Watch How I Get Facebook Stats, Selena Gomez, and Man Buns into a Post About the Ad Industry…

12 11 2015

So.

Some relatively interesting figures and facts came out over the last week that are of some interest to people whose livelihood is based on advertising creativity and what’s going in our industry of spastic identifiers – some examples being, “New model, multidisciplinary marketing communications firm; creative and strategic boutique; full-service advertising business; fully integrated marketing agency; and (my personal oh, aren’t-we-hip fav), a disruption company.”

Snapchat logoSNAPCHAT. According to the Sunday Financial Times (you’ll need a sub to read the story), views have tripled from May to date and now total 6 billion per day. The takeaway? This messaging app is THE HOTTEST new toy – I mean tool – for marketers.

Facebook logoFACEBOOK. In spite of the totally empirical data I collect from after-hours mudslinging get-togethers with my disruptive peers, and from my kid and his friends (all around 21), Facebook is over. Yet Facebook counts 217 million active users in the U.S. and Canada that contribute half of the social-media network’s global revenue. That means, as Business Insider helpfully pointed outAmericans and Canadians account for as much of Facebook’s revenue as the other 1.3 billion users worldwide. What does this say about us as society? That we like to humble-brag a lot? But it says to us as agencies that we are still going to recommend ad placement there, and Instagram once they get things a bit more ironed out. In fact, the two together will become a de rigeur media buy in 2016.

AND MORE FACEBOOK. According to Adweek, its ad sales for Q3 increased 45% year-over-year to $4.3 billion, with mobile revenue responsible for 78% of all of those lovely ad sales – a 66% increase when compared to how mobile versus desktop advertising broke out during the same period last year.

But it can’t be all hearts and flowers for Zuckerberg and Friends. Desktop and mobile referral traffic to its top 30 publishers (which range from Huffington Post to FoxNews.com), fell 32% from January to October, according to stats quoted in this Digiday story.

Instagram logoIn non-Facebook-related news, it takes an average of 8,000 impressions from a display ad (i.e. desktop or mobile) to produce a phone call within two weeks, according to Marchex, which has a new analytics platform that can measure when any inbound phone call to a call center or store is influenced by exposure to a display advertisement on a desktop or mobile device. Mobile is enabling consumers to engage with brands more directly, and phone calls to businesses from smartphones are expected to nearly double to more than 160 billion by 2019.

Onward. Selena Gomez is the most engaging celebrity on INSTAGRAMaccording to Zefr’s data, averaging 1.4 million likes, comments, and shares for every post in the 90 days after it’s published. This means that Pantene, Adidas, Apple iPhone 6s, and Nicole/OPI nail polish are EXTREMELY happy.

the manbunFinally, GROUPON started on Tuesday selling a “Clip-In Man Bun” in blond, brown, or black for the highly discounted rate of $9.99, down from its retail price of $65. Over 5,000 have been purchased, according to the site. Let’s just say Twitter is NOT impressed:

 

WHAT FRESH HELL IS THIS?
–Cosmopolitan (@cosmopolitan)

 

For the hipster that must remain professional looking at work… I present the clip on man bun
https://t.co/SR0CSXQWZL
–Patrick R Gibbons (@PatrickRGibbons)

 

#ClipOnManBuns are a thing……………. I think I need a minute to question reality
–Colin ‏(@UberTieGuy)

 

Am I the only one who thinks that the #cliponmanbun looks like a furry little yarmulke?
–Tatianna @TatiTheGreat_1

 

The most surprising thing about the #cliponmanbun is that Groupon still exists
— MANPIGEON ‏(@MANPIGEON )

 

Literally do not want to live in world where this is acceptable! #ClipOnManBun
–Jeni-Marie Pittuck ‏@Jenii_Marie

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Change Twitter’s Character Limit? Are They Insane?

21 10 2015

Outing a rumor that’s been orbiting around the Twiitterverse, tech site Re/Code and the Wall Street Journal reported last week that founder and newly appointed CEO Jack Dorsey (then interim) is spearheading a project code-named “140 Plus” that would purportedly extend the service’s signature 140-character limit.

Twitter logoFeel free to read all about how this is because Twitter needs to grow its user base, monetize, evolve, compete with other social media platforms, blah blah blah, selfie sticks. According to co-founder Ev Williams, during an interview with Bloomberg TV at the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit in San Francisco, the market-watchers’ focus on Twitter’s user growth, which has stagnated at 316 million people, is overblown. The company has done a good job of driving revenue, he said, though he acknowledged the service wants to rope in more users.

In July, Twitter reported $502 million in revenue, exceeding analysts’ projections of $480 million. In fact, on this past Tuesday, Twitter introduced a feature called Moments, offering curated collections of tweets and discussions across the service – and so far, it’s a pretty cool feature.

