Archive | April, 2012

The meaning of superheroes

18 Apr

Superheroes are an important part of our culture and have existed for such a long time in different proportions (Superman, Robin Hood in English culture, Hercules, Odysseus,…). Even today they are present in a more lucrative and entertaining way, namely in blockbuster movies. In which the best example is the upcoming film The Avengers, which unites many distinct heroes for a common cause.

Heroes have played an important role in people’s lives. Though its true that nowadays we see heroes in a light of superpower and with all the flamboyancy that comes with them, not always have they had that meaning.

Heroes came to exist, since times past, as a way for people to relate to something they could not at time achieve. Heroes came mainly as characters with powers, muscularly built, and most of the times, with a keen sense of justice. All these traits were the ones people aspired to, but if we analyzed life, say, in the 17th or 18th Century, for the big majority of the population, life was not always fair and just. So, having someone who would step up for them and have a sense of justice for those who deserved it (Robin Hood), gave hope and sense in living for many.

Times passed on and the heroes that existed principally and ideally for each culture started to be left behind more as a legend and innate part of their own history; all of these to give rise to new heroes: Superman is one of the early modern superheroes that existed and was known in a more global scale that catapulted little by little to such popularity. Some say Superman exists as a way of American pride and patriotism (colors of the flag in his uniform); others say that it had an intrinsic value to their creators (Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster) to impose justice were there was none; and other meanings to him.

After Superman, a myriad of other superheroes came to arise form American and other cultures to stand on the world stage; what is true is that heroes adapt to the times in which they are created. Since this millennium has been, among other things, about gender equality and the rights of women equal to those of men, we could say that a new, among many other heroines has arise.

We are referring to the trilogy by Stieg Larsson, The girl with the dragon tattoo and the way in which this Swedish girl takes justice into her own hands. This books had such popularity that they are now on the big screen, and we are talking right now not of a heroine who masks herself behind a fancy and tight costume and has superpowers. The beauty of this, is that she is a girl like anybody else that hides behind her tattoos, and her being dark, who has exactly the same capabilities as anybody else and that has lived injustice in her won flesh.

We see how she finds her own way, her own resources to avenge her own past and fears. We truly start to see a new era in which they are sending a message to women and men alike, in which those times were a superpower was needed, being born on another planet, or any other external resource, now we are shown that the resource is within you, you need to be good at something and find a way to be your own superhero and savior, that is the main message this movie and books convey. For those out there that have not read or seen the movie, I invite you to see it and analyze it from that perspective, in which you will find a new message directed to the viewers

Sports & Marketing

9 Apr

Hello!

Last saturday I was watching a very viewed soccer game with a bunch of friends in TV. We got together at a bar to see the two soccer teams of Monterrey Mexico, playing against each other.

The stadium at which they play has a capacity for 35,000 people; and when this teams play, the stadium is at its full.

While we were watching it on  TV I realized just what a great business sports is. It depends on each region, for example, soccer or football in Mexico is the most popular sport. Let’s analyze the 4 P´s for these business:

PRODUCT

In this case a service, football, or any sports for that matter offer entertainment and belonging. They are an escape route for those who watch it, its a place where everyone is allowed to scram, shout, curse, and its ok. Its a way in which people subconsciously release all stress from work, family, or every day life.

It gives a sense of belonging because one follows ones own team based on place of birth, place of living, place of education or simply by mere likeness, and it unites friends and family and also unites strangers for a same cause. So, sports is an entertainment business that has continuity, is a sane passion (as some reporters noted), and brings people together.

PLACE 

In this respect we refer to the place of gathering: sports exist in every culture in an array of different ways, some are more sophisticated in the sense of publicity and reach, and others are more local (kids playing football in remote areas). They can be carried out almost anywhere, but let’s take the example of soccer, the one I was watching on TV, the place is in a very big stadium were people come together in one colossal structure, that most of the times stadiums become icons in their cities, and emblems that distinguish them and show a sense of pride for their respective teams (the Azteca stadium in Mexico City with a capacity for 104,000 spectators!). The place for this service can be at the best of times, a real symbol of the place and people were it stands. So, again, we have a more intrinsic and deep meaning with this kind of entertainment.

PRICE

Price for sports can be a little subjective and relative, since each different sport and place where the event takes place charges a different fee; and this is just taking into account the entrance ticket for a game. For a sports event can also take into account the pay-per-view through a TV channel, or simply the price you pay for gathering in a bar (as we did), and paying for beers and something to eat. But, also including what people pay for beers and snacks at a stadium, in general there are lots of cash inflow related to these events, since the selling of memorabilia, etc.. But we are also missing one of the most profitable inflows of money for this events: advertising.

PROMOTION

This, for me personally, is the most exciting of the P’s for sports, specially for a sport like soccer; in which unlike baseball, a lot of sponsors are present specially in the player’s uniforms. Let’s just analyze the magnitude and scope of advertising.

First, the very first contact of a customer with the event: the purchase of the tickets.Whether its done over the internet or physically, the customer buys the ticket and the ticket itself, sometimes, has printed on it the official or official sponsors of the event, this is the firs contact with a brand.

Second, in the day of the event upon the customers arrival to the stadium there are a bunch of panoramic and outdoor advertising of official sponsors. For those of us that do not go to the stadium we have the myriad of TV spots in which everything is related or directed to the kind of person likely to be watching the game (beer, banks, retail stores, cars) , where it is obvious the ad is related to the game that is playing on TV.

Thirdly, this is all related to whatever people buy at the event. Food, drinks, snacks, are all there to remind you that you are having a good time because of the sports event and because you are having something that they have to offer that really complements the experience.

Last, all the advertising throughout the game: the uniform of the soccer player, with more than 10 different sponsors printed on their uniform, the ads we see around the field and that change every 30 seconds, the announcements the TV spokesperson says about sponsors. We are truly bombarded everywhere with advertising in sports.

