Measuring Ad Success in Eight Days or Less

measuringTapeThe recession has either changed the way advertisers do business or has forced us to reevaluate the ways in which we do business. The focus has shifted to the effectiveness and efficiency of an ad campaign rather than stressing the  campaign or ad variables such as reach and effective frequency.

If you work in a media department, then measuring effectiveness and efficiency is something you’ve likely done for years with little to no fanfare from the client side. Well, the climate’s changed, and clients are concerned more than ever — with good reason — that their ads and campaigns meet efficient, effective, and measurable goals. Their priority is to connect with the target audience in a manner that’s more in-tune with a reduced budget. Clients are are requiring or searching for agencies capable of providing campaigns that work harder and smarter.

In addition, advertisers (namely P&G and Coca Cola), have instituted Value Based Compensation (VBC)  arrangements made up of a pay-for-performance (P4P) layout that can be attained in addition to a base fee.

TV.PicThe Nielsen Company has just announced that a new software product, Rapid Campaign Evaluation (RCE), a fast and inexpensive means to review ad performance in just over a week. Due to the costs incurred when an ad or campaign is launched, RCE will give agencies information quickly so as to allow them to respond in an appropriate manner.

Richard Reeves, associate director of Consumer Research Services at the Nielsen Company, notes an agency not only will have the ability to evaluate their own endeavors but the ability to evaluate their competitor’s as well.

Whenever a new commercial is executed,” Reeves says, “there is always that element of anticipation about how it will perform in the ‘real world.’ If it’s a competitor’s ad — you are usually left worrying about the damage it will do to your brand.”

RCE was designed and tested in Australia to measure the strength (or weakness) of TV spots. How many people saw or heard the ads or whether the audience was able to determine the advertiser and the take-away message will provide advertisers with almost “real-time” data they can then use to readjust their tactics such as:

  • An ad that performed strongly may provide justification to increase spend.
  • An ad with mediocre results could be re-edited to clarify the brand message and increase brand cues, or it could be taken back into qualitative research for fine tuning.
  • An ad can be created or ad spend can be increased if RCE showed strong effectiveness measures for a competitor’s ad.

In just over a week, agencies will be able to view data in order to evaluate effectiveness or lack thereof, ensuring clients get the biggest bang for their buck.

While advertising “gurus” have bandied back and forth as to the fairness or plausibility of the VBC model, companies, such as Coca Cola, have already put it into action. In truth, it’s the most equitable payment arrangement; agencies require media vendors to prove their performance. Why shouldn’t clients require the same from their agencies?

Nielsen’s new software is just another step in the ongoing evolution of the industry.

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

White House Attacks Fox News

WhiteHouseSealIt must be slow in the Capital these days; it seems that although our world is going crazy, the president and his staff have taken time out to wage a media attack on Fox News, making the rounds on all the Sunday morning talk shows, with one glaring exception: Fox. The gloves were certainly off as Obama’s team struck back at Fox News accusing the network of opinionated reporting. Some of the quotes from the barrage include:

Fox is “not really a news station,” said David Axelrod.

Fox, said Rahm Emmanuel, “is is not a news organization so much as it has a perspective.”
They also urged the other networks not to treat Fox News as a news station because the White House certainly did not think of Fox as news-oriented. A week ago, communications director Anita Dunn opened the White House offensive on Fox on a Sunday show: “Let’s not pretend they’re a news organization like CNN is.”  She then stated that Fox was the communications arm for the Republican Party.

President Obama

The troubling part of this whole scenario: Our government is attacking one of our news outlets, thereby risking one of the freedoms America was founded upon: freedom of the press. (No, it’s not freedom of the press as long as we like what you are saying.)

The cable news networks are highly competitive, and Fox is not only the second highest- watched cable TV network, but it carries 9 of the top 10 cable news shows as of Q1 of 2009. Despite the heavy competition, the White House’s attack has actually begun to backfire.

Helen Thomas, the senior White House reporter in Washington (serving from JFK to
Interim Communications Director Dunnpresent) warned the Obama administration: “Stay out of these fights,”  and Washington Post’s blog stated: Where the White House has gone way overboard is in its decision to treat Fox as an outright enemy and to go public with the assault.

