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February 2014 - Posts

  • You can have it all…but not at the same time. Or can you?

    Feb 22 2014

    Women from the so-called post-feminist era were brought up believing that we can become anyone we want to be. The doors that were closed for our parents have been opened for us and there is a menu of options. And we women want everything on the menu.

    As women we have the freedom to choose if we work full-time or part time, have children or not, get married or stay single. But what if we want to pick from multiple items on the above list? For example, let’s single out women who have selected to pursue a demanding career and have children.
    In the "man’s world" of past generations this would have been extremely difficult for a multitude of reasons. However, society continues to evolve and as of 2012 women made up 47% of the U.S. labor force and the United Stated Department of Labor projects that by 2020 women’s labor force participation will be 57%. And I suspect that many of these women will want to select more than just one thing from the menu.
    Female leaders of our generation that sit in places of power, such as Clinton, Pelosi and Shriver have helped pave the way for women to have a career and a family, thus the popular buzz phrase of "having it all." However, it used to be a staggered path for women and it was uncommon to have a career and children at the same time. For example, many successful career women who didn’t enter the club of "motherhood" until they were fifty years old! The demands of sixty or seventy hour work weeks, travel schedules, conferences, and rigid employers who operated under the ways of "Mad Men" didn’t usually allow for women to have "it all."
    Specifically the advertising industry still has a long way to go as most women fill-up the lower-ranks, but there are not many women in top-level positions. It wasn’t very long ago; the 1960’s that Mary Wells Lawrence became the first woman president of an advertising agency. Still to this day, females make up as little as 3% of creative directors and as of last year only Deutsch has two female CEOs. Sheryl Sandberg’s popular book "Lean In" continues to elevate female empowerment and champion for women to claim their place at the corporate table.
    As the feminist movement continues to evolve into women’s liberation and create opportunities not limited by gender I am proud to work at a forward-looking company.  Phelps has been ahead of its time; starting with the company mission "To do great work for deserving clients, in a healthy working environment to realize our clients’ goals and our potentials." It’s this emphasis and commitment to support associates (both men and women) to reach both personal and professional potentials that begin to set this amazing agency apart from the crowd.
    Working at Phelps has allowed me to simultaneously have children while working full-time, thus fulfilling my desire to be both a career woman and mother. Specifically, this environment supports flex-scheduling, telecommuting, and supportive associates that care about work-life balance. Among the Team Leaders (Directors) at Phelps, 70% are women, which is much higher than the industry average. Through the agency progressive approach, training, cultivation and equal opportunities we’re bound to see a few movers and shakers of the next advertising agency generation come from Phelps.
    From a woman determined to have it all.

    Rachel Svoboda - Team Leader

  • Why a Total Market Approach is Necessary

    Feb 18 2014

    Historically, and still in most cases, marketers target the general market with a primary campaign while ethnic audiences are handled as separate efforts.

    The growth of what were once considered "minorities" is causing marketers to recognize the strength of today’s multicultural population. Marketers must adjust strategies to be relevant to the evolving cross-cultural marketplace through a total market strategy. This shift in strategy will pay off in the long run with increased efficiencies and sales due to the larger new mainstream targeted with a single message.

    There is no widely accepted single definition to the approach known as "total market". Audiences which were once considered niche or minorities can often be grouped together with the dominant "general market." This is because the multicultural customer is the new mainstream.

    Three recent commercials come to mind that illustrate total market planning, and in years past would probably not have been approved for general market distribution. These brands demonstrate foresight in their awareness that their target is the new mainstream.




    The execution of total market campaigns varies significantly. At Phelps Total Market, we believe in identifying the market geographically -- regionally or nationally. We identify the cultural groups of the region and determine the best messaging and media to reach the targeted consumer. How are they consuming media – paid, earned and/or owned? How are they engaging with the brand? Our goal is a relevant campaign using one brand voice for all audiences.

    Here are three reasons why an integrated, total market approach is necessary:

    Brand Perception
    Consumers will identify with brands that reflect their values. While consumers may appear different on the surface, the best campaigns will identify insights that are universal to a diverse audience.

    Market Share

    What were once niche markets have gained significant spending power. Marketers must adjust their strategy to appeal to a remix of cultures (the new mainstream) or they’ll lose market share.

