John Kuraoka, freelance advertising copywriter

www.kuraoka.com
(619) 465-6100
Ad Blog: news and views about advertising, branding, marketing, and copywriting
May 2007

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May 31 2007
Anheuser-Busch is either revamping or pulling the plug on its BudTV online entertainment channel, after spending $30 million to achieve traffic figures too small to be measured. Here’s the story, from Brandweek (NY):
Advertising copywriter blog link

Okay, so here’s where I get to say I nailed it last year, even before the thing had gotten off the ground and the buzz about branded content was all overwhelmingly positive and optimistic. On September 8 2006, I said:

... by February 2007, the environment will have changed. Among other things, there will be more online channels to choose from. A-Bís offering will need to be twice as good to capture half the traffic and mindshare.

A pre-emptive PR strike to gather registrants and email addresses is one thing. But you know the company is feeling the pressure when they do it five months out. And, I think the potential audience is cynical enough to know it too.

A month later, on November 10 2006, I said:

I suspect Anheuser-Busch will launch into a more competitive environment than they think, by the time they get going.

The question is, how long will advertisers foot the bill for advertising agencies and creative professionals to create content to reach ever smaller audiences? Come on, a million viewers is nothing to advertisers of this size, particularly when ROI is unquantifiable by the very nature of the content. ...

 As good as it is to create a network of potential customers, I say a network of actual customers is better.

Yes, sometimes I get it right. But in this case, anyone who knows anything about online should have foreseen the outcome. BudTV was a half-hearted, weak attempt to capitalize on an audience that was never there. It’s a little difficult to see where $30 million went. Still, I suppose it was worthwhile, if only to prove, once again, what doesn’t work.
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May 30 2007
Well, I have two today, both from my hometown San Diego Union-Tribune (CA). The first, is a pick-up from the Associated press, about the use of creativity in TV commercials:
Advertising copywriter blog link

I remember my Uncle Johnny some 40 years ago saying that the commercials were the best things on TV. (The same uncle, by the way, opened my mind to creative thinking one childhood Christmas. I must have been about five or six years old. I was proudly showing off some of the things I could make with my new Lego bricks, doing all the ones in the little booklet. I asked him which one he wanted me to make, and he said “Make something of your own.” Then he explained, “All of these in the book, someone’s already made. Make me something that you thought up yourself.” It turned out to be the challenge of a lifetime, and I still think of Uncle Johnny when I look at advertising award books trying to get inspired. All the work in the books, someone’s already done. Make something else. Uncle Johnny was a gardener. And my first creative director.)

Anyway, what I find interesting, is that some TV experts are coming around to my view, that you have to look back to look forward. More than four years ago, on March 13 2003, I said:

Itís the return of the Westinghouse Theater! Can the rise of Rinsoville be far behind? (N.B.: ďRinsovilleĒ was part of a tongue-in-cheek chapter title in James Thurberís excellent study of the radio serial, ďSoapland,Ē in The Beast in Me and Other Animals. Read it and see the future in the past.)

If you havenít read it, do. Not just to repeat the same approaches; as Uncle Johnny said, someoneís already made them. But, rather, to learn from the past in order to go beyond it with your own thinking.

Next up is this report my local paper picked up from the New York Times News Service, about Wal-Martís solid reputation for cheapness hurting its potential for expansion into new markets:
Advertising copywriter blog link

A seven-month-old report on branding canít be too ďout of date.Ē Seven months is a very short time in Wal-Martís branding lifecycle, especially since not much has happened in them to significantly alter the entrenched consumer perceptions. This gets back to Ries & Troutís offensive marketing rule I talked about a few days ago, on May 26, about locating the weakness in your competitionís strength. (And, in response to a few email queries, itís not from the book Positioning, but from Marketing Warfare.) Wal-Mart may just now be finding the weakness in its own strength, but its competitors, Target in particular, have been exploiting it for years.

