Alka-Seltzer Original box


Clever Marketing Techniques: Lessons from Smirnoff, Go Daddy & Alka-Seltzer

Here at COCG, we specialize in internet marketing… but we’re interested in everything about the industry! That includes television advertisements, brand strategies, and all sorts of business tactics that may not be apparent to the casual observer. Over the years, people have come up with some pretty sneaky tactics to sell more of their product. We’ll go over some of our favorites here.

Alka-Seltzer: Plop, Plop, Fizz, Fizz, Oh What a Relief It Is!

Back in the 1960’s, Alka-Seltzer wasn’t making quite as much cash as they’d have liked. Business was slow, and their corny mascot “Speedy” wasn’t quite resonating with the younger crowd. Alka-Seltzer was seen as a product for old people and alcoholics looking for hangover cures. Looking to fix this, they called on Jack Tinker, now an advertising legend. They ran a series of commercials, including one very simple and very important one…a video of two Alka-Seltzers dropping into a glass of water. This was later solidified with the theme song, “plop, plop, fizz, fizz,” not-so-subtly implying that two tablets was the way to go. Before this, all commercials and packaging had recommended only one tablet. But if one is good, two must be better, right?!  Sales increased, and the story went down into history.

Nowadays, clothes detergent companies pull a similar strategy by selling “concentrated” versions of their product and banking on folks using just as much as usual. We wonder what other products have used similar strategies, rinsed, and repeated…

Smirnoff Vodka Pricing

Quick, think of a high-end and super fancy liquor brand! Is it more expensive than other options?  Probably. But that’s because I asked you to think of a fancy one. You know, something premium, that’s worth the price bump.  After all, you get what you pay for, right?

Maybe. No one likes a price war, and Heublein, the producer of Smirnoff vodka, knew it. Wolfschmidt vodka showed up one day and undercut Smirnoff by $1 per bottle, while still claiming equal quality. Rather than start lowering their price to compete, Smirnoff took the classy approach. They actually raised the price of Smirnoff by $1 per bottle and branded it as a “premium” product. Given the $2 discrepancy between bottles, who would want to purchase that cheapo Wolfschmidt when for just another couple bucks you could get a premium brand? On top of that, Heublein created another brand of vodka, Relska, and priced it as a competitor to Wolfschmidt. This way, rather than competing head-on with Wolfschmidt, Heublein continued to dominate the “premium” market while still maintaining a presence in the “cheap” market, turning what would’ve been a 50/50 split into a 75/25 split. Marketing psychology at its finest.

GoDaddy’s Push for “.co” Domains

Watched any TV recently? Then odds are decent you’ve seen a GoDaddy commercial. If you’ve noticed, they’ve been making a huge push at getting .co domains to be accepted in the general populace. But why? Well, we have a bit of speculation on this one, and we think it has to do with their drop-off rates in sales.

GoDaddy sells domain names. So, let’s say you have a wonderful idea for a business. You want to purchase RaleighFlowerDelivery.com, but to your dismay, when you check GoDaddy, it’s already owned! Well, darn! Rather than sit there and come up with another name, you find that the one you had your heart set on is already gone. So, you log off and go do something else.

A likely story, right? We think GoDaddy’s drop-off rates must be huge. People register tons of new domains every day, so the pool of available names gets smaller and smaller. And having an exact match domain can be a huge boost to your business and its ranking in Google. We figure that if GoDaddy can convince people that .co is the next up-and-coming domain, their sales will stand to benefit quite well. It’s a win for their sales, and a win for people looking for exact matches.

Know of any more?

There are tons of marketing strategies out there. Some a bit more devious than others, and some that are just plain smart… and all of them interesting case studies. Know of any we didn’t list here? We’d love to hear about them in the comments. Already have an idea for the next big thing, but need someone to help you build it? We can do that.