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March 2014 - Posts

  • What Bottlenotes Founder Alyssa Rapp learned from her peers at iBev

    Mar 29 2014

    It should come as no surprise that iBev, the digital and social media conference for the beverage industry, drew a socially savvy crowd. After all, the beverage industry facilitates social interactions in many ways. There were over 3 million total impressions for the iBev hash tag (#ibev) via Twitter and the interactive LiveCube conversations that accompanied each speaking session. Alyssa J. Rapp, the founder of Bottlenotes and the driving force behind iBev, reported a 30 percent increase in attendance since the inaugural conference last year. She noted that beverage marketers have truly embraced new technologies, combining creativity with practical applications to create content that is clever and inspirational to audiences. Beverages represented at iBev this year represented  juice, wine, beer, and even milk categories.

    Alyssa's key takeaways from iBev:

    • Planning is essential to a successful social media campaign. Twitter keynote speaker David Pattillo reminded that the most successful campaigns on their platform leverage "live, connected, and planned moments." Thus there is usually a plan in place that facilitates a marketing opportunity, with a team on hand to drive and support brand engagement.
    • A great social campaign is about storytelling, and then connecting these stories in an ongoing narrative. Video is exceptional for so doing; Vine and Tastemade are emergent platforms that iBev showcased as optimal for beverage marketers.


  • We Love Going to Therapy

    Mar 27 2014

    We've been working on a TV spot with a great post-production shop in West LA called Therapy. From the moment we arrived, we loved it. A Freud mural covers one wall, and many others have Rorschach ink blot paintings. All the art relates to psychology.  But Therapy’s strong brand identity doesn't stop there. Note paper is a custom prescription pad and giveaway mints are in branded prescription pill bottles. You might spot a straitjacket or fun, retro coin banks featuring an illustrated little girl who lit her dolly’s head on fire. "Saving up for Therapy," it says. 

    Curious about what inspired this idea, I asked the founder. He said that anyone in this business probably needs some therapy. Thus their website URL,

    Can you remember such an inspired brand identity? Share in the comments below. 


    Harvey Kaner - Copywriter

  • Today is International Happiness Day. But What is Happiness?

    Mar 20 2014

    Happiness is an ideal so powerful it was written into The U.S. Declaration of Independence.  We all have a God-given right to the pursuit of happiness.

    But, if you ask most people, "What is happiness?" you'll get answers ranging from "Not sure" to "Damned if I know!" Happiness is hard to put into words, and therein lies the problem.  If you can't define it, how can you pursue it?

    My father worked hard all his life, and when he finally "made it," his idea of happiness was lying on his back on the couch for as long as he could.  I tried it for awhile, but the more time I spent on my back, the more fidgety, nervous and insecure I became.

    That's when it dawned on me – I was happiest while in pursuit of a goal. In other words, it's not about the pursuit of happiness, but The Happiness of Pursuit.

    Begin with a goal that's meaningful to you. It could be big or small: "I want to lose 20 pounds," or "I'm going to learn how to speak Chinese" or "I want to bench press 350 lbs."

    Then, go for it.  The pursuit is what brings joy and passion into your life.  Time passes more quickly as you become absorbed in your mission.  You feel meaning and purpose in every moment.

    The beauty is, even if you never achieve your goal, you've lived your happiness.

    Share what makes you happy at or by using the hash tag #happyacts on social media. 


    Howie Cohen – CCO

  • Solutions We Love: Turning Melting Icebergs into Floating Farms

    Mar 18 2014

    Yes, the polar icecaps are melting. Is it due to a cyclical weather pattern? Or are we causing it with all those SUVs we’re driving? Regardless of which side of the argument you take…the fact is — it’s happening. So, we can keep arguing the point or turn it into something positive like the French architecture students who devised the Arctic Harvester for Greenland – a farm that floats atop melting glaciers and uses the nutrient-rich fresh water to irrigate the plants. Brilliant, considering that Greenland currently ships in virtually all its produce.

    The concept is to create a community… housing 800 people for farming, research and clean energy production. As the icebergs move, the structures would move with them — drifting with the currents that carry the icebergs during the course of their lives. Read more and check out the photos.

    A great reminder to look beyond the negative and strive to envision the opportunities.

    Judy Lynes - VP, Public Relations

  • Free Water. Well, Sorta.

    Mar 17 2014

    A co-worker recently showed me UNICEF's great mobile site created by Droga5. At, mobile visitors can provide one day of drinking water for a child in need by simply leaving their mobile phone idle for 10 minutes. The longer you leave your phone alone, the more water that's provided by UNICEF's sponsor. I loved this idea, so last weekend I decided to give it a try. Thoughts of what I wanted to do on my phone kept coming up, but I did my best to ignore them. Each time I finally gave in, an on-screen message let me know how much water the sponsor would donate due to my efforts. In some cases, it was a few days. In others, more than a week. Then, right under that message was another: "Just $5 can provide 200 days of clean water."

