Sunday, November 30, 2008

Perceptual Map of MSN, Yahoo and Google

A Perceptual Map is a marketing tool to graphically compare consumer attitudes towards competitor companies. Most commonly, two salient characteristics of the market niche occupied by the companies are used to form a two dimensional map that shows how each company fares with the customers of that market segment.

Online services is becoming an important market segment for Microsoft. Marketing Vox (2007, p1) reports that Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO, sees advertising revenue earned by Online Services as contributing 25% of Microsoft’s business in future. Such advertising revenues will help support the Microsoft Cloud Computing initiative code-named Azure (see Mackey, 2008, p 1) and Software as a Service (SaaS) offerings.

Already its competitors are starting cloud computing and SaaS services that Gartner believes will soon be “good enough” (see Smith and Austin, 2007, p 1). The top two competitors to Microsoft MSN in Online Services are Yahoo and Google. There are two dimensions I propose to use in assessing corporate customer perceptions of these three largest Internet sites. The first is the market perception of the corporate services that are offered by each vendor.

The other dimension is social capital. As I have argued in the Open Source Gamblers Ruin posting (see Gambler's Ruin), “strategic buyers” are an important customer segment for Microsoft generally and the most profitable customer in terms of sales revenues. These customers are corporate and governmental organizations that would have a major impact on Microsoft if they shift away from Microsoft to its Open Source or Web Portal competitors because they are big buyers. A move like that would reduce Microsoft revenue while significantly enhancing that of its competitors. In addition, by being big buyers, they also attract advertisers so that they have significant meaning for MSN operations. Therefore, the second dimension in this perceptual map is the social capital each competitor has with corporate customers.

Buchanan (2002, 201-204) gives a laymen’s explanation of social capital as the “ability of people to work together easily and efficiently based on trust, familiarity and understanding.” In lieu of a formal survey, I will use the sales, marketing and consulting employee counts of each organization as a proxy for social capital thay have with large corporate customers. This seems reasonable; the greater the investment in marketing communications between one of the vendors and the corporate world it serves, the greater the social capital.

To calculate the correlation strength of each vendor in the social capital dimension, I normalize employee counts to a percentage by summing all employee counts and dividing the total count into each company count. The employee counts are derived from the SEC 10-K filings for each company. Here is the raw data:

Here is the relative percentage of employees dedicated to marketing communications and services in the three organizations, reflecting social capital strenths:

For the other dimension in this map, the portal corporate functionality, I will use Tancer’s market ranking comparison of the three sites that is published at HitWise. However, not all attributes Experian tracks are related to corporate interests. For example, sports, dating, games, personalities and music would not be. The following are the Search Portal characteristics I will use in the perceptual map: Portal Pages, Email Service, Search Engine, News/Media, Business Information, and Maps.

For the corporate portal functionality dimension, I use a balanced scorecard approach based on those rankings in Tancer’s survey. The notion is that the current market share ranking of each Web site reflects the market’s perception of the company’s ability in each of these categories: Portal Pages, Email Service, Search Engine, News/Media, Business Information, and Maps.

Here is the score card calculation based on rankings in those categories:

Here is the relative strength of each ranking factor:

Combining the Portal Functionality numbers with the social capital, we then get the following sets of coordinates for our perceptual map:

Here is a perceptual map based on those coordinates:

I included a desired point in the map that would reflect the combined strengths of Yahoo and MSN, which is what I believe Microsoft was after in its merger attempts with Yahoo.


Buchanan, Mark (2002). Nexus: Small Worlds and the Groundbreaking Theory of Networks. Norton.

Keller, K (2008). Strategic Brand Management. Pearson/Prentice-Hall.

Mackey, Kurt (October 27, 2008). Microsoft has head in the clouds with new Windows Azure OS. Retrieved on November 19, 2008 from

Marketing Vox, (October 4, 2007). Ballmer Sees Ad Revenue as Microsoft's Future. Retrieved on November 19, 2008 from

Rosoff, M (October 23, 2006). The Future of MSN. Directions on Microsoft. Retrieved on November 22, 2008 from

SEC (12/31/2007). Yahoo Form 10-k. Retrieved on November 26, 2008 from

SEC (2/15/2008). Google Form 10-K. Retrieved on November 26, 2008 from

SEC (June 30, 2008). Microsoft Corporation Form 10-K. Retrieved on November 19, 2008 from

Smith, D and Austin T (June 5, 2007). Microsoft and Google: Who's Going After Whom? Gartner Research, ID G00148622.

