Posted by . In topics: Advertising

Synopsis: If you happen to be a fan of Arrested Development, they have launched a fake menu on Seamless. How can your company mimic the style of this unique promotion without the name recognition?

Yesterday, as I was sitting down to order food online, I went to Seamless.com. Like usual, it popped up a number of options for restaurants in the area that I could choose to order from. But there was a new option I had never seen before from Bluth’s Original Frozen Banana.

For those who are fans of the sitcom Arrested Development, then you would immediately recognize the name of the restaurant as the banana stand that the show’s patriarch first built to grow his shaky empire. And as Netflix begins to air new episodes this summer, the company has used an all-out media blitz to remind fans of its return. Somehow the company was able to post a fake menu for the banana stand on Seamless.

It was interesting use of a platform that doesn’t usually offer advertising space. And you can get an original frozen banana for $10, of course the minimum order was $250,000. So it was clearly all for fun. But the way Arrest Development promoters were able to integrate the fake menu seamlessly (no pun intended) is what really made the spot work.

Having a unique advertising campaign can do wonders for your brand. But it’s not easy to come up with something that will connect with consumers, especially at a price that most businesses can afford. So how can you create spots for radio, online or wherever that offer this perfect intersection of promotion? Read more »


Posted by . In topics: Advertising

Synopsis: With the growth of big data, more and more companies are using the information to enhance their marketing and advertising campaigns. We discuss a few of the ruts to watch out for, as you look deeper into the data.

Have you heard the term “big data,” recently? Maybe you saw it online, or read about it in a trade journal. But the ability to gather and comprehend data at an mind-numbingly large scale, has created opportunities for new businesses and information. And within that information, marketers are using it to target customers at a minute level like never before.

This data is also, slowly, becoming available to any company of any size. In the next few years, those that can comprehend and pull out quality information from all this data, to better target their customers, will be the standout stars of the business world. That’s because they will be able to give their customers what they want, when they want it, i.e. when they’re ready to listen. This will reduce the cost of marketing and advertising and increase the ROI. What business won’t like that?

But the use of data in such a way is still tricky for businesses and confusing for customers. After all, you don’t want your clients to think you’re spying on them. And in the build-up of this information, it still very much feels that way. So what are some things to keep in mind with this influx of data for your advertising and marketing needs? We take you through a few of them below:

Only Use Information That You Understand:

Just because you have access to a whole bunch of numbers and letters means very little. Even though technology has advanced to a point where we can now organize and manipulate a whole boatload of information, there’s a lot of customer data that won’t mean a thing to you or your customers. But when you suddenly have access to such a large amount of info, your gut instinct tells you to use it. Don’t, unless you know that it’s relevant to your company or integral to connecting you with the right customers. Read more »


Posted by . In topics: Advertising

Synopsis: A new technique for targeting children called lenticular technology, has been unveiled in an ad for child abuse prevention. It’s neat new tool in the long line of making sure you’re targeting your customers with individualized experiences.

Some see it, some don’t. It’s the next step in creating targeted, personalized advertising. And a campaign to prevent child abuse has used new technology to accomplish this feat.

In a billboard, grownups see a face of a child, and the line “Sometimes child abuse is only visible to the child suffering it.” But for children, potentially walking with the person that is causing the abuse, they have a completely different experience. With lenticular technology, those 4’3″ or shorter see a different picture. It’s the same child, but this time he’s bloodied and bruised. The line the children see is “If somebody hurts you, phone us and we’ll help you.”

You can see the effect, in the video below.

What’s interesting about this is that it has created a new way to target your audience. It’s something we all want to do, giving our various types of customers a different experience when they hear or interact with our ad. And the power of targeting will allow them to view your organization in a way that would most likely convince them to act. In this case using lenticular technology, it’s for a great cause in order to stop child abuse. But you should use similar tactics in your advertising. Read more »


Posted by . In topics: Advertising

Synopsis: Hiring an advertising agency is a big decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. But how do you know when it’s the right time to find one? We explain.

If business owners have one downside, it’s that they have a hard time letting go of control. It’s not easy to allow others to work on projects that will impact your business, when you’ve spent so much time personally cultivating it. But at some point in your company’s life, you will need to start releasing the reins, and that includes your handle on advertising.

