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

Driving the World: Michelin’s First Global Ad Campaign

Michelin launched its first global advertising campaign last week to shine its headlights on Michelin’s USP high beams, illuminating the manymichellin benefits derived from its distinguishing characteristics. Its theme, “The right tire changes everything,” aims to drive this point home.

Michelin tires simultaneously deliver enhanced braking power, greater longevity, and superior fuel efficiency. The campaign illustrates by using the right tires, consumers can reduce fuel consumption, increase safety, and extend tread life.

The campaign features the iconic Michelin man, Bibendum, in an animated world, assisting troubled motorists and replacing their defective tires with Michelin tires, which he pulls from his body. I know what you’re thinking: Why can’t I get rid of the tires around my waist as easily as Bibendum? To answer that, you’ll have to take the advice of Esurance’s ad campaign, and “get animated.” Bibendum apparently has all the answers.

Created by TBWA, a New York-based agency that gained Michelin’s worldwide account last summer, Michelin’s campaign will appear across TV, print, and online outlets in the United States first, then in Europe and Asia in early 2010, and in Africa, the Middle East, India, and South America at a later date. The U.S. campaign features an enhanced digital strategy that introduces the official Michelin Man Facebook page and YouTube channel.

Visit for more information.

Rohan Raj. Syrupy schmaltz. Finessing perpetual cadence. Boundless behemoth. Absence of mutual exclusivity? Priceless. Reach him via Twitter or LinkedIn.

Sweet Love Triangle: Cadbury, Hershey’s, and Kraft

Love TriangleIt’s a classic love triangle: The wealthy Kraft wants British beauty Cadbury. Cadbury, however, wants Hershey’s, the poor, yet perfectly sweet option. Hershey’s is of a lower financial capability than the domineering Kraft and is reluctant to make a move, though it knows the two make an ideal pair. So it goes for the two U.S. food makers and the international sweetheart Cadbury.

The drama began in September when Kraft slipped an unsolicited note to Cadbury, making it a marriage offer for $16.7 billion. Cadbury, being of higher standards, immediately rejected it. Hershey’s also wanted Cadbury’s hand, but being of a lower income bracket, the company struggled to gather the funding necessary to support the lifestyle of the demanding Cadbury. After Kraft’s shameless act of domination, Cadbury’s parents, the U.K. Panel on Takeovers and Mergers, had a nice chat with their daughter and decided to set a dueling date for the two contenders: November. The two must make a reasonable and honorable proposition by then or leave empty handed.

For Kraft, the challenge is obvious: They must open themselves up and make a smart, honest proposal for Cadbury’s hand. Doing so would boost their shares in the food-making industry to compete with the biggest and baddest of the land, Nestle. Hershey’s, on the other hand, is the hard-working visionary who is merely after the one he loves. Cadbury would open up an international market for the American-born company and offer pathways into Europe. After last year’s heartbreak from the girl next door, Wrigley, and her marriage to Mars, Inc. (creating the world’s largest sweets company), Hershey’s has done its best to put itself together and move onto to other options.

Hershey’s is doing all it can to make the right move on Cadbury; the former even hired advisors to assist in exploring the bid for marriage. Marrying Cadbury would ensure the continuation of the boarding school for low-income children, which Hershey’s is currently running, so the stakes are high. Kraft, however, is a financial wiz and hopes to capitalize on the devaluation of the British pound during the deadline time, thus being able to bid lower and still come out on top.

Tensions are high, and the suspense rises daily. Hopefully, love will conquer all, and they’ll live happily ever after.

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

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

Merkle Re-Brands Database Marketing to Include Customers

stepping_out_of_the_computerDatabase marketing is now about the customer. Who woulda thunk it?

Merkle, a long-standing and highly reputable database marketing firm, has repositioned themselves in the industry. Following their release of Integrated Customer Marketing, Merkle has now adopted a new brand, “Customer Relationship Marketing Agency.”

There’s a lot of jargon associated with this switch. For example, look to the explanation in MediaPostNews “Marketing Daily”:

Integrated Customer Marketing helps companies become more customer-centric by informing the total customer experience , from strategic life-cycle management and marketing mix optimization to comprehensive program development and the optimization of individual campaigns.

What does that mean? I work in advertising and find that confusing. Talk about spin. Well, here’s my take: The idea, from where I’m standing, seems to be that Merkle is transitioning from merely being a resource of information for their clientele to a full-service consultation firm. They formerly offered “information.” Now, they offer “consultation.”

This change was long coming for the company; they have now joined the movement of agencies offering “full-service” solutions. With the state of our spending, that’s what companies are looking for: the one-stop shop or more bang for their buck.

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

Goodby’s Poem House or What Happened to Sign Painters

image1fullHis name is synonymous with advertising genius. Got Milk? That’s his. There Can Only Be One. That’s also him. Now, Jeff Goodby backs Pepsi. He’s also launching an online “Twitter-centered” campaign. To all the advertising geeks reading this, if there was any doubt in your mind about going digital, then let this be your reassurance. If this man is doing it, you damn well better.

In times like these, we need a quote from the man himself. “I like big fonts,” Goodby said.

He’s obviously referring to his 117 year-old Victorian house. That’s really the topic here. Goodby has inspirational and evocative words painted on the outside and inside of his house, words that evoke what takes place inside.

