In the Office

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.

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.

Week In Marketing: Virtual Reality Videos, Twitter Polls, Best Posting Times, New Beverage Ads, Starbucks Express


1. Facebook Goes Virtual
Facebook has added 360-degree virtual reality videos to its newsfeed. Brands such as Disney and NBC have already jumped on this new feature with others soon to follow in the near future.

There is a lot more coming with Facebook in the future.

2. Love the Smell of Instagram in the Morning
Research has been conducted to see when is the best time for brands to post. Studies have shown that brands get more attention between the hours of 6 a.m. and 12 p.m. How will this affect future brands? How will this change the way brands interact with consumers?

3. New Beverage Ads
Pepsi and Heineken have come out with some new commercials that are worth checking out:

– Seattle Seahawks standout Marshawn Lynch is featured in Pepsi’s new TV spot. Lynch is known for his dynamic attitude during post-game interviews and this ad doesn’t fall short of him living up to this. The commercial features him mouthing words as someone else does the talking for him. He then takes a swig of the Pepsi and finishes with a one-liner. Well done Pepsi.

– Heineken’s new ad features Daniel Craig as the infamous James Bond. The commercial gives a cinematic feel different from what other brands have done in the past. It is action-packed, suspenseful, and highlights the brand in a new light to drive the consumers’ interests.

4. Twitter experiments with user-generated polls
Twitter is testing a polling feature within tweets. Using the feature, Twitter users can ask followers to pick between two choices, with the number of respondents showing up within the tweet. Each poll lasts 24 hours. A handful of brand accounts, such as the U.S. Department of the Interior and NFL on ESPN, have already taken advantage of the tool. The company hasn’t announced details nor when the service would roll out to all profiles.

5. Starbucks Express Checkout?
The wait is literally over! Starbucks has implemented a new app where customers can order through the app and pay to avoid waiting in those long, winding lines. This opens up a door for the brand, making it more convenient and accessible for those coffee lovers. Make it to your destination on time and order online!

Image credit.

Week in Marketing: Bacon Lovers, Fighting Ad Blockers, Direct Arrow, Interactive Advertising, Smart Home

WeekInmarketing bacon

1. Oscar Mayer Wants to Help You Find Love
Who doesn’t love bacon? Oscar Mayer has just launched an app called “Sizzl” to help users “find their bacon soulmates.” The app allows users to create a profile and enter their bacon preferences, and then matches them with other users based on a mutual-matching system, similar to Tinder. Users are then able to message and meet up with one another. The app is free on iTunes.

2. Marketers Gear Up to Fight Ad Blockers
As more and more consumers install ad blockers within their web browser of choice, more and more advertisers are considering investing in technology that would effectively block the ad blockers. While most people install ad blockers to reduce page loading time and protect their privacy, the ads that are being blocked have cost advertisers and publishers an estimated $22 billion. This could prompt more websites to require members to pay for access in order to recoup, if a solution isn’t found to combat the losses.

3. DKNY Gets Direct With Fans During NY Fashion Week
It’s Fashion Week in New York, and DKNY is taking advantage of the event along with Instagram’s new “direct” arrow. By following the looks from the show via the #DKNYSS16 hashtag, fans will be able to send their favorite looks directly to DKNY’s official account. In turn, the brand will respond directly with content and background information about the designs, in an attempt to personalize marketing to the fans.

4. Hershey Offers Free Chocolate for A Smile
Hershey is one of the latest to turn towards interactive advertising. The brand created a kiosk that uses technology that is able to read and analyze human emotion from a single expression. Upon being approached, the kiosk prompts consumers to smile into the machine for a free sample.

5. Smart Home by CNET
CNET launched a smart home in Louisville, Ky., where its editorial team can see how the homes of tomorrow will function. The staff can tinker with the various gadgets home owners are expected to buy over the next three to five years. Generally the tech inside the smart home will focus on giving consumers a peek at how they can make their homes more secure, energy efficient and comfortable. As part of the project, it launched a hub for all of its smart-home reviews.

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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.

Twitter’s E-Commerce Features Continue to Grow

Instagram and Pinterest recently revealed their integration of purchasing features on their platforms. Now, Twitter has announced that, in addition to the “buy-now” button, brands will be able to develop their own e-commerce pages with pricing and other details.

twitter marketingTwitter said, “Every month, millions of people Tweet about what they love: products they buy, places they visit, books they’re reading, or vacations they’re planning … So today we’re beginning to test two ways to make it easier for you to discover rich and relevant content about products and places on Twitter.” In other words, there are already millions of product-related Tweets (which are like mini product reviews) floating out in the Twitterverse. What Twitter is proposing is the creation of individual product pages that will display a collection of tweets and retweets from anyone who uses the product-oriented hashtag. This will create one place where users can easily find lots of aggregated information about a product.

Along with the introduction of product pages, there will be product collections. These collections can be created by celebrities or brands to showcase a combination of products that they would like consumers to view as an ensemble. For example, Twitter’s Swim & Sun Ready collection page showcases tweets about bathing suits that, when clicked, lead directly back to the individual product page for that swimsuit.

AdWeek says that this will give brands even more of an incentive to purchase promoted tweets. One drawback, though, is that it often takes multiple clicks to reach the actual point of purchase. Even though these new pages seem like they will help drive sales, they might not if customers don’t make it to the buy button. And if people use these pages to simply educate themselves on a product, the effects on sales might be too difficult to measure for advertisers.

With these changes come some questions. AdWeek asks, will these “collection-style” pages even be worth visiting? This largely depends on each individual brand’s dedication to developing these pages and populating them with content that is relevant to shoppers and Twitter users.

Another question inevitably arises: what’s next? As we have seen, social media is not stopping with buttons. Twitter is further blurring the distinction between e-commerce sites and social media platforms. Who is going to make the next move, and what new features will they come up with? Share your predictions in the comments below.

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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What Marketers Need to Know about Micro-Moments

micromoments purchase decisionMicro-moments are instantaneous, fragmented moments – the impulse of “I want to know” “I want to go,” “I want to do,” or “I want to buy” that makes consumers pick up a device and Google.

According to Think With Google, “Of smartphone users, 82% consult their phones while they’re standing in a store deciding which product to buy. One in 10 of those end up buying a different product than they had planned.” This means that some consumers change their purchasing decisions at the point-of-purchase. Any research done on products prior to entering the store is replaced by a quick skim on the web while staring the products in the face. Consumers want quick content that will tell them what to do right here, right now, in this one micro-moment.

These impulsive micro-moments are resulting in extreme multitasking. The Wall Street Journal said, “91% of smartphone users look up information on their smartphone while right in the middle of a task,” meaning that they are searching for a recipe while they are already boiling the water.

Micro-moments are also strongly intent-driven, meaning that consumer expectations are extremely high. Users will try the first 3 search results, and if they find their solution there, they won’t bother to go any further than that. In other words, your solution has to be the best solution – and it has to come up first.

What these micro-moments mean for marketing is that convenience is replacing brand loyalty. Think With Google said, “The successful brands of tomorrow will be those that have a strategy for understanding and meeting consumers’ needs in these micro-moments.”

Developing a strategy to deal with these moments may sound like taking a stab in the dark, but publications like AdAge have already started gathering best practices to get you started. Here are four questions we came up with to help you better understand how your customers are experiencing micro-moments:

  1. When and where is your audience experiencing an immediate need for your product?
  2. Where does your audience look for the answer to their need? (e.g. Google, Amazon)
  3. What words/terms does your audience use to call up these answers?
  4. What format do they want answers in? (e.g. text, image, video, compatible with mobile/tablet)