Does Sex Still Sell?

Marketing, as much as we want it to be, is not an exact science.  Technology innovation has allowed us to better understand buyers, influencers and the performance of our activities.

Insightful, creative and relevant ideas that trigger human emotions can –  and do – sell.   For as much as I wanted to believe that buyers were rational creatures behaving in predictable patterns, I now understand that they are not.

sex sells javi yebenes

At the end of the day, business is personal.  We can’t remove the human element from the buyer or seller side.  Relationships and perceptions matter, how a product and/or a brand makes a customer feel is important, and it’s not easy to model or predict.

Sex has been used for centuries to sell every kind of products to customers guided by their primitive instincts. It worked, it works and it will work, as simple as that; one day we will visit our children using a spaceship, and sex, love and affection will still rule our world, because the hability to speak and to socialize make us different from the rest of the animals, but just our instincts and our emotions make us differents from the machines.

As an example, take a look to this commercial by Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s. I don’t know you, but I would buy 5 of those burgers if I was there!

Now you’ve watched the commercial and, don’t be naive, some of you will think: “I don’t want to buy a burger, I want to go camping with the girls”, but in the end, you will associate the brand behind the commercial with positive thoughts, desire, pleasure, happiness and you will be more likely to visit this business than any other of it’s competitors.

My conclusion:

It really doesn’t matter who is your target or what is your product, if you find the way to do it right, sex will sell for you.

What if money didn’t matter?


And how many times was your answer “Yes”? If you are one of those people who is in love with their job and can’t imagine themselves doing anything else, congratulations, this video is not for you. In the other hand, if you are one of the other 95% of people who are working on something they are good at but they hate and they only do it because of the money: seriously, check out this video and change your life!

Alan Watts (1915-1973) was an English philosopher and writer who played a large part in popularising Zen Buddhism in the west. He gained a wide following after moving to the United States where he published numerous books on Zen and Eastern philosophy. During the 60s and 70s he toured extensively on the college lecture circuit and became a celebrity among the growing youth movement. Watts had over 25 books published and recorded over 400 lectures, many of which have found a new audience on YouTube.

I’ve been asking myself since I was a kid what was that thing that I wanted to do that would give me money enough to live well, or that would please my parents, or that would make me fit into a social group; but I didn’t realize that all this time I was wrong… I was so wrong!

I’m 28 years old and I’ve taken a lot of bad decissions during my whole life, but if I have to regret something I do, I want it to be either “Giving up everything to do what I really love” or “Falling in love so deep that everything else loses its value and importance”.

What about you? Do you want to change your life?

* This video has spanish subtitles but even for those of you who speak english, I recommend you to read the transcript, it is worth it and you should not miss a single word.

Alan Watts – What If Money Didn’t Matter

(Speech Transcript)

What do you desire?

What makes you itch? What sort of a situation would you like?

Let’s suppose – I do this often in vocational guidance of students. They come to me and say, “Well, uh, we’re getting out of college, and we haven’t the faintest idea of what we want to do.”

So I always ask the question, “What would you like to do if money were no object? How would you really enjoy spending your life?”

Well, it’s so amazing. As a result of our kind of educational system, crowds of students say, “Well, we’d like to be painters, we’d like to be poets, we’d like to be writers. But as everybody knows you can’t earn any money that way.”

Or another person says, “I’d like to live an out-of-doors life and ride horses.”

I said, “Do you want to teach at a riding school? Let’s go through with it. What do you want to do?”

When we finally got down to something which the individual says he really wants to do. I will say to him, “you do that, and forget the money.

Because if you say that getting the money is the most important thing, you will spend your life completely wasting your time. You will be doing things you don’t like doing in order to go on living that is to go on doing things you don’t like doing. Which is STUPID!

Better to have a short life that is full of what you like doing than a long life spent in a miserable way.

And after all, if you do really like what your’e doing, it doesn’t matter what it is, you can eventually become a master of it. It’s the only way to become a master of something, to be really with it. And then you’ll be able to get a good fee for whatever it is.

So don’t worry too much. Somebody’s interested in everything. And anything you can be interested in, you’ll find others who are.

