New Marketing Trends

Marketing Ideas for Non-Profits and Libraries

The M Word helps librarians learn about marketing trends and ideas.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Where's the Bun?!?

I just had a stroke of genius! Or maybe it was an actual stroke... either way, something just flashed in my brain and I need to toss it out there for the world to comment on.

I'm still thinking about Nancy's recent post about a report that found evidence that a national marketing campaign could lead to better library funding. (You can skip my comment on it that, which can be summed up simply as, "Duh!!")

Who will start this campaign? What should it be? Why should we wait for some big org to do it? Why indeed, when the perfect TV commercial just flashed in my head.

Y'all remember Wendy's old commercial "where's the beef?" that became so infamous? (for those too young to remember: see it here.) I'm picturing a take-off on that:

Some elderly ladies hobble up to a library circ desk, and look at the woman behind it. Pan to circ clerk, someone very modern (maybe even w/ cool hair like Ruth!). Startled, one elder looks around and cries out, "Where's the bun?" The shouting brings other librarians to the desk -- a man, maybe a YA lib, even a white-haired lib, with her hair down of course. The little old lady looks from one to the other and keeps asking, "Where's the bun?!?"

Now screen changes to a text-only message: "It ain't your grandma's library anymore. Come see what's going on today @ your library." with a URL to... some way-cool but informative site.

Funny, huh? memorable. quick. could be 15 seconds. I know, commercials in prime-time are expensive, but for many years I've thought that's what we really need to reach the masses. Nice PSAs on the free channels just don't cut it. Lil happy-ending stories in small-town newspapers just don't cut it. What is nearly everyone exposed to? TV commercials. (Someone would surely toss it on YouTube too to drive the sensation.) It would start a word-of-mouth marketing campaign. Maybe it would start a revolution.

People around my age, give 5-10 years in either direction, would remember the original commercial. They're adults who use technology, who do some informed voting, and who have some money to give.

Maybe my brain really is damaged, and this is all crazy. I can't judge for myself. I need to hear from others out there. C'mon, folks, talk to me!


JC said...

I love it. I think something like this would be a great way to introduce people to all that the library is today

~Kathy Dempsey said...

Thanks, JC!

OK, there's one brave, visionary soul on the bandwagon? Anyone else?

Anonymous said...

yes, very good. but maybe 'not JUST your grandma's library' because of course it still is your grandma's library too, right? and we don't want to slag the grandmas! :)

~Kathy Dempsey said...

Absolutely right, grandmas always welcome!! I was thinking of another old commercial: "It's not your father's Oldsmobile." not meaning that dad couldn't buy one, but meaning that it wasn't the same type of Olds that was sold back when you dad was young.

Funny how commercials stick in your head and, to a point, color the way you think about things for years after, isn't it?

Nancy Dowd said...

Well the great thing about blogs is that we get to discuss these fantastic topics. I love the idea of creating a story that will help people connect to us emotionally. We may want to be really cautious with this line of strategy… I had come across a study of this campaign awhile back and from what I remember, the campaign was actually considered to be the downfall of Oldsmobile! Weird I know but while the slogan sounded good, it really didn’t succeed. Oldsmobile had grown its brand to represent middleclass achievement. They used this strategy to re-brand themselves but ended up loosing their existing customer base (they were the fathers!) and because the brand was so strong, the new generation never did buy in to the “New Olds” idea. It was the beginning of the end for Olds…. I think there is so much for libraries to learn from this.

Maybe the story isn’t so much about the idea that our “old” of way of being doesn’t work as much as the one about how diverse we are … not all libraries are the same but what we all do is reach out to our communities and help meet their needs whether those needs are lifelong learning, books, specialized research, music, videos, entertainment, ESL classes, literacy, children or teens programs and collections, meeting places, community gathering places, socialization, etc… (do you hear a plug for NJ’s new campaign, Solving Life’s Problems, coming out here?).

~Kathy Dempsey said...

Good points, Nancy. While the Oldsmobile comment was just an afterthought on my part, it would have to be much better thought-out before actually doing anything. But hey, that's where market research comes in!

Along with altering the wording, maybe the action should continue under the words & URL at end, where some of the non-bun-wearing libs come out from behind the desk and proceed to help the grannies.

If this were to become a real project, there would be many more considerations (including copyright!) but at this point I'm trying to get people's brains fired up about how (relatively) easy and fun a national campaign could be -- and how we don't have to wait for bureaucracy's glaciers to move to get things done.

Patty said...

Actually, I see two commercials that focus on the reality of libraries today:

Library is an Community Haven--here is the 1:1 and face-to-face group learning activities that Nancy referred to in her comments

The Library is Everywhere--here is the advantages to getting access to community-oriented and professionally organized information from your home, at your fingertips, through your home computer, 24-hours a day

Today's library is so much more than that brick building down the street that contains books. While librarians celebrate unprecendented access to information, I don't think the public views us this way. We need to publicly embrace all of the unique ways we can help our communities use information to their advantage.

Now, there's the boring vision and scope. You can see that I clearly lack the creativity to come up with some "modern and catchy" to create an engaging PSA!