All posts in All

683 Posts

Ad Campaigns Are Finally Reflecting Diversity of US

From March 10, 2014 – Advertising Age: Ad Campaigns Are Finally Reflecting Diversity of US – By Natalie Zmuda

Tim Mahoney saw the potential for trouble.

As part of Chevrolet’s “Find New Roads” campaign, the brand’s chief marketing officer helped create a commercial that would break on the Sochi Olympics featuring family vignettes, including gay and interracial couples. The theme: “The new us.”

Before greenlighting the spot, Mr. Mahoney reviewed the Commonwealth-created campaign with senior executives and several hundred local marketing associations. The automaker’s communications teams were also prepped to respond to negative feedback. “The dealers acknowledged it might upset some people,” said Mr. Mahoney. “But fundamentally they also get its about expanding the desirability of Chevrolet and bringing more people in.”

Ultimately, he said, the message was to “reaffirm that Chevrolet is a new company with a new way of thinking. … It’s an acknowledgement that America has changed.”

Marketers Should Keep It Short In 2014

From Friday, March 7, 2014 – Engage: GenY: Marketers Should Keep It Short In 2014

We all know that Millennials have the ability to interpret a message within a few seconds due to what has been characterized as a decreasing attention span. However, a recent study released by MIT is almost mind-boggling. According to the report, consumers can decipher what an ad or logo is saying in about 13 milliseconds, roughly 10 times faster than the one-tenth of a second the researchers had initially projected.

While the study subjects weren’t limited to Millennials, the results speak to the value of short-timed content. Keeping advertisements shorter is certainly an idea worth exploring for marketers if they have not attempted it already.

Micro-video websites and apps, such as Vine, Snapchat, Tumblr GIFs, and Instagram Video, have continued to gain popularity among Generation Y. According to Marketing Magazine, Vine grew 403% in 2013. Meanwhile, the majority of Tumblr GIF users (6% of the U.S. population) are between the ages of 18 and 29. 

A Picture Is Worth More Than A Thousand Words

From March 5, 2014 – Center for Media Research: Literally, A Pictures Is Worth More Than A Thousand Words

Traditional wisdom gave marketers three seconds to capture the consumer’s eye in the shopping aisle… or maybe 13 seconds… but how ‘bout 13 Milliseconds?!  A recent MIT study showed that using a visual in a presentation, it actually takes 13 milliseconds for your customer’s brain to identify and find meaning in it.

That’s fast. In fact, it’s ten times faster than the initial 1/10th second researchers had initially predicted.  For comparison, says the report, it’s ten times faster than it takes light to travel around the Earth’s equator. Researchers concluded that “the visual system is exquisitely adapted to the task of extracting conceptual information from visual input with every new eye fixation, three or four times a second.”

Why Money Isn’t Always Everything

From February 26, 2014 – Engage: Affluent – Why Money Isn’t Always Everything

During an age in which endless information is readily available at consumers’ fingertips, it is more important than ever to highlight your brand’s value – even in the eyes of the affluent. According to a recent study by Unity Marketing, about 75% of wealthy consumers plan to make apparel purchases in the next year. However, the way they evaluate their purchases may surprise you.

Believe it or not, the days of money being no object may be gone. According to the survey, which consisted of over 1,000 respondents with an income of over $100,000, 35% of affluent consumers consider price the most important factor when purchasing apparel. In addition, 54% said that they actively look for sales when planning to make a clothing purchase.

The Twitter Sign-Up Slowdown

Despite increased revenue, investors and marketers had a bit of a freak out earlier this month following the release of Twitter’s fourth quarter earnings report. While revenue doubled since last year, many followers (no pun intended) of the social network were disturbed by its slowdown in user growth, which rose only four percent from October through December. Meanwhile, Twitter feed check-ins were down seven percent over that same amount of time.

It might be time to come to grips with what Twitter is – as in, it’s not Facebook, whose user base stands at about 1.2 billion users 10 years after its initial launch (compared to Twitters 241 million). But this shouldn’t discourage marketers from viewing Twitter as a viable option, and here’s why: Twitter has shown an unabashed willingness to experiment, especially when it comes to marketing.

Facebook Paper Emphasizes Importance of Content

The launch of Facebook’s new mobile app, “Facebook Paper,” has the marketing world wondering exactly what the platform can do for brands. The app essentially serves as a mobile-based newspaper, as the heavy focus on content is a trend that many of the larger social media players, namely Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, started to follow in 2013.

