In the Office

Week In Marketing: Music Festivals, Twitter Ads, TrueView Ads, and Brand Ambassadors


1. How Marketers are Utilizing Music Festivals to Engage Millennials Bud Light is rolling out what it calls its “most immersive digital toolkit” ever. The brand will provide concertgoers exclusive deals such as fast passes, backstage tours, downloads, photos with artists and free swag. Bud Light is one of many brands stepping up their engagement with younger consumers year after year. Sephora had a beauty patio at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts festival and Malibu Rum brought a freestanding beach house to New York’s FarmBorough. These amenities are key to gaining millennial consumers as upping their engagement.

2. Heineken’s City Guides Give Consumers Insider Recommendations New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago and Miami are experiencing a new wave of brand ambassadors. Heineken partnered with in-the-know insiders in each city to develop local restaurant and bar recommendations in a printed city guide. Heineken logos will be printed throughout the guide.

3. Is Twitter Making Room for More Advertisement Opportunities?
Twitter has removed users’ backgrounds from home pages and profiles pages. Representatives from the social media platform confirmed this is no glitch. While some users are unhappy a neutral gray screen has replaced their custom-made backgrounds, others are curious if this is a step toward more room for advertising. Twitter has yet to comment on that speculation.

4. YouTube’s TrueView Ads Welcome 360-Degree Views
In an effort to better engage mobile users, YouTube rolled out 360-degree ads on its pre-roll video ads that users have the option to skip. Users will be able to tilt their mobile phones and see different angles of the 360-degree advertisement. The first company to take advantage of this for TrueView advertisements is Bud Light. Their “Up for Whatever” campaign is utilizing the new feature for better storytelling, giving users the opportunity to feel as if they are in the ad.

5. EA Introduces First Female Star for their FIFA Video Game
With the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team in the headlines recently for their World Cup domination, EA is following suit recognizing their talents. Alex Morgan will be the first female soccer star to appear on the cover of the FIFA 16 video game alongside Lionel Messi, the world’s top male soccer player. The Canadian edition of the game will also feature Christine Sinclair, captain of the Canadian women’s team. This is a huge step in recognizing female athletes in the gaming world.

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Our New Client: Premiere Communications & Consulting

We are excited to announce that we have been named Agency of Record for Premiere Communications & Consulting, a corporation that designs, builds and maintains IT infrastructures and unified communications systems.

Premiere Logo F1

As a brand that values customer service and loyalty, Premiere needed to get their story out to new client markets. We are helping them do just that through a newly redesigned website and SEO strategy. Premiere’s platform will strengthen relationships with their existing clients (which include CISCO, Metropolitan Life, and Fidelity), spread awareness of the company throughout the IT infrastructure industry and bring more traffic to their online presence.

With more than two decades in the industry, Premier has established a loyal reputation with data centers, hospitals, schools and campuses throughout the country. They are also home to a full-time team dedicated to technical service and maintenance.

Read more about our relationship with Premiere.

Facebook’s New “See It First” Feature Is a Game-Changer

facebook-260818_640Facebook is tweaking the News Feed to prioritize user preferences with the new “See it First” feature. This new option lets users specifically select which people and brands or business pages appear in their “See It First” list at the top of their feeds.

Facebook introduced the “See It First” update last week with four components that allow you to prioritize posts from select friends

and pages, unfollow people to hide their posts, reconnect with people you once unfollowed, and discover new pages.

You might be thinking, “Didn’t Facebook have these options before?” Kinda, but the new “See It First” feature allows users to control even more of what they see on their timelines, putting them in the driver’s seat.

“See It First” is more powerful, simple, noticeable, and allows users to easily discover new pages to follow. Adam Masseri, product director of Facebook’s News Feed, confirms that the new feature is designed “to give users controls that they can more easily understand.”

With this feature, just “liking” a page doesn’t necessarily put that page’s updates on your News Feed. So you may start to see brands campaigning for you to choose them as one of your “See It First” pages. It also leads to paid social opportunities in the future, but Facebook says that’s not the plan now.

Week in Marketing: Logo Creation, Upgrade Your World, Verizon’s Vice, The Reddit Revolution and Cow Appreciation

1) Popular Brands Show Us How to Create Successful Logos
company-logos-nameIf we asked you to name the colors in the Google emblem or picture the Disney Company’s Cinderella castle background, could you do it? A new study from Udemy examines logos from 50 popular brands to determine what it is that most of them have in common.

The consensus?

Simplicity is key to success. Colors, fonts, shapes and other comparisons can be found in the infographic here.

