Total Market – Good or Bad?

It’s just smart marketing. Would you spend 90% of your budget on effectively engaging with just 27% of the audience? Or would you spend 90% of your budget on connecting at a deeper level with 72% of your audience? That is what’s happening every day in marketing. In places like Los Angeles County, where 72% of the population is Hispanic, African American or Asian American, marketers are taking broad strokes and spending about 90% of their budget on strategies, creative and tactics that may work in the general market, but miss the deeper connections with the multicultural audience. But, you say, this is where “Total Market” comes into the picture.


“Total Market” is the newest strategy on how to effectively reach a multicultural target that has even a little bit of general market tendency (we can also call them “bicultural”). “Total Market” is also the four-letter word for traditional Multicultural agencies, because many think brands now have a rationale to let the general market agency lead the strategy and do most of the work while only checking off with multicultural.


So how did we get here? Is this the demise of the “Traditional” multicultural agency?


In the early years, multicultural agencies demanded to be heard. We speak a different language, they shouted, so we deserve some budget. Many times, brands responded by finding a “Hispanic guy” at their company to do their Hispanic marketing. Sad, but true. Translations abounded. The attitude became, Take what we do for general market and translate it. Done. We now do Hispanic marketing. But, wait, it’s not about the language. It’s about the cultural cues. As time passed, the argument became, It was not ok to just translate, but to transcreate. There are cultural cues and, no, you can’t find them on Mintel or Simmons; you need to have Hispanic or African American creative that reflects these cultural cues. The irony here is that as more money started to flow into Hispanic marketing agencies to address the “Not just Translate but Transcreate” approach, African American marketing budgets began to see a steady decline, since the perception was, with limited multicultural client budgets, there wasn’t a language barrier and we could reach African Americans with the General Market creative. It is ironic because if it were REALLY about the cultural cues, well, African American marketing budgets should have stayed healthy. But they didn’t, even when the African American population is just as strong as the Hispanic population and their cultural cues are just as unique and distinct. African American budgets have steadily declined. BUT, we now have “Total Market.” So we should be covered there as well, right?


So today, recognizing that the Multicultural audience doesn’t live in a vacuum, and Hispanic/African American media consumption habits may in fact expand beyond Univision and BET, the market has created a “Total Market” solution. That is to say, let’s work to create a singular approach that appeals to a broad spectrum and maximizes our limited budgets. Early on (meaning last year), Multicultural agencies balked, saying this is not the right approach and our distinct culture needs a distinct strategy. They balked because, on the client side, the Multicultural budgets were not being separated and General Market brand stewards were asked to see their targets as Total Market, not separately as Hispanic, African American, Asian American and General Market.


Most opponents of “Total Market” are not fighting for some sort of Multicultural righteousness, but for their budget. I understand. Multicultural budgets justify having a Multicultural agency. I’ve led one and fought that good fight. What those opponents fail to see is “Total Market” doesn’t have to be a bad thing. It’s about smart marketing. What I mean is, when formulating a marketing strategy, the ethnicity and cultural upbringing is just another value in the planning process that needs to be accounted for when trying to connect with your target at the deeper level our clients are asking for from us. We all need to have a little multicultural marketer in us, much like we all need to have a little digital marketer in us. Yes, agencies have dedicated experts who can dig even deeper, but “Total Market” strategy, if done properly, should be led by the insights. If the insights dictate a multicultural-led approach, the work should follow suit. Agency evolution will eventually determine who actually does the work and effectively wins in the long run. However, it’s going to be the agencies who change with the times, and in these times, we have very real demographic shifts in our country that need to be addressed with our marketing in order for brands to be category leaders.


Brands are addressing this shift. Some of the top brands have taken the approach of having a multicultural strategist who then advises the brand managers, sometimes even leading the “general market” strategy, on how to make sure they are effectively reaching their multicultural target. Brands and agencies just need to be very aware of who they need to target and be prepared to lead with Multicultural cues in their overall strategy, when it makes the most sense. This doesn’t mean alienate the “general market,” and also allows the brand to connect at that deeper level with the larger audience.


One day, all marketers will have a little salsa in their blood, and Multicultural will need to be included in everything we do and, in many cases, leading the charge … Because it’s just smart marketing.

The Ultimate Luxury Pop-Up Shop: Chanel Meets Aspen

Luxury brand Chanel launched its first state-side pop-up shop this July, in Aspen, Colorado. Karl Lagerfeld showed his distinctively western-style Métiers d’Art Paris-Dallas collection in Dallas, Texas, last December – and now the collection has appeared, publicly showcased in a small modern boutique above the Casa Tua restaurant and club. And just my luck, I happened to be in town the last night the pop-up was open! Giddy. I was on a mission to track it down and that I did.

