This past weekend I went to Boston where a friend of mine goes to Haahvaahd and hangs out with smaahht kids. On the plane ride out there I read a book that just came out called "Different" written by Youngme Moon. Coincidentally Youngme Moon teaches marketing at Harvard (let me know if you want me to go back and write this whole thing with a Bahhstan accent because I will). Unfortunately I did not run into Youngme while I was out there.
It's possible that I have a "honeymoon" phase going with this book since I just read it but nevertheless I am going to say that it was one of the best "marketing/business" books I have ever read. I kept finding myself thinking about examples of brands and companies I work with and relating their stories to the examples and theories laid out in the book. I also stopped multiple times to just think. So yea, I would say it's a book that makes you think.
I don't want to get into too much detail about the book because beyond my saying that it is an awesome book I don't want to get all reviewie. However, I will quickly elaborate on one example just to give an idea of what this book gets into.
Some of what Youngme Moon writes about in this book is brands that stand out. She refers to one of these groups as "Reverse Position Brands". An obvious example of this type of brand is Google. In the mid to late 90's Yahoo, AOL and other search engines from the Ace of Base era battled to add more features and more stuff to their homepages in order to stay neck and neck with each other. Along came Google who decided to not include any of those features users were used to.
This was a ballsy move at the time.
Google had faith that people would get over the fact that it didn't provide those things and embrace what it did provide which happened to be, wait for it.....different (see what I did there?).
That is a game of just the tip of what this book is all about so if you think the way I just described that was dumb just keep in mind that the person who wrote the book isn't me...it's a person that teaches at rather high-end university.
Lastly, I bought this book on a whim because it has one of the best promotional videos ever, in my humble opinion.
Sorry if this post comes off as sales pitchy but it's very common in the advertising industry to talk about "breaking through the clutter" and other cliche crap like that. This book does a great job of addressing those issues in a way you don't think about or read about every day.
A few months ago I wrote a post centered around the opportunity for a major company (I used McDonald's as my example) to make a bigger impact at a hockey game I attended via their board advertising. As you may recall I thought it would carry much more weight if McDonald's spent whatever they had to and bought up half the space and created a "cool" ad, rather than being buried among 100 other small, cluttered ads/logos.
Fast forward to April 12, 2010.
I happened to be a part of history...by that I mean I went to the Minnesota Twins home opener at Target Field (they gave me an official cardboard thing as proof that I was there...I spilled a little bit of malt cup on it...further proof I was there...classic). In the fourth inning I noticed a McDonald's ad for their third pound angus burger encouraging folks to grub with two hands. The ad extended half way around the park. Granted this was a digital ad making it a much more logical medium to execute what was basically the exact idea I previously had but nevertheless alwaysthemore it was nice to see a once half baked idea in a fully baked state.
We've all seen plenty of these ads so don't fret, I'm aware that McDonald's isn't doing anything groundbreaking. I just appreciate when a company uses a new medium or method to execute the delivery of a message. I honestly never eat at McDonald's (it makes me crap myself) but I still respect a lot of their messaging and communications. Ba da ba ba baaaa....