February 26, 2008

Commercial Recall Through Fast Forward

Filed under: Advertising,Technology — Emily Reeves @ 9:14 am

I love research: usually there is a nugget of information that is revealed and gives us an “a-ha” moment.  But I also love research because it always confirms things we instinctively know, but provides the data to support those instincts.  That is what an article in today’s WSJ does for me.  The article is all about recall of commercials watched through fast forward on a DVR.  Some key findings reported that the most successful ads:

  • Concentrated the action and the brand’s logo in the middle of the screen.
  • Didn’t rely on multiple scene changes, audio or text to tell the story.
  • Often used familiar characters.
  • Were more likely to have been seen once before live.

Duh.  But the implications are interesting:

  • Advertisers may want to unveil new campaigns during live events like sports games and then re-run spots during programs likely to be recorded.
  • Advertisers may want to test multiple edits of a spot to see how it performs when it is fast forwarded.

February 25, 2008

50 Most Innovative Companies

Filed under: Business — Emily Reeves @ 9:13 am

As declared by Fast Company:

  1. Google
  2. Apple
  3. Facebook
  4. GE
  5. Ideo
  6. Nike
  7. Nokia
  8. Alibaba
  9. Amazon
  10. Nintendo
  11. Procter & Gamble
  12. News Copr.
  13. Affymetrix
  14. Disney
  15. Samsung
  16. Method
  17. Target
  18. HP
  19. Tesco
  20. Ausra
  21. Timberland
  22. IBM
  23. Arup
  24. Anomaly (an ad agency, oops, branding/innovation/design/VC firm)
  25. Autodesk
  26. Herman Miller
  27. RealNetworks
  28. Boeing
  29. LG Electronics
  30. Omniture
  31. iRobot
  32. Wal-Mart
  33. Live Nation
  34. Intel
  35. Burton
  36. Whole Foods
  37. Cisco Systems
  38. Corning
  39. Toyota
  40. Real D
  41. Microsoft
  42. Payless
  43. AirAsia
  44. Current TV
  45. Sun Microsystems
  46. BMW
  47. Tata Group
  48. AKQA
  49. Prosper
  50. Baidu

Using Video in Business

Filed under: Marketing,Technology — Emily Reeves @ 9:05 am

“No matter which services you choose, the most important point is simply to use video.  Too many companies don’t have clips showing their products, their philosophies, or simple news announcements by their CEOs.  Business is a conversation, and video is increasingly how that conversation takes place.” — summary of an article in this month’s Fast Company that talks all about the various ways video can be used by businesses.

February 18, 2008

Dark Knight Marketing to Continue

Filed under: Current Events,Marketing — Emily Reeves @ 8:21 am

More confirmation that the marketing efforts for the Dark Knight will continue as planned, reported in BrandWeek:

“Promotional partners are standing by their programs and reportedly won’t need to scrap any related marketing materials.  The reason: they did not focus on the ghoulish Joker character, instead preferring to center their campaigns on the hero, Batman.

“That’s been the norm for brand/movie tie-ins for years, with corporate partners choosing not to align too closely with the bad guys.”

Event Marketing Works

Filed under: Marketing — Emily Reeves @ 8:15 am

A new survey shows in-person events can boost purchase intent as high as 52%, according to a recent article in BrandWeek. If consumers attend brand-sponsored events–such as sports championships, walkathons and theme parks–purchase intent translated directly into sales about 50% of the time. And, sports-related events have the greatest impact.

“The special value of events, sponsorships and trade shows has to be considered, ” said Raymond Pettit, co-author and svp at MarketShare Partners in Los Angeles. “There are many connection points you can build at an event whether it is emotional, aspirational or awareness building–it goes beyond just counting audience attention.”

I wonder, though, about people that attend these events, wouldn’t they be more likely to buy the product anyway? Just the fact that they are attending the event shows a pre-disposition to like the brand.

