buzzfeed sao paolo no ads

 

A city without ads? It’s true. Years ago, I learned about São Paulo, Brazil, the city that banned all outdoor ads in 2006. City buses, building walls, light poles and billboards were stripped clean and stayed that way until officials allowed GE to erect 120-foot, graffiti-style branded artwork in 2012.

While I understand and often crave the peace of mind that São Paulo residents said they found, the marketer in me finds the prospect of life without a single billboard…sad.

For wedged between the hokey humor and cliche, “Do billboard ads work? Just did.” banners, a genuinely great billboard ad rises from the onslaught of poor ideas and even poorer design.

For me, passing a great billboard is literally head-turning. I can’t help but give a head nod of appreciation to whoever crafted the concise, pithy statement and ironically-paired imagery, then pocket the jolt of inspiration for my own creative fuel.

Here are a few of my recent favorites:

Light drinker.

– Sewell for fuel efficient cars

Hot. Rich. Available.

– Racetrack coffee

Here’s to finding your holiday spirits.

– Goody Goody Liquor

Not a billboard, but a creative and functional use of outdoor ad space by IBM nonetheless

Fast Company shared an article recently about the direction of Twitter. Now armed with a Head of TV and an IPO, Twitter aims to monetize itself through TV marketing as “the world’s biggest couch.”

fast company direction of twitter

We’re getting to see a company find its purpose right before our eyes, which is a kismet moment of oh so gratifying alignment. What I love about Twitter’s long-time coming expansion into TV marketing is that their evolution is capitalizing on how people already gravitate towards using it, rather than pushing their platform into change for the sake of money, users or change itself. Making moves to ingrain a product (Twitter) more into daily life by increasing the connection between preexisting daily habits (tv watching) is a strong formula. Twitter seems to get that while more money and users are a natural byproduct of doing smart, authentic business, these should not be the sole goal of change but rather the effect of it. Their goal is facilitating real-time content for closer, stronger and just plain more viewer-program relationships. By offering Twitter as a platform for extending television storytelling with behind-the-scenes content, opportunities to connect with shows’ celebrities and more, Twitter is poised to become an invaluable content resource for engaging current fans and reaching new ones.

Of course, whether this is successful for the company or not remains to be seen. But I’m rooting for you, Twitter, and excited to see where television programs take these new marketing opportunities!

To read the full article, visit Inside Twitter’s Vision for a TV-Powered, Profitable Future.

This past week has been abuzz with social media advertising updates from Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. While some of these new offerings currently come with a sky-high price tag out of reach for many brands outside the likes of Coca-Cola and Samsung just to name a few, the innovation of marketing opportunities is certainly intriguing and worth following for a potential cost-benefit fit down the road.

1. Twitter Amplify

 

Brands can now coordinate promoted tweets with targeting specified to the location and timing of their TV ads and honed in to specific users based on program-related tweets. Twitter shared that brands using their beta version saw a 27% increase in engagement, along with increases in brand recall and intent to purchase. The technology behind this truly sounds incredible – without any additional work by the marketer (uploading media plans, etc.), Twitter’s video fingerprinting technology is able to detect and track when and where a brand’s commercials run on TV, down to what program/show was running during the time of air. Wow. This announcement along with the growing use of hashtags during both live and scripted TV programming and Twitter’s broadcast partnerships to promote television clips on the platform are really revolutionizing television by closing the gap between broadcast and digital. Twitter’s updates are enabling consumers’ inherent (and growing) tendency to turn to mobile/social media during TV viewing by providing a streamlined multimedia experience. While brands still face the issue of decreasing TV advertising impressions due to DVR services and online streaming, these updates provide ways to build on the impressions already secured through TV as well as alternatives to leverage existing advertising efforts to reach those missed TV impressions.

2. Facebook Video

facebook-video-ads-the-social-clinic

Facebook, never to be left out or outdone by Twitter, followed reports from earlier this year about the future unrolling of Facebook video ads with even more reports of the future unrolling of Facebook video ads. That’s right, this feature is not even actually available yet (rumors say October 2013 with testing as early as this month), but Facebook just couldn’t bear to let Twitter take all the video limelight. Still, the platform’s domination in users and their time spent on the site make it worth taking an early look. The 15-second video ads will live in newsfeeds and play automatically, although initially muted. Initial targeting is pretty generalized to age and gender, but many presume video ads will one day also have access to the custom and lookalike targeting options available to general Facebook advertising. While this is a potentially exciting opportunity, brands really need to be cautious about how they move forward to avoid backlash. Many consumers already blame brands (rather than Facebook) for ‘spamming their newsfeed’ with sponsored posts. Although Facebook claims they will have daily limitations to four video ads and three impressions per user, video ads pose the risk of being even more invasive than sponsored ads, highlighting the need for stronger targeting and highly relevant, engaging video content.

