Monthly Archives: May 2017

For automotive brands, tires aren’t the only thing requiring alignment.

via your classmate Mayusanth:

When you hear the word “Lamborghini,” you may think of a brand known to build fast, exotic, luxury cars. The Italian car maker has always differentiated itself with its sleek design and performance, as illustrated by the Hurcan, Aventador and Gallardo models.  Recently, however, the company announced that it will be entering a new market with a Hybrid SUV with a 4.0 twin turbo V8 producing over 600 hp.

This is surprising given that the target demographic for SUVs might be family-oriented individuals who might take their kids to hockey practice or a soccer game. For me, ‘SUV’ and ‘sports car’ do not go in the same sentence. Producing a 4.0 Twin turbo V8 SUV, is like injecting Redbull into a 5 year child. There is no need for that much power! Besides, it’s illegal to go upwards of 120km/h on most North American roads. Possibly most importantly, customers probably do not buy the “Lamborghini brand” for sustainability, but for style and performance.

Therefore, a hybrid version of a Lamborghini might damage its overall brand equity and brand loyalty. Customers love Lamborghini’s brand elements: the roar of the engine, the speed and the luxury. With A sustainable hybrid powertrain, you cannot get the same feel and experience. Furthermore, Lamborghini competes in the super luxury sport cars market with low volume and high exclusivity. By introducing a Hybrid SUV, the brand seems to be deviating from a successful business model into a high volume market. As a result, I believe this will tarnish their existing brand perception and customer loyalty.

According to the article below, Lamborghini’s CEO believes that this SUV model will double overall sales without compromising the existing brand. I have to disagree; I believe customers will see this as a “profit generation” strategy and will call their bluff by ignoring the new vehicle. One thing is very clear to me: Lamborghini is desperate and looking for new avenues for growth. However, I would argue that spinning off a hybrid SUV from an established luxury brand isn’t sporty, it’s stupid.


Can the Lazaridis MBA be its own leader?


Via your classmate Aaron:

If you’re reading this, you’re probably on the internet and using a web browser. Companies may place a JavaScript tag on their website and participate with online ad exchanges through their marketing agency. When you visit that website, a “cookie” is left in your browsing history and the products/services you viewed earlier may show up on another website or social media platform later reminding you about that brand. This process is known as retargeting and is designed to change a “window shopper” into a future “customer” by promoting an offer and an actionable next step to engage that customer with their brand.

Lazaridis MBA participates in ad exchange, however its effectiveness is questionable. As a current student enrolled in the MBA program over the last 3 years, I’ve been targeted by the Lazaridis MBA to “be a leader”, “earn [my] one year full-time MBA in Waterloo”, “earn [my] MBA with CPA, part-time,” or “attend an MBA Information Session.”

How effective are these ads promoting student enrollment when it’s being advertised to existing students?

Moreover, the websites participating on the same ad exchange platform vary from BlogTo, Best Buy, Business Insider, Expedia, and various gossip blogs. Can Lazaridis MBA be a leader in ensuring their ads are placed on websites consistent with their brand? How does purchasing a new TV relate to earning my MBA in Finance? Why if I’m reading about strange things seen on the TTC, I get an ad is encouraging me to earn a Full-Time MBA in Waterloo? Why would reading an article about human rights and the Russian government become a good time to enroll in a full time MBA program?

Brand misalignment is really apparent when two conflicting ad banners are not consistent with each other, for example in the image above, in which the Lazaridis MBA is asking me if I’m a leader, while a Google Ad is asking me if I’m living with a sociopath.

I would argue that Lazaridis MBA needs to revisit their marketing strategies and speak with their agency to confirm that their briefs, concepts, and branding are consistent across all retargeting efforts and to ensure they are getting their return on investment. Perhaps, when the contract is up for renewal, the Laurier MBA marketing team could revise their brief and have a tissue session, so the examples highlighted here don’t continue to happen and devalue the brand.

Curious on how retargeting works on your Facebook account? Check out Marketing Land link below.


What the !@*%!# Kraft Dinner?


via your classmate Sandeep:

I came across a Mother’s Day video by Kraft that opens with a mother with a house full of children. The mother turns out to be Dr. Melissa Mohr, an expert on swearing. She reveals that a recent study by Kraft Mac & Cheese found that 74% of mothers admit to swearing in front of their kids. Under the premise that she can help mothers deal with “less than perfect parenting situations,” Mohr expresses her frustrations with her kids by using creative language such as, “What the frog!” However, when she slips and utters something vulgar, she is “beeped” and an icon the shape of macaroni pasta appears in front of her mouth.