And advertising is something that’s particularly difficult to let go of because it’s the public perception of your business at stake. It defines how people will view your organization, and will have a direct impact on sales. So making the decision to actually hire an advertising agency to develop and run your advertising spends throughout the year is extremely difficult. Plus, they will cost money, which is another added expense to the bottom line.

But that said, there’s a number of reasons to hire an agency, and not just because you are overwhelmed with other duties that come along with a growing business. Some of these reasons, include:

  • A New Perspective on Your Company: An ad agency might see a new wrinkle in the way you can present your organization to the public
  • An Expertise In Advertising: Assuming you pick the right agency, they should be able to share years of experience that will help your company’s sales
  • A Protection From Mistakes: Since they know what they’re talking about, they will also put you in the best position to avoid public embarrassment Read more »

Posted by . In topics: Advertising

Synopsis: Mountain Dew showed us how not to run an ad targeting a specific audience this week, when they had to pull them for racial insensitivity reasons. Where did the company go wrong and how can you prevent a similar mistake?

It’s amazing sometimes what gets passed with a stamp of approval through the advertising higher-ups at large companies, only to immediately cause a backlash among viewers, leading to the spots removal. Another such example occurred this week, when Mountain Dew had to pull three spots due to outcry that they were racially insensitive.

The advertisements, which have been removed online, featured a goat voiced by rapper Tyler, the Creator. USA Today has a rundown of what occurred during the ad, which led to the outcry:

Soft drink giant PepsiCo says it is pulling a highly controversial commercial for Mountain Dew — depicting five African-American men and a goat in a police line-up — that has managed to offend African-Americans, women and bloggers coast-to-coast.

African-American rapper Tyler, the Creator, developed the 60-second spot in which a battered white woman on crutches is urged by an officer to identify a suspect out of a lineup of black men. A talking goat named Felicia is included in the lineup. The goat makes threatening remarks to the woman, including, “Keep ya mouth shut.”

This isn’t the first time this year we’ve seen similar ads get pulled due to insensitivity towards a certain group. Hyundai, McDonald’s and Ford had to do so already this year, according to USA Today.

So why is this happening, and how can you avoid it? Read more »


Posted by . In topics: Advertising

Synopsis: Creative marketing campaigns can build buzz about your company. But make sure you’re taking the right steps to ensure people show and that potential customers see the end result. We talk about how below.

It feels almost impossible not to simply fall in love with truly creative marketing events that businesses pull off. There’s so many out there, but the best connect thousands of people, usually doing something fun then, as an afterthought, brand the event with the company name.

But when we look at the creative marketing tactic, we fail to remember just what a company did in order to get people to show up. Let’s face it, the reason you only see the successful attempts is because potential customers showed up. A company isn’t throwing up YouTube videos all over their site with 5 people at an event. Only the ones that have hundreds to thousands get the red carpet on the company site and in press.

A start-up student loan company, recently managed a successful version of this. The Guardian has the details:

“To put Unibubble in the spotlight, the guys behind the company decided to capitalise on the viral trend of the infamous Harlem Shake. They created an event via Facebook; within four days, 1,000 people had clicked “attending”. The students created Unibubble posters for participants to ensure the brand was captured on film. More than 1,500 people turned up. The event was posted on YouTube and has since been viewed by 80,000 people. The Unibubble site saw a 776% increase in traffic per day in the days following the event and an increase of 297% in registered users. The phenomenal results of this free advert highlight just how creatively and cheaply startups can advertise.”

What’s talked about briefly in this recap is the effort that the company made in order to excite people to attend. Read more »


Posted by . In topics: Advertising

Synopsis: When you’re stuck between two possible advertising campaigns, it comes down to which one will perform the best. Here’s how you go about deciding.

Which one looks better, A or B? How about B or C? No, you’re not at the eye doctor trying on lenses, but trying to pick the right advertisement for your business moving forward. It’s an intense decision, as there’s always investment involved, plus the ad will be representing your pride-and-joy (your business) for months to come. So how do you decide?

Before we get to the decision process, first lets look back at why you chose to launch the advertising campaign. What is it that drove you to advertise? Was it the need for more sales? Was it the desire to reach a new market? Was it to increase brand recognition? Was it re-energize your current customers? The reason behind your desire to advertise will be an important driving factor in which advertisement you want to pick.

