Tag Archives: commercials

Engaging with the Big Game

There is no question that I will be engaged in the Super Bowl this weekend.  In fact, it has been on my radar for weeks.  The question is exactly how will I choose to engage?

  • Old School —  Just enjoy the game for the game’s sake.  As a native Pittsburgher with fond memories of the Steel Curtain, swirling terrible towels, and chanting “One for the Thumb,” it’s a logical choice.
  • Facebook Fanatic – Participating in the virtual cheers and jeers that are bound to continue between my Facebook friends who have been posting images of Steeler cheese graters, “Stairway to 7” slogans and other signs of their team affiliations for the past several weeks.
  • Professional – As a 20-year veteran of the advertising and marketing world, there is the obligation to analyze every commercial so that I am prepared to debate the winners and losers with family, friends and colleagues on Monday morning.
  • Twitter Tags – And there is always the appeal of the Twitter buffet of 140-character musings on everything from the plays, the refs, and the commercials to the Polamalu  vs. Matthews “Hair Bowl.”

The truth is, I will probably engage with the Super Bowl in all these ways, as each appeals to me on a different level.

As a marketer, it is also a good reminder that target audiences are multidimensional and will choose to engage with brands and messages in a variety of different ways with different expectations – sometimes all at the same time.  Communications plans need to be as multidimensional as they are.

Pamela J. Alvord – EVP, Managing Director of Strategy and Operations


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Filed under Ad Agencies, advertising, Customer Experience, Engagement, Social Media, Strategy

How engagement can fall short

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone; the world is changing. People are receiving up-to-the-minute information as news is happening, rather than wait for the 6 o’clock news. News stations (CNN, MSNBC, Fox News) report updates on their websites, and Facebook and Twitter posts have become the definition of “current” events. As technology continues to develop, advertising, too, must learn to reach audiences in new, compelling, and engaging ways.

The digital age is upon us, and with it comes more ways to reach audiences than ever before.  Today, audiences are targeted through social media sites, online banners, search engine optimization, and limited online TV commercials. Even though advertisers have many more venues to reach new customers than ever before, it’s a stretch for some of these media to have a discernable impact. But I came across one such campaign that was so compelling, I had to share it with everyone I could.

This campaign was intriguing, interactive, and engaging enough that I wanted to continue “playing” with it long after my first video finished. But after five minutes, could you tell me what the brand was? You may recognize the product and what it can do, but do you know the brand? (The answer is Tipp-Ex, a brand of correction fluid, owned by BIC, better known in Europe). While the concept of this campaign is incredibly strong, the execution fell just a bit short of turning an engaged audience into a new supply of consumers. And, after all, isn’t the end goal of advertising to sell products?

Here are three steps that Tipp-Ex missed that could have turned the compelling, engaging campaign into one with positive, measurable results:

  1. Continue using the product. Clearly, there are many videos that Tipp-Ex produced for this campaign. Allowing me to “use” the product in order to create a new blank would have had me interacting with the product directly. Repetition would have made me recall the brand next time I’m ordering supplies.
  2. A link to the website. There are more than 6.8 million views (at the time of this posting) to this video, but not a single clickable link to their site. Can you imagine what 6.8 million views would have looked like had they been allowed to visit a microsite or landing page? Then, Tipp-Ex would have had a targeted, active audience on THEIR site, and not just some YouTube link.
  3. A call to action. While I enjoyed interacting with the videos of this campaign, once I was done, I was done. The campaign did not provide an opportunity for me to further my involvement with the brand by offering a call to action. A simple coupon (on this yet-to-be-executed website) that could be printed and taken into any office supply retailer to be redeemed will have me asking for this brand by name next time I’m in need of correction tape.

With these three additional executions to the concept, uninterested Web surfers could have become interactive and engaged audiences and converted into measurable consumers, and perhaps loyal brand stewards.

— Jonathan Ginburg, Senior Account Executive


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Filed under advertising, Customer Experience

Banners suck. Long live advertising.

I’m encouraged by some very recent news concerning online advertising. MSNBC (msnbc.msn.com) just rolled out a redesign of their site—Monday 6/28. Part of their redesign philosophy is that Web ads should be large and not relegated to the edges of the page. In other words, they’ve pretty much blown up the marginalized banner ad.

The simple idea of redefining the shape, layout, position and rotation of ads on a site’s page is to be applauded. It’s about time. I mean, c’mon, what idiot (definitely not an art-type) decided a good shape for messaging would be a very wide but extremely shallow rectangle wedged in above the title of a page or an extremely tall and extremely narrow oblong forcing the designer to make everything miniature like some kind of Lilliputian vertical billboard. Back in the day, when newspapers still existed (Wait, what? They’re still around?) it took some real craft and a smart idea to figure out how to creatively use a one column by full depth space. Which is why you only saw them every so often. Now, we routinely get forced to take a headline and break every word onto a line by itself…or squeeze an image down to the size of a postage stamp and expect it to have impact.