    Media Relationships
    Media outlets that once overlooked the niche cultural markets are now touting programming for an integrated population. So it makes sense for companies to adjust their messaging to reflect these new values.

    Alex Perez - President, Phelps Total Market LLC

  • Do we deliver advertising? Or worthwhile utility?

    Feb 14 2014

    In the wake of the Super Bowl, there’s a lot of conversation about the biggest event of the year for advertising.  But brands that truly win today are those that create ongoing interactions to help their consumers. This article in Adweek about game design and the relationship to advertising sums it up well:  “Game designers…extract tremendously higher value by having an ongoing relationship with the customer. Micro rewards, micro transactions. A multitude of small events replace the big one. And at the end of the day it makes the games better. Advertisers need to shift their focus from product to brand. Not one big push to go buy the product, but a multitude of micro-interactions with the brand.”

    It’s better to build ongoing relationships with an integrated approach to communication -- one that provides value to consumers. Traditional advertising is about trying to sell someone. Utility is about helping people. We believe that the next generation of marketing success belongs, not to those who bring their advertising to the game, but to those who bring utility to their marketing and communications.”

    Joe Phelps - CEO

  • 4 great reasons to use a listicle

    Feb 14 2014

    Listicles have taken over the media and it’s no wonder. They’re engaging, shareable and break down any subject into a short list of easy-to-digest factoids. And the trend for these little "snackables" is only increasing. Since most of us want to stay current, we need the countless stories available distilled to their essence. Listicles are a great tool for advertisers and consumers, here’s why:

    1.    They’re easily and quickly shared via social media. So as consumers turn to social for news, brand messages there find new audiences, expanding reach organically.

    2.    They challenge readers to find something that resonates, and encourage them to comment or share.

    3.    Specific listicles can create an opportunity to reach your target audience with the right message, when and where they’re open to receiving it.

    4.    Listicles are media-neutral – use them online, in print, on mobile and social media - reach your target where it makes sense for them.

    Now it’s your turn. Whatever it is you have to say, try itemizing how the advice will benefit your consumer.  Then share the list with your brand ambassadors to build your credibility as a resource for the bite-sized learning that people crave.

    Harvey Kaner - Copywriter

  • Businesses We Love: Lionsgate Entertainment

    Feb 13 2014

    Lionsgate Entertainment, a studio founded just about 15 years ago, has risen with a different approach to the fierce film business amid strong competitors and a difficult marketplace. Lionsgate is an independent studio that has fought aggressive takeovers and acquisitions, while making wise investment mergers to reach the $1 billion box office receipts pinnacle.

    Agile, nimble and aggressive, the company takes calculated risks and operates unlike other major studios. Headquartered out of a modest building in Santa Monica, CA, and with just about 500 employees, it makes quicker and bolder decisions. When some of the big studios were pitched the idea of a movie involving young people fighting to death under a totalitarian government, they passed. Lionsgate snapped up "The Hunger Games" and — as of November 2013 — it is one of the most commercially successful independent film and television companies in North America and one of the elite seven studios in the U.S. with more than $1 billion in box office receipts in 2013.

    Lionsgate operates at a different level… just like Phelps. Here, we organize ourselves differently. We are a team-based group that responds faster and more efficiently to marketing opportunities.  We are an independent agency that pursues business without restrictions from corporate governance. Armed with the recent addition of a new president, who shares the same passion and vision as the overall team, Phelps is poised for a brighter future in the also fierce and brutal marketing industry. Just like Lionsgate — the little studio that brought us hits like 'The Hunger Games," 'Twilight," 'Mad Men" and 'Nashville" — Phelps will be bringing marketing muscle to more brands in 2014.

     Carlos Durand - Team Leader

  • Facebook Celebrates 10th Birthday with Paper

    Feb 05 2014

    We have to give credit where it's due. Facebook's Paper, The free iOS app released yesterday in the U.S. lets users browse their News Feed plus curated sections of articles and memes through full-screen cards, new gestures, and delightful animations. This is one fantastic mobile user interface. It takes about 2 seconds to understand, and then you're flying through content. Where Flipboard has really mastered the iPad UI for content aggregation and delivery, Facebook has now done it for the iPhone. Kudos, FB. and happy 10th birthday. PS. We love the video integration.

    Aaron Dubois - VP Digital Production