2) Microsoft’s Upgrade Your World Campaign Opens New Windows
Microsoft’s new global advertising campaign for Windows 10 celebrates the philanthropic generation while showcasing features such as biometric authentication system Windows Hello and redesigned browser Microsoft Edge. The Upgrade Your World initiative will span the course of a year and focus on people and nonprofits around the world that are inspiring and empowering others. The first round of advertisements will launch in the US on July 20 and globally on July 29, the same day Windows 10 is set to launch as an upgrade on Microsoft PCs and tablets.

3) Verizon’s Newest Vice
As Verizon prepares to launch its new mobile video service, the wireless company is reaching out to the younger millennial demographic by partnering with Vice Media. Verizon’s video service will be available to customers of all wireless carriers and will incorporate a mix of free advertising-supported content and pay-per-view alternatives. Before entering the deal with Verizon, Vice Media signed agreements with HBO and Spotify to expand its programming of media and digital content.

4) Inside the Reddit Revolution: The Website’s Advertising Future
The entertainment, social networking and news website Reddit, whose content is generated and promoted by its own users, has undergone quite a few changes in leadership over the past few months. This week, Reddit’s interim CEO and chief engineer both left the company, citing a loss of confidence in the company’s new direction. This direction, however, could introduce stricter moderation standards and sponsored original content, opening space for more advertisers to get on board.

5) Chick fil A’s annual Cow Appreciation Day
What’s black and white and enjoying free meals all over the country? The sold-out cow costumes and lines out the doors of many Chick fil A restaurants earlier this week were a result of the franchise’s annual Cow Appreciation Day. Participants shared their stories from the event on Chick fil A’s website, and the deal – dress up in a cow costume and receive a free meal – also brought Chick fil A attention all over Instagram (talk about “milking the camera”).

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Joe Williams Joins Howard/Merrell

Howard/Merrell Joe_Williams

Meet Joe Williams. He’s a recent college graduate with experience in research, advertising, social media and customer acquisition techniques, and now one of the newest Account Coordinators here at Howard/Merrell.

Before graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Joe interned at Howard/Merrell and ArchiveSocial. He has also worked with a variety of student organizations, community groups and nationwide businesses to plan events, coordinate activities and expand their social media platforms.

Joe recently earned his Bachelor’s degree in advertising from UNC-CH’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Welcome to the team Joe!

Read more about him here.

Week In Marketing: Timesquare Billboard, Next Big Brand Ambassador, Consumer Storytelling, Marketing Stats, Neuromarketing


1. Coke Expands on their “Share A Coke” Campaign With an Interactive Billboard
After creating a new microsite last week for the Share a Coke campaign, Coke decided to add another component to the mix: an interactive billboard in Times Square, activated by Twitter. When a fan tweets their name along with the hashtag #CokeMyName, they are changing the billboard in real time. Once someone sends the tweet out, the name, along with a fun fact about the name, will be displayed on the billboard in Times Square. However, you don’t have to be in Times Square to see your name across the screen. After a tweet is sent out, Coke’s social media team receives a picture of the billboard with the name on it, and sends it back to the person within the hour.

2. Gatorade: A Coach’s Concoction now a Billion Dollar Industry
In 1965, Florida Gators football coach noticed his player’s lack of hydration and energy, so he mixed up a drink that is now known as Gatorade.
Ever since people were calling this electrolyte filled drink “Gator Coach’s Aid,” it has been dominating the $12.5 billion sports drink category. While Gatorade has given rise to plenty of competitors, it has also shined in its marketing efforts. From Michael Jordan to Peyton Manning, the drink has had some of the biggest names in sports behind it. Joe Favorite, a sports marketing teacher at Columbia University says that “[Gatorade has] done a great job of storytelling to the consumer.”

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Neuromarketing: The Secret to Advertising that Works

consumer neuromarketingEver wished you had mind-reading powers? Surely there isn’t a marketer out there who hasn’t dreamed of knowing exactly what consumers are thinking at any given time. Well, the team at Howard/Merrell doesn’t claim to have superhuman abilities, but we’ve certainly got the next best thing: Neuromarketing Research.

Neuromarketing research has changed the way that we create advertising. It is used to delve into both the conscious and unconscious mind to get 100% of the consumer story. People often don’t know or are unable to fully express what they want and how they feel, but neuromarketing allows us to measure subconscious emotional reactions. Because emotions drive engagement, perception of brands, and purchase behavior, measuring and analyzing how an ad affects consumer emotions is the key to optimizing ads for effectiveness.

