Truebalance Wins with the Whole Truth

Recent advertising for New Balance’s new line of women’s toning shoes, Truebalance, points out that you can tone your body without toning down your style. As this growing toning-shoe segment has focused on fitness claims, New Balance is focusing on how you look while toning up. They have tapped into the whole truth of ego-protection here and I believe it will help them stand out in the category.

Half Truth: I’m open to trying new ways to get and stay in shape.

Whole Truth: I don’t want to look like a dork in the process.

And by advertising in both fitness and non-fitness magazines, such as Glamour, Instyle and Lucky, not only are they capturing those that want to look good while working out, they have also opened up the category to those who like the idea of a “work-out” without ever having to actually work out.  Being part of the fit club continues to build on this whole truth. Great job New Balance!

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To Have and NOT to Hold

Today’s New York Times article lauded the arrival of the Holy Grail: Lucy Phone, a technology that answers the perennial consumer scream “WHY AM I ON HOLD SO LONG?” Customers who truly hate automated systems will rejoice to know that now they’ve got a button of their own that forces the company to call you back, rather than waste your time. I know that there are already businesses who do this themselves, inviting you to press whatever # and an operator will return your call. But Lucy puts the choice in consumers’ hands. (One scary side note in the piece is that the Twitter universe is fanning consumer rage, with hoards of on-hold folks banding together to gang up on companies…sort of a mass citizens’ arrest. Something to keep an eye on.)

Meanwhile, thanks to services like Lucy, I was thinking of all the phone messages that soon may be a thing of the past.

“Your call is important to us. Please hold.” (If it is, then why don’t you answer now?)

“All customer service representatives are currently speaking with other customers. Please hold.”

(in other words, “other customers” who are more important to you than I am.)

“This call may be monitored for quality by our customer service specialists.”

(really, when has anyone ever interrupted your frustrated profanity as you watch the waiting minutes drag by? )

Go, Lucy, go! You’ll not only save waiting customers’ needless anxiety and wasted minutes, you might even save some companies the money lost to customers’ exasperation…and defection.

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Diapers that Look Like Jeans. Yup.

As the mother of twins, I feel uniquely qualified to be quoted in the article by Andrew Adam Newman in today’s The New York Times. More than anything I love the risk Huggies took with an idea that probably sounded crazy the first time someone said it.

“We should make diapers that look like denim.”
“What?”
“Why?”
“We Can’t”

I LOVE when an idea hits the market that probably made the internal people feel uncomfortable and maybe it didn’t even test well in focus groups (the F word!). Bravo Kimberly Clark and JWT.

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The Power of One

Andrew Adam Newman quoted me in an Adweek article today about marketing to single women called The Power of One. (BTW: I love when my quotes get to finish an article!) This is definitely a hot topic – Tracy was on NPR a few weeks ago being asked similar questions. The topic brings up the bigger issue of segmentation for marketers. So many times we have to ask clients to go back to the drawing board to decide “which women” when they say they want to market to women. Saying “single women” leads most marketers to think about Gen Y women whom they picture live like Carrie Bradshaw. In reality, the most powerful single women are older, with more work and life experience and a clear vision of where their lives are going. They have money to spend, are brand loyal and aren’t afraid to tell you what they are thinking. What do you think is holding marketers back from these women?

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Kotex: Whole Truth or Too Much?

For more than 10 years we’ve been doing research about “below the belt” type products and categories. Yup. Lots of stuff about “intimate” things. If you aren’t comfortable talking about stuff “down there” then you wouldn’t be good on our team.

We’ve talked about waxing, itching, leaking… and whenever we do women talk about how bad fem hy advertising is. They are embarassed by the euphemisms and imagery of women wearing white pants and bikinis. BUT when we have shown them more candid creative executions that take some liberties and even poke a little fun at the category, they back off their criticism and admit that they really don’t want anyone to talk about this stuff too graphically. Adult women just aren’t super comfortable talking about these things even if they pretend that they are. Trust me, I’ve heard more than one woman (old and young) refer to their menstrual cycle as “aunt Flo” or “her friend”.

So when I read about Kotex’s new campaign in an Andrew Adam Newman’s article in The New York Times I was intrigued. Here is what I love:

I love that the work is taking a Go Big or Go Home attitude and I think that if a brand like Kotex doesn’t take these kinds of risks that it will disappear into the sunset after being trampled by competitors. I’m impressed that JWT was able to get this strategy approved. I would love to have been a fly on the wall during these brainstorming sessions.

I love the inside baseball type references to market research!

I love that packaging in this category is getting more modern. This U by Kotex packaging is definitely a departure (black versus baby pink).

Here is what I worry about as a business strategist:

Will women, especially the young ones ages 14-21 that are being targeted, be brave enough to laugh at these jokes? Is any 14 year old girl confident enough for that? Plus if you are 14 years old you haven’t really been exposed to the historically bad category advertising to get the joke. Sort of like why I don’t think that 14 year olds and 40 year olds appreciatte Facebook for the same reason – if you are 14 you aren’t old enough to have lost touch with people! Who are they reconnecting with?

I also worry for Kotex that the work will be like Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty. Consumers will be relieved that someone has spoken the truth but that they won’t be motivated enough to change their behavior or their brand preference. Will a good, clever message equal increased sales? Remains to be seen I guess.

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September 29, 2020
by Mary Lou Quinlan

A look at an early production of WORK

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The God Box Goes Global!

“The God Box” has grown to include an app, audio book, philanthropic venture and solo show performed by Mary Lou across the US. Now The God Box Project goes global to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
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