Saturday, February 18, 2012

What's Lint Got to Do With It?

It's been way too long since I've posted a Notion! I started Natasha's Notion when I was job hunting. When I landed a gig in Chicago I guess I sold out and didn't put the time in to keeping this up. So to all my fans (about 3 of you)... I'm back...

OK here we go- I thought it was a phase but it doesn't seem to be going away. To get straight to the point… What's with the whole "chunks of toilet paper stuck to your butt" campaign that Charmin keeps running?! Bluntly- that ad is not cute. What if those cartoon bears were real human bums with cotton flakes all over them? Vulgar in real life as well as the world of cuddly Charmin animation.

One of my fellow bloggers, Ross Bynum, approached me with writing a Notion about this, and as soon as I saw the commercial on TV again I was convinced and reminded of how disturbing this creative initiative was! If I recall correctly, didn't this campaign start with a kind of "GoldieLocks" theme- 3 bears: Momma, Poppa, Baby- Charmin is "just right" kind of motif. Pardon me, but since when did GoldieLocks drop a deuce at the Bear's house and have a disturbing tissue lint problem? Was is all that fibrous porridge the lady consumed? Either way my Mom never told me that version of the story! (Hey Mom! What's with the censorship?!) Also, I don’t understand how this toilet paper malfunction inspires one to bend over and sway the evidence back and forth such as the big bear booties do in the commercial..(what is that about anyway?! They bend over a dramatic 120 degrees and glide their rears side-to-side in front of a zoomed lens for the world to witness their lint infested butts.) The Charmin brand team over at Proctor and Gamble obviously had to have performed some consumer research and found that TP lint was a significant consumer frustration and built their whole campaign to communicate that they are the solution to this problem. However, I think it's safe to assume that cartoon cotton crumbs do not inspire consumer purchase.

A broom?.. Ouch.
This Notion idea has been lingering in my mind for a while (wouldn't you like to visit my brain?) and as soon as I saw a sketch on Saturday Night Live I knew I wasn't alone. Like the blogging nerd I am, well- aspire to be, I rewound the DVR and recorded the clip- see below.

It was clear to some of the America's best comedians that this campaign was getting out of control and turning into a complete joke. Since SNL seemed to agree with my opinion I decided to ask some people what they thought of the "bear butt" commercials and what drives them to purchase one toilet paper brand over the other. I found that TP consumers are diverse, some are prepared for the apocalypse with their private stock of Costco purchased rolls while others purchase after they finally get sick of using rough paper towel or the extra napkins that came with their Chinese takeout. I was looking for purposefully brand driven consumption and Charmin specific opinions and found that only one person seemed to think the bears were cute while others said they don't buy Charmin because of their sinister ads! Granted my sample size was about 6 people and completely irrelevantly quant. (To be honest they were my friends and family which is the norm and expected step for any consumer to take when seeking an opinion or advice on a product.) In my arguably insignificant and informal consumer surveys, I discovered a little bit about what features or images inspire their TP purchases.

Hey Ladies- My sister says, "Hi, and to
'Throw your hands in the air if yous a true playa!'"
 One example includes my sister. She was all about the quilted pattern and texture- so Quilted Northern was her go to after a #2. Shout out to the little quilting ladies that put that product together, my sister appreciates your hard work. When asking my stepdad, he said, "Size, color or softness doesnt matter- shaking hands does- tis' better to use toilet paper than your hand." Sounds like his purchase decision is determined by price and I should probably think twice before giving him anymore hi-fives. As for my mom, she is a dog lover, so she goes for Cottenelle- because the adorable golden lab is pushing around a roll on the commercials as well as the packaging and I don’t know about you but a soft puppy definitely makes me want to wipe. Other opinions were pretty much the same as mine- they were annoyed, disgusted and over the Charmin ads! Charmin would be better off using the cartoon bears in another way like, "Yes, a bear does sh*t in the woods! However, you don’t. So wipe your a** with Charmin toilet paper."
Now that slogan is "Charm"in'!