One possible approach is to embrace the weakness. Itís another marketing maxim that if you canít change something, promote it. It would take a huge operation to alter the course of the Wal-Mart brand. Instead, why not embrace all of it, including the zits? Instead of trying to move into cheap chic, where Target already is, go down-home comfort cheap. Play up the roots in Rogers, Arkansas, a very different place than urban Minneapolis, where Target started. Embrace the weakness – and then blow past it to play to the strengths. Thatís what Iíd recommend, if anyone cares to listen to the opinion of a copywriter from San Diego, California.
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May 29 2007
MG, one of the quintessential British motoring brands, is set to come storming back under Chinese ownership. Here’s the story about the re-opening of the factory in England, from BBC News:
Advertising copywriter blog link

I think Nanjing Automobile Corporation is playing its cards very well, in terms of preserving the brand. To move all of the production of the sport car to China would have been seen as plundering the brand equity. Now, with at least final assembly taking place in England, the reborn MG TF can lay claim to a long British heritage, and wear a “made in England”  badge. I think that’s essential for sales success in Europe and indeed in the U.S. And, apparently, the Chinese owners think so too. In other words, the name of the game isn’t just production or home-market sales. It’s export.
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May 28 2007
It’s Memorial Day, a big day for retailers trying to boost their second quarter numbers. Here’s a look at what retailers are up against, from CNNMoney.com:
Advertising copywriter blog link

Well, I guess I did my bit for the economy. I looked at the full-page ad for an electronics retailer, and, within hours, went out and bought a new 19” LCD monitor, replacing my old 17” CRT. I was driven partly by the energy savings, partly by the desire for cooler-running devices in my office (which gets hot in the summer), and partly by the advertised price. As for the brand? It wasn’t mentioned in the ad and, when I got to the store and looked at the box, I’d never heard of it before. The only things I checked were that the SKU matched the sale item in the ad, that the cords were included, and that the monitor was UL and Energy Star compliant. I got it home, connected it, fired up the old machine, and it’s working great.

For me, it appears that my new monitor was a commodity product.

Next up is this article, from Brandweek (NY), looking at whether private equity investors are good or bad for brand equity:
Advertising copywriter blog link

I’ve moaned before about the short-term mindset of shareholders degrading the ability of companies to make long-term investments in their brands (see February 10 2006 and March 17 2006 for two examples). This article shows private equity takeovers to be a mixed bag: some strengthen the brand and others plunder it. Like any other management team, I suppose. However, what’s notable is that one of the ways a private equity firm improves the ability to do effective long-term marketing planning, is by reducing the influence of the small investor.

Okay, I have one more. It’s about the rise of media-based creative departments, from The New York Times (NY) via the International Herald Tribune:
Advertising copywriter blog link

Criminy, everyone wants to get into the business of creating advertising, from ordinary folks on YouTube to media conglomerates. Yeah, it’s fun, sometimes, and it seems like a glamorous avocation. But it takes discipline to do it right. And, on the client side, a strong brand manager to keep all the efforts working well together.
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May 26 2007
A weekend quickie, to point out this article about the lack of quality in consumer-created commercials, from The New York Times (NY):
Advertising copywriter blog link

First, to ask professionals about the work of amateurs is to invite derision. After all, there’s the profession to protect.

Second, regarding the three TV commercial submissions shown, I’ve seen worse concepts professionally produced. I’ll go further: I’ve seen worse concepts win awards.

Third, the point about the high cost of vetting and managing consumer-created content is spot on. But, I think the costs go beyond expenses. What’s the value of the brand damage caused by the rejected concepts? And, might a more web-savvy competitor be behind some of them, if not now then some time soon?

Speaking of competition, here’s a late addition from my hometown San Diego Union-Tribune (CA), about Jack in the Box’s latest TV commercials coming under fire by rivals:
Advertising copywriter blog link

What is the old rule of aggressive marketing espoused by Trout and Ries? Find the weakness in your competitor’s strength. The textbook example of this was when Avis claimed one reason to choose them over Hertz was that, being #2, their lines were shorter. Well, that’s what Jack in the Box did. It found that most people have no idea what the heck Angus beef is, and went after that point by implying their own mock definition. I think this is both funny and effective. And, yes, unfair in that, as advertising legend Ed McCabe said: “Imagination is one of the last remaining legal means you have to gain an unfair advantage over your competition.”

Of course the competitors will complain. What’s more, the less connection fast food customers make between Angus beef and cattle breed, in other words, the less the claim of differentiation based on superior quality was actively supported in the competitor’s original ads, the more likely it is that their complaints will prevail in court. Perverse as that is, it appears the legality of imagination might have its bounds.

But, at least for this particular skirmish, the mindshare victory may already have been won.
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May 25 2007
An ad campaign for Doc Martens shoes, featuring dead rock stars, has backfired on the agency that created it. Here’s the story, from the New York Post (NY):
Advertising copywriter blog link

I think these ads are pretty good given the brand and the target market. As a campaign the concept has legs, and it definitely should have been presented.