3. LinkedIn Sponsored Updates

LinkedIn Sponsored Update from Hubspot

These updates are desktop, mobile and tablet friendly with options to follow, share and engage with the post straight from the ad. Another nice feature is LinkedIn’s option to promote a post in up to 20 different languages across their members’ 200 countries. Of course, analytics will be provided for tracking and optimization as well. Most of the benefit for brands so far has been an increase in thought leadership recognition and followers more so than sales-oriented results. However, Hubspot has already done a great job generating quality, cost-efficient inbound leads from marketers for their services, and this could also be a particularly useful tool to target large-scale hiring efforts.

So there you go! Are any of these social media advertising opportunities an exciting fit for your company and clients? Are you concerned about over-saturation on social media from either a brand or consumer point of view?

So much of marketing can end up being a messaging hustle of who we are and what we do, but really resonating with a consumer happens when brands realize there’s another part of the equation…why. Simon Sinek calls this idea a brand’s soul, which you can hear more about in what is now one of the most watched TED Talks ever about leaders who inspire action from the inside out. As people increasingly see purchasing decisions as a reflection of their own persona, a product or service alone is not the whole story anymore. A recent Fast Company article referred to this meaningful third element as one’s “metastory.” See, everyone – company and person alike – has a personal story told through their actions. So when people wear Warby Parker glasses and drink PBR’s, what they are really doing is advancing their own metastory as a hipster so you can tell how hipster they are without them verbally letting you know they are a hipster because that would void their hipsterness. For example.

Procter & Gamble has been taking a page out of Sinek’s playbook lately with their campaign, “The Everyday Effect.” The campaign takes a more subtle promotional approach by celebrating everyday moments, decisions and memories. Their videos tell a relatable, consumer-focused story with their products in a supporting role. By illustrating how seemingly ordinary actions can set the stage for cherished memories and long-lasting traditions, P&G is able to take a basic product like shampoo or a Swiffer and assign it meaning to evoke an emotional response. On one hand, this seems like just a genius (-LY manipulative) way to encourage people to value things even more than we already do. But on the other hand I kinda love how this campaign emphasizes living life…rather than buying it.

What do you think: purposeful use of pathos to drive consumerist tendencies or heartfelt romanticizing of daily life to build brand affection? And is it so bad to do both?

Writing may be a little sparse lately around here, but my industry thoughts are being shared somewhere – on Nuñez PR Group‘s blog, “Nuñez in Motion.” Here are summaries of my two recent blog posts:

Spring Cleaning Your Approach To Pinterest

pinterest revenue per user

Not only is Pinterest the fastest-growing social media platform, but it is also now the greatest influence on consumer spending. Pinterest generates brands an average revenue of $169 per user, just over the amount of Facebook and Twitter combined! With its huge image database for product searches and streamlined linking and sharing process, Pinterest is a must have for consumer brands to connect with current and potential customers. This spring, the social media platform unveiled system updates to support their new look that include new optimal image sizes, hashtag elimination in search and more. For details on all the major Pinterest updates from a brand perspective  read the full post here.

STEPPS to Contagious Marketing with Jonah Berger

Good-Life-Project-Sketchnotes-Jonah-Berger-1

Virality isn’t about millions of views; it’s about turning existing customers into advocates. – Jonah Berger

Earlier this month, I participated in a webinar to hear contagious marketing insights from author and professor, Jonah Berger. His acronym STEPPS for ‘going viral’ concisely combines marketing common sense with innovation for the digital age. “STEPPS” stands for principles: Social Currency, Triggers, Emotions, Public, Practical Value and Stories. In the new book Contagious: Why Things Catch On, Berger breaks down each principle with research and inspiring brand examples. I’m a sucker for a good case study, so this book has moved high on my reading list! While Berger’s examples span all areas of marketing, I’ve applied his acronym specifically to social media content and campaign strategies in this post.

Reading…

april articles to read

The past month involved a lot of short-form reading and making my way through yet-to-be-finished books. Here’s a round up of some favorite articles:

Watching…

Disconnect-Movie

On the surface Disconnect is a film exploring how technology can isolate us from people and from reality. But the film delves further, revealing a universal human desperation for something outside of ourselves. A combination of for-the-most-part authentic writing, genuine and downright impressive acting and deliberately-paced directing brings the heart-wrenching characters to life and leaves their narratives resonating long after the movie ends. The film is compelling and realistic to the point that, for me, the “fourth wall” faded, leaving the characters and their stories in a contemplative mist around me for days as if they really were real. That element of reality as technology pervades an ever-growing amount of daily life is exactly what makes this movie by Henry Alex Rubin so thoughtful.

