Wednesday, December 16, 2009

This blog could lower your interest! It's almost guaranteed!

Advertising is a really big word, and it keeps growing all the time. It contains mediums, philosophies and specialties that are expanding and changing at a mind-numbing speed.

What method or tactic you take depends on the medium, market, budget and brand. The message shouldn't be the same across the board. Direct mail, for example, needs to get the recipient's attention, interest and trust immediately in order for them to open, read, then act on it. A billboard needs gain the driver's attention and be memorable enough for them to act on it later, but it has only a few seconds, a visual and seven words or less to accomplish this with. An ad in a coupon section of the newspaper needs to visually "pop" out of all that noise as well as contain a perceived savings enough to get the reader to act on it. The list goes on, and while the strategies vary for the different forms of advertising, they all need to be honest.

Truth in advertising might sound like an oxymoron, but for the most part, it's the law. Did you notice that I said "perceived savings" about the ad in the coupon section? Just because something is true doesn't mean it's not slanted in its view. Different people have different points of view, different ideas of value. With behavioral marketing exploding the way it is, different people are actually seeing different ads when they go to the same places – ads with their needs and interests in mind. I'm a big fan of it, from both the perspective of the consumer and the advertiser. What I don't get is what's going on with some of the Facebook ads.

Can someone please explain the strategy to me that prompted this photograph to be in this ad?

Does a hippie-type guy speak to moms? Random. I see tons of things that make me tilt my head and wonder, "WTH??" Like this one with Oprah:

What does she have to do with this coffee? Is she endorsing it? My bet is no. Who's going to call the ad police about that one? I just pass it by with the rest, thinking that the internet really still is the wild, wild west. Still a lot of law and order to come, which will probably both help and restrict us. In the meantime, each to their own ethics, and the prospecting opportunity is spectacular.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Friends don't let friends friend randomly

Imagine this: You walk into a mall. People are everywhere, going about their business alone or in groups, in a hurry or strolling at their own pace. You are wandering along, browsing music and books, lost in your thoughts.

Out of nowhere, you feel a poke in your side. You turn around and some guy is standing there, hand extended in anticipation of a firm shake. "My name is Bob Smith, can we be friends?" he asks matter-of-factly. You stand there, looking at him in silent pause, waiting for him to say something more about himself and why he suddenly wants to be friends with you. You ask yourself, "Have I met this man before? Do we have mutual friends, and if so, what is the nature of those relationships? What made him come up to me and ask such a forward question?"

The silence is awkward. Not seeming to notice your confused trepidation, the man goes on. "Let's be friends! Then I can look at all of your photographs, listen in on your conversations, see how much time you spend online, I'll tell you what I am doing and thinking, we can play games, you can recommend me professionally, you'll trust me with your valuable reputation, and then all my friends can see you and maybe be your friends and poke you all the time, too!"

You don't know what to do. You don't want to be rude, you might know this guy from somewhere. You don't want to admit you have no earthly idea who he is, but you don't want to acquiesce and trust this person with your personal information and connections. Besides, you don't even know if you like this person or if he is of any value to you in any way. What to do, what to do?

It's an uncomfortable yet all-too familiar scenario.

As I write this right now, a friend of mine popped up on IM to ask me if some guy has friended me.  "Cos he seems to be friending almost everyone on my page! I have no idea who he is. It's creepy cos he's just randomly friending my personal connections."

I've got three friend requests sitting in my Facebook notifications right now that I have no idea what to do with, so they just sit there. Who are these people? One is a complete stranger - profile pic is of a baby, not in my network, no friends in common. One is a Realtor office in Ocala, we have 16 friends in common. The other one, well, I really don't know what it is to be honest. It might be a fan page for motorcycle riding in the area, or a magazine maybe, but it has a realtor logo on it and it's a personal page... so I'm confused despite the 14 friends in common.