February 17, 2008

Social Networking Adveritising Not Working

Filed under: Advertising,Technology — Emily Reeves @ 1:35 pm

As reported in BusinessWeek, social network users are spending less time on sites like MySpace and Facebook in an effort to avoid advertising.  “The average amount of time each user spends on social networking sites has fallen by 14% over the last four months, according to market researcher ComScore.  MySpace, the largest social network, has slipped from a peak of 72 million users in October to 68.9 million in December, ComScore says.  The total number of people on such sites is still increasing at an 11.5% rate, but that’s down sharply from past growth rates.”

“MySpace and Facebook recognize the issue but say increased targeting and other innovations will spur users to pay more attention.”

We will see what happens, but maybe online games are the new social networking sites when it comes to hot places to advertise.

Gaming: “Digital Crack”

Filed under: Technology — Emily Reeves @ 1:25 pm

How addictive is gaming? “Total time spent gaming online hit 11.4 billion minutes in December, up 27% over the previous year…Only e-mail and shopping keep people online longer nowadays.”  So, naturally, media companies and advertisers are looking for ways to leverage the popularity of online games.  BusinessWeek reports that MTV has been taking advantage of this growing trend and now “is pushing hard into online games in pursuit of their rich advertising potential and can’t have failed to notice that traffic growth is slowing at social networks.”

MTV has been signing up advertisers for its games, and one of the more recent additions: Staples.  Staples “recently sponsored a game on ShockWave.com, an MTVN site that attacks millions of women users.  The game features the Easy Button from its TV spots that, when pressed, magically makes chores disappear.  Women visitors were asked to submit photos showing why they needed an Easy Button.  They voted on the top five–including a messy garage–and the winning photos were converted into digital jigsaw puzzle, which happen to be a favorite among women gamers.”

I am continually surprised at the number of female gamers, but everywhere I turn lately I am reading about the popularity of gaming and the how women love gaming too.  See my previous entry on how women spend their time online.

But, I digress.  The point is, online gaming boom is showing no signs of slowing and advertising within games is the new product placement.  In fact, advertisers are expected to spend $2 billion on online games in 2012, four times 2007′s total.

February 13, 2008

Majority of Web Users Female

Filed under: Marketing,Technology — Emily Reeves @ 9:03 pm

Courtesy of Advertising Age this week, we learn that 2007 was the year that women tipped the scale to compose more than 50% of online users. What are they doing online?

  • Shopping: travel, clothing, health & beauty products, financial products, and food. Women 45 to 54 were much more likely than men to make impulse purchases online when given limited-time offers or extra free items.
  • Gaming: women are more likely to pay for play.
  • Viewing video: news, movies previews, and music videos.
  • Parenting: more than 43 million moms go online daily and spend an average of 85 minutes there.
  • Socializing: women 25-34, with a college degree are more often to search for local dining and entertainment information, use instant messaging, visit social-networking sites, read blogs, and download music.
  • Dating: when dating online, they lie about weight more often than any other attribute.
  • Staying healthy: almost 84% of all women sought healthcare information online.

February 7, 2008

Widget Marketing

Filed under: Marketing,Technology — Emily Reeves @ 3:48 pm

Reported in Brandweek, and based on findings from a new eMarketer report, here are some stats on the future of brandable widgets (“mini-Web applications that are downloaded and installed for use on personal computers, Web pages, blogs or social-network profiles”):

  • 100,000 developers worldwide are currently working on widget programs.
  • Facebook began allowing widgets on its site last May.  Since then, 13,000 widgets have been created for the site alone.
  • Social networking sites are a big destination for widget placement.  In 2007, 13.6 million Web surfers between the ages of 12-17 were social network users.  That number will be 15.3 million this year and 17.7 million by 2011.
  • Asked whether they thought mobile marketing or widgets would play a larger role in advertising strategies for 2008, 58% of marketers sided with widgets.

“Marketers spent $15 million creating, promoting and distributing widgets in 2007.  That number is expected to grow to $40 million in 2008.”

