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Monday, 11 January 2010

Two intriguing product launches worth study

First, a confession: I'm getting schizophrenic.

This blog's content is split somewhat haphazardly. Partly ravings, moans, comments, jokes, reminiscences and general vituperation; partly stuff about business and marketing.

So I'm going to cut it in half. Those of you who - like me - are torn between rage and hilarity at what goes on in the world can revel in my ruminations on life in general. And those who - like me - are also desperate money-grubbers of the low and vulgar sort can read the other. Or, both.

When I get my head round it I will formalise this schism.

To change the subject, astounding sums of money have been made online in recent years, and nowhere more than in the Magic Grotto of The Product Launch. This is a sort of commercial striptease you're no doubt all familiar with.

I'm watching two with great interest right now, because they use segmentation. This is hardly a new idea - pretty basic targeting really. However, few on-line marketers have bothered with it. They were making too much money from what I call spray-gun marketing: spew out tons of stuff and enough will stick to make it work.

Today, though we have two fascinating launches going on. One, aimed at "Working Moms", will reveal how they can make tons of moolah without driving their family mad. Its heroine is MaryEllen Tribby who has worked for people like Forbes and Weiss Research with the most amazing results.

The other is aimed at those with a social conscience and a greed for gold (which pretty much covers all of us). This is from Shel Horowitz with Jay Levinson, the Guerilla Marketing whiz. Some of the proceeds will go to Muhammad Yunus’s marvellous Grameen project, which lends money to poor people who can't otherwise get credit. I recall his original borrowers were poor village women in Bangladesh who astonished all the sceptics by being amazingly diligent in repaying loans.

Shel Horowitz demonstrates something I have long believed and said: benevolence and self-interest march hand in hand.

As a footnote, Shel says Jay thought up the Marlboro Man. Not really. As any student of Watkins' 100 Best Advertisements book knows, Draper Daniels was the man behind that. I met Draper in 1961 when I worked at Leo Burnett. Dryly funny, and a great copywriter: he had two ads in the 100 best.

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