I was pleased to welcome Darryl Ohrt to the Roundtable this week. Darryl is a founder at design and branding firm Plaid and the author of one of my favorite blogs, Brand Flakes for Breakfast. He joins me and Jennifer Zingsheim to discuss his company’s quirky summertime marketing, Earth Day, and online ethics, among other things.
We start out discussing the Plaid Summer Tour, where some of the Plaid staffers pile into a plaid-painted van for a road trip raising awareness about their brand and reaching out to other creative professionals in marketing and design.
Shifting gears, the conversation moves to an interesting guerrilla marketing campaign for allergy medicine Zyrtec, in which the company papered telephone poles with clever ads taking a swipe at Claritin (their competitor). I think people go a little too crazy for guerrilla campaigns, but Darryl compliments their design choices in the ads. He and Jen both question the legality of such “advertising,” as telephone poles are public property and the ads certainly don’t include any of the provisos and fine print so often included in pharma ads.
With Earth Day events taking place everywhere this week, we also discussed the somewhat disturbing trend of what Ad Age called the transformation of Earth Day into the “New Christmas.” That is, has it become so commercialized that companies view it more as a marketing opportunity than a chance to promote “green” causes?
Finally, we covered online ethics. After Kami Huyse questioned on Twitter where people draw the line in an “anything goes” Internet, I noticed a broad range in answers from the extreme (child porn) to the more mild. We all agree that self-policing is the best way to go, and any attempt to (legally or otherwise) set ethical guidelines online would likely be fruitless.
(Click here to listen to the 25 minute discussion)