Tag Archives: advertising

The More Ads Change

“Remember when…”; “Back in my day…”; “We had to manually….”; “The fax machine…” – these sentence starters come out of my mouth at least once a day. Being in the advertising industry for 16 years, and not just any 16 years, but during the rise of the personal computer and more importantly, the Internet, has allowed me to witness the biggest shift in how advertising is performed and portrayed. I’m not going to bore you with the equipment and software that we used back in 1996. But I am going to bore you with the fact that no matter how much things change, the industry is really always the same.

Advertising is rather simple—a notion that has sparked much heated debate here at Triad. Our clients have a product or service they want to share with the public. As their ad agency, we need to share information about that product or service with the client’s target audience. We choose the right medium and come up with a message. The only thing that the Internet did was add a new medium. Albeit a highly targeted, self-learning and relatively inexpensive medium.

The addition of online media buys, adword campaigns, and email blasts has provided agencies with the tools to get in front of more eyes. Digital also established a way to “talk” with consumers, rather than to simply “show and tell.” This brand-to-consumer relationship is important to building perception, and ultimately, loyalty. Loyalty is gold in our world—it’s what we try to attain both with our own client relationships and for their customers.

Of course, in terms of production and delivery, the Internet provides a substantial advantage over the primitive means of ad creation and delivery used in the 80s and 90s. Take for instance the simple task of delivering an ad to a print publication. In 1996, that entailed using an overnight mail service or courier. Today, all ads are sent electronically, via email or ftp sites. This simple innovation saves money, time, and sleepless nights worrying if the package is going to arrive.

Someone in my office is going to tape this article to my door, because I’m a traditionalist and still believe there is a place for newspaper advertising, for direct mail, and for outdoor. I try to instill a bit of history with new employees coming right from college. They should know the path that brought us to where we are today; that before there were pixels there were picas. I feel lucky that I was able to experience my industry before it became what it is today. Just don’t ask me to give up my iPhone.

May I Have Your Attention Please? 3 Rules of Thumb for Interruption Advertising

Been on Boston.com lately? You’ve probably run into a mischief making seal named Zoe and a sea lion named Sierra, from the New England Aquarium.  So far they’ve bumped my screen, shut down my browser, and made a general (although adorable) nuisance of themselves as part of the Aquarium’s “Mischief is Back in Boston” summer campaign (via Connelly Partners – Boston, MA).

Smart campaign and cute use of Boston.com’s rich media resources, but these whiskered tricksters got me mulling a bigger topic…how much online interruption is too much?

Online display advertising (like its print, outdoor, and broadcast cousins) works by interrupting your day to deliver you a message. The value of that message and how the interruption happens determine the success of the campaign. Here are some key thoughts when you’re considering interruption advertising:

Interrupt Quickly
Everyone’s heard the cliche “Americans see over 5,000 advertising messages a day“. That’s part of the challenge, but more importantly, the pace of our lives has quickened. Production, interaction, and distraction dominate our day. The space to interrupt us is smaller than ever, so do it quickly. Any delay and zap – your target is gone.

Show Immediate Value
Once you’ve mastered the quick interruption, tell us why you’re there – and make it good.
Side note: This is where properly segmenting your audience is important. What makes you valuable to one audience, doesn’t necessarily click for another. So use the many targeting technologies available to get the right value message up front.

Be Fun
This one is simple. Fun is never boring, offensive, or off-putting. Fun is interesting. Fun is good. So even with a serious product and service, find what is interesting and fun about it. Your audience will be more receptive to your message.

Back to our friends, Zoe and Sierra. Instead of shutting down my browser with mischief and then disappearing into a banner ad, why not bounce my screen with a ball, and invite me to play a game along the outside borders of my browser? Seal volleyball anyone?