Shout out to my loved ones that nag me to keep writing Notions! 
Appreciate the encouragement and faith.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sperm Shoes: A Marketing Misfire

The past two weeks I have been traveling to Florida then straight to Washington, DC then back to Michigan. Well, on my flight from Tampa to DC I found myself not sleeping with my face smashed up against the double paned oval window (which is the norm for me) but instead flipping through the classic and dependable Sky Mall Magazine.

While enjoying my complementary on flight grilled cheese and tomato soup AKA a Cheese Nips snack bag and a V-8, I stumbled across a product in the magazine that subconsciously connected with me on a completely different level than a bug vacuum or a wall size world map.

.............Sperm shoes.

All Pictures from Sky Mall Magazine

They are actually called "Gravity Defyers: spring technology footwear"..."Feel like you're defying gravity... GUARANTEED!". I personally prefer to call them sperm shoes because stuck on the side of each shoe there is a sperm shaped logo, as you can bluntly see in the Ad.

No one left behind

Hmmm.. Uhhhh... Why would a shoe use a sperm shape for a logo? Uhh- I get that it's springy in nature but come on... use a slinky logo or even a picture of a blue Costco trampoline! After reading some reviews for the shoes that I found on, I read many praises about the them being extremely comfortable... then I found this comment from Roberto: "...These shoes have sperm all over them, and I don’t know if they even realize it. You couldn’t pay me $130 to wear them. Lose the sperm, and maybe we’ll talk."  And another from Tom: "What’s up with the sperm image on the side of their shoes???????" The sperm is obviously turning people off... not on.

Futhermore, while I was giggling yet mortified for the actual bifocal dependent consumer who purchased these I noticed that the sperm shoes' sperm logo comes in a pleasent array of colors. They have an American basic but bold range of races colors, equipped with white, red and black sperm logos. So no worries if you are White, Black or Native American (or even just sun-burned) they have you represented.

It is hilarious that they use little sperm "G"s and "D"s to help spell the product name as well (see above)- that makes me want to buy the shoes even more or at least have that printed on the left chest of a golf shirt so people can be terrified yet secretly curious about what I may sell.

I get that they may be going for a tadpole logo. Tadpoles grow into frogs and frogs jump, hibbit hibbit, hop hop... but sperm is funnier and seriously much more obvious. Since marketing is my passion I believe that a strong logo can capture consumer's minds all over the world. You want to choose a strong and proud image/symbol/picture to represent your brand. It is just like a Facebook profile picture. Are you going to choose the embarassing, bad angle, double chin exposing picture to represent yourself to the social networking world? No way! You're going to choose the picture that hides your flaws or insecurities. A picture that makes you confident and presentable to your friends, your network, your target market. Logos are a companies Facebook picture and instead of striving to be adorable, inanely goofy or buff they strive to remind the world they exist and to be recognizable- for example ... Nike=swoosh, Jordan=jump man, Adidas, Kellogg's Tony the Tiger, Pepsi, Coke, a Sperm...I tried to slip that in to see if it would work.. But I don't think so...... ...... Well hey that is pretty memorable- maybe sperm shoes are genius! I guess all they have to do is sell the idea to actual human beings that it is cool to have a sperm on your shoes since it delivers a unique walking experience with this new "spring technology" or catch a break and have Jennifer Lopez or Brad Pitt caught in US Weekly wearing them in public. However, instead of covering her face from the camera I see JLo squatting down and pulling her dress to the ground to cover up those cool kicks. And as for Brad Pitt... Well that would actually make a lot of sense.

In conclusion, the only people that should have a sperm on there shoe is a doctor or nurse at a sperm bank or fertility clinic... For optimistic support or from (You guessed it...) accidentally spilling a sample cup!

Oh and if you're tempted to swim around town with these bad boys on your feet you can buy them for $129.95 to $139.95 at


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Vitamin Water... Makes me have the munchies!

Please watch this reviewed Spring 2010 Vitamin Water commercial first...

There is something about this ad that left me with an awkward taste in my mouth... and it wasn’t the acidulous taste of colorful nutritionally enhanced water. Let me explain...