Taft, Darryl (October 10, 2007). Ballmer Talks Cloud, Advertising, SAAS. eWeek. Retrieved on November 19, 2008 from

Tancer, Bill (August 3, 2006). Google, Yahoo! and MSN: Brand Association. Hitwise Intelligence. Retrieved on November 22, 2008 from

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Construal Theory and Cleaning Vinegar

The Heinz All-Natural Cleaning Vinegar may have been a product somewhat ahead of its time. Today’s mainstream world is more “green” aware than in the late 80s and early 90s. Haig (2003, p 34) says that the cleaning vinegar moved Heinz away from its core identity. Until then it had manufactured only food products.

He goes on, though, to propose that it was not marketed properly. Heinz pushed it to the mass market and Haig contends at that time it was a niche product. Heinz might have been successful if they had distributed it only through health store chains initially. Haig's rule for this is “Adopt a niche strategy for a niche product.”

In their study published by the Journal of Consumer Psychology, Kim and John (2003, p 1) found that the importance of perceived fit in a brand extension is moderated by “construal level.” Construal theory proposes that we interpret activities in the environment either as “abstract and generalized features (high-level construals) or in terms of concrete and contextualized features (low-level construals).”

Their studies indicate that perceived fit for a brand extension was important to people with a higher-level construal of a subject while to folks who think concretely about the subject it was not so important. This might explain what happened to Heinz. Most people abstracted them to the food product category. The greens back then may have been better audience to introduce the product. They were used to thinking outside the box and looking concretely at a product’s ingredients.

Haig, Matt (May 2003) Big Brand Ball-ups. Brand Strategy. Retrieved on November 27, 2008 from EBSCOHOST.

Kim, Hakkyun and John, Deborah Roedder (April 2008). Consumer response to brand extensions: Construal level as a moderator of the importance of perceived fit. Journal of Consumer Psychology. Retrieved on November 27, 2008 from EBSCOHOST.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Are Possessions an Extension of Self?

In his 1988 article, Belk addresses this question as a topic of interest to marketing research. He starts (1988, p 139) with a summary of the three states of self: 1.) Being; 2.) Doing; and 3.) Having. He goes on to do a detailed review of Sartre’s Being and Nothingness (p 145), a work that fully explored the relationships between these three states. In Sartre’s existential view, doing is a transitional state leading to the two more stable states to have or to be. Sartre argues that the only reason we want to have something is to enlarge our sense of self and so having is an extension of being.

This existential viewpoint is consistent with John Locke (see ) the philosophical father of the old United States (see ). In both philosophical systems, private property is recognized as a fundamental state of mankind and in the western world purchases are given legal status as an extension of self. In this culture, there is the opportunity for purchases to be an extension of self.

This is not the case in all cultures. Belk goes on (p 146) to discuss the Marxist viewpoint, which stresses doing as the stable state and the having state as creating ‘corrupt fetishes’ in the self. Furthermore, the collective state of being rather than the individual is emphasized. In such a culture it is very unlikely that purchases could be a reflection of self.

Another possible permutation is that of Erich Fromm, who wrote The Sane Society, a popular analysis of American social decay. Unlike Marx, Fromm (see Belk, 1988, p 146) holds that being rather than doing is the “preeminent form of existence.” However, like Marxists he holds that having is a fountain of social ills. Again, in a culture like that Fromm recommends, possessions would probably not be an extension of self.

Even in John Locke’s world, which to some extent still exists today, private property may only have a utilitarian role. Not in the Dionysian ethos that pervades the modern west but in its Apollonian past according to the Canadian anthropologist Anthony Wallace (1963, pp 101-11). In such times, Neumeier (2006, p 38) tells us that product features were the focus of the advertising. I don't think this is because people were simple and dull but because that was the cultural milieu.

The dichotomy of Dionysian and Apollonian ethos was contrived by the Greeks and an inherent part of their drama and written arts. A dim view is given the motivations that drive a culture during periods of intemperance. William Blake captured the sense of overindulgence, especially in his third proverb (see ).

