FTC Trims ‘Results Not Typical’ From Ads

We’ve seen the ads of diet plans, workout equipment, regimens, and a slew of other lose-weight-and-look-great supplements. These ads have two things in common: attractive actors/models with desirable physiques and fine print that reads “results not typical.”

Earlier this month, the Federal Trade Commission issued a new set of guidelines to remove the ubiquitous phrase “results not typical” from all advertisements. Advertisers now have one of two options:

1) Reveal that a spokesperson lost weight (or inches) by working out regularly, eating a balanced diet, and using their product.

2) Reveal that despite the significant amount of weight the spokesperson lost, the average person will lose far less using their product.

Endorsers such as Valerie Bertinelli, Kirstie Alley, Dan Marino and others may not be too pleased with this ruling as they can now be out of a job. However, this is a win for consumers, as advertisements are forced to be more truthful, putting the consumers’ weight-loss goals in realistic perspectives.

I’m just glad the FTC regulated the phrase and not the hard-bodied models. No one would win in that scenario.

Tommy Liu, the man, the legend wields his pen of creativity against the injustice of mediocrity plaguing the world as the Executive Integrated Producer at Supercool Creative & SpotZero where he also manages the blog. View some of his battles here (he doesn’t always win).

The Swinging Pendulum of the Advertising Jingle

Advertising-JinglesAdvertising jingles are something consumers love to hate and hate to love. We hum them at bus stops and sing them in the shower. Sometimes (when done correctly), we even associate the correct brand with the right emotion every time we begin into its corresponding tune.

Why are these seemingly simple and oft-idiotic ditties so catchy? Where did they come from? Furthermore, how have they been so persuasive in advertisements for just short of a century?

It all began with a Wheaties radio ad in the 1930’s. A local radio ad implemented what we know today as a jingle. The Wheaties brand was about to plunge into oblivion, but shortly after the ad ran a few times, Wheaties sales shot through the roof. Upon seeing this explosion, the ad men on the account decided to test it nationally. The result was over 75 years of head-pounding, catchy infuriation (plus a box of Wheaties in every American pantry).

What keeps the tune of “Double Your Pleasure” in your head for hours, days, and weeks on end? Scientists have actually linked it to something within our inner ear known as the phonological loop, which remembers sounds in a chronological order and repeats these sounds to remember them (the same system we use to learn language in our infant years). By creating very short, simple tunes with heavy repetition and ease of recital, advertisers and jingle-makers are able to hack into our brains and insert a message about their brand that is harder to remove than Disneyland’s “It’s a Small World,” essentially enslaving us to their haunting taglines.

With that in mind, the fact is the popularity of jingles rises and falls more than that of President Obama. Like many fads, jingles go through periods of heavy enjoyment and utter disgust. That’s because of the inner turmoil we experience in the midst of a catchy jingle. It may be momentarily fun from time to time to sing along with one, but after you’ve pounded your head against the door several hundred times in an attempt to literally and/or metaphorically knock the tune out of your head, we grow contempt for the once beloved jingle.

Jingles reached their heyday in the 1950’s and have waned in popularity since. Advertisers will go through periods of using full songs in their ads, essentially piggybacking on the popularity of the artist and capturing the emotional essence of what they represent. After those periods are played out, the general public is often ready to return to simpler time of the 10-second jingle.

Are jingles the craze again? Are we ready to form a nationwide mob to hunt the next McDonald’s jingle maker? Well, I’d say jingles are in, but this may be due to the fact that I live in San Diego and am subjected to the incessantly repetitive ditty tied to King Stahlman Bail Bonds: “It’s better to know me/And not need me/Than to need me/And not know me.”

Hopefully, it’s a jingle limited to San Diego.

Stu Haack is a Copywriter & Social Media Guru at Aviatech.  He likes long walks on the beach and scary movies.  Learn more about him and his writing.

Boobs in the Media: Walking a Fine Line

IMG_2305Life just keeps getting weirder and weirder. One day, boobs are good; the next, they’re banned in Britain on billboards for their portrayal of headlamps. Britain is the last place you would think the girls would be put away. Britain is (in)famous for its portrayal of plunging-cleavage shots on TV shows such as “Benny Hill” and “Ab Fab” (”Absolutely Fabulous”), but is also the same country that  publishes topless women weekly in newspapers, notably,  The Sun’s “Page 3 Girls,” and  the  Daily Star’s “Babes”

While both of the papers are entertainment and celebrity gossip-type tabloids, they’re given huge amounts of leeway with topless models. However, other nude or semi-nude ads seem to spark controversy: Last month,  American Apparel ran a print ad that took readers through unzipping a Flex Fleece Hoodie. The model eventually gets to point where a portion of her nipple is exposed. The ad ran in Vice Magazine, caused public outcry, and was banned subsequently.

Whether right or wrong (and I have no stance on British standards in advertising), the only difference I detect between the topless shots in the papers versus the questionable billboard is that the billboard is free while the papers require payment or subscription.


What’s all the hoopla about with this billboard campaign? It’s not any more or less, racy than a Victoria’s Secret ad or outdoor display.

Understandably, there are regulations to ensure no young minds are corrupted by breasts and marketers’ efforts to use breasts to sell stuff, and we’re well aware of the fact that sexually based ads and campaigns sell. This leads to the dilemma of morality and advertising, which is way too big to cover here.

However, my question is this: Whether used to sell headlamps in Britain or promote men’s awareness of breast cancer in North America, is it a fair advertising practice to approve or deny an ad based on the intent of the advertiser?

Rethink Breast Cancer’s spot, “Save the Boobs,” (below) follows a voluptuous woman in a bikini as she bounces her way through a swimming area.

Does this commercial merit approval based on the fact it supports a cause that could save a life, whereas the banned billboards are for headlights? Not using your headlights while driving could kill you, so don’t headlights save lives, too?

I would argue that if society’s intent is save the youth from corruption, both ads should be banned.