Some have even called the attack “Nixonian” in nature. However, the White House has an out. If the strategy fails, Anita Dunn can be tucked away easily, as she is expected to leave the administration by the end of the year.

fox news logoWhile Fox has not attacked Obama directly, they’ve unloaded on his aides, especially Dunn. Her statement naming Mao Tse Tung as one of her favorite politicians did not help nor did her speech explaining the censorship-like control exercised during the election. If team Obama felt they couldn’t control the message, or the press, they would use YouTube, Twitter, or Facebook to communicate.

While America thought that the Obama Campaign was tech-savvy, it was really just an exercise in message management.

Jeff Louis has over 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

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

New Color Palette Engages Product Differentiation

JDSU_00032[1].sized copyMany of you may have read Jack Trout’s book, Differentiate or Die, published in 2000, which is based on the premise that survival, from a business perspective, is ensuring you are distinguished from your competitors. As the book’s title suggests, it’s either that or face eventual death. When competition is heavy and there are numerous, indistinguishable products, one must separate from similar competitors. It’s vital.

One of the best methods to become number one is to establish your own category, a category in which you are the sole occupant, making you first by default.

Creating your own category requires innovation, so in order to differentiate, one must originate.

Origination seems to be the strategy behind color-shifting paint, developed by JDSU and announced publicly yesterday. JDSU (NASDAQ: JDSU) is a technical company immersed in a lot of technical stuff, ranging from commercial lasers to optical testing and measurement equipment. For our purposes, they also make “decorative applications” or really cool paint.

The titanium-based paint, or ChromaFlair® Titanium Series, uses “unique, multi-layer flakes” that change color when viewed from various angles. Inspired by a gem’s ability to shift and shimmer, the two pigments currently available are based on “blue.”

“JDSU created Emerald and Aquamarine pigments specifically because shades of blue continue to be an extremely popular color choice for enhancing products across a variety of markets worldwide.”

The paint offers otherwise boring products the opportunity to break free from hum-drum competitors or the ability to stand out in a field of me-too products.

Coincidentally, this is exactly what I need to for my job search.

Jeff Louis has over 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

Olympic Bid Split Chicago, Local Agency

2016_olympic_logo2In case you were unaware, the competition for the 2016 Olympics host city’s been won and the waiting is over.

It was a controversial ride, but in the end, Chicago got knocked out immediately and Rio de Janiero was bestowed the honor, marking the first time a South American country’s been chosen to host an Olympic Games. The news is bittersweet in Chicago; the city was split 54% For, 46% Against according to recent polls. The city’s debt, added traffic on over-burdened streets, and additional taxes were main contention points that kept Chicagoans from supporting the bid. Plus the knowledge that recent host’s were still paying off Olympic-sized debt.

Skepticism rose to National levels last week when President Barack Obama, and wife Michelle, agreed to attend the final stage of the Olympic pitch in Oslow, adding their political weight to a field filled with political, and royal, notables: A King and Queen (Madrid), Prime Minister (Tokyo), and another President (Rio).

chicagoansforrio2016Competition between Rio and Chicago was especially fierce, and accusations of unfair play were voiced by both sides: One of the larger controversies a website Chicagoans for Rio 2016. The Chicago Olympic Bid team accused Rio of setting up the site (makes sense), but it turned out that it was an inside job…really inside.

Meanwhile, a Chicagoan named Kevin Lynch is confessing that he’s the man behind the cheeky, the Web site that’s been anonymously trashing Chicago’s prospects in the past couple of weeks.

Okay, so he was from Chicago. No biggie. The real impact of the story is that Kevin Lynch is one of the top creative execs at Energy BBDO’s Proximity Unit. Energy BBDO, and owner Omnicom, were both in support of Chicago’s bid for the games, providing creative services as part of their endorsement. Plus, there’s the fact that Energy BBDO’s largest client, Wrigley (Wrigley Field, Wrigley Gum, etc), supported the city’s bid.

Which led to “Drama, drama, drama”! Energy BBDO released a statement to Ad Age last week:

“I want to be clear: The agency is and has been fully behind the Chicago 2016 bid,” said Energy BBDO CEO Tonise Paul. “Our clients are aware of our position and understand the situation. The individual acted on his own accord without the agency’s knowledge.”

Kevin Lynch, the “instigator” of the controversy, said he had stopped supporting the Olympic bid for Chicago when Mayor Daley’s statements that Chicagoans wouldn’t be taxed for the games were reversed. (Chicago already carries the heaviest sales tax in the Nation at 10.25%.)

