Monday, December 1, 2014

2014: The Good, the Bad and the US Airways

The best thing about a year's end is having the hindsight to look back and judge everything that happened in a particular field. Since our field is advertising, we're going to look back at the good, the bad and a little ugly from this year in advertising.

The Good

John Lewis Christmas Advert 2014 - #MontyThePenguin

Yeah, it just came out like a few weeks ago, but there's no doubt in my mind that it's the best ad of 2014. John Lewis has a history with terrific Christmas ads, and this one lives up to the name they're setting for themselves in that area and then some. 

P&G Thank You, Mom 

Remember the Olympics? That was this year. P&G brought their message to the Olympics by way of thanking moms. Another excellent way of illustrating how your product doesn't have to be up front when the storytelling is this good. 

Apple - Holiday - TV Ad - Misunderstood

So this one technically came out in December 2013, but we're going to put it in here regardless because it is so good and terribly underrated. Apple can put out some pretty downright terrible ads, but they also put out ones like this which make you remember that this is the company that did "1984." And I wish we had seen more of this instead of people's voiceover while touching iPad minis, but such is life.

Misty Copeland - I WILL WHAT I WANT

Under Armour showed us a great mixture of cinematography and great copy. Those two things usually only go together in great films. But here, they've presented them in a 60 second spot that resonates deeply and kind of makes me want to buy Under Armour (mission accomplished, right?). 

The Bad

Nationwide - Petyon Manning Does Things While Jingling

It's not 2005 anymore. The charm has worn off on Peyton Manning commercials. Maybe it's because of Papa John's, or maybe it's because some people finally decided to remember his glory days at Tennessee (Google it). Either way, this ad is just laziness personified. It does nothing for Nationwide other than showcasing someone at their company knows Manning's agent. 

Axe Body Spray - Vicious Dictators and Stuff

Count me in the group of people who didn't think that Axe Body Spray ads could get any worse. People in the 60s would've called most Axe ads stupid and misogynistic. They, however, decided to top themselves by making an ad so overly grandiose that it's not even stupid-funny. It's just stupid. 

Budweiser - Cute Puppy Tells You To Drink Responsibly While Still Drinking Budweiser

Budweiser faking social responsibility to, in fact, get people to buy more of their terrible beer. And they do so by trying to use a cute puppy. The phoniness of this reeks from frame one and it only gets worse from there. 

I swear to everything I hold dear: the first time I saw this commercial, I thought it was a sketch from Key & Peele or SNL. The lyrics are so over-the-top I'M A TRUCKIN' AMERICAN that I was sure it had to be parody. Bad news: it isn't. It's so serious, you guys. The best thing I can say about this one is that it makes me laugh. A lot. 

The Ugly

US Airways and New England Patriots Twitter fails. You do the rest of the work. I can't even look at them anymore. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Get Engaged (to Younger People)

When we talk about engagement, we have to talk about the "m" word.


There's a lot of fascination around this word. Seriously, do a quick Google News search using just that word and you'll be a combination of amused/horrified. Baby boomers are so lucky they grew up in a world without internet and didn't have to hear/see people talking about what kind of people they are all the time. 

However, there's no denying that millennials are a valuable demographic to...everyone, mostly. And this isn't a new trend. Historically, young people are the most valuable demo to advertisers and brands because, well, they buy stuff. 

And because they buy stuff (a lot of stuff, really) they need a strong financial institution to show them how to invest, where to put their money, give them long term financial education, etc. However, in regards to credit unions, this is easier said than done. 

*Because this article is about millennials, the rest of the blog will be accompanied by gifs.

Really, all financial institutions have a problem with younger consumers, it's just that credit unions are already fighting an uphill battle in terms of awareness. As we've mentioned here before, studies have shown that less than 50% of Americans are aware of credit unions and the services they offer. Even fewer reported seeing credit union ads. Obviously, this makes us feel a bit frustrated.

But there are ways to combat the problem. 