In the growing prosperity of Victorian times, the economist Veblen postulated that property can be a decorative extension of self (see Belk, 1988, p 157). Belk also reviews analyses of grave goods as further support for this contention that property is an extension of self. The existence of grave goods may however wax and wane according to the presiding ethos or other cultural factors. Our modern American society is certainly a good prospect for viewing property as an extension of self, but we don’t bury goods with the dead.

As noted, I think that Belk’s argument is most persuasive in the context of the modern west. He suggests (p 140) that the more control one has over an object the more it becomes part of self. I disagree with this because we would not have spent the time and energy to master an object if it was not already in our concept of self. In either case, though, the object becomes a reflection of self because it has salience with us, imagery, feelings and resonance - the ladder of brand equity.

Keller (2008, p 72) observes that a strong personal attachment can be established between a brand and a person. Brand’s convey a sense of community, a self larger than the individual, similar to nationalism. The brand imagery like patriotism defines a larger self for those who own the brand. They have become part of such a community. Neumeier (2006, p 40) proposes that brands are advancing into the vacuum left by subsiding national boundaries to avoid homogenized globalism.

In sum, I think Belk’s contention has application today as our Dionysian ethos has gone global. On the other hand, the Marxist interpretation of self has not completely disappeared, with China, Russia, Korea, Cuba, Venezuela and Vietnam still having such inclinations. What is more interesting is that yet another movement in the west may be growing, the caring conserver social movement identified by Lessinger (1991, pp 148-160). It reflects Fromm’s interpretation of self in society. Lessinger argued skillfully about the inevitability of this movement’s success and the economic demolition of the existing order it will ignite.

Depending on your choice of first cause, goods may not reflect an extension of self.

Belk, R (1988). Possesions and the Extended Self. Journal of Consumer Research. Retrieved on November 13, 2008 from WVU IMC Week 5 readings.

Keller, K (2008). Strategic Brand management. Pearson/Prentice-Hall.

Lessignger, Jack (1991). Penturbia. SocioEconomics Press.

Neumeier, M (2006). The Brand gap. New Riders.

Wallace, Anthony FC (1963). Culture and Personality. Random House.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Red Bull's Brand Equity

According to Keller (2008, p 53), brand equity is the strong, favorable and unique brand associations in the memory of customers. He goes on to identify (p 54) two sources of brand equity: 1.) Brand Awareness; and 2.) Brand Image. Red Bull has well defined tactics for both sources.

The Brand Awareness Source for Red Bull Brand Equity
Keller (p 54) notes the key elements of Brand Awareness: 1.) Recognition; and 2.) Recall. He postulates that if buy decisions are made at the point of purchase, then brand name, logo, packaging and the other elements of brand recognition are important factors. If the buy decision is made before arriving at the point of purchase, then brand recall is centrally important. Duncan (2005, p 140) concludes that low-involvement purchase is usually done for products that are relatively cheap, bought frequently, and are low risk. In such cases, in addition to traditional advertising with its reach and frequency drills, it would be productive to spend time getting the name, logo and packaging correct.

Red Bull did just this. The Pearson Case Study 4 (2006, p 70) describes how Red Bull selected a distinctive, slim can. They also created a prominent and eye-catching logo of two bulls and a yellow sun. Package wording effectively communicates the products benefits: Energy Drink. The packaging is an important part of the branding, as we might expect for a low-involvement product. Pearson Case Study 4 goes on (p 70) to note that changing the carefully selected package elements, in Germany substituting a glass bottle for the slim can, resulted in a dramatic drop off in sales.

To increase brand recall, Keller (p 55) advises that a slogan or a jingle can establish the memory linkages that improve recall. Pearson Case Study 4 (p 69) relates that Red Bull developed an effective slogan, “Red Bull gives you wiiings.” They use little advertising but when they do it consistes of unusual animated shorts that end with the slogan, “Red Bull gives you wiiings.”

The Brand Image Source for Red Bull Brand Equity
Keller (p 56) gives the necessary strategy for building a brand image: “link strong, favorable and unique associations to the brand in memory.” There are two factors to strengthen brand association: 1.) Personal relevance; and 2.) Consistence in its presentation over time.