But it’s absolutely stupid to spend your time doing things you don’t like in order to go on doing things you don’t like and to teach your children to follow in the same track. See, what we’re doing is we’re bringing up children, and educating them to live the same sort of lives we’re living in order that they may justify themselves and find satisfaction in life by bringing up their children to bring up their children to do the same thing. It’s all wretch and no vomit. It never gets there!

And so therefore it’s so important to consider this question. “What do I desire?”

Advertised Birth

Probably a lot of you already know about the relationship between the singer Shakira and the soccer player from Spain “Gerard Pigue”. Some of you already know as well that few days ago that Shakira had her first child “Milan”, and this is supposed to make any parents in the world happy and joyful. In this case in particular I think the parents have more than one reason to be happy, and I see this after seeing the ridiculous picture that Gerard Pique posted in his twitter account yesterday. I’ll let you judge by yourself:

Probably most of the people saw this picture and thought: “Oh, what a cutie, already wearing sport shoes!”, then some, specially some parents and doctors thought: “Oh, that’s terrible! His feet are too soft and delicate, take that off of him”, and then there a niche of people  who had something totally different in their mind. That niche is made of marketers and advertising professionals.

Personally, I think it is ridiculous that a couple of parents whose salaries go over 35 million dollars a year combined sell the first picture of their baby to Nike for a couple of thousands of dollars. What kind of life is this baby going to live? Will he have to school wearing Nike everyday, in a Porsche, with a Louis Vuitton bag and a Unicef hat, carrying his McDonals lunch and Coca-cola? Which kind of father does that? Seriously?

milan pique javi yebenes

And I’m not afraid this is going to happen just for the picture with the shoes, but the other actions that have been taking place on the baby’s name in the last days. Milan Pique Mebarak is already a member of the Barcelona Futbol Club fan club, he has a twitter account and shirts and jerseys with his name.

Some other professionals of marketing probably think it was a genius idea, but personally, to me, it is outrageous that some brands are getting this far and worse than that, that some people are selling their souls to the “Advertising Devils”.

To me, I don’t know if it’s worse having people willing to condition their children’s life for money, or having 10,000 idiots following the baby on twitter. You can put your own thoughts on it!

Do you think advertising should have a limit?

What about having a “moral code” for advertising? 

A Different View on Spain.

I just came across this well-done, inspiring and informative video about Spain’s Reality and couldn’t resist sharing it!

After watching the video you will learn that even in the middle of a crisis Spain is a country of amazing opportunity,  it doesn’t matter the way you look at it. Here you will watch a series of current Spanish achievements both at home and around the world. Most of the things mentioned were probably left out by the international media, so take a good look at this video, we think you’ll be pleasantly surprised and pretty impressed. It’s just a matter of changing the way you look at things.

“This video was obviously made by Grant Thornton to promote Spain”… WHAT?

( No, no, no… let’s go back to that first sentence! )

This video was made by Grant Thornton to promote themselves, and they took advantage of the situation our country lives right now to make up an infomercial about their fantastic services and to fill your brain with “propaganda” when your defenses are down.

Once said that, I have to say that the video is pretty good and the message of the first 4 minutes is really inspiring and it can cheer up some people who really need it right now. I’m from Spain, and I’m proud of it, and everybody work really hard to remind me how bad the situation in my country is, but nobody worked half as hard to tell me all the amazing things our companies, business-man, scientists or other professionals achieved.

Grant Thornton is a multinational corporation who provides audit, tax and advisory services to businesses and, as I can deduce, it is not positive for them to operate in a country where investors are scared and are not willing to spend their money on their services. I understand that’s the reason of making this motivational-video-commercial.

Grant Thornton Commercial by Javi Yebenes

Now that we understand that this is a good but not great promotional action made by the marketing team of Grant Thornton, I must say that I really enjoy and get emotional with the content of the video. I’m really proud of some of the things my countrymen have achieved, not just because we share a language or a passport, but because we share a way of living, enjoying life, being creative and working hard, doesn’t matter what the world thinks, we are hard-workers, and we are very very ambitious.