That said, it’s also pretty irresponsible for the ad agency to do an end-run around its client by releasing the creative to bloggers. I qualify that “irresponsible” deliberately. Had the reaction been overwhelmingly positive, the client would have scrambled to support the campaign and the whole thing might have gone down as a case study in ad agencies taking the lead in their clients’ marketing.

However, the end-run was actually the second big mistake. The first was failing to enlist the support of those closest to the dead celebrities. This whole thing has the air of a spec campaign that never went though legal, which wouldn’t have mattered if the ad campaign hadn’t gotten loose.

But it did get loose. And, unfortunately for the agency, once released into the wild, the campaign delivered mixed results. That gave the client a choice: support the campaign and possibly gain from the controversy, or renounce the campaign and possibly gain credibility. The lack of buy-in from the families of those pictured became the fatal blow; the ads had to be renounced, and strongly.

My question is why, with celebrity image rights unsecured, were these ads allowed to be officially published even once? Who was minding the shop?

What killed this wasn’t the creative. It was the lack of communication between creative, account services, and the client that did it in. The ending could have been, should have been, better.
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May 24 2007
Dell, the computer brand that brought luster back to direct sales, is moving into Wal-Mart stores. Here’s the story, from Bloomberg (NY):
Advertising copywriter blog link

This could be another heavy broadside for global contender Lenovo to weather. And, it shows the importance of the distribution channel in building brand equity. My key question, is whether the product and the service will be aligned with the Wal-Mart shopper, or whether this is an exercise in aspirational targeting. My hunch is that this market wants a one-box solution within a good/better/best product line.

HP, meanwhile, is doing exactly the right thing by keeping its eye on its customers, instead of its competitors.
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May 23 2007
I have two related stories today, both about global branding and credibility. The first, from Channel NewsAsia (Singapore), examines the importance of credibility in building a global brand. The second, from Forbes via MSNBC.com, is a look at the world’s most-reputable companies:
Advertising copywriter blog link
Advertising copywriter blog link

The Forbes list of most-respected companies is worth a look. At the top of the list are global brands including Lego (#1), Ikea (#2), Barilla (#3), Toyota (#6), and Michelin (#11). The six most-respected U.S.-based brands, according to the Forbes survey, are Kraft ( #15), UPS (#25), FedEx (#29), Johnson & Johnson (#35), Disney (#38), and Coca-Cola (#51). However, since survey participants were only allowed to vote on companies based in their home countries, I wonder whether that’s as much a reflection of home-grown American brand cynicism as any shorftfall in national prestige.

Powerhouse brands from the Brandz report (see Ad Blog, April 23 2007) include General Electric (ranked #2 in Brandz but #93 by Forbes) and Microsoft (ranked #3 in Brands, #116 by Forbes), and IBM (ranked #9 in Brandz, #194 by Forbes). Top Brandz-ranked brands notable for their absence include #1 brand Google, #7 brand Wal-Mart, and #11 brand McDonald’s.

Anyway, I don’t want to overanalyze the rankings (as I probably have done already); the point is that credibility and brand potency are inextricably connected. And it all comes down to the customer’s brand experience. Advertising is just one of an almost infinite number of touchpoints on the way to building a brand.
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May 22 2007
A handful of advertisers are turning to YouTube for advertising content. Are they cutting edge? Or creatively bankrupt? Either way, here’s a look at this trend, from USA Today via The Tennessean (Nashville, TN):
Advertising copywriter blog link

If you can trim 75% off the production costs of a TV commercial, and put that money into media instead, you’ve created a huge tactical edge. That, and a bit of buzz for being a pioneer of sorts, is what this concept brings to the table. Other than that, it’s exactly like creating ads around stock photos, a time-honored technique used by art directors and copywriters in hours of creative desperation. We’ve all followed the formula: find an engaging image, write a headline to it. Piece of cake. Except that the results may or may not be relevant or sustainable as a campaign. You usually end up with a bunch of clever little one-offs.

However, this does open up some possibilities. Need a crowd scene to composite behind your actors? You can either hire a crowd, or find one already shot. Need a bunch of home-movie vacation clips? Again, you can shoot it and spend some bucks to make it look authentic, or you can get the real thing straight from the source.

At the very end, the article looks forward:

“We want to make sure that in new media, professionally produced and acted commercials remain the dominant way that advertisers communicate with consumers,” said Doug Allen, national executive director of the Screen Actors Guild.

