What I’m reading this morning

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People Are the New Channel, Harvard Business Review

Ten Tips for Managing a Brand’s Wikipedia Page, PR News

PR Fail: Food Website Exploits Boston Tragedy, PR Newser

Oh, Yeah! Kool-Aid Man Gets a CG Makeover, Mashable


Dove thinks you can have better looking armpits in just five days

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Dove Ultimate Go Sleeveless, which hits U.S. stores this week, claims its formula of specialized moisturizers will give women better-looking underarms in five days. It was inspired by Unilever PLC research that found 93% of women consider their armpits unattractive.
Personally, I never really thought nor cared if my armpits were ugly or not…do you?? Can we put the Dove campaign up there with “Anti-aging Toothpaste” campaign?
Read the entire WSJournal Online article here.  


Use Online Listening for Competitive Research

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My friend Jeff Herzog of iCrossing fame and ZooLoo (what exactly is ZooLoo Jeff anyway?) used to say “search is the world’s largest focus group.” I’m not sure if he authored the phrase, but regardless, I’ll always remember it and give him credit. Why? If you compare the 14.3 billion searches conducted in March 2009 per comScore to the response pool of any survey or focus group, you can quickly understand which set may provide more value. Of course, not everyone is searching for the topic you may be interested in, but it’s extremely likely that more people are searching for your topic of interest versus the number of subjects in your research partner’s database.

So what can you learn from search phrases?

Read more here

Building Your Brand Through Emerging Media

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Tonight I attended the OC Ad Federation, in association with AAF, event “Building Your Brand Through Emerging Media.” The final session in a four part series, the panelists’ one paragraph program bios were enough to make me realize I finally found my kind of panel – worldclass techie superheroes. Techie strategists who actually have the goods – driving social media campaigns for 20th Century Fox, American Express, HBO, Disney, Nokia, Hilton Hotels and many more. I knew the advice these panelists would give wouldn’t be from guessing nor from a blog entry they read once upon a time, it would be from personal experience, firsthand knowledge of success, best practices and the inevitable “maybe that wasn’t such a great idea” that comes with anything new.

Once introductions (the sharing of Twitter names and the night’s hashtag) were made, the panel kicked-off.

Research and interpretation for strategy
The first thing to do is research to make sure the new, hot 2.0 tool isn’t the driver. Analyze if this channel is really where you need to be. Is there a more appropriate channel for your audience? Or how can you make public relations and social media work together? Before diving in goals and objectives should be set.

For the entertainment industry, quite a few examples were discussed, but one that stuck with me was about the Pirates of the Caribbean. The studio thought the best trailer would showcase primarily the action and Johnny Depp. What they found through research was that women responded strongly to Keira Knightly. So what did the studio do? They went back and cut a trailer that focused on Knightly’s character and her storyline. Result? More success among that demographic.

Case study
A popular question was who’s doing social media right? Whole Foods is a good example that was discussed at length. For Twitter, the strategy of alternating between an “ad” (ex., Organic food 1/2 off this week -LINK-) and interaction (RT’s, @ replies, posing non-brand related questions) provide synergies and balance to YouTube and blogging initiatives.

Lead generation
When it comes to lead generation, larger companies must take regions into consideration and each region’s behavior. Consider your audience instead of taking a blanket approach.

It has to be said that you cannot approach social media without being strategic, but still open-minded and flexible. In that spirit, measuring social media has it’s own set of rules. You have transactions, but that’s where traditional measurement almost ends. Impressions are not enough. Driving metrics for business needs to focus on the cost per engagement, time spent and what I call word of Web (yes, I am fully aware there’s a reason why that term never caught on)… Monitor what’s being said, spread and know when to act and when to stay out.