Now that the host city’s been decided, it will be at least a week to discover what becomes of Mr. Lynch…

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

The Future of Entertainment and Advertising

I just finished watching a Twitter reality-show pitch, and I have to say, I’m interested. The reality show, @whoisthebaldguy, has viewers following him on Twitter and making suggestions on what he should do next. It’s a great concept and could be the wave of the future for entertainment, leaving traditional TV in the dust.

Facebook has had some similar shows broadcast, as well. The first made-for-Facebook series, Ashton Kutcher’s KatalystHQ, debuted in February, detailing the day-to-day events happening at Kutcher’s production firm, Katalyst Media.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the show is the traditional integration of products, such as Cheetos and Hot Pockets. According to an article on Real-Time Advertising Week, Kutcher opined that when product placement is done in funny and tasteful ways “people are happy to consume it.”

I can’t help but feel we are getting closer and closer to making a real-life version of The Truman Show.

Both of these new shows could signify the end of television as we know it and put advertising in a whole new, but good, ball game. Where will this lead us? We’ll just have to wait and see.

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

Jobs and Accountability for All. Except HR?

HR copyI have been applying to various agencies, consulting firms, digital design houses, and the like, and one of the so-called Human Resources’ policies has moved on my “corporate irritation scale” from irk’d off to pissed off.  For the sake of this writing, I include only the personnel departments at advertising, marketing, online agencies, vendors, and companies as the places I’ve been focusing upon.

When did it become standard for HR Departments to determine  they need not respond to applicants? Doesn’t this seem a bit counterproductive, especially at a time when companies are refocusing their entire efforts on personalizing relationships, speaking to their audiences on a one-to-one basis?

Professional glut

meter-thumb2During the past year, many professionals have been let go, from  C-level executives on down. Thus, there’s been a glut of qualified pros searching. As a professional, when I fill out an application and submit my résumé (usually using Taleo or some other third-party vendor), a cover letter, and samples in a nice package, it’s  indicative I either know your company well and am an “enthusiast,”  or I’ve researched it enough to realize there’s strong potential for both parties to  match on various levels, creating a win-win situation.

Thus, I submit what’s  required when I apply at XYZ. Not two seconds later, I receive an e-mail stating that after review, if my qualifications are a match, I may hear from someone. Otherwise, due to the volume of applicants, I will not hear another word.  First off, this is not only rude, but belittling. I have 11 years experience, and if I qualify, you may contact me? I cut my chops. I have respected your requests, filled out your paper in addition to submitting my own, and you “may” get back to me? It’s at this point I regret applying, job or no job.

A week passes.

Follow-up is key (if you can)

I call the office switchboard. I’m dumped into the HR general voicemail. No once calls back. Knowing I already have no contacts within the organization, I try to figure out if there is another way to get past the wall of silence. I begin to dial the main number with a ploy to speak to the Marketing VP I just looked up on LinkedIn.

While waiting, I wonder what’s transpired. Is the job closed? How many applicants applied? Are they still accepting applications?  Was my résumé submitted correctly? Was there something that screamed out I was wrong for the position? Did I make it to the final first cut, only to be weeded out due to my salary requirements?

I leave a voicemail for the VP. After a couple weeks without contact, I make a note on my spreadsheet that no one ever responded and move on to another opportunity.

Social media

Surprisingly, I see a lot of HR people using social media, especially on LinkedIn, Twitter, and blogs. To me, this states that HR departments are versed in basic social-media tenets:

  • Listen.
  • Ask questions.
  • Listen some more.
  • Initiate on-to-one communication.


HR departments use social media to recruit. Why then is it so difficult to get anyone to respond? Why do I have to call the VP of Marketing to get a response, knowing at this point my job hopes have just been shot down?

HR peeps I know say it’s due to the massive amount of résumés they receive, and they’re too busy.I have to say this is a cop out.

Everyone is busy, everyone does more with less, and times are tense. However, most people at a business (with one exception) cannot risk ignoring anyone who contacts them, especially in an industry as fickle as this one.

WWJD, or what would Jeff do? (the solution)

As HR is capable of using social media for recruiting, then why not use social media to keep job posts updated?
It’s efficient, simple, and effective. Set up a blog page with job updates. Send out Twitter updates that a position’s been filled. Write a Facebook App that will cross-reference a job number with a status update. Have a prerecorded job line that applicants can call to learn of any updates.