    Genius, right? They hooked me with the idea of being able to donate clean drinking water to kids in need for free. I interacted with the site over the course of an entire weekend. Then I realized that an actual donation would net a bigger impact on a cause I now care about. They got me. But I didn't feel taken because I came to this realization on my own. Bravo to Droga5, MediaVest, their media partner, and UNICEF for flexing their creative muscles, all for such a worthy cause.

    What projects are you dreaming up right now? How can you make them more effective, leading the proverbial horse to water and making it drink? Leave a comment below to share your thoughts.


    Harvey Scott Kaner - Copywriter

  • My Top 5 Brand Experiences at SXSW

    Mar 12 2014

    SXSW, in its 20th year, has become a circus of brands that realized 31,000 of the world's influencers and disrupters descend on Austin for five days once a year. For me, it was like a trip to Disneyland because the advertisers pulled out all the stops! Chevy, PayPal and AT&T sponsored relaxation lounges in the Austin Convention Center complete with beverages and secondary stage events. Spotify took over an entire house with a continuous rotation of bands. Nespresso set up a tent shaped like one of their own coffee pods. Oreo built a vending-style machine that allowed users to build a custom Oreos — and were encourage to "#eatthetweet." Subway brought out Jared — yes, Jared — to serve users their new Flatizza product.

    It was tough to choose, but here are my five favorite brand experiences during SXSW 2014.

    5. Late Night with Seth Meyers — #SethXSW

    Now that SXSW has become a crowd that tunes into more mainstream comedy, it made sense to promote NBC's new late-night talk show. Late Night ran ads on Austin’s City B-Cycles and also offered free rentals of Tern folding bicycles. This was perfect for attendees zipping all around bike-friendly Austin to various venues. It didn't hurt that Seth himself showed up for a panel discussion and then threw an epic party that night.

    4. 7-Eleven — #GimmePizza

    With so many events going on around town, it was easy to forget to eat! 7-Eleven had staff riding electric bikes around town to deliver pizzas to hungry attendees. All you had to do was Tweet #GimmePizza to 7-Eleven and they contacted you with a location to meet. I saw a lot of empty 7-Eleven pizza boxes around town.

    3. Samsung — #PowerOn

    Samsung is always going big. And it has brought them success, as Samsung has risen to dominate global mobile marketshare (though Apple still leads in the U.S). Androids have a bad reputation for being a battery drain, so Samsung had ambassadors walking around the convention center offering battery swaps. If you couldn’t find someone from Samsung, you could tweet #PowerOn to decide on a meeting place for a fully charged battery. Or you could go to its Galaxy House for juice and juice — meaning a new battery and a fresh pressed juice.

    2. Esurance and Mashable — #EsuranceAccess and #MashSXSW

    Esurance and Mashable seemed to work in perfect tandem together. They cross-promoted all their SXSW content, centered around Esurance's "Glove Box" installation, giving away Mashable-themed prizes inside the convention center and Mashable's offsite "MashHouse."

    Also, for bonus points, Mashable brought Grumpy Cat to its MashHouse, which Esurance also got excited about.

    1. Tesla

    So this didn’t actually happen to me, so this is a second-hand story but the fact that this story has spread so rapidly by word of mouth is a testament to the experience.

    A friend was at an offsite SXSW event and was frantically looking for a taxi. Someone in a Tesla rolled up next to him and said "I'm sorry that I can't offer you a taxi, but I can let you drive this Tesla to your next destination." Who wouldn't want to drive a $90,000 car and get a free ride out of it?

    This is a brand that does not need to blast messaging to your eyes and ears due to its place in the market, so it makes sense that Tesla didn't need a Twitter campaign, extensive PR coverage or a trendy after-party. I don't even have a photo of the car, as it wasn't branded for SXSW in any way so here is a photo of my best guess — the 2014 Tesla Model X.

    It's no coincidence that every brand campaign heavily relied on Twitter and included hashtags on most of their campaign channels. In 2007, SXSW was the site of Twitter's official launch — Twitter actually won that year's SXSW Web Award. Ever since, SXSW has relished being the premier place to launch startups. I also live Tweeted my entire SXSW experience at @phelps_agency.

    It's still too early to say if any of these brands were able to activate me, but maybe all these touchpoints were able to nudge me down the customer journey. Ask me next year at SXSW 2015 (March 13-16). Book your hotels early!

    Jessica Lee - SEO Specialist

  • Mike Jackson to speak at iBev, the Digital and Social Media Conference for the Beverage Industry

    Mar 07 2014

    Phelps president, Mike Jackson, is a keynote on the evolution of social and influencer marketing in the beverage industry next week in San Francisco at iBev, the Digital and Social media conference for the beverage industry.

    Drawing from his experience with Coors Brewing, PepsiCo and Coca-Cola, he will shed light on changes to the consumer and technology landscape that have shaped beverage marketing over the past several decades.

