In the Office

Week In Marketing: Location Data, m-commerce, Banner Ads, Cross-Device Advertising, Snapchat Holiday Channel

1. Google Shares Black Friday Location Data for Marketers
Leading up to the holiday season, Google has been releasing a host of updates and features for marketers and consumers. The company’s latest offering will give advertisers a better idea of what’s driving people into their stores. Google will start showing advertisers which keywords people searched for before clicking on each brand’s search ad and eventually ended up in one of the brand’s brick-and-mortar locations. With this data, advertisers will have a better idea of when people are in their stores by now reporting store-visit figures by month, week, day and hour.

2. ComScore Predicts Biggest Cyber Monday, Record M-commerce
The holidays will be busy according to comScore – the company is predicting an increase of 15% in e-commerce in November and December. While the sales growth in desktop spending – which reached $53.3 billion in November and December of last year – is slowing, m-commerce is coming on strong. comScore says: 1) Mobile transactions are likely to surpass $10 billion in sales for the two-month holiday period. 2) All digital commerce — typically about 13.1% of discretionary spending — will rise to 15% in the fourth quarter. Forrester Research has predicted an 11% gain in online sales for the period. National Retail Federation is expecting that between browsing and actually buying, 46.1% of all holiday shopping will be done online — up from 44.4% last year.

3. Banner Ads are Not Dead
More than 80 percent of digital ads go ignored. Sixty-three percent of millennials use ad-blocking software to eliminate them entirely. Native-ad platforms tout that users look at their promos 52 percent more frequently than they look at banners, and are more likely to share them with others.
But instead of concluding that native will be king while the digital banner will become extinct, an AdWeek reporter feels a blended approach may be the future.

4. New Tech Tracks Ads Cross Device, Raises Privacy Concerns
It is amazing what technology can do to help brands market and better target ads as consumers move across media and channels, offline and online. But some industry groups believe it’s time to draw the line. Recently, the Federal Trade Commission held a workshop to discuss some practices involving the tracking of consumers across Internet-connected devices and related consumer protection issues.

5. Snapchat introduces Holiday-themed Channel
Snapchat Discover just got its first seasonal offering. A media startup debuted a “popup” channel on Discover that features holiday-themed content around baking, crafts and other DIY projects. The channel will be live on Snapchat on Nov. 27.

Making the Most of this Buying Season

The holiday season is all but upon us and it is bringing Black Friday, one of the busiest shopping days of the year, along with it. With nearly every major brand and retailer offering some kind of deal to draw in consumers for the big day and its successor, Cyber Monday, it can be hard to figure out how to make your advertisements stand out among the crowd.

black-friday-1042311_1280-1 copy

Studies show that approximately 93% of millennials plan to participate in Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping this year. They cite electronics, clothing, household appliances, and toys as some of the main draws for this year with many of them shopping online as well as in stores on the big day.

So, the big question is, how do you tap into this market and make the most of the season?

New research suggests, that contrary to the belief that people hate advertising, many people have a preference on how they would like brands to market to them. For some, the results of which method of advertising in particular is most preferred, may be surprising.

– More than one third of the participants in the study indicated that receiving email from brands on their smart phones is their preferred method of receiving promotions and updates.
– About 38% like to visit the brand’s website for updates.
– Twenty percent choose to follow companies that they like on Twitter or other social media
– Only 8% would prefer to not be marketed to at all.

Knowledge of the best way to reach consumers and actually engage them with the content, can prove useful far beyond the holiday rush of Black Friday. Amidst the rush of apps, Twitter campaigns, and Instagram videos, it may well pay off to take a more traditional route with advertising for the season.

Week In Marketing: In-Store Advertising, Marketing Passions, Barbie, Fundraising Pages, Geofiltering

1. iDoor, the next big thing In-Store Advertising
The next big thing for in-store advertising is in the works. The iDoor is digital signage that will put video or static ads on convenient and grocery store refrigerator doors. There are already 600,000 doors installed in Circle K and Kangaroo gas stations. The ads are transparent so shoppers can still see what’s behind them.

2. Is it about Passion or Numbers?
A recent study indicates that next year companies will stop targeting the millennials as a group, but focus on targeting peoples’ passions. The studies revealed that 2016 is going to be about passions and certain values instead of the numbers reached.