I don't know who is behind any of these pages and so I will not give them my endorsement, much less my friendship. I could send a note to them asking who they are and how they know me, but then that's putting me out of my way and making me ask the awkward question.

Social networking is SOCIAL. It's not just about clicking around randomly and seeing how high you can get the numbers. It's making and strengthening relationships, being genuine like you would in the "real world" because it IS the real world. It's got to make sense for someone to be your friend, and the more sense it makes, the better (or more useful) of a friend (or potential customer) they will be to you. Have a reason for adding someone to your network and if you're not sure they will know you by your name and face, for the love of Google, please add a quick personal note.

I'm still trying to decide what to do with those requests... should I send a note back asking who they are, or just ignore or decline them like I usually do? Maybe I should have a stock note ready to send, something like... "Hi there, where do I know you from or why would I be interested in connecting with you?" ... but ironically, that might be too impersonal.

Friday, November 6, 2009

A Not-So-Virtual Wake

It's been a rough week. I should have blogged yesterday or the day before. I started the week moving forward under an already heavy workload, then a good friend died and it really threw me off.

Joe Juriga was a cherished friend to many - so many that I doubt his family would have known even half of them, much less have been able to personally contact everyone who loved him. Think about it - how many people are you good friends with but have never had contact with their family? With social networking what it is today, our connections are growing in number and even more so for the outgoing, genuine people like Joe. So how did we all find out?


Joe's status update gave the sad news and offered his page up for memories in celebration of his life. I immediately Skyped a friend about it. Within 30 minutes, the posts started. They went for days. On day two, a friend of his posted a MySpace link to a song called "Broken" that he wrote and recorded in memory of Joe. On day three, an article went up in Fort Lauderdale, FL saying goodbye to the leader and friend that Joe was, and the obituary went online from Birmingham NY, with a guestbook that comments can be left on.

In these few days, dozens of friends and relatives have been able to share stories, photographs, tributes, music, love, disbelief and understanding with each other - many not even knowing one another. It is an online wake, it is instant - no waiting for the funeral, no travel time, no black outfit to find, and his family has been able to see what a huge and positive impact he has had on so many people.

The "virtual" communities online are very real. We now accept telephone communication as person-to-person, as real as it gets - but we still call the online world "virtual" because there is a visual that doesn't correspond with our visual "reality." It's all in a little box, not out in the "real world."

Phooey. It's real. The voice isn't IN a phone, it's real. The phone is simply a connection device, and so is the computer. The people inputting and uploading the information are very real, and the information is their voice. That's why it's so important to be honest when it comes to social media and marketing. It's all just like stepping out your front door and joining a big world party, person-to-person.

I think it's really cool, even if a little surreal, that all of this happened instantly in an online community. It has helped me to process some very sad and shocking news much better than simply not being able to make it to the "real" wake.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Don't Fear the Reapo-man

There's something haunting the holidays this year – reaching its slimy, oozy, steaming tendrils around everything in search of fresh fodder. It's not the Ghost of Christmas Past Recessions, it's a new breed of haunt for the new millennium. It's not going anywhere for a while, so we've all got to stand strong through this holiday season in anticipation of a dawning relief that is coming ... sometime soon.

What can we do about this insidious ghoul that takes on different faces – such as fear, oppression and depression? Look it in the eyes, realize it's there, and dance with it! Make the best of it because it's not leaving until... sometime soon.

This Halloween, instead of the usual horror-house with ragged mummies, vampires and spider webs, put something really scary lurking behind every turn. Life savings that disappear in a cloud of smoke. Unemployment jumping out unexpectedly. Bankruptcy. Foreclosure. Repossession. Swine Flu. Hunger. Homelessness. These things will scare your visitors down to their very soul so much that they'll come out on the other end thrilled just to be alive and well!

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday in concept because it's about gratitude for what we have already as opposed to what we want. This Thanksgiving, reach out to others, don't limit it to your closest friends and family. Have big "group dinners," maybe even "block dinners!" People are struggling more behind their brave faces than we know. Holiday times carry enough stress when the money is rolling in, so help make it easy on everyone and just celebrate being alive.

For Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Winter Solstice/Whatever holiday you hang your hat on in December that motivates you to start spending amounts of money that are completely disproportionate with the rest of your year, I suggest a word that isn't normally exciting: practical. Here's an innovative marketing opportunity that would help circulate more dinero without wasting it: discounted gift cards at utility companies, banks, mortgage holders, gas stations, drug stores, grocers, family marts... everywhere. If companies would take 10 or 15% off the top they would sell a helluva lot of cards! I'm all about buying the $50 gift card for $35! Everyone gives and everyone gets. More bills get paid, more shopping is done because more bills are getting paid, and so on.

We will all make it through the scary holiday season together if we maintain our sense of humor, stay grateful, be practical, generous, and creative with marketing and buying opportunities. What are your innovative ideas for the holidays?

If we're lucky, the creepy, haunting ghoul will start to lighten up with the coming of the new year... or sometime soon.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Trust me, I'm in advertising

I'm in advertising. I'm a Photoshop whiz. I'm a blogger. I email and I share information. I'm good at social networking. How much do you trust me?

Since consumers have a general malaise (if not downright anger) for big corporations and big government lately - and they are fed up with being fed dodgy-at-best information in ads for years, they no longer take traditional advertisements at face value. We are in the midst of a social and technological renaissance which has shifted the balance of power squarely into your hands. Yes yours. You.

There is no one group of people called "consumers" that the rest of the people are trying to market to or get a vote out of. Everyone is a consumer, everyone is a voter and everyone has the power. Everyone is an individual, it's a market of one. There is no other cell phone exactly like yours - the model, the color, the screen, the ringtones, the apps, the music - it's all your own unique recipe for what you think a phone should be. You can't be classified into some group called "consumers," you are a person and people listen to you. So am I (you're reading my blog right now). So are they. Who are they though?

Who are these people that are blogging and tweeting and talking everywhere, and how much can you trust them? The answer is as simple as walking down the street, going into a grocery or a restaurant or any other public place in your town. You know some people, but you don't know the rest so you make judgments based on what they do, what they wear, their smile, what they are buying, what they are driving and so on. You make judgments based on your experience in life. Your own common-sense. All of this word-of-mouth, viral, conversational, social marketing is no different. It's being put out there by the same people, the same communities, it's a mirror, a window to society.

Don't believe everything you read just because it's in writing. Most emails, websites and blogs are not any more official than some guy standing on the corner with a sign announcing end days. Don't believe everything you see just because you see it. The grass is not that green, the sky isn't that blue, his skin isn't that clear and she isn't that thin.

So how do you know what you can trust? We got a little help this month from the Federal Trade Commission, who brought down some new regulations having to do with testimonial ads, blogging and celebrity endorsements. If someone is being paid to blog about something, they've got to disclose that information. Both advertisers and endorsers (celebs, too!) may be liable for false or unsubstantiated claims. This should help give you, me and everyone else a little more clarity to help make decisions.

Watch out though, you may or not still be being brainwashed... "Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, disregard that last thing you just heard, it might not be true." Too late.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

I'm making people batty!

Introducing the first annual, freshly-brewed batch of Halloween Portraits from Little Black Mask Marketing. I love Halloween and wanted to sprinkle some of the boo spirit around as well as launch a project in anticipation of the soon-to-be-live Little Black Mask website. If you'd like your Halloween portrait done, pop me a line and a photo (or a link to one on FB or somewhere) and I'll make you batty, too! I'll keep making them through October and it will all come together on Halloween with a poster and website unveiling (not unmasking though!) OOoooOOOoooohhhhh.

Either that or - there were these bats at a party who were taking pics for their social network profiles.