    Attendees will hear from leaders in the digital and social media worlds, with presentations, panels and case studies from brands in the wine, craft beer, and non-alcoholic beverage and related industries.

    For registration information, click here.

  • Be Mindful with Headspace

    Mar 05 2014

    Mindfulness is a hot trend right now, with many business leaders and executives citing meditation as part of their business success. Studies show mindfulness help physical and mental health, improve sleep, focus and memory, lower stress level and increase creativity.

    For many people, mindfulness seemed complicated first, but there are many easy ways you can be mindful.

    Headspace is a great way to start. This easy to use, beautifully designed app educates you about meditation, how it works, and gives guidance for your daily practice. Try it for 10 minutes, and you'll feel the difference right away. You'll realize what thoughts come and go in your mind, and able to gain control over your "headspace." It completely changed my perception of meditation.

    For a quiet moment at your desk, try Calm. Although the mobile app isn't as effective to me as Headspace, keep the desktop version handy in your bookmarks. When you need to be mindful, turn it on the full screen, and put on your headphones. Within two minutes, it will transform your workspace into a beautiful nature scene.

    We live in an industry where stress and anxiety are very common. Next time when you are loaded with deadlines and challenges, spare some time for mindfulness – it'll help you get in the right headspace where creativity awaits.

    Hiroko Suyama – Art Director

  • 10 Trends That Will Affect Packaged Goods This Year

    Mar 04 2014

    The top 10 predictions by Supermarket Guru for the upcoming year signify trends in the way people are choosing, purchasing and engaging with brands when they shop. Consumers are seeking convenience, better-for-you options and brands willing to support social and environmental causes. There is also a growing consumer interest in utilizing technology to research and commune around food.

    We have already seen several brands employing these insights, with healthier and on-the-go snack and breakfast offerings, as well as innovative ways to reach consumers. Digital innovations include custom platforms, use of popular social mediums, and cause-based initiatives. For example, Unilever has united its brands for the Project Sunlight initiative, and Kraft Foods has used the analytics available via Pinterest to help it constantly optimize its content to appeal to its target. Both are making social media a central part of the company’s branding strategy.

    Ultimately, consumers are more socially and digitally engaged than ever before — using the products they buy to help define their own personal brand. Successful companies help consumers tell their own stories by creating products and content that they are enthusiastic about sharing with others.

    Supermarket Guru’s Top 10 Predictions:

    1. The Emergence of the "IndieWoman": Almost 31 million strong, the "IndieWoman" is 27 and older, lives alone and has no children and spends $50 billion on food and beverages each year. They have no time, so look for more brands to offer more semi-homemade meals that use fresh, high-quality ingredients.

    2. Better for You Snacking: The NPD Group found that as snacking increased, so did an individuals' overall diet quality. Healthy options are on the rise. Look for supermarkets to replace high-sugar, high-fat snacks at the checkout with healthier on-the-go offerings.

    3. Brands Reach Consumers Locally Through Cause Initiatives: In 2014, brands will find greater purpose in serving the larger community.  The ConAgra Foods survey found that 62 percent of consumers appreciate and want to support companies that donate to important social causes.

    4. Click to Cook: People rely more on their mobile phones when grocery shopping. Next:  the ability to select a recipe, order ingredients and check-out directly from mobile devices or in-car touch screens and drive-through windows for quick order pickup.  

    5. Supermarkets--The New Culinary Schools: Grocery stores will create "community cooking centers" where shoppers can collaborate and learn from each other, just as they have been doing in social media – now it’s better, and in person!

    6. The Retailer Becomes the Brand: The ConAgra Foods survey found that 53 percent of consumers shop at a particular retailer because it has good store brand products. No longer will private brands just emulate national brand products, but consumers will see more private label brands creating new unique products.   

    7. Rise and Shine--The New Way to Start Your Day: Breakfast remains one of the most important meals of the day. In 2014, consumers will look to add more protein to their first meal, to live a healthy lifestyle without compromising taste and indulgence. Look for more protein-rich and convenient breakfast options.

    8. Packaging Evolves to Share More with Consumers: Consumers want more information, but the area of the package is limiting. Using a mobile device, shoppers will learn more about an ingredient or health claim by simply focusing the device on the label to tell where the ingredients come from, who prepared the food, the company’s history and even offer other customer reviews and ratings.

    9. Millenials Make the Supermarket Social: Fifty-seven percent of Pinterest is made of food related content with one-third saying they have purchased food or cooking items after seeing them on site, according to a survey by PriceGrabber. Next up: "click to buy" for consumers looking to purchase ingredients for a recipe on Pinterest and have them delivered to their homes.

    10. International Restaurant Flavors At Home: From school cafeterias, to the dining room table, global flavors are sprouting up everywhere. Kids become exposed to global cuisine flavors much younger so, international flavors will be more accepted by these, and their palates will be more sophisticated. Kids influence nearly 80 percent of purchase decisions by families, so look for all shoppers to be eating more international inspired foods.


    Tori Young – Brand Strategist / Team Leader