFL’s St. Louis Rams are being hauled back to Los Angeles. The 2,000 or so old Los Angeles Rams fans from the original are very excited.

The millions of other Los Angelinos couldn’t give a ram’s ass. The reason?

It’s GOT to be the logo.

I only noticed it tonight after the NFL draft started (probably like thousands of others). Really, Los Angeles? Really?!

Bad enough the team got stuck with a crappy name like the Rams (only one worse would be The Bills). But to get a second chance at life in LA, having been stuck with questionable team colors (once yellow and blue now pukish gold and dark blue) you would think some great LA designer would have at the new logo and give it LA style.

No.

They are staying with the Rams name for heritage sake (again, WHAT heritage?!) and they took the old word mark and just slapped “Los Angeles” on it.

WTH?!

los angeles rams iconAnd who the heck is going to be scared of this Ram? Look at it! Oooo, I’m shaking.

This should be the logo of a Single A baseball team with a color-blind graphic designer, not an NFL franchise.

CFL maybe but not NFL.

Who wants to wear that stupid looking ram on a baseball cap or sweatshirt?

No the Rams will NOT be leading the NFL Merchandise sales in 2016.

They had a great branding opportunity and they blew it. New (kinda) city, new (kinda) team with a new (not really) logo.

If they win the Super Bowl, no one will care about the logo I guess. But nobody cares about the logo now either.