All portraits can be seen on my FB page [click here] and will be uploaded there as they are completed.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Put us on a box, not in one

If you were to go grab a five-foot-high pile of books on management, odds are you wouldn't find much about managing a team of creatives. They're a different breed. They drive a different car, as different as they can find. They don't walk down the same road, they cut new paths. It's not that they're unpredictable, it's just that by the very nature of the word "creative," they don't fit into one standard.

Take job titles and descriptions for example. What is the standard description for Creative Director or Art Director? I have my own idea and I'm sure you have yours, but the truth is it varies based on the company, team, client and project. The way our industry is evolving, the titles themselves are also being re[created].

"What's your title?" a friend asked me last night, telling me how he had waited five days to print his business cards because he kept changing his title. He left it at "designer" - which is more of a statement than it might seem. I laughed because I haven't made my Little Black Mask business cards yet. I can't settle on a title, either! The current one is "Chief Creative," which I opted for over "Chief Creative Crusader." I'm not settled though. I know a "Chief Creative Altruist" and really like that, but won't steal it. Besides, if I did take it (which I jokingly told him I might), I wouldn't feel like it was mine and I would constantly be telling people, "Oh thank you, yeah, I got that from Andrew in Ft. Lauderdale, know him?"

Can you see where this is going? Creatives are individualists. Don't box them in, there is no box. Managing and motivating a team of creatives can be challenging at best. Then creatives often are promoted to management, leading to creatives managing creatives, which can be even worse! It's actually simple, though. To get the most from a creative team, just keep them happy. It's not that hard if you get to what moves them.

Titles can be important, but instead of a standard new-title promotion without a raise, maybe just let your team make their own titles up.  Money is important, certainly and please, pay people what they're worth – but if money was a creative's chief motivation, they'd be stock brokers or sales people or something that is more directly connected to the almighty dollar. A creative's main motivation is to create. To innovate, to make something new and wonderful, and to be recognized for it.

The best way to motivate your creative team is to facilitate them doing what they do best, and then give the recognition and respect so they want to do more. If you feel a temptation to take all the credit for what your team has done, maybe because you came up with the initial idea or you make more money and need to justify that, resist it! If you don't need the team, if it's all you, then do the work yourself. Play quarterback without your team, go ahead. When you come down off that mountain and realize you do need them, that you chose them for their strengths, take a moment to lift them up and let them shine. Do it every day and do it publicly.

As a leader, take credit in being able to keep everything cohesive and on-brand, take credit for knowing what a great team you've got, be proud of how well you all work together, how everyone's input is important, be the star quarterback and take credit for a lot of things... but give more than you take. It doesn't cost anything, and the value is immense.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Designer Cannibalism?

Tiredly checking my email late last night, I came across an invitation to sell my logos on iStockphoto. I couldn't really process it mentally, so I left it open and gave it a second look this morning. I honestly don't think I processed it any better. WTF is this?

Confused, I read everything and then went onto the website to check the forum. I sent an email to a few esteemed designer friends to see if there was something I was missing, some positive angle that I hadn't seen right away. Because to me it looked horrible and I couldn't understand it.

Quick catch up:
In case you're not familiar with iStockphoto, they are an internet-based "member-generated image and design community." Translation: they sell people's photographs, illustrations, videos, audio tracks and Flash files as royalty-free files. They sell to designers. RIght, back to this logo thing they're doing.

The nuttyshell:
A designer submits a logo they have sitting around or a new one they come up with to iStockphoto. If iStockphoto approves it, for a limited time only, the designer receives $5. Woo hoo! iStockphoto now owns it outright. This logo goes up on the site for an asking price of 100 to 750 credits (value of each logo suggested by designer but determined by iStockphoto). If I've done my math right, this puts the logo dollar amount somewhere between $24 and $847.50. Upon sale of said logo it comes down (one-time sale), iStockphoto gives 50% in royalties. The designer walks away with $12 to $423.75 for their original logo design.

Issues that I see straight away:

One, copyright. iStockphoto is putting the burden of checking for trademarkability on the client. Dangerous, plus don't you just want to know that you are spending money on original art?