So, in the end, one team wins, people release all their stress and energy at the game, have a good time, and really got embedded in their minds and subconscious a great number of brands that they will relate to the team, the players, the event, when they go out. Sports are such a good business and such an entertainment that carries with it a lot of value for those aficionados who watch it, that its such a great opportunity for brands to communicate and have a truly positive and big exposure.

Sitcoms & us

3 Apr

Hello!

Last night I was watching Friends on TV, and started wondering how this sitcom portrayed the life of young people in the 90’s and well into the 2000´s. It clearly shows the life of any young American: living in a good apartment, no real troubles in life, comfort and a liberal way of thinking. This kinds of shows also help shape the thinking of the young people who watch it, and if American culture is open-minded, this sitcom made it still more. To cite an example we can think about Ross’ character and how he went through several divorces and even had an ex-wife who became a lesbian.

That was the 90’s and its the new way of thinking, but what about those more closed and traditional cultures in say, Latin America, who watched the show and made the young people take life in a different way? It certainly changes the perspectives and values of younger generations, but, we must accept all this openness comes with globalization.

A great current example of how society changes is the new series Glee. For me Glee is a big platform for warming up high school kids and making them more tolerant to anyone: homosexuals, overweight people, geeks, etc..

And in a way it is a good thing to create a show that addresses  and portrays all this kids as the center of attention and giving them confidence and showing their true self and feelings through their performing acts. Sitcoms truly adapt to society and vice versa, we need to approach kids on whatever media we can: right now TV is one good way to grasp their attention, and more than making them tolerant to others, shows could start to shift a little all that culture to something in which loyalty, education, politeness comes firsthand and really sticks to them. So, TV, movies, and all media available to young generations could start focusing on the impact they generate and finding new contents that truly make a change on the lives of those who watch it!

Till next time!

Supermarket stop

2 Apr

Hello again!

As I mentioned before this site will be all about marketing and the experience that comes along from a customer/marketer point of view.

Today I would like to comment and talk about trips made to the supermarket.

I have found that the trip to the supermarket you either love it or hate it, there’s rarely an in between opinion. Why would that be?

It is true that going to the supermarket takes away valuable time, specially if you are someone who works or is a housewife; but when you love to shop or when you go out there as a keen observer, it really is an enjoyable time. In times past the market was a meeting point, necessary, flourishing place for towns and cities, people really needed to be there either selling or buying. Today, our lives are not necessarily centered around a market; as it was before.

Going to the supermarket is in fact a necessity for everybody, we all need to go there to get our food and basic items, but maybe it is time to see it all in a different light.

There is in fact a lot of information that an be gathered from this necessary stop: new launched products, creative packages, useful promotions. product displays, and more…. One can really make sense of how good or bad any one consumer product company is doing by the amount of product and placement on the shelves, its pricing strategies, etc..

Its time to be aware of  how the backstage of it all works. The putting together of 2 distinct products on a particular aisle or shelf can only mean that they blend together to the customer, and most of the time we won’t pick one, we pick both. (Ex. video games aisle with candy bars on its side). Or what about the very attractive last stop before the counter? all the candies and magazines displayed there for us, that we inevitably grab on impulse? Because we do!

Remembering that everything in a supermarket: aisle layout (generally, milk and dairy on the back to make customer cover all the space), product placement, promotions, music… everything must be specially orchestrated, they need to create a positive, pleasant experience for us; we need to be entertained, we need to go to the supermarket and have a good time. Making it attractive, enjoyable, and an easy experience for the customer is all fundamental for this establishments to get more flow of customers. That is the challenge for every new supermarket and the way of thinking they must have, we constantly see new chain stores coming up and they all are so good, they need to give that extra something to be number one in the customer’s mind!

Till next time!

Supermarket stop

2 Apr

Hello again!

As I mentioned before this site will be all about marketing and the experience that comes along from a customer/marketer point of view.

Today I would like to comment and talk about trips made to the supermarket.

I have found that the trip to the supermarket you either love it or hate it, there’s rarely an in between opinion. Why would that be?

It is true that going to the supermarket takes away valuable time, specially if you are someone who works or is a housewife; but when you love to shop or when you go out there as a keen observer, it really is an enjoyable time. In times past the market was a meeting point, necessary, flourishing place for towns and cities, people really needed to be there either selling or buying. Today, our lives are not necessarily centered around a market; as it was before.

Going to the supermarket is in fact a necessity for everybody, we all need to go there to get our food and basic items, but maybe it is time to see it all in a different light.

There is in fact a lot of information that an be gathered from this necessary stop: new launched products, creative packages, useful promotions. product displays, and more…. One can really make sense of how good or bad any one consumer product company is doing by the amount of product and placement on the shelves, its pricing strategies, etc..

Its time to be aware of  how the backstage of it all works. The putting together of 2 distinct products on a particular aisle or shelf can only mean that they blend together to the customer, and most of the time we won’t pick one, we pick both. (Ex. video games aisle with candy bars on its side). Or what about the very attractive last stop before the counter? all the candies and magazines displayed there for us, that we inevitably grab on impulse? Because we do!

Remembering that everything in a supermarket: aisle layout (generally, milk and dairy on the back to make customer cover all the space), product placement, promotions, music… everything must be specially orchestrated, they need to create a positive, pleasant experience for us; we need to be entertained, we need to go to the supermarket and have a good time. Making it attractive, enjoyable, and an easy experience for the customer is all fundamental for this establishments to get more flow of customers. That is the challenge for every new supermarket and the way of thinking they must have, we constantly see new chain stores coming up and they all are so good, they need to give that extra something to be number one in the customer’s mind!

Till next time!