The SAG faces a tough challenge. With the rise of buzz, social networking, and peer marketing, the pool of work for traditional actors is drying up. And that, in turn, brings up the economics of royalty-based payments and digital rights management in a media environment so conducive to unrestricted file sharing. After all, not every actor becomes the GEICO caveman.
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May 21 2007
Networks and advertisers are trying lots of new ways to keep viewers glued to their TV sets during commercials. But a lot of the new ways sound a lot like the old ones. Here’s the story, from The New York Times via the International Herald Tribune:
Advertising copywriter blog link

Let’s see. They’re trying fresh, brash creative, like the 1960s. Longer commercial spots, like the 1950s. Integrating commercials with programming through the use of plot and character continuity, like the radio soaps of the 1920s. And even pointing to the ads before and after they run, echoing the ancient presentation formula: tell ’em what you’re going to say, say it, and then tell ’em what you said.

In other words, advertising creative today enjoys the best of almost all the previous eras. Which is why you have to wonder: why are most TV commercials so ignorable, so ineffective, so lacking in vigor or salesmanship? I think it’s because, in the rush to entertain, we’ve neglected to sell.

I’ve said it before: you can both entertain and sell. In fact, the entertainment factor is a key component of selling. But you can’t stop at merely entertaining the audience. That’s a luxury for screenwriters, not copywriters.

The missing ingredient? As often as not, it’s creative follow-through.
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May 18 2007
Advertising people like to talk about the power of the internet. Many also like to talk about theories of warfare, commerce and combat being similar in certain limited ways. And here, from BBC News, is an oddball little story that shows what happens when those two concepts, internet advertising and warfare, converge:
Advertising copywriter blog link

Even NATO is getting drawn into this apparent e-attack on the nation of Estonia emanating from servers in Moscow. Rhetoric aside, spam email and bogus service requests aren’t suitcase nukes and sarin gas. But they’re still dirty weapons.

How do you firewall a whole country?

And, as far as internet advertising is concerned, the world is rapidly coming to a consolidation of rules: opt-in, opt-in, opt-in.
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May 17 2007
Recent ComScore research shows that people over 35 download more podcasts than people under 35. Here’s the story, from intellagencia.com, part of media company bradgroup (UK):
Advertising copywriter blog link

Well now, you can file this under the heading “We’re All Getting Older.” Including media commentators.

Fact is, podcasting is already old news, the medium of fogeydom (and I have to count myself in that group). Look, the 45-to-54s downloaded more than the 25-to-35s. Remember, we’re talking about podcasts, not music downloads.

Also, the research focused entirely on the Apple iTunes store. It’s just a guess, but I think an awful lot of the so-called MySpace Generation are hanging out where they can find more original content.
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May 16 2007
Major American brands are big all over the world, including countries where they’re not supposed to be. Here’s an article about American brands prospering in Cuba, despite a 45-year trade embargo, from the Associated Press via MSNBC.com:
Advertising copywriter blog link

Key quote, buried near the bottom of the first page: Cubans know the products, despite an almost complete lack of advertising on the island.

So, then, how did a 62-year-old Cuban retiree know and appreciate the Nike brand? Despite no advertising, no official promotional support, no buzz-marketing efforts?

One major part of the answer lies in osmosis. U.S. tourists are still banned from visiting Cuba, but there are European and South American tourists. There may not be overt buzz-marketing, but there is certainly a sub-buzz that helps trendsetters continue to set trends.

The other significant factor rests upon the products themselves. In this ad-free environment, brands rise – or fall – based largely on product performance and the customer’s brand experience. See, from the customer side, the buy-in is bigger here. So the brands have to deliver something more than that which can be supported with a barrage of marketing messages; they have to deliver an experience worthy of the extraordinary expense.

There are lessons to be learned here. Taken one way, the island is practically a laboratory for experiential brand-building.
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May 15 2007
More digital convergence (or not): MySpace is launching news- and lifestyle-oriented “channels.” Here’s the story, from the Associated Press via The Mercury News (San Jose, CA):
Advertising copywriter blog link

The big problem, is that they’re still limiting the content to clips. That’s behind the times, I think. The BBC offers entire TV programs online, as do several German TV stations. I’m talking full-blown news, entertainment, and lifestyle programs, some as long as 90 minutes. Those are online channels. What MySpace is doing, is simply offering a pre-sorted selection of clips. That’s not a channel, that’s a category.

