Monthly Archives: February 2013

AdForum’s Top 5 Commercials for This Week

Take a look below at AdForum’s top five commercials for this week. There’s a nice, dynamic range of spots that I’m sure will intrigue you. Each spot sort of pulls at a different pathos string. The Sealy spot is a bit obvious—and far more sexual than I think we’re used to seeing for a mattress company. Then again, maybe that makes sense.

I felt like I needed Ritalin after watching both the Cadbury and Chevrolet ads. Is this the new trend for commercials? Flashing sequences that are almost impossible to keep up with? Perhaps we’re beginning to target the ADD youth of today. I will say that the Chevrolet ad seemed big-budget and an art director’s dream. The Cadbury ad, too, made me think that some AD out there was basically instructed to re-create Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory and add a dash of James Bond. Um, yes, please.

The Boston Pizza spot had me laughing. I genuinely think I’m going to start referring to my food as being “divine.”

And how can you not love Matt Lauer and an old father/daughter spot? Cute, catchy, and effective.

Have a favorite? Take a look at these five and let us know what you think!

1. Sealy – “Life Before Your Eyes” – Arcana Academy

2. Cadbury – “Taste” – Fallon London

3. Chevrolet – “Find New Roads Anthem” – Commonwealth

4. Boston Pizza – “Foodie Monster” – TAXI, Toronto

5. Toshiba – “Future” – LBL Communication Group

Publisher’s Pick: National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse – “Hiding” – Campbell Ewald

Death of a Salesman?

New Business development is the lifeblood of any company because—no matter its size or sector—securing future growth and expansion is critical to any business. However, the rapidly-evolving global marketplace, combined with the technological surge that has dominated recent decades, begs a fascinating question: what staff is responsible for developing New Business? It could be Salesmen, New Business Developers, Inside Account Managers, Marketing, or Customer Service personnel. Since a large portion of New Business development in the 21st century is Digital (including web sites, email marketing, mobile apps, text messaging, social media, or QR Codes), responsibility for the development of New Business now extends far beyond a company’s Sales Staff alone.

The traditional Sales Representative is still the primary door-opener for many companies even though the stereotypical perception of a Salesperson is a slick, fast-talking, back-slapping, joke-telling shark. It could be a prosperous career for the right person, but one with great pressure to continuously meet quotas! You’re only as good as your last sale, so you are always on the hunt! And because you live on commissions, if you’re not hunting, you don’t eat!

There were two famous Broadway plays and subsequent movies that explored the lonely and sad lives of salesmen.
Death of a Salesman was written by award-winning playwright Arthur Miller in 1949, and in that same year it won both the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the Tony Award for Best Play. It won several revival awards over the years and was eventually made into a movie. The salesman, Willy Loman, became a symbol for the sales underachiever.

The other was written by another famous playwright, David Mamet: Glengarry Glen Ross. It was made into a movie in 1992 and featured an all-star cast of actors including: Al Pacino, Alan Arkin, Ed Harris, Jack Lemon as the inept salesmen, Kevin Spacey as the incompetent Sales Manager, and Alec Baldwin as the Type A VP of Sales.

Neither portrayal would be an effective recruitment movie for the sales profession, yet you know when you meet a professional Salesperson today! They establish trust with their clients by putting the clients’ interests first. Their belief in the company’s products and services and their ability to help their clients build up revenues and brand is paramount! A professional Salesperson has the confidence and desire to achieve their goals, and the competitive spirit to always meet challenges head on.

Today’s successful New Business initiatives have to be multi-channel strategies incorporating all of the staff and digital services previously mentioned above. The Salesman, however, is not dead: he is typically leading the charge!

Author: Ralph Fucci

Too Little, Too Late?

Kudos to the United States Postal Service. Ending Saturday delivery is a step in the right direction for the ever-failing quasi-governmental organization. But is this too little, too late? With an estimated loss of 15 billion a year, due mainly to prepaid pensions, the Saturday delivery cut will take care of only 2 to 3 billion of that deficit, leaving the USPS in a hole 12 to 13 billion deep. Union leaders, Congress, and the American public face some hard choices. Do we allow the USPS to increase postage to rates that UPS and FedEx have survived on? Should Congress revise its 2006 law requiring that the pensions be prepaid, or do we let the USPS fail? How important to you is every door, every day service? Isn’t five days enough? I, for one, would enjoy five-day service. I mean, who wants a bill in the mail on a Saturday to ruin the rest of your weekend anyway?

The announcement to cancel Saturday mail was a milestone in USPS history. The USPS made this announcement during a press conference even before consulting Congress or union leaders. Since union leaders influence the members of Congress who actually determine the fate of the USPS, I would think they wound be in the know. But they weren’t, and I’m happy about that. This means that the USPS is taking charge and making decisions no matter who it upsets in the process.
Here’s to hoping that the USPS can make the necessary decisions to stay afloat for another 50 years! But if it can’t, we’ll just have to use the interweb. That is, of course, what you’re reading this on!

