Monday, March 20, 2006

New Advertising: Gamble or Genius?

I just got a look at the March 13, Velonews today. Yes, I know I'm behind.

On the inside front cover is a two page advertising spread, which can't be cheap. Maybe you've seen it. It's two plain white pages with only two things on them. Bottom left of the first page is a red frog; top right corner says, simply,

Ok, you are thinking that it's cool because it sends people to a website. Yes. I think so, too. However, the ad is banking on your being extremely curious - and the fact that you are reading the magazine near a computer or will move to a computer nearly immediately so you don't forget. It's a gamble, in my book.

What if you aren't at your computer? What if you are past that page by the time you walk from the mailbox to the house, or get off the can or out of bed or wherever you read your magazines? Are you curious enough to remember this little frog after supper and putting the kids to bed?

Say you do remember. You go to the site and you see the same red frog move across the page and then two paragraphs of teaser text (which I'd put for you here, except it keeps telling me that I need the program to run program, which I have! Ugh, Technology...). The short of it is this: there is going to be another choice on April 7th.

Great! I love new choices! Where do I put in my email address to get a reminder to come back on April 7th to find out what my new choice is? Ah-ha. There isn't a spot. Do you need to remember this date? All by yourself? With everything else going on in the world? April 7th? Not a chance, at least not with me, no matter what my good intentions are right now. I am sure 'they' are smarter than me and they will run another ad before that time to remind us feeble minded folks. That is, whomever 'they' is.

I don't mind teasers, kind of like them, actually. I really, really enjoyed the movie teaser for The Ransom. Cool movie that drew you in, gave you a laugh and an aire of mystery. Personally, I would have liked a place on the frog's site to add my email address so I could be in on the cool announcement - because I am curious.

Now, I must mention that two guys in my office really liked this concept at least one said that he would be back to the site on April 7th. I have my doubts....but we'll see. Maybe it is a male/female thing?

And, because I am, admittedly, impatient - anyone want to tell me who the company is that is running these ads? Because, as much as I think I would have done something different, they did something right because I'm here typing away about them. It's all about the buzz, right?

But this is just my opinion. Do you think this is a gamble? Or a big win? Or something in between? Are you curious enough to remember to go back in a couple of weeks?

Posted by Donna Tocci at 3:34 PM


  1. Anonymous Anonymous posted at 4:27 PM  
    A quick check of the whois says the domain is registered to SRAM which was my initial guess without looking it up. I imagine it will be the full release of the road group but I could be wrong.
  2. Blogger Donna Tocci posted at 5:18 PM  
    Hey Anon - thanks for stopping by. I'm SO not a techie so I forget that there are ways to find these things out. Thanks!
  3. Blogger Guitar Ted posted at 7:44 PM  
    Interesting. The first thing I thought of was those white ads with simple black text for Miyata Bicycles back in the mid nineties. Do I need to say what happened to them?

    With the tech-savy people, the cat is out of the bag- SRAM - so why bother going back on April 7th?

    I think it's a failed attempt at building interest. It didn't work last century, and it won't in this one either.
  4. Blogger Dave Thompson posted at 8:23 PM  
    Well now I know the punch line (SRAM owns the web address) I have no doubt that their product will stand out from the rest, because SRAM is a very organic and innovative owned company. The ad is a very Intriguing one, but I would have to agree, if you are not at a computer, it is not effective. I think sending customers to the top 100 dealers would have been a little more effective, and possibly driven sales.
  5. Blogger Tim Jackson posted at 8:32 PM  
    All good points. Thank you Donna for pointing this one out to those of us who hadn't seen it. I have to admit that the bulk of my reading is online now, so I hadn't seen the ad yet.

    Like Donna, I think it does draw my attention and I like the little blinking frog, but it isn't compelling enough to bring me back to look on whatever day it is.

    SRAM is a very savvy company and has a great advertsing history. They probably feel pretty good about this ad and how effective they believe it will be. Hell, if nothing else, it has gotten the discussion going here.