Two, branding value. Talented, professional designers have enough of a struggle trying to prove their worth without companies like this establishing "bulk pricing" for something as custom as a logo. How can one $50 piece of art tell the story of your company when it wasn't even made for you?

Three, designer cannibalism. Paying slave-labor prices to designers in order to turn around and sell to designers who then have to turn around and sell to their client. What is this saying?

On iStockphoto's forum, designers sound happier than pigs in mud and are rolling their sleeves up to start mass-designing logos for mystery companies. I am so confused! Here are comments from this morning's email that went between a few of my professional designer friends:

"Isn't it time to stop using Istock and other "stock companies" (it's not even really stock, it's really cheap royalty free)? I hope none of you all take part in this. Likewise with crowdsourcing. You can't expect everyone to understand the value of real design in the business environment, but there is no excuse for industry suppliers. Hopefully this logo thing will end up the same place the stock layouts did, nowhere."
Kip Williams []

"I agree Kip. I have a hotline set up for anyone who is contemplating Spec Work. I will talk you off that ledge. Remember, you are loved, so are your talents and design. Dont throw it all away and make a mess for the rest of us."
Andy Stracuzzi []

So, is iStockphoto helping designers in a rough economy by offering them the opportunity to put work on a site that might or might not yield them at most a few hundred dollars? Or is this yet another pin in the design industry voo-doo doll that someone out there is wickedly poking in? There are no rules for this, we have to police ourselves. If you agree with me that this sounds horrible, please, don't do it and tell your designer friends the same.

Whores don't put their goods up on spec, let's not jump on this new, designer, pimp ride either.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

R3: Renaissance 3.0

Web 2.0 is dead. Social media and social networking are the new PR and advertising is blending into marketing is the new black and white newspapers are dinosaurs are still hot with the kid market your product as a human seeking a date with your customer not their wallet. Forget CEO, it's SEO, SEM, SMO, SMS, GPS, conversations, experiential, engagement, behavioral, digital, e, i, blog, blawg, vlog, pod, dig, cast, web, net, analytics, metrics, pay-per-click, micro, global, tweet, portal, virus is bad, viral is good. Can anyone hear me? Yes, loud and clear! The world is listening just as much as the world is talking.

We live in a world of paradoxes. We constantly want and resist change at the same time because of our basic needs for stability and variety, leaving us with an ever-present inner-struggle. Hence all the panic right now. I say we calm down a little and enjoy the ride, this recession part of a renaissance. A transformation. An evolution.

People are running around saying that the automobile industry is in trouble. Really? Are we suddenly not going to need to get around? *blows raspberry* Of course the automobile industry is in trouble, but only as we know it. Thank God! We've been using outdated technology – I look forward to clean, efficient, quick transportation. In fact I really look forward to teleporting, but that will take a bit longer.

It's not any one industry that is undergoing metamorphosis, it's industry itself. Everything is changing – corporate structure, systems, religions, expectations... we are in a renaissance of science and culture.

The advertising industry is no exception. Technology has given us a whole new world of media, and has shifted the powers around to level the communications playing field between the consumers and the marketers. This is exciting! We are all both consumer and marketer to whatever degree, so it's good for everyone. The trick is to jump in with an open mind and to let go of the old games. It's time to redefine, for a greater good.

During artistic renaissances, there are a plethora of artists that sprout up and help push up the concrete institutions, but only certain people really get it right and are remembered for it. So who are the Michaelangelos of the ad industry during this renaissance we're going through? How can we tell the hacks from the masters? The trick might be to watch for people who practice the very thing they should be preaching right now: honesty.

Above all else, this level playing field has forced honesty, and if a marketing company is telling its clients that they need to have "honest conversations" with their consumers, then the marketing company should be having one too. That means admitting that no one is an expert right now because things are changing too fast. There are strong players, though. These players are out there not just speaking the new language, but questioning and redefining it as they go, faster than Googles changes its SEO criteria.

