Tag Archives: Advertising

Transcending the Traditional vs. Digital Divide

There’s a growing division in the advertising world: a yawning chasm between traditional and digital approaches. Old-school marketers, direct mailers and brochures in hand, stand on one side, and tech-savvy SEO gurus, web developers, and AdWords adepts on the other.

Yes, sometimes the two sides work together, though typically in a patchwork-style campaign. Predictably, the results usually fall flat.

This schism between analog and online isn’t just wrong-headed—it entirely overlooks the enormous power unleashed when both sides work seamlessly in a cohesive strategy. Both types of media become exponentially more effective when working as one.

Moving Beyond with a Media-Agnostic Approach

Too many agencies, advertisers, and businesses side with a camp from the onset, before even considering the specifics of the campaign at hand. Would a mechanic trash half his toolbox before discovering why the car isn’t starting? Would a general dismiss half his troops before determining the mission? You get the idea.

Before restricting ourselves to certain media channels, we work closely with clients to intimately understand the goals, challenges, and needs of the campaign. Only then do we proceed with a media-agnostic approach to implementing it. We go with whatever delivery methods work best—and that usually involves a combination of tradition and digital tools.

Digital platforms are indeed where more businesses are moving, and for good reason. It’s increasingly easy for customers to learn more, take action, or make a purchase online. But that doesn’t mean traditional tools are obsolete.

Some of the most successful efforts leverage the considerable power of traditional media—a physical brochure, a captivating sign, a direct mailing—to capture attention and send customers to a digital destination—a landing page, a mobile app, an ecommerce store—where they can heed the call to action.

Great campaigns make use of all tools at their disposal, merging digital and traditional media in a sharp, channel-agnostic strategy. The dichotomy between digital and traditional media is a false one: transcend it to make your message more effective. To paraphrase Aristotle, the whole is far, far greater than the sum of the parts.

Author: Zack Smith

How Social Media Advertising is Changing Everything

In 2013’s Super Bowl XLVII, a surreal blackout put the nation’s most fanatically watched game on hold for what seemed to be an eternal half hour. In the midst of the chaos, Oreo posted the below tweet. It earned half a billion impressions and was named by Adweek as one of the top 5 ads of the night. Most astoundingly, it was the only one placed for free.

During the 2014 Academy Awards, host Ellen DeGeneres jumped into the star-studded audience and took the below selfie. As she predicted, it broke Twitter (disrupting service for an interminable 20 minutes) and gained the most retweets in history. In reality, the move was a not-so-subtle publicity stunt for Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3.

What do these social media “ads” have in common? And what can they tell us about the future?

Timely, Fun, & Friendly

First, both were triggered by massive events. Social media travels at light-speed, with trends, topics, and memes flitting in and out of existence in mere instants. Brands who can jump on hot news get rewarded.
Second, both were fun, playful, and unexpected—fortuitous moments you couldn’t wait to share with your friends.

Finally, both come off as rather non-promotional—they don’t hit you over the head with a “buy me!” message. They play it cool and friendly, allowing the sales message to seep in subconsciously.

Monetizing Social Media

Today, Facebook—with its mind-boggling 1.3 billion monthly users—is the preferred platform for B2C advertisers, with smart algorithms that weave targeted ads into ordinary storylines and updated from loved ones.

Twitter is close behind and poised to release 15 new types of ads in the coming weeks. These new features, many designed for Twitter’s mobile app, are eliminating barriers between social networks and commerce. One tap can put an interested user directly on a call with a sales rep. Eventually, users will likely be able to make purchases directly from the platform.

But brands are also turning to Pinterest, Instagram, and even lesser known platforms like Snapchat to gain exposure—though the social network that turned down a $3 billion buyout from Facebook has yet figure out how to monetize ads.

The Shape of Ads to Come

The bottom line? We fully anticipate seeing the rising tide of social media advertising race toward its inevitable pinnacle.

But will these ads resemble their 20th century counterparts? Not at all. This represents a fundamental shift in the way brands and consumers connect. Rather than static pitch and purchase, ads of the future will launch responsive, interactive dialogue.

