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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in advertising

How to make an advertisement into a podcast feature

My brother recently introduced me to a new podcast, Mystery Show, which, if you haven’t listened it it already, you should. The premise is simple: if you have a mystery in your life which needs solving, Starlee Kine will be your sleuth. The only rule is it can’t be solved via the Internet.

Starlee narrates her investigation with all the intimate, disarming charm inherent to the podcast genre. However, as endearing as the show is itself, it also features my newest favorite advertisement—for Kind Snacks.

Starlee’s advert on her podcast begins in the standard manner: she reads off some scripted ad copy leading up to one of Kind’s taglines: “ingredients you can see and pronounce.” This is where genius strikes: The Ingredient List.

Get the cast involved

The Ingredient List is a show within the show. In my favorite installment, “Cinnamon,” one of the cast members explains, “Kind snacks are made from ingredients you can see and pronounce, except: little kids can’t pronounce cinnamon. So can we just have kids trying to say cinnamon for 30 seconds?”

And then follows 30 seconds of the host of the show and other cast members trying to coax little kids to say cinnamon. It is cute, funny, memorable.

What’s impressive here is that the ad is new every time. The Ingredient List features a new ingredient from a Kind snack each week, and then it plays around with that ingredient. “Quinoa,” for instance, which you can’t pronounce when your mouth is full. Or “Mixed nuts,” which you can see, pronounce, and use to prank your friends.

And much like the “MailKimp” ad from Serial, the success of this ad hinges on authenticity. Because we can hear the cast having fun with the ad, we believe them when they promote the product. And from their side of things, they get a chance to run an ad that stays in keeping with the spirit of their show.

Turn your ad into a segment of the show

Mystery Show’s Kind advertisement does something that very few advertising campaigns are able to accomplish: it advertises the show as much as the product. It’s kind of like how half the Super Bowl audience tunes in for the legendary commercials rather than the game itself. The advertising entertains so well that we want more of it. We look forward to it coming on. When it starts, we ask others to be quiet so that we can listen.

So if you’re looking for a podcast to sponsor, here are our top takeaways:

  • Don’t just pick a podcast based on its audience size. Think about who they are, and if they fit in with your brand. Do the hosts like and use your product? Will a promo from them feel authentic?
  • Involve the cast in the writing of your ad as much as possible. Have them work with your writers so that they have something that feels as much a part of their podcast’s brand as your own. Think about the ad spot as if you are promoting each other.
  • Podcasts are a more intimate, casual genre than other mediums, so don’t be afraid to do something that sounds more off the cuff.

Do you run a podcast? What kind of relationship do you like to build with your sponsors?

#MOVEahead

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Building a fan base for your brand on social media

For decades, traditional advertising appeared as an interruption to daily life. Television and radio, billboards and magazine inserts were all about grabbing your attention during otherwise routine activities: the ad itself was never the destination.

Until the Internet.

Today, social media channels, while not ads per say, have provided a venue for advertising that audiences have voluntarily chosen to be a part of. Consumers have adopted brands as part of their identity. They have become fans.

This is not to say disruptive advertising is a thing of the past: most advertising is still an interruption (and it probably always will be). If you’re new on the scene and trying to get people to know who you are, you have to say “hello” somehow. But once people have shaken your hand (i.e. opted-in to your social media channel), you’re no longer working with a cold audience. You’re speaking to people who have chosen to listen to you.

You have to prove your value to them. And that means NOT treating your social media like an advertising feed.

Avoiding the hard sell on social media

In order to have an effective presence on social media, you must stay focused on your audience. They are not interested in a relentless stream of sales pitches.

Imagine you are a tire company. You could waste a lot of time (and money) on social media pushing a lot of coupons and sales that will get exactly zero people excited. Why? Because no one buys tires on impulse. They are in the market maybe about once a year or so (per vehicle they own), or seasonally depending on your climate. If you’re trying to convince them to go buy tires TODAY, you’re wasting your breath.