So good for you MSNBC designers—go ahead, poke a sharp stick in the eye of all the sameness of banners shoved to the edges of the page. Make that ad big and bold and right up front. Embrace the fact that advertising is an important part of making MONEY on the Web. And the better you make the space for advertising, the more innovative the work itself will get

— Chris Schlegel, Chief Creative Officer


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Shorter attention spans mean longer formats?

TV is dead. We all know that. We’ve been hearing that for years, anyway, so it must be true. As everything goes “digi”, we hear a lot of conventional wisdom talk about attention spans and eye tracking and the ever-measurable click-through.

But as a creative and an instructor at the local ad school, trying both to do right by my clients’ needs, and to guide my students to push past further than today’s business realities allow, I can’t help but notice that what still gets the most “buzz” are conventional pieces that look a lot like TV.

Some clients hear the death knell of TV blowing through the pop biz books, and are relieved. While TV spots give brands the legitimacy and prestige they clamor for, they are also seen as a tremendous drain on the ad budget– which they are. TV costs money. Media costs money. Talent costs money (and I don’t just mean the monkeys in front of the camera). Despite what that guy at the cocktail party in the black turtleneck says, YouTube and Red Cameras do not mean good quality TV gets a whole lot cheaper. Then the obvious question is Why produce TV when Twitter costs literally $0? I’m not going to answer that, because I respect you.

So TV moves to the Web. It gets longer. Or shorter. But mostly longer. (I was shown a study yesterday claiming the ideal length for online video is between 30 and 90 seconds. Content is a little in the grey area, but for optimum ROI, there is apparently a running time.)

This month, the world went crazy for Nike’s World Cup spot. As of Sunday night, in less than three weeks, more than 12 million people had watched it on YouTube alone. I have it on good authority it’s the spot that both the agency and the client are going to put down as their crown jewel for the year. Though personally, as I’m not much of a futbol fan but I am a giant nerd, I’m partial to Adidas’s work that launched last week just in time for kickoff. Both the Nike and Adidas spots are over two minutes, and clearly cost a boatload of money. And I don’t hear anybody complaining about attention spans, and I’ll bet come awards season, we’ll be seeing them again.

Can you do awesome long format video that doesn’t require the expense of David Beckham sitting down with Greedo at George Lucas’s house? Sure. As kinetic and absorbing and “spectacular” as the Nike spot is, I was much more moved by the 12 minutes I spent with Mother’s Docu-sponsory™ (I’m coining that) for Stella beer,  UP THERE.  It’s beautiful, moving, and probably cost what 2 seconds of the Nike spot cost. And it made me thirsty.

Here at Kilgannon, the agency recently produced some long-format work for Manheim. You can see it here, and you can read a much better explanation of it here. We’re pretty proud of it, and we think it’ll pull pretty hard for them. And as I sit here typing this, I’m looking at casting tapes for a TV spot. Yes, an actual TV spot that will run on that black rectangle in your living room. It’s not dead yet.

— Devon Suter, VP, Group Creative Director


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Is the Super Bowl really about football? Time for the big ad showdown.

It’s Super Bowl Time. Yippee!

OK. So I’m not a football fan. I don’t dislike it, but I’m usually busy parenting little girls on Sunday afternoon instead of sitting in front of the TV or heading down to the Georgia Dome. But on Super Bowl Sunday, you will actually find me parked on my couch, with the volume turned up so I can hear every single word of dialog on every single commercial. Because, although I don’t care who wins the game, I am an advertising fan.

Yep! I’ll be watching the Super Bowl again for the ads. This is the one time of year that everyone in the business feels a little bit of pride since we know that we’re not the only ones who tune in for the commercials.

No, we ad people are not the only ones hoping that Budweiser runs a spot as funny as the frogs, or Reebok will make us laugh like they did with Terry Tate Office Linebacker. Or will Pepsi (Pepsi pulled out this year) entice us the way they did with Cindy, or will Coke tug at our hearts the way they did with Mean Joe Greene? Maybe. And maybe Go Daddy will run another sexist ad and revel in their bad publicity, too.

The Super Bowl represents possibly the only mass-market television event left. Since the advertising is also well watched by the consumers, it represents a rare opportunity for advertisers to make an impact on a huge audience. Whether a three-million-dollar, 30-second spot generates great ROI is debatable. But what it does create is a few hours on television where advertisers and agencies all want to put their best foot forward. So make your nachos and head to the beer store, because the show is about to begin.

– Jimmy Gilmore, Senior Writer


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