Problem Solved.

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.

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.

Handle the Ad Biz and Burp Your Baby at the Same Time

Ad biz babiesUpon reading a recent article on, “7 Great Places To Work,” I happened upon Maya, a creative consulting firm in Pittsburgh, PA. At Maya, once an employee and new parent finishes his or her paternal or maternal leave, the creative agency allows the parent to bring that newborn baby to work.

This article got me thinking: if this industry is supposed to be on the cutting edge and creative, then how come more advertising, design, marketing, and other communication companies do not top these types of lists?

As this industry demands more and more hours and brain power, some “big idea power” must be allotted for the HR department.

Jinean Robinson is a CCIO (Chief Creative Infections Officer) in this industry for over eight years, specializing in creative strategy and implementation, 360 branding, and brand development. Join her @Twitter or her firm Germ, LLC.

Crème de la Crap: The Tracy Awards for Worst Advertising

TheTracyAwardsJust how many advertising messages are we exposed to on a daily basis? In Data Smog, author David Skenk writes that the average American’s exposure to advertising has grown from “560 daily advertising messages in 1971. By 1997, that number had increased to over 3,000 per day.”

While the figures are controversial due to the definition of the word “advertising,” even 200 hundred messages a day is more than we’ll remember. Be thankful for that, because most of them are crap that shouldn’t have made it past the concept stage.

While the number of victims stricken by “Crapvertising” is unknown, there is a place where those who have fallen prey can expose the offender(s): The Tracy Awards.  Based on the premise that advertisers produce a lot of  ”bad ads,” the First Annual Tracy Awards are accepting submissions for the Worst in Advertising 2009. Its call to action:

“There’s a lot of bad advertising out there. Let’s make fun of it.”

Noted as the first competition of its kind, The Tracy’s provide those exposed to terrible advertising an opportunity “strike back” at advertisers who produce crap. The press release goes on to explain:

Every ad we receive will be judged. Harshly. And if it’s bad enough, it will win a Tracy, which will be sent to the people responsible for creating the abomination in the first place. Plus, all ads that win Tracy’s will be nationally publicized as the Worst Advertising of 2009.

crowell_logoThe Tracy Awards were conceived by Salt Lake City ad agency Crowell Advertising and are named for agency founder, Tracy Crowell.

Take a few minutes to view the crap or submit some. If you are like me, making fun of others’ work will make the day so much better.

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.

The Latest Microsoft Faux Pas

microsoft-photoshop-082809 Apparently, colorblind workplaces are only in the United States.

I give you the Microsoft photo. Microsoft’s U.S. Web site features a picture of an Asian male, a black male, and a white female. Microsoft’s Poland site has an Asian male, a white male, and a white female. Wait a minute, something seems familiar. Right, the photo is the same. Well, except for one thing: The face of the black male is now white! What is this cosmetic miracle Microsoft tapped into? It’s no miracle, it’s an act of Photoshop, poorly executed.

Microsoft altered the image on the front page of its Web site in the Poland marketplace when it removed the black man’s face in the photo and replaced it with a white man’s. No other patches of skin were altered, meaning the mans hand, also in the photo, was left untouched. Now, one can joke that man is English and drives on the passenger side and one can even remark that the image does not spit on racial harmony, but in fact, “[It] symbolizes [sic] interracial harmony,” as Vijay, a commenter from the PhotoshopDisasters blog, wrote. A source on CNET said the model switch might have been influenced in light of the “racially homogeneous” market in Poland. Realistically, though, no one will ever know what happened or whose hands it may have slipped past.

Now that the photo has been publicly scrutinized, what is being done? How will Microsoft get their image back? The reality is, whether we like it or not, certain demographics are racially skewed and the advertiser has to adjust messages according to demographics. It’s also the advertiser’s job (now pay attention here, it may be a bit shocking) to make sure such adjustments are done cleanly, tastefully, and, above all, without the knowledge of the uninvolved. For example, do you want to see the woman fold herself in the top-half of the box just before the magician saws it in half, or do you want to marvel at the wonder of magic dust?

Care to probe more? Take a closer look at the laptop in the image. That’s a Mac, right?

Rena Prizant is a Copywriter, Ad Creative and mammal in the Chicago area. Visit or @WriteLeft.