    This type of ad, similar to the one a few months ago for the United Pro Cycling Team website and announcement, can be effective. CAN is a big three letter word though. A lot can happen with those three letters and it is really hard to quantify. I think that the new road groups they are producing are really gorgeous and will do very well, if the prototypes I played with are an accurate indication of products to come. This kind of ad campaign will mean a lot less to the public and more to people like us who pay attention to the marketing. From that standpoint, they've done it right.
  6. Anonymous Anonymous posted at 8:06 AM  
    SRAM tried to hide the real owner by using a third-party registrant but slipped up on reverse IP finding.

    And check out the domains they DIDN'T register...

    I hadn't seen the print campaign so thanks for alerting me!
  7. Anonymous Anonymous posted at 10:20 AM  
    igvobeqI have read marketing reports in other industries on vanity urls. A few of you have touched on the fact that people have to many other distractions by the time they get to their computer to remember the exact url. This is true.

    Also print advertising is generally just a brand builder, so its a huge gamble to take out such an expensive chunk of advertising... unless you are giving away large sums of money or items with huge monetary value. In that case people are more likely to make a point to visit the url in the ad... cause they hope to actually get something, fulfill a dream, win big!

    I have to say the frog is cool in the ad, as is the flash frog on the site. Thats some nice design. But is good ad design enough to draw in new customers? If it is enough to get them to your site, how do you get them to stay a while?
  8. Anonymous Anonymous posted at 1:48 PM  
    Hi Donna -- I stumbled upon your blog (thanks to Dave Thompson) this afternoon and uncovered this interesting discussing. I own a website for Colorado outdoor recreation ( and am always trying to think of creative ways to drive new people to the site. I'm hesitant to invest in print advertising because of exactly what you said -- most likely people aren't reading print in front of their computer and therefore won't remember to check out the website.

    If you make the ad interesting enough though (which I'm not sure if SRAM accomplished), I think people might follow up. I keep seeing it more and more -- from print to TV to billboards. I remember reading (online) that even though Superbowl commercials this year were at an all time low (in terms of impressiveness), online viewing was at an all-time high. I was surprised by this -- I seem to be like you, with no desire (or memory) to run to a website after I see a vague ad. It seems like more and more people are reacting to following up online.

    I'd love to know how effective the campaign ends up being for SRAM. The nice thing is they can track exactly how many people checked out the website, which they can't do with their print ad. Whoops, this posting got long. Thanks for letting me jump in with my thoughts!
  9. Blogger C posted at 3:49 PM  
    Reminds me too much of the Specialized campaigns from a couple of years ago.
  10. Anonymous Anonymous posted at 9:39 PM  
    I find it tricky to keep in touch with what the "average" enthusiast cyclist feels and knows.
    In the industry we're all very excited to see the SRAM family challenge the two great component manufacturers so boldly.
    My friends who ride and read forums know (and care) very little about how big a project this is.
    I am 40. Shimano brought out Dura Ace when I was 9 or 10.
    There was a weird attempt when I was 25 or so to make Sachs "New Success" group catch on.
    Otherwise, SRAM are on virgin soil.
    I'm trying to say that the ads might very well lag far (6 months?)behind our excitement/knowledge/experience curve and apply very directly to those myserious end-users.
    Oh, and I saw the finished groups today at Redalnds on the Sierra Nevada team bikes and they look great. I may have some rider feedback Sunday.
  11. Blogger SiouxGeonz posted at 2:17 PM  
    I think it's cheesy. It's "see what we can do with our graphics software?" I'm going to say "cute" and roll my eyes and be annoyed at the complete and utter lack of content... *most* people aren't going to look twice.
  12. Blogger Dave Thompson posted at 9:42 AM  
    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
  13. Blogger Dave Thompson posted at 9:46 AM  
    I was just on and saw the SRAM Groupo, and could not recall what the web site I was suppose to check back to. Can somebody please remind me. hahaha
  14. Anonymous Anonymous posted at 6:48 AM  
    Genius, real Genius but so far so good .. its still a gamble for me... lolz... and i agree print advertising is just a brand builder... cycling for specialized campaign... very risky

    Highly relevant, efficient advertising to forum, blog, wiki and other types of web sites.
    Drive large number of visitors to your website and build quality links.

Post a Comment

« Home