To summarize:

I. Grant Thornton got a lot of sympathy and notoriety with this video and it was a positive way of promoting their company in our country.

II. A lot of Spain’s politicians and bankers are corrupt, negligent and despicable; but we still are one of the most creative, adventurous, talented and fun countries of the world.

One fantastic way to promote your city!

Normally, when you want to promote your town or city you spend thousands or millions of dollars looking for an expensive agency to design a marketing strategy. They will spend months analyzing data, preparing proposals, hiring experts, and after months of hard work they will come to you will a couple of final proposals that you will not entirely like. If you accept any of the proposals, you will have to spend a lot of money on the media buying and people to manage and monitor the campaign.

Why would you do this anymore?

Today there’s something extremely powerful called “virality”, which is a result of the mass sharing content extremely fast and effectively online though the social media networks. If you find someone creative enough, and you are willing to use this thing called innovation, you can succeed and make the world know that your destination exists, and not only that, make the world know that your destination is a place where you don’t fear to do new things and have fun.

sabadell promo javi yebenes

Here is a perfect example of what I’m talking about, the small town of Sabadell invested some dollars in putting together the local orchestra and choruses and recording the flash-mob they organized in a downtown plaza. In this case, they used a local bank to finance the “promo” including a couple of takes of the banks facade in the video, but this action reduced the cost to nothing for the city’s tourism office.

Obviously, people are already tired of Flash-mobs, but when you play something like “Joy’s Anthem” or “Anthem of Europe” and you get children involved, our most human side has no other chance but to enjoy it, feel it and share it.

What is Kony2012?

KONY 2012 is a half-hour documentary, from the Invisible Children‘s campaign “Stop Kony 2012” and filmed by director Jason Russell, who is tapping into the power of social media to reach a global audience. The purpose of his documentary, according to Russell, is to get people to know who Joseph Kony is and not to celebrate him while raising support for his arrest and set a precedent for international justice.

This war-lord from Uganda is one of the most vilified strongman in this planet and he is at the top of the list of the “world’s most wanted man” by the International Criminal Court. He is accused and responsible for the abduction, death or enslavement of more than 30,000 children. He is known for the extreme atrocities he commits, including murder, mutilations, rape, and in some accounts even cannibalism.

In this moving documentary KONY 2012 Jason Russell declares Kony to be the “most wanted man in the world according to the ICC“, and this project aims to spread his name all over the world to pressure the authorities to capture him.

Since the teaser appeared on some of the world’s most respected newscasts, hundreds of thousands of internet users have signed onto the cause and the youtube video has had over 50 million views worldwide.

The public support in favour of democratic progress and freedom has been immeasurable, however there is a certain number of individuals that question the intentions of the organization Invisible Children and its lack of transparent procedures. Grant Oyston, student at the Acadia University in Nova Scotia, Canada; created the blog “Visible Children“, as a response; urging people to make their own research before signing for an organization that lacks transparency.

In the last days, the same “viral magic” that made the documentary known around the world has turned against the campaign, and some images of Jason Russell’s team holding machine guns have surfaced on the social media circles, causing great controversy.

A certain number of independent publications like Daily Paul, are warning readers of the hidden motives behind this sudden massive promotion made by the media. It seems that the video was released for the first time back in 2003 and in the past 9 years no one seemed to care. So, what has changed? The American publication says:

“Uganda’s oil reserves could be worth as much as that of the Gulf countries”, a senior official at the US Department of Energy has said, and “China might be trying to participate on the extraction of that oil”.

For now we don’t know what will happen in Uganda, what we know for sure is that Kony2012 has had a huge success as a marketing strategy of Invisible Children to be known worldwide.


David Suzuki opens Toronto’s eyes

Last night, some of us had the privilege to attend David Suzuki’s inspiring speech as part of the We Canada Tour accross the country to engage young Canadians and civil society in a dialogue and action for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, also known as Earth Summit 2012 or Rio+20.

