Monday, September 10, 2012

Pop Labels

Bill Lee’s August HBR Blog network post Marketing is Dead provoked some interesting online debate.  I advocate traditional marketing is alive and well, but needs to be utilized in conjunction with new digital strategies.  Long live hybrid marketing, the balance of classic and new strategies.  Case in point: Pop Labels.  

Read On:
Bill is the leader of Lee Consulting, as well as an author/speaker, a renowned expert in customer engagement.  He contends, traditional marketing (advertising, PR, branding, etc.) is dead. Consequently people in traditional marketing roles are operating within a dead paradigm.  Why?  According to Bill, the buyer’s decision journey has morphed, thanks to today’s social media dominate environment.  He then provides insight on what the new marketing model should look like.  Two important elements:

·         Community Oriented Marketing – Companies need to position their social media initiatives to build networks where buyers share information that influences purchasing decisions.

·         Rock Stars – Companies need to identify key influencers within these communities that have clout; people who are advocates for the solutions a company is marketing.

I agree the Internet, especially social media is playing a major role in American consumerism, a topic I first addressed back in January, MOT (the Moment of Truth).  However, thanks to my marketing background, I still believe you cannot entirely discard classic marketing strategies.  Strategies that influence the First Moment of Truth (FMOT), the instant consumers are actually in-store ready to purchase a product.  Labeling, a classic marketing strategy, will always be a key influencer at FMOT.  Therefore, I challenge Bill Lee’s assertion that Marketing is Dead.   

My alma mater, the Campbell Soup Company will be implementing this month a hybrid marketing movement that demonstrates my point.  September marks the 50th anniversary of Andy Warhol’s fame exhibition in Los Angeles of “32 Campbell Soup Cans.”  Available exclusively at Target stores while supplies last, Campbell’s will be promoting four limited-edition cans with labels that reflect Warhol’s pop-art style.  In addition, Campbell’s has set up a Facebook movement  I conducted a quick Twitter search #Warhol, #Campbell’s and discovered a long stream of buzz about Pop Labels, a perfect example of the benefit of balancing classic and new, digital marketing strategies.

Andy Warhol once said: "In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes."  Thanks to hybrid marketing, the Campbell Soup Company will savor more than 15 minutes.


  1. Hi Jim,

    This reminds me of those statements made some time ago about how "blogging is dead" because of Twitter and then how "email is dead" because of Facebook and Google+.

    Last I checked, both are doing very well primarily because, as you astutely pointed out, these are simply additional channels - not competing ones - where people can engage with others.

    Alas, some people like rocking the boat, especially as few bother to call them out on their prediction years later when these so-called dead-ends continue to be in use.

  2. I had actually left a comment on Bill Lee's post. His sensational headline certainly got attention. I hope that was the real intention as it would be obtuse for any marketer to not think in terms of integration of all media DEPENDING on where your target market exists.