Puttin on the Ritz

June 19, 2012 at 5:32 pm (advertising, marketing, photography, Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Image

I recently had the pleasure of staying at The Ritz-Carlton Coconut Grove in Miami, Florida. Within the pages of one of the magazines in the room was this ad for The Ritz-Carlton. I love the visual suggestion of a cityscape created out of vintage and retro style product placement. It’s a strong and very masculine visual instantly recognizable as a skyline before your eye is able to deconstruct the image into it’s various parts of bottles, clocks, paperweights, flashlights and all other manner of recognizable and non-descript elements. The imagery is so powerful I kept flipping to the page with the ad just to decipher more of what made up the various forms. This was my favorite ad in the series, but not the only one that included the clever use of forms. Check out more here.

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Things That Make You Go Hmmm

June 21, 2011 at 12:57 am (advertising, Branding, Design, marketing, South Florida, Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

Bethesda Heart Hospital

What’s the first thing you think of when you see this billboard? I thought – “huh, that’s weird. I wonder what they mean?” After all, definitions for a “foursome” range from the sexual to the game of golf, but I get the feeling this billboard is not some kinky reference or about leaving your golfing buddies alone and lifeless on the links. Thinking through the various definitions of a foursome and how it could relate to a hospital it finally dawned on me that it might relate to the anatomy of the heart. There are in fact four chambers and four valves within the heart – That’s it! Now I’m tired and my brain hurts; that was a lot of work to understand a witty billboard.

A lot of work it was, but I got it. More importantly, I remembered it. And I have a feeling that’s what BFW, the agency responsible for the campaign, wanted. I remembered not only the billboard, but also the location of the billboard just so I could stop and get a picture of it. It is no small feat to remember a single 14’ x 48’ billboard while on a 220 mile round trip drive filled with …billboards! So I guess that’s a testament to the marketing force behind the idea.

The agency reports on their blog that “The first day these two billboards appeared, they generated 474 hits on the hospital’s website (that’s huge in their market).  And, according to our client, they’ve continued to generate more buzz for the hospital than any other billboards in recent years.” I have to admit, it drove me to their website and I live 50 miles south of this billboard. Whoever designed the hospital’s logo go it right, too. The “B” reinforces the name, the heart is self-explanatory, and the style, font and color choice reinforce the healthcare aesthetic. So, I guess, job well done on all accounts. …Now where did I leave that SA Node?

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IKEA Happy Inside

September 14, 2010 at 9:20 am (advertising, Branding, commercials, marketing, Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

What happens when you release 100 cats into an IKEA for a night?

The final cut:

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The 60 Days of Christmas

November 3, 2009 at 12:27 am (advertising, Branding, economy, Florida, Fort Lauderdale, marketing, South Florida) (, , , , , , )

 

Snowball

Is it just me or does Christmas keep getting earlier every year? No, not the actual day, – that’s hasn’t changed much in roughly 1500 years – but the commercialization of Christmas starts earlier every year. Yesterday I noticed a JCPenny decked from mall entrance to parking entrance in winter holiday décor, and a Target that already had their Christmas salutations flying – THE DAY AFTER HALLOWEEN!

Remember when Christmas would not even be thought of until the day after Thanksgiving? Now it’s like our fine pilgrim friends never existed. No more turkey decorations, or pilgrim hats. No cornucopias filled with a bounty of veggies and gourds that no one really eats. For the first time a Hallmark Holiday has actually trumped a Hallmark Holiday. What will we see next year, kids dressed as Santa, elves, and Chanukah Harry for Halloween?

Today I actually saw a tent selling Christmas trees. For those of you in states where the temperature drops below 50˚ F for more than two days a year it might not be that uncommon, but for us in South Florida where at 11 pm in early November it’s still nearly 80˚ with 70%+ humidity. I don’t care if you call them evergreens, those trees aren’t gonna last 2 months.