But seriously, let’s talk about how an avid Twitter user FEELS about blowing out the 140-character limit.

The whole infrastructure of the Twitter experience is predicated on the ability to say what you will in 140 characters. This requires actual thought, effort, and creativity. I would, however, like to thank Twitter for the “retweet with comment” option rolled out in April so I could add my $.02 USD to the tweets I share. That was sweet, guys.

But even Dorsey said that he wants Twitter to be the most powerful microphone in the world. What keeps it powerful is that quirky brevity coupled with frequency (i.e. tweetstorms). It levels the field in a roundabout way – the clever, sarcastic, thoughtful, raunchy, journalists, podcasters, raconteurs, comics, poets, artists, and others use this 140-character challenge as a form of creative expression. And the trolls, haters, nut jobs, misogynists, misanthropes, dangerous, sociopaths, haters, and the even darker and more dangerous only have 140 characters to spew their messages. And how many times has a public figure accidentally shown his/her true colors in a Tweet? Priceless in and of itself – election year, anyone?

Leave the character limit alone, Twitter boys. You want to exclude links and user handles? I can live with that. But take away the 140, and Twitter is Facebook, Twitter is an office holiday party when you’re cornered by a sloppy drunk co-worker who won’t shut up, Twitter is the grumpy tool causing a line at the post office when you’re running late to work, it’s the anonymous troll in the comment section with an axe to grind and no character limit to cut him/her off, it’s the humblebragger on Facebook you want to unfriend IRL.

Get creative Twitter. You’ll find a way to continue making money without taking away what makes Twitter, well, Twitter. But here’s a suggestion: spell check. Stat.





The Branding Spectrum: From Poo Faces to Facebook

8 07 2015

How’s that for a headline? And yet we’re not being overly provocative here – the last week has seen some of the most over-the-top (or under-the-bottom, to be 100% accurate) and under-the-radar branding campaigns go viral, at least in the ad trades.

First, Facebook rolled out a logo “refresh” that only font wonks noticed until Facebook had to point it out – the company, now allegedly valued higher than Walmart, dropped the Klavika font it started with in 2005 to a custom, in-house designed font still used on the familiar blue background.

According to Adweek, “the new typeface is an attempt to ‘modernize’ the logo and make it appear more ‘friendly and approachable,’ says Josh Higgins, Facebook’s creative director. Higgins also noted that Facebook explored many options but ultimately landed on updating its logo instead of redesigning it completely.”

Compare for yourself:

fb-logo-final-hed-2015

 

How many of Facebook’s reported 1.44 billion monthly active users noticed? Our guess would be next to none, but probably more that those who noticed Google’s two-pixel logo tweak a year ago May. Yes, you read that right. Two pixels – and Reddit users actually noticed, and Gizmodo reported on it.

And now for the Pampers spot that took the bronze Lion in Film at Cannes, and a silver and a bronze in Film Craft. Entitled “Pooface,” it is a medley of babies’ faces, filmed in slow motion (400 fps) as they fill their diapers, set to Strauss’ “Thus Spake Zarathustra,” and produced by Saatchi & Saatchi London. After 75 seconds of steadily reddening, highly occupied faces, there is a hashtag #pooface, a shot of a beautifully lit box of Pampers Sensitives wipes, and a final message “Don’t fear the mess.

 

This clip has been viewed over 600,000 times at the writing of this post, and has spawned articles in all the ad trades, as well as comparisons to a 2012 Australian ad for Mamia diapers with an operatic score. It won a Clio.

Whether the creatives at Saatchi were influenced by the Aussie ad or not, the spot is brilliant – and no one I’ve shared it with was able to sit through it without laughing out loud.

The point here is that getting the buzz going about your brand often resides at the extreme ends of the spectrum, and not so much in the middle. We all need to think out of the nappy.





Intellectual Property in the Social Media

21 04 2015

So, we have a new addition to Alchemy, and even though this is extremely difficult for such a control freak (yes, me), she should get to write some stuff, too. And so she has…KMO

On April 26th every year, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) celebrates World Intellectual Property Day to promote discussion of the role of IP in encouraging innovation and creativity. I was just reflecting upon this while advising copyrights to a potential client regarding the promotion of her children’s music and story books. Then our office experienced a social media etiquette faux pas during an online marketing campaign for one of our retail destination client’s outdoor concert festival events. Part of our job was designing all of the graphic needs for posters, signage, print and digital ads, and a collection of imagery to use on social media that would capture Facebook viewing attention and brand this “Peace Love & Wellness Music Festival” for our client, while making this artwork available for use by any of the participating retail tenants, businesses, vendors, and the bands. This particular client uses events as its primary source of marketing, outside of a year-round general branding campaign, and we have fun creating visual identities for each event. The Peace Love & Wellness campaign proved very successful with image likes and shares growing viewership to its 3rd Annual event page more than 100% over last year’s page. The ROI was worth the effort.

