All posts tagged United States

Pizza Nova gets it. Pizza Pizza doesn’t.

Yesterday, I wrote about the customer service issue that Cammi Pham experienced with  Canadian pizza retailer Pizza Pizza. Here’s Pizza Pizza’s response:

Good Afternoon Ron,
We’ve read your blog in regards to the social media driven, customer service issue. This customer’s complaint was handled immediately, complying several hours in advance of our 24 hour response guarantee.  At this point, we are not able to release any further information with regards to this, as we take customer confidentiality very seriously. If there are any other issues directly pertaining to yourself that you would like to discuss we are open to chatting live. Thank you .

Pizza Pizza didn’t just fail to deliver a pizza to a hungry customer. They failed (and continue to fail) with their social media efforts, especially when compared to their competition. Here’s why:

No one wants to speak to a corporation.
Pizza Nova’s Twitter account is @PizzaNovaGuy. Whether it’s one person actually managing the stream or not, it certainly feels like it is. Pizza Pizza, on the other hand, tweets from the account @PizzaPizzaLtd. Yech. People like connecting with people. With corporations? Not so much. And the numbers prove it. Pizza Pizza has 587 more locations than Pizza Nova but close to 500 fewer followers.

Deals! Offers! Let’s talk about us!
One of the most common mistakes big brands make is using social media as a one-way bugle that provides a never-ending and piercing stream of infomercial-like offers, deals and promotions. On both Twitter and Facebook, Pizza Pizza excels at this. SM isn’t a commercial. It’s an operational service that listens, responds and keeps people interested and engaged. I’m getting tired of hearing it and saying it but clearly, this critical point still needs to be communicated.

We’ll deliver a response in 24 hours… or it’s free.
As noted above, Pizza Pizza gives themselves 24 hours to respond to a customer complaint. So, they can prepare, cook and deliver a pizza in under an hour but can’t respond to a complaint in less than 24? In the fast pace world of SM, that can be too long. I imagine (but can’t confirm) that Pizza Pizza’s community is managed by someone at their head office even though the bulk of their sales come after 6pm. If they serve their customers after normal work hours, they should respond to them then, too.

PIzza Nova doesn’t seem to maintain a Facebook presence at all. That’s a good thing. Facebook has proven be an unbelievable platform  for brands but only when they have the resources to manage it. I’d rather a brand choose a platform that works for them and focus their time and energy into doing a good job there. To quote Steam Whistle, “Do one thing really, really well.”

Let’s face it, pizza is a fun, easy and fast food. We don’t tuck linen napkins into our shirts when enjoying it and most of us want communications that are consistent with this. Take a look at this tweet from @PizzaNovaGuy:

Pizza should be fun.

Almost 25% of Pizza Pizza’s July tweets were template responses that seemed to be written by their legal department. And knowing what I know about large organizations, they probably were.

Clearly, people love the Pizza Nova brand. Of their 36 Tweets in the month of July, 29 were actually unprompted positive comments retweeted from other users. It’s amazing how easy social media can be when other people do the work for you.

Judging by the numerous complaints to @PizzaPizzaLtd, the passion for Pizza Pizza isn’t as strong. I think their social media process has a lot to do with that.

But it’s not the only thing.

As a huge organization, Pizza Pizza has a more difficult job. They have more drivers to keep in line, more locations to quality control and a ton more pizzas to deliver. They’re bound to make more mistakes. They have to dedicate more resources, provide more training and instill a culture of service from top to bottom.

Clearly, they have potential and hopefully, they can turn it around. They’re a successful organization, they have a great mobile app, and they do a lot of good for the communities they work in. They do have over 80,000 Facebook fans (which I guess is impressive) but as we all know, that doesn’t really indicate true engagement.

Get with it, Pizza Pizza. You’re an institution. I’d just prefer you didn’t act like one.

UPDATE: Here’s another Pizza fail.





Relationships. for life

Volvo XC60

Image via Wikipedia

Volvo has been a client of mine for the better part of a decade. They’re nice people. They have a great product and a wonderful brand. My commitment to them even extended to driving their cars for the past 5 years (Even though I’m never been a huge car guy, I absolutely love my Volvo XC60).

There have been a lot of changes at Volvo lately. Ford sold them to Geely. Stefan Jacoby became CEO. And they created “Team Volvo” with a few trusted agency partners. With huge goals (double sales by 2020), they clearly have a lot to do. But there’s one thing they didn’t do:
They didn’t fire the agency.