I miss the days when Christmas was just fun. Now it’s more burden than anything else. I understand that businesses are trying to promote early savings on gift buying in this new economy, but c’mon, with every passing year the holiday season becomes less fun and more like a chore. Marketers, advertisers, and promoters of holiday cheer; I implore you, please give the holiday season its soul back.

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Where’s Waldo Meets the Real World

August 23, 2009 at 11:20 pm (advertising, marketing, News, social media) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

vanish_waldo

We’ve all heard about people going off the grid, or disappearing for a while. People do it all the time for reasons as varied as witness protection or to just getting away from it all, but what about for a contest? That’s right, in a Where’s Waldo type of hide-and-seek game Evan Ratliff, a writer for Wired Magazine, has gone on the lam. Best of all, if you find this elusive writer, and capture an image of him, you could win $5,000 and an interview in the magazine.

In this era of connectivity it’s harder than ever to truly disappear. In the past, separating yourself by a few thousand miles and grabbing a new name along the way was all it took, but today we are hard pressed not to be connected into the virtual social fabric that weaves around us. Investigators can search your social media pages and find your friends, location, and even personal information, like your bank account records and frequent flyer miles.

To aid in the hunt for Evan he has given the world a glimpse into his life – a much more intimate glance than most would allow. The magazine has put out his name, age, medical conditions, likes, and dislikes. He has even allowed Wired Magazine full access to his debit card for tracking – if he actually uses it over the next month. During his time on the run he will be staying connected through social media, to a degree, and will be monitoring the information about his whereabouts.

This contest is genius on the part of both the magazine and the author. They have created a real-world, multi-user experience that crosses geographic and media boundaries. Anyone can play, choose their level of involvement, and there is no guaranteed winner – it’s all up to the players. And did I mention the publicity? So far AOL has picked it up, and it’s moving through social media communities with blogs and twitter posts covering the action.

Wired Magazine may be onto a new version of sleuth game. Geographic hide-and-seek. The concept could involve cross-platform collaboration between social media sites and utilize new technologies and competitions like geo-caching and Microsoft Tags to enable players clues, maybe even live action role-playing 2.0. We’ll have to see how many news outlets actually pick up the story, but regardless, what better way to involve your target audience than bringing them into this game?

To keep tabs on the competition you can check out twitter with the hashtag #vanish or Wired’s website.

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How Does Social Media Affect You?

August 20, 2009 at 10:27 pm (advertising, Branding, economy, marketing, networking, social media) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

What is social media, how do people use it, why do they use it, and how does that effect you as a designer, advertiser, marketer, etc? Watch and learn:

Thanks @saribrooke for the link!

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Buzz Marketing, What Made Twilight Sparkle

August 17, 2009 at 10:42 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

twilightcoverIn this world of fast paced real-time information how are books not only relevant, but still becoming cult phenomenons well before the movie is even in preproduction. We saw this meteoric rise with the Harry Potter series and now with the Twilight Saga.

Everything I saw about Twilight just reeked of teen and tween drivel about adolescent angst and insecurities mixed in with a love story and some vampires. Fast-forward to a few nights ago when I was having dinner with some friends, and the conversation shifted to who was on which book. Four out of the six adults, all in their 20s and 30s, were past the first book, excited about the next book, and talking about the saga with affinity.

How is it that book written for the teen and tween market jumped demographics into the realm of professional adults? Buzz Marketing. According to Advertising Age: One strategy that Summit Entertainment produced was to promote the books to moms. “We started trying to expand the mom base by offering it up as a portal to talk to their daughters,” said Nancy Kirkpatrick, president of Summit’s worldwide marketing. They even launched a blog called TwilightMoms. Many of these parents read the books, then got hooked themselves. They inevitably told other adults, who told other adults, etc expanding the demographic further. To help enlarge the fan base and talking points about the movie a nationwide mall tour was launched, and when the DVD was released it was done on a Friday instead of a Tuesday to avoid the school week, resulting in 3 million units sold on the first day.