Nor is this change limited to business-to-consumer (B2C) interactions—B2B brands have been expanding beyond LinkedIn, with 85% using Twitter and 81% using Facebook to distribute content, according to a recent CMI report. While B2C companies tend to entertain, B2B brands inform, offering valuable insights over social media and establishing authority in the process.

Social media pushes both types of companies to speak with their prospective customers, rather than at them. Brands will continue to get more skilled at conversation as sell, and the world will be better for it.

Author: Paul Wry

AdForum’s Top 5 Commercials for This Week

This week’s top five should be titled A Series of Unfortunate Crap. My general feeling from the spots this week is that they were phoned in. Literally. I genuinely think that someone pitched a general concept to the agency, they liked the idea, and then plugged in one of their clients’ brands to the concept. There is a serious disconnect between what we’re seeing and the tie-in at the end. Are we templatizing ideas now?

We begin with Pelephone’s ad “Zeppelins.” Twenty-six seconds of really intriguing visuals. Beautiful art direction and an interesting story line that pulls you in, making you ask, What is this all about? And then suddenly, “Wherever you land, you’ll get the best roaming rates.” This is a mobile plan ad? Seriously? You could literally plug in almost any product to this spot.

–       Wherever you land, you’ll get the most reward points for your Visa card.

–       Wherever you land, you’ll get the most out of your Expedia vacation.

–       Wherever you land…

I could go on, but it’d just make me more upset.

Then again, the melodrama of the Sunami and Hornbach ads pushes me over the edge. The Sunami ad in particular just kills me. For two minutes we follow this incredible story of an underappreciated woman and her escape from an oppressive husband. We love her! She’s a hero! If only more women had this sort of courage!…

To use Sunami laundry soap.

The Hornbach ad is a decent story. And yes, we understand the “And what will remain of you” tagline. It’s just a bit of a stretch for a hardware store. Leave a legacy by shopping at Hornbach. I don’t know. Just doesn’t add up to four.

The winner this week goes to Del Monte Fruit Cups––light-hearted, universal, and straightforward in its concept. We love the complex, but it’s just flat-out unecessary with this spot.

And Export Gold? You’re trying too hard.

As always, chime in and cast your vote. Until next time!

1. Pelephone – “Zeppelins” – ACW Grey

 

2. Export Gold – “Fire at the Old Well” – Colenso BBDO Auckland

 

3. Sunami – “Moving” – Kráneo *S,C,P,F…

 

4. Del Monte Fruit Cups – “If Spencer Can” – Blammo

 

5. Hornbach – “And What Will Remain of You” – HEIMAT Berlin

Hornbach “And what will remain of you?” from Source on Vimeo.

Author: Eric Swenson

Behavior-Changing Apps: A Vanguard Direct Survey

Behavior Changing Apps

Steve Jobs and Apple revolutionized how we understand communication and information. He completely shifted our society. It was his products that transformed, in a way, how we think and behave. And it’s this last point that is the most fascinating. Behavior. Our behavior is different simply because of a small, handheld device. This was enough to drive Utterly Orange to ask: How else has our behavior changed as a result of technology? And in particular, which applications have leveraged the mobile platform and really changed our world?

We surveyed over 100 Vanguard employees on this topic and received, as you might imagine, a plethora of opinions. I’ve done my best to collate those opinions into something more chewable. However, one can’t help but wonder what makes one app’s utility more important than another’s? Yelp has blown away Zagat as the number-one restaurant-reviewing site/app. Foodies live and die—and, likewise, restaurants—by Yelp and its five alluring stars. But is it more transformative than, say, the flashlight app? Did you ever think you’d be bringing your phone camping in order to properly navigate?

So while I’d like to say our list is exhaustive, it’s limited and inherently subjective. And oftentimes it’s like we’re comparing Apple and oranges.