First and foremost, your financial institution needs to be constantly, constantly creating content for a younger demographic. And no, not just gifs, but compelling content that provides financial advice relevant to their lives as young adults. A recent study done by NewsCred showed that 55% of younger individuals would trust a financial institution more if they received helpful, unbiased content from them. 50% said they would stay loyal if the institution provided high quality content. 

The study also showed that 18-24 year olds are less deterred by commercial messages within content. 

So what kind of content are we talking about here? We personally believe that social media is a huge part of this. Why? Because people, young, old or middle-aged, want to engage with brands. It's the world we live in now. And if you're on Facebook, great start, but if you're just on Facebook, you're a few years behind in this content game. People are expecting content from you brand from multiple sources, and they'll want variety from those sources, too. 

It's not enough to just write articles about how to plan to pay off student loan debt, you have to: 

a) Present those articles in a compelling style (e.g. infographics, texts with image, videos, etc.) 
b) Share them in interesting ways 
c) Give people a chance to engage with them 

You may not think there's an interesting way for your brand to be on Instagram, but it's only because you haven't thought of the best way yet (and no, it's not sharing memes). 

And also, be honest with yourself: when you were in your early to mid 20s, did you want to read articles about finance? Do you want to do it now? The content should always lead back to finance but that doesn't mean you article just has to be "Here's how to save money" (read in a Ben Stein voice). It could be "10 Places You Could Visit if You Start Saving Now." 

Basically, the content to engage with your younger members is already there and the tools are already at your disposable. You just have to realize that there's more than one way to use those tools and go to work.

(pictured: Your reaction to this blog) 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Like or like-like? Facebook bans like-gating.

“You must not incentivize people to use social plugins or to like a Page. This includes offering rewards, or gating apps or app content based on whether or not a person has liked a Page. It remains acceptable to incentivize people to login to your app, checkin at a place or enter a promotion on your app’s Page.”  

This new addition to Facebook's Platform Policy's was not a front-and-center announcement. Rather, it was left up to a number of blogs and publications to pick it up and report that Facebook will no longer allow "like-gating" on brand pages. 

What is like-gating? If you've ever interacted with a brand page on Facebook before, you have most likely encountered it: 

In the golden age of two months ago, it was a way to incentivize likes on brand pages. The page would run a contest or some promotion through a third party app (like Wildfire or WooBox) and people who wanted to enter the contest in order to win whatever "awesome" prize was being offered would first have to like the page. It was a nice little tool to get customer data and to give a boost to your page growth. And now, on November 5th, the like-gate will pass on. 

However, is the disappearance of this feature is a bad thing? 

On one hand it is slightly annoying because Facebook has very selfish reasons for doing this: they want you to use their ad platform to reach new users. Facebook's biggest moves lately (e.g. changing their algorithm to decrease the average post's reach) have been built around driving dollars to its ad platform. It's Facebook's world and we're just living in it. 

On the other hand, however, the disappearance of like-gating isn't the worst thing that could happen. Generally, the people who like your page because of the incentive are, well, liking the page because of the incentive. Meaning, they like it, they don't win and they never interact with the page again. You're boosting your followers but decreasing your engagement which is actually harmful when trying to push your posts into people's news feeds. 

So while like-gating was a useful feature in some instances, especially when you're first launching a page, it's banishment won't have any long term negative effects. In fact, they might be positive as brands must now refocus their social efforts on strong and appealing content that is deserving of our attention, rather than buying likes with the prospects of a prize. 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Branding: An interesting look at the quest to uncover a brand's DNA.

Remember the documentary filmmaker (Morgan Spurlock) who who ate nothing but McDonald's for 30 days in an effort to see what the side effects were on his health? This is a TED talk discussing another one Spurlock's ventures from a few years ago on branding and brand marketing. 

Morgan Spurlock: The Greatest TED Talk Ever Sold. 