Instead, you want to be sure that on the day they choose to go buy tires, you are the first company that comes to mind. And you do this by establishing trust and providing value up front. For instance: You could put out tips for how to check your tire pressure, advice about which tires will work best for your climate, and safety infographics about how keeping your tires in good order will help prevent accidents.

And then, when Fall rolls around and the opportune moment arrives, you can promote a special sale on winter tires. Because by then, not only do you have their trust, you’ve earned it as well.

Respect your audience

Cultivating a fan base is about putting them first. It’s about showing them you’re worth their time by giving them value and not asking too much in return. It’s about the relationship you’ve built with your customer, about dialog, and about being a good listener more than just a good talker.

Because in the end, social media is about people. As in: real human beings on the other end of that Internet connection who will be liking, sharing, and retweeting your brand pro bono, simply because they love you and they want other people to love you as well.

Treat them well.

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How a small airline stands out from the crowd

When was the last time you flew with a truly memorable airline?

Anyone who flies regularly will be very used to the routine of airline travel. In spite of their best marketing efforts, very few airlines seem to differentiate themselves from their competitors, unless it's due to infamously strict baggage policies or a reputation for cheap-as-you-can-get, "no frills" service. The most any of us can expect from the majority of airlines seems to be a slight variation in the quality of in-flight entertainment, the amount of leg room, or the standard of food service (if there is one). 

This is why, on a recent flight with Icelandair, I found myself both surprised and delighted by a completely unique experience.

What makes Icelandair so special?

 The moment I stepped on the plane to find my seat, I knew I had a winner. Although the plane itself appeared a cut above average in terms of technology (it came equipped with obviously new high-resolution screens on the back of every seat), the touch which first charmed me came in the form of little conversational tips on the headrest of each seat. They said things like:

Good night is "góða nótt" in Icelandic. It has a soft and cuddly sound.

"Hraun" is the Icelandic word for lava. It sounds strong and durable.

The throne of Ó∂inn was named Hli∂skjálf. We just call this one: your seat.

My blanket came with a similar message: Missing the hot springs? Warm yourself with this instead. Even the pillow came with an Icelandic lullaby printed with an English translation. 

Once I turned on the display on the display screen, the start-up played through several advertisements for Iceland, as well as a small boast from Icelandair itself: instead of frequent flier miles, Icelandair will allow you to extend your stay in Iceland for up to seven additional nights at no extra cost (and they encourage you to tag your pictures with #MyStopover). They even filmed the standard safety announcement to tell the story of a woman hiking through the Icelandic countryside.

#HumbleBrag 

Perhaps what I found most special about the airline was that very few of these little touches promoted the airline itself, but rather served to showcase the natural beauties of Iceland and the quirks and accomplishments of the Icelandic people.

This is what, in Internet hashtag terms, could be known as a "humble brag": something which manages to be both proud and self-deprecating at the same time. Although these can take on an obnoxious tone when used wrongly, because Icelandair chose to employ their boasting toward the benefit of Iceland the country and the Icelandic people, it felt more like a person boasting about their best friend rather than themself. 

Icelandair's strategy works well for them, because promoting Iceland as a great travel destination indirectly promotes their own airline as the best means of reaching it. Meanwhile, their humble-bragging strategy succeeds because it plays into your psychology: we're more likely to trust what someone says about another person's merits than what they say about their own.

So if you happen to have a business that might benefit by promoting others, don't be afraid to #HumbleBrag about your friends. 

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Show me your granite countertops.

Imagine for a moment you're a prospective homebuyer. Which of these descriptions sounds more appealing?

1) Fantastic, spacious kitchen!

2) Gourmet kitchen with granite countertops.

The second one, right? Do you know why?

"Fantastic" is a matter of opinion. "Granite countertops" aren't.

What words to use in real-estate copywriting.

If you're a fan of Stephen J. Dubner and Steven Levitt's book Freakonomics, you may remember an excerpt from Chapter 2 in which the authors list a number of words commonly associated with real-estate ads. They are: fantastic, granite, spacious, state-of-the-art, "!," corian, charming, maple, great neighborhood, and gourmet. The authors then pose a simple question: which of these words do you think are correlated to a higher sales price, and which to a lower?