Here is where it gets weird: The headlight ad seems to succeed in purpose where the breast cancer spot fails. Why? Inciting controversy was the whole idea behind the cancer spot; stir people up, get them to react, get the spot on the news, and thereby raise awareness. Besides receiving accolades as being a great PSA by every 16-year-old with an Internet connection, it made but a ripple. The billboard got banned. Go figure.

Jeff Louis has ten years of brand-building, media strategy, and new business experience. His passion is writing and his strong suit is sarcasm. You can follow Jeff on Twitter or become a fan on Examiner.com.

Are Great Ads ‘Compellevant?’

vw think smallFor weeks now, my old Creative Director Andrew Schmeling has greeted his IM buddies with the following statement: “Is it compellevant?” (Being a Creative Director, he gets to make statements, not ask questions.) However, each time I sign on, I’m reminded this neologism serves as a portmanteau for two key ingredients of great ads: They’re both compelling and relevant. As we’re all subjected to daily, there are far too many pellets of capitalism that are only one or the other. You’re talking cultural milestone when you find one with both.

This is clear from a quick retrospective of the some of the high points of the last half-century of advertising. Love or hate smoking, Leo Burnett’s Marlboro Man rode for decades because whether you were Daniel Boone seeking “more elbow room” or Chris McCandless going Into the Wild, open space has always been part of the American Dream. That’s compellevant. DDB’s classic “Think Small” campaign? It’s compellevant because in the crowded seascape of land yachts that was the American car industry in 1959, a plain little Beetle with a lot of white space couldn’t have spoken louder to those questioning the Don Drapers of the world.

Wieden’s Just Do It in the ’80s? Compellevant. A few lucky folks out there might still look and feel as good as they did when they were 18, but for the rest of us, the clock’s ticking. Recently, there’s the iPod Silhouettes campaign: iconic art direction (branding the non-color white?) and direct copy plus a simple, non-verbal message (music is fun). These are just a few notable examples, of course, but you can pretty much take it to the awards podium (or bank, if you’re concerned with selling stuff) that the best work is compellevant, right?

Well, it is for the most part. Over the last few decades, as certain categories have drifted free from the moorings of Rosser Reeves-style USP-based claims, a number of notable campaigns and ads have appeared that can’t make any plausible claim to relevance but have compelled their way to sales, awards, and in the age of YouTube, the ultimate tribute, spoofs. What are some of these campaigns?

The Budweiser Frogs come immediately to mind. While Miller was going for compellevant with “Less Filling, Tastes Great,” Goodby had put together this slow-building three-syllable chorus of croaks, and the dramatic timing seems impeccable 14 years later. What relevant message does it have about beer? None.

On a similar note, just a few years later, Leo Burnett came out with the Real American Heroes/Real Men of Genius radio spots, and Mr. Centerfold Retoucher, Mr. Jelly Donut Filler, and their worthy compadres didn’t tell you anything about Bud Light, but these ads help vault Budweiser as the top beer in America and inspired countless web searches to hear the ones you’d missed.

Gorilla460More recently, TBWA/Chiat/Day’s tragicomic Skittles storyof the office worker afflicted with the candy touch swept the interwebs and the awards shows with its unexpected premise and compelling humor, but did it say anything close to relevant about the product? Nah. Ditto Fallon UK’s Cadbury spot. On paper, a formula of Phil Collins plus drumming gorilla equals a straight line from Doobieville to WTF-land, but increased sales don’t lie. My left brain is still outraged every time this is being used to sell chocolate, for it’s the perfect portfolio school case study of what not to do, but both my eyes can’t stop watching and neither could millions of others.

What’s the moral of the story here? Don’t be afraid to venture a little bit off the straight, strategic path, especially if you’re working on one of those fun food or beverage accounts. Sure, it’ll be harder to sell to the client, but gold (and a gold lion) might be in them thar hills.

Nate Davis loves advertising, the interwebs, and social networks, yet looks askance on many of their cultural offspring. Read more at www.natedaviscopywriter.com.

The Power of a Great Ad Campaign

ThebeefBefore delving into the main portion of this article, I’d first like to clearly define what I mean by the term ‘great’ in the title.

‘Great,’ in the sense of advertising, is in reference to an ad or campaign that transcends time and trend. ‘Great’ describes a truly creative and inspiring idea that has enough emotional, logical, or persuasive rhetoric to consistently move large portions of consumers to act.  Simply put, it’s got zing.

Alright.  Now that we’ve got that out of the way, we can really get to the “meat and potatoes” of this article; what great marketing campaigns can truly achieve for a brand.

Walking down the figurative Advertising Hall of Fame, you’d run into “Mean” Joe Green, an old woman inquiring about the absence of dietary cow product, and a swooshing symbol telling you to “Just do it.”  But what do these ad campaigns that have stayed in our mind through the decades actually do for their respective brands?  They’re cute, inspiring, and fun, but after the millions of dollars are spent and a few more million are made, can an ad campaign have a lasting effect?

Short answer: absolutely, yes.

For almost any ad campaign, a company will yield a moderate ROI for a short term period (i.e. – Placing an ad in the local paper, doubling your sales for a week).  But a great campaign can truly stick with consumers and implements a lifelong brand perception.


Look at Volvo.  What is the first thing almost everyone thinks when asked about the vehicle brand, Volvo?  Safety.  This is a result from their influential campaign from decades ago that touted Volvo as the number one safety vehicle on the market.  At the time, that was true, and people were receptive to the great ad campaign.  Now, 20 years later, people still think Volvo releases the safest vehicles on the market, when in fact, they’re no longer even in the top five.

Now that is one amazing campaign.

More recently, Pabst Blue Ribbon, amid the recession, zero advertising spending in 2009, and a product price increase, has reported a 25% sales increase. (Ad Age) How could this have happened while other sub-premium beers cost less, advertise more, and have reported much smaller sales increases?

pabst-_1Experts told Ad Age that is was likely due to a word of mouth (WOM) campaign that Pabst Blue Ribbon initiated in 2004 as an anti-establishment beer, of sorts.  It has its own niche of young drinkers who don’t conform to the premium or big name brands.  And PBR did an amazing job at taking their campaign to the streets to find their niche.

