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April 2014 - Posts

  • Common Research vs. Common Sense

    Apr 18 2014

    We are firm believers in the power of research to help guide our strategic and creative decisions.  The key is to use the research properly.

    I’m reminded of an example of a well-known campaign that could have easily been killed by research.

    RESEARCHER:  You can’t go with this campaign, 62% of the people didn’t like it!
    BILL BERNBACH:  Ah, but that means 38% of the people did!

    The campaign was for Avis Rent-A-Car:  "We’re number 2, we try harder!"  It was so disarmingly honest that many people weren’t ready for it.  Then again, it was so ahead of its time, the world eventually caught up.  The campaign has been successfully contributing to their business for over 50 years!

    Many a great brand has been built on common sense.

    One of the research tools we use here at the agency is feedback from "The Wall." All agency teams put their creative work up on The Wall at all stages of development.  Everyone who works here is encouraged to write their comments, critiques, thoughts and ideas, right on the work.

    The comments are often helpful and instructive -- and sometimes they’re not.  It’s the team’s job to know the difference and to act upon it. Sometimes, no matter what research says, if we believe strongly in the power of an idea, we have to go with our gut and let go all of the reasons why something won’t work for the one reason that it will.


    Howie Cohen - Chief Creative Officer

  • Categorically Better Branding

    Apr 11 2014

    Many companies try to compete with the market leader by creating a better product at a cheaper price — but the brand, and everything that encompasses, is really the most important thing. Why is that? We have an infinite amount of information and exponentially more choices than ever. Today, the average supermarket carries more than 40,000 items, compared to some 10,000 30 years ago. As the number of products and services increases, evaluation of each can decrease. I mean, how much time do you want to put into choosing every product you buy? Consumers often go with the market leader, or what others have, assuming it’s the better product. It’s a shortcut that can be helpful when time is at a premium.

    The world’s most recognized brands don’t always create a new category but if a pioneer does, a challenger can have difficulty gaining popularity. Therefore, positioning is crucial and should focus on how a brand can define its own category. In the Greek yogurt world, Chobani could have claimed it was creamier and tastier than the competition, the mistake Fage made. Instead, Chobani promoted itself as the Greek yogurt. Nike elevated itself from the competition by uniting all of its products under one inspiring statement: “Just Do it,” instead of just trying to sell better sneakers.

    So, how do you become the next Chobani or Nike? Think Snapchat for disappearing photos, Square for smartphone credit-card readers and Pinterest for online scrapbooks. Find (or create) a hole in the market and put forth something that’s recognized as a whole new category, not just something that’s better.

    How many underwater and other action cameras have you seen over the years? Many were created but, today, the go-to cameras are GoPros. They’re everywhere, enabling the capture of heroic action and never-before-seen natural events. GoPro changed the game by creating inexpensive, easy-to-use HD cameras, then showcasing amazing customer videos.

    Remember a little online bookseller named Amazon? It took its platform and created a multibillion-dollar juggernaut that’s responsible for changing the way consumers shop. Now, Amazon is synonymous with delivery — of anything.

    Conversely, Pepsi has tried to gain market share through taste tests, distribution and countless other ways but they’ve always had to play catch-up in the battle for cola dominance. They’ve been up against “the real thing.” How do you compete with that?

    Over and over, we see brands gain market dominance by becoming the fill-in-the-blank. And it all happens through the brand’s perception in the market. Your brand is what they say you are, based on their experience with your product or service.

    Got any stories of brands that up-ended their categories? Share them in the comments below.


    Harvey Kaner - Copywriter

  • 3 Ways Data is Changing Marketing

    Apr 10 2014

    A study from shows us that nearly 30% of all online traffic is coming from smartphones, a 42% increase year over year — while desktop traffic decreased 21%. WOW! Even more intriguing, the same study touts a 168% increase in smartphone-generated revenue from mobile-optimized transactional websites.  
    A recent survey of Twitter users shows that, while 40% of respondents don’t notice paid advertising while skimming their Twitter feed, 80% DO notice promoted tweets, which is Twitter’s primary paid advertising channel! So at least one of the dominating social media channels is figuring out how to blur the lines between advertising and content.  

    One can only imagine how our socioeconomic behaviors, and our entire society, will continue to evolve as these trends continue.
    In another flavor of data-driven stories, one has to sit in awe of the sheer magnitude of information-rich tales that Amazon can, and will be able to, tell in the near future. Its recent announcement of a "set-top” box capable of streaming its unfathomably massive repository of multimedia content directly to users’ living rooms is one of pure genius. But when you realize that this same provider of content also knows every, single, iota of intel regarding your purchase history — from sweaters to sweeteners, shoes to shumai, not to mention every book, magazine and newspaper you’ve read in the last few years — you can start to see how Amazon could possibly know you better than most people do. Scary? Probably. At least a little bit. It depends how paranoid you are. I tend to take a very optimistic point of view in that this level of data collection, if used responsibly, can only lead to less disruption, noise and annoyance from what we currently know to be “advertisements” and, instead, makes the delivery of marketing communications ubiquitous with all of the rest of the content surrounding us. But, then again, I could just be a data-driven cyborg, sent from the future to try and make the process just a little smoother. You decide ;)


    Aaron Dubois - VP Digital

  • 7-Eleven and Samsung Use Twitter at SXSW to Deliver at Real-Time Speed

    Apr 08 2014

    SXSW, in its 20th year, attracted 31,000 of the world’s influencers and disrupters to Austin for five days. Brands capitalize on this, and many use the festival to launch products or test technology-enabled business innovations. This year, many brands used Twitter to facilitate fulfillment at the speed of social media.  7-Eleven and Samsung both utilized the social network to provide value and sustenance to their most socially active consumers.

    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.

    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. 

    Jessica Lee - SEO Specialist