Archive for the 'Ad Agency' Category


Kmart’s Holiday Ad: Below the Belt or Missed the Boat?

Thanks to Jordan McNamara for contributing this article to The Side Note.

In a 2012 article, Advertising Age discussed Kmart’s shrinking presence in the low-cost retail field ( Annual sales were down, causing Ad Age to suggest the brand had lost relevance with discount shoppers. In the realm of discount stores, Wal-Mart dominates the low-price segment and Target holds the throne for hip, so where does this leave Kmart?

Over the holidays, Kmart and parent company Sears Holdings Corp. ( made a big jingle in the viral world with the release of the holiday “Show Your Joe” commercial.

Show Your Joe

Following last year’s “Ship My Pants” spot and “Big Gas Savings,” all created by agency DraftFCB, this indicates a major brand shift for the retail chain. Kmart’s Facebook page received many complaints from angry viewers, calling the ad “disgusting and not fit for family consumption” and “inappropriate for kids!!!” ( Many customers also accused Kmart of sacrificing family values and decency in exchange for cheap laughs.
Departure from their traditional ‘baby boomer’ demographic in pursuit of younger shoppers may be exactly Kmart’s intention. According to a Forbes article from last February, Kmart is focusing on improving sales within the 18-34 year old group (

However, Time reported humor is not an effective tactic for converting sales ( Although funny spots succeed at being memorable for consumers, they do not distinguish why the brand is better or what problem the product solves. “Ship my Pants” and “Big Gas Savings” have more than 30 million views combined views on YouTube, but Forbes reported 3rd quarter sales for Kmart were still down (

The Joe Boxer commercial may be the perfect example of funny, but ineffective. With more than 17 million views on YouTube, the ad has unquestionably garnered attention. However, the spot highlights only one product line available in Kmart stores rather than the Kmart brand as a whole. Plus, it lacks differentiation—what about these specific boxers make them so great? Why are they better than others? Why should I shop at Kmart for underwear? The ad does not answer any of these questions to make the brand or product relatable to the consumer. Both earlier ads by DraftFCB mentioned above do speak to benefits Kmart offers its customers, but the most effective ads connect with consumers on a deeper, emotional level.

Due to holiday shopping, fourth quarter sales can account for as much as 40 percent of annual sales for retailers ( With that in mind, Kmart needed a stellar season to climb out of the hole after six years of continually declining sales ( Numbers for 2013’s fourth quarter have not been released yet, but if third quarter sales are any indication, this ad will not be enough to sway shoppers away from other discount stores.

Kmart may have some big…er, bells, but that might not have been enough to fulfill this retailer’s Christmas wishes.

Do you shop at Kmart? Tell us what you think of the Joe Boxer ad here. Is your brand in need of an overhaul? The Weise team can identify problem areas and create a strategy to give your brand a boost in our Navigator session. Contact us. 


Weise’s List of Thanks

Thanksgiving has come around once again, and we want to voice what it is that the people here at Weise are giving their thanks to this year. The holidays always remind us of how fortunate and blessed we are within our own lives. Along with the gift of health and happiness, which we each appreciate deeply, we want to personally express our thanks to our clients who have put their faith in our ability to execute their marketing programs.

That being said, we thought we would also express our thanks for the other, perhaps overlooked, abundances within our office. Along with health, happiness and our honorable clients, here are a few things the Weise team is thankful for:

1. Hilarity

If working in the marketing and advertising world has taught us anything, it is the power of having a sense of humor. Thank you to everyone at Weise for knowing when it is time to laugh at ourselves, at each others’ jokes (whether funny or not) and at our frustrations. Laughter is contagious, and we are thankful we have caught it.

2. Humility

One of the best things about our office is the lack of rank. We are an integrated agency and everyone’s opinions and ideas are heard and appreciated. Sure, we win awards every now and again with one of our brilliant concepts, but for the most part egos aren’t part of our vocabulary. Thank you everyone at Weise for playing nice in the Weise sandbox.