Keller (p 57) goes on to say that direct experiences create the strongest brand benefit associations. This fits into Red Bulls strategy according to Pearson Case Study 4 (p 73). Their entry strategy is to seed happening places such as shops, clubs, bars and stores. They thus focus initially on opinion leaders who obtain positive direct experience with the brand. Once word of mouth has created a buzz about the product, they then widen distribution to areas surrounding the “in” spots. Keller (p 57) postulates that word of mouth advertising is particularly effective at building positive brand image in the product categories of restaurants and entertainment. It is not a stretch to see that this happened with Red Bull as well.

Keller (p 58) discusses how desirability and deliverability are critical factors in creating a favorable brand image. For Red Bull, Pearson Case Study 4 (P 70) gives the energy boosting and detoxifying benefits for the product. Red Bull improves endurance, increases mental alertness, improves reaction time, and eliminates waste substances. These are favorable for athletes, business people, and clubbers. In addition to favorability, Keller (p 58) says another factor to stimulate desirability is believability. Direct experience and word of mouth from opinion leaders is very believable.

Deliverability – does the product deliver what it promised? Pearson Case Study 4 (p 69) gives the pharmacology of Red Bull. It consists of caffeine as a stimulant, and two amino acids: taurine and glucuronolactone. These are both energy enhancing and detoxifying. This is confirmed by pharmaceutical studies. The formula for the drink has been patented by a Thai Pharmaceutical company.

Uniqueness is the third major factor for building brand image. According to Pearson Case Study 4 (pp 71-2), Red Bull created a new food category, Functional Food that enabled it to have the unique ability to make any performance claims about a food. The study notes (p 81) that this act enabled Red Bull to “establish the brand’s prominence on its own terms.” This gave it a unique message to communicate to its users, and a significant barrier to entry for competitors. It now enables Red Bull to establish in consumers the belief that its characteristics are prototypical for all members of this category, because today there are competitors. Keller (p 59) notes that this is positive for brand image.

For a more complete analysis of Red Bull integrated marketing communications, see Redmond Review

Duncan, T (2005). Principles of Advertising & IMC. McGraw-Hill/Irwin.

Keller, K (2008). Strategic Brand Management. Pearson/Prentice-Hall.

Neumeier, M (2006). The Brand Gap. New Riders.

Pearson Case Study 4 (2006). Red Bull: Building Brand Equity in New Ways!. Pearson/ Prentice-Hall.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Greta Garbo, an Enduring Image

Greta Garbo still sells, some 80 years on. By my calculations, her movies earn approximately $200,000 annually on Amazon, Borders and Barnes&Noble. What is more, her items have a high response rate showing resonance with the audience (see Signature Series ) In EBSCOHOST, there are 12,152 articles about her or that reference her, with 4,816 written in the past five years. The mystique is as much about her lifestyle as her films.

Greta Garbo had the resolute spirit that Ayn Rand, who admired Garbo, tried to capture in the fictional character John Galt. Unlike Galt, however, who ran away to work apart from the system, Garbo turned the system inside out and made it work for her. This is all the more remarkable when you consider that the other major stars of the era were overwhelmed by the system.

Three of the biggest were Clara Bow (the It girl), Rudolf Valentino and John Gilbert. Rhodes (1999, p 197) notes that both Valentino and Bow, stars of first rank, had no control whatsoever over their movies or the public presentation of their image. Garbo, on the other hand, ended up with complete control over all production – choice of director, writers, script, co-stars, schedule, all aspects of production, including release of image building communications (see for example, Vieira, 2005, pp 164,167, 173).

Hollywood was having difficulty establishing a continuing female role type that was attractive to women of that day. The virgins like Mary Pickford and Lillian Gish, the vamps like Gloria Swanson and the flappers like Clara Bow were losing traction at the box office (Paris,1994, p 112). Garbo did not play into stale role types but instead became the embodiment, as she is now characterized by feminists, of the “new woman” (See Fischer, 2001, p 90).

I have seen most of her movies and there is a triangle, a brand formula or theme in them all – she is married to an older, overbearing man and having an affair with a younger man (see for example Vieira,2005, p 8). When discovered in the act, she is neither embarrassed nor repentant but instead is contemptuous, weary or angry with her older husband. Conveniently for her character and to the relief of the audience, he is killed or dies off, leaving her to her virile suitor.

