In the Office

Week In Marketing: Colorful Ad, Storyheap, EmpoweringWomen, New Muppet, New App, Non-Smoking Ad

Paint Chip Become a Beautiful Safari
Sherwin Williams brings their paint chips to life in a beautiful 30 second commercial. The clip took 24 production artists 700 days and 5,600 hours to form nearly 30,000 paint chips into a scene from an African jungle. WIM Image 322 Jonathan Cude, chief creative officer said, “Our worlds of color chips are about inspiring you with the possibilities from your home.”

Storyheap Gives‘Live Stories’ Further Reach
Storyheap is a new platform for scheduling and getting the analytics of users’ stories on Snapchat and Instagram. Designed for celebrities and social media “influencers” to plan posts and receive detailed analytics from their “live” stories.

Empowering Women
Now trending at No. 21 on YouTube: A collection of videos from women sharing empowering messages. The theme is part of YouTube’s newly released #HerVoiceIsMyVoice campaign, which aims to turn up the volume on girl power. The video platform is also sharing the most-watched ads among female viewers for 2016, as well as a slew of statistics that help debunk stereotypes on what its female viewers watch.

Sesame Street Welcomes a new Muppet, Julia
Meet Julia, Sesame Street’s newest Muppet meant to represent an autistic child. Julia was introduced to reporter, Leslie Stahl on Sunday’s 60 Minutes by none other than Elmo. The show wants to normalize the interactions between children in their real life, making it “familiar.” When asked, Elmo said “We really like Julia, she’s really special to us.”

New App Skin Vision Helps Detect Skin Cancer
The new app Skin Vision, based in Amsterdam helps to detect skin cancer just by taking a photo. The imaging technology takes a medical grade photo telling users if they need to see a doctor. The app also can be used to track changes in shape, color and size. Skin Vision is planned to roll out later this year.

Series Addresses Teenage Smoking
The FDA Center for Tobacco Products adorable new anti-smoking series targets teenagers through comedy. The main character, Little Lungs were not able to fully develop because they smoked as a teenager. The Little Lungs try to snowboard, participate in gym class, blow out birthday candles, ride a bike, and swim in a pool but are unable to without hurting themselves.

A Pi Day Throw Down

happyPIDayWorking in marketing and advertising, we deal with numbers everyday. Whether we are making sure our ads are the correct specs, budgeting client projects, managing social media ad spends or crunching numbers for quarterly reports- math is part of the job. And while we may not use the mathematical constant π in our daily activities, we respect and celebrate its significance, especially when it’s in the form of PIE.

Since 2009, Pi Day has been observed on March 14 since 3, 1 and 4 are the first three significant digits of π. We can thank the U.S. House of Representatives for that! So when Pi Day came along, I wanted to throw a Pi Day party – partly because I work on STEM Premier (seriously, check them out; they’re pretty cool), but mostly because I really like pie.

It took no time for the rest of the agency to get on board and in less than an hour, I had folks signing up for pies left and right. Lemon, apple, sweet potato, chocolate-raspberry ganache, key lime, chocolate chess and even Moon Pies (yes, you read that right) were all accounted for. And at 3:14 p.m. on 3/14, we feasted!

To see the full pie line-up, head over to our Facebook.



Week In Marketing: Angry Tweets, Media Training, Women’s Day, Disney and Cuervo Marketing

Trigger Turns Angry Tweets into Charity Donations
The new donation platform, Trigger helps users turn a moment of anger into an opportunity for charitable giving just by replying. The app offers a refreshing, yet passive aggressive way for users to respond to tweets that anger them. Creator Isaac Alfton was inspired by the elevated tensions on social media accounts after the Presidential election. To use Trigger, Twitter users simply reply to the tweet with a dollar amount, the handle of a U.S. nonprofit and the hashtag #TriggerGive.