Alchemy's marketing for the event

Alchemy’s marketing for the event

Obviously, the object of marketing through social media is to entice viewers to attach their identity to the event and share it with others to extend the buzz field. Yes, share the original images on their timeline, add their own descriptive announcement with the post, and tag their friends and businesses. But we had one vendor take things a bit further than that. And I’m certain if you asked him he would say that he was just helping out and thought it was okay to promote his business by making his own flyer out of our client’s collateral. After all, he did slide their logo, although poorly resolute and altered in shape, onto his new graphic. So that’s more than okay, right?

Alchemy's marketing before alteration

Alchemy’s marketing before alteration

Well, actually, not. Our client paid for the artwork to be presented in the approved composition. This vendor did not ask for permission to change it. He did not hire Alchemy to make a poster out of this collateral and change it to feature his business. He added his own banner boldly across the top, juxtaposed shoddy font styles in an unprofessional layout of low quality, dropped in a low-resolution logo, and added his own copy. At this point, neither the client nor we would want our names attached to the altered artwork for credit. We had a conundrum: allow him to promote to his patrons or ask him to take it down. Our client made the decision not to offend him.

More of Alchemy's marketing

More of Alchemy’s marketing

Social media is now a balancing act of etiquette and manners. What is acceptable here is not acceptable there, and the rules are bent and stretched to fit a variety of scenarios. Unfortunately intellectual property, once uploaded into the digital slipstream, has very little protection. According to Facebook Copyright Infringements, violations have to be noticed by the author, reported to the powers that be on Facebook by the author, and then the violator must be contacted by the author and agree to take down their post and make amends. Only after these steps are refused is the author advised to claim a lawsuit. Furthermore, it is up to the author to set the privacy settings to limit the viewership and shares. One has limited protection of ownership if they want their work to be seen. So, in the scenario of a visual marketing campaign, images are out there with permission for the public to share until the original is removed. And according to an article written by a local West Palm Beach, Florida-based intellectual property attorney, Joseph J. Stafford, TO PIN OR NOT TO PINonce something is uploaded on to Pinterest, the author must understand that Pinterest takes no responsibility for the image sharing and usage. The artwork will remain on Pinterest indefinitely. And anything without a registered copyright or trademark is seriously at risk for loss of ownership.

...and Alchemy's marketing post-alteration

…and Alchemy’s marketing post-alteration

The increasing cultural trend is to share, save, tweet, or post any image as your own without thought or concern over identifying the true author. This virtually attaches ownership to any pinner for multiple re-compositions. The only protection would be to add a backend code for tracking violations or the application of a watermark across the image that would be difficult to remove or alter. So what can professional social media communicators do? Stay aboveboard and remain very professional for our clients in social media activity. We should set an example by creating our posts with integrity. If we are sharing the photo or work of another author then we should make time and effort to give credit where credit is due. Photos courtesy of…, or original painting by…, etc. Vintage ads and old movie stills are grandfathered for acceptable use as long as you are not selling them. But be very careful in the use of trademarks and brand collateral. I even went as far as to get corporate-level permission to create an original floral pattern reminiscent of Lilly Pulitzer for social media promotions of an event it sponsored for charity. Lawsuits can happen and they can be very costly to settle when they do. It’s better to be respectful and safe than sorry.

Above you see the original pieces of artwork created for our Facebook promotional campaign, and one of the altered and unapproved versions. What do you think about the modification and reuse of collateral materials without permission?

-Lori Herrala, Communications Director at Alchemy





Taking Proactive to the Next Level

19 03 2015

Last fall, I wrote a blog post for Alchemy that featured a long-form advert that mashed up the Internet’s obsession with cat-based cuteness and the super-cut, sweaty aggro look of sports apparel and fitness beverage spots. It spoke of my admiration for this fully blown viral campaign for Mars Petcare’s Temptations Treats for Cats. The centerpiece was a truly inspired YouTube video (link to come later, because this post really isn’t about it yet).

Almost five months later, I received an email from a very friendly person at the brand’s PR firm pitching me a new campaign constructed in the same fashion: hook, hashtag, user engagement, full media campaign, digital content, social media — and a new video:

While I appreciate the video a whole bunch and contributed to its views and shares (that is a seriously catchy vibe, Los Saicos), what I’m writing about is that this gigantic corporate enterprise and its agency found my blog post. And responded to it.

I find that level of digital search-and-conquer impressive. It reminds me that our efforts leave a pixelated trail of breadcrumbs that can circle back to our clients when we handle this whole integrated media thing properly.

If you’re the least bit curious about the post that provoked the response, just scroll down…that first video is there, too.