So engage in the conversation whether you're a marketer or a consumer, because really, you're both.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Farming is the new black

Farming? Really?
Yes, if you're not already hooked on plowing, you've at least seen a related request (or a hundred) come across your Facebook. As you read this blog, it's already too late to spot this trend at the early-adoption stage. Be it in cyberland or live earth, farming is sprouting up and growing fast.
When it comes to trends, I find that I get tired of themes and buzzwords right about when they become most relevant to the general public. Aesthetic trends, for example – just when something I like becomes readily available, I know it's time to move on. Remember the suns and moons, Raphael's angels, concentric circles and grunge? Alas, I loved them all once. The disappointment that comes when I can easily find what I like gets replaced by a curiosity for what's new and not on every-other teenager's shirt.
To stay ahead and set trends, you have to move fast and be different. You shouldn't be doing what the masses do. However, the largest percentage of consumers happily ride the big waves. They were out there buying suns and moons set in dark blue and gold because it was "in." They are still caught up in a 70's and 80's bag that's mixed up with hip-hop and grunge right now, though thankfully I believe the "swoosh" is no longer the most popular logo element in new designs. If you're selling to this larger percentage of consumers, then it's not always a bad thing to be with the current trend as opposed to ahead of it.
"In this economy...blah blah blah."  Those words are old now if you're a trend-setter but they're not old to the average person feeling these tough times. They're still highly relevant. How are advertisers speaking to consumers right now? With themes of value, of a deeper meaning, back-to-the-basics, of helping out and pitching in. In a time when the government is needed most, it is trusted least. Self-reliance used to be running your own stock portfolio, heavily investing in a 401K and saving for kids' college. Now, self-reliance has gone back to basics. All the way back to the farm.

People are growing food gardens in their own back yards. From the White House down to the hoods and everywhere in between, harvesting is IN. While I don't get delicious collard greens from the computer like I do from my friend Shonna's real-life garden, I recognize a value of virtual farming in the numbers. Facebook alone has over SIXTY Farm-related games and quizzes plus tag-along apps. FarmVille (the offshoot of YoVille on Facebook) is leading the hoe-down with 33 million monthly active users – over FarmTown (also on Facebook) which reaps-in 18 million monthly active users. 
This growing farming trend is about community as much as self-reliance. Social networking has gone to the farm, at least with the over-thirty's and their mothers. All of these farm games involve visiting and working on friends' farms, giving gifts to each other, and some even include chat rooms. While this trend might pass and go out to sea with the concentric circle craze, it's worth taking note of now. Ride the big wave. People are willing to pour their time into food gardening in the dirt and virtual farming on the computer because of the sense of accomplishment, growth, significance, connection and contribution that they get in "economically challenging times like these."

Friday, September 4, 2009

Hey Fox, you're micro-blogging my view!

Last night my mom was freaking out because Twitter posts were on the television screen while she was watching Fringe. At first I thought her complaints were the voice of her opposition to the conformist “twitterland” that we're all being sucked into. She isn’t a fan of the social media renaissance. 
"Come out here and look at this Jessi! You have to see it!" 
I tore myself away from Facebook, Twitter, Skype and Yahoo, and went into the living room. To my surprise, what I saw really was bad! One third of the TV screen was being taken up with two tweets at a time, by the Fringe people answering fans' questions. 
At first it seems like a good idea: engage the audience in a conversation, celebrities answer questions live on TV, yes? 
NO! Three strikes, they’re out.

