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Marketing Mainstreaming Porn?

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(Disclaimer: while not directly related to real estate – I thought this topic would make for interesting discussion)

sex sells

Sex Sells

For decades that’s been a mantra.  We are accustomed to seeing pretty people and sexy scenes in aspirational marketing efforts.  But a Bud Light commercial, released via YouTube, has me wondering: Are marketers are crossing the line, or has porn become so mainstream that it’s no longer considered taboo.  Go ahead, watch ….

YouTube Airing of Bud Light Commercial:


(Note:  I laughed out loud at the commercial.)

Porn Creep

It has a name, and you see it coming from a number of brands that are reaching out to a youthful audience.  Think: Paris Hilton’s Carl’s Jr. commercial, or the banned ads from Calvin Klein that reek of exploited children– you can see them on YouTube (BTW – so can young kids).

It seems brands, including Budweiser – who each Super Bowl tugs at our hearts with the Clydesdale commercials – are willing to alienate one segment to reach out to another, who they must consider core to the product.

Pornified Generation?

According to some anti-pornography experts, we now have a whole generation that doesn’t think this is a big deal.  Ok.  I get where the target audience of beer is likely a younger man looking to enjoy himself – which can reasonably include alcohol and sex.

What about young kids?

Does this force discussion before it’s time?  Perhaps a parent considers a child too young to broach a particular subject – yet now has little choice.

Could this create even more pressure on young people?  I’m not a parent, so I can’t speak with relevant experience, so I ask you to weigh in.

My thoughts go to tweens, and their natural curiosity about “trying things” like drinking, maybe smoking, drug use … Does porn creep add group sex, sexual same-sex interaction and other items to the menu creating a whole new level of peer pressure?

I understand the marketers’ plight.   We need to create wins that lead to revenue.  Sometimes that win is controversy, as it creates conversation, press coverage and interest.  Even as open as I am, I wonder if we really need to be so sensational.   Hulu launched with humor, and it’s skewed toward a younger demographic.

What about real estate?

I hear of bikini clad brokers on billboards … could real estate reach a tipping point where lines begin to blur?  I doubt it, but then again, I never thought I’d watch an ad from Budweiser that included vibrators…

Brandie is an unapologetically candid marketing professional who was recently mentioned on BusinessWeek as a Top Young Female Entrepreneur. She recently co-founded consulting firm MarketingTBD. She's held senior level positions with GE and Fidelity, as well as with entrepreneurial start-ups. Raised by a real estate Broker, Brandie is passionate about real estate and is an avid investor. Follow her on Twitter.

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16 Comments

16 Comments

  1. Ken Brand

    June 19, 2009 at 12:22 pm

    That is a FUNNY commercial. But I see the problem.

    How do you keep youngsters from consuming the inappropriate? Don’t know the answer.

    As for bikini billboards and such, I think it’s generally ill advised (duh). If that approach is a conscious branding strategy I imagine there’s a target market for that…like the beer commercial.

    The tragedy is when that style of approach is deployed ignorantly.

    As a sales manager, if and when I observe potentially harmful marketing I address it. When it’s a competitor, I chuckle or wince…they’re on their own.

    Of course we talk about the topic of sex as a marketing magnet all night long.

  2. Joe Loomer

    June 19, 2009 at 12:42 pm

    Personally, I prefer the “Dude” commercials.

    Once went with a single friend to a BMW dealership – there was a stunning and articulate lady working the main desk. She knew how to “work the room.”

    My friend and I got busted looking back at her as we walked off with a salesman, he just grinned and said “She’s our Greeter.” The implication was obvious.

    Like Ken, I can’t see it as a concious strategy in real estate. Imagine the traffic though, if you had “Hooters” host one of your Open Houses. The quality of the leads you get might not be exactly what you’re looking for.

    As parents of 13 and 16 year olds of different genders, my wife and I employ separate strategies to discuss pornography and other graphic topics. The strategies are similar in that the number one priority is a focus on self-respect.

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  3. Lani Rosales

    June 19, 2009 at 4:20 pm

    So @Brandiei and I discussed this topic yesterday on RE:rnd radio and my feelings are pretty strong on this topic- we live in very liberal places yet I should be able to turn on Nickelodeon at primetime and not be forced into a discussion about birds or bees.

    Regarding real estate, I think the issue is that many agents are using social media and are overly relaxed with their pictures, their language and their behavior- be yourselves but only the version of yourselves you are in front of your children, family, or priest even. Have a litmus test for yourself and always ask if you’re going too far. I’m silly, hell, I’m even crude sometimes, but I never portray myself as available which is what many of these provocative pictures of lady realtors (in print or on social networks) portray.