After her first films proved extremely popular and profitable, she challenged the MGM power structure. She ignored studio dictates, refused to participate in staged publicity and premiers, did not wear traditional foundational garments beneath her clothes, and was in general insubordinate, all of which created a growing tension. It reached the tipping point when she demanded seven times her salary to become the highest paid actress in the business and refused to do the film Women Love Diamonds because she thought it foolish (see Paris, 1994, pp127-8).

MGM finally detonated, finding her in breach of contract, and issued her a cease and desist letter. She went over their heads to Loews Inc., the parent company, and focused on the factual errors in the letter (see Vieira, 2005, pp 45-8). It was also observed that had MGM listened to her they would not have lost $30,000 with Women Love Diamonds (MGM went on with it using a different actress). Loews agreed, and MGM was forced to capitulate to the 21 year old girl. The humiliation of the best brains in a place like MGM rocked Hollywood (see Paris, 1994, pp 129-30). She was given the salary and creative license and for the next decade produced a series of extremely profitable films.

Eleanor Boardman who suffered the one-sided nature of Garbo's friendship, summed up the enduring interest: "You gave, Garbo took, she never said thanks, but she was fascinating."


Corbis (2008). Mysterious Woman Photo displayed under arrangement with the copyright holder.

Fischer, Lucy (2001) . Greta Garbo and Silent Cinema: The Actress As Art Deco Icon. Camera Obscura 48, Volume 16, Number 3.

Fischer, Lucy, et al (2002). The Feminist Reader in Early Cinema. Duke University Press.

Gaines, Jane (1989). The Queen Christina Tie-Ups: Convergence of Show Window and Screen. Quar. Rev. of Film & Video. Retrieved on October 22, 2008 from EBSCOHOST.

Noir Dame (2008). Down to the Sea in Ships (1922) - Clara Bow, Marguerite Courtot. Retrieved on October 27, 2008 from

Paris, Barry (1994). Garbo. University of Minnesota Press.

Rhodes, Chip (1999). The Star System and Modernist Identity Formation in the Silent Film Era. Strategies, Vol 12, Number 2. Retrieved from EBSCOHOST on October 27, 2008.

Vieira, Mark (2005). Greta Garbo: A Cinematic Legacy. Henry A. Abrams, Inc.

Greta Garbo Image Elements

This is the second of three postings on Greta Garbo Image Elements.
Keller gives naming guidelines (p 147) that include being easy to spell and pronounce, being familiar, different and distinctive. Greta Garbo as a name is all of these as well as an alliteration, has consonance, is a slant rhyme and is composed of the plosives b,g,t, which according to Keller (p 152) makes names more easily recognized. Finally, I contend that her name taps into “existing knowledge systems.” Keller believes (p 149) this makes them easier to recognize and remember.

The word Garbo is what I call a compositional homonym. Greta Gustafson (her birth name) and Mimi Pollak (her college friend) derived the name Garbo based on first and last name elements they researched. I have no reference that they intentionally based it on Clara Bow, but the word Garbo would tap into knowledge already existing for Clara Bow. In Sweden, Clara would be pronounced KLAR-a. Garbo would be distinct from Clara Bow but is close enough phonetically to have a familiar ring to a world that already knew Clara Bow. Clara Bow was a talented and rising star in the film world in the early to mid-20s.

Keller (p 143) lists four aspects of style. For Garbo, the complexity aspect of her style is minimal rather than ornamental. Her representation is realistic not abstract. Her acting is subtle, and understated when everyone else of that era used exaggeration in movement and gesture. She acted from inside out (see Paris, 1994, p 33), realistic but not the stark social realism that is as equally contrived as the vaudeville drama of the American studios and more pretentious. Her perceived movement was still, while her potency, to juxtapose Keller, was soft and strong.

Her theme was an application of her style to a formula and look. Her formula was the new woman in an love triangle. This woman was ahead of the other two in the triangle and ultimately drove its resolution. Greta Garbo refused helpless or dizzy female roles. Anymore, the interest in her today is the independence and acumen of her female characters. The theme has proved adaptable over time.

