Archive for February, 2010

Marketing the GoGirl

February 17, 2010

Yesterday morning I came across an article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune about an—er—implement that allows women to urinate standing up. It’s being marketed as a GoGirl, a pocket-sized piece of silicone that slips into a container in your purse and gives women the ability to discreetly take care of business when conditions are less than desirable.

Now, I realize you may be thinking, “This is an odd thing to write about on a marketing and graphic design blog!” but hang in there. The back story of the GoGirl is what interests me.

Turns out the product is currently in its first rebrand, being led by Sarah Dillon, a market researcher by trade. Sarah saw the potential in the product, but given her background, approached the business opportunity strategically, enlisting focus groups to learn about the product’s potential in the marketplace. Clearly, the research paid off. Everything about the product appears to be crafted to appeal to active women: its size, the price, the name, the package design, and even the tagline: “Don’t take life sitting down.” They aggressively market the product to women who are literally “on the go”: at festivals, fairs and womens’ expos, and take advantage of non-traditional marketing mediums such as sponsoring races, Facebook and other internet marketing.

Photo by Neal St. Anthony, Star Tribune; "Go Girl sales director Jan Edman, center, and President Sarah Dillon in front of an advertisement for their product. They project that the Hopkins-based company will produce more than 1 million units this year and achieve $15 million in revenue by 2013."

Clearly, Sarah Dillon understands women, and has put together a marketing and branding package to sell an unusual product to the masses. Which is more than can be said for the first incarnation of the GoGirl.

Originally designed by Dr. Jim Block and dubbed “FemMed”, the product never went anywhere. The name and appearance was far too clinical, and didn’t appeal to women’s lifestyles. Now, as GoGirl, the product has the brand and marketing strategy in place to reach its target audiences and turn a profit. So: same product + understanding of target audiences + good marketing strategy = successful outcome.

I love this story because it really speaks to the power of the process we follow here at Mix Creative. When we get to know a new client, we go through a branding process that explores audiences, competitors, product features and benefits, the brand description and story, and the tone; then we use that to strategically design visual elements of the brand and determine the best route for marketing the company’s product or services. The result? Success in the marketplace.

So, Sarah Dillon, for getting it right, let me say, “You GoGirl!”

(tee hee, couldn’t resist)

Photo from the WIN Awards Ceremony

February 12, 2010
Mix Creative wins the 2010 Destined to Win award

Katrina Hase of Mix Creative accepts the 2010 "Destined to WIN" award from Women in Networking Director, Teresa Thomas-Carrol

We were SO thrilled to win the 2010 Destined to Win Award!
The entire day at the Destined to WIN in 2010 conference was a blur of greeting familiar faces, meeting inspired business owners, and learning from experts in the three breakout sessions. But I have to say, the highlight for me was being one of three WIN members (also including Kris Jamieson and Maureen Heinen) honored with an inaugural WIN award—what an amazing honor, in a room full of such accomplished women. Thank you!
Photo courtesy of Wendy Houser Blomseth, InBeaute Photography

Superbowl ad wrap-up

February 9, 2010

Not a big football fan myself, I nevertheless draped in our big comfy chair in front of the glowing television screen on  game day to watch (what else?) the Superbowl ads.

“Ads are on!” my husband and son would alert me, as I peered up from my book.

From the few that I could remember, the ads fell in roughly three categories: 1) heart-string tuggers, 2) screwball comedy and 3) misogynistic/objectification of women (what the heck does Danika Patrick and a girl who looks like a Hooters employee have to do with internet hosting?? and REALLY, you’d give away your wife to keep your TIRES?)

My overall impression of the ads was Deja Vu. For example:

  • Hyundai, which was a major corporate sponsor of the event, presented formula-based car commercials emphasizing quality and value. Cue the cars on the construction line, shiny vehicles on twisty roads. Nicely done, but rather dull for the Superbowl (notable exception: an ad with an aged by not-yet-retired Brett Favre).
  • Budweiser split the difference in a series of spots between girls in showers and an epic tale of friendship involving a Clydesdale and a Bull (sniff)
  • (sidetrack: one of the worst internet providers for customer service!) featured a number of spots that inexplicably pitted busty female against race car driver Danika Patrick for the coveted (??) position as a GoDaddy spokesperson.
  • Two ads in a row featured a “no pants” punchline: an overtired casual day reference:, followed by the “Men without pants” Dockers ad. Superbowl ad reps: can’t you place your commercials better to at least TRY to make your advertisers look a little more creative?
  • Talking babies ads for E*Trade: only E*Trade could make babies look this creepy and unlikeable.

A few notables:

  • Doritos had nice ads overall; the result of viewer-made entries. The “Don’t touch my momma and Don’t touch my Doritos” ad was relate-able, the Minnesota-made “Samurai” ad was kitschy, and the “Dog removes shock collar” ad was screwball funny
  • Google featured a text-based ad about winning over a French girl. I liked this format better on Hulu, where the ads are shorter, but it still worked.
  • Budweiser, dinged above for a few predictable ads, at least had a spread of different ad approaches to keep us interested.
  • Snickers wisely employed Betty White for a gaffaw. She was dead-on in her comedic delivery.

Want a more quantifiable opinion about the Superbowl ads? Check out todays’ Star Tribune article about how a local ad company tracked tweets about Superbowl ads to determine the most popular spots. Or, visit the New York Times’ Best and Worst Super Bowl ads of 2010 article to view all and read their commentaries.

Guest Lecture: Starting a Design Business

February 2, 2010

I thoroughly enjoyed speaking with Bill Hendrick’s Freelance Design Business class at Minneapolis Community and Technical College today! We spoke on topics common to first year businesses, graphic design-focused or other. Topics included:

  • Options for freelancing: Use a creatives broker? Sell a pre-packaged product? Work directly with clients?
  • Assembling your business plan: The who, what, when, where, why, how, and how much?
  • Target audiences: You get to choose who you work with!
  • Defining your brand: Determining your brand description, brand story, services, voice, and visual elements.
  • Business infrastructure: Estimates, invoices, proposals, portfolio, business account, contracts, and accounting software
  • Finding and winning clients: From cold calling to networking in person and online

Students had great questions and tips, too! I wish you all success and hope to hear from you about your progress.

Oh! And if you’d like to get to know the students from a fine art perspective, check out their collective show this Friday, Feb 5, at the Fallout Gallery (26th and Stevens Ave near the Minneapolis Institute of Art). The opening reception begins at 7pm.

Proofing tips

February 2, 2010

Proof reading is a critical, yet too often neglected, step in graphic design and production. Carrie Chase at CTI Paper Group offers some helpful tips in a recent e-zine article that came into my inbox. Here’s an excerpt:

Ideally, we’d all have someone else proof our advertising and marketing copy. Let someone else—anyone else—be responsible for signing off on that final proof before it’s forever set in print. Unfortunately, there isn’t always someone else, and even when there is, you should proofread your own copy carefully.

Don’t find out the hard way whether or not your career can withstand a $12,000 mistake.

Follow the ten tips below, and sign off on that final proof with confidence.

Click here to see her ten proof reading tips!

Excerpt reprinted with permission from CTI Paper group. Thanks!