The five words most commonly associated with lower sales prices are: fantastic, spacious, charming, great neighborhood, and "!". These are all wiggle words. They're vague. They avoid the truth.

On the other hand, words like "maple," "state-of-the-art," and "corian" conjure specific images. Even if you aren't the sort of homebuyer who gets excited by the mention of "maple wainscoting," someone else sure is.

Be specific.

Specificity in marketing is an important but anxiety-inducing exercise. When you pin yourself down to an exact product or service you inevitably lose prospects who aren't interested in your offer. But when you don't narrow your focus you risk becoming generic, bland, and unappealing. Something vaguely but indefinably "fantastic" with an insecure "!" tacked on the end out of sheer desperation. 

Don't be afraid to get picky about your target market. Prospects who want your product will be more likely to choose you once they make a connection to your unique offer. Because marketing isn't about pleasing everybody—it's about finding and pleasing your people.

It's about providing them with something they can really grab hold of.

It's about showing them your granite countertops.

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Advertising gives the information to the people and let's them decide what they want and what they don't. Do you agree that advertising is at the heart of democracy? 

#weeklyword

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Tell the truth and people will listen. 

#weeklyword

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This weekend, I went on vacation to New York City. In hindsight, calling it a vacation is a little ironic because I was thinking more about marketing in the city than I sometimes do at work. Walking around New York, you’re bombarded by advertisements and clever marketing techniques. There were many moments when I was on sensory overload; trying to absorb everything around me. But as a marketer (and I’m sure most of you have experienced this as well), I couldn’t just look at the thousands of ads around me, I had to analyze and measure the success of each and every one. The same usually happens when I watch T.V. In fact, my friend pointed out “Oh right, I forget what it’s like to watch T.V. with a marketer” and I don’t think she was referring to my witty commentary.

Though my marketer’s brain was overwhelmed by the sheer number of ads, I quickly realized how easy it was to begin to tune them out. For my friends who ride the subway everyday, they mentioned that only the best ads stick out to them (or sometimes the worst, but those have the opposite effect they intended). As I was walking through the city and had conversations with my friends, I began to understand some of the do’s and do not’s to really make your advertising efforts sell in such a large sea of competition.

Do…

…Be relevant

I can’t stress relevancy enough. People engage with topics that are current. Some of the best ads play off of current events or relevant trends. When a brand engages with trends, consumers recognize that they have a finger on the pulse of society.  The ads seem more relatable and consumers will feel more connected to your brand or company.

…Talk to your audience

Talking to your audience is really just an elaboration on the point of relevancy. Know your audience well enough to know how they speak, what they like and what they hate. Engage with them through a common language. Someone is much more likely to remember you when you talk about their bro or use other colloquial language than when you resort to ad-typical language like “are you frustrated with your daily commute? We can help!”

…Be Bold (and simple)

Don’t be afraid to be bold in both content and appearance. Creating bold advertising sets you apart from the other ads on the street and makes you memorable. But maintain simplicity as well. You only have a few seconds to grab someone’s attention and communicate a message, so make sure your message is concise and clear.

Don’t…

…Use too much copy

In the interest of keeping things simple, avoid too much copy. Nowadays, people have very short attention spans. If you are trying to write out all of your services and explain why they should pick you, no one is going to read it. Instead, grab their attention and direct them to where they can find more information.

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…Stretch too far

One of the most confusing ads I saw while in New York was for a travel company. The images were appealing and the copy was clever, but we had no idea what the company did or what their ad was trying to communicate. There were too many connections that needed to be made between the ad, their message, their company and their call-to-action.

Forget a call-to-action

Now I’m not saying you should blatantly say “Buy Now!” Whether inherent or explicit, your ad should communicate a call-to-action. This could mean including a QR code or link to follow for more information, a handle to follow on social media or simply communicate the next step of purchasing the product. Without a call-to-action, your brand will quickly fade among the rest and you won’t be able to measure the effectiveness of your ad.