To continue this buzz marketing strategy some DVD versions of the movie come with a free digital download from iTunes. In buzz marketing, seeding campaigns, where free or reduced price products are given away, can help boost cross pollination into other demographics. This is genius in the case of digital downloads for movies. Why? Consider this situation: Someone is going on a flight and taking their laptop with them. Instead of lugging DVDs around, they choose to use iTunes movies. Another flier is in close enough proximity to see parts of the movie that they otherwise never would have come into contact with, thus sparking their interest in watching the movie. After watching the movie he or she chooses to read the books and/or go see subsequent films, resulting in higher revenue.

While we’re talking about movies, here’s another fun tidbit: On August 28, 2008 Stephenie Meyer posted to her blog that “my partial draft of Midnight Sun was illegally posted on the Internet and has since been virally distributed without my knowledge or permission or the knowledge or permission of my publisher.” On November 21, 2008 the Twilight movie was released to theater going audiences. Talk about a happy accident! What better (free) promotion for a movie than scandal, not bad scandal – viral scandal. The kind of scandal that spreads faster than fingers can type on QWERTY keyboards, and news channels can broadcast the scoop.

In the wake of the Twilight Saga’s success there have been a multitude of branding opportunities including a make-up line, video games, conventions, comic books, and even an SAT prep book that uses vocabulary from Twilight. Will my eyes ever gaze upon the serifs of Twilight’s pages? Probably not, but I do know that it has entered an empirical piece of pop culture that few books ever have.

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Ad Age Celebrity

July 9, 2009 at 1:18 pm (advertising, Branding, commercials, marketing, TV advertising) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

News1_0

Sure we know Billy Mays, Anthony Sullivan, and the ShamWow Guy because their job is for us to remember them, trust them, and as a result buy their amazingly life changing products. But what about the actors who have repeating roles on commercials?

In the past we had some memorable endorsers, such as Donavan Freberg – the Encyclopedia Britannica Kid, but now there seems to be a new and growing multitude of these single product (or company) pitchmen.

Starting in 2001 we were introduced to Paul Marcarelli – the Verizon guy who brought us the “Can you hear me know” phrase. They’ve even gone so far as to bring the “network” to an actual customer (or so it seems). Some people claim the phrase is more popular than the service.

We had the GEICO Caveman ads, which have aired for GEICO Insurance since 2004. The ad series has produced 19 commercials to date, had a short-lived TV spin-off, and has also had viral videos, websites, and a short film made with the characters.

2006 brought us the “Get a Mac” commercials with John Hodgman as a PC and Justin Long as a Mac. The American version of this ad runs in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, while other spin-offs are shown with different actors in Britain and Japan, according to wikipedia. The number of TV and web based ads for this campaign is nearing 70 for the US and Canada alone.

In 2008 we were introduced to Flo, the friendly & helping Progressive Insurance cashier played by Stephanie Courtney. The actress, already known by some for her work with The Groundlings, has an ever-growing fan base.

So who will be the next great ad age celebrity? Time can only tell, but for now we have some strong competitors.

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Airline Stunt Grounded

June 29, 2009 at 5:07 pm (advertising, Branding, economy, marketing, News) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Boeing_Wizz_Air

Remember when you think outside the box, there might be new dangers to consider.

Wizz Air, a Hungarian based airline decided to celebrate their 5th anniversary by releasing 1,000 balloons, each with a coupon attached, from the center of Budapest. The coupons were worth 10,000 forints or $49.45.

Here’s a quote from Reuters:
“Someone popped one of the balloons, hoping to get the gift coupon that was attached to it,” Wizz Air communications director Natasa Kazmer said. “As if on cue, the entire crowd attacked the net…The idea was that the balloons would spread far and wide, so we did not place a limit on how many vouchers they could use for a single purchase.”

The voucher-laden balloons were contained by a net and were planned to be release after a press conference by Wizz Air CEO Jozsef Varadi outlining the airline’s long-term vision. By the time the press arrived and Varadi completed his speech nearly all the vouchers were gone.

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