Tequila and Timberlake: The Perfect Combination

timberlSWEATERJustin Timberlake is not one to let the grass grow under his feet. An extremely popular solo artist, he’s also launched several “brand extensions” of himself that have been well received by critics, fans, and the public. His first new venture was Tennman Records, which began in 2007. Then, in February of 2009, he and best friend Trace Ayala announced William Rast, a clothing line that “is an extension of you.” Unlike most new designer lines, William Rast not only gained notice, but also received praise from the fashionistas.

901His latest venture? 901 Silver Tequila.

901 Silver is either named in tribute to the area code in which Timberlake grew up (Memphis) or for “that moment when your evening ends but your night is just beginning.” However, more than the Timberlake name is attracting attention. The tequila has been reviewed favorably by those who know tequila. According to the NY Daily News:

Timberlake’s new tequila, called 901, passed the sip test – and then some – among three New York tequila aficionados with very discerning tastes.

What makes 901 Silver Tequila unique is the method they chose to kickoff the first major promotion. Known as 901at901on901, and translated to 9/01, at 9:01, on, it’s an invite to the public to creatively craft  ”The Big Idea” to aid the launch of this relatively new brand. The winner will become Executive Vice President of Big Ideas for 901 Silver Tequila.

To the victor go the spoils, which include the lengthy job title, a trip to Vegas (round-trip airfare for two, hotel stay and, of course, two tickets to the Justin and Friends concert), VIP access to all parties, $25,000 in “bonus” money, plus the chance to show off his or her creative skills among an elite group of people.

According to Kevin Ruder, President of 901 Silver (Timberlake is CEO):

We like to incorporate consumer feedback as part of our normal business practice at 901 Silver. We’ve turned that premise into a contest.

The following video outlines the challenge:

The contest ends on November 30th and the winner will be chosen by a panel of experts on December 4, 2009.

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.

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.

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.

Converting Leads: President of MarketingAnd Offers Solutions

A scheduled twenty minute interview with MarketingAnd President and CEO, Sammy James, ended up lasting an hour.  This is what happens you speak with an expert and a true believer of innovative tools for online marketing.  As the interview continued, I began to recognize how various online businesses could  benefit from its approach. Thank you, Mr. James, for your extra time and attention.

MarketingAnd is an eclectic mixture of product and service — part software-developer, part consultancy, part provider, and part business partner. It is capable of working within an established agency-client relationship and can also provide its own expertise to clients.

What do they do exactly?

MarketingAnd organically augments the number of business leads a company receives and then increases the conversion rate from lead to sale. The main difference between MarketingAnd and other lead/conversion companies is that MarketingAnd doesn’t broker lists or teach sales tactics. Its strength lies in converting visitors into leads, and leads into sales. Think of cultivating the low-hanging fruit.

Why go out and buy leads when you can simply convert the ones you already have?

Most of the time, consumers are researching due to their lack of knowledge towards specific products or services. For example, if I move from a condominium to a house, I’d have a lawn to care for. My limited knowledge in lawnmowers would lead me to various home improvement websites where I would be known as a prospect, or lead.  This is where MarketingAnd comes in, providing the necessary tools to engage visitors like me one-on-one.

Sammy James will be the first to tell you that he is a huge advocate of accountability. Thus, it’s no surprise that MarketingAnd’s suite of tools measure, qualify, and quantify. As the company expanded, it partnered with larger institutions (universities, health care companies, automotive dealers) that possessed their own marketing capabilities but didn’t track leads, cost-per-call, cost-per-sale, call volume, or closing ratio. MarketingAnd has the tools to address these issues.

One of these tools is called Form to Phone. In an Internet sales cycle, leads go from extremely hot (ready to buy) to ice cold in a very short time.  Form to Phone helps establish a quicker response time. Here’s how it works:

  1. As soon as a prospect fills out a form and hits the submit button, your phone rings (wherever you are) and you’re given the person’s name and the reason for his or her inquiry.
  2. You press “1″ and are instantly connected to the prospect via the number he or she provided on the form.
  3. You engage the prospect in dialogue – before your competitors even have a chance.

Form to Phone also alleviates what is known as call reluctance. Call reluctance is a phenomenon where a salesperson experiences a heightened level of anxiety or apprehension before calling prospective client.  It could be so overwhelming that it decreases the total number of sales calls made and can render the salesperson useless. Because the sales cycle depends on volume and repetition, every call not made is a potential loss. Form to Phone is effective because it calls the salesperson with a lead. All the salesperson has to do is hit “1.”

