Archive for the ‘marketing’ Category

adverts from across the pond

December 30, 2008


last week i visited my older bro, petey (apparently i’m the only person on the planet that still calls him this instead of “pete,” which probably makes sense since he’s creeping up on 40 years old, but already, i digress), and his wife, ann, in minnetrista, MN — a town of about 4,000 people outside of minneapolis. although i was hoping for some cultural nourishment in minneapolis, i didn’t plan anything ahead of time. and besides, i was coming off a busy year in LA and the only thing on my agenda was sleeping and eating…and what culture would I ever find in minneapolis of all places?*

lucky for me and thanks to petey and ann, there was plenty, and at the top of the list was our trip to the walker art center, the contemporary art museum downtown. petey and ann have been attending the annual british television advertising awards shown there around new year’s every year for some time now, and got tickets for us this year. the awards are just what the name implies (and a little more) — it’s an hour-and-a-half  screening of the top TV, online video and in-theater spots to come out of britain for the year.

i love TV spots. there. i said it. when done right, TV ads, or any video advertising, can make us feel the gamut of emotions, and i’m not speaking in hyperbole when i say that. (full disclosure: i work for an advertising technology company. i’m not sure if that helps or hurts the point i’m trying to make, but do with it what you will.)  the great thing about british spots is that they can also be a little edgier, a little sexier, a little vulgarer than the ones here, and those shown at the walker were no exception.

i’ll only include a few of the ads i particularly liked below, because i just found out that LACMA is going to run these awards here in LA on Jan. 23 (which makes me happy as a clam, btw), and i don’t want to spoil it for anyone that plans on going.  some of the spots were from brands unfamiliar to most americans or they focused on UK-specific issues, so i missed the point on those, and there were a few that I didn’t like (DESPISED the viagra ads), but i was surprised at just how translatable the majority of spots seemed for our market and wondered why brands don’t repurpose some of this content for us.  i guess the web and people like me are doing it for them!

let me know if you’ve seen any standout ads from other countries recently.  i lived in Japan for a couple years after college, and while their programming came straight outta wackyworld, i found the majority of ads a little staid (and chock-full of Western celebs). i’d be interested to know what the advertising is like in other countries, especially non-western ones, so if you have any insight, share it here!

*i don’t really think like this.

(warning: there may be material unsuitable for the kiddies.)

toyota yaris, “tag” — one of several winning ads from yaris along the same “treat it with respect” theme.


VW, “cuckoo” — like yaris, volkswagen had several winning spots. (the car companies were well represented…wonder if they’ll be able to afford such high-quality creative in ’09.) this was my favorite.

maltesers, “nipples” — so, maltesers’ ad titled “nipples” was their winning spot, but i couldn’t find it online. this one has the same actresses and basically the same message with a slightly different punchline.

adidas international, “david beckham—workshop”. i never even knew he could speak, and this is such a poignant story.

levi’s, “dangerous liason” – does such a great job at capturing levi’s brand heritage.


social media showdown: facebook vs. linkedin vs. twitter (an unofficial test)

December 24, 2008

i recently had the opportunity to do a (highly unscientific) study around the business efficacy of three popular social networking sites, namely facebook, linkedin and twitter.  most people have at least heard of these sites, but here’s a run-down of how i use each:

facebook — i mainly use this for extracurricular activity, that is, communicating with friends and family about my personal, non-work, non-professional interests. i do have a lot of current and former co-workers in my “friends” list here and belong to several professional groups, but my primary reason for logging onto the site is to interact and communicate with friends about personal topics and goings on.

number of facebook contacts: approx. 270

linkedin — i use this site exclusively for professional networking. my resume (“CV” for the non-american or snooty reader) is on the site, and the majority of my contacts are people with whom i’ve worked. i don’t share anything about my non-work life on this site, and use it to keep updated on the work-lives of friends and coworkers.

number of linkedin contacts: approx. 200

twitter — i use this site to communicate from both a professional and personal perspective. there are a lot of journalists on twitter, and as a PR practitioner, it helps a lot to know what they like and dislike to make sure you’re providing them with news and information that’s of interest to them and their readers.  following their “tweets” gives you insight you can’t get from just reading what they’ve published or meeting them at briefings, tradeshows or other events. more importantly, it provides an opportunity to build a stronger relationship around shared interests. i follow other “thought leaders” on twitter to get smarter about fun topics as varied as PR/mktg/advertising, media, t-shirts, space exploration, music and more. i also follow the few real-life friends i have that are actually on the site to see what they’re doing. 

number of twitter contacts (that are “following” me): approx. 70


so, here’s the chance i was afforded by a friend to test the three networking sites, and see once and for all, which was really the best for business.   below is the message i posted on the three sites.  with linkedin, i sent an email to approx. 50 of my contacts in advertising and PR. on facebook, i updated the “status” section and left it there for three days (so the message was at least visible to all 270+ contacts). on twitter, my next tweet came about an hour later but obviously remained in my feed for as long as anyone wanted to go back to see. also, i don’t lock my tweets, so they’re visible to anyone.  note that since i posted the message a few weeks ago, the number of contacts was a little less on each site than it is today, and on twitter, i was only around 40 “followers” at the time. 

here’s the email i sent through linkedin:

hi pr and advertising colleagues — a friend of mine that works for a company that throws house parties around the country for big brands launching new products asked me a question and i wanted to get your input.