Is your brand represented in the widget world?

Stone Ward Bloggers

Filed under: Current Events,That's Just Cool — Emily Reeves @ 3:26 pm

Everyone has an opinion. Here is where other Stone Ward staffers are expressing theirs:

Blake’s Think Tank – Blake Rutherford, our Director of Public Communications, writes about politics and other current events.

Monkey Bulb – Chris Kindrick, Art Director, comments on creative executions of advertising.

Officially Lucky – Clint Ecker, Senior Web Developer, is a source for all technology and social networking.

Ain’t Misbehavin’ – Kyle Riley, Public Communications Account Executive, records news that is too good not to pass along.

The Angry Czeck - Jeremy Harper, Senior Copywriter, calls his blog “the most furious newsletter in modern times.”


February 6, 2008

Political Mac vs. PC?

Filed under: Advertising,Current Events,Marketing — Emily Reeves @ 9:10 am

More on the influence and importance of design: this week the NY Times had an article contrasting and comparing the websites of Obama and Clinton as if one were a Mac and one a PC.  This further illustrates the point made earlier this week in the comparison of font use by the different presidential candidates–never underestimate the power of good design.  According to the NY Times article:

“The differences between hillaryclinton.com and barackobama.com can be summed up this way: Barack Obama is a Mac, and Hillary Clinton is a PC.

That is, Mr. Obama’s site is more harmonious, with plenty of white space and a soft blue palette. Its task bar is reminiscent of the one used at Apple’s iTunes site. It signals in myriad ways that it was designed with a younger, more tech-savvy audience in mind — using branding techniques similar to the ones that have made the iPod so popular.”

“In contrast to barackobama.com, Mrs. Clinton’s site uses a more traditional color scheme of dark blue, has sharper lines dividing content and employs cookie-cutter icons next to its buttons for volunteering, and the like.”

The article does question, however, if this “being a Mac” is good politics:

“While Apple’s ad campaign maligns the PC by using an annoying man in a plain suit as its personification, it is not clear that aligning with the trendy Mac aesthetic is good politics. The iPod may be a dominant music player, but the Mac is still a niche computer. PC, no doubt, would win the Electoral College by historic proportions (with Mac perhaps carrying Vermont).”

February 5, 2008

Value of YouTube for Advertisers

Filed under: Advertising,Marketing,Technology — Emily Reeves @ 12:43 pm

Coming off the Super Bowl surge of popularity for advertising (when commercials get higher audience than the game thanks to DVR devices), a NY Times had an article today noting the importance of the web for additional viewing of popular commercials. In fact, marketers should be thinking about ways to post all spots on the Internet on various sites:

“The ‘torture test’ for brands beyond their Super Bowl ads is how to make it easy for consumers to find the ads and engage with them, whether you put them on Web sites, on YouTube or make them easy to search for on Google,” said Pete Blackshaw, executive vice president at the Nielsen Online Strategic Services division of the Nielsen Company.

With broadcast production costs rising and media placement costs continuing to rise, it just makes sense to take the spots that have been produced for the paid media placement and use them in free media outlets that consumers actually seek out. As an advertising agency and strategic partner to our clients, we should be recommending that all produced spots are placed on the web.

February 4, 2008

Abercrombie & Its Risque Ads: Outlawed!

Filed under: Advertising — Emily Reeves @ 6:22 pm

I have an interest in law, especially when it applies to advertising. When I saw this WSJ Law Blog entry about Abercrombie & Fitch’s revealing ads being removed in Virginia, I was intrigued:

“On Saturday, police in Virginia carted away two promotional photographs from the A&F store in Virginia Beach’s Lynnhaven Mall (the picture above wasn’t one of them). Under a local ordinance making it a crime to display ‘obscene materials in a business that is open to juveniles,’ the store’s manager, who police say had failed to heed warnings to remove the photographs, was issued a citation. If convicted, the manager reportedly faces a fine of up to $2,000 and as much as a year in jail.”