Benefits?  Well, five years later, PBR is growing during a recession without an ad budget to speak of, against all odds.

Great campaigns have the power to shift, solidify, or revitalize brand/product perception.  They have the ability to transcend time or place by remaining relevant through the fads and trends.  It’s about reaching down to the core of what your brand can do for a group of people.

A good ad campaign can make people think, ‘Wow, I think I want that.’  A great ad campaign will make people realize, ‘Wow, I didn’t know I needed that.’

Stu Haack is a Copywriter & Social Media Guru at Aviatech.  He likes long walks on the beach and scary movies.  Learn more about him and his writing.

B-52’s, Headlights, or Jugs: Breast Cancer Org’s Target Men

rib1This post covers two of my favorite topics: Breasts and advertising. When they’re grouped together, it usually means a 30-minute Girls Gone Wild infomercial. However, this post actually covers a couple advertising efforts behind breast cancer awareness, which is nothing to joke about. While humor is used in writing, and can be seen in the TV spots, no disrespect, implied or otherwise, is intended. My prayers go out to all those who have been affected by breast cancer.

All men love breasts. Some love them secretly. Others wear t-shirts that shout out that they are “breast men.” Even men that don’t dig women are drawn to a woman’s chest…not sexually, but out of curiosity. (It’s a cruel society that labels a straight man as a stalker for staring at a woman’s assets for too long while a gay man has free reign to reach right out and grab a woman’s chest in public…)

Listaholic alphabetizes 138 different slang names for breasts, among them; whimwhams, muffins, kawangas, and dinglebobbers. Which proves that when men don’t understand something, they either rename it or make fun of it.

The truth of the matter is that we probably love breasts more than their owners;

We just don’t know why…

Which leads to an obvious question: Why haven’t men been involved in the fight against breast cancer from the beginning? Like a favorite bra, it’s a natural fit; breast-lovers attacking breast cancer. As you’ll read in a couple of seconds, a couple of organizations figured it out.

According to the World Health Organization, approximately 500,000 people die every year as a result of breast cancer. It ranks as the second most common form of cancer, and it’s the 5th highest cause of cancer deaths.

The push towards early detection and education of breast cancer began in earnest in 1982, following the death of Susan G. Komen. Susan was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1977 and died three years later. Susan’s younger sister, Nancy, was the impetus behind the push; keeping a promise to her sister, she founded The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation with the belief that education, early detection, and research would have saved Susan.

Now known as Susan G. Komen for the Cure, or simply Komen, the foundation has raised over $1.3 billion dollars for cancer research since inception and is the largest cancer charity in the world. On the global level, Komen has but one mission: To end breast cancer forever.

Spurred by National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (October), two separate advertisers have launched PSAs that have expanded their target audience to include men, which is ingenious: Who thinks about breasts more than men?

Yoplait has just released, “Yoplait Pledge.” It makes fun of the fact that nicknames were given to breasts at some point (hmm).

The second awareness spot comes from ReThink Breast Cancer, a Toronto-based organization that addresses the breast cancer concerns of young people affected by the disease. Rethink is a volunteer organization that is “thinking differently” on methods to defeat breast cancer (like getting men involved). The spot (below) is airing in Canada on MTV, and the woman featured is an MTV Host.

It’s obvious that breasts get plenty of attention. It’s breast cancer that we need to focus on.

Jeff Louis: Media Planner, Brand Project Manager, blogger, and aspiring writer. Please leave a comment or follow him on Twitter. As always, thanks for reading.

Advertising and Football: A Perfect Match

new+nfl+logoFootball is here, the glorious season of games, players, stadiums, grill-outs, and beer. What many people don’t realize is that it’s also the beginning of the newest advertising campaigns. Yes, we all know that the Superbowl is a haven for new, witty commercials, but what about the rest of the season?

You may be surprised to know that many of the greatest commercial campaigns have been started during football games during the typical season, and for advertising companies, this is the perfect time to showcase their top A-game commercials (pun intended).

Football is something everyone watches, and it’s seen as a reason for everyone to get together. This makes it the perfect time not only to target an audience, but to also reach out to even more people that may not usually be interested in your product.

Take, for example, the coming of the Geico caveman. More than likely, this first commercial was aimed at men (hello, caveman?!), but because it was broadcast during football, female viewers also saw this commercial and found it funny. It was witty, unique, and most importantly, it started a conversation.

I know what you’re thinking – Wait, guys don’t watch commercials, they flip through channels on breaks – but hold on, they do watch commercials when they don’t want to miss those first few moments after the break when the game comes back on, especially if a call or penalty will be made. What better time to target that demographic?

Probably one of the most notable commercials broadcast during football season is Budweiser’s frogs. Remember? “Bud. Weis. Errrr.” An epic commercial. And because everyone watches, the campaign can then expand and become bigger, targeting those who didn’t catch the game or those who don’t watch football (weird, but true). There was a plethora of Budweiser frog commercials after that aired, it was so huge. It also prompted other talking animals – Quiero Taco Bell, anyone?

A few things to remember when airing or planning to air a commercial during football is this:

  1. Air the commercial during the first half of the game. Most of the time the games are good, but sometimes there are a bust after the first half and people stop watching.
  2. Time the commercial so that it is aired before football comes back on air, or directly after the game goes to a break. People are still watching at this point or are getting prepared to watch the game as it comes back on.
  3. Make the commercial witty, and most importantly, funny. Male brand advocates are made this way, because once they see a commercial they find hilarious, they’ll point it out to their friends or even mention it when it isn’t on (trust me, I’ve seen it happen).

Let me end this post with this one remark: plan a commercial or new campaign during football season, and it’s sure to be a touchdown (I didn’t say it wasn’t cheesy).

Got a Minute? Watch a Movie!

filmMinuteImagine telling an extremely intricate story in a few minutes, something like War and Peace (560,000 words, or approximately 1,400 pages in paperback). Better yet, condense the events of your Labor Day weekend into three tweets on Twitter (420 characters including spaces). Neither of these tasks seem plausible. What about telling an interesting, coherent and compelling story on film in exactly one minute?