An additional thematic element is her look: languorous eyes, outdoorsy physique, graceful and athletic movement, and the Rembrandt lighting. Her wardrobe on set was done by top designers of her choice and created expressly for the film and the times, elegant in the 20s and plainer in the depression of the 30s. The Rembrandt lighting technique (see Guardian) was distinctive from the North-Lite approach used for her competition (see Cinematographers )

A set of slogans, such as The Swedish Sphinx underscored her need for privacy, her avoidance of Hollywood parties, premiers and other events, and her mysterious power of attraction. According to Keller (pp 159-60), slogans reinforce brand positioning through descriptive or persuasive information about the star, and the desired points of difference. Unlike most of Hollywood, she was not a party animal who burned brightly then burned out.

Keller, K (2008). Strategic Brand Management. Pearson/Prentice-Hall.
Paris, Barry (1994). Garbo. University of Minnesota Press.

Analyzing Greta Garbo by Six Image Criteria

Keller uses six evaluation factors to study and define a brand image.

The name Greta Garbo is easy to remember being easy to spell, pronounce, and having the linguistic characteristics of alliteration, consonance, slant rhyme and plosives to help with recognition and recall. Her style and theme is unforgettable, anyone who has seen her look in photographs or film finds out who she is and remembers. Louie B. Mayer did, writers did, leading actors did, critics and so did the general public (see Vieira or Paris throughout).

The slogan The Swedish Sphinx balances the plosives in her Name with sibilants. Sibilants start with s or soft c and are associated with the romantic, which is also the nature of her films. Again the slogan uses linguistic devices such as alliteration to aid recall. The fashion is classic so always contemporary, familiar and easy to remember.

The name Greta Garbo gave her initial meaning because it was familiar and discreetly associated with the existing knowledge system on Hollywood films. Clara Bow up through the mid-20s was a rising and charismatic star (see Noir Dame, 2008, p1 or Rhodes, 1994, p 191). Furthermore, Garbo’s theme advanced that meaningful start with a formula that is a primal, fundamental human relationship that can be applied to many situations. In her style, she was not the stereotypical female of the time, but rather now considered to be the first new woman. She expressed the spirit of freedom that pervaded the 20s. In retrospect, she was in the genesis of recognizing that freedom for women in the United States.

Keller (p 142) explains this as consumers finding the image aesthetically appealing, “Is it likable visually, verbally and in other ways.” Persuasive brand image elements reduce the burden on other marketing communications. In the film industry, the benefits of watching a particular film are less concrete than most other business transactions. Keller tells us (p 142) that in such cases “[all] the more important is the creative potential of the brand name and other brand elements to capture the intangible characteristics of the brand.”

Her look was attractively appealing so that movie goers would see her films three times instead of once (see Paris, 1994, p 119). Her Name and Slogan had drawing power from an association with pleasing films, and with a sense of mystery and romance. Her theme was a captivating expression of the balancing act between the traditional and the modern in those times.

Transferability is the ability of the image elements to support line and category extensions (see Keller, 2008, p 142). For Garbo, line extensions would be new films, her brand image elements applied to different roles. Rhodes (1999, p 191) notes that by the 1920's many had realized that the stars rather than the stories were selling the movies. He says that "This change often took the form of storylines that thematized the relationship between the new stars to the publics upon whom they depended for their success." Garbo, more than anyone before or since, established a lasting brand.

The drawing power of her brand elements in terms of Keller’s progressive criteria (2008, p 140) have been detailed in the sections on Memorability, Meaningfulness, and Likability. They apply as well to one film or role as to another because they are related to the actress, and as Keller notes (p 142) the less specific the element to a line item or a category item the more transferable it is.

Keller defines adaptability (p 143) as the ability of brand elements to change over time as consumer opinions and beliefs change or just to remain contemporary. This happened to Garbo as silent film gave way to talkies and the roaring twenties gave way to the great depression. The brand name Greta Garbo did not change but with the introduction of Anna Christie, her first talkie, a slogan for the movie was able to play off the old slogan. “Garbo Talks” was a humorous extension to the “Swedish Sphinx” and its alluring silence.