Far too often, new clients come in, look at the situation they inherited and immediately fire off a request for proposals. This is never a good thing for the incumbent. New people, new goals, and new strategy usually means “new agency”. And while most responsible agencies hunker down to participate in the pitch, it rarely works out. The writing may not be on the wall, but it’s certainly imbedded in a PowerPoint deck somewhere along the way.

Volvo didn’t do that. They respected their agency partners for their intellect not for the work that had been produced in conjunction with clients who also preceded the new regime. As Jacoby stated, “The work is as good as the brief and our agency hasn’t had a good brand brief to work from for some time.”

Changing agencies can be tough for a business. Critical months can fly by as the old agency winds down and the new one ramps up leaving the client with few partners who truly understand the brand or the legacy of it. Combine that with any internal changes and it’s a recipe for disaster. Besides, I just don’t like the relationship implications of it. While many brands treat their people with respect, there aren’t many that extend that to their partners. What does that say to your new agency? Hell, what does it say about the brand? It’s kind of like cheating n your wife. It doesn’t say much about you but it certainly says a lot to your next wife.

Compare this to Mr. Sub debacle last year. Even though Mr. Sub approved and aired a campaign, they fired their agency, Bos, when consumer complaints started coming in over it. Not cool. They threw their agency under the bus for something that they participated in themselves.

The sub people can learn a lot from the Volvo people. How you treat your agency says a lot about how you treat your customers.

I remain loyal to Volvo and I use my consumer vote to never eat at Mr. Sub. Has anyone got the number for Subway?

Hey, Success. I’m Yours! (I think)

I'm Yours (Jason Mraz song)

Image via Wikipedia

In February 2008, we were working on a new campaign for Ritz Crackers and we were exploring different music tracks to help bring the charming spot to life. Gira Moin, the Art Director on the project, suggested Jason Mraz’s single, I’m Yours. Hmm… At that point, I hadn’t heard of it.

But I should have.

Unless you’ve been trapped under a large fridge for the past 3 years, you know the hit. In late 2008, I’m Yours charted for a total of 76 weeks – the longest chart run in Billboard Music magazine history. It spent 9 weeks as number 1. It got nominated for 2 Grammy’s. And it invaded our brains with an infectious innocent chorus rivaled only by Hanson’s Mmmm Bop. Ummm, thanks. I think.

Now, take a moment and watch the first couple of minutes of this live performance of the song. While you’re enjoying it, ask yourself two questions:

  1. Does the crowd like the song?
  2. How well do they know the song?

A full 18 months before it was considered a success by traditional definitions, we witness thousands of fans on the other side of the world who know every beat, every note, every whistle, and every lyric from beginning to end. And if they knew the song this well in 2007, how long had they been hearing it for to get to that stage of passionate familiarity? 

The digital universe hasn’t just changed the way we buy music. It has also changed the way we evaluate it. How do we define success? Is it downloads? Digital purchases? Streaming views? Who do we turn to for expertise when we’re not really sure what the experts should be tracking in the first place?

 Put another way: Have our gold standards become our “old standards”? I think so.

Defining success is one of the biggest challenges facing marketers today. If we can’t agree what it looks like, how will we know when we get there? 

Aside: In the end, we didn’t choose I’m Yours for our Ritz spot. Instead, we chose When I Go by Slow Club, a great duo from the UK. As I’m sure you’ll agree, the song is perfect.

What halfway houses can teach us about change.

Correctional Service of Canada

Image via Wikipedia

Most Canadians would agree (I think) that halfway houses are necessary to help federal prisoners transition back into mainstream society. The experts certainly agree with that statement. According to the Correctional Service of Canada’s Standard Operating Practices of Community Supervision “gradual release is the safest correctional strategy for the protection of society.”

Here’s my problem: While most us agree that halfway houses are needed, a lot of us say, “Just don’t put it next to my house.”

Beliefs about organizational change are the same. We complain about where we work or how we work. We demand change but refuse to consider that we as individuals should be the ones changing. “We have to do things differently… just don’t touch my job.” It’s not just corporate life, either. Team based professional athletes plead with their general managers to improve the team but refuse to understand that they might be the ones traded to another squad.

If you want true organizational change to occur, start with yourself. It’s the first step towards corporate rehabilitation.

Why marketers need to know the name Victor Kiam.

He liked it so much, he bought the company.

A Harvard MBA grad and respected entrepreneur, Victor Kiam famously bought Remington Products after his wife purchased a Remington shaver for him as a gift. With no money of his own, he believed in the product so much that he arranged $25 million in financing to purchase the company in a leveraged buyout. Soon after, he overruled his ad agency, inserted himself into Remington commercials and began using the line that would define his career:

“I liked it so much, I bought the company.”

