Editor’s note: The original title for this post was “What Nike can teach you about medical device marketing.” Then I read a Facebook post from Ben Bentzin, my Wharton classmate for whom I have boundless respect and would take his studied and considered word over mine, any day.
What I originally wrote is followed by a Bentzin addendum.
By now, you may have seen and heard about the Nike ad featuring Colin Kaepernick.
What did you think of it?
Believe in something.
“Even if it means sacrificing everything,” goes the ad. It refers to the quarterback’s decision to kneel during the national anthem. As you likely know, the action, intended to protest police brutality, was divisive, with some feeling it was disrespectful toward the flag.
A media frenzy ensued. Customers burned their gear. The stock fell in after-hours trading.
It was short lived. The stock is trading at an all-time high. Who knows where it goes next?
(Content) Shock Value
Here I am again, making my overarching 2018 point about content shock.
The way things are looking, it’s going to be my 2019 point, too.
Did I show this to you? I think I did. Lucia made it. I can’t believe you haven’t hired her yet.
Whom have you shocked lately?
I know some readers quite well; others not at all. But I suspect few, if any of you, have “shocked anyone” with your content. Maybe ever.
No, seriously. Why?
Write me back. In the absence of better information, I’m going to assume the answers:
• I’m scared.
• I don’t like “putting myself out there like you, Joe.”
• My company would never go for it.
• I really don’t know what to write.
• I don’t believe I have anything unique to say.
• I just don’t like writing, okay? (Leave me alone!)
Nike broke through the clutter.
C’mon. Whaddya say?
Not so fast, says Professor Ben.
If you visit his original post, be sure to open the replies to the comments, where the Good Professor says more smart things, like:
- As you know brands routinely use trackers to assess the impact of their campaigns. If this data is accurate, and I have no reason to think it isn’t, I have never seen anything like this. An unmitigated disaster.
- Let’s say 44 percent of the target demographic love the campaign, but 15 percent of customers stop buying Nike because of the campaign. Nike would need a 40% increase in sales from the remaining customers just to make up for the lost sales. I don’t think this campaign will motivate nearly enough new purchases to make up for the brand damage.
Ben expects year-over-year sales to decline five percent by 2019.
Let’s just say, I wouldn’t want to be on the other side of a marketing argument – or a drinking contest – with Ben.
And now, reflecting on my original message, the one you likely received this morning, I see parallels with conversations with my wife when she cautions me about potential fallout of something I say or write.
I’m sure you and I could have a healthy debate about the risks around your marketing communications.
- How far is too far?
- Hey, we’re talking medical devices here. Is this really a place to introduce risky messages?
- Is a spicier message even consistent with our brand – or the brand we want to be?
Wow! He’s got my vote! Talk about breaking through the clutter! David Brill MD, Democrat for Congress Arizona District 4, has incredible campaign videos.
I won’t spoil the surprise. Watch the videos now.
This is just one of the presidential tweets up for enlargement.
All valid questions, to be considered on a case-by-case basis.
I’m not suggesting you have a do a “Full Nike” here in your messaging.
But, for goodness sake, say something worth reading.
Your boring, vanilla copy isn’t the answer.
Or, to end as I began, believe in something.
What I did on my Journey vacation
I missed you last week. Did you miss me?
He’s a very nice man. You can see it in his eyes.
I should have a captioned video of my speech the next time I write.
I really screwed up with my flights to and from Chicago.
On the left, I was the last to board the 12:45 a.m. flight out of Seattle. I must have run a mile through that airport and, if you’ve seen me lately, know my corporal device is not intended for use that way.
I was so hot that I asked the flight attendant for an ice cube to cool my forehead. This was after I removed my shirt while seated in seat 6C, and before I slept in my undershirt for 2½ hours.
The return was no less eventful.
I got to the airport, I believe, at 4:50 a.m. – plenty of time to spare. I even went to the American Airlines lounge for a bite first.
Then as I picked up my backpack and exited the lounge, I thought – Wait a minute. Did I really leave my computer in the hotel room?
I was surprisingly resigned and calm as I watched my premium seat go unfilled. Went back to the hotel, slept, worked – and almost missed THAT flight because I got so into what I was doing.
Fast Round: Election Edition
Thank you for joining me on The Journey.
See you soon – or right now! – if you reply to this email,
P.S. Asking for a friend: Have your children ever been bullied? How did you resolve it?