Lessons Learned: Gotham Inc.

Remember this post? Where I gushed on and on about how neat it was that Denny’s was doing a web series for their social media campaign? I mentioned that DumbDumb, a group started by actors Jason Bateman and Will Arnett, was responsible for the videos. Apparently, however, I failed to dig further and discover the true group responsible for bringing this hilarity to the web.

Then, yesterday, I attended a guest lecturer at our school–an alumni who has made quite a name for himself in the marketing and advertising industry. His name was Peter McGuinness and his company is Gotham Inc., an integrated marketing company. The presentation was spectacular and thought-provoking, and while it’s hard to pinpoint a favorite part, I was especially interested when McGuinness started talking about Gotham’s own work. Lo and behold, they were the masterminds behind the Denny’s campaign.

McGuinness and his group were given the daunting task of completely revitalizing a great American brand that had lost its heat. Focusing on the idea of “openness,” the group enlisted social media, marketing and advertising. The success was evident and the media were enthralled.

For my part, I was bit starstruck when I found out they had been responsible for the “Always Open” videos that I love so much. It took all my willpower to resist shouting out: “I blogged about that!” I managed to resist making a fool out of myself, while taking away a few valuable lessons in the process. Here are some of those lessons:

  • Evolution and innovation are continuous
  • Social media is more than a fad. It is pervasive and powerful– and here to stay.
  • Brands have become democratized: The consumers are in control and companies must work to “earn” their time.
  • The foundation of a successful brand/consumer relationship is reciprocity.
  • When executing a campaign, truth is more important than ever.
  • It’s important to remain curious, personally and professionally. Broaden your perspective and horizon.
  • And finally, when applying to jobs “package yourself in a unique and compelling way.”

While I never got to ask the most burning question on my mind (Is your company’s name a reference to Batman?), the event was certainly valuable. In the end, it got me all the more excited to enter the career world!

Yo Quiero Taco Bell’s new Ad campaign?

The other day I was reading an article discussing whether or not (and how) Taco Bell should publicly acknowledge the lawsuit brought against them. The suit claims that the fast food chain’s beef filling is more like ‘beef.’ The taco filling, they maintain, is not up to FDA standards.

While the possibility of this lawsuit critically affecting Taco Bell’s financial status are slim, the company has decided to publicly, and creatively, address the issue. Starting on Friday, Taco Bell is launching an advertising campaign in such mass print newspapers as The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and others. The purpose of these ads, says Taco Bell’s president Greg Creed, is to “set the record straight.”

Creed insists that the lawsuit is “bogus and filled with completely inaccurate facts.” Perhaps demonstrating the truth to this statement, the company has committed itself to this rather expensive advertising campaign. While no official price tag has been released, the ads are full-page, color, and in major publications; adding up to a hefty price tag.

The page boldly declares, “Thank you for suing us. Here’s the truth about our seasoned beef,” followed by a rundown the meat’s true ingredients.

While this case has made headline news, Taco Bell didn’t necessarily have to address it. Opponents might have argued that by addressing it publicly, they are bringing more attention to a case better left to fizzle out on its own. As mentioned, despite the coverage, Taco Bell’s reputation and finances would not necessarily be dramatically effected. However, the fast food restaurant’s confidence in their own product has led them to take a stand. Does this ad campaign just add more fuel to the fire, or is Taco Bell being smart in acknowledging the claims brought against them?

With all of the debate going on, all I can think of is the days of the Taco Bell Dog ad campaigns. Oh to return to those days…Yo quiero Taco Bell dog.