Importance of Media Training
Why is media training so important? Ask President Trumps adviser Kellyanne Conway. She is still adjusting to life in the public eye. In her interview with CBS, she discussed the adjustment to the scrutiny, also noting she is one of the only White House staff members to have around-the-clock secret service. Conway compared her mistake to the Oscars mix-up saying, “I see mistakes on TV every single day and people brush them off.”

International Women’s Day
From Google to Snapchat to Facebook, these social media platforms have dedicated features to honor International Women’s Day 2017. For 24-hours, Facebook hosted a global live stream event featuring women entrepreneurs, policy makers, and leaders with the hashtag #SheMeansBusiness. Facebook also invited women from all over the world to join the conversation by posting their own videos.

Disney Reveals its First Openly Gay Character
A marketing ploy? Bill Condon, director of the highly anticipated ‘Beauty and the Beast’ remake announced it will feature Disney’s first openly gay character. The 1991, original film showed the character LeFou as Gaston’s sidekick, who seemed to only feel admiration for the masculine character. In contrast, the remake shows LeFou accepting his sexuality; one day he wants to be Gaston and on another, he wants to kiss Gaston. Watch the movie to see what happens!

‘Tomorrow Is Overrated’
Jose Cuervo’s new brand campaigns tagline ‘Tomorrow is Overrated’ playfully challenges the audience to live in the moment. The company wants customers to view tequila as celebratory, rather than relate it to something sad. The campaign shows a couple in a local bar with a tornado destroying their town. Their goal is for customers not to worry about the responsibilities of tomorrow, and simply commit to having fun no matter what because #TomorrowIsOverrated.

Wanted: Summer Interns


Do you like to write, conduct research on the internet, and do some creative thinking? Are you ready to get some hands-on experience in the field of Public Relations, Social Media or Advertising? If so, you should consider applying for an internship with us this summer.

We are looking for interns to work 10 – 25 hours a week. We prefer students who have taken a few communications classes and/or have some previous internship experience.

If you are an eligible candidate, please send your resume to

Week In Marketing: NYT, Oscar Mistake, Women’s History Month, Snapchat Growing, Pie Tops

The New York Times Advertises at the Oscars for the First Time
The New York Times embraced the opportunity to air their new ad campaign “The Truth Is Hard” during the highly watched Academy Awards show. The news organization tailored the campaign in response to the recent discussions of fake news in the media.
old-newspaper-350376_1920 The simple ad read, “The truth is hard. The truth is hidden. The truth is pursued…” and concluded with, “The truth is more important now than ever.” Although the advertisement did not take a political stance, their mission is to eliminate any concern about the validity of the information they report.

The Biggest Mistake in Oscar History

The “Best Picture Mistake” stole the attention on Monday morning after the Academy Awards as the biggest mistake in Oscar history. Warren Beatty announced La La Land as Best Picture although confused to why the envelop said “Emma Stone La La Land.” As acceptance speeches were being given, staff and producers were seen on stage as the news broke of the mistake that Moonlight was the real winner. The Waterhouse accounting firm is responsible for the mistake, and the media is buzzing about how this will affect their chance of doing business in the future.

Brawny Celebrates Women’s History Month with New Packaging
Brawny is celebrating Women’s History Month with new packaging debuting the Brawny Woman. For the month of March the #StrengthHasNoGender campaign will feature inspiring women through a series of short films in addition to the new packaging in stores. The new campaign integrates nicely with their current ‘Stay Giant’ campaign, who’s mission is to encourage Americans who “face adversity with strength and resilience.”

Snapchat’s Audience is Growing Thanks to Older Americans
In a new report, eMarketer projects the Snapchat audience will grow to 70.4 million by the end of 2017. Interestingly enough, the growth is coming from U.S. adults between 45-54 years-old. Snapchat users 24 and younger are decreasing their time on the app and directing it to the new competition, Instagram. The feature reduces the changes of new, younger users downloading and using Snapchat when Instagram Stories offers both broadcasting options.