First of all, did anyone know that it is Comedian/Actor Marlon Wayans narrating the commercial?! I am a huge fan of all the Wayans Brothers and happen to follow Marlon Wayans (@MarlonLWayans) on Twitter. While he was making this commercial and when it was aired he was constantly tweeting about it and would retweet some feedback he received about the outlandish ad. However, I am wondering why they would not show the face of a good-looking celebrity like Marlon Wayans?! In the commercial, he was to be perceived as sick and had a jumbo pillow wearing glasses as a head. It seems like a waste of a solid celebrity cameo and is instead replaced with a character resembling an inordinately contemporary and deviantly amplified version of a Rene Magritte painting!

On Left: "The Man in the Bowler Hat", By Artist: Rene Magritte
On Right: Vitamin Water Commercial

Marlon Wayans is an attractive guy and has no reason to put a pillow case over his head. Even as a fan it was hard for me to recognize his voice during the 33 seconds of him reciting a random script about being in a “Snuggie”…umm… his “Woman” was mad or something… and… well- somehow Vitamin Water cured him and rescued him from rejection from a pair of gargantuan legs in fire engine red heels. So- unless you go to sleep every night listening to Marlon Wayans’ movies or you are one of his (approx.) 228,000 followers on Twitter- you probably had no idea that it was him narrating the commercial.

Second of all, when I think of Vitamin Water or anything with the word “Vita” (the Latin and Italian word for “life”) in it I think of health, refreshing and revitalization… Not smoking weed and getting drunk… which is what I think of when I hear Kid Cudi, especially when I hear his commercial featured song “Pursuit of Happiness” (click link for lyrics). Don’t get me wrong, I am a Cudi fan as well but his rep is basically that all his songs are about getting high “Day N’ Night”. He is even cited on as an artist to "blaze to". Naturally when I saw a Vitamin Water commercial that professional athletes have promoted before, I was surprised to hear Kid Cudi’s music playing in the background. I think his music would be more appropriate in some sort of "munchies" commercial. Hmm... That may even be an ingenious sub-liminal campaign… it could be a secret trigger for Stoners nationwide; to advertise Flaming Hot Cheetos with Kid Cudi music in the background… Now that combo should roll a blunt for you and have it pop out of your DVD player.

Anyway- let’s see… maybe Vitamin Water is going for the younger/munchies/hangover crowd. However, for some reason I see that strategy diminishing their brand image of health and rejuvenation. What do you think? And why am I suddenly craving Red Vines and Funyuns?!


Friday, March 26, 2010

Welcome to Natasha's Notion! What it's about...

Here is the basic theme for this blog...

I am a currently unemployed Michigan State University Grad with a degree in Business Marketing.

(Proud Spartan. Go Green!)

Why marketing?
I didn’t know what else to choose. OK not really... I knew I was going to study marketing since I was a senior in high school. So overall, I love that marketing involves almost all aspects of a business: #s, people, products/services, ideas etc... I feel like the way I think is well-rounded and I am always trying to use both sides of my brain while making decisions. I actually chose to study Marketing because I am genuinely interested in it; so interested that even though I am not working for a specific company, I am constantly noticing Marketing and Advertising mishaps or strategies/techniques/campaigns that could be improved or are just not working.

Even though it is impossible for me to relate and be a part of every single demographic- it is obvious that a company’s marketing strategy tanked if they were to hire Britney Spears to advertise life insurance. Well… that could be debatable... and again, that is the fun of this and marketing in general- everything can be debated and twisted and deciphered to make sense or justify a message… so I guess this is my voice and my notions.

This is where “Natasha's Notion” comes in... I will be using this blog to comment/critique/provide my "Notion" about these awkward marketing and advertising moments. I may also praise the ones I admire or find intriguing and can't help but share. If you care- cool. If you don’t… well…you suck. I am just a nerd with a thirsty marketing mind suffering during this unemployment drought and I need an outlet to express these sporadic and personally tantalizing observations! Bear with me... I will try to keep it entertaining and somewhat humorous.

Side note: Throughout this blog I will do my casual best to be grammatically correct as well as spell properly. I promise I am an advocate of Professor Henry Higgins teachings but since you will not be given a chance to listen and react to dreadful speech I will try to protect your eyes from seeing it. Therefore, I shall try my very best not to murder the English language. However, if there are a few forgivable mistakes please write them off as typos, excited slip ups or just straight raw uneducated stupidity... As I usually do.