Aleksandra Nasteska representing We Canada , and Earth Summit engaged the crowd sharing information about the Earth Summit taking place in Rio in July 2012 and Canada’s role in the fight for the conservation of the biosphere. She discussed many issues and that Canadians needs “to work on creating a sustainable planet.” Also, she spoke about the responsibility young people have “standing up and demanding change from the people in power that are exploiting the Earth.” Aleksandra also made it clear that “those who are using up resources, polluting our communities are leaving nothing to future generations”, and “we are not doing anything about it.”

When Dr. Suzuki  was introduced, the audience gave him an standing ovation.  The scientist gave an inspiring speech about the importance of the biosphere and its conservation and encouraged every single individual “to protect our most valuable treasures, the air, the water and the living beings”.

Suzuki mentioned that he wasn’t concerned about the Earth as he stated it was here long before us and will be long after us.  His concern was for the biosphere and the health of all living things on our planet. One of the concerns of Dr. Suzuki was the importance we give in the present to Economy over Ecology and how people can be indifferent to the environment destruction.

“If we back off & give nature a chance maybe she will surprise us”

At the end of the interview, selected members of the audience had the opportunity to a Q&A with David Suzuki. I had the opportunity to ask him about past Earth Summits and that if all the past Environment Summits have failed, “what were the possibilities that the Rio Earth Summit 2012 might be any different?” To which he replied “these summits are necessary, but probably until a terrible catastrophe does take place, we won’t open our eyes and we won’t start facing the ugly truth about our environment’s situation.” Furthermore, that we needed “to raise our voices and and we should make our contribution to achieve biological stability.”

For more information about We Canada click on the link below:

Interview to Bernard Kouchner

Bernard Kouchner, the Founder of Doctors Without Borders and former French Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, was in Toronto for the 8th Annual Economic Summit at The Fairmont Royal York on November 22, 2011.

Mr Kouchner played a key role in European politics for many decades, having been a Minister in various French governments for a total of eight years. He is an outspoken advocate for humanitarian causes and his experience as Foreign Minister, and prior to that Minister in charge of both Health and Humanitarian Action, enabled him to share his informed insights as to what happens behind the scenes and what he feels can be done for a better future.

BOLD Magazine had a one on one conversation with Mr Kouchner. Here is the highlight of the meeting.

B: In the 60’s, political borders barred you from entering into some countries and provide assistance to some patients: Can we say that the economy and education are the borders today?

BK: Education … and education means also prevention and knowledge. With Internet, the situation is getting better, information spreads faster, and information and education are the key for prevention. When we started Doctors Without Borders, we were outlaws, but sometimes you have to be out law to change the legislation; and we did. It was an exciting adventure for us, but it wasn’t just that, as I mentioned before, globalization started with “Doctors Without Borders”.

B: Let’s talk about democratization. In September you gave a conference at Grano Cafe where you said that a military intervention in Syria would provoke a global war in some countries like Iran or Israel. In your opinion what would be the best way to participate in Syria’s development and return to democracy?

BK: Political pressure from the United Nations. Obviously there is a political pressure, but is not enough. The massacre is still going on an some brave people are taking the streets to protest for the current situation and they are being murdered. The proper thing would be setting sanctions but right now it is impossible to get to a resolution because of the attitude of China and Russia. Sooner or later the Syrian government will be defeated, but with the way things are right now it probably will be later.

B: Millions of people die everyday from diseases or wars and others are “ greedy and selfish” as you once mentioned and “would do anything for a little more money”. So we are aware that we are living an economic crisis, but are we also living a moral crisis?

BK: Nowadays, the crisis is more moral than economical but they are certainly merged. The world is not a world of economists, the world is not a world of investors, the world is not a world of only shareholders, they are important, economy is, but democracy is more. Economy is not bad, it is a science, the problem is finances, finances are only speculation and the fact that speculation rules the world is not acceptable for me.

B: Most of the countries spend their budgets in military instead of research or medicine: Are these economic models the root of today’s conflicts?

BK: I don’t think these economic models are a problem. The real problems are dictatorships, that’s why I’m working with United Nations, to try to fight against them. Honestly, I think we are doing a good job, I think the world is getting better.