Reading…

Mindy Kaling "Is everyone hanging out without me"
Fits of laughter have become a weekly ritual as my roommates and I gather around the tv for the latest episode of “The Mindy Project.” I always enjoy memoirs, but especially after getting hooked on her show Mindy Kaling’s had moved to the top of my reading list. I jumped at the opportunity my trip to DC provided and settled in for my flight Nook in tow. A light “beach read,” Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? definitely isn’t going to take too much time or effort to breeze through. She even said so herself, writing, “If you’re still reading this before bed weeks later, something’s wrong with you.” There were definitely some laugh out loud moments to the point fellow passengers probably really were beginning to think something was wrong with me, but overall the book had far too many ramblings for me to classify it near as hilarious as “The Mindy Project.” “The Office” fans will definitely love every second, though, as she had some great behind the scenes stories about the show and other actors and writers.

my year with eleanor by noelle hancock
March memoirs continued with my reading of My Year With Eleanor by Noelle Hancock. Basically, the author decides to confront something that scares her every day for a year to reattain her enthusiasm for life and with Eleanor Roosevelt as her inspiration. I had high hopes this book would be more similar to The Happiness Project, so I was a little disappointed to find her idea of challenging herself daily involved more elaborate stunts like skydiving or swimming with sharks and meaningless gags like running down her apartment’s main hall naked. Still, she had some great historical insight on Eleanor Roosevelt’s life and reading about daring activities I might never actually do definitely wasn’t boring. My favorite? When the book turned travel memoir following the author’s Mt. Kilimanjaro climb.

Watching…

mad-men-season-6-jon-hamm-jessica-pare
Last night’s “Mad Men” Season 6 premiere was long awaited by many, and I was…not one of them. This is because I spent the last couple weeks finishing not one, but three of the most recent seasons of “Mad Men.” I’d like to say I timed it perfectly by wrapping up season 5 the night before the premiere, but that fact was purely incidental. But hey, it was still a long 24 hours! Thanks to the lovely Angelika Theater, I got to enjoy Mad Men’s tv debut on the big screen, which was quite a change after watching my laptop for weeks on end. The show has the interesting ability to make you feel like nothing happened each episode, yet somehow compound that nothing into quite the eventful season when taken as a whole. I hope this season stays true to each character and the show’s duplicity and quick, understated wit. The season 6 premiere seemed a bit disjointed from past seasons’ character development, so here’s hoping the following episodes are more interested with enthralling than entertaining.

 

Exploring Kilimanjaroorganizing your thoughts, investing in journalism students, preserving historical sites, improving accessibility to art, championing women, inspiring advertising…these are just a few of the countless areas Google has exciting and interesting projects. Google literally has their hands in everything. Seriously, name something.

They do that, too.

You would think with so many very different projects going on at all times, somewhere along the line strengths emerge in certain areas or quality drops in others. But that’s exactly what is so inspiring – not only is Google constantly pursuing new ideas, but they do so consistently well. Seeing what Google does and just how they do it challenges me to think about situations in new ways and to passionately pursue curiosities.

So leave it to Google to debut a hilarious April Fools prank that carries all the attention to detail and ingenuity I’ve come to expect…

google nose

Google Nose (Beta) promises web searchers more information than ever before through a new technology that harnesses the sense of smell. Their Google Aromabase boasts more than 15 million scentibytes, mobile compatibility and even Scent SafeSearch for more daring search requests.

 

A wise person once told me you have to smart to be funny. And Google, your wit and originality have impressed me again.

Reading…

the tipping point by malcolm gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point ponders the question, “What makes ideas spread?” Just reading it was a fantastic mental exercise in understanding different people and issues and brainstorming marketing solutions that actually work, as I’d try to guess each case study’s strategy as I read. This book does an excellent job in clearly defining ideas with actionable examples about what makes a message memorable (“stickiness”) and the right people needed to propel said message (“the law of the few”). For me, most fascinating was seeing the correlation between seemingly minor aspects of daily life and large movements. While you can certainly make the argument that some of Gladwell’s well-supported examples are more circumstantial than others, this book inspires me to take a second look when strategy-planning to ensure a well-rounded understanding and (hopefully) more creative solutions.

Watching…

argo screenshot - ben affleck and cast

Can I just say I’m so glad Ben Affleck is finally getting the appreciation he deserves? While I was a little disappointed to learn all the historical inaccuracies of Argo (and some, like the car/plane chase, were glaring), I was blown away by the attention to detail from the set, costume and make-up designers, who convinced me from scene to scene that we were in 1979 whether in the east coast, LA or Iran. The film is smart and strangely enough for its topic, at times funny. At the same time, the film also makes the sad history of hate between the US and Iran incredibly tangible. For this alone, I think every American should watch this movie, if only to gain a better understanding of a nation who isn’t so different at all, depicted best by the juxtaposition of the riots in Iran to Americans’ eerily identical reactions to the hostage crisis. At the heart of Argo is a true story about humanity, which is why I can overlook things like an added fictional character or chase scene. Some critics have come down on Ben Affleck for poking fun at the film industry in one scene then “Hollywood-ifying” the next with added drama, but I actually think the heightened tension and stress-inducing suspense was imperative to make audiences feel even a tiny idea of the fear and stress those actually involved in the situation felt. Argo is the most all-around well done movie I’ve seen in awhile, and I literally applauded from my apartment’s couch when its Best Picture win was announced.