  4. Brandie Young

    June 19, 2009 at 7:00 pm

    Hi Ken, thanks for your pearls of wisdom – always appreciated. As we mentioned on the call yesterday, there’s provocative, and there’s just poor taste … While the classification is subjective, I agree with you is an ignorant deployment.

    Joe – the Dude commercials were hysterical – and were viral! Great point on lead quality …

    Ms. Lani – it was a good discussion. Funny how most of the overtly sexual stuff comes from us girls? While I’m all for a little flirt, I agree with you – there’s a line. One listener comment via chat stuck with me “look in the mirror and ask yourself ‘would his wife let me work with him?’” (paraphrased, but a good litmus)

  5. Gwen Banta

    June 21, 2009 at 8:00 am

    You should see the Joe’s Jeans ads that line Sunset Blvd., Brandie. It’s all about nudity – they don’t even pretend to be about clothes. And I think Calvein Klein crossed the line with his newest billboard that shows a bunch of half-clad tweens together in what appears to be a pre group sex scene.

    Even though Joe had some very funny suggestions, I don’t see this type of advertising coming from real estate agents, even in hedonistic L.A. However, I often see some very suggestive attire. But in the end, you better be able to write and explain a contract, or your ass will be left flapping in the wind regardless of whether it’s clad in a G-string or in Georgio Armani.

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Business Marketing

Use nostalgia as a marketing niche for your business today

(MARKETING) A market that is making waves is found in the form of entertainment nostalgia. Everyone has memories and attachments, why not speak to them?

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nostalgia

Is it just me or does it seem like there is something for everything nowadays? Let me clarify, as that is a rather broad question…

With the way communicating through technology has advanced, it’s become much easier to connect with those who have shared interests. This has become especially evident with interests in the entertainment community.

Entertainment nostalgia

It now seems like there is an event for every bit of nostalgia you can imagine. Autograph shows, meet and greets, and memorabilia collections of all kinds are held in convention halls all around the world. (To give you an idea of how deep this thing goes, there was a “Grease 2” reunion convention sometime within the last five years. Being that I’m the only person I’ve ever met who likes that movie, it’s amazing that it found an audience.)

This idea of marketing by use of nostalgia is something that is becoming smartly tapped and there are a variety of directions it can go in.

For example, the new Domino’s ads feature dead-on tributes to “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.”

What’s your niche?

If you’re a fan of anything, it’s likely that you can find an event to suit your needs.

And, if you want to take it a step further, you can think outside the box and use nostalgia as a marketing tool.

I recently began dabbling in social media gigs that have brought me to a few different fan conventions. One was a throwback 80s and 90s convention that featured everyone from Alan Thicke to the members of N*SYNC. Another is a recurring convention that brings together fans of sci-fi, horror, and everything under that umbrella.

I was amazed by the number of people that came out to these events and the amount of money that was spent on the day’s activities (autographs, photo ops, etc.). I was energized by the fact that you can take something you have a great appreciation for and bring together others who share that feeling. Watching people meet some of their favorite celebrities is something that is priceless.

Hop onboard the nostalgia train

If you’re a fan of something, you don’t have to look too far to find what you’d enjoy – going back to the aforementioned “Ferris Bueller” example, there is a first-ever John Hughes fan event taking place in Chicago next month that will bring fans to their favorite Brat Pack members.

In the same thought, if you have an idea, now is the time to find others who share that interest and execute your vision.

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Business Marketing

5 tips to help you craft consistently high-converting email marketing

(MARKETING) Email may seem too old to be effective but surprisingly it’s not, so how can you get the most out of your email marketing? Try these tips.

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Email marketing

Email marketing might seem archaic in comparison to modern mediums like social media, blogging, and podcasting; however, it actually remains one of the highest converting options marketers and small businesses have at their disposal.

But Why Email?

Hopefully, you believe in email as an effective marketing channel, but in case you have doubts, let’s hit the reset button. Here’s why email marketing is worth investing in:

  • Email is one of the few marketing channels that you have total control over. Unlike a social media audience, which can disappear if the platform decides you violate their terms, you own your email list.
  • Email is considered very personal. When someone gives you access to their inbox, they’re telling you that you can send them messages.
  • From a pure analytics perspective, email gives you the ability to track behaviors, study what works, and get familiar with the techniques that don’t.
  • The ROI of email marketing is incredibly high. It can deliver as much as $44 in value for every $1 spent.

5 Tips for High-Converting Emails

If you’ve been using email, but haven’t gotten the results you’d like to, it’s probably because you’re using it ineffectively.