Q: do large brands that have an AOR (either PR or ADV) usually work through them to target the gay community or do they hire boutique agencies?

i handled outreach to the gay media for golinharris when we managed Levi’s 150th anniversary, so i know that in many cases it’s through the AOR, but would love to hear your insight. if you know of agencies that target minorities and the gay community, please let me know who they are.

thanks. — keith

here’s the status update i posted on facebook (i added a comment to the status note below letting my friends know they could disregard it if they had seen the linkedin or twitter messages):

Q: for adv/pr peeps: when big brands target LGBT’s, do they use AOR or small boutiques? at GH we did this, but looking for other input.

and on twitter:

Q: for adv/pr peeps: when big brands target LGBT’s, do they use AOR or small boutiques? at golin we did this, but looking for other input.


measurement is always an important part of any test…even this one!  the “winning” site would be the one that delivered the most high-quality responses. by “high-quality,” i mean the ones that actually helped answer the question i posed and that helped my friend make new contacts in the industry.


drumroll, please.  the overwhelming winner in this (again, extremely unscientific) study was linkedin.  i received about a dozen really thoughtful emails from friends with experience working in PR and advertising agencies of all sizes.  on facebook, on the other hand, the only response i got was from a mexican friend of mine in guadalajara thanking me that he could disregard the message since it had so many acronyms.  on twitter? not one reply. not one DM (direct message). fail whale.


the reasons for these results seem pretty obvious, but maybe not, so here’s what i think.  

quantity of contacts — since i only had around 40 followers on twitter at the time — many of whom haven’t worked in the agency world — the number of responses was bound to be far fewer than the other two sites. i’m sure if i had hundreds or thousands of followers on twitter, the results would have been much different. on facebook i have a lot of PR/ad agency contacts (around 60 or 70), but the site didn’t yield results for other reasons.

quality of relationships — the majority of contacts on linkedin i sent the question to were people i’ve worked with in the past, who i know have been in agencies and where a mutual trust has been built. my relationships on twitter are younger and  based more on shared interests and less around working or personal relationships. (i’ve only been on twitter since april ’08.) on facebook, many of the relationships are high-quality (for the purpose of this “study,”) but again had other over-riding reasons for not being of benefit.

nature of the site  — i think other people use these sites for similar reasons i do. facebook = personal life, linkedin = professional life and twitter = a hybrid of the two. if you see a business question on facebook, you may be less inclined to answer it. the virtual world can be like the real one in this regard — some people don’t like to talk shop when hangin’ at the bar, unless they’re the type that likes to wine & whine.

how the message is communicated — on facebook and twitter, your friends or contacts may miss your update if it gets pushed out by their other friends’ updates and feeds, so it’s very possible a lot of people just missed this question. on linkedin, your email goes to someone’s inbox and waits there until it’s acted upon.  granted, on facebook you can send an email, but it’s not as easy to target the email to a particular industry as it is on linkedin.  twitter doesn’t have this functionality (from what i know).


none of this is really that shocking, but it was enlightening and confirmed what i thought going in: for me, linkedin is an extremely beneficial site for professional networking. my friend who works with the house party company has made a number of new business contacts and has been extremely thankful to me for putting him in touch (and i thanked him for giving me something to blog about on my xmas vacation). i’m curious to hear if your experience with these sites or the way you use them is much different, so let me know in the comments if so. PR/adv people who didn’t answer my original status update, tweet or email, here’s your chance to redeem yourself.

more reading your TV

November 26, 2008

here’s the latest in kinetic typography ads

and youtube’s gone widescreen, y’all. someone’s suffering from hulu envy.

that ad looks familiar.

November 23, 2008

it seems like i’ve been noticing a lot more ads lately using “kinetic typography,” which is the fancy way of saying “moving text.” i’m a huge fan of good, clean design, and i do like the look of these spots. but at the same time, big brands shell out a LOT of money for their creative, one of the goals of which should be to help differentiate the brand.

i may start thinking motrin (poor motrin), ford and the new biopic about harvey milk are all part of some clandestine mega-consortium poised for world domination. and the fonts they use all look very similar to obama’s.  hmm…you draw your own conclusions.

check out the spots below and let me know your thoughts in the comments.

p.s. if you go see milk, don’t see it at a cinemark. read why here.