Archive | October 2013

Halloween Ads get Ghoulish

halloween-related-1250811-mAn interesting observation by The New York Times, notes that the more scary the real world seems (like our looming financial crisis and government shutdown), the less scary Halloween ads are. Conversely, when consumers are upbeat, marketers produce more frightful ads.

So what is the tone for 2013?

It seems a majority of marketers this year have chosen more tricks than treats. The article cites, which has launched a spooky campaign centered on haunted hotels. The trailer is almost a horror movie in itself, intended to “scare the pants off them” according to a creative director at Widen & Kennedy. Meanwhile a national pizza chain uses Halloween to convince parents that pizza is the treat to “keep your little monsters happy” this year.

It could be that marketers are choosing to create more ghoulish ads because of current pop culture trends. Consider how many hit series are focused on giving consumers that spine tingling feeling: “American Horror Story: Coven,” on FX; “Bates Motel,” on A&E; “Grimm,” on NBC; “The Originals,” “Supernatural“ and “The Vampire Diaries,” all on CW; “Sleepy Hollow,” on Fox; “The Walking Dead,” on AMC; and “Witches of East End,” on Lifetime.

“It’s kind of extraordinary,” said Ed Martin, a longtime television writer who is an editor at large at MediaPost.

“And we’re not even counting ‘Dracula,’ ” he added, a series that is to make its debut on NBC on Oct. 25, or “the horror shows on Syfy, BBC America and Sundance.” That was a reference to the annual spate of holiday specials on cable channels that also includes presentations like the 13 Nights of Halloween on ABC Family.

And its doesnt even have to be Halloween for marketers to have scary themes in their ads anymore. Hyundai and Microsoft have used zombies in their “off season” ads.

But on the lighter side of things, you can always trust that some marketers like M&Ms or Cheetos will keep the laughter rolling.

In fact, Project TP lets you work with Chester Cheetah to practically cover any place you can think of… try it here.

With all the tricks and treats Halloween brings, what marketers do you think hit the mark for Halloween 2013?


Video Marketing on a Shoestring Budget

digital-video-1164918-mVideo marketing can be expensive to produce, but you don’t have to have a huge budget to make it work for you. This great article from the Open Forum shares four low-cost ways to use video marketing. Here are the tips in brief…

1. Your best asset is in your pocket… meaning your smartphone. Many videos are shot right from an iPhone or iPad and there are numerous apps you can use for a better camera quality.

2. Emphasize a compelling message. As long as you have a relevant, compelling message to share with your audience, the quality of your video is secondary. Some broadcasters and producers (even Ellen DeGeneres) use Skype for interviews. Just keep it consistent with your brand image, otherwise your efforts won’t support your brand and the video will fall flat.

3. Take advantage of low-cost tools for video marketing. As mentioned, there are numerous apps avialable to mke video marketing and editing easier. Suggested programs include VideoScribe ($25/month) for sketch-style videos and (free) for pro-style animation. And while YouTube has a built-in editor you can take advantage of, there are third-party tools for that, too, such as (free) or (free to start).

4. Tap into your customers for content. User generated content has been very successful for Dorito’s and other major brands. Its more organic and genuine than content produced by organizations and many consumers will jump at the chance to play a part in their favorite brand’s marketing. Offering a small incentive or contest helps drive their participation.

Through not every video you produce is going to go viral, the more recognition and views your video gets, the more you’ve offset any production costs from increased brand awareness or direct revenue from resulting leads.

Measuring Value of B2B Social Strategies

While social media has proved its value to consumer retail marketers, many of us are still waiting for social to prove its worth for business-to-business industries… or at least consider measuring the right metrics so c-suite understands there is value in it. We know providing valuable content is key to social engagement and success, but how do we really measure it?

hand-over-keyboard-1377963-mMost of us count our community size as evidence of its value. While the number of likes, Twitter followers or LinkedIn group members are helpful to know, they are not solid indicators of social success (or failure). Many people beyond your immediate network see your brand messaging through friends of friends and shared tweets. But social media delivers a more meaningful measurement than mere impressions – engagement!

Engagement is action from your audience, an actual connection between your audience and brand – your content (there’s more on this from a great article on B2B social measurement on Chief Marketer).

According to a recent ThomasNet Industrial Purchasing Barometer, 7 out of 10 small and midsized suppliers are engaging with prospects through social media.

So why is engagement more valuable than impressions? Because each one is triggered by active interest – the customer is coming to you for advice, help, products. Then as each follower shares your content, it’s becomes a powerful referral that represents an existing relationship with the retweeter and a new one with the retweetees (their followers). Each shared post adds more participants to your social community.

For instance, LinkedIn is growing as a powerful community for third party perspectives and advice on industry hot topics, problem-solving and purchasing choices. Hootsuite, Hubspot and other content platforms are also now offering ways to measure beyond impressions to track and aggregate these engagements so you can not only quantify them but map them back to specific content.

Ultimately, social media success comes from content. With the ability to track what content is most valued and shared, you can focus on delivering more of it. And map strategies that demonstrate sales are coming from your social media communications.


How Do We Define Advertising Today?

As today’s media landscape continues to become more diverse, advertisers and companies are redefining what “advertising campaign” means. Once upon a time, a marketer that wanted a new ad campaign would call his agency and they would create a strategy to capture a targeted audience (based on demographics) with an innovative slogan  and imagery in print, broadcast or outdoor.

But today’s consumers are as diverse as the media landscape… Yes they can be define by demographics but that has little influence on their perception of a brand. Consumers want more than to be talked to, they have moved from being talked at to being talked with.

As Randall Rothenberg puts it in this article, “It’s broadcast, cable and streaming; it’s online, tablet and smartphone; it’s video, rich media, social media, branded content, banners, apps, in-app advertising and interactive technology products like Sherwin-Williams’ Chip It! It’s even physical interactive gear, like Nike+ Fuelband. Pushed an inch farther, the new Google Chromecast dongle could fit under that marketing classification, and the smart watches on the horizon will be yet another platform.”

So what does this change mean to advertising? Well, first it creates a lot of controversy. Some think it means advertising is social, some say it means mobile, while others insist on it being utility (serve consumers needs, not just inform). Or is advertising liquid – it must create experiences that cross media platform barriers to gain consumer awareness?

These perspectives are redefining what advertising means to companies and consumers. It’s more than just communicating, advertising today is interactive, engaging and, to be effective, must still influence attitudes and behaviors.

Today’s marketing professionals analyze media outlets, think outside the box and are always looking for the next innovative way to use technology to get their message across to their audience. To do that, they must be “experts” at everything, or at the very least be THE expert at something.

Regardless, today’s advertising is a diverse and growing industry. Successful campaigns reach across media platforms to engage consumers at multiple levels and use the latest data to develop hard-hitting messages.

If you were to define advertising today, how would you describe it?