Archive for the 'Ad Agency' Category


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


Limit Advertising Spent on Prescription Drugs?

I just read the New York Times article, Lawmakers Seek to Curb Drug Commercials.

As a healthcare marketer, I believe that there should be some limits on direct-to-consumer advertising for prescription drugs, but I also believe many of those limits are already in place. I disagree with the politicians’ assessment that these ads push people to use drugs unnecessarily or buy name brands rather than generics.

Prescription drugs are just what their name implies, prescription required.  While it is the marketer’s job to present information on drugs and their benefits to the public, it is a physician’s job to explain the pros and cons of any drug, the alternatives to the drug and provide the prescription if/when warranted.  Physicians may not enjoy the demands from their patients that are provoked by drug commercials, but it can’t be any worse than constant self-diagnosis based on the wealth of medical information available on the Internet. Consumers have a right to drug information and have the ability to make decisions on their medical needs. Physicians have the responsibility to guide them in those decisions.

I am also a proponent of drug-based advertising because it can increase the treatments for conditions that individuals may ignore. I am sure that many men and women have seen an ad for a drug that pushed them to receive treatment for something they were previously too embarrassed to discuss, such as erectile dysfunction or bladder control.

I do recognize the criticism from some lawmakers on the money spent for national consumer ads, especially when you see ads such as the Brooke Shields advertisement for Latisse, a prescription treatment for eyelash growth. While I am sure many people can benefit from this product, on the surface, the advertisement does seem slightly trivial.

What do you think? As a healthcare marketer, are you for more limits on direct-to-consumer prescription drug advertisements?


Harry and Louise, Still Talking About Healthcare

Harry and Louise are iconic figures in the world of healthcare policy advertising. These two actors have played numerous roles in policy ads for more than a decade. Most notoriously, they helped derail the healthcare system overhaul proposed under Bill Clinton. And now they are back, but with a different message. This time Harry and Louis are pushing a message promoting the healthcare overhaul proposed by President Obama.

This situation brings up mixed emotions in me. From an advertising point of view, the fact that the two same actors, still in their same roles, continue to be advocates for or against a healthcare issue is fascinating, especially since they have a different message this time.

But will it matter? Does anyone care that these same two paid actors are still talking about healthcare reform, albeit with a different message? Will we listen to them again?

The ads, sponsored by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, debuted this past weekend at the same time news reports came trickling out with dissension among politicians. It remains to be seen what will happen, but I am skeptical Harry and Louise’ message will be heard as loudly as it did in the past. With the proliferation of online media sources, I wonder if the ads will have the same effect this time around.

To be honest, I don’t like the Harry and Louise ads. I didn’t like the ones that ran against the healthcare reform measures in 1993 and 1994 either. While the message is different, in both instances the ads are clearly short on facts, substance and consequences. Of course, such is the way of political and policy advertising. And while I strongly support and believe the benefits of both advertising and public relations, I am hoping that through public relations we can get better information on the healthcare reform topic than the Harry and Louise ads are providing.

What do you think? Do Harry and Louise still wield influence?


Did you get the Virus?

So this a great little video..that you’ve probably already seen as it seems that most of the world has.

This video was emailed to me on Wednesday and by the time I emailed it around myself, 2-3 hours later, almost everyone I sent it to had already seen it.

This is a great example of how a little idea and a great little feel good story…and babies always sell…can go around the world in an instant.

So let’s get to the numbers:
12.5million views on YouTube :: as of today
The making of the video even had 1,533,659 views!

Did you notice the classic roller skating scenes from some movies in the ’70s and 80’s? ie. the jumping on the fence scene.

Not a bad site to cross-promote it and you know you’ve gotta have a Facebook page too.



Starbucks Uses Facebook for Product Promotion

Forgive us. This week we are out of sync with our typical blogging schedule. So let me first say that while we typically blog about franchises on Wednesdays, I realize Starbucks is not franchised. But their social media tactic for promoting their new ice cream products is worth learning about.

Starbucks Facebook Promotion

Starbucks Facebook Promotion

The simple fact that Starbucks is promoting their ice cream on Facebook is not incredibly newsworthy. What I like about the campaign is how they integrated all of their touch points. If you go to the Starbucks Ice Cream Facebook page (must be a registered user) you can send a coupon for a free pint of ice cream to a friend (quantities are limited each hour). I tried, selfishly, to send it to myself but since Colorado is one of the three states where this program is not available, I sent my pint to a good friend in Pennsylvania. After I sent it, I was asked to tell a friend about the program and easily directed back to the Starbucks Ice Cream Web site.I tried to send another pint of ice cream, but instead was given the option to download a savings coupon for myself.

I love the fact that several touch points were tied into this marketing plan. These included the share-a-pint, tell-a-friend, the downloadable discount coupon and the redirect to their site. This is a great use of social media for product launches. This campaign shows that using social media really can be worthwhile to businesses.

Are you implementing social media to help build you business? How are you using Facebook to generate leads and sales?

We are collecting social media for business building case studies and would love to include your best campaigns.

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