The odds don’t sound any better, do they?

To the directors that compete in Filminute: The International One-Minute Film Festival, producing a film that is exactly 60-seconds long is an extraordinary challenge and opportunity to put their best creative, editing and storytelling skills to the test against a global talent pool.

Haven’t heard of it? That’s not too surprising considering that the festival is just eclipsing its third birthday. Although the festival is relatively young, the competition and notoriety have increased exponentially.

CallforentriesA jury (consisting of international superstars from film, art, communication, and literary disciplines) is given the responsibility of judging the entries and awarding The Best Filminute and five commendations. The People’s Choice Award is voted on by a global audience of film fans.

The Filminute festival was the inspiration of Canadian film-maker, John Ketchum, and is now considered one of the largest film festivals in the world when considering audience reach and participation. “We accept fiction, animation, documentary and fan films – the focus being on story,” explains Ketchum. “The best one-minute films will resonate beyond one minute. These are films that we expect to affect viewers the same way any great film would.”

Filmminute 2009 is set to run the entire month of September. If the competition evolves as expected, it will reach more than 94 countries and the Top 25 films will accrue at least 3 million minutes of viewing time.

The jury is required to grade each film using the same standards that would be expected for full-length films, which is a difficult task considering the Top 25 films can be viewed in under 15-minutes. Although this year’s competitors have been determined, 2010 is coming fast. Preparation is key, and judging by this year’s entries, there’s no such thing as “too much time”

Unless, of course, it’s 61-seconds.

Jeff Louis: Media Planner, Brand Project Manager, blogger, and aspiring writer. Please leave a comment, follow him on Twitter or check LinkedIn for his profile. As always, thanks for reading.

World Wildlife Fund Ad Sparks Anger, but Makes a Good Point

article-1211029-06476D38000005DC-976_634x437This week, the ad community was put on display by an ad leaked out of DDB Brazil. The client, the World Wildlife Fund, was none too excited over this release (or was it?), and the pundits were salivating at the opportunity to rip this spot apart with their fake outrage.

The ad features a very moving truth and the media uproar displays a few ‘inconvenient truths’ about Americans. First, we seem to only care about ourselves. Second, we can’t stomach a brutally honest message. If three people die in a shooting in the US, we talk about it nonstop for months, but if 100 people die in a mudslide in Taiwan, we barely bat an eyelash. This spot tells a great truth about the power of mother nature and is effective in portraying it. It has made me think about mother nature more than anything since Hurricane Katrina, in part because I, too, am a silly American who tends to think only about American lives.

We’ve become distanced from reality. When the ad community attempts to make a hard-hitting PSA to curtail drinking/texting while driving, drug use, or to impress upon people the awesome power of mother nature, we’re forced to go soft for the sake of the populace. Why are we such wimps? The events of September 11, 2001 were horrific, and I don’t see how this spot is, in any way, attempting to make our tragedy seem like anything less.

This creative concept is brilliant. It is so simple, so logical, and so impressively gut wrenching. More people should take a moment to get past the fake outrage and digest the information being presented. Still, the point of the campaign was to create awareness of the awesome power this planet has over us, but I think it accomplished that and then some. This might just be the most efficient use of a client’s money this year.

Pete Kahn is a Product Insights Specialist, blogger and aspiring writer. Feel free to leave a comment, follow Pete on Twitter, or view his profile on LinkedIn. As always, thanks for reading.

Stuff.co.nz Outdoor Campaign Raises the Bar for Creativity

stuff billboardRemember back in the day when a reporter would be admonished or even fired for not being the first to cover a breaking news? Well, the times have changed. An outdoor campaign by Stuff.co.nz boasts “if our team don’t break stories first, there are consequences.” Consequences, indeed (and not for the copy editors!). One of its billboards has a tomato-pelted reporter strapped to it, while another features a reporter being dangled out of a window from high above with a banner below him featuring the same line.

This kind of reminds me of a “Saturday Night Live” skit in the 70’s that depicted a bunny with a gun to its head and the tagline, “buy this (whatever) or the bunny gets it.”

Sure, humor is a fantastic motivator and will, in this case, drive traffic to the Web, but what I love about this campaign is that it raises the bar for creative. It’s not mirroring pop culture – it’s creating it, which is what Stuff does perfectly on its website, too.

Sara Barton is a copywriter, social media strategist, and avid blogger who is in search of her next opportunity. Contact her via Twitter, LinkedIn, or her blog.

Interview with Founder of Bajibot: Vince Mei Sets Creative Benchmark

bajibot_logoA visit to Bajibot’s website is like going into another world. It is so rich with visuals and 3D animation that it’s almost like a video game… you just keep wanting more. I connected with New Business Director Martin Fernando and he put me in touch with Vince Mei, founder of Bajibot. Due to their hectic schedule, I sent my interview questions to them via email. The response came back in half a day, so thank you Martin and Vince for your time — I know you guys are busy.

Bajibot is a web-design company that specializes in 3D animation. I became interested in Bajibot because of its partner list, which not only consists of other agencies such as TribalDDB, BBDO Atmosphere and Digitas, but also includes clients like Pepsi, Nike, Philips, HSBC, Novartis and the NFL.

I thought, “Holy Crap! Look at the brands supported by this company,” and knew that there was something special hidden just below the surface. Following is an excerpt of our interview:

Tell us a bit about the history behind Bajibot. What is (a) Bajibot?

Bajibot Media was founded by myself and a partner in 2006, we came up with the name Bajibot from our screen names, I am known as the “Bajiking” and my friend’s name was “Dxxbot” so we combined our names and came up with “Baji-Bot”.  My partner friend decided to take advantage of a real nice offer at an agency so I started Bajibot on my own.

Bajibot’s  first project was a huge banner campaign for Nike+ through R/GA, and projects started to roll in.  After a month of working from my apartment my wife kicked me and my assistant out and with a budget of $5,000 I rented a small 100 square foot office near Rockefeller Center, and that was Bajibot’s first official location. For three years we’ve continued to grow, working almost exclusively with global agencies in New York, delivering the best digital content for the web.