It was an interesting approach and it worked. Kiam tripled the revenue of his company in just 4 years.

In 2010, Euro RSCG’s global study, “Prosumer Pulse”, found that prosumers want three things from brands today: Truth. Honesty. Transparency. Throughout his career, Kiam delivered on all three.

He wasn’t just a spokesperson. He was the owner. He stood behind his products and his claims (“Shaves as close as a blade or your money back”) and people believed him. How couldn’t they?

Sadly, I just don’t see this happening today as much as it should.

Galen Westin performs well for Loblaw but I think he brings a more of a humble personality than credibility. He’s not really known as a foodie and do we really believe that a rich kid handed the leadership of a billion dollar publicly traded company by his father is this down to earth (even though he may very well be)?

With so much skepticism surrounding C-Level executives, I wish there were more CEOs who channeled their inner Victor Kiam. Given the opportunity, would they actually buy what they sell?

As Dave Pearce reminded me, things started to go south for Kiam when his personal credibility, his true strength, took a hit. After buying the New England Patriots, Kiam said something completely inappropriate about a female reporter in support of his players. While the case was settled out of court, he never fully recovered and the losses from the Patriots began to sink him. He died in 2001. 


See Victor here:

Words of wisdom from Victor Kiam:

“Even if you fall on your face, you’re still moving forward.”
“In business, the competition will bite you if you keep running, if you stand still, they will swallow you.”
“Procrastination is opportunity’s assassin.”
“You can hype a questionable product for a little while, but you’ll never build an enduring business.”


Talk about a Thriller…

The current logo of Fox Television

Image via Wikipedia

I have never really understood why Americans sing God Bless America before sporting events. It’s kinda Stephen Baldwin to the Star Bangled Banner’s Alec – related but not nearly as important in the grand scheme of things.

Well, Glee’s Lea Michelle (who I always want to call Michelle Lea) sang it the other night at that football game. Fair enough. Until you think about it.

It wasn’t a song.
It wasn’t a pre-game ritual.
It was an ad.

The game’s broadcaster, Fox, was airing a special episode of Glee immediately following the game and Michele’s presence certainly helped promote the show.

Fox sells content to advertisers. That’s their business. That’s their product. The more viewers they get, the more they charge advertisers and the more money they make. So Michele’s presence was nothing more than a carefully orchestrated in-game commercial to get as many Super Bowl viewers to hang around for the post-game Thriller Glee-fest.

And you know what? I love it.

Somehow, Fox managed to create a 360, integrated campaign that featured branded content, an experiential event, unofficial sponsorship, credible in-game mentions, and traditional 30 second spots leading up to the big product launch… um….I mean.. show.

Most importantly, it worked.

Glee scored 27 million viewers for the episode. That’s the most ever.

There’s a lot that us ad folk can learn from the networks. They get it. They created a Thriller and brilliantly got people to buy.
My only question: What were the Link scores?

Tune in tomorrow when I’ll address Rogers media presence in Canada. Here’s a hint: I don’t think they’re evil.


Be Proud of Canadian Advertising.

Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...

Image via CrunchBase

Canadian Super Bowl Advertising. It’s not lame.

Coast to coast, the Super Sunday commercials are debated, discussed, and dissed. As much I participate in critiquing the ads aired, there’s one annual collective Canadian statement I don’t agree with:

“The Canadian advertising is lame.”

I like the American ads as much as the next Joe Canadian – I actually muted the game and watched the US spots on Youtube – but it doesn’t mean that Canadian advertising is worse than American advertising. We’re lucky to have some of the best creative minds in the world living and working right here in our home and native land.  

No, it’s not about talent. It’s not about ability. It’s about money.

With ten times the population and the budgets to match, our American counterparts can afford to deliver spots with insane production values that are created exclusively for that one event and the audience it attracts. A brief that targeted is bound to create brilliant work. And it has. Some of the best commercials of all time – Apple’s “1984”, Budweiser’s “9/11 Tribute” and Google’s “Parisian Love” – were aired only once and that was during the Super Bowl.

North of the border, we just can’t do that.

There aren’t many Canadian clients who can invest a significant portion of their budget for one big spot created exclusively for one big night. And if you tuned in last night, you experienced what that means.

It means we get pretty good commercials that we’ve probably seen before or new ones that were produced in the US and customized for our market by changing “.com” to “.ca”. Even the select few that are specifically created for CTV’s Super Bowl feed (Thanks, TD) are done with modest budgets and a lot less fanfare.

We don’t blow our budgets on one big party. We’re Canadian. We’re responsible. And sometimes, that’s better in the long run. Right, Fannie Mae?