—David Mitchel, Vice President of Norton Mitchel Marketing

Successful brands often find holes in markets that need to be filled. There are numerous examples to illustrate this point. Microsoft found a great niche in the computer software market and their success made Bill Gates one of the richest individuals on the planet. Apple’s iPod was a product innovation that really enhanced the company’s bottom line. In the 1980’s, Porsche expanded their line of sports cars into a new niche with the 944 and it helped save the company from bankruptcy. However, sometimes holes exist for a reason and they can’t be filled despite the best branding efforts.

The latest example to illustrate this is Devotion Vodka. Devotion Vodka is a protein based vodka. The protein used in Devotion is casein, the same type of protein found in dairy products. According to its website, Devotion is "the world’s first and only 80 proof, triple-distilled casein infused vodka made in the USA". Recently, Devotion announced that they signed Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino of "Jersey Shore" fame to be their spokesperson. Additionally, The Situation will have an equity stake in the company. I believe The Situation is a reasonably qualified spokesperson for this brand. The Situation likes to drink and party as evidenced by his actions on "Jersey Shore" and he is also a fitness enthusiast.

Despite the alignment between The Situation and Devotion Vodka, it is unlikely that this will be a successful brand. This is because the product concept is flawed. The vodka is aimed at a fitness oriented individual. However, vodka is not perceived as a fitness oriented beverage. Additionally, I believe that people will have a hard time understanding how casein protein fits into a hard alcohol product. If the product concept flaw wasn’t a convincing enough argument, consider Devotion’s pricing strategy. Devotion will enter the market similarly priced to Grey Goose. Grey Goose is a vodka brand that is well perceived and associated with quality. It also holds cachet with those who live a Jersey Shore style lifestyle, a target market for the Devotion brand. In a consumer purchase decision between Devotion and Grey Goose, the vast majority of consumers should choose Grey Goose because of its brand equity and stronger price-value proposition.Continue Reading When Holes in Markets Can’t Be Filled

The Super Bowl is much more than a football game to determine a champion; it is a cultural phenomenon. One of the most important elements of Super Bowl Sunday isn’t the on the field action; it is the commercials on television during the breaks in the action. For companies that want to advertise during the game, it is quite costly to partake in this action. A 30 second spot during Super Bowl XLIV will cost $2.5-2.8 million. That figure only includes paying the television network for the time. It doesn’t include costs to produce the ad. The final cost for a 30 second Super Bowl ad could easily run $4 million +. With this in mind, there’s one glaring question. Is Super Bowl advertising worth the cost?

The answer to this question isn’t a simple and definitive yes or no. Advertising during the Super Bowl can raise brand awareness. It also can be used simply to remind a target market of the importance of a brand within a product category. Using an ad in this manner would reinforce existing brand beliefs and hopefully induce a desire to purchase. However, a Super Bowl advertisement can affect a company negatively if not executed correctly. The effectiveness of Super Bowl advertising depends on the perspective of the advertiser, a brand’s strategic objectives and other marketing mix elements.

One of the appealing elements of advertising during the Super Bowl is the fact that it consistently draws a significant audience. More than 90 million people in the United States have watched each of the last 4 Super Bowls. Every Super Bowl since Super Bowl XXVII in January 1993 has drawn at least 80 million viewers. This is noteworthy because television audiences have become far more fragmented over time. The proliferation of television networks with cable/satellite TV, video entertainment options such as video games and DVDs and the vast array of Internet content have been the primary causes of audience fragmentation. The Super Bowl has been one of the few television programs that has been relatively unscathed by audience fragmentation. As a result, the network broadcasting the game (CBS this year) can charge premium pricing for advertising.Continue Reading Super Bowl Advertising: A Super Media Buy?