Monday, June 2, 2014

The Importance of Social Media and Content Marketing

What’s a company’s magic formula for popular social media presence? It’s actually pretty simple: content to inform the customer, plus social connection to humanize the brand.
Of course, each business must navigate its own balance of the two but content marketing does not need to be a puzzle. Jay Baer writes in his article “11 Big Myths About Social Media and Content Marketing” that “content is fire. Social media is gasoline. Use social to drive awareness of your content more so than awareness of your company.” Awareness of your content will translate to greater popularity and brand recognition. 

So how does a company produce quality content?  According to the Content Marketing Institute the essence of content marketing is “the belief that if we, as businesses, deliver consistent, ongoing valuable information to buyers, they ultimately reward us with their business and loyalty.” That means engaging the customers in an ongoing conversation that does not hinge on the sell or the pitch. In the same way that conversation builds friendships, conversation with the customer builds trust and affinity. Here’s your fire.
Now for the gasoline. There is an incredible opportunity for content marketing through social media to humanize your brand and build that loyalty. Valerie Buckingham makes the point in her article “Four Tips for Authentic Online Engagement” that businesses can run into problems when they adhere too strictly to brand guidelines and rely solely on an omniscient company voice. She suggests too instead “imbue your social channels with the many unique individuals who work for the company.” By realizing the benefit of individual voices, the company’s social presence won’t become monotone.
  In his book Social Media Marketing: The Next Generation of Business Engagement David Evans writes, “[in] business…taking [online] collaboration into the internal workings of the organization is at the heart of social business.” By including customers in collaboration through social media exchange, they become part of the brand formation. Given the fast-paced communication culture and the decreasing rate of brand loyalty, it is essential for companies to engage the customer at their level of interest. Social media and content marketing is the right way for companies to get a spark roaring.  

Additional Reading: 

Friday, March 7, 2014

Social Media Marketing

The social media universe mimics that of our own and is always expanding. New platforms seem to pop up everyday giving each media-savvy business a unique opportunity to present the cyber-community with their brand. Pinterest, YouTube, and Instagram provide just that chance. Success with these distinct media formats is simply a matter of getting acquainted with the different features and implementing a personalized, brand-specific approach.

 Instagram is a popular photo and video-sharing mobile-based app that was acquired by Facebook in 2012. Instagram is a friendlier format because unlike Facebook, there is no algorithm to dictate what appears on followers’ newsfeed.

There are 20 filters available to enhance the aesthetic of the image. Each post should include a brief caption containing hashtags to include the post in a trending theme. The most successful posts are those that are most relevant to both your brand and your potential customers. Photos and videos that share an interesting or inspiring story will help attract your target market. 

Check out the blog: Instagram for Business offering tips, brand spotlights, API examples and news from Instagram HQ.

For more specific, helpful tips read Debbie Hemley’s article 26 Tips for Using Instagram for Business at Social Media Examiner and Eric Ho’s How To Use Intagram To Promote Your Brand at Elite Daily. 

Pinterest is a pinboard-style photo-sharing website that businesses can use to their advantage. To entice other Pinterest users to pin your images, include a mix of product photos and non-sales photos across your boards. If you have a company blog, share images from those posts. If you come across a cool image you think your target market would like to see, pin that too!

To get started, set up your Pinterest account in the Pinterest Business Section and fill in the applicable details about your business. Create boards for certain categories of images, for instance “the great outdoors” or “delicious delicacies ”, and get pinning!

For more advise, read Mark Macdonald’s article Why and How You Should be on Pinterest, Even if You Haven't Joined Yet on Shopify and Jason DeMers’ How to Use Pinterest in Your Online Marketing Initiative at Huff Post.

YouTube is a video-sharing website with massive viewership – over 6 billion hours of video are watched each month on YouTube. Savvy businesses use YouTube to their advantage by uploading videos that provide a clear picture of the product or service you are offering. Each video should include a link to your website and contact information.