B: Is it possible to talk about a politically united Europe in a near future? As well, you mentioned today during your conference that it was a mistake having the same currency without having a united economy.

BK: Yes, the future of Europe is politically united. It is a slow process but we are on the way to unity. European countries lived in peace for the last 60 years, it seems a lot to us, but is nothing compared to the thousands of years we fought against each other.
Now, at first just the social-democratic parties in Europe were in favour of a European Economic Government, but in the present even the conservative parties like the German represented by Angela Merkel looks forward to a united Europe. Just the idea of having 27 people around a table trying to get to agreements makes me think that this is going to be a long process. We should create a confederation of countries, since we are sharing a currency, and we should keep a similar level of taxes.

B: For some people, the access to health care is very difficult here, what would you think is the next step to give in public health?

BK: This is a very difficult question, probably it has no answer. I agree it is better not to increase the deficit, but health is not a commodity, it is not like roads or other constructions, health is everything for human beings. People should pay for health services in proportion of their salaries. Obviously nobody will include this in his or her program for elections because nobody would vote for them; and that makes the access to health unfair in some places.

By  Javi Yebenes  – Photography by Every Leon

¿Cómo creo mi marca? – Branding

 En el post anterior sobre Branding empecé a describir cuál es la principal acción de marketing para conseguir el éxito de vuestra marca. Esto ha cambiado con el paso del tiempo, pero en la actualidad, con el modelo de sociedad en el que vivimos, la forma en la que nos percibe la gente que nos rodea se convierte en el 90% de lo que somos.

¡Hoy en dia no importa lo bueno que eres, sino lo bueno que la gente cree que eres!

Por eso en ciertos campos profesionales la imagen lo es todo y es la que marca la diferencia con nuestra competencia. Cuando conocemos a alguien haciendo negocios, analizamos al detalle su ropa, accesorios, teléfono móvil o hasta corte de pelo para conocer la cantidad de éxito profesional que tiene. Un ejemplo: si conoces a un abogado repeinado con gomina, un buen afeitado, traje italiano, blackberry y zapatos brillantes; rapidamente pensarás que trabaja en un exitoso bufete de una gran ciudad. Es solo un juicio nuestro, pero inspira confianza inmediata.

Yo siempre recomiendo la elegancia, es algo que nunca falla, pero obviamente tiene un precio. Cuando salgo de casa siempre lo hago en uno de mis trajes, con los zapatos recién encerados, una cartera de mano aunque no la necesite, corbata con un toque personal y el pelo bien engominado. Puede parecer un poco forzado, pero no recuerdo un dia en que no me paren varias personas a tratar de venderme cosas, que no me ofrezcan sus servicios los conductores de limusinas del centro o que varios hombres de negocios no me entreguen su tarjeta para hacer networking o colaborar en un futuro. ¡Es tán fácil hacer pensar a la gente que eres alguien!

Ahora además tengo la suerte de que tengo una bonita tarjeta de visita de mi nuevo trabajo, la cual estoy esperando mejorar para tener una todavía mejor. Es una inversión muy rentable puesto que además de tu imágen personal, la tarjeta es lo que perdurará en propiedad del contacto, y será más del 50% de la percepción que tenga de nosotros. Un logotipo bonito, un slogan ingenioso o un relieve adecuado dan un toque personal que marcará la diferencia.

Para aquellos que están empezando a veces no es fácil invertir demasiado en la imagen personal, o en la imagen de su negocio; por eso hay que utilizar el ingenio o utilizar otro tipo de estrategias. Utilizar un look característico y que te haga reconocible puede funcionar y es muy barato. Si te dejas ver en eventos públicos con un estilismo determinado varias veces, la gente re relacionará con ese estilo y serás más fácil de reconocer entre los cientos de invitados. Como un ejemplo fijaros en este periodista canadiense:

Si por ejemplo eres dueño de un bar, no todo es percepción visual, el estilo de música que hagas sonar, la edad de los camareros, los modales con que reciban a los clientes, los precios o el tipo de bebida que sirvas son los que determinarán tu marca; y la gente relacionará tu nombre con unas características que son las que te definirán. ¿Cuál es el truco? Tienes que hacerle a la gente saber cuales son las características que quieres que te definan, y tratar de ocultar las que menos te favorezcan.
Si tienes una página web, de facebook o twitter, utiliza las redes sociales para promocionar fotos de lo que quieres que sea conocido de tu negocio (gente sonriendo si vendes buen ambiente, fotos de las bebidas si vendes bebida de calidad, enlaces musicales si la música es la que te define,etc.)