Mobile World Congress 2013

It is that time of the year when all eyes turn to Barcelona for the Mobile World Congress (MWC).

The MWC is where the major mobile devices are revealed.

Some of the companies that will be showing their wares:

Samsung will be launching their latest Galaxy phone after MWC. But they will be introducing two Galaxy tablets: 8- and 10-inch versions. Both will come with Android Jelly Bean.

RIM will be making the best of a badly needed opportunity to show off their latest wares: the Z10 and the BB10 BlackBerry smartphones.

ZTE is the one to watch: this industry outlier is rumored to be introducing a mobile device that runs on the new Mozilla operating system!

Author: Susan Hallinan

How Smelly Is Your Design?

In the world of design we’re brought up to understand there are certain rules to follow when laying out a piece. Guidelines exist to help designs resonate with our intended audiences. For example, in photography the “rule of thirds” teaches us to divide our shots into a grid format and place our subjects in any of the nine sections—none of which is dead center. The phrase “form follows function” is another example that’s been around for a century. It reminds us that an object should be designed considering its function first and that this will determine its form.

A poor creative team, on the other hand, may spend hours deliberating about the appropriate message for a direct mail envelope. In reality, it’s the shape of the piece and the color of the design that humans connect with first. Content always comes later.

These rules exist because they’ve been tested over the years. Through the use of eye-tracking technology and decades of focus groups, we’re able to say with certainty where eyeballs go when they look at design.

But what if we did more than just followed the rules of design visually? What if we triggered other senses beyond sight? What about taste? What about smell? We’ve been to the grocery store enough times to know that giving away food samples is one of the most ingenious forms of marketing. From the sizzle of the frying pan and the smell that fills the aisles to the moment you take that tiny toothpick and take a bite––you’d swear you’ve never eaten such good sausages.

Well, that full-blown experience is a marketer’s dream. There isn’t a limb on an advertiser’s body that he or she wouldn’t give up to utilize scent in an ad campaign. The limbic connection between smell and memory is the perfect recipe for all things nostalgia. Freshly mowed lawns, our mother’s baking, and even the smell of Play-Doh all have the potential to elicit something deep within us.

It doesn’t look like Smell-O-Vision will be put to practical use anytime soon. It does seem, however, that a team out of Belgium has figured out how to express both scent and taste using stamps. The Belgian post office, known as Bpost, has produced more than 500,000 smellable/edible stamps celebrating Belgium’s world-famous chocolates and chocolatiers.

While it’ll be a bit before I see myself licking an already-licked stamp, I can’t deny how effective it might be in triggering those chocolate-driven memories stored deep inside me.

The Belgians are breaking the rules—those zany rebels! What else can we come up with to more effectively reach our consumers?

To learn about how those chocolate stamps are made, check out this video: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-21388234

Author: Eric Swenson

Free Internet—Too Good to Be True

At the beginning of January, it was announced that Google was providing the entire New York City neighborhood of Chelsea with free wireless Internet. With their New York Office located in the same area, over 8,000 people now have access to free Internet.

The concept isn’t new, and especially in NYC. In the summer of 2011, the Brooklyn neighborhood of DUMBO was gifted its improvement district, with financing from a building management company, with free Internet for all who inhabit it as well as their visitors. As imagined, the technology was well received, and to date has run into minimal problems.

Rumors of NYC being completely connected have swirled around for a while, with Mayor Bloomberg advocating for NYC to be the new technology capital of the country. When news broke that the Federal Communications Commission was considering supplying free Internet across the country, though a bit far fetched, it still seemed like a possibility. After all, time and again thought leaders and organizations all the way up to the United Nations have deemed the Internet a basic human right. Making it fully accessible to everyone at any time seemed like a logical next step.

But as with many projections at that scale, it was too good to be true. Due to poor reporting by the Washington Post and poorer interpretation and research done by web journalists who pushed it to their own readers, too good to be true turned out to be just that. The Post was actually covering a part of the White Spaces proposal that has been in circuit since 2008, which speaks to the unused bands of spectrum each television channel controls. The frequencies can transmit further than WiFi, and talks have been made about doing something with these bands, but certainly not now. To say the least, it’s an embarrassing error for the Washington Post.

But what if free Internet could be provided? What would be the implications? The most obvious would be the massive hit to Internet Service Providers, who would lose a massive chunk of revenue. Or would they partner up to offer the service, and if so, who would pay them? What if a company like Google, which already has established an area of free WiFi, extends their networks? Would the user mind communications loaded down by ads, or connecting through a specific account—in this case Gmail for Google?

In any case, for the country to reach the height of technological advancement it so desperately wants, unlimited Wi-Fi reached from anywhere is something that may have to become a reality. Even with a unanimous go-ahead among concerned parties, a few years would have to be invested into network and set-up, so it surely wouldn’t be an instantaneous flip of the switch.

There’s certainly a lot of pull and tug on the issue and an endless list of things the endeavor would affect. One thing can be counted on, though: should a free countrywide network is set up, it will definitely not be a decision that seemingly came out of nowhere.

Author: Zack Smith