What makes Bajibot unique?

Bajibot2-[Compatibility-Mode]Technically speaking we are a web design shop equipped with heavy duty 3D capability.  I studied 3D animation in college but my 10 year career had been in the Interactive field, and so combining these skills created a niche of providing broadcast quality 3D content that works on the web.  By knowing the limitations and possibilities of the web and Flash, our clients value us because we provide smooth integration of our work into their Flash projects.  Our clients often come to us for fresh creative ideas from a 3D perspective to add value to their interactive projects.

We like our clients to think of us as their “in-house” power team instead of an “outsource vendor.” We try to keep our shop at a compact size to maintain direct communication and because of our expertise we have the capacity to take on larger tasks.  We offer a single point of contact with our clients – our producer or myself – so the client’s messages get to our artists fast and clearly.  Plus the advantage of being in NYC is that we are always on call to go to our client’s office for face to face meetings.

We have a super laid back, friendly working environment, and that’s the secret of how we keep our creative juices flowing.  My dog Baji often visits our office and Baji helps to nurture that environment, too.

What is the most outrageous site that you’ve worked on?

There are many, but without a doubt the Intel Rich Media Banner Campaign project from MRM would be at the top of the list.  In just 4 weeks we produced a serious of 6 super rich media ads that feature stunning 3D and interactivity inside those banners, and the special thing about the project was that it was the turning point of Bajibot.  Many thanks to Duncan Mitchell, MRM’s Creative Director, who worked with us on the project and gave us enough trust, creative freedom, and a generous budget!

Advertising has changed a lot over the past year. How has Bajibot changed to meet these challenges?

The advertising industry is definitely changed quite a bit over the past year, primarily in budget.  Clients are asking for more and better work done with less budget.  But Bajibot’s business model has always been designed for this kind of demand.  We’ve always stayed on top of the trends and technology to offer the latest “cool” things to do.  We’ve always kept a reasonable and affordable rate card, and we’ve always been super flexible with time with many examples of “mission-impossible” successes.

How would you describe Bajibot in three words?

Flexibility – Creativity – Execution

Three words that have refined — and continue to refine — the creative products that Bajibot provides its partners. Bajibot exemplifies a shop that’s ahead of the curve, way ahead. View its 2009 media reel and you’ll see what I mean.

Jeff Louis: Media Planner, Brand Project Manager, blogger, aspiring writer. Please leave a comment, or reach out to him on Twitter or LinkedIn. As always, thanks for reading.

Rachel Nasvik, Pirates, and Hand Bags (Oh My!)

ThrillofTheChaseIn June, Beyond Madison Avenue ran a post about designer Rachel Nasvik, a New York City designer famous for chic, custom-made handbags, and the “scavenger hunt” in New York city where consumers followed clues published on social media sites to discover where she had hidden 96 of these designer handbags around the city. The campaign was a great success, and displayed a great use of social media as well as a natural knack for getting noticed.

Well, Rachel Nasvik has again taken to the streets, but in an entirely different manner.

New York City (NYC) is known for many things, one of them being a place where consumers can purchase merchandise that has been pirated from well-known designers. Basically, knock-offs sold on the street for nothing that look like the original.

VendorWell Nasvik and team turned the tables on the design pirates by using their fly-by-night grocery carts as a means of promoting original Nasvik designs. In what could be called a second scavenger hunt, Nasvik sent clues to her 1,000+ followers on Twitter, alerting them that the game, once again, was a-foot. This time she was hiding her designer goods amidst the copycats roaming the streets of NYC. The cost for a Nasvik original off the cart was an affordable $10, while down the street at Saks, the same bag brought in $300. This obviously was not going to make Nasvik any money.

Yet, what she lost in terms of dollars was replaced by her gains in public relations, love from her fans, earned media coverage, and a creative use of distribution channels. She has taken social media to a whole new level, interacting with her fan-base personally with a fun and competitive game that was not online, but in the “real” world.

Plus, her brand is now being copied by pirates…meaning that Nasvik’s designs have truly “made it.”

Jeff Louis is a Strategic Media Planner, Brand Project Manager, blogger, and aspiring writer. You can reach him on Twittter or LinkedIn. He is always searching for great ideas and new friends.

Don’t Forget About A Strategy

trueblood_posterI was speaking with a co-worker today and we began talking about how, with the recent major decrease in the economy and spending, companies have stopped using their employee’s brains and are doing the bare minimum to keep themselves afloat. This is probably the worst idea companies could do at this time.

Businesses are no longer buying marketing and advertising spots in order to save money. This move has killed off corporations and lesser known counterparts have taken their places. Why? Because the smaller companies didn’t forget to use a strategy.

It doesn’t necessarily mean that one product was better than another. It’s because the little guys took the money that they had reserved for advertising and marketing and actually used it for… surprise, those very things. They created a campaign and a strategy. While the big guys sat on their hands and saved their money, the lesser known of the two became the top seller.

Here’s another analogy to put it into perspective. Remember the guy in your high school that every girl had a crush on, but he really wasn’t that great? Well, he had a strategy… and it worked. Whether it was being rude to girls, ignoring them, or playing some other mind game, he had a strategy. The rest of the male population only knew they liked a girl and that was as far as they got.

Advertising and marketing are the same. It’s all about the strategy. And in the eyes of the consumers, when a relatively unknown product becomes better than the more well-known and ubiquitous substitutes, a great advertising campaign and strategy could really establish brand equity.

Perhaps the best strategic campaign is HBO’s “True Blood.” Not only did it have fantastic print ads, but it also introduced interactive sites, games, and a carbonated drink called “Tru Blood” that is portrayed as a synthetic blood drink in the actual show. It even brought in other vendors such as BMW’s MINI Cooper.

Let’s go back in time to the 1680’s, where the word strategy was developed. The term, meaning “to lead,” originated from the field of battle. It’s the science or art of combining and employing the means of war in planning and directing large military movements and operations.

