Piotr Jakubowski – Mind over Marketing

The New Sprint – A Great Rebrand
April 20, 2009, 10:00 am
Filed under: advertising, branding | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

In the race to the top of the big carriers we’ve seen a variety of different campaigns – the funny family share spots from T-Mobile, the massive platoon of people in the Verizon commercials and the bars from AT&T. For the past few years Sprint, the third largest network in the United States, hasn’t really created advertising that has stuck in the minds of the consumers. In the past few months the company released its flashlight graffiti spots which were well executed, as well as the black and white ads with the CEO – although these weren’t as powerful as they could’ve been.


Recently, the company began its venture into 4G (didn’t we just start covering 3G?) and with this, we’ve seen a rollout of new spots to promote the service. The new spots are full of information, are animated, relevant and most of all, memorable.


The statistics approach provides two avenues of entertainment for the audience. First of all, it includes information that is relevant to the fast data network the company provides, while keeping it interesting. Secondly, the tongue-in-cheek nature of the statistics that are shown brings the spot down to a personal level. Don’t you feel bad for one of the 84 people who were dumped by text message?


Great new work from one of the leaders in wireless technology – let’s hope the product fulfills the expectations.


Getting Dirty While Staying Clean

One Dirty ManIn one of my recent posts about Michael Phelps I mentioned how his brand has been stretched a little too far in the wake of his record-breaking success in Beijing.

A few months ago I had the pleasure of working for a large construction equipment manufacturer at the CONEXPO – CON/AGG tradeshow in Las Vegas. CONEXPO occurs every three years and consists of the who’s who of the construction industry. In my work with the manufacturer, I had the chance to interact with Mike Rowe for the entire span of the tradeshow. Mike Rowe is the host/victim of the popular show “Dirty Jobs” on Discovery, and through my three days of work with him I realized that Mike has his brand under control.

Although having held numerous jobs and roles in the past, Mike is known as the guy who does the dirty work. He’s known to his fans as the guy who cleans bird poop at a chicken farm, sweeps chimneys, shears alpacas and handles baggage. There are two remarkable things about the show.


  1. 90% of the jobs are collected through user-submission – engaging the fans, the people who actually complete these jobs, with the program
  2. Mike Rowe and Discovery truly understand his audience both on and off the air

In February 2008, FastCompany officially labeled “Dirty Jobs” a megabrand, and indicated that Mike Rowe had become a hot commodity for advertisers with his extremely unique access to a certain demographic. In the process, Rowe has sidestepped deals for reality TV shows, hosting activities and acting roles. Why? Credibility.

What Mike and his team has understood is the idea of credibility. One thing that he consistently mentioned during the tradeshow is “maintaining the brand image” and “not selling out”. Through the success of the show he has almost single-handedly brought attention to “people who make civilized life possible.” One of the questions he consistenly asked was “how can all that brilliance be ignored?” By not selling out, Rowe and the Dirty Jobs brand is keeping true to the demographic with which it has the closest ties.

In the meantime he has picked up sponsorships with Ford, Whirlpool, HP and done speaking events for companies such as Motorola or Yahoo. Despite being approached by Toyota, Rowe felt that Ford, as an American company, fit much better with their image as well as the demographic. What else would the guy with dirty work drive than a Ford F-150.

With well thought out planning, Rowe and his team has managed to maintain the authenticity that appeals to the tastes of this group of individuals, while not alienating the other viewers – those who love watching the Discovery channel. Steering clear of the lucrative temptations that have peppered the rising popularity of the show, Dirty Jobs has managed to stay raw, rugged and most importantly – dirty. 

This is Sportscenter
November 12, 2008, 10:16 pm
Filed under: advertising, branding, commercials, ESPN, sportscenter

Tapping into a seemingly endless supply of sports icons, the team at ESPN has consistently delivered entertaining short ads for their prime show – Sportscenter. Time practically stops in most men’s lives around 5PM, 10PM and/or midnight as they tune in to watch the day’s sports highlights. Pairing the Sportscenter anchors in awkward situations with known athletes, ESPN succeeds in bringing these superstars down from superhuman levels – in many cases at the expense of the anchors themselves.

The Boston Three Party

The Boston Three Party


Through quick, witty humor the sports channels effectively reinforces the Sportscenter brand. The images of LeBron James, Maria Sharapova or Peyton Manning being pranked, working at the office or wreaking havoc on its employees is a great reminder of just who will be featured on the next highlights show. Who could forget the image of Jimmy Rollins critiquing Scott Van Pelt’s presenting skills, or Dwayne Wade editing his own highlights. 

A staple of the ESPN brand since its launch in 1979, Sportscenter is the foundation of a network that is recognized in practically every household in the US and multiple countries  worldwide. With its already strong brand image, these commercials are there simply to remind the viewers why they are watching – to see Kobe, Manny or Eli do their real jobs. 


Here’s a few of my favorites: 


Tony Romo 

Boston Celtics 

Roger Federer 

Maria Sharapova