Is MarketingAnd successful? According to Mr. James, its client-retention rate is between 90%-95%, and some clients have seen sales increases in the 300% range. If this seems like an appropriate fit to your business, research MarketingAnd first-hand. If you are in the higher-education business, its sister company, Get Starts, specializes in educational system needs.

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

Social Media: 5 Reasons to Love It

social-media-marketingToday somebody asked me why I love social media. There are so many reasons and it’s hard for me to choose only a few. So I did what any other social media savvy individual would do: I posted the question on Facebook, Twitter and other outlets. I was able to use social media to explain why I love social media and I think fellow blogger Jenna McWilliams says it best: “Social media is not a trend, but a fundamental human urge to communicate,” and now we have more ways to do so. So, my top five reasons:

1. 1-800 customer care number? Consider it a thing of the past. Remember the time when we had 1-800 numbers? We’d wait on hold for eternity to finally get connected to someone in another country who was so far from executives that we were sure our complaints or problems would never be heard. Social media has changed that. Now companies have to listen to their customers because unhappy ones can broadcast their displeasure through social media. Also, it’s no longer a one-way conversation. Some companies have jumped onto the social media bandwagon (as they should) and created accounts to ask consumers to help create and improve their brands.  Two most notable examples are Starbucks’ My Starbucks Idea and Burger King’s Whopper Sacrifice.

2. Efficiency of reaching consumers. Look at social media this way – imagine all of your customers coming together on a daily basis and talking about topics that pertain to you and your company, thereby spreading even more information about your company and gaining more recognition and consumers. One of my favorite quotes comes from my mentor and good friend, Griffin Farley of 22squared: “Don’t plan for the ones you reach, plan for the ones they reach.”

3. Being connected (this was the most popular answer I received after posting the question). When something happens to ourselves or to someone we know, we share it with others through pictures, comments and tweets.  More importantly, it’s a new way to get news, support, and advice on anything.What better way to educate yourself on advertising and marketing than by following an expert in a specific field? Who knows, it could even get you a job (Tweeter Neal Schafer had it happen to him after he started his blog and web site).

4. Creative campaigns. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – if I had a TiVo, all I would record are commercials. I like advertising, but not because I want to learn about the products. I like the  creativity used to showcase a product to consumers. And now with social media, they’re becoming even more creative. Viral videos, Twitter giveaways, Facebook fan pages, etc. I can’t get enough of them. Old school + new school = awesome, consumer-activity-inducing campaigns.

5. The best thing about social media? It is changing the way we think. And with the exponential growth of it, no social media professional can be sure of where these new media will lead. But I can tell you that it’s exciting to see the evolution.

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

Cellufun: First Ever Mobile PSA

CellufunLogoAs technological capabilities expand, so do ideas…or vice versa. In either case, we seem to witness ideas that break the “traditional mold” on a regular basis. Cellufun, a mobile social gaming community, is launching the first Public Service Announcement (PSA) campaign over a mobile, or cellular, network. It is an idea that breaks conceptual boundaries.

Known as “The World’s Mobile Playground, Cellufun is teaming with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation and will feature in-game advertising as well as user-donation opportunities to the two charities via their mobile phone.

Cellufun is a virtual world where people are able to meet, play games, and shop…all via cellular phone. Available on any phone with a data plan, consumers are able to access Cellufun globally. Cellufun partners with diverse mobile operators and media companies to deliver entertainment and mobile marketing solutions.

Cellufun mobile clients will be able to purchase Superman Tags for their online avatars; profits from the tags will go to the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation.

“We think this is a fantastic opportunity to extend our presence into the mobile space,” said Peter T. Wilderotter, president and CEO of the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation. “This is a unique chance to be part of a robust online community where people can show their support for our real-world efforts by purchasing an item in their favorite virtual world.”

There are currently 7 million-plus users of Cellufun, spending an average 7 hours per month connecting with friends, playing games, and shopping for virtual products. On average an active user will be on Cellufun nearly 7 hours each month, which equates to more than 220 million monthly impressions.

ASPCA_logoThe ASPCA ads will be featured in “pet games and activities,” with a company-estimated value of $10,000 per month in free advertising.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with Cellufun for this unique campaign” said Jo Sullivan, Executive Vice President of External Affairs for the ASPCA. “By bringing the ASPCA straight to the mobile devices of millions of users, we will be able to dramatically increase awareness of our mission and the vital work we do every day to save animals’ lives.”