A business could have the best product or idea, but if there’s no strategy, there’s no competition. So go to war, strategize, and be victorious.

Megan Green is a freelance propagation planner who has had her work published on PR News Wire, as well as many other outlets. Contact her on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, or at megankategreen@gmail.com.

It’s all about the strategy.

trueblood_posterI was speaking with a co-worker today and we began talking about how, with the recent major decrease in the economy and spending, companies have stopped using their employee’s brains and are doing the bare minimum to keep companies afloat. This is probably the worst idea companies have ever had (and that’s saying something).

Companies are no longer buying marketing and advertising spots to save money. This idea has killed off corporations and lesser known items have taken its spot. Why? Because the smaller company didn’t forget to use a strategy.

It’s not that one product was better than another, it’s that the small corporation took the money that they had reserved for marketing and actually used it for, surprise, marketing. They created a campaign, a strategy, and while the big company sat on their hands and saved their money, the lesser known of the two became the top seller.

Here’s another analogy to put it into perspective. Remember the guy in your high school that every girl had a crush on, but he really wasn’t that great (or maybe he was, but there may have been better in the school, too)? Guess what, he had a strategy, and it worked. Whether it was being rude to girls, ignoring them, or playing a great game, he had a strategy. The rest of the male population only knew they liked a girl and that was as far as they got.

Advertising and marketing is the same. It’s all about the strategy. I’ve tried numerous unknown products and found that, in some cases, the product is better than the large corporate products, but they’re missing a great advertising campaign and the strategy that comes with it.

Perhaps the best strategic campaign, and we’ve all heard of it, is HBO’s True Blood. Not only did they have fantastic print ads, but they also had Web Sites for vampires (which surprisingly all the vampires we have in the world tell their secrets on), a synthetic blood drink for vampires which they had print ads for as well, True Blood books and numerous interactive sites and games. They even brought in other vendors, such as the Mini Cooper. And part of their strategy was the option to spend money for different campaigns in different continents. There wasn’t just one campaign for the entire world. And the consumer advocates built out of this strategy was immense.

Let’s go back in time to the 1680’s, where the word strategy was developed. The word “strategy” actually comes from war, meaning, “to lead.” It’s the science or art of combining and employing the means of war in planning and directing large military movements and operations.

What I’m saying is this – It’s all about strategy. A corporation could have the best product, idea, etc., but if there’s no strategy, there’s no competition. So go to war, strategize, and be victorious.

Vegemite: Kraft’s Relaunch Leads to Top Global Brand Affinity

Vegemite3Sometimes the past is fulfilled with wonderful memories of friends, music, good times and lots of laughter. Or, the past should remain exactly where it is, especially when remembering how you dressed, your bodily piercings, and that mullet with the spiked top that would never go out of style. If you remember the mullet, do you recall these lyrics?

Buying bread from a man in Brussels He was six foot four and full of muscles I said, “Do you speak-a my language?” He just smiled and gave me a vegemite sandwich
By: Men At Work, “A Land Down Under

What in the heck is Vegemite, anyway? Until writing this post, I didn’t know, nor care. Then I found out that Vegemite is actually produced by Kraft Foods, and that Kraft has developed a new Vegemite formula and has rolled it out in Australia…

My first thought: “Would this be the next huge marketing FAIL, akin to the New Coke Formula back in 1985?”
Knowing absolutely nothing about the product, I had to do some research. What is Vegemite?

Vegemite is similar to the British product Marmite, which is a tacky paste, brown in color, with a salty “beef broth” or “meaty-like taste.” Marmite is usually spread on toast or biscuits but can also be mixed with hot water to make a drink. Marmite is made out of yeast extract saved after the beer brewing process. During World War I, the flow of Marmite to Australia was interrupted and an Australian cheese company, Fred Walker & Co., commissioned an Aussie scientist to come up with similar replacement.

Vegemite was introduced with great fanfare (including a national naming contest) in 1923. The naming campaign was a big success; the product flopped. Despite various marketing efforts, Vegemite sales remained poor. Kraft purchased Walker & Co. in 1926 (forming the Kraft Walker Cheese Company) and in 1928, changed the name to Parmite, which killed Vegemite’s tiny though hard-won market share. Vegemite never recovered.

vegemite2So, with plenty of Vegemite on-hand, the Kraft Walker Cheese Company started giving it away with Pontiac automobiles and cheese products. Sales responded positively; then, the British medical association proclaimed that Vegemite was a great source of Vitamin B. Sales increased more. By World War II, Vegemite was in 9 of 10 Australian homes, had become part of a soldier’s daily ration kit, and was even carried by Aussie’s traveling abroad due to lack of availability in other countries. Today, Vegemite is one of the most well-known global brands and outsells Marmite in Australia by huge margins.

Kraft tried to extend the brand with a cheese and Vegemite “single,” but failed. However, marketing contests, such as limerick and song competitions, boosted sales. Then, following the war, the baby boom hit and Kraft jumped on Vegemite’s Vitamin B content for infants;

“…baby care expert Sister Mc Donald, said in the Women’s Weekly that “Vegemite is most essential”, further cementing Vegemite’s reputation for nutrition and wholesomeness. Infant Welfare Centres were recommending babies have their quota of Vitamin B1, B2 and Niacin. Vegemite had them all!”

By the 1950’s, Vegemite was to Australia what apple pie is to America, aided in part by consumer-oriented campaigns initiated by J.Walter Thompson.

On July 7, 2009, Kraft released a ’second’ Vegemite. The new Vegemite is a mix of Vegemite and cream cheese, is less salty, spreads much easier, and supposedly tastes better. To coincide with the release of the new recipe, Kraft is running a competition to give the new flavor a name, hearkening back to the competitions that worked 50 years ago. Kraft recently launched a comprehensive marketing campaign to name the new Vegemite, drawing on the successes of past campaigns that involved the public.