3. Hip-ness

Yeah, we are a hip crew. Thank you everyone at Weise for keeping up with the times and using that know-how to bring the newest and coolest ideas with you to work everyday. Yes, we even know how to gangnam style.

4. Hump Day

Because who isn’t thankful for Hump Day. Wednesday means we survived the harder half of the week! Thank you everyone at Weise for making work an enjoyable place, but lets be real, everyone loves the weekend and ski season is just around the corner.

5. Hacky Sack

Not yet an acquired skill, but we think it’s a great invention. Thank you everyone at Weise for one day playing a killer game of office hacky sack.

Happy Thanksgiving!!! We hope your day of thanks fills your soul and your belly! What is it that you are thankful for? Share with us on Facebook at Weise Communications and follow @Weise_Ideas on Twitter.


When Redesign is Bad for Business

Since the launch of Starbucks in 1971, the brand has often been imitated. Marketing strategies, packaging, and even logo design and layout have been mimicked to compete with the swanky franchise and entice customers. McDonald’s is taking this imitation to the next level with a new store design that has been fashioned after the sleek and stylish Starbucks store model. In redesigning the look and feel of McDonald’s stores, the hope is that more high-end customers will be attracted to dine-in, linger and perhaps spend a few extra bucks. Although the McDonald’s redesign is to increase competitive edge, the renovations may prove to be counterproductive.

In an interview by USA Today, Max Carmona, McDonald’s senior director of U.S. restaurant design states, “we want restaurants to reflect our brand personality, which is one of being playful, energetic and optimistic.” However, as McDonald’s moves to make its design more contemporary and modern, one cannot help but recognize the immense similarities it has to the Starbucks model and how these changes are morphing drastically from the traditional McDonald’s image and brand personality.

Traditionally, McDonald’s stores have been known for their bright signature colors of cherry red and golden yellow, Ronald McDonald (the cartoon clown mascot), large golden arches and a child friendly environment equipped with playgrounds. The people drawn to eat in the stores are most often parents with children who enjoy the playful environment. Replacing these bright colors, toys and playground equipment with padded recliners, posh wooden tables and warm painted interiors will contradict the image they have in place. It will attract an adult customer base, but it will also derail families with younger children from visiting.

A January Ad Age report estimated Happy Meals account for about 10 percent of total McDonald’s sales. “If the newly remodeled McDonalds become too popular with leisurely adults seeking a relaxing atmosphere, McDonalds could alienate a customer base that has been the cornerstone of their growth for decades,” states Cynthia Wilson, consumer writer for Investor Place.

Reinventing the look and feel of a store can greatly enhance competitive edge. However, staying inline with the current image may prove more effective for the McDonalds. The Golden Arches better be sure the push towards laptop-toting professionals doesn’t alienate this important customer base, or else it will find its renovations not just costly but counterproductive.

Share your predictions and comments with us concerning McDonald’s redesign. Share with us on Facebook at Weise Communications and follow @Weise_Ideas on Twitter


Branding Content: How creating a persona for your brand creates ROI

Branded content is essentially a fusion of entertainment and advertising that has been around for decades, just think of soap manufactures and the soap opera. With social media and the increasing prevalence of mobile apps in our daily lives, branded content seeks to have an increasingly large role in marketing and advertising of brands in the future.

Branded content can be anything from a short film, music, game, blog, mobile app, newsletter, blogzine, microsite or real-life event. The content merely exists to entertain and educate the consumer, while conveying subtle brand messages in the mean time. But more than this, branded content creates a persona for your brand and helps engage target audiences in a reciprocal relationship.

The idea for a brand is to listen to online conversations and establish what interests your target audiences. Is there a need or desire for certain information? Can you provide that information in an engaging way?

The most successful branded content programs are able to blend messaging in a seamless and transparent fashion, while still getting the information across to the consumer. Branded content creation serves several purposes: customer entertainment, stealth advertising and social engagement.