3. Donations Made Easy
Facebook has launched a new feature for nonprofits called Fundraiser Pages. The pages will be designed for use by nonprofit organizations and will have a donate button so users can donate directly to the organization. These fundraiser pages will be similar set up to event pages, but will have a bar showing progress towards the final goal.

children-770216__1804. Barbies are for Boys Too!
Mattel has stepped away from the norm and gender stereotypes with their most recent ad. Recently released on YouTube, this ad includes a boy. The commercial promotes Barbie’s new limited edition doll and the young boy in the commercial says the doll looks “fierce.” Though some do not agree, the commercial has received overwhelmingly-positive responses.

5. Using SnapChat for Advertising
Snapchat recently stepped into the world of brand advertising with its geofilters that filter users based on location. P&G used this tool by setting up the geofilters around 868 Ulta stores, in order to reach the consumers who were near the locations. Even though Snapchat doesn’t off much information about the impact of the ad, it can show how many times the filter is used, how many times it is swiped over, and how many views the ad received.

Week In Marketing: Ad Strategies, Paid Social Media, Football Marketing, Star Wars Ads


1. FanDuel, DraftKings’ ad strategies diverge amid gambling controversy
Earlier this week it was announced that New York’s attorney general had declared that daily fantasy sports sites like FanDuel and DraftKings were considered illegal gambling and would no longer be allowed to operate. New York was the seventh state to outlaw these kinds of sites. FanDuel and DraftKings have combined to spend $260 million on TV ads since January 1, making them the 6th biggest sports advertiser, right behind Budweiser. However, since the New York news their strategies have gone in different directions. FanDuel continues to try to get their message out, spending over $75,000 on 136 national ads in this week alone. On the other hand, DraftKings is trying to stay out of the spotlight, spending only $2,552 on eight ads. Only time will tell which strategy will work out better.

2. Is paid social media the future of marketing?
Since its inception, paid social media has been considered as an expensive gimmick. However, a recent IZEA study has shown that its popularity is steadily growing. More than half of the companies, 52 percent to be exact, have a separate budget for sponsored social media posts now and around 54 percent of marketing professionals feel better about paid social media now than they did a year ago. The uptick in popularity is for good reason too: customers see about three of these posts a day, social media users find sponsored social to be equally or more effective than TV commercials and far more effective than banner, print, and radio ads. It seems paid social media posts are officially here to stay.

3. NFL pushes American football in the UK
The NFL is in the middle of a massive marketing campaign to make American football a mainstream sport in the UK. They have held one game a year in the UK since 2007, but this year they have upped that number to three. They are also trying to create a larger television offer across the pond with deals with Sky TV and BBC. According to the NFL, around 13 million people watched the NFL on TV last season. In addition to NFL programming, multiple ad campaigns have been ran including a “Rookie’s Guide to American Football”, a Papa John’s commercial, and promotions involving Budweiser, Gatorade, and Five Guys.

4. Expect ads to now be featured on both Instagram and Facebook
Facebook has long been at the forefront of providing an easy and effective advertising platform for brands, but Instagram’s rapidly expanding ad services mean that it will soon be on par with the social media titan. Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook, own both social media platforms, and it seems as though brands will now be able to advertise through Instagram using an ad system similar to Facebook’s. A Instagram spokesperson had this to say about the new developments,“The fact that you can use the same rich Facebook targeting criteria on Instagram will make it massively effective for advertisers looking to get their products or services in front of exactly the right people at the right time.”

5. Skydiving Darth Vader headlines new Argos Christmas commercial
With the release of a new Star Wars movie only one week before Christmas, advertisers everywhere are looking to cash in on the world’s obsession with the legendary franchise. Argos did just that in their most recent Christmas commercial. Argos, a UK-based retailer similar to Wal-Mart and Amazon, features a new commercial where snowboarders, tubers, snowmobilers and others race down a powdered mountain, showing off all of the latest gear that Argos has to offer. The biggest surprise comes when three skydivers enter into the mix led by none other than the iconic Darth Vader, who is flanked by two of his loyal stormtroopers. Star Wars fans, brace yourselves; this will not be the last Christmas commercial that you will see involving Vader and his cohorts.

Image Credit.

Week In Marketing: Paid Patriotism, Sports Advertising, Notify, Google’s AI, Coloring Campaign


1. NFL to Pay Back Sponsorship Money for Military Tributes
The Defense Department paid millions of dollars to pro sports teams to stage patriotic and “heartwarming” tributes at games, according to a congressional report. The practice of “paid patriotism” at sporting events came under fire a few months ago. Arizona senators John McCain and Jeff Flake have released a 146-page report detailing exactly how the Department of Defense spent taxpayer money on military pageantry at sporting events. The DoD spent a little more than $10 million on sports sponsorship in the last five years. Now the NFL says it will pay back the money its teams received.