In fact, the new campaign mixes both traditional and Social Media, including an interactive website that includes fun facts, the naming contests, and the history of Vegemite. The new Vegemite can be found on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. Below is the one of several commercials. This one has been extended to be 48-seconds long:

And, just as in the early days, J. Walter Thompson was chosen for creative expertise. While some wait to see if this brand extension will be a coup or a pile of crap, early research shows that Vegemite has more brand affinity than Coca-Cola, Starbucks, and Nike (globally);

The research analysed 1.5 billion posts across 38 languages within social networking sites, blogs, message boards, and online news. The results discovered 479,206 mentions for Vegemite, with brand affinity found more often than any other product globally.

If this was an election, the early results would show that the new Vegemite is a serious contender; however, all the votes haven’t been cast. Based on my research, I believe that the new Vegemite will most certainly take space in Australian kitchens.

Jeff Louis: Strategic Media Planner, Brand Project Manager, blogger and aspiring writer. To contact Jeff, leave a comment here, or find him on LinkedIn or Twitter.

Want to Play a Game of Tag (Lines)? Part II

Last week I posted various movie taglines that I enjoyed from the last two decades. One thing I realized about these taglines is that they aren’t very compelling if you don’t have any prior knowledge of the movie. Particularly the puns. Pun-intended taglines come off as awkward and persuade you to raise an eyebrow (kind of like this guy ~_^ ). Overall, there were actually very few from last week’s list that would lure me into watching that movie based on its tagline alone.

Anyhoo, here are the corresponding movies to last week’s taglines:

“Five good reasons to stay single.” (1994) -Four Wedding and a Funeral

“Vampires. No Interviews.” (1996) -From Dusk Till Dawn

“Before you die, you see…” (2002) -The Ring

“Earth. It was fun while it lasted.” (1998) -Armageddon

“On May 6th… See Paris Die!” (2005) -House of Wax

“Love is in the hair.” (1998) -There’s Something About Mary

“See Our Family, Feel Better About Yours.” (2007) -The Simpsons Movie

“Even a hit man deserves a second shot.” (1997) -Grosse Pointe Blank

“From the brother of the director of Ghost.” (1994) Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult

“The Lucky Ones Died First.” (2006) -The Hills Have Eyes

“When it comes to love, sometimes she just can’t think straight.” (2001) -Kissing Jessica Stein

“A life misunderestimated.” (2008) -W.

“Be All That Someone Else Can Be.” (1999) -Being John Malkovich

“He loves her. She loves him not.” (2005) -Just Friends

“He Was Dead… But He Got Better.” (2008) -Crank 2: High Voltage

Don’t beat yourself up for missing them as I chose some pretty tough ones. Now that you’re all warmed up, here comes a second batch of movie taglines. The twist? These are the really bad ones.

“He stole the money…and he’s not giving it back.” (2003)

“Rocky shows he’s a champ…and wins!” (1979)

“Size does matter” (1998)

“You will believe a cow can fly” (1996)

“The wait is ogre” (2008)

“Twelve is the new Eleven” (2004)

“Everything that has a beginning has an end” (2003)

“The saga is complete.” (2005)

“It could happen to you!” (1997)

“Cowabunga, it’s the new turtle movie.” (1991)

Good luck with these! That second and last one you may never guess. Be sure to look for my next post (or IMDb) for the answers.

Tommy Liu, the man, the legend (to be) wields his pen of creativity against the injustice of mediocriety plaguing the world as the Creative Officer at Supercool Creative & Marketing Director at SpotZero where he also manages the blog. Click here to view some of his battles (he doesn’t always win).

Want to Play a Game of Tag (Lines)? Part I

Do you know a great place to read an occasional great one-liner? On movie posters. I’m talking about movie tag lines, a close cousin to a company’s or brand’s slogan. Writing a great one-liner for any copy is difficult because it has to embody an entire message and be memorable and even smart, funny or entertaining, and the scrutiny for a movie poster is amplified. Movie tag lines really only get one shot. A company’s or brand’s slogan can be changed, but movie tag lines don’t get that luxury when they go from movie posters to DVD covers. If it’s bad it will be bad…forever, and that’s a long time.

What I’m saying is that I appreciate a good one-liner. Listed below are a few I like (see if you can figure out which movies they belong to). For your memory’s sake, I kept it to the past two decades and provided the year as a hint. I’ll reveal the titles in my next post along with a list of infamously bad tag lines. Here they are:

“Five Good Reasons to Stay single.” (1994)

“Vampires. No Interviews.” (1996)

“Before you die, you see…” (2002)

“Earth. It was fun while it lasted.” (1998)

“On May 6th…See Paris Die!” (2005)

“Love is in the hair.” (1998)

“See Our Family, Feel Better About Yours.” (2007)

“Even a hit man deserves a second shot.” (1997)

“From the brother of the director of Ghost.” (1994)

“The Lucky Ones Died First.” (2006)

“When it comes to love, sometimes she just can’t think straight.” (2001)

“A life misunderestimated.” (2008)

“Be All That Someone Else Can Be.” (1999)

“He loves her. She loves him not.” (2005)

“He Was Dead…But He Got Better.” (2008)

Obviously, these are my just my opinion and you don’t have to agree (I encourage you not to), but you have to appreciate that last one (it’s so bad it’s good). Let me know of any good ones I missed.

Tommy Liu, the man, the legend (to be) wields his pen of creativity against the injustice of mediocriety plaguing the world as the Creative Officer at Supercool Creative & Marketing Director at SpotZero where he also manages the blog. Click here to view some of his battles (he doesn’t always win).

Meet Safe Auto’s Justin Case

Justin CaseIf you spend much time watching TV, you’ve probably heard of Justin Case. Who is he, you ask? Aside from being the handsome, floppy-haired spokesman for Safe Auto Insurance, here’s what we know about him:

  • On his desk, you’ll find a gumball machine, coffee mug, photo with friends, and a reminder of a 4:30 meeting
  • He’s a Prius owner
  • The ladies think he’s sexy
  • He makes public appearances
  • He gives away roadside assistance kits
  • He has his own fan page on Facebook
  • You can even call him at 1-800-SAFE-AUTO x84555

Justin Case, the eponymous spokesman created by Columbus-based agency Paul Werth Associates, is also known as Chicago-based actor Tim McCarthy. The character, loosely based on Jim from “The Office” and featured in TV commercials, print, and multimedia, is known to Safe Auto consumers. In fact, three out of four consumers surveyed think he’s a real Safe Auto employee. According to Justin’s Facebook fan page, some consumers believe they’ve spoken to Justin on the phone before.

