When advertising no longer talks at you but actually does something for you, then it becomes a service. Samsung places charging stations in airports and road warriors get the fuel they need to carry on the battle. The longer the program runs, the longer everybody wins. Samsung gets meaningful exposure, airports get happier travelers and consumers come to recognize Samsung as a helpful & reliable “mobile” resource. The exchange of value is crystal clear.
That’s why I’m only lukewarm about a new program from Kraft as reported by MediaPost:
In the Windy City this month, frozen commuters and holiday shoppers will be treated to heated bus shelters and samples of Stove Top’s new Quick Cups instant stuffing, courtesy of Kraft Foods.
“Stove Top Stuffing is all about warming up families with hot, delicious meals when the temperatures drop,” said brand manager Ellen Thompson in a release, “and we wanted a stand-out way to demonstrate this to consumers this holiday season.”
This is a thin a commitment to Marketing as Service as you will find. Only 10 bus shelters are being heated and only in Chicago. 49 other markets will just see bus shelter ads. So really, this is a insincere stunt that Kraft hopes will inspire lots of PR. And perhaps it will (which may be enough for them.)
Imagine for a moment Kraft committed to bus shelters in cold cities the way Samsung has to airport terminals. Commuters would be thanking Kraft by the bus load and telling all their friends how the kind folks from Glenview warmed them up on a frigid morning. Cities would be competing to get the Kraft bus shelter program as a way of encouraging and rewarding the use of public transportation.
Okay, maybe I’m dreaming but I’d bet on this approach versus 49 markets worth of bus shelter posters that get the cold shoulder treatment from ad-weary consumers. Marketing as Service has the potential to transform the way consumers interact with and perceive your brand. And to quote one genius at self-promotion, “that’s hot.”