An industry that has embraced branded content is the fashion industry (see Louis Vuitton’s NOWNESS), but other brands that get it right are:

The iFood application allows users to:

  • Email or print coupons for Kraft products or even add them right to your store savings card.
  • Find recipes and post the ones you love to Facebook
  • Scan and enter a barcode to add to a shopping list or find recipes
  • Print shopping lists, coupons, and recipes
  • Get detailed recipe directions and even video tutorials
  • Set alerts about planned recipes, recopies of the day or special offers
  • Find a retailer to buy your products

Now, tell me that wont build more consumer loyalty?

Branded content is about creating an experiential story; It’s about crafting stories though every communication tool – signage, display advertising, print, radio and television ads, that are then translated to the web, social networks and now mobile apps. In the end it really comes down to knowing your customer extraordinarily well. By consistently engaging your audience via editorial content that is expertly mixed into the e-commerce landscape, you can tie sales. The best social media and branded content executions out there are driven by narrative, not commerce.

Branded content is quickly becoming a cost effective, long-term online marketing strategy that industries will continue to utilize as brands and retailers look for new, innovative ways to connect with customers online.

What impact do you think branded content can have on consumer behavior and where do you think this technique is headed in the future? We’d love to hear, so post a comment on The Side Note Blog, send us a tweet @Weise_Ideas, or find us on Facebook: Weise Communications.


Colorado Healthcare Communicators: The Speech I Would Have Given

Paying homage to those that deserve it.

On Thursday, October 21, I had the great honor of being recognized by the Colorado Healthcare Communicators as the 2010 Professional of the Year. I am truly humbled to receive this award and appreciate the CHC members who found me deserving of it. The evening of the event I was in a room full of my peers and I would have liked the opportunity to express my appreciation. After the events were over, I thought of several things I would have liked to say had I had the courage to take over the podium, commandeered the ceremony and give a speech. But alas, that didn’t happen. So, I collected my thoughts and would like to share my acceptance remarks in The Side Note.

Tracy’s Acceptance Speech to the Colorado Healthcare Communicators Association for the 2010 Gold Leaf Award of Professional of The Year

Thank you, Melissa (Ford), for this award and the kind comments about my work at the agency and with my clients. It is such an honor to be recognized by this association that means so much to me and at this event that is so near and dear to my heart.

Heather, Mark, Tracy, Lisa, Jay

The Weise team brought home silver awards for media relations and social media work and Professional of the Year

I have to be candid though, I wouldn’t be holding this award today without the amazing team at Weise Communications. They work so hard to not only make our clients look good, but to make me look good as well. I am joined here tonight by Heather, Lisa and Mark. Without a doubt, they are key players in the most talented and dedicated team of professionals in this town. I am so very, very lucky that they choose to work at Weise Communications.

And then there is Jay. People ask me all the time, how can I stand working with my husband every day? The answer I’ll share with you is the only answer I have ever provided. I simply cannot imagine any other life. I have worked with Jay since I met and started dating him. He is the spirit and the force that keeps me going. I am nothing without him. When I struggle, have worries or fear, he is the one that keeps me going. Sometimes Jay is the only reason I get out of bed. I mean that literally. He has been known to physically shove me out of bed…more than once.

Melissa said some wonderful things about the work we have done for clients over the last year and I would be remiss if I did not add my own comments. While things seem to be on the upswing, for companies and individuals, 2009 was challenging. Companies faced budget cuts and staff reductions. Agency owners heard from long-standing clients, newer clients and prospects that they were cutting back on agency-provided services – billable hours reduced, budgets slashed, do more with less. It’s hard to hear, it’s sad and it’s scary. To hold on to work we did have, we had to work harder and figure out better solutions. Unfortunately, these challenges overwhelmed many. Iconic agencies and boutique shops alike closed their doors and permanently turned off their lights. Each time this happened, the Colorado marketing community was diminished and these stories saddened many of us. The news of any agency closing up shop, regardless of the reason, personally pains me. Without regard to our competitive stance, I want Colorado agencies to thrive; I want to see agency owners be successful. The competition makes all of us better.

