Our beloved Brew.

Our beloved Brew.
R.I.P. Big guy.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Arrow Electronics Launches Innovation Club

When was the last time you watched TV and saw a commercial that caught your attention, held it and made you want to know about the companies behind it? While watching the NCAA Final Four game between Wichita State and Louisville, I reached for my iPad to Google Arrow Electronics and which ad agency created the spot "Innovation Club - Five Years Out."

Kudos to Arrow Electronics and Ogilvy & Mather Chicago for producing the best spot I've seen in a very long time. Not only are the production values stellar, but the pacing is deliberately measured and subdued lending an air of confidence to what the main character is saying to the young couple he is greeting. I found myself leaning into the TV not only to hear him well but because I found him believable, likable and credible. The copy concept is outstanding in that it avoids what I view as an epidemic of chest beating or false modesty and in some cases, down right arrogance (see: a typographically-driven spot that ran for Northwestern Mutual in the same break). By pointing out that most of the characters assembled were innovators who are unfamiliar to the public a tone is set of humility and selflessness. It provoked both interest and curiosity on my part. Who invented the examples mentioned in the spot and so many other products and services that are part of the fabric of life and taken for granted by many of us?

I've said this before in previous posts on this blog - advertising must sell something. Being clever, humorous, provocative, or odd just to gain attention without a powerful sales proposition is rampant in the ad industry and why so little advertising is effective. Arrow is an industrial and commercial partner to hundreds of companies and doesn't sell anything to consumers but I was sold on knowing more about Arrow, had a highly favorable impression of the company based on this ad and I'll bet lots of investors will take a look at the company, too. Hats off to the Ogilvy people for creating a spot of which I believe their namesake would be proud. Congratulations to Arrow Electronics for having the courage to let the agency do its best work.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Subway Takes A Bigger Bite Out of Your Wallet

As a frequent Subway customer, in a manner of speaking, I've been waiting for the other shoe to drop ever since the restaurant chain launched its "Five Dollar Footlong" campaign. I have to admit grabbing a filling 12-inch sandwich for a fin brought me in once or twice a week.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I frequently treated myself to my favorite and more expensive steak and cheese version. No need to tell you, unlike Jared, the Subway spokesperson, my weight steadily went up on this "diet."

The current Subway ad campaign is promoting a $3 six-inch version. Never having been good at math, even I know that means a footlong equivalent is now $6. Continuing on the rocky road of my math skills, that translate into a 20% price increase.

The truth is, Subway has actually enacted an across the board price increase but continues to offer a couple of loss leaders to mask the impact. That steak and cheese sandwich I loved just isn't worth almost $9 to me.

From the outset, I wondered about the logic of building equity in a pricing strategy with a slogan like "Five Dollar Footlongs" only to abandon it when conditions changed. While Subway is still trying to drive home a value message by suggesting in its ads that a single flavor 6-inch product is "still only $3" I don't think the public will soon forget there was a choice of many sandwich varieties for $5.

It will be interesting to see how this new pricing will impact the chain's comparable sales, average check and sandwich units sold.

Admittedly, I haven't stopped in to a Subway in the weeks since the pricing change and I doubt there's a direct correlation between that and my new lunchtime favorite, McDonald's Hot & Spicy Chicken sandwiches. At my local "Mickey D's" you get two of these gems, fries and a drink for under $5. Subway better hope its other customers aren't as reluctant to break the $5 barrier as I am.