Ahora bien, el principal truco para definir* tu marca es la constancia y la paciencia. Para que tu público te reconozca y lo haga de la manera que tu quieres debes saber que cada granito de arena cuenta; que por cada imagen negativa tuya en público pierdes veinte positivas, que siempre has de mantener tus estándares y mantener un estilo propio, sin dejarte llevar demasiado por las modas o por lo que hagan los demás y que si te mantienes firme y haces bien tu trabajo, tu paciencia dará sus frutos.

¡El prestigio de las marcas lo dan el trabajo duro, la confianza en uno mismo y el tiempo!

Siguiente entrada: Darte a conocer en el mercado – Branding

* Utilizo definir porque todos tenemos una marca por la que los demás nos reconocen aunque cuando no trabajamos en ella pueda ser distinta para cada grupo de gente, o aunque no queramos ser reconocidos.

Indignados en Canadá – Occupy Bay Street

Hoy ha sido un dia que puede pasar a la historia mundial aunque muchos no quieran darse cuenta. La mayoría de los españoles conocemos desde hace 5 meses el movimiento del 15M que comenzó en España, con concentraciones en la Puerta del Sol en Madrid y en la Plaza de Catalunya de Barcelona; pero no ha sido hasta hoy, 15 de Octubre de 2011, cuando ha extistido una movilización global casi sin precedentes para defender los derechos de los ciudadanos contra una minoría desmesuradamente rica.

Esta mañana he cubierto la noticia de la movilización de “Occupy Toronto” para la revista BOLD Magazine junto a uno de sus redactores y director de la revista Marlon Moreno. La verdad, no sabía lo que me iba a encontrar, nunca sabes como van a responder estos canadienses ante una causa de este estilo pero, la verdad, me he llevado una grata sorpresa.

Entre las 9:00 y las 11:00AM un gran número de personas, cerca de 1200, se amontonaban en la intersección de Bay St. con King St. que para los canadienses es lo más cercano a Wall Street, pero existía un cierto caos y desorden entre cientos de “indignados” que deambulaban por el centro de la ciudad en busca de un punto de encuentro fijo en el que poder establecerse. Algo después de una hora esta masa comenzó a ser desalojada por la policía para “casualmente” colocar el vallado de una carrera popular que tendrá lugar al dia siguiente, pero lejos de disolverse la multitud, se dirigió ordenadamente a St James Park para convertirlo en punto fijo de la acampada.

He de reconocer que ha sido una gran sorpresa encontrar más de 3.000 personas ocupando el parque, pero sobretodo porque hoy ha sido el primer día de auténtico mal clima del otoño, y porque entre los asistentes existía un gran número de niños pequeños y ancianos apoyando la causa.

De entre los asistentes hemos podido reconocer profesores de universidad, analistas económicos de televisión, camareros, estudiantes, jubilados, familias completas, y todos ellos unidos, reclamando unos derechos que nos fueron arrebatados hace mucho tiempo.

Ha habido dos personas que de verdad me han emocionado, una de ellas era una madre que paseaba con su bebé de apenas un año, y que me ha contado que lo hace porque cree que es la mejor manera de que su hijo empiece a luchar por sus derechos; la otra, una mujer sin movilidad en las piernas que portaba un cartel “Stand Up 4 You Rights” (Ponte en pié por tus derechos).

Durante las casi 4 horas que hemos permanecido en el parque todo ha transcurrido de una manera muy tranquila, con mucha música y gente que espontaneamente alegraba la ocupación con actuaciones y bailes; y con la impresión de que haya algunos canadienses que de verdad “tengan voz” y quieran ser oidos.