First strike: The beauty of social media is that it is conversational, putting power in the consumer’s hands. It’s not one-sided messages that TV throws at us. Last night we (the viewers) couldn’t see the questions and @FringeonFox didn't answer with the question built-in. Interviewing 101 – phrase your answer with the question. Question: What’s your favorite color. Correct answer: “My favorite color is blue.” Wrong answer: “Blue." Here are some of the tweets they posted:
- RT @PeterBishop2 @jimdumas - the answers are yes and yes. #fringe
- RT @LabDad1 Watch what happens #fringe
- RT @LabDad1 Look at this! #fringe
- RT @JPFringe Sanford Harris - what a sweetheart! #fringe
- Don't miss season 2 of #FRINGE premiering Thu 9/17 at 9/8c on #FOX.
- RT @LabDad1 @xcori Of course! I'm only human #fringe
- RT @JWFringe @aolli I am so glad you love the show. Thanks man!!! #fringe
- RT @LabDad1 Josh and Anna said that Clint Howard was fantastic to work with! #fringe
- RT @LabDad1 This is a very important scene! #fringe
- RT @LabDad1 I haven't seen this scene for ages! #fringe
- RT @LabDad1 This is pretty powerful #fringe
- RT @LabDad1 Watch this scene here - she's really mean to me! #fringe
- RT @PeterBishop2 I hope you mean "did" metaphorically. #fringe
- RT @LabDad1 this is really cool what happens here #fringe
- RT @PeterBishop2 Like Father Like Son. #fringe
What a waste of space. 

Strike two: Distraction. Tweets like, "Watch this!" and "This is powerful" don’t add to the plot. They actually make it impossible to watch with any kind of focus. Fringe isn't a light comedy where you don't need details. It's a metaphysical-psycho-drama that you want to pay attention to. By distracting their viewers, they have taken away from the product. If their goal was to detract value from the show and replace it with sensationalism, they might have hit their mark. Here are some tweets that went out from their audience last night:
- bobh62000 @FRINGEonFOX I will never watch Fringe again if I see twitter popping up on my TV.
- irishgirlene @FRINGEonFOX: why r u doing this on screen and will u b doing this all season
- Eskissmo_chick @Fringe This is rediculous! I hope this doesn't happen on any other good shows.
- HeatherAre @fringe how do I turn this off my tv?!
- gregtarnoff @mkebiz seriously? I can't watch it because they are distracting. Bad move @fox @fringe #fringe
Strike three: It's contrived. Unofficial rules 1, 2, and 3 in social marketing: be genuine, be relevant, be transparent. Rule 4: listen, don’t push. Fox decided to take up 1/3 of the screen during a show that has avid and intelligent followers, to disseminate drivel. I wonder if they filmed for it. Did they actually compromise creative integrity to make space for these tweets? I hope not.  Either way it was not asked for by their audience, it was “forced.” I hope Fox uses Twitter to listen, not just to masturbate in the mirror. 
- carsnmoney00 @fringe I hope you idiots dont do this again
By the time it all ended – the hoopla and the show – my mom threw up her hands and said, "I didn't even see the show!"

Monday, August 31, 2009

Every ad is a product

In today's overwhelming sea of advertising, where an ad has to "stand out" and you want to "make it pop," I offer this: make the ad itself a product that is relevant to your customer. Yes, the ad. The billboard. The brochure, whatever. Make it meet a need. Entertain with it. Inform with it. You want your customers to actually want that ad!

Think about the most successful campaigns – they live on beyond their years and achieve celebrity status in their own right. The Budweiser frogs – what the hell did they have to do with beer? Nothing! But people like them! They are entertaining; people want to see them again. People want the commercial. What does the Geico gecko have to do with saving money on insurance? Nothing! But people love him. My kids are thrilled every time they spot him on a sign: the billboard itself is the attraction.

If you don't think your product is entertaining, or that it's not fitting to entertain, then inform with your ad. Give some information away for free, and make it relevant. Make sure the ad informs them of an opportunity they can't afford to miss. The Mac/PC ads are a great example, they take dry facts about computers and make them human. Show your target market that you care about them; have a conversation with them, and they will respond.
Presenting your advertising materials as products will not only attract more customers, but those customers will remember you longer. Also, the quality of your ad work will increase. It doesn't matter if it's a coupon or a spot on Superbowl Sunday, if people want or need it, it's going to be effective!