The good news for surviving agencies and our clients is that the trials of this recession taught many of us how to be more cost effective, more results-oriented and more nimble. Companies should embrace agencies that are thriving now, because we have found ways to push past global economic issues to create better results. We have faced unprecedented challenges, solved most of them and are now stronger, smarter and more creative.

While I am humbled and honored to receive this recognition, I believe this award represents agency owners all around Colorado who are fearless, or find the motivation to get up and overcome those fears. Or, like me, are lucky enough to have someone shove them out of bed in the morning and inspire them to keep going. These are people like Laura Love, Brad Bawman, Sydney Ayers, Joe Conrad, Brent Weaver, Jeremy Story, and many, many others that have made the Colorado marketing, advertising and public relations community thriving and successful. I am very happy to be a part of this community.

This award is about the good work you all do. Thanks for honoring me with it.


Maybe you need better advertising. Maybe you need a better tampon box.

Yes, this is a blog about tampons. And it is especially relevant for art directors who constantly wear black and get all broody when clients ask to see “something a little bit different, please.”

For years, I have had issues with what I refer to “tampon box creative.” If you are not familiar with my personal reference to tampon box creative, all you need to know is that tampon box creative is not compelling. It is not noteworthy and it is not interesting. And it is most likely not worthy of my blog writing time.

So my day started out on a bang when Jay, our creative director, forwarded me a link to the American Advertising Federation 2010 National ADDY Award Winners, specifically the Best of Show Winner. It’s a mini-movie about Tampax. Even better, the story is about a boy learning to appreciate Tampax.

If you ask me, figuring out how to advertise tampons from a boy’s perspective is pure genius. I applaud the Leo Burnett agency for a superior concept and final execution. It is truly stellar and deserves the accolades it receives.

It is worth mentioning, however, that it is not just the P&G tampon movie that talks about tampons from a new and different perspective. A slew of recent tampon ads for U by Kotex prove a point that tampon commercials have traditionally been inside the world of “tampon box creative” – nothing notable or memorable. Let’s face it, in the list of “Best Ads Ever” you don’t find any tampon commercials. But these are better than their predecessors.

I love the fact that Kotex and Tampax are stepping out and truly letting their creative agencies come up with different, unique and interesting ideas to generate brand awareness and drive sales in a traditionally stale market.

The lesson we can learn from this is that regardless of what the product is and no matter how traditional the advertising HAS been, when you hire people who literally think “outside the tampon box,” you can develop compelling creative that gets noticed.

What do you think about the P&G movie? Do you have examples of tampon box creative you want to share?

Are you looking for compelling, out of the tampon box creative? Call me. I can assure you that nothing we do here looks like a tampon box.


Hanes and Michael Jordan – Another Integrated Marketing Campaign Done Well

I would like to start this blog with a few personal comments. While my husband may not think I know who Michael Jordan is, I do. I may not be an over zealous basketball fan, but who doesn’t want to be like Mike? And to top it off, I love his Hanes Commercials. And don’t judge me, men love Victoria Secret commercials for the same reason women enjoy seeing Jordan in his Hanes.

So when I read the New York Times article about the new Hanes commercials (sans Charlie Sheen) it took me about 15 seconds to blurt out, “I love those commercials!” And now there is even more to love. Hanes has fully integrated the TV and radio campaign to include Rick’s blog (its rather lame, but so is Rick). The website promoting the story of Rick and Michael (stuck on a flight to Sydney together) is terrific. I especially like the comfort demos.

You can also follow Hanes Comfort on Twitter and on Facebook. I feel like the Facebook page could be a bit more Jordan-esque, but what is cool is that you can sign-up for Hanes weekly giveaway for a chance to win two round-trip JetBlue Airways certificates.