Banking & Financial Apps

The day that I heard I could deposit a check without having to go to the bank, I pretty much flipped. Or transfer money to a friend simply by typing in her email address? Who knew? There was a time when one would scan through thousands of ticker symbols in order to see if his Kodak stock went up a half point or not. Today it streams in real-time on the home screen of my phone.

These financial apps may not be the sexiest, but they certainly have changed our behavior.

Honorable mention goes to mint.com and its highly intuitive, highly beautiful app. Connect with every financial account you maintain (if you have the gumption) and see your net worth. From setting budgets to tracking your spending trends, your eyes will awaken to how you spend a dollar. You can’t help but want to modify your behavior.

News-aggregate Apps

We’re living in a content-driven world, and Vanguard is a content-driven girl. The Information Age is a tired expression, but it’s still undoubtedly accurate. Our survey suggested Vanguard has an overwhelming enthusiasm for apps that curate content.

That said, our sample comes from digitally savvy New Yorkers who have the subway free-time and industry knowledge to be interested in these sorts of apps. However, you cannot deny how we think about information today. It’s completely different from ten years ago. And without getting too grandiose on you, think about what this says about our evolution as human beings. I can barely fathom the implications.

Honorable mention goes to Flipboard. It’s intuitive. It’s user-friendly. And it works. Our senior management team loves it––and if they get it, you will.

Barcode-based Apps

Genius. There’s no other way to describe the utility of these apps other than to say simply: Genius. Want to know if that protein bar isn’t actually filled with carbs and sugar? Scan it. Want to sign up for a chance to drive a Lamborghini? Scan it. Want to know if that product was made in a child sweatshop factory in China? Scan it. Boycott it.

Never in a million years did someone think a telephone would have this sort of function. And yet, here we are. Honorable mention goes to Fooducate. This handy app scans your food and assigns it a letter grade. Skippy peanut butter gets a C? The app suggests a more healthful, A-rated alternative.

Music-driven Apps

Regardless of whether you hate all its ads or not, Shazam is 100% a unique game shifter. You can call it an app, but it’s an invention that has revolutionized our relationship with the sound waves coming out of your bar’s speakers. The minute you even hear the concept behind this app, you’ll get goose bumps.

Honorable mention goes to apps like Spotify and Pandora, which have changed radio forever. They’re like the news-aggregate apps from above, but for the soul.

Google Apps

Google is a category of its own. One cannot put down in writing the impact that its array of products have had on our organization, our culture, and our world. Your phone tells you when to turn left and when to turn right. Thanks, Google Maps! Your phone tells you that the phallic object in the middle of Buenos Aires you’re viewing is the Obelisco de Buenos Aires. Thanks, Google Goggles! And on that note, what does “Obelisco” mean in English? Obelisk. Thanks, Google Translate!

Google Now, a new app designed to adapt to where you go and what you do to predict behavior, is creepily amazing. But wait, there’s more!

I won’t go on, but this stuff is incomprehensible. And there are plenty of honorable mentions for me-too products, but we all know they’ve just been modeling themselves after Google.

These five categories and their top apps were chosen because of their utility and surprise. Did we think that we’d be talking to people using video someday? Well, yeah. It was in Back to the Future Part II. That isn’t to say it isn’t impressive; it really is. Social apps and game apps have altered how we interact with peers and friends. We are social beings, and these apps have encouraged social behavior. As I said in the beginning, this list is certainly nowhere near exhaustive––if you had to suggest another, what app has surprised you most?

Author: Eric Swenson

Proper Etiquette in the Modern Workplace

Whether you’re a master of office best practices or an email novice who just can’t seem to comprehend email taboos, Jason Franzen is here to provide valuable insight or a fresh reminder. His posters, which are both poignantly on target and hilarious, set out to detail what we all should know about behaving respectfully in the office. In a phrase, it’s about being cognizant of your communal actions that directly or indirectly affect your coworkers. You can’t help but read these and be like, “God, yes! So true!”

It’s genius.

Here are a few, but be sure to check out the entire list at DesignTAXI.

Author: Eric Swenson

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

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