Small business
During the event, the panelists took questions via Twitter. Mine was the first one picked up, which was about how small business can be successful in social media. Big budgets mean big campaigns and big results, but America thrives on small businesses that should be able to participate and still have success. Frankly, I think consumers almost expect everyone to participate these days – Mom & Pops included. Here are a few tips on the hot topic that also spilled into the Q&A session:
  1. Set goals. Define what success looks like.
  2. Nothing else matters if the content is not good. Nothing.
  3. Design the application for easy consumer interaction.
  4. Pay attention to what others are doing: share and “steal” when it makes sense!
  5. Unless speaking to the marketing and advertising industry, throw out marketing and advertising speak. Have an authentic voice. Consumers respond to things that are authentic, honest, interesting and show passion.

As a sidebar, I knew I was in for an experience when I realized the event was held Sutra. Yep, that Sutra. Apparently they host corporate events, and I have to say I loved it! The atmosphere was much more energetic, creative, interactive and refreshing. Maybe it was the disco ball, maybe it was the fireworks playing on the flatscreen, but I prefer to think it was a great group of people. Cheers!

Magazine Ads Contribute to Web Traffic

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I found this out first-hand while working with a client from 2006 – 2008. We had specific landing pages for specific ads throughout the campaign. This helped us track which print ads converted best, but as a result, we also saw our most common search terms – more valuable than we realized in the beginning.

One simple way for the Online Marketing-challenged to gage response from print ad to Web is to embed analytics into these Web pages and throughout the Web site. Google Analytics (GA) is the most popular and is free, however, you will usually need to hire someone to code your site unless you know basic programming.

If tracking leads and making strategic recommendations also comes with the gig, then I highly recommend supplementing GA with a paid-for analytics service. GA has a few nuances that if you have a back-up, won’t really matter. Crazy Egg is one of my favorites.

URLs Boost Magazine Ad Response

(Full article at

Advertisers seek to drive consumers to their websites as the Internet becomes a more important element in their marketing plans. As a result, web traffic and search results are increasingly regarded as measures of marketing success.

New research from Affinity confirms that magazine ads with URLs are more likely to drive readers to advertiser websites overall, as well as across a range of genres. Even if “drive to web” is not the goal of the advertising campaign, including a URL to boost web visits is a benefit most advertisers will appreciate, says the report.

The VISTA research is based on an analysis of 833 ads in seven different magazines representing six distinct magazine genres:

Magazine Ads Driving Readers To Websites (Index)

Ads Without Web Address (Index 100)

Ads With Web Address Included (Index)
















Source: Vista/MPA, July 2009

The research from VISTA reinforces earlier work. Marketing Evolution aggregated nine studies that had quantifiable data on web visits to examine how magazine ads contributed to building web traffic. Findings showed that when the URL was included in the magazine advertising creative the percentage change in website visits tripled (from two to six points):

Percent Visiting Brand Website



Point Difference

No URL included




URL included




Source: MarketingEvolution/MPA, July 2009

Both pieces of research underscore the importance of accountability for magazine advertising creative. A number of initiatives have shown that creative quality is the most important factor in affecting advertising results, although media engagement also plays a role.

Overall conclusions of other compiled data:

  • Offline media perform well in driving web traffic and search, often better than online media, even when URL addresses are missing or not prominently displayed in offline ads
  • Media synergy is important, though each medium influences online behavior differently and plays a distinctive role
  • Looking at qualified search, those consumers ready to make a purchase, paints a different picture of media usage than total search, which is most often the focus of advertisers
  • When looking at the role individual media play in driving web results, magazines most consistently drive web traffic and search

In addition, conclusions from quantitative analysis:

  • Magazine ads had a major impact on building web traffic
  • Magazine ads generated web traffic at each stage of the purchase funnel, especially purchase intent
  • Including a URL in magazine ads significantly increased web visits /accountability

And, from an earlier study from the AAF:

Effectiveness of Media at Driving Consumers to the Web





Broadcast TV


Cable TV






Out of Home




Source: ICOM, American Advertising Federation (AAF) 2006, July 2009

To read more about
magazine accountability, please visit here. For a compilation of relevant studies by MPA, please visit this site for a PDF file. And the Forrester report may be found here.