Without a doubt, this collection felt right at home in Aspen as it did in Dallas. It’s completely over-the-top western Americana, with stars, fringe, holsters (for your Chanel No. 5, of course), belt buckles and boots. The large wood-clad room over the Casa Tua captured the thematic and served as the perfect setting for such glamor. Feather-capped mannequins and the classic Chanel logo in Neon centered around a large fireplace anchored the room. Around the edges, individual pieces from the collection hung and yes, I was tempted to try on the furry/feathered long-sleeve bolero jacket, but at $6,250, I admired it from the hanger. I left only with a well-designed, gilded-edge lookbook, featuring Kristen Stewart as Lagerfield’s muse for this collection, so my designer heart was happy without a hit to my pocketbook.

While I am confident that Chanel sold quite well in Aspen over the 10 days it was there, the pop-up shop is more about exposing your brand in a new light, to a new audience and breaking out of your brand boundaries for a precious limited time, which Chanel did on some levels, albeit somewhat safely in the affluence that is Aspen proper. The next day, I walked by just to see if there was anything left, and it was as if it had been only a dream. A brilliant French dream in the middle of the Colorado mountains. I look forward to seeing where the next one pops up.

Photo credits: Allison Emery

It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad March!

We are in the thick of it, folks. March Madness 2014 is here and has taken over. Brands and marketers are vying for consumers’ attention and dollars even more than before, because let’s be honest. The NCAA Championship is the most broadly appealing, engaging and exciting of all American sport championships. You have alumni, families, legacies, rivalries, soon-to-be NBA players, legendary coaches, nail-biting upsets and underdogs – not just for a night or a weekend, but for weeks! And I haven’t even gotten to the brackets, yet! Thanks to those beautiful little webby brackets, everyone can put some skin in the game. Whether it’s winning an office pool or bragging rights with your buddies or even championing your jersey-color code theory since you know zip about basketball, anyone can fill out a bracket and be engaged in the championship, and subsequently, with the brands that have successfully associated themselves with all the fun and excitement of March Madness. There are hundreds of promotions and campaigns associated around March Madness, here’s a few online programs I picked to give a closer look.

Quicken Loans Billion Dollar Bracket Challenge with Yahoo! Sports

Billion Bracket Challenge

Easily one of the most talked about promotions this season, the Billion Dollar Bracket Challenge took charge and paid off for Quicken Loans. A billion dollars for a perfect bracket? Who cares if the odds are 9.2 quitillion to 1, there’s still a chance, right? It makes anyone’s office pool feel a little piddly and like any good sweepstakes, there’s a “You gotta be in it, to win it!” mentality. Insured by Warren Buffet, this promotion promised to make this year’s game a little more interesting by raising the stakes and subsequently, raising awareness, mentions and leads for Quicken Loans, which is the second largest lender in America behind Wells Fargo, and Yahoo! Sports. Well, at least it did for the first three days of the tournament, until ultimately all submitted brackets were busted in round 1. $2 million will still be divided among the top 20 brackets and another $1 million will go to youth charities, so there will be some winners from this much-talked about campaign.

Given that there’s already talk of next year’s campaign, I hope that Yahoo! and Quicken Loans will analyze their user data carefully to enhance the experience the next time around. I found the process for engagement and enrollment to be clunky and disjointed, and that was before I could even begin to compile my bracket! With a billion dollars at stake, I had hoped for a better user experience, to say the least.

Reese’s Make the Crowd Go Wild and the Reese’s Baking Bracket Challenge


Reese’s has a long-standing affiliation with the NCAA and is the Official Candy of the NCAA. In addition to sponsoring the All-Star Game the Friday before the Final Four and its advertising throughout the games, this year Reese’s held a bracket promotion pitting its own Reese’s products against each other, asking users to vote through their favorite Reese’s products through each round. (Click here to check it out.) With prizes given away every hour and an ultimate prize of tickets to the 2015 Final Four, this promotion works because Reese’s goes with NCAA like peanut butter goes with chocolate.


Building on an already good thing, Reese’s also has a promotion in partnership with Walmart, the Reese’s Baking Bracket Challenge (Click here to check it out.). Users vote for their favorite Reese’s recipes through each course of the bracket – the competitors are brand new recipes submitted by Walmart bloggers. The taste appeal alone is enough to get folks excited, plus it’s a great resource to appeal to shopper moms that want to step up their game for their game-watching parties. With the integration and involvement of the bloggers, this promotion hits a different note than many other bracket-based campaigns by targeting mom and doing it well. With bloggers comes established readership and authenticity, which can not only help drive traffic to the site, but also get more people via social media sharing, tweeting and pinning about it.