Her unassuming and minimalist style was changed slightly as well as its application to a theme, adapted for the changing communication medium and economic milieu. In Ninotchka and Grand Hotel, her performance became more ornamental in complexity, less minimal. One of them was a comedy. Additionally, more of her films reflected the gritty existence of the times and made less use of elegant fashion and more of plain clothing. There was also adaptation to historical dramas such as Queen Christina. The formula was also adapted so that governments in several instances replaced the older man in her iron triangle. The Swedish crown in Queen Christina and the Soviet government in Ninotchka are examples.

The 30s Greta Garbo was substantially the 20s Greta Garbo but with some adaptation of the brand elements, which proved to be very successful at that.

Keller categorizes two types of protection for brand elements: 1.) Legal; and 2.) Competitive. A personal name such as Greta Garbo can be trademarked especially when its unauthorized use is a bad faith attempt to mislead the public and misdirect trade and economic livelihood from a corporate body that has invested in that name for commercial purpose (see Trademarked and MirrorOfJustice).

Furthermore, all the brand elements have always, even today, proved competitively protectable. Her style and art have proven impossible to define precisely enough for anyone else to repeat her effect on screen. The iron triangle formula can be copied but her theme based on it cannot because that theme is the application of her style into the formula. The slogans applied to her would be empty today if applied to someone else, a cheap rip-off.

Gaines, Jane (1989). The Queen Christina Tie-Ups: Convergence of Show Window and Screen. Quar. Rev. of Film & Video. Retrieved on October 22, 2008 from EBSCOHOST.

Keller, K (2008). Strategic Brand Management. Pearson/Prentice-Hall.

Noir Dame (2008). Down to the Sea in Ships (1922) - Clara Bow, Marguerite Courtot. Retrieved on October 27, 2008 from

Rhodes, Chip (1999). The Star System and Modernist Identity Formation in the Silent Film Era. Strategies, Vol 12, Number 2. Retrieved from EBSCOHOST on October 27, 2008.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Baby Michelangelo Direct Marketing Plan

The Baby Einstein series of DVDs are award winning baby development media produced originally by a company with the same name, started by Julie Clarke in 1997. According to Hughes (2005, p 35, see also Words ). the awards were from the Parenting magazine and also from the American Baby magazine. He also relates that (p 37), originally the only available medium was videocassette. After the Disney purchase in 2001, the media offerings were substantially extended to include not only videos but also CDs, DVDs, flash cards, software, books and educational toys. Jennifer Garner is a spokeswoman for the line.

These products are termed “infant development material” by Disney. Disney Baby Einstein products are appropriate for youth aged 0 to 3 years. Little Einstein, a separate product line, targets 3 years to Kindergarten. The Baby Einstein product line has an aim, as discussed on their Web site to “expose little ones to the world around them in playful and enriching ways. An opportunity for discovery” (see BabyEinstein).

According to Disney (see Staggs, 2007, p 9, and Disney Corporate), the parents who purchase Baby Einstein products come from wide ranging demographics. Hughes notes (p 35) that babies are the end user of the product. Wartella and Robb (2007, p 36) find that very young children, those under 3 are subjected to “massive amount of screen media.” This includes TV, videos, DVDs, computers, or videogames. The average exposure per day for children aged one and younger is 49 minutes while it is 1 hour 51minutes for children aged 1 to 3.

As an instructional exercise, a Direct Marketing Strategic Plan has been prepared for an ersatz new extension in the series, Baby Michelangelo. Spiller and Baier describe direct marketing strategic plans. The essential elements (2005, p 87) are:

1. Product
2. Offer
3. Medium
4. Distribution Method
5. Creative

I propose three offers in my direct marketing section of the Baby Michelangelo campaign. The first is a direct mail offer I call the Exclusive Offer. The second is the Web offer, a search engine marketing approach. The third is a direct response advertisement. The complete plan is at Baby Michelangelo Direct Marketing

Hughes, P (March 2005). Baby, It's You: International capital discovers the under threes. Comtemporary issues in early childhood. Retrieved on September 8, 2008 from EBSCOHOST.

Spiller, L. and M. Baier (2005). Contemporary Direct Marketing. Pearson/Prentice-Hall.

Staggs, T (February 8, 2007). Disney Consumer Products Presentation. Retrieved on September 8, 2008 at

Wartella, E and M Robb (2007). Young Children, New Media. Journal of Children and Media. Retrieved on September 8, 2008 from EBSCOHOST.