Post #7: Direct Marketing

What is direct marketing?  Does social media marketing count?  What about an email sent to thousands of people?  Paper mail?  Does that still exist?    Companies spend a fortune on direct marketing.  How can that rate of success be measured?

I receive many emails each day, mostly from retail stores.  Typically, I delete 50% of these based on uninteresting or irrelevant subject lines.  If the subject mentions a sale, a free gift, or a time-sensitive offer, I’m more likely to open it.  I believe that utilizing big data for targeting email campaigns breaches privacy.   However, those emails are significantly more likely to affect my purchases.

For example, I regularly receive emails from travel websites for flight deals.   I usually do not sign up for these emails.  The websites track the routes I search, and contact me about various available flights.  These travel sites , such as (LINKS*) Orbitz, Kayak, and Hotwire,  act as intermediaries between customers and airlines.  This is an email from Airfare Watchdog, which alerted me of a cheap round-trip flight to New York City.


The subject lines of these emails can be deceiving.  This particular email states $268 for this flight.   If a customer clicks through or completes the transaction, online fees add an additional $35-$50, which puts the flight at over $300.  This psychological pricing tactic is effective because it impresses a low price into customers’ minds and creates excitement over the deal.  Sometimes, even though fees are attached later, this initial impression is enough to persuade customers’ purchases.

Travel businesses thrive off of this psychological manipulation,.  Is it wrong?  Maybe.  Does it work on me?  Absolutely.


Post #5: Fragrance Advertisement

Ralph Lauren, American fashion designer and business executive, has built a widespread brand in the fashion and beauty industries.  Ralph Lauren’s clothing design is known for being preppy and classic, featuring neutrals and muted bright colors.  The brand was built upon traditional all-American shapes, with simple, elegant details.


The ad shows consumers that this fragrance captures romance in a bottle.  It insinuates that wearing Ralph Lauren Romance will evoke romanticism and transform your mindset. Even the fragrance notes are overly romantic:

Sungoddess Rose: The scent is playful, happy and indisputably modern. Its effervescence enhances instant attraction.
Lotus Flower: Buddhism attributes this flower with four virtues – Loveliness, purity, softness and aromatic pleasure.
Night Blooming Daylily: Its flowers live for twenty-four hours and have a warm and feminine aroma and a rich texture.
Musk “Coeur”: A textural, sheer white musk with a hint of a chypre effect to add intrigue and mystery

The signature of the Ralph Lauren Polo collection is a polo rider on a horse, typically embroidered into the left side of clothing.  This symbol appears in the print advertisement for the Romance fragrance, with the presumed couple on horses.  This advertisement embodies the Ralph Lauren lifestyle by balancing regal horses with the carefree experience of kissing in a sunny field.

The target market of the upscale lifestyle and retail company includes women and men with disposable incomes.  In general, these customers want to exude a relaxed-but-put-together attitude.  Consumers seek this through Ralph Lauren clothing, accessories, shoes, fragrance, and products for the home.

Post # 4: Think Different

In this day and age, marketing is everywhere, from logos on water bottles to advertisements on blog pages.  Consumers are beginning to become numb to these advertising efforts, and standard marketing tactics are moving toward obsolescence.  Because of this shift in the marketing industry, commercials that highlight brands rather than products are increasing in popularity.

Modern consumers want to showcase their individuality and celebrate their ability to express themselves through social media platforms. Advertisements and marketing campaigns that build upon this idea are particularly effective.  To reflect this, Apple recently revamped commercial from 1997 in memorial of Steve Jobs.  The commercial features black and white footage of rebellious icons such as Albert Einstein, Martin Luther King, Jr., Pablo Picasso, and John Lennon.  Richard Dreyfuss narrates:

“Here’s to the crazy ones: the misfits; the rebels; troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.”

The advertisement does not mention any Apple products or comparisons to other brands.  There is little indication of the brand behind the commercial at all. At the end of the ad, “Think different” appears in writing, and Apple’s rainbow logo silently appears above the text before the commercial fades to black.  This subtle indication of the brand behind the message is powerful because it shows consumers the mindset behind the brand.

The Steve Jobs version of the Think Different commercial is virtually the same as the original.  This commercial never aired on television, but it was made available online after the death of the CEO.  These commercials cover a wide demographic, which encompasses ages 7 and up.  The ad tells a compelling story, which is relevant to every individual.  The target market is not exclusive to tech-savvy people, because it communicates Apple’s brand mentality rather than focusing on products.  Apple is extremely clear about how the corporation wants to be perceived by customers.  This commercial shows consumers that the brand is relatable, accepting, rebellious, and full of vitality.  The ad communicates that the brand is a cut above competitors because it recognizes the importance of individual differences.