By introducing the world’s first mobile PSA campaign, Cellufun hopes to raise awareness and secure donations from its users for worthwhile charitable endeavors. With a large user base, the company hopes to help non-profits reach a wider audience by bringing them into the mobile medium.

“Cellufun’s social games—such as Mobile Pet Online and Cellufun Farming—provide not only entertainment, but the perfect venue for raising social awareness by partnering with leading charities and non-profits,” said Neil Edwards, chief executive officer of Cellufun.

The company plans to expand the first-ever mobile PSA campaign to include other charities in the near future.

Jeff Louis: Strategic Media Planner, Brand Project Manager, writer and blogger can be reached by leaving a comment or on Twitter and LinkedIn.

You’re Not on Twitter Yet?

twitterIt’s out there and everyone’s talking about it. It’s been proven to give companies an edge on competition and the ability to form a bond with customers. So why aren’t you involved in social media yet?

As a freelancer in social media, I’ve noticed that there are numerous corporations that are still not involved with Twitter, Facebook, or anything on the Internet beyond a website and an email. This is, in essence, what it would be like when everyone started to advertise on the television when it was first invented and a company simply ignored it and kept to the “old school” ways of handing out fliers to people. Although it is important to respect the more traditional ways of advertising, you must also incorporate the new to properly promote and advertise your company and brand (my fellow Beneath the Brand blogger Jon Leung agrees – check out his post Marketers’ Dilemma: Facebook or Twitter).

The best thing about social media – it’s easy and free. At the moment, I recommend starting with Twitter because, as I’m sure you’ve heard, it’s becoming more and more similar to the dot com boom (i.e. don’t be the last one to figure it out).

Look at Twitter this way: imagine all your customers coming together on a daily basis and talking about topics that pertain to you and your company, thereby spreading even more information about your company and gaining more recognition and consumers.

Let me use a company as an example that I am currently involved with: Dolphin Blue, Inc. Dolphin Blue helps businesses go green through its office supplies. If you thinking of promotion from a networking standpoint, the first thing you would do is to find a group that matches your interests, in this case, any green groups that deals with the ecosystem or world health. You would then attend the group sessions, meet people who have those same interests, and start conversations with them about your company. Twitter is exactly like this, only on a much larger scale.

After creating a Twitter account, log on to and search (#green) for people talking about green issues. “Follow” them, re-tweet things they’ve tweeted that you agree with and *poof,* people will start following you, re-tweeting things you’ve posted, and, most importantly, become aware of your services. And thus, networking and building your business starts on a national level. The more people you meet, the more people who talk about you and your company.

Within four hours of Dolphin Blue publishing its Twitter account, it had six mentions and 26 followers! On day two, those numbers grew to 14 mentions and 93 followers. Imagine how many more people it’ll reach within the next week, month or year.

I think Griffin Farley of 22squared said it best. “Don’t plan for the ones you reach, plan for the ones they reach.” It’s all about who you know, right?

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

Rumor – Microsoft Selling Razorfish

for_sale_signOh gossip, the greatest communication tool ever (next to Twitter, of course). But enough about that. You’ll never believe what I just read.

Microsoft may be selling off Razorfish, as reported in The Wall Street Journal. A mere two years after the purchase, rumors are spreading about a sale to WPP. The clues?

  • RF employees have still not been switched over to Microsoft benefits (I know large corporations are slow, but two years?).
  • The RF office in San Francisco was instructed not to order new business cards (how will the employees remember who they are?!).

So, what are we thinking? Are the rumors true?  In any case, MarketWatch did confirm that Morgan Stanley has been hired to find a buyer. Publicis, who supposedly plans to acquire additional digital ad agencies, has been mentioned as a possible candidate.

From the looks of the market, Razorfish is being marketed at about $600-$700 million, which is a drastic loss for Microsoft, which paid roughly $3.5 billion just two years ago.

Microsoft’s economic crisis investment advice: buy high, sell low.

Rena Prizant is a Copywriter, Ad Creative and mammal in the Chicago area, professionally word playing since 2002. Rena writes smart, engaging, dynamic copy for a broad range of mediums and industries; and loves helping start-up’s get their branding feet. Visit or Twitter WriteLeft.