Turns out however, “the Virginia Beach deputy city attorney said Monday afternoon that police will seek to drop the charges against A&F…According to the story, city officials said thought it would be difficult to meet certain standards of the obscenity law.”

How much publicity did A&F receive for this waste of police time and effort? Probably enough to make the risk of removal worth it.

Iconic Logo Design

Filed under: Advertising,Current Events — Emily Reeves @ 6:00 pm

Who knew there was such a thing as a “specialty in semiotic analysis of package design for consumer-product companies?”  According to an article in this past Sunday’s New York Times Magazine,  there is just such a thing and what it means is that the specialist “applies the close-reading analytical skills you might associate with deconstructing a novel or a work of art to the breaking down of logos and packaging to their ‘constituent parts’ and ‘indexical signs.’”  For the article, he broke down the Tide logo in ways I would have never imagined:

“…the original Tide package…communicated ‘cyclone in a box,’ he says.  ‘There’s this great dynamic tension there.  The word “Tide” is bursting out of the circle, and the circle is standing out of the box.  It’s almost a baroque composition; it’s like what Steven Spielberg would do if he were designing a brand.’  The idea was that Tide is a ‘force of nature–it’s a phase shift’…’some sophisticated color research’–involving a psychologist who specialized in such things–went into selecting a bright scheme that would suggest ‘sufficient power,’ tempered with the ‘likable’ blue that had a more ‘sensitive’ connotation.”

This article is a great reminder that good design takes a lot of research, hard work and talent to produce.  Never underestimate the subliminal power of logos and design.  For a  timely example as we approach Super Tuesday, check out this article in the Boston Globe that breaks down the font use and logo design of each of the major candidates.  Here is a sample:


“The Hillary type palette is far from fresh and colorful; it is begging for legitimacy instead of demanding respect. It projects recycled establishment. The type has a tired feeling, as if the ink has been soaking into the page too long. The Hillary logo has the look of an ’80s newspaper layout or an investment company. The tall lower-case reminds me of someone with their pants pulled up too high. I wonder about the significance of the three stars and three stripes. A third term?”


“Obama’s type is contemporary, fresh, very polished and professional. The serifs are sharp and pointed; clean pen strokes evoke a well-pressed Armani suit. The ever-present rising sun logo has the feeling of a hot new Internet company. His sans serifs conjure up the clean look of Nike or Sony. This typography is young and cool. Clearly not the old standards of years past.”


“McCain uses type that is a perfect compromise between a sans and a serif, what type geeks call a “flared sans.” Not quite sans and not quite serif, sort of in between, moderate, not too far in either direction. The strokes have contrast between the thick and thin, creating the feeling that the ends are going to have cute little serifs, but they just flare out a little, not forming actual serifs but wanting to. The military star centered and shadowed is a not-so-subtle touch. And McCain just says “President,” as if to say he’s already been elected. Everything about this logo says you can buy a car from this man. From the perfectly centered star to the perfectly spaced type, the entire design looks like a high-end real estate company. McCain has done something no other candidate has done, he uses all blue, no red – not even a dash. If we were to predict the results based on typography and design, we would pick McCain and Obama.”

February 1, 2008

More on the Kindle

Filed under: Technology — Emily Reeves @ 11:24 am

Earlier this week I wrote about my love of the Kindle after reading that Steve Jobs thinks it is stupid (I am exaggerating, of course) because no one reads anymore. Well, it seems his comments stirred up some others as well. Advertising Age disputes Jobs’ statistics on reading as well:

“‘Who are these “people” to whom Steve Jobs is referring?’ Publishers Weekly Editor in Chief Sara Nelson asked me last week. ‘Not the million-ish who are devouring Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Eat, Pray, Love” or the ones who line up for Harry Potter and/or James Patterson novels.’ She added: ‘All I can say is that when I sat in restaurants and airports or on buses or trains and pulled out my Kindle, I got more attention than if I’d shown up naked–with an adorable puppy.’”

Right on.