Domestic violence sells.

Domestic violence sells.

The recent controversy over advertising created by Edmonton’s Fluid Salon will likely prove the old adage “there’s no such thing as bad press” to be true.  Media coverage is generating traffic to their website, giving wide exposure to a little salon probably few had heard of.  The ads in question have the headline “look good in all you do” and feature women in compromised situations; one (snippet seen here) shows a woman with a black eye seated in front of a man holding a diamond necklace.  If you’d like to see the series, you can do so without going to the salon’s website.  Detractors feel that the ads are condoning, and even glamorizing, domestic violence. Reaction by the salon to the firestorm of disapproval – and a movement to boycott the salon – has been somewhat less than contrite.  Should it be?  After all, they claim it’s not advertising, really, it’s art.  It was meant do provoke discussion, so they say.  Good job.  The owner claims the ad was never meant just to sell haircuts (really?) and that the imagery would have been accepted perfectly well if not in an advertisement (where, then?). The salon’s creative consultant, herself a victim of domestic abuse, takes a combative stance.  “Boycotting Fluid Hair isn’t going to stop domestic abuse,” she writes on the company’s blog.  No, and boycotting Exxon didn’t put the oil back in the Valdez tanker, but it didn’t reward Exxon for reckless behavior and arrogance, either.  Her mother’s tactic, on the same blog, is to turn the offended parties into abusers for disapproving her baby girl.  Nice. The very best thing one could say about Fluid’s campaign is that it is naive and incredibly tone-deaf.  The worst thing one could say is exactly what the public is saying.  So, cut it out, Fluid. P.S.  Those hairstyles are uniformly horrible. Join us on Facebook | follow on Twitter...

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How about your "About Us" page?

How about your "About Us" page?

Very often, companies use the About Us page to list stats, locations, and other useful – but dull – information about the organization.  Somewhat more savvy, but no less dull, is jamming the space with key phrases to attract the search engines.  Site visitors will form an opinion about the place from what’s on, or absent from, the About Us page.  Why not use it to give a real sense of what the company or nonprofit organization is like?  There are many ways to do this, as Brian Eisenberg outlines in the ClickZ blog. Beyond connecting with site visitors on a personal level, there is another, wiser way to use the About Us page to attract search engine notice.  The web bots are constantly crawling the internet, looking for new, relevant content.  Set up your About Us page with sub-pages (click on the image to see how gap.com does it), and change the content frequently.  Be sure the first few words of text on each page and sub-page are packed with relevant keywords and phrases.  Get found by the search engines, but write for people. Visit your About Us page right now… we’ll wait. What did you find there?  Is it interesting to visitors?  Does it address any issue, problem, or desire they may have? You can find out more about us here.  If you’d like some help with editing your website, we’re all about helping with that. Join us on Facebook | follow on Twitter...

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The one thing that will make your email marketing more effective.

The one thing that will make your email marketing more effective.

The most important factor in whether someone opens an email is the subject line. People will even open emails from people they don’t know – inadvisable as that is – if the subject line is compelling enough. Since the subject line is such valuable real estate, don’t waste it with these all-too-common mistakes: Repeating the date. Every email program puts a date on the email. Repeating the organization’s name. The email program tells us that. Telling us it’s a newsletter. Why not tell us what it’s about? Jamming in your web address. That should be in the email somewhere. Using a cryptic “from” name. We probably don’t want to have a relationship with “no reply.” Not testing personalization. We get emails with “Hi, Lucid!” in the subject line. Below are examples of all of the above, along with examples of good and excellent subject lines – timely, relevant, action-oriented, and informative – as all subject lines should be.  (Click on image to view larger.) Take a look at your last email marketing message.  How does it stack up? Join us on Facebook | follow on Twitter...

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Don't shoot the messenger.

Don't shoot the messenger.

Advertising Age reported yesterday that engagement with 300 leading brands on Facebook is down 22%.  Facebook continues to gain users, so why is fan activity down?  It’s not Facebook, it’s the marketers.  Writer Michael Scissons blames bad content, coupons, polls and boring filler; to those we would add self-serving “please like our page!” posts.  For a person to interact with a brand (and not just on Facebook), it has to fill some perceived need the person has…entertainment, news, self-improvement, excitement.  Social media isn’t old-school advertising that moved to the internet; it’s easier to get in, but it’s hard to be invited to stay. Join us on Facebook | follow on Twitter...

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Petco: where do unhealthy pets go?

Petco: where do unhealthy pets go?

Kudos to Petco for updating their logo from a dated-looking font to a new, crisper one.  The rest of the branding, however, may make Fluffy lose her lunch.  “Where healthy pets go” as a tagline is awkward and it begs the question: where do the unhealthy pets go?  The type for the tagline is too small, and the color of the word “healthy” is too light to be seen from much distance; compare the visibility of the two taglines here. If Petco wants to convey that they make pets healthier with the products they sell, they can do that in their advertising.  A perfect tagline can tell the whole story of what a company does, but this isn’t it. What do you think?  Is the new Petco logo better, or worse, and why? Join us on Facebook | follow on Twitter...

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