Pizza Hut’s New Ordering Option: Pie Tops
Pizza Hut’s newest marketing campaign simplifies the process of ordering pizza through their new Pie Top shoes. The shoe has a button attached, and upon pressing will order a large, two-topping pizza for $7.99, normally $12.99. The pizza company will distribute the custom shoes to influencers, media, and few Pizza Hut super fans to create buzz about the deal. The promotional ad will be featured during the NCAA March Madness because “No One Out Pizzas The Hut.”

Howard/Merrell and Lincoln Brewing Company Celebrate Big Wins at the ADDY’s

The creative team of Howard/Merrell and client, Lincoln Brewing Company, celebrated YUGE wins last week at the the Triangle Advertising Federation’s 2017 American Advertising Award Show, taking home eight Golds, three Silvers, and the coveted Best in Show Award.


That’s all thanks to the campaign created for the Fuquay-Varina-based brewery to re-reelect Abe Lincoln. The novel campaign intended to bring some levity to the heated 2016 presidential race, delivering messages from Abe about where he stood on the issues, as well as his feelings for other candidates—Clinton, Trump and Sanders. The team produced campaign videos, posters, road signs, and events at Lincoln’s not-so-secret headquarters, Lincoln Brewing Company.

“The 2016 election was out of control,” said Billy Barnes, creative director at Howard/Merrell. “Everyone was desperate for a candidate they could believe in. We thought Abe Lincoln could be that guy. Who wouldn’t want old Abe to come back from the dead and save us all from ourselves?”

“People needed beer too. So it was perfect,” continued Barnes.

Interested in viewing the award-winning campaign? Visit:

Nice work, boys. Cheers!

Week In Marketing: Valentine’s Day Marketing, SI Swimsuit issue, Nike Campaign, Content Advertising

Burger King’s Valentine’s Day Marketing
hearts-937664_1280g> Finally, a solution for consumers who want to share a drink, but not a straw. Burger King heard these complaints and has developed a lid with two straw-holes. Even better, the new lid came just in time for Valentine’s day! The two straw-hole lid is perfect for sharing, or adding a little romance to the fast-food experience.

Burger King also offered an exclusive Adults-Only Valentine’s Meal, after 6 p.m., only for customers over eighteen years old. The chain asked, “Kids have got their ‘Kid’s Meal.’ But what about grownups?” The meal comes in a deep purple “happy-meal box” with two whoppers, two packs of French fries, two beers, and a toy.

Snickers Lands the Back Cover of SI Swimsuit Issue, Again!
The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue’s front cover is a coveted job for models in the swimsuit industry, but what about the back cover? The 2017 issue will be Snickers third time advertising on the back cover. This year Mars Candy will run two sarcastic, but clever ads on the back cover and the inside back cover. The ads show a Chest of Drawers and a Guinea Pig on a beach, in a bikini, with the tag lines: “Magazine editors get confused when they’re hungry” and “Magazine editors get loopy when they’re hungry.”

Nike Premieres a New Campaign at the 2017 Grammys
In honor of Black History Month, Nike is rolling out a new campaign, “Equality.” The black-and-white commercial features stars LeBron James, Serena Williams, Kevin Durant, Megan Rapinoe, Dalilah Muhammad, and Gabby Douglas. The ad “encourages people to take the fairness and respect they see in sport and translate them off the field.” The campaign tag line is introduced as “equality has no boundaries.” Nike is encouraging fans to show support by creating a “Equality” avatar and using their social media filters.

Content Advertising Growth
Content advertising is projected to grow into a $50 billion market by 2021. This is up from $12.8 billion in 2016, according to projections from Polar, a content marketing platform for publishers. That’s a growth rate of 32% year-over-year, and more than 2x the growth rate of digital advertising as a whole. Polar estimated that the global ad market will grow from $590 billion this year to $775 billion in 2021, at a rate of 7% year-over-year growth. Digital advertising is expected to be 48% of the market, while mobile represents 78% of that total.

Super Bowl LI Ads: Viewers React Via Social Media

In the midst of a very divided political climate, the big question going into Super Bowl LI was if marketers would give viewers a break or use this platform to chime in on hot topics like immigration and women’s rights.