Now that you understand why you’re doing this, let’s look at the different types of advertisements you can choose from. Founder of the ad agency Wizard of Ads Roy H. Williams, writing for Entrepreneur.com laid these out in a very intelligent and easy to understand way. You can see his full explanation of each ad here, but below I’ve added a quick synopsis.

  • Category-Specific Ads: Cliche filled ads used to reach everyone. Rarely works, and usually reaches no one, according to Williams
  • Franchise Ads: Hopes to build the larger brand, which will help the local stores as well Read more »

Posted by . In topics: Advertising

Synopsis: Sometimes, when we’re stuck trying to find an advertising idea, we need to simply look around us. By embracing our culture and the local community, you might just find an idea that sends your sales booming.

Remember in the 1990s, when the store Hot Topic started showing up in malls across America? If you do, then you might also remember having a gut feeling on whether or not you actually wanted to step foot in that store. Some people saw it, and thought ‘Finally!” Others saw it with surprise, and I’m sure certain people saw it with fear. But it was okay, because that was Hot Topic’s culture, and those who would buy at its stores were the ones who were excited to see that on display.

One of the hardest aspects of growing, molding and sharing a business is displaying the culture of the company. But that’s what makes you stand out. And when it comes to advertising, your culture can sell a product.

This boils down to one simple reason, and that’s because your culture is an embrace of your target audience. That means those that come to your site or visit your store know immediately if this suits their needs by the culture that they’ve developed. So how do you make sure you’re displaying this culture in your advertising?

Small Business owner Annie Harrington, writing for the Inspiredology blog had a really great outlook on this, and that’s go local. For many businesses, big or small, going local while displaying culture through your advertising is the best way to attract those people in your vicinity that would go to your store or website. By using local landmarks, and knowing other local businesses, you can incorporate your knowledge of the landscape into your ads.

But the most interesting aspect of this was her last point, which was “Focus on the People.” Here’s what she said: Read more »


Posted by . In topics: Advertising

Synopsis: With a seemingly up-tick in shaming cliches in advertising, I take you through my list of favorite cliches used to advertise to a growing business. Look out for these, and as a service announcement, if you use these tactics: Stop!

Battling cliches has always been a fruitful endeavor for advertisers. They use the cliches, bleeding them for all that they are worth, before flipping the switch and making fun of the same cliches. This tactic often involved making fun of cliches in another industry, like action movies or the office. But now some businesses have caught onto the cliches within their own industry, and have exploited that for brand recognition.

In recent memory, Kotex did this for its line of female products, turning the corner on how to discuss a woman’s period. And now, a fresh food company, Low Low Kerry has lashed out at the corny yogurt advertisements in a new spot that highlights the three girls of “Adland.” Check it out.

It’s a funny piece and it brings to mind some of the opportunities in small business advertising that could easily be exploited. These are the advertisements that we constantly see to help us further grow and “add-value” to our customers. But often, these ads are filled with so many cliches, we can’t look past their corniness. So with that in mind, here’s the cliches I thought of for small business advertising: Read more »


Posted by . In topics: Advertising

Synopsis: Humor doesn’t always work with every campaign. While it can bring a lot of recognition if it works, it’s a risky move. Below we discuss how to keep people laughing.

It’s a tricky proposition, when looking for a new ad campaign. You can go so many ways. You can inspire, you can inform, you can self-deprecate or you can even try and make people laugh, all in an attempt to sell your product. But when you go the humorous route, there’s a chance you might go too far.

As the way people connect with another becomes that much more superfluous, it becomes that much more perilous if your humorous ad is off-beat. If no one gets ‘it,’ your company can become fodder on social media circles and blogs for days and weeks to come. While that may lead to better recognition of your company, it won’t necessarily mean a positive view or an opinion that will lead to more sales.

Yet, we’ve seen companies or organizations that use the offensive-joke tactic with regularity. GoDaddy.com always seems to have a Super Bowl commercial that draws the ire of advocates and critics alike. But does that really work? Is it their offbeat, offensive humor that leads to sales? Probably not.

While GoDaddy.com has embraced this offensive style, the ability to creating a winning ad campaign while adding in humor goes much further, if you can keep it light.  Read more »