Here’s the proof:

In 2000, neuromarketing research helped Howard/Merrell measure the Priceless campaign for MasterCard. When the campaign was in its infancy, conventional research procedures showed that the campaign was ineffective. But before stopping the campaign, Howard/Merrell used neuromarketing research to provide a new, different perspective. According to our data analysis, MasterCard’s Priceless campaign was very emotionally engaging. MasterCard chose to keep the Priceless campaign, and it evolved into the award-winning commercials that you still see today.

So in a world where consumers are exposed to over 5000 ads a day and notice only about 250, advertising campaigns have to find a way to cut through the clutter. The way to do that is with powerful, emotionally engaging advertising.

Want to learn more about neuromarketing research and how it works? Download our white paper here. 

Week In Marketing: Wimbledon, World Cup, Millennials Reading, Coke’s New Site and Same-Sex Marriage


1. Brands are boosting fan engagement at Wimbledon
Stella Artios, Jaguar and Evian are leveraging hi-tech products to boost fan engagement at the Wimbledon Championship. Jaguar is handing out biometric wearable devices to crowds that measure energy and excitement levels during the tournament. An infographic with the collected data will be shown live across billboards at busy locations around London such as Piccadilly Circus. Stella Artios has built a television commercial that gives tennis fans a chance to experience what it feels like to fly like a hawk over the grounds of the tournament. Evian is getting fans involved with their #wimblewatch and content series.

2. Supreme Court Decision stirs up Social Media
Following the wake of the Supreme Court decision in which same-sex marriage was legalized nationally, brands have taken to social media to show their support. JELL-O, SKYY Vodka, Stolichnaya Vodka, Game of Thrones, Kellogg’s, Ben & Jerry’s, Miller Lite and Google are just a few brands rallying together to support this decision using Twitter and Facebook.

3. AOL “Digital Prophet” says Millennials would rather Read about a Brand
David Shing, digital prophet at AOL, says the way to reach millennials is through video and a strong brand. “It’s all about content. Nobody wants ads. And where it becomes fascinating to me is that 70 percent of people would rather read about a brand than be advertised to,” Shing notes. Brands are beginning to leverage multi-platform campaigns targeting millennials who constantly switch from their desktops to their phones.

4. The U.S. Women’s World Cup sparks Growing Interest from Brands
With the U.S. Women’s soccer team advancing to the final World Cup championship, brands are taking notice and joining the conversation. Ritz Crackers, Downy, Coca-Cola, Fiat USA, and the Seattle Seahawks have taken to Twitter to voice their congratulations for the team and to support the Unites States in making sports history.

5. Coca-Cola’s new website continues to advance Brand Journalism
The Coca-Cola Company debuted their website, Coca-Cola Journey, which is a full-blown media platform that displays its marketing campaigns. The website is the means for disseminating news and information about the brand to the public in a way that engages its consumers more directly than ever before. The website has more than 32 million visits and 76 million page views, so it’s safe to say the idea is propelling Coca-Cola as a forward-thinking brand.

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Week In Marketing: #followfood, NFL Advertising, Millenials’ Music, Packaging and Beer

HowardMerrell bike 1. New Packaging for Cyclists
Mcdonald’s has a new promo packaging aimed for cyclists. The packaging was designed to help riders hold their food while staying balance on the bike. The frame work and craft of the box is innovative and captivating. The promo packaging was released in Copenhagen, Denmark and then Medellin, Columbia. The project will be coming soon to Amsterdam and Japan.

2. Follow that truck!!
Dentyne is making a foundation with its #followfood campaign. It shows the benefits and values of following the food with breath-freshening gum. The Dentyne truck will be on tour with its food cousin, the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile, as well as a Kimchi Taco truck, a hot dog vendor and a pizza truck. The following trucks will be traveling to six food festivals across America.

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The Latest Endorsement Guides

Endorsement Howard/Merrell

Are you leveraging social media for professional use?

If you answered yes, then you may want to familiarize yourself with the Federal Trade Commission’s newly updated Endorsement Guides.

The document answers questions people (advertisers, advertising/PR agencies, bloggers, etc.) are asking about the FTC’s Endorsement Guides, including information about disclosing material connections between advertisers and endorsers.

The guidance is now available in the form of the FTC’s recently updated FAQ entitled, “What People Are Asking”. The FAQ covers: Product Placements, Social Media Contests, Online Review Program, Intermediaries, Affiliate or Network Marketing, Expert Endorsements, Endorsements by Individuals, Testimonials and Soliciting Endorsements.

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