2. Notify could be great for marketers
Facebook will soon be launching a new app called Notify. The app is said to “enable selected publishers to send notifications to people who subscribe to a publication’s ‘Station’ for breaking news alerts.” Users will be able to subscribe in order to receive notifications of breaking news.

3. Google’s AI search may be good for consumers and marketers
Google will be shifting its artificial intelligence to a system called RankBrain. The system will be able to expand searches past key words, and make plain speech questions more answerable. This will help consumers find search results that are more accurate and helpful. Now marketers can be found more easily.

4. Barnes and Noble Brings out A New Weapon: Crayons
Barnes & Noble has decided to use one of its obvious advantages over dot-coms – its spacious, comfortable 647 stores. Starting next week, all of its stores are inviting adults to come in between noon-5, sit down and color. Watch out Amazon, it is time for All-American Art Unwind.

5. Kia changes the game for Ads during regular season
In February at the All Star game viewers will notice a Kia log patch on the jerseys of the player on the top left chest. This will make the NBA the first professional sports league to allow on jersey ads. The deal does not extend to the regular season games … not yet anyway.

Image credit.

Week In Marketing: Time Inc., Digital Ad Fraud, Nielsons Platform, TV’s Future, Trix Mascot


1. Time Inc. Purchases Jane Pratt’s xoJane and xoVain
Time Inc. has acquired Jane Pratt’s xoJane and xoVain websites in a bid to build up its portfolio of brands that target millennials. With this purchase, Time Inc. continues to bolster its beauty, fashion and digital-only content. According to comScore, in September, xoJane had 2.5 million unique visitors this September and xoVain had 958,000 viewers.

2. Digital Ad Fraud: half the battle, 1/3 the money
The amount of digital ads purchased continues to increase, and so does the amount of digital ad fraud. Whether it’s faking mobile traffic or hijacking screens and filling them with ads, the growth of ad fraud as increased over the past years. So how does this effect marketers? According to AdAge “Fraud thrives when advertisers measure the wrong events like page views, video views – those are events that both a human and a bot can do.” When measuring your ads you want to have accurate human responses, would you pay extra to have certified human hits?

3. Optimize your media plans with Nielson’s multiplatform data
With the total audience measurement making its debut in December, it’s important to know how Nielson’s new technology will benefit a brand’s advertising. The total audience measurement tool will “show networks and advertisers how their content is viewed over multiple platforms”. Nielson recently acquired a data management platform that will be able to help networks and advertisers with creating a programmatic platform.

4. Is TV (as we know it) Doomed?
No. Approximately 300,000 Americans dropped cable service last quarter. Analysts say that’s it good news for providers because the number was just half the amount lost in the second quarter, according to Bloomberg estimates. Despite those numbers some observers still believe linear TV is here to stay (at least for now). A recent study found that the percentage of households that subscribe to a pay-TV service of some kind is actually higher in 2015 than it was in 2005. An estimated 100 million U.S. households still subscribe to cable.

Week In Marketing: New Emojis, Red YouTube, Snapchat’s Discover, Twitter Moments and GooHoo?


1. New Emojis with New Update
Apple has rolled out the big carpet with its newest update. The update includes more than 100 new emojis. Among the new set are the long awaited middle finger emoji, taco emoji, and even a unicorn. Apple also tightened up a few other things in its iOS 9.1 update.

2. YouTube Goes Red
YouTube is going back to its ad-free roots by allowing users to purchase a subscription that will get rid of those pesky ads. YouTube Red is a monthly subscription program where users can pay $9.99 a month (starting at the end of the month) to enjoy an ad-free experience.

3. GooHoo?
Yahoo has partnered with Google to provide search ads with its search results. Spawning this partnership, Google pays Yahoo a percentage of the gross revenues. How will this benefit Yahoo in the future?

4. Discover on Snapchat
Snapchat has introduced many of brands on the new “discover” part of its app. Now, brands are looking for ways to tailor their ads for Snapchat. What will Snapchat come up with next?

5. Twitter Moments
After releasing the moments feature on the Twitter app a few weeks ago, the company has opened it up for the public to use. This feature allows users to get a peek at different parts of the world and what is happening there. The moments feature is new and is sure to bring a lot of excitement to the Twitter-sphere!

