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Inspiration Alley: Levi, L.L. Bean and Angry Birds

This week we’re taking a look at how two old brands are keeping things fresh and one modern company who went to new heights to promote their product.

Levi’s Water<Less Jeans

Levi’s is a brand that’s been around since 1873. It’s a brand that the world over associates with one thing – jeans. They’re trusted. They’re respected. But they still have to keep finding ways to modernize a product that really hasn’t changed all that much in over a hundred years.

Introducing the Water<Less Jean. Levi’s the average pair of jeans uses 42 liters of water in the finishing process. With their new system, they’ve reduced water usage up to 96%. To date, they have already saved more the 172 million liters of water which is equal to 726,600,812, 8-ounce glasses. Who knew?

Marketers Say Email is Best but Could Be Better

What do you do when your best isn’t good enough? This is the dilemma faced by marketers struggling to meet sales goals.

Crain’s BtoB Magazine and Bizo conducted a survey of B2B marketing professionals in the US and what they found was a general case of “we’ve got what we’ve got.”

59% of marketers said that email was the most effective channel for generating sales. This is good because 49% said email took up the majority of their time and resources. Trouble is, 63% of respondents said their current marketing mix wasn’t meeting their needs.

Inspiration Alley: New Promos from Guinness, Toyota and Cadbury

Thomas Edison said that genius is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration. I can’t help you with the second part, but I can help you with the first.

Every Friday, I’ll present to you a variety of new online, mobile, and social media marketing campaigns. It’s my hope that you’ll be inspired by the works of others because face it, even though inspiration is only 1%, it can be much harder to come by than the other 99.

Guinness Attempts to Break a World’s Record

Holidays are always a good time for a promo and no holiday could be better for Guinness Beer than St. Patrick’s Day. But simply asking folks to party responsibly on the Friendliest Day of the Year isn’t enough, so Guinness has added a second gimmick. They’re inviting folks to help them make it into the Guinness Book of Worlds Records for “The Largest St. Patrick’s Day Celebration.”

Ad Spending on Digital Shows Q4 Decline

The good news is, total advertising expenditures rose in 2011. The bad news is that the rise was only 0.8% and the internet didn’t make out all that well.

The numbers come from Kantar Media’s final 2011 report and it could be worse, right?

Looking at the Internet section, you can see that Q4 was a tough sell. Display still did okay for the year but paid search is down 2.8% over last year. Newspapers and magazines continued to take the hit in Q4 and in spite of a boost from their Spanish language options, ended the year down compared to 2010.

Ad Spending by Category

Automotive folks continue to be the biggest spenders with Retail coming in second. Insurance had the largest growth rate with Food and Candy and Telcom the only losers for the year.

Ads on Your TV, Your Phone and Now Your Glasses?

Imagine you’re walking down the street and as you pass a Starbucks, an ad for their latest frothy delight appears on your glasses. On the inside of your glasses, where only you can see it.

The New York Times says that the day is nearly here thanks to secret augmented reality glasses created in a Google lab.

First  of all, let’s take a moment to digest the concept that Google has a secret lab. I imagine it to be like the Batcave, buried deep within a hillside in Mountain View, California.

Now imagine these Google scientists (I’m picturing brainy Oompa Loompas) working on all kinds of futuristic gadgets that they’ve seen in spy and scifi movies.

Incentivized Advertising Raises Brand Awareness

When we were kids, the promise of a gold star or a sticker was all the incentive we needed to do our very best on a spelling test. As we grew, the incentives did too, a higher allowance for keeping your room clean, then a higher salary for doing a good job at work.

So it’s no wonder that consumers are willing to give a little more of themselves to a brand, as long as there’s a prize at the end.

SocialVibe and KN Dimestore recently conducted a survey to discover just how helpful incentives can be. They placed interactive ads on sites such as Causes.com and Pandora and on games like Farmville. Visitors were asked to play a branded game or take a survey and in return they’d receive an appropriate reward. For Farmville it was game credits, air-time without ads on Pandora and donations on Causes.com.

Bloggers Miffed by the Old Bait and Switch

A few weeks ago, a select number of food bloggers were invited to take part in a special event hosted by celebrity chef George Duran. The event was to feature a “a delicious four course meal” at an exclusive, underground Italian restaurant. They would talk about food trends, sample good wines, and though it wasn’t mentioned, promote a new product.

Bloggers aren’t dumb. Everyone who accepted the invitation knew that it was for PR purposes and they all expected a pitch. What they didn’t expect was a bait and switch and their reactions captured on hidden cameras.

The entire stunt was to promote Marie Callender’s frozen dinners. The bloggers, after talking extensively about fresh ingredients, natural foods and even food allergies, were served boxed lasagna and pie.