At a first glance, the video is pretty light and fun. However, when you look a little bit deeper, the brand management team is being pretty strategic in their approach. Some of the things I noticed were:

  1. The video right away caters to mothers; this is interesting because mothers are probably the typical people who purchase Kraft Macaroni and Cheese for their kids. This is a great tactic as it targets the shopper rather than the person actually consuming the product.
  2. The video makes reference to a recent study by Kraft Mac and Cheese. This is also very interesting as there is almost a quick subliminal message here. I did not hear it the first time I watched it, but it definitely stood out a second time. The ad could of done a better job on making this obvious, but I do not think it was much of a loss.
  3. The video uses macaroni throughout to cover up swear words. This is a good object to use, because it is exactly an image of the product they are promoting. However, because it is shaped like a smile, I first thought it was a banana. In addition to this, I first thought that the video did a poor job in bleeping the swear words, but then I realized this could also be strategic. If the ad did not push the envelope a bit, it would not catch my attention.
  4. The colours used in the home and the Mohr’s clothing are similar to the colour of the Kraft Mac and Cheese packaging. This definitely seems like it was planned.
  5. At the end of the video, a reference is made to being a good mom and when you can’t, there is always Kraft Mac and Cheese (the product is known as Kraft Dinner in Canada, but this was an American commercial). Once again, the branding team is catering to the buyer of the product. The last scene also shows a bunch of kids sitting at a table, which shows that Mac & Cheese can be a great meal when entertaining kids.
  6. Finally, the ad does a great job of showing the viewer the product at the end, linking the viewer to their website ( and then also showing some free ear buds.

Overall, I think the ad is fun, but is carefully put together. Would this make me buy the product? I am not sure, but I’m not the target of the communication.

What’s in A Name?


via your classmate Ruby:

Kylie Jenner has established a successful brand identity as a reality television personality, socialite, fashion designer and model. She has capitalized on her celebrity status through various business ventures including a clothing line called Kendall and Kylie and a successful cosmetics line called Kylie Cosmetics. Naturally, Kylie submitted a U.S. trademark application for her respective name in 2015, as she wanted to protect her name in relation to advertising, entertainment and personal appearances “by a celebrity, actress, and model.”

Unfortunately for Jenner, in February 2016, Australian pop star Kylie Minogue and her representative business, KBD, filed a notice of opposition to Jenner’s application. KBD argued that Minogue already owns trademark registrations for “Kylie Minogue Darling,” “Lucky – the Kylie Minogue musical,” and her full name, “Kylie Minogue.” She has also owned since 1996, which is to say, before Jenner was born. Kylie Jenner has filed an appeal to the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

Minogue has been active since 1988 and has established a prominent brand not only in pop culture but also through philanthropic and humanitarian efforts. She has been known as “Kylie” for the entirety of her career. Jenner, on the other hand, debuted in 2007 and her name has appeared in a variety of outlets and products. As it currently stands, ownership of a name is quite often a first-come-first-serve situation.

Kylie Jenner has established a strong brand identity which has been powerfully defined through various social media platforms. She was voted as one of 25 most influential teens of 2014, and in 2016 she was one of 10 most followed celebrities on Instagram and has a best-selling app on iTunes.  She has accumulated a large and loyal following which has enhanced her brand’s personality. Her followers, primarily millennials and teens, are exposed to her life and she promotes EVERYTHING on her social media platforms. If Kylie J. doesn’t win the appeal, will it affect the Kylie Jenner brand?

This Email, Well, Bombed.

Image result for adidas boston marathon

Via your classmate Adiela:

Adidas is running–to apologize after sending an insensitive email to finishers of the 2017 Boston Marathon. The subject line of the email read “Congrats, you survived the Boston Marathon!” Recipients of the email took to social media expressing their outrage at the insensitive subject line of the email which was intended to be a promotional email, encouraging runners to “share their race day experiences and shop official gear.”

Adidas subsequently apologized, stating that they were “incredibly sorry”, and that “the Boston Marathon is one of the most inspirational sporting events in the world. Every year we’re reminded of the hope and resiliency of the running community at this event.”