Post #3: Target’s Creative Strategy

During a time when only the most innovative ideas catch consumers’ attention, a perfected creative strategy is essential.  Target is constantly marketing to consumers to promote brand recognition and customer loyalty.  Target must compete against other superstores- namely, Walmart, as well as specialty stores such as IKEA, department stores, and grocery stores.

In order to retain a competitive edge in the retail industry, Target must market to a wide demographic.  By employing a well-developed creative strategy, Target maintains its reputation for affordable, everyday products with a touch of luxury.

Target’s Mission Statement embodies this notion:

“Our mission is to make Target your preferred shopping destination in all channels by delivering outstanding value, continuous innovation and exceptional guest experiences by consistently fulfilling our Expect More. Pay Less.® brand promise.”

From Target’s television advertisements and online interface to the in-store experience, design is at the heart of the corporation’s creative strategy.  The corporation has long been recognized for its bold red bullseye logo, and this central concept has filtered into the in-store shopping experience.

As technology continues to evolve, Target has adapted by creating design-minded television advertisements, websites, and brightly colored, streamlined mobile applications.  To further compete in a tech-savvy marketplace, Target now offers online-only brands.  These exclusive offers urge consumers to experience Target’s strong online presence and utilize mobile applications.  In order to captivate the attention of consumers, Target has formed numerous strategic partnerships.  Within the past year, some partnerships have included:

These high-end partnerships boost Target’s image and help create a niche market for design-minded consumers of all income levels.

Recently, the grocery sections in Target stores have undergone a layout redesign.  To promote this change and increase grocery sales, Target created an all-new television ad campaign.

In addition to grocery sales, this ad campaign seeks to improve consumers’ perception of everyday items purchased at Target.  These “Everyday Collection” commercials feature Target’s red and white color palette through an all-white set and bright red lipstick on each model.  The sleek set design of these commercials paired a stand-out model validates the customers’ decision to purchase everyday products from Target.

To learn about these commercials and more, Target invites consumers behind-the-scenes via the online magazine A Bullseye View.  This website features published design content with sections including Entertainment, Design & Style, Food, Community, and Business.  It also features additional access to design inspiration, which showcases designer partnerships and offers extra decorating tips with Target products.  Readers have free access to these articles, plus photos and videos from partnerships and advertising shoots, which link back to Target’s website for shopping.

Target has mastered the effective creative strategy.  The corporation’s red and white color scheme is featured across media platforms, from its bullseye logo to the in-store displays.  This design-orientated marketing strategy creates a specific perception of the brand, which elevates everyday products to a luxurious buying experience.  The corporation’s online accessibility mirrors its mission of exceptional experience and  excellent value.


In 2012, DIRECTV aired a commercial that focuses on how the brand will change your life. It depicts a scenario in which a man’s young daughter becomes angered by cable television and leads to a rebellious attitude throughout her life.  A montage follows, which shows the father disapproving of her life decisions.  Her rebellion carries into motherhood, and she dresses her son in a spiked collar.  The commercial ends with the narration “Don’t have a grandson with a dog collar. Get rid of cable and upgrade to DIRECTV.” This advertisement represents a comical narrative by synthesizing seemingly unrelated concepts of adolescent rebellion and television providers.   By synthesizing these concepts, it tells an amusing story which sticks with viewers.  It is particularly effective because it follows the traditional format of a narrative joke with a final punchline.   This structure encourages the audience to share the commercial through word-of-mouth.

This Dirt Devil advertisement reflects divergence through originality and elaboration.  The television commercial is highly original because it leads viewers to think it is a horror film trailer. It begins with low lighting, and follows two concerned religious figures in an old house during a thunderstorm.  They arrive at a young girl’s bedroom.  She is screaming and thrashing about on the ceiling, appearing to be demonized.    Slowly, the screen splits to reveal an elderly woman vacuuming one floor above the bedroom.  Viewers see that incredible suction from Dirt Devil vacuum is causing the the girl to defy gravity.  This commercial follows fear and suspense with humor.  Combined with originality, elaboration makes this commercial effective by revealing unexpected details that make the commercial relevant and cohesive.