The other problem is that both content partners mentioned, The New York Times and National Geographic, would be better positioned if they created their own channel by hosting their videos on their own branded website.
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May 14 2007
With the auto industry in flux, opportunities are ripe for the savvy and well-positioned. Here’s a look at how Kia is using VW’s discarded brand strategy, from Brandweek:
Advertising copywriter blog link

A simple, smart, fun brand personality, with the advertising to match. VW walked away from all that in an effort to move upscale (V10-powered VW Phaeton, anyone?), leaving the field wide open. Suzuki did a little of this back in the 1980s, but back then VW was still trying, nominally at least, to be VW.

Does anyone remember the Kia TV commercial from the 1990s, in which a Kia follows around a VW Golf or Rabbit? At least, I think it was for Kia. Anyway, the Kia (if that’s what it was) tagged along, bumper-to-bumper, with the VW all over town, while the voiceover talked about the cars’ similarities in fuel economy, space, etc. At the end, as the voiceover talked about the price of the VW being in the neighborhood of whatever-thousands of dollars, the VW turned into a posh gated community. The Kia either kept going straight or turned around and went back, with the voiceover delivering a snarky stinger. Whether it was for Kia or someone else, I thought at the time that someone had successfully co-opted the classic VW brand personality. And, if it was for Kia, this strategy is no new development.
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May 11 2007
The postal rate increase that kicks in this coming Monday has far-reaching effects for direct mail advertising. Because now, rates are determined by weight and shape. Here’s the story, from the Associated Press via MSNBC:
Advertising copywriter blog link

For example, under the new rates, a standard 6-1/2” x 9-1/2” envelope will cost 80 cents for the first ounce, more than double what it costs now. And forget about odd shapes, radius corners, weird materials, or lumpy enclosures too, at least at the standard rates.

Advertisers using direct mail may have to rely, once more, on the appeal of an intriguing headline based on an interesting idea. Fresh, relevant, targeted copywriting – now there’s a novel concept. And, marketers today have some technological tools that didn’t exist in the golden days of direct mail, including micro-targeted lists and individually printed pieces.

This isn’t the end of direct mail, just one more bump in the road. And, like any bump in the road, the shake-out will leave some in the dust and push some ahead faster than ever.
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May 10 2007
A recent study offers intriguing insights into global rituals and how they might be used to market products and services, from BusinessWeek via MSNMoney:
Advertising copywriter blog link

It also looks like BBDO is on a major PR push. That aside, this study is a peek into experiences and interactions that are private, yet commonly shared. Although 5,000 interview subjects in 21 countries means a national sample size of about 238, and the categorization and ritual labels were seemingly created, the relative differences are fascinating. There are opportunities here.
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May 9 2007
I love these stories that go inside ad agencies. Especially when the story is as big as the remaking of advertising giant BBDO. Here’s the article, from Business 2.0:
Advertising copywriter blog link

There’s a ton of great stuff here, including a Machiavellian case study in the use of power. I’ll point out two half-buried tidbits that I especially liked.

First, the bit about leveraging a traditional medium like outdoor into new media, via the target audience. Do something spectacular enough, outrageous enough, engaging enough, and it will get the cell phone cameras clicking and find its way online on its own power. That’s cool.

Second, the push to develop concepts that were campaignable across all media – not just 30-second TV spots (in this case), but also not just online or pure-play buzz-marketing. In a way, this is a return to the old multi-media campaign approach, with new media added to the mix.

Like I said, lots of great stuff, well worth a read!
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May 8 2007
Here’s a look at one of the best brands in retailing, Target, and how it got that way, from the Wall Street Journal via TwinCities.com (MN):
Advertising copywriter blog link

A few points are worth drawing attention to. First, the cheap-chic brand strategy developed over time, and I’m not talking about 2 years or 5 years but 20 years and going strong. That’s commitment to the brand concept.

Second, creating a consistent brand experience was essential, as opposed to the more-common approach of creating hot cells and trying to expand outward from them.

Third, failure was not an option; it was standard. Companies that truly innovate take their best shots all the time, but they also take 100% success as proof that they failed to take enough risks.

Fourth, they see the potential in emerging markets like India and China.

