In the Office

Week In Marketing: YouTube’s Birthday, Retro Ads, Influencer Marketing, Branding Efforts


1. Lady Gaga’s Piano Player Trying To Start His Own Brand
Lady Gaga has raised the creative bar so high not only is the competition trying to keep up, but so are the members of her band. Keyboardist Brockett Parsons has played for packed arenas for Lady Gaga for sometime. Now he feels as though it is time do try something of his own. Parsons has made the concept of a circular piano with an asking price of $45,000. Could there be a PianoArc in every home?

2. The From SunnyD’s Goofy ’90s Rollerblading Advertisement
Sunny D released a commercial that may bring back memories or a little chuckle. The company made a parody of its own iconic commercial from 20 years ago, with rollerblading kids and a view of a 90s kitchen. The new ad shows you what its like 20 years later. The commercial displays a valuable viewpoint that although time has past, Sunny D will never change.

3. YouTube’s Birthday Contest
In honor of its tenth birthday, YouTube is hosting a showdown of the top ads featured on its platform. YouTube has taken the top 20 advertisements and encourages everyone to visit the site and place their vote. Who will take the crown?

4. Resurrecting Colonel Sanders
Celebrating its 75th birthday this year, KFC is bringing back Colonel Sanders. The Colonel, who has not appeared in ads since the 90s, will soon be online, in social media, on broadcast and in stores as part of an effort to update the chain’s image. The marketing push includes a blitz with the new Colonel played by “Saturday Night Live” alum Darrell Hammond, store remodels, new packaging, new menu items, a new and a “reinvented”, which gives the history of the Colonel in all his different iterations.

5. What’s next with Influencer Marketing?
Influencer marketing – partnering with well-known bloggers and people with large social media followings – is on the rise. A recent study found that 92 percent of consumers look for referrals from those they know, finding referrals online 81 percent of the time. This is making brand managers look for creative ways to attract consumers’ attention through social media. They are leveraging the of selfies, pictures taken of food,… what’s next?

Image Credit.

What Brands Can Learn From Target’s Latest Designer Collaboration

brand partnershipsNearly three months ago, one of the biggest announcements to come out of Target hit the Internet. The popular retailer was partnering with Lilly Pulitzer for their next designer collaboration. That’s right, THE Lilly Pultizer. Queen of American resort wear and floral prints that leave you daydreaming of sunny beach vacays and drinks in coconuts. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest exploded with the news! Devoted Lilly fans get a new wardrobe of springy floral prints to add to their closets while admirers, like myself, who’ve been priced out of the brand, can now live the Lilly life. Life was good. Everyone was happy. Well, almost everyone.

Turns out, some Lilly loyalists were very upset, even insulted that their beloved brand would consider partnering with a mega store. And following millennial fashion, they took to Twitter to voice their frustration. #LillyForTarget

Their comments were even echoed in some of my social groups. Which led me to think. Are designer collaborations a good brand strategy? Do they help or hinder brands in the long run? Is the payoff of penetrating into a new market worth the risk of offending your brand loyalists?

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Happy Jack Pet Brand Names Howard Merrell as Agency of Record


With so many pet lovers who work at Howard/Merrell, you can only imagine how excited we are to be named Agency of Record for Happy Jack Inc, an Eastern N.C.-based manufacturer of animal health products.

Happy Jack was seeking a fully integrated communications partner who understands and has a successful track record supporting brands in the pet care category, and they chose us!

We’ve already starting working with the great team at Happy Jack who brought us on to help the company accelerate growth and strengthen its position with key consumers, distributors and influencers. Over the next year, we will focus on the development and execution of market research, integrated brand communications campaign, website design, media planning and placement and product positioning.

Established in 1946, Happy Jack Inc. manufactures high quality, effective animal health products for dogs, cats and horses. We are excited to help Happy Jack build on its rich heritage of success.

Read more here about our relationship with Happy Jack.

Job Opening: Finance and Operations Coordinator

We’re looking for an organized individual to provide support to the leadership team here at Howard/Merrell. Qualified candidates should have a basic understanding of accounting, possess solid communications skills, and be an independent worker. Strong multi-tasking skills required.