Bringing a Cult Film Festval to Your Town

8 06 2014

We have the great luck of a retail shopping destination client with a 500-seat cultural venue. On the not-so-great side, it’s a challenge to attract patrons and shoppers during South Florida’s off season – the incredibly hot and humid summers (with added bonus of hurricane season). Mainstreet at Midtown is known for its year-round outdoor festivals and events like a 16-week Music on the Plaza concert series (held during the drier and cooler months of the peak social season), its Peace Love & Wellness Music Festival, Children’s Festival, Cool Yule Tree Decorating Contest, and others.

swede fest palm beach 3So, we needed a summer event, and it REALLY needed to be indoors.

And then NPR did this great piece a couple of years ago about an underground film event that sounded like the perfect idea we could get behind and make our client’s own. Indie film festivals have a rich history of showcasing amazing undiscovered talent, where Hollywood insiders troll for the next big thing, where A-list stars promote the small labor-of-love projects they do between blockbusters. swede fest™ palm beach is an indie film festival with NONE of that going for it. In fact, our tagline is “Bad Movies by Good People.”

The key to understanding why is in the “swede.” A swede is a no-budget, laughably bad remake of a hit Hollywood film – the bigger, the better. The term comes from the 2008 Jack Black/Mos Def comedy, Be Kind Rewind, and was made up to explain the sheer awfulness of their remade films by touting them as European – “swedes” because it sounded really sophisticated. Not exactly a classic in its genre, but neither is it comedy kryptonite.

swede fest palm beach 3Next thing you know, there’s an underground sweding craze. Two guys in Fresno invited a bunch of friends to make films starring themselves, then get together to screen them, like they do at Sundance, SXSW, Telluride, Slamdance, Tribeca, and so on – but without the beautiful celebrities, coolness factor, or bidding wars. Hence the coverage on NPR.

We’re the third official swede fest™. First, Fresno. Then, Tampa Bay. Now, the Palm Beaches. This is the third year, and we sell out every time, create super fun/cheesy marketing, a great microsite, go crazy on social media: www.facebook.com/swedefestpalmbeach and www.twitter.com/swedefestpb , give out silly awards (Best Use of a Backyard Location, Best Use of Man’s Best Friend, Best Use of Tinfoil), and everyone generally has a great time and gets dressed up in total Hollywood drag.

Local schools get involved and sometimes do them as class projects, and the community and local media really get behind it because we deliberately created an all-ages event – you can swede any film, but your 3-minute clip must be PG-13, even if your source material is not. We’ve had swedes of Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, and The Thing, and already we have someone who has submitted The Wolf of Wall Street for this year’s festival on August 2. We’re anxious to see exactly how they’ll sanitize that one.





The Intersection of Marketing and Art

14 04 2014

It’s no bad thing to have a client who is an art patron. And it’s an even better thing when that client, a real estate developer, is a huge supporter of Art in Public Places (#AIPP) and willing to budget for the creation of art as a way to improve the community in which construction takes place.

For another perspective on the scale of this project, this is Tristan painting Alexander Graham Bell’s eye.

For another perspective on the scale of this project, this is Tristan painting Alexander Graham Bell’s eye.

That said, you’d like to have the artwork depict some subtle tie-in to the project, even though Art in Public Places is pretty strict about there being no commercial aspect to the projects it approves. The client, Ram Realty Services, decided that we would conduct a Call to Artists with the prompt that the 7,000 square foot mural would honor Alexander Graham Bell and communication, since the historic structure was once the regional headquarters for Southern Bell, and the converted residential units will be known as Alexander Lofts.

To provide a sense of scale, these next images were taken from the painting platforms.

Looking down...

Looking down…

Looking up...

Looking up…

After a lengthy vetting process that included representatives of Ram Realty Services, Alchemy, and the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County, it was decided we would work with Los Angeles-based Tristan Eaton, an internationally known street artist and designer whose work can be seen in galleries around the world and in the permanent collection of the New York Museum of Modern Art.

Eaton is renowned for creating large-scale murals in urban landscapes (NYC, Detroit, LA, Cleveland), and is an art consultant to major brands such as Fisher Price, Nike, and Disney.

It took him and his two assistants over 600 cans of spray paint and a total of 12 days to conquer the wall.

While there is no commercial aspect to the final artwork that in any way promotes Alexander Lofts, the prominence of the huge mural makes the building a landmark in Downtown West Palm Beach, and generated a tremendous amount of media coverage.

And it doesn’t hurt that the enormous mural and the name of the building both pay homage to Alexander Graham Bell – subtle, but present.

The finished 7,000 square-foot mural.

The finished 7,000 square-foot mural.

The investment in this tremendous artwork is a fantastic branding tool, as we are able to generate interest in the project on social media, on the project website, and in future marketing efforts as a way to identify the location of the property.








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