It’s this house that seems to have played a part in Goodby’s digital switch. See, he needed someone to paint the words on the house, and it was done digitally. Upon completion, Goodby created a Web site: and promoted it on Facebook. The rest, needless to say, was history. Once captured by the blogging fanatics, publicity instantly ensued: Tweets, re-tweets, traffic, publications, you name it.

If this is not a prime example of digital prosperity, then I don’t know what is. This small event exemplifies the marketing shift occurring today. The shift that more agencies, like Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, have adapted should be adapted elsewhere. The key here is versatility. The new wave of advertising professionals are versatile (like me!! ):  They take classic technique and weave in a digital mind-set. They are more marketable and more valuable. Now, if more could firms could see that value, maybe we could even afford to live off of it.

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

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.

Togo’s ‘Money-Back Guarantee’ Ad Comes With a Price

hotpastramiWhat was all over the advertising headlines last week seems to be a ploy to increasing Web site traffic. On September 21st, Togo’s announced their new campaign launch, “Pastrami Money-Back Guarantee.” It stipulated that if you try the new sandwich during its promotional month (9/23-10/20) and you don’t feel it is better than the “other guys,” you’ll get a full refund. Who wouldn’t go for that? Don’t we wish all food establishments offered this service?

What’s the price for requesting a refund, though? Let’s say, for example, the pastrami sandwich was indeed worse than the “other guys.” What then? According to the refund rules, the requirements to receive a refund seem to be more cost-per-effort than merely swallowing the five or so bucks and moving on with your life.

Refund Process:

  1. Go to the Togo’s Web site.
  2. Print out redemption form.
  3. Fill out redemption form.
  4. Find the “original Togo’s store-identified cash register receipt (copies not accepted) showing purchase of a #9 Hot Pastrami Sandwich between 9/23/09 and 10/20/09″ to include in the envelope.
  5. Find the “original competitor’s store-identified cash register receipt (copies not accepted) showing purchase of a Hot Pastrami Sandwich between 9/23/09 and 10/20/09″ to include in the envelope.
  6. Write a letter with your name, address, and a brief description of why you did not like the sandwich.
  7. Mail to: Togo’s Pastrami Guarantee PO Box 2859 Carmichael, CA 95609-2859.

*Properly submitted and eligible claim entries will receive a check in the amount of the purchase price of a Regular #9 Hot Pastrami Sandwich from the original Togo’s receipt submitted (tax not included). Large and family-size purchases will receive the suggested retail price of the Regular #9 Hot Pastrami Sandwich. The suggested retail price for a Regular #9 Hot Pastrami Sandwich is $5.59 (tax not included).

Are they serious? Why don’t they require getting the redemption letter notarized? I’ll just skip the sandwich altogether, thanks. Just writing the steps above made me hungry for Jimmy John’s anyway. Nobody loves pastrami this much — nobody!

If Togo’s wants people to go to their site, then offer a better incentive, not a 1980’s rebate procedure. It’s almost as if Togo’s just crawled out of a bomb shelter and decided to increase sales. In this age of ADD Tweeting, are they really expecting successful product promotion? Sorry, Togo’s, if you can’t get with the zero’s, get back in your shelter.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

“Night of the AdEaters” Comes to New York City

adeatersGeico gecko slaughtered!

Ronald McDonald tortured!

For New York Advertising Week’s finale, AdEaters will come to the industry’s birth place on Friday, September 25th. Imagine hundreds and hundreds of the best commercials from 54 countries being celebrated in one place and in one night. With the use of our favorite American advertising icons in its new trailer, it seems that the AdEaters event at Terminal 5 will prove to be extremely entertaining. As if the industry wasn’t already bubbling enough for this event’s arrival, the AdEaters team joined Mad Men fans dressed in 60’s regalia and stormed Times Square for the season premiere of “Mad Men.” New York will be exploding with ad-citement, so much so that I may cancel meetings that week to check it out. Shhh, don’t tell – buddy pass, anyone?

Tickets are available on its official website, which is linked above.

As a preview, here’s a commercial from Ford that will be featured at the Night of the Adeaters.

Jinean Robinson is a CCIO (Chief Creative Infections Officer) in this industry for 8+ years, specializing in creative strategy and implementation, 360 branding, and brand development. Join her @Twitter or her firm Germ, LLC.

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.

Burger King’s Angry Burger: A Nerd in Biker Clothing

AngryWhopperBurker King launched it’s Angry Whopper campaign in Canada that includes an interactive website to talk smack to users and fire them up for the rage that they say is inside the sandwich with angry sauce, jalapenos and pepper jack cheese. “Let’s see how full of rage you are,” the sandwich says. You don’t have a webcam to show your ire?  “NO WEBCAM?” the sandwich goads, “You must be pretty angry being stuck in 1997. Do you rollerblade to work everyday?”

You can also send an Angry-Gram ( to let somebody know “they annoy the hell outta you.” Profanity, unbridled anger and insults to rollerbladers and preacher’s wives pack a lot of energy, but the insults hurled by the Angry Burger fall flat because they are, frankly, dorky. Really dorky. “You love yourself so much you would reply to your own personal ad,” and “You are bitchier than a school bus of hormonal cheerleaders.” It gets worse: “Why do you always read my email? It’s like you are working for the FBI.” The throaty, screaming voice should have a much better arsenal than this.

The approach and the technology are fresh and cutting-edge, but the sandwich seriously lacks street cred.

Jennifer Fields is an ad-enthusiast with little patience for the inauthentic.

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.