Sunday, November 23, 2008

Finally: a lighter moment in this project!

This is an excerpt from today's Sunday NYTimes on the multiplying markets for commercial advertising. I've cut out the extraneous bits.

Hitt: Let me give you a scenario. I'm the somewhat desperate C.E.O. of a company called Jack's Overalls. We manufacture functional clothes, and in the era of corporate farming, our market is fading. My younger vice presidents are telling me that we need to try new media.

Bastholm: Well, we do have a ton of different new media and new ways to use them. But before we get there, I would suggest that first, you take a step backward and ask yourself, How do I make my brand relevant? Overalls are a staple of Americana, a cultural icon. The question is, How can you make overalls relevant to people today, and how can you use these different media channels to accomplish that?

Palmer: Your customers in the past have been farmers. Overalls are a commodity.

Very functional. And your market is shrinking.

Palmer: So you have to create a new market. Farming may be going away, but what's on the rise? Right now your overalls are made with special pockets and holders for farming tools. Maybe we retool them for urban farmers, as it were, and their specialized gear. You have special pockets for your iPhone and your BlackBerry, and a pocket for your headphones, another for your wallet, your subway card, your keys.

Bastholm: Let's really take the brand into the 21st century, shall we? Why don't we put a ShotCode on the front of every single pair of overalls. A ShotCode is like a bar code. You scan it with the camera in your cellphone. And then something comes out the other end. With bar codes, it's a price. But with a ShotCode, it could be a song, it could be a picture, it could be a link to a Web site.

Hitt: People would come up and shoot me with a cellphone?

At 5 a.m. this gave me a real chuckle. (Disclosure here: I wear overalls a lot, especially in the spring and fall.)

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