We saw both. And, viewers went to Twitter to voice their response.

Some companies like Google, Bai and Mr. Clean kept their message true to their brand through light, clever advertisements. Ads from companies like Coca-Cola and Budweiser, were not meant to be directly political but viewers have been making criticisms with the hashtags #BoycottCoke and #BoycottBudwiser. Yes, Budwiser is spelled incorrectly in the trending hashtag, giving it, even more, momentum from both sides of the political spectrum.

On the flip side, we also saw brands like Audi, It’s a 10, Airbnb and 84 Lumber who were not shy with their politically forward messages. 84 Lumber, a construction and building supplies company aired a clip from the short film featuring an immigrant mother and daughter’s journey to America only to discover President Trumps’ prospective wall. Within an hour after it aired the full video had more than 6 million views.

In case you missed it, here’s an overview of some of the most talked about ads:

Google Home Units Respond to Super Bowl Ad
The Google Home ad inadvertently prompted confusion in homes of many of the speaker’s users. The ad highlighted how the Google Home smart speaker can make the consumer’s life easier by responding to “OK Google…” requests. While viewers who do not own a unit were able to see the convenience of the speaker, viewers who own the speaker tweeted how their unit actually responded to the commands in the commercial.

Bai Bai Bai
The healthy beverage company, Bai, captured viewers’ attention with a 30-second clip of Christopher Walken reciting lyrics from N-Sync’s song “Bai Bai Bai” while sitting with none other than Justin Timberlake. What most viewers don’t know, Timberlake joined the beverage company earlier this year, as the C “F” O – Chief Flavors Officer. Bai hit the nail on the head with this ironic and iconic ad.

Mr. Clean the Cleaner of Your Dreams
Mr.Clean showed his sexy side in a comical and surprising commercial. The ad shows a woman’s instant attraction to Mr. Clean’s character as he entices her with his housework skills. “You gotta love a man who cleans,” tagline sparked attention on Twitter. The @RealMrClean was also active on Twitter during the game trolling other advertisers. Viewers responded, crediting Mr.Clean for the best ad of the night.

Audi Promotes Gender Pay Equality
Audi’s ad, “Daughter” is being praised for the powerful gender pay equality message in Super Bowl commercial. The ad is narrated by a father who is watching his daughter compete in a cart race, the soft tone illustrates the father’s dreams for his daughter’s future. In Audi’s press release for the Super Bowl LI ad, the company said it is committed to supporting women’s pay equality. The car company tweeted, “Women are still paid 21% less than men. As a brand that believes in progress, we are committed to equal pay for equal work. #DriveProgress”

It’s a 10 – Four Years
In its first-ever Super Bowl commercial, It’s a 10 hair company combined humor with a bold political statement in the “Four Years” ad. The opening line, “America, we are in for at least four years of awful hair” very clearly used the platform to make a dig at President Trump’s infamous hair-do…and Twitter loved it.

Airbnb Criticizes Trumps Travel Ban in Super Bowl Ad
The Airbnb ad – “We Accept” – was produced just days after President Trump signed the order to temporarily close the border to refugees and citizens in seven Muslim countries. Through the advertisement, the travel company indirectly spoke out in opposition to the ban. The ad is narrated saying, “We believe no matter who you are, where you’re from, who you love or who you worship, we all belong. The world is more beautiful the more you accept.” As of the Monday after the big game, #WeAccept was trending topic on Facebook with almost 9,000 hits.

Week In Marketing: Super Bowl Ads, Delete Send, #AlternativeFacts, #DeleteUber

A new National Holiday: #Smunday
Heinz Ketchup and the Weiner Stampede won’t be making an appearance in the 2017 Super Bowl. Instead the brand launched a campaign to make the Monday after the Super Bowl a new National Holiday. The comical video that will be shared digitally refers to the day after the best day in sports as, “It’s a Sunday Monday… Smunday!” football-player-260557_1920

Their goal is to get 100,000 signatures on their petition before presenting it to Congress. The condiment company is giving all of the Heinz employees February 6th off in celebration of the first #Smunday in Super Bowl history.