Although the company has acknowledged it was a poorly executed marketing email, I simply feel that an apology is not enough. In my opinion, this is likely to hurt the brand more than help it, as it displays a high level of insensitivity on the part of the brand and is directly offensive to the survivors of the Boston marathon bombings. The brand image in the eyes of loyal customers who hold this issue dear to their hearts will likely diminish. Adidas has to take a more active role in showing that they are truly sorry. To right their wrongs, they should come up with innovative ways to get directly involved with helping the current survivors and use the publicity from these efforts to redeem themselves in the eyes of the public and reverse their image from insensitive to community activist!


Zellers: Night of the Living Dead Brand

zellers queensway

via your classmate Vito:

One of the best known Canadian brands has come back from the dead to feast on the clearance merchandise of Hudsons Bay and Home Outfitters! Many people don’t know this, but there are two Zellers locations still chugging along in Canada. One in Nepean, ON – a suburb just south of Ottawa and one right in our backyard on the Queensway in Etobicoke, ON. They’ve been open since 2013, but you won’t find much advertising for these two stores. In fact, the stores aren’t listed on the HBC store locator and you won’t find any mention of them on the HBC corporate website. It’s almost as if they are run by some supernatural retail force.

What treasures are kept in these stores you might ask? Well, in the article linked below, Christina Avila bravely ventures to the Queensway location and admits she was surprised at what she found. Unlike the original Zellers stores of yesteryear, these stores sell a variety of clearance merchandise from large brands including Nine West, Ralph Lauren, Ivanka Trump (everyone’s favorite), Dooney & Bourke, Kensie, and BCBG MAXAZRIA.

Apparently these stores were quietly re-opened after HBC sold all locations to Target, which begs the question, why continue using the Zellers brand name? They could have reopened as ‘Designers4Less’, ‘Brand Clearance Warehouse’ or something along those lines and allowed the well-known name associated with Zeddy the bear and 3D club sandwiches to rest in peace.

I’d argue that the mass familiarity with the Zellers brand among Canadians, whether the connotation is positive or tainted, is what accounts for much of the patronage that these stores get. Why ditch a brand that is well known and try to build a new one from scratch? Maybe the negativity surrounding Zellers (if there is any) doesn’t outweigh the familiarity when it comes to getting feet in the door.

What do you think?

The Grass Is Always Greener…


via your classmate Ryan:

While medical marijuana has been on the market for some time with a prescription, the Federal Government of Canada is currently in the process of legalizing the sale and recreational use of marijuana. Importantly, this legalization will be managed with regulations which specifically include how marijuana can (or cannot) be branded.

The Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation recommends plain packaging and prohibit any product deemed to be “appealing to children” ( To note however, there are different camps with varying definitions of the phrase “Plain packaging”.

In one camp, “The federal task force recommended that plain marijuana packaging be allowed to include the company name, strain name, price, amounts of psychoactive ingredients and warnings.” (

Another camp believes, “Cannabis should be treated essentially the same as liquor, a sector where companies cannot show people using the product in commercials or target underage individuals.” (

Arguably, the latter would be a more appropriate treatment whereby there are restrictions on branding but branding none-the-less. Branding will give firms the opportunity to display and convey their value proposition and differentiation. It will also make the product look more legitimate than what is currently sold in the black-market. Legitimacy and access is what I think will drive current customers to purchase from newly authorized (legal) sources vs. illegal sources (one of the government’s goals). Marijuana has as many variations as alcohol (or versions of alcohol i.e. whiskey vs. scotch, etc.) so branding will be critical in informing the customer about the differences and characteristics of one brand or strain over another. Elements that could be included are grower, growing conditions, source, farm name, etc.. Similar to food, where customers are demanding to know more about where their food comes from, the same principles apply here.

If branding to this degree is allowed, it would be an interesting time for new brands to build an identity, image and personality. This would be the first time the product is available to the masses in Canada, so potential customers would need to be educated to entice trial. This would be followed by more education to explain why one brand has a better product than another brand. Brand Personality would need to be managed carefully due to federal regulation regarding the branding of marijuana. Recommendations from the task force seem to indicate that firms could not brand themselves as being part of having a luxury or fun life style the way alcohol brands do but also seems to be more liberal than cigarette branding. Accordingly, these new brands should focus of the uniqueness, rarity and production effort of their particular product over others. This would convey a premium product but would exclude any personality traits (i.e. fun, hip, older, younger).