 

Put some of these tips into action.  They’ll help you shape your concepts and engage better with your audience. We’ve got a few other thoughts that will help you create your best ads, but they’re much better explained in person. Connect with us @movecomm or in the comments below!

#MOVEahead

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In honor of the 10th anniversary of Youtube, we’d like to take a moment and appreciate the power Youtube has for advertisers. Since the launch of Youtube ten years ago, the video sharing platform has driven how audiences interact and engage with media. Millennials have grown accustomed to the ability to consume and share video: YouTube reaches almost 50% of the 18-34 year old population (more than any cable network). But it’s not just about reaching millennials. Everyone watches videos online and those videos lead to awareness, engagement, and conversion. Video increases organic traffic to company websites by 157%, and consumers who watch a video are 85% more likely to buy a product than before they saw the video.

Let’s take a look at the ten most shared YouTube commercials of all time:

1. VolkswagenThe Force

    5,285,480 shares

Relatable, cute and clever, Volkswagen pulls in the most shares while highlighting the roll-out of its newest model at the time.

2. TNT: A DRAMATIC SURPRISE ON A QUIET SQUARE

    4,733,039 shares

TNT’s unique combination of audience interaction, high drama and surprise captured their core brand message in a not-so-subtle way.

3. Dove: Real Beauty Sketches

    4,618,743 shares

Dove is no stranger to viral videos. Their videos are emotional, inspirational pieces that cause viewers to rethink how they see themselves and challenge women to see their real beauty.

4. evian: baby&me 

    3,967,851 shares

Evian’s hilarious “baby&me” spot plays off their tag “Live Young” by creating a spectacle of dancing babies. It’s a simple concept, but it will always make you smile.

5. Budweiser: 9/11

    3,486,080 shares

One of the older commercials on the list, Budweiser’s heartfelt 9/11 commercial commemorates those who lost their lives in the attacks on September 11, 2001.

6. Volvo Trucks: The Epic Split feat. Van Damme

    3,251,841 shares

There’s nothing like a fascinating, life-threatening stunt to get people to share your ad. Volvo Trucks paired the fascinating daredevil Van Damme, the calming voice of Enya and the precision driving of their trucks to create a viral hit.

7. Kmart – Ship My Pants

    3,245,978 shares

Sometimes all it takes is a clever play on words to get your ad to go viral. Kmart highlighted its ability to ship from their store in their clever ad where you can’t help but laugh when an old man exclaims “I just shipped my bed!” 

8. Pepsi Max: Jeff Gordon - Test Drive

    2,761,981 shares

A good prank, especially when it involves innocently scarring a car salesman and Jeff Gordon gets Pepsi some strong advertising.

9. & 10. Budweiser: #BestBuds

    2,498,703 shares and 2,055,422 shares

Budweiser closes in the last two spots with their Super Bowl commercials from 2014 and 2015 pairing their classic Clydesdales with cute puppies and a heartfelt story. Budweiser knows that telling a good story with cute animals is a sure sell.

YouTube has helped create opportunities for brands where there wasn’t before. Audiences have been transformed from passive consumers to marketers themselves as they share their favorites with their networks. YouTube has created and cultivated the ability to share and use one of the most powerful mediums available to us. Are you making use of the power of video for your brand?

Tell us in the comments below or @movecomm

#MOVEahead

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As Pinterest’s advertising continues to trend toward supporting business goals, it is important to understand just how popular the channel has become.

Pinterest’s ‘Pin It’ button has a strong presence on brands’ product pages, comparable to Facebook’s ‘Like’ button and Twitter’s ‘Tweet’ button.  Did you know….

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From time to time, as we’re “hunting and pecking” on the internet, we want to shine a light on things we’ve bumped into that will keep you up to date on current trends.

Ever see a recommended Facebook story that looks good but you’re not quite sure of its source? Have you seen promoted tweets on Twitter? How about an article posted on a news website’s feed that seems like editorial…but then again, maybe not? These items all feel organic but are really sponsored ads. It’s called Native Advertising.

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