Some users may have noticed the increased frequency of article posts on their Facebook walls over the past year. This was no accident, as Facebook has suddenly had to compete with the likes of Buzzfeed and Gawker for user attention. The launch of Paper allows Facebook to not only serve as a social network, but a media hub.

The layout of Paper is quite eye-catching; large images that dominate the mobile screen accompanied by swipe navigation from section to section.

What This Year’s Super Bowl Ads Said About the Industry

It has been nearly a month since the Big Game, yet there is still so much to disect when it comes to the featured ads. This year’s commercial lineup fell flat in many ways. There were a few highlights. A few critically praised ads included Radio Shack’s “The Phone Call,” featuring numerous 1980 celebrities and characters, Cheerios cute (and inadvertently controversial) “Gracie,” which depicts a pair of parents explaining the news of a new baby on the way to their young daughter by using the cereal, and, of course, Budweiser’s “Puppy Love,” featuring an adorable puppy and the world famous Budweiser Clydesdales.

Some collective duds included Maserati’s deep, curiously placed ad, Chrysler’s spot featuring Bob Dylan, and Axe’s “It’s Not War, It’s Peace.”

However, one overall lesson to be learned from this year’s commercials is that it’s not about what makes us laugh (or cry), it’s about what these commercials say about where the industry is going as a whole. For example, more than half (58%) of this year’s ads contained a hashtag. Many brands decided to forego associating themselves with a specific social network (mainly Facebook or Twitter), instead opting to stay neutral in the social war.

Millennial Values Do Not Waver Despite Differences

From February 7, 2014 – Engage: GenY – Millennial Values Do Not Waver Despite Differences

For better or worse, Millennials are often viewed as a singular group. They are often characterized as a “me-first” generation that would rather spend time “instagraming” their meals than having a meaningful conversation with another human being. Most brands, of course, know this notion is false. Millennials are very much a deep, complicated collection of people whose interests and purchasing patterns are yet to be completely cracked by marketers.

So it should come as no surprise that the Millennial generation can be broken down into even smaller groups, a fact that can’t be ignored when attempting to tailor messaging. Think about it – Millennial ages range from about 18 to 34. That means that many are in totally different life situations than others (and this fact isn’t always dependent on age, either). While some still live in their parents’ homes, others are married and have children of their own. Some update their Facebook status before even brushing their teeth in the morning, while others refuse to fall in line by deciding to avoid social media altogether. Therefore, a brand trying to reach Millennials as a whole has a serious challenge ahead of it. Yet, while Millennial interests span a broad spectrum, there are still a few specific concepts and values that are unequivocally shared among (almost) all members of this generation.

‘Round the Office

A Leader in Emerging Media – In December Conversation was recognized by the Summit International Emerging Media Awards with the Social Media Leader Award for the agency’s work with Buffet’s, Inc. This is the second time Conversation has been recognized by the Summit International Awards program – the agency previously received an award for North Shore-LIJ’s Omnibus campaign.

The award reflected various Buffet’s, Inc. social campaigns between August 2012 and October 2013. Over that timespan the brand’s social presence saw a 23.92% increase in cumulative organic fan growth and a 27.9% increase in annual web visits, as Conversation implemented several unique digital programs while overhauling Buffet’s, Inc.’s SEO strategy.

New Year Resolutions for Brands

Start 2014 off right by following these New Year resolutions for brands.

Show your human side – we promise it isn’t so bad. By showing transparency – brands and companies can create consumer loyalty – and now there are more tools out there to manage and foster this relationship. For example, social media isn’t simply a platform to post all the exciting projects your brand has implemented. Make sure you are interacting with consumer posts and outreach, whether they are complimentary or critical. Giving your fans a sense that you are listening certainly helps brand perception.

Optimize your site for mobile!  – Mobile advertising is increasing exponentially, and so is mobile shopping, as this year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday revealed. According to a survey by Crittercism, 86% of smartphone users have made a purchase using their phone or tablet. If you haven’t mobile optimized your site, you may want to sooner rather than later – especially if you are a retailer.

Go heavier on the visual – The visual revolution has already begun. As Instagram, Pinterest, Vine and Snapchat users continue to increase, make sure your brand takes a creative approach to capture fan attention.