YouTube is a useful tool for creating awareness of your brand. This strategy does not focus on a particular video or service, but is an ongoing effort to promote the entirety of your brand concept. YouTube can also be used to advertise particular products or promote retail stores. These should be both informative and entertaining. Companies can use YouTube to extend product and customer support by addressing customer problems and frequently asked questions. Training videos can also uploaded for staff. (example of successful brand awareness campaign)

Listen to your audience and you will gain a greater viewership.  


Friday, February 14, 2014

Interactive Retail Environments

According to USA Today’s article Touch-screens create online shopping experience at store, “to enhance the in-store shopping experience…. retailers are looking for ways to bring the convenience, selection and ability for product comparison of the online world.” More than ever before consumers demonstrate a preference for browsing, searching and sharing in a digital environment.

To address this trend, many large-scale companies like Macy’s or Adidas with places of retail or POP environment are building interactive screens to enhance the customer experience. This can take two forms, either kiosks or digital signage. First and foremost businesses must consider the interactive technology’s impact on the bottom line. According to Retail Customer Experience, “it must be curated to specifically meet the needs of the end-users.” With that consideration in mind, those who cannot afford the massive money or space investment of interactive screens have instead opted for tablets. Tablets have the potential to be highly effective customer service tools, by shortening lines and providing an interactive sales experience.  

This form of retailing is concerned with how many different purchasing options the consumer has. Offering the interactive option is essentially offering the customer efficiency and convenience, as well as a highly-personalized experience – which many believe is one of the keys to maximizing brand loyalty.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

2014 Super Bowl Ads - Recap

So a small confession: I lived in New Mexico and Colorado for several years, and I'm a Broncos fan. Year after year, I tune into the super bowl for the commercials, but this year I actually tuned in to cheer one of my teams on to victory.

While my hopes were dashed in the first few minutes of the game, the commercials were a good consolation. Some were weird, but some where great. And what's up with everyone selling car brands? Bruce Willis is selling Hondas, the Muppets are selling Toyotas, and Bob Dylan selling American-made. An interesting mix of celebs, for sure.

Here's a recap of our votes:

The most strange? And over-reaching? Our vote went to Maserati.

A pretty commercial – nicely written and produced – but we are not sure how we feel about Bob Dylan selling cars ... or Chryslers. 

Our vote for funny? Bud Light (again!) brought a slightly different approach, and fun commercial. 

Last year it was Dodge / "God Made a Farmer," but this year's vote for the commercial that pulled at our heartstrings the most? Budweiser Puppy Love, no question. 

Our all-round favorite? For us Radio Shack did a great job.  

What was your favorite? And tell us your thoughts on our 5 picks? 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Ad Week's Best Ads for 2013

It's that time of year when we take a moment to recap, and enjoy, the creative works of the past year. I'm sharing the list from Ad Week's 2013 Best of list, but I have one to add.

What are some common threads among these ads? And which one(s) spoke to you, and why?

Kmart "Ship My Pants" Agency: Draftfcb, Chicago

Chipotle "The Scarecrow" Agency: CAA Marketing, Los Angeles

Robinsons "Pals" (One of our Kearley favorites, too) Agency: BBH, London

Volvo Trucks "The Epic Split feat." 

Agency: Forsman & Bodenfors, Sweden

Nike "Possibilities" Agency: Wieden + Kennedy, Portland, Ore.

Dick's Sporting Goods "Every Pitch" Agency: Anomaly, New York

Geico "Hump Day" (Funny, and have  you seen the Dallas Mavericks spoof?!)  Agency: The Martin Agency, Richmond, Va.

Guinness "Basketball" (We loved this one!) 
Agency: BBDO, New York

RAM "Farmer" (a crowd pleaser!) 
Agency: The Richards Group, Dallas

Dove "Real Beauty Sketches" (A cool approach - get the tissues)
Agency: Ogilvy & Mather, Brazil

And one that didn't make the list that I really love - this one made me snort with laughter. 
Sprint: "The Lizzy & Kim Phone Call"

Agency: Leo Burnett