Then invite me to meet Zoe and Sierra. Maybe even create a cartoon featuring these two characters. Kids drive attendance to the Aquarium, so get kids excited with games, stories, and cool facts/information about this adorable seal and sea lion. Then present your offer – Meet Zoe and Sierra in person at an NEAQ show this summer only! Maybe add a monetary value like get a free meet and greet with Zoe and Sierra when purchasing a season’s pass.

If I’m a parent or a child, that kind of interruption would get my attention.

Apple Genius

Apple fans already know where to go if they have an Apple issue. But what if you just want to learn how to make a really cool video of your baby/friends/puppy/Saturday afternoon wiffleball game? Apple’s latest campaign tackles that very premise. In each, an average person is in dire need of an Apple product for life or for work. Like a superhero donning his cape, the Apple Genius tosses on his badge and springs to the rescue.

The ads, which began running during the Olympics, are being widely panned.. Some say they’re too much of a brand departure, too “dumbed down“. But naysayers may be missing the point.

Apple’s new strategy seems to focus on getting consumers to come into the store to learn how to use iMovie, Keynote, and its other signature software and apps. This not only encourages brick and mortar visits, but also gives Apple a chance to show off their shiny new i-Everythings displayed right in front of you. They are hoping you’ll think, “Wow, these Macs/iPads/iPhones/iPods are better than mine – maybe I’ll shop around and get a new MacBook to go with my new Hollywood director skills.”

In addition, the new Apple Genius campaign is inviting a wider audience to join the tribe – a large departure from the brand that is typically “only for the cool people.” It’s aiming to answer the question of Mac versus PC in an accessible – and amusing – way.

Well Apple, your geeks are appropriately named, because we think this strategy is “genius.”

What do you think of the spots? Have an idea for the next “genius to the rescue” commercial? Let us know!

Spicy and Sweet

Summertime, and the livin is easy (apologies to Ira Gershwin)… what does that mean for summer colors?

Tangerine TangoThink spicy heat meets sweet. This Summer’s colors make you feel like a cool dip in the pool on a hot summer day. Or maybe put you in the mood for a big scoop of jalapeno ice cream.

The forecast calls for daring, hot neons, with a mix of breezy, refreshing pastels. Tangerine Tango, the Pantone color of the year, unsurprisingly leads the hottest colors this season.  It sets the stage for both ends of the spectrum with ten base colors – Tangerine Tango, Caberet, Margarita, Bellflower, Cockatoo, Sodalite-Blue, Starfish, Solar Power, Driftwood and Sweet Lilac. These colors are the launching pads for all things design, including advertising.

Tangerine Tango’s bold color is being paired with others to create daring duos that makeheads turn. One of the most popular pairings is tangerine tango and bellflower. This summer, however, Tangerine Tango’s flamboyant cousin – neon orange – is also in town.

For summer 2012, these visual extroverts make their presence known! You will need your shades for more than blocking the sun May through August.


Too much heat, and you get burned. Understated, cooling colors contrast nicely with the spicy hues above. Alone, margarita (mint green), sweet lilac and driftwood (soft grey) provide a calm, fresh, wholesome vibe.

Bright and cool huesCombine the two and you get some irresistable combinations. Splashes of color pop against the neutral cools, instantly focusing the eye.

How will you use these trends in your marketing materials? Let us know!


“Call Me Maybe”: What the summer’s catchiest hit can teach your business

It’s the #1 song on iTunes and #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. By now we’ve all seen what the boys from Harvard did with it, and then the women from SMU. We even watched as the crew from the Today Show danced to it. Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” has been dubbed the song of the summer, and it’s not even summer yet. So what’s the fascination?

It’s much more than the catchy melody and feel-good strings that has everyone singing along.  It’s the song’s meaning – the vulnerability of wanting to be liked – that we all relate to.

And it’s not just in our personal lives.  It works for business too. The very best advertising speaks to the audience’s emotions, wants, and needs. You have to feel good about the brand, feel like it “gets” you, and then investigate a little more before you make that