Here are a few very practical tips for high-converting emails that generate results:

  1. Write Better Subject Lines: Think about email marketing from the side of the recipient. (Considering that you probably receive hundreds of emails per week, this isn’t hard to do.) What’s going to make you engage with an email? It’s the subject line, right?If you’re going to focus a large portion of your time and energy on one element of email marketing, subject lines should be it.The best subject lines are the ones that convey a sense of urgency or curiosity, present an offer, personalize to the recipient, are relevant and timely, feature name recognition, or reference cool stories.
  2. Nail the Intro”: Never take for granted the fact that someone will open your email, and read to the second paragraph. Some will – but most will scan the first couple of lines, and then make a decision on how to proceed.It’s critically important that you get the intro right. You have maybe five seconds to hook people in, and get them excited. This is not a time to slowly build up. Give your best stuff away first!
  3. Use Video: Email might be personal, but individual emails aren’t necessarily viewed as special. That’s because people get so many of them on a daily basis.According to Blue Water Marketing, “The average person receives more than 84 emails each day! So how do you separate your emails from everyone else? Embed videos in your emails can increase your conversion rates by over 21 percent!”This speaks to a larger trend of making emails visually stimulating. The more you use compelling visuals, the more engaging and memorable the content will be.
  4. Keep Eyes Moving: The goal is to keep people engaging with your email content throughout. While it’ll inevitably happen with a certain percentage of recipients, you want to prevent people from dropping off as they read.One of the best ways to keep sustained engagement is to keep eyes effortlessly moving down the page with short and succinct copy.One-liners, small paragraphs, and lots of spacing signal a degree of approachability and simplicity. Use this style as much as you can.
  5. Don’t Ask Too Much: It can be difficult to convey everything you want to say in a single email, but it’s important that you stay as focused as possible – particularly when it comes to CTAs and requests.Always stick to one CTA per email. Never ask multiple questions or present different offers. (It’ll just overwhelm and confuse.) You can present the same CTA in multiple places – like at the beginning, middle, and end of the email – but it needs to be the same call. That’s how you keep people focused and on-task.

Give Your Email Marketing Strategy a Makeover

Most businesses have some sort of email lists. Few businesses leverage these lists as well as they should. Hopefully, this article has provided you with some practical and actionable tips that can be used to boost engagement and produce more conversions. Give them a try and see what sticks.

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Business Marketing

Here’s how one employer was able beat an age discrimination lawsuit

(MARKETING) Age discrimination is a rare occurrence but still something to be battled. It’s good practice to keep your house in order to be on the right side.

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Jewel age discrimination

In January, the EEOC released its annual accounting for reports of discrimination in the previous year. Allegations of retaliation were the most frequently filed charge, which disability coming in second. Age discrimination cases accounted for 21.4% of filed charges. As we’ve reported before, not all age discrimination complaints rise to the level of illegal discrimination. In Cesario v. Jewel Food Stores, Inc., the federal court dismissed the claims of age discrimination, even though seven (7) plaintiffs made similar claims against the grocery store.

What Cesario v. Jewel Food Stores was about

In Cesario, all but one of the seven plaintiffs had spent years with Jewel Food building their careers. When Jewel went through some financial troubles, the plaintiffs allege that they began to “experience significant pressure at work… (and) were eventually forced out or terminated because of their age or disability.” Jewel Food requested summary judgment to dismiss the claims.

The seven plaintiffs made the same type of complaints. Beginning in 2014, store directors were under pressure to improve metrics and customer satisfaction. Cesario alleges that the Jewel district manager asked about his age. Another director alleges that younger store directors were transferred to stores with less difficulties. One plaintiff alleged that Jewel Food managers asked him about his retirement. The EEOC complaints began in late 2015. The plaintiffs retired or were fired and subsequently filed a lawsuit against their company.

Age discrimination is prohibited by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, (ADEA). The ADEA prevents disparate treatment based on age for workers over 40 years old. However, plaintiffs who allege disparate treatment must establish that the adverse reactions wouldn’t have occurred but for age. Because none of the plaintiffs could specifically point to age as the only determination of their case, the court dismissed the case.

A word to wise businesses

Jewel Food was able to demonstrate their own actions in the case through careful documentation. Although there was no evidence that age played a factor in any discharge decision, Jewel Food could document their personnel decisions across the board. The plaintiffs also didn’t exhaust all administrative remedies. This led to the case being dropped.

Lesson learned – Make perssonel decisions based on performance and evidence. Don’t use age as a factor. Keep documentation to support your decisions.

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