Dove Men+Care’s  NCAA March Madness Decisions Are Tough


The Dove Men+Care is working hard to build recognition, awareness and credibility as a go-to for men’s skincare. By becoming an official corporate partner of the NCAA, the brand has already taken great strides to get a the heart of their target through their love of the game. Their NCAA March Madness Decisions Are Tough campaign gets at the heart of the bracket: decisions, decisions, decisions.  (Click here to check it out.) Partnering with the Bleacher Report, the Dove site provides fun facts, quick quizzes, matchup decisions so that fans can see how their picks stack up against other fans and the Bleacher Report experts, and an opportunity to enter for a $50,000 dream deluxe home theater and chances to win 2015 Men’s basketball championship preliminary round tickets. Using the thematic of decisions, Dove Men+Care drives home that its products are an easy decision with its succinct and clear labeling and key product assortment. In addition to the site, their social media support is in full swing, with Twitter engagement using #TournamentDecisions and the brand’s Twitter handle actively engaging about specific games. This campaign seems like a natural fit and one that Dove Men+Care can build on in years to come.

The White House: The 16 Reasons to Get Covered


While not the typical type of March Madness promotion, “The 16 Reasons to Get Covered” aims to raise awareness among young adults to sign up for Obamacare before the March 31 deadline (Click here to check it out) marrying a bracket thematic and the President’s love of basketball. It’s a very basic launching site that will take people to to sign up for coverage, but embraces the March Madness thematic by posting the President’s bracket and asks people to “vote” by sharing or tweeting their favorite reason for getting healthcare coverage. Each reason also happens to be linked to a cute meme or animated gif that lends itself to the sharability factor. There’s also a video of Roy Williams, men’s basketball coach for my alma mater UNC, and Geno Auriemma, women’s basketball coach for UConn, encouraging enrollment. All in all, it feels a little haphazardly put together and doesn’t have the pizazz that it really needs to be effective, but it shows how a brand, even one like the government, can use an event such as the NCAA championship to draw a connection with a its target market even if it is in no way, shape or form directly affiliated with that event.

Budlight: Mad Things Happen


Budlight knows its core audience and knows what they want – they want to watch tournament games, be in the know and figure out how to do all that without those pesky things called jobs getting in the way of one’s basketball time. Through its Mad Things Happen site, Budlight is offering users a number of options for achieving these goals. It provides a spreadsheet of scores that looks very businessy and official that you can have on your computer screen in case the boss walks by and wonders what you’re up to (plus, it contains live updates!) It offers a browser extension you can download so that the ad spaces in your web browser become score boards. There’s a MiniHoops game download to play and you could win a trip to the Budlight Hotel Final Four Weekend. And lastly, why not just scrap work altogether and fake virus on your computer. Yep, they have a tool for that. The online portion of their campaign is all in good fun and while things like this have circulated around before, they always have a bit a of a buzz factor. It’ll be interesting to see how they bring #UpForWhatever to life at the Dallas hotel Budlight is taking over for March Madness – stay tuned.

Bonobos Pro-AM Bracket Challenge


Menswear brand Bonobos is getting into March Madness this year, partnering with Thuzio, to bring its shoppers a different kind of bracket experience with its Pro-AM Bracket Challenge. (Click here to check it out.) Here’s the crux of it. Half of the bracket is made of your selections. The other half are selections made by your selected sports legend: Rollie Fingers, Baseball hall of famer; Takeru Kobayashi, competitive eating champion; Marcelo Balboa, former soccer start; Emanuel Yarbough, Sumo wrestler; Stephen Kreiger, Paper airplane former record holder. I know what you’re thinking – legends? Some of these may be a stretch but they make for some interesting choices. So between you and your celebrity’s bracket selections, you could have a winning bracket on your hands, with the ultimate prize being $1,500, a signed bracket from your sport legend and a $1,000 Bonobos store credit.  As an e-commerce-driven company that is not directly tied to or sponsoring NCAA, Bonobos offers a fresh take with this combined bracketology experience. Given that their target customer is male and not afraid of taking a new approach to an old standard (at least given Bonobos’s business model), this campaign seems like a fun fit for the company without compromising who it is or trying too hard to compete with bigger or more sports-oriented brands.

What Does a Yawn Get You These Days?

A cup of coffee. Yes, a yawn can “buy” you a cup of coffee. A campaign from Dutch coffee company Douwe Egberts uses a gussied-up coffee vending machine with facial recognition software to dole out free cups of coffee to weary airport travelers in need of a pick-me-up, all for the cost of a yawn. Called “Bye Bye Red Eye,” the campaign served coffee to more than 210 airport passengers.

I love this. It seems like a simple match of technology and creativity put to use in a way that’s a perfect fit. People who are tired often drink coffee. People who are tired often yawn. Bam! An engaging platform is born to get people talking about their coffee.

Facial recognition, or recognition technology in general, as currency mixed with a vending machine with a seems like it could apply to a variety of brands. Smile for a Hershey’s bar or a Pepsi. Roll or smack your lips for a Chapstick. Sneeze for a box of Kleenex. Granted, this would be a promotional spin on these items as brands can’t pay the bills with smiles or kisses, but it would be fun nonetheless.

Watch the video without yawning. I dare you.

Image Credits: YouTube, DouweEgbertsSA, Getty