It’s not Every Day you get to Give Away Trace Adkins’ Tractor

Country music legend, Trace Adkins, loves KIOTI tractors. He has a few of them in fact. He also loves to support Wounded Warrior Project. So here was an idea – what if KIOTI were to help Trace give away one of his personal tractors? What if all money raised were to benefit WWP? What if Howard/Merrell got to promote the whole thing with TV, web video, digital banners, in-store signage and PR?

Well, that’s exactly what happened.

It’s the KIOTI Tractor Power Through Tour Presented by Trace Adkins. Shot on location at Trace’s property in Tennessee, we had the pleasure of capturing Trace working his land and showing off the chosen tractor. In addition to advertising, PR and a sprinkle of social media, the promotion will take the tractor on a tour around the country through next year, making stops at trade shows, fairs and KIOTI dealerships.

To ensure the word was out, our PR team pitched a press release to audiences that are a perfect match for the promotion – country music, tractors, local pubs, you name it. The KIOTI Tractor dealers were given a separate release to promote on their websites. We also developed promotional social content to make the tour “Facebook Official,” along with helping KIOTI develop a Facebook trivia contest to increase participation.

Working with Trace Adkins was awesome. Knowing that all the hard work and collaboration benefits the courageous servicemen of our country makes this promotion even more incredible. Thanks to our client KIOTI for trusting us to make this great.

Learn more about the Wounded Warrior Project here.



Simple Idea Mired in Convoluted Branding

Orion TraveMarketing-Gone-Wildl Technologies had a simple idea: Sell ad space on luggage. Provide consumers the luggage for free and pay for their baggage fees when they use it. Win-Win, right? Wrong.

Here’s where the idea goes all to hell: Create the world’s worst logo. Create an awful website using sci-fi stock photos that have absolutely nothing to do with anything (“The Future of Travel is Here!”). Add some exclamation points!! Add more extras than you can fit into a 2 hour infomercial. Create a 6min animated video to describe everything and let it go on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on. Add more exclamation points!!! Top it all off by featuring Dierks Bentley’s music video “Drunk On A Plane” on your homepage. Nothing says safe travel more.

Well. I’ve barely scratched the surface. For the rest, you’ll just have to experience it yourself:


Week in Marketing: Ad Blocker, PC Rivals, Videos and Millennials, Soda and Mobile, Back to the Future


1. Apple Pulls Popular Ad Blocker from the App Store
Mere weeks after Apple launched iOS 9, which allows developers to push apps that effectively block ads on the mobile web browser, Safari has had to pull a few of those apps for blocking a little too well. The most popular of these apps, Been Choice, was pulled because it blocked in-app ads as well, rather than remaining confined to Safari. Facebook, Pinterest, Google, Yahoo, and even Apple’s own News app all effectively had their ads removed via Been Choice, which Apple claims is a breach of terms.

2. Microsoft Taps PC Rivals for Ad Campaign Against Apple
In a move that will unite some of the biggest players in the world of PC manufacturing, Microsoft and Intel will be teaming up with Dell, Lenovo, and HP to promote Windows 10 devices. The campaign will involve TV commercials, print ads, and online ads, all geared towards asking and answering the question: “PC does what?”

3. Videos Prove to Be the Best Way to Reach Millennials
How do you attract and effectively engage Generation Y? Research shows that video may be the way. Videos such as demos or customer testimonials are shown to help guide consumers towards making a purchase of the given product or service. This is partially because many millennials place more trust into companies that produce their own video content. Social media platforms have also taken heed to the trend, with Facebook introducing a group of experimental features that will make it easier for users to find and stream video.

4. Pepsi Plans to Make a Splash within the Mobile Phone Industry
Smartphones and soda – not a pairing that is top of mind. Pepsi plans to change that, in China, anyway. While PepsiCo. won’t be manufacturing the devices themselves, the company will be lending their brand to the device, which will be available in China within the next year. This is simply the next step in Pepsi’s efforts to expand their global brand, joining other endeavors such as apparel and accessories.

5. Toyota Draws on Back to the Future II Nostalgia to Promote New Car
It’s October of 2015, and you know what that means. October 21, 2015 is the date in the second Back to the Future film that Marty McFly and Doc Brown make their return to the future. It’s also the date on which Toyota plans to release a five-minute video promoting their new hydrogen fuel cell car, the Mirai. The car will use a variation of the technology predicted by the film and will join the ranks of the other Back to the Future-inspired products to make an appearance this year, alongside Pepsi Perfect.