Responsibilities include:
– Developing and tracking of jobs and estimates
– Managing accounts payable efforts
– Maintaining employee benefits documents, spreadsheets and related materials
– Coordinating office management activities
– Supporting front desk and agency marketing needs
– Providing administrative support to leadership team — scheduling meetings, filing, coordinating travel, etc.

– Proficient in Microsoft Excel and Word
– Bachelors Degree
– At least one year of professional experience

Qualified candidates should send their resumes to:

The Week In Marketing: Twitter Videos, #Dress, Instagram News, and Facebook Ads


1. Instagram Creates ‘Carousel ads’
Instagram has introduced a new form of advertising that allows readers to swipe left to learn more about the brand or product. These ‘carousel ads’ have been called a digital version of multi-page advertising spreads in magazines. The ads were created as a way to share a sequenced story. “For instance, a fashion company could use the carousel to deconstruct the individual products in a ‘look,'” according to a blog post by Instagram.

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The Week in Marketing: Online Ad View Standard, #TheDress, The Oscars, Instagram


1. Marketing of Brands Wins Big During Oscars

Lego, Farmers Insurance and Cadillac came home as the big marketing winners of the night during the airing of the Oscars this week. Lego was able to not only have a song from The Lego Movie nominated for an Oscar, but also gave out Lego replicas of the famous Oscar statues to key audience members.

Farmers Insurance gained positive attention when its spokesperson, J.K. Simmons won an Oscar and host Neil Patrick Harris hummed the insurance company’s jingle. Cadillac delivered the best media effort during the airing of the Oscars, showcasing the brand’s new attitude that it has begun rolling out.

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Congratulations to Amy!


Amy Needham has been promoted to Management Supervisor.

Since joining the Howard/Merrell family more than a year ago, Amy has led complex marketing campaigns, managed media, customer and partner meetings, as well as counseled clients on strategic plans, product launches, crisis situations and national events. Managing a number of accounts including CORDURA®, Ajinomoto and National Humanities Center, Amy works hard to always do the right thing for the client and the agency.

She is a leader and a team player, a hard worker and a dedicated employee, and a true PR professional with strong writing and media relations skills. We are lucky to have her at Howard/Merrell. Congratulations Amy!

Learn more about Amy and her promotion in this press release.

5 Steps to Creating a Brand Platform

BrandingAs marketing has evolved and marketing channels have expanded, the opportunities to create and disseminate content that is “off brand” have proliferated. Establishing a solid brand platform is the solution to message dilution, competitive advantage and integrated marketing communications.

Here are the 5 steps to creating a brand platform:

  1. Brand Vision – What is the desired end-state the company would like to achieve in the future? NASA’s brand vision was to put a man on the moon. One day President John F. Kennedy visited NASA and asked a janitor what his job was. The janitor replied, “My job is to help put a man on the moon.” How do your employees answer this question?

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Weekly Wrap-Up #155

This week’s Wrap-Up includes news about Obama, McDonalds and the latest with LinkedIn. Enjoy!

1. Snapchat Charges Top Dollar for Ads

The young, but very popular picture and video app has been reported to charge $750,000 for advertising spots on users’ recent feeds. While Snapchat has refused to comment, multiple brands have expressed their disinterest in paying the premium for pictures and videos that will fade away after one day. While the app can garner tens of millions of views per day and has an average of 100 million users per month, there are many drawbacks to advertising with the app. Critics have been quick to emphasize the age of Snapchat, taking into account the speed with which it has grown; however, for now, brands are having a hard time wrapping their heads around the big bucks.

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Weekly Wrap-Up #148

In this Weekly Wrap-Up, read about what companies are doing to build their brand awareness and increase sales this holiday season.

1. New York Subway Riders Able to Find Holiday Gifts During Commute
Earlier this week Amazon began advertising on the large digital kiosks that are located in the New York subway stations. These digital screens allow customers to swipe through holiday gifts to learn details about the product. If customers find a product they would like they can use the digital screen to scan a QR code or send a text message to their phone with a link of where to buy the product. The promotions will end on December 23rd, as that is the last day to purchase an item and receive it before Christmas.

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