Fifth, the effectiveness of its advertising in communicating its brand values to an expanding core audience lies as much in where it isn’t as where it is.
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May 7 2007
Here’s an article about what makes a brand authentic, from the May issue of Fast Company (NY):
Advertising copywriter blog link

The four common key attributes, according to the article, are:

Yet, the way each brand creates and manages these attributes makes for very interesting reading. There’s a lot of great stuff here, including mini-case studies and commentary. And, there’s as much to learn from the stumbles as the successes, maybe more.
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May 5 2007
It’s Self-Referential Day (or, Shameless Self-Promotion Day). What the heck, it’s Saturday. Here’s my plain little Ad Blog, as featured in this week’s San Diego Reader (CA):
Advertising copywriter blog link

Here’s how this came about. A few weeks ago, I got an email from a Reader editor who wanted to excerpt parts of the Ad Blog for a weekly column on local blogs. I said sure, answered a few questions, and promptly forgot about it. Until today, when a check came. That jogged my memory, and I scurried online as eager as the next egomaniacal narcissist to see myself in print.

And, yup, I guess I agree with pretty much everything I’ve said.
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May 4 2007
Call this re-imagining innovation. Here’s a look at corporate innovation strategies and tactics, from Business Week Online via Yahoo! News (Asia):
Advertising copywriter blog link

No matter how you dress it up, what matters is follow-through. And follow-through isn’t superficial; it extends from the core. There’s discipline to it.

True innovators can’t help but innovate, even if they’ve grown into multi-layered, multi-national corporate behemoths. And, dull little moths will remain dull little moths, no matter what light they bash themselves into.
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May 3 2007
A double-barreled day today, as I’ve found two articles capturing my interest. The first is from this morning’s San Diego Union-Tribune (CA), about a UCSD doctoral student who has developed a marketing model – and a San Diego-based marketing agency – based on social branding and infiltrating groups of peer influencers:
Advertising copywriter blog link

This is extending the brand ambassador (or, as a cynical associate said, shill) concept to social issues. So, as with any campaign based on social networks, it’s hard to determine ROI, doubly so since in these cases there are no sales figures to gauge results. It seems that what needs to happen, is deeper monitoring, which means deeper infiltration, to determine the degree of change within the targeted culture.

Thing is, this approach is no more a total answer than traditional advertising. You need both, and even that’s nothing new. The best ads have always generated a buzz beyond the media placement. And now, there are tools and techniques – like this one – to leverage them even more. Or, for that matter, to leverage backwards, using information gleaned from the social campaign to drive the media campaign.

Next up is this pleasant diversion from BBC News about celebrity-branded merchandise:
Advertising copywriter blog link

I have two favorites: the Kiss Kasket, a coffin/drinks cooler from the heavy metal band Kiss, and the Bill Wyman signature metal detector. But I like these for opposite reasons.

I like the casket as a bizarre line extension to a brand based on the bizarre, and because it makes the brand more than a lifetime commitment.

I like the metal detector because it adds depth to Wyman’s personal brand. Who knew he was such an archaeology buff? I sure didn’t. It makes him a lot more interesting, as a person and as a brand, like finding out that classic Hollywood starlet Hedy Lamarr invented and co-patented synchronized radio frequency hopping, the basis for much of today’s secure communication technologies including CDMA.
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May 2 2007
Web marketing means more than generating traffic; you have to make intelligent use of that traffic. And to do that, you need to know who’s visiting. Here’s a look at using incentives to penetrate the cloak of online anonymity, from CRM Daily (Woodland Hills, CA):
Advertising copywriter blog link

It boils down to offering a relevant incentive, along with a guaranteed relevant reward in exchange for a valid email address (the key concept being relevant). For example, a monthly prize draw plus free informational content. By offering several incentives, you can have web visitors self-select the message that will best align with their needs.

After that, you’ve gone from unknown web visitors to known prospects, maybe even with known needs. The rest is follow-up, which could be online (e-newsletters, for instance) or offline (postcards, newsletters, brochures, etc.).
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May 1 2007
Today I have another look at the resurgence of character-based advertising, along with a closer look at Maytag’s fourth-generation Ol’ Lonely, from The New York Times:
Advertising copywriter blog link

Maytag’s approach strikes me as very sound, an update of the situation instead of the basic character. That’s what was so dreadfully wrong about KFC’s attempt, several years ago, to bring back Colonel Sanders as a rappin’ cartoon in its advertising.

However, ad characters are no magic bullet. The thing about new ad characters, is that it’ll take some time for them to work. It took a couple years for the AFLAC duck, for instance, to worm its way into the heart of mainstream America; likewise the M&Ms. The Burger King is just starting to make some headway. So a key element of success, beyond smart strategy and enough reach and frequency to get noticed, is patience.
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Backwards in time to April 2007


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John Kuraoka, freelance advertising copywriter
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