So what’s next for Justin Case? Apparently, a love interest. Sources at Paul Werth say to look for Katie to make an appearance in a future campaign. Sounds like a match made in auto insurance heaven.

Sara Barton is a copywriter, social media strategist, and avid blogger who is in search of her next opportunity. Contact her via Twitter, LinkedIn, or her blog.

Have You Seen The Observer? FOX TV Takes Viral to New Leve

observerFox Television has taken viral marketing to a new level.  Everyone should take notice.  Spawning from the new hit series Fringe, Fox has launched an ad campaign unlike any seen before.  Rather than relying on the staple marketing ploys of late night talk show rounds, standard TV ads and review/word of mouth popularity, Fox unloads a strategy that is both in-your-face and yet somehow subtle.

Introducing The Observer.  This secondary yet mysterious character now conspicuously appears at a variety of Fox televised events ranging from American Idol to most recently the Major League Baseball All-Star game.  His striking appearance (bald head, no eyebrows, always clad in a suit) and expressionless gaze render him unmistakeably recognizable amongst hordes of otherwise regular-looking people.  The genius of it all?  He goes completely unmentioned by hosts/commentators and the like.  He’s not followed by a screen-length banner trumpeting the show and its airing day and time.  He’s not discussed or called attention to in any manner other than a brief camera shot (as depicted above).

It’s product placement in the most brilliant, subtle manner.  Even those who don’t watch the show can’t help but be struck by his sullen demeanor.  It’s a face that sticks with you.  And for those of us who are annoyed with the banners and obligatory, “Folks, tune into…” spiels interjected into other aspects of our entertainment diet, it serves as the perfect marketing tool.

I, and I imagine many others, now feel compelled to at least sit down for an episode of the show just to see what it’s all about.  All because of a four second clip of a supporting character from a brand new TV show.  Now that’s effective marketing.

Dan Davis is a Freelance Writer carving out his growing resume, specializing in copy writing, and subjects from sports to the arts.  Contact him on LinkedIn.

Brands and Products So Smelly They’re Priceless

smelly-armpitsApproximately 80% of a corporate, or brand, identity is defined by either sight or sound. Yet, out of the five senses, these are but two. Although debatable, smell may be our most powerful sense (others argue that it’s sight). Without smell, our sense of taste is diminished because smell and taste combine to define flavor. Smell is invaluable for detecting danger such as a fire, or easing into a state of calm such as aromatherapy.

The sense of smell is so powerful that memories long-past are instantly recalled when a particular odor is encountered.

“A certain smell can invoke the memory of a particularly good time or remind us of a time when we were at our worst. Smells help make up our everyday lives. The wearing of body fragrances is just one of the ways that people present themselves to the world.”

noseDue to its ability to affect us, marketers and advertisers can strategically use a particular scent to build (or reinforce) a company, brand, or product image in the consumer’s mind.

Singapore Airlines, an early-adopter of Scent Marketing, incorporated a single smell into its branding efforts to aid in forming positive consumer associations with the brand. Martin Lindstrom, author of Brand Sense, attributes the addition of this scent to the airline’s marketing arsenal as the defining difference that led Singapore Airlines to rank as one of the “most important brands.” The airline has garnered a 5-Star Rating, won “Passenger’s Choice Airline,” “Airline of the Year” in 2007, Travel & Leisure’s “Best Airline” award in 2008, and the “Top Customer Satisfaction” honors in 2009.

Rolls-Royce-Phantom_Coupe_2009_800x600_wallpaper_01The sense of smell is already so ingrained with certain brands that when that scent is unwittingly altered, consumers take notice. Rolls-Royce consumers, who invest anywhere between $100,000 and $500,000 per car, lost their love for the Rolls-Royce brand in the 1990s, claiming that the newer models did not meet the high-quality found in legacy models. This surprised the automaker; it had not made any significant changes to production methods other than upgrades in safety and technology. Technically, the new cars should have been better than the older models. The automaker invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in research and, in the end, determined that the differentiating factor was scent. Rolls-Royce then took one of its elite models, a 1965 Silver Cloud, and analyzed the Rolls-Royce smell. The researchers determined that over 800 elements combined to form the fragrance. They duplicated this branded aroma and incorporated it into every new car built from that point forward, indicating the luxury carmaker’s dedication to its brand:

“Today, our brand means more than engineering excellence. It is a standard of quality across all our activities. Our brand guides our actions and behaviors and the way we present ourselves to the world…”

Many other companies also use Scent Marketing. GM, for instance, began adding scent to the leather of its Cadillacs in 2003 (ironically, Cadillac just announced it would be launching a fragrance line to celebrate its 100th birthday with GM… certainly it isn’t using taxpayer bail-out dollars). Sony and Samsung have already instituted scents for their company stores. Also, luxury hotels are investigating various fragrances that will create an emotional connection with their guests.

Lindstrom, in a widely distributed research paper, highlighted that “… 99 percent of all brand communication today is focused on two senses: what we hear and see. In sharp contrast, 75 percent of our emotions are generated by what we in fact smell”.

Although Scent Marketing is not quite accepted as the norm for marketing practices due to the difficulty of measuring ROI, it is beginning to gain respect for its ability to evoke deep feelings between companies and their consumers.

scentmktinstuteThe Scent Marketing Institute provides both companies and individuals “an independent resource for understanding and leveraging the power of scent applications in business and public environments.” The Institute offers everything from newsletters and suggestions for Scent Marketing programs to benchmarking standards and ROI measurement programs.

Jeff Louis: Strategic Media Planner, Brand Project Manager, blogger and aspiring writer. To contact Jeff, leave a comment or find him on www.linkedin.com or www.twitter.com.