All of the commercials can be seen either on the website or on YouTube. I especially love the “bacon neck” ad.

The beauty of integrated campaigns, such as the Hanes campaign, is their ability to make use of multiple media channels – TV, radio, and social media to name a few. Messages reach larger audiences and can more specifically target service and product audiences.

What do you think? Will Jordan convince you to purchase some Hanes? Will you get involved in following Hanes in their social media campaign? What do you think about the campaign?

Is your business ready to utilize the power of an integrated campaign? Visit Weise Communications for help in making your campaign a success.


Steve Hayden: Product Focus groups are Silly

Last night here in Denver, while listening to Steve Hayden’s talk From Big Ideas to Big IdeaLs… (that’s an entirely another blog on another day)…Steve talked about a campaign for Shreddies, the Canadian version of Shreaded Wheat here in the U.S., that used a focus group to learn more about the new Shreadies product, DIAMOND SHREADIES. As you’ll see, people in focus groups are very polite people and will provide the desired response even if obviously wrong. This “focus group” video was then posted on YouTube and was viewed by almost a million people, that’s a lot in Canada, and sales ‘went way up beyond expectations’ after this and the new “Diamond Shreadies” campaign broke. I agree with Steve. It is silly to use focus groups to gain insight into the effectiveness of an ad or when your questions in the focus group lead the people to the answers you want to hear.

See for yourself.

Focus Group Video

Shreddies Commercial

Also, 81 Facebook pages and over 280 discussion groups have been started on this topic of Diamond vs. Square.

Steve Hayden is one of the most revered advertising copy writers since the mid 1970’s. He’s most respected for his “1984” commercial for the introduction of Apple’s Macintosh computers… an ad that only ran once during the 1984 Super Bowl, and most recently the “Real Beauty” campaign for Dove.


SEO best practices

Tom Pick, a B2B marketer with 17 years of experience, recently authored a posting on The WebMarketCentral Blog expressing his opinion on SEO best practices.

The post is a response to an article written by Adam Audette titled, “SEO ‘Best Practices’ Are Bunk.” Pick feels that the phrase “best practice” has lost its meaning and become another marketing buzzword. I agree.

After addressing Audette’s definition of “best practices,” Pick provides his own definition and then applies it to outline best SEO practices. I was elated to see that our agency is following almost all of these best practices and thought you would benefit from reviewing them.

According to Pick, SEO best practices would include but not be limited to:

  • Conducting keyword research to identify high-volume, low-competition search terms.
  • Producing clean code (e.g. CSS and HTML, minimal Flash, Javascript in separate files, descriptive navigation, minimal use of tables).
  • Optimizing title tags.
  • Crafting URLs with keywords included.
  • Including (but not over-doing) keywords in content and heading tags.
  • Incorporating keyword links in page text.
  • Basic link-building—social media sites, directories, business partners etc.
  • Advanced link-building—blogging, commenting, content marketing, guest posting, blogger outreach, interactive PR, etc.

Is your business approaching SEO in the abovementioned fashion? What can you do to improve where your SEO is now to get it where you would like it to be?

I enjoyed Pick’s closing statement so much that I wanted to end with it.

“For the best companies, and SEO consultants, continuous innovation is the best best practice of all.”


Is your resume this well done?

I love simple ideas. Especially when the idea takes an already simple idea and improves it.

Michael Anderson, of Romney, West Virginia, is a graphic designer. He designed his resume to be the best resume I, and many others in the blogosphere, have ever seen. He graphically, and efficiently, charts his entire career. He includes in a graphic timeline all of his education and jobs, with overlays of job titles, skills acquired/used, software programs learned/used.  A simple chart, Daily Intake & Output, tells a lot about his personality as it charts the relationship of coffee intake and focus, communication, productivity and humor.

Not only is the design sharp and very well done, but the color choices are very appealing and I’m sure would stand out on any pile of resumes.

Now if I only had a job for this guy!

Michael Anderson's resume

Michael Anderson's resume

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