Budweiser Goes Back to its Roots
Budweiser’s 2017 Super Bowl advertisement will captivate viewers and set the marketing tone for the year in a 60-second powerful tribute to the company’s heritage. The ad, “Born the Hard Way” tells the story of an immigrant Adolphus Bush, Budweiser co-founders journey from Germany to the United States in pursuit to create the world’s largest brewer. The Budweiser team predicted the topic of immigration would be relevant after the presidential election, but are not intending to convey a political message through the ad despite the current topical significance.

#AlternativeFacts Ad
Dove quickly responded after President Trumps senior adviser Kellyanne Conway used the term “alternative facts” in response to false claims about the recent presidential inauguration attendance. The brand placed an ironic two-page print ad listing #AlternativeFacts about their new product. The advertisement shows an image of the antiperspirant and a list of obviously false statements followed by #AlternativeFacts. Dove, among other brands are weighing in on political topics through ironic ads that are meant to poke fun at the new president.

Uber is Under Heat
The #DeleteUber hashtag was trending on social media after the company was accused of profiting from the taxi strike after the announcement of the immigration ban. The New York Taxi Workers Alliance ceased rides at JFK in protest of citizens being detained. Meanwhile, Uber surged its prices and continues driving to the airport. Uber is seeing the effects from their political statement on Facebook and Twitter from the trending #DeleteUber hashtag.

WhatsApp New Feature: Delete Sent Messages
The free international messaging application, WhatsApp is testing a new feature that will allow users to delete and edit sent messages before they are read. The app is also working on a Live Location Tracking feature so users can send their moving locations to friends. In addition to these changes, WhatsApp is expanding its live video feature so users can edit pictures similar to Snapchat.

Week In Marketing: Instant Gratifiation, Instragram Live Story, White House Social Media, Personalized YouTube Ads

Instant Gratification is the Demand of the Future
As technology advances and improves, so does the demand for brands to serve consumers’ needs in a highly efficient manner. Through the development of artificial intelligence software, consumers’ expectations are shifting to brands that can meet their needs imminently or without having to be summoned to do so at all.
hand-1865305_1920 Amazon is among the companies already serving the need for instant gratification with their “get it the same day by drone delivery” option. Will consumers soon have access to refrigerators that automatically replenish groceries, or buttons that order household products?

Instagram Introduces the Live Story Feature Worldwide
Since November 2016, Instagram users in the United States were introduced to the Live streaming feature. This feature is similar to Facebook’s live stream in that users are able to swipe to the left camera and instantly go live for up to an hour. Unlike other social media platforms, the video will disappear when the live stream ends. Over the next week, Instagram is rolling out the feature for global use.

President Trump joins Snapchat
Through the presidential campaign President Trump actively used Twitter to connect with voters, meanwhile other candidates used Snapchat. Now, President Trump has joined the Snapchat community with a verified account ‘Donald J. Trump (realdonaldtrump)’ accompanied by the flying money emoji next to his name. The Trump administration also has possession of the official White House Snapchat (WhiteHouse). President Trump can be followed on Snapchat as ‘Donald J. Trump (realdonaldtrump) and on Twitter as @POTUS.

The White House Asks Users to Send Their Messages on Facebook
Back in the day, if citizens wanted to reach the White House they called the switchboard where they would be directed to the appropriate line or leave a message. Now the comment line greets callers with a recorded message saying “the comment line is currently closed”, and tells callers to send the President their message in an online comment. Callers can leave a comment on the official White House website or send their comment via Messenger on the White House Facebook page. According to the Washington Times the comment line has been closed since President Obama’s last week in office.

Users Search History is the Future of Personalized YouTube Ads
Advertisements are getting personal on YouTube. Google has enabled marketers to target their ads based on the individual users search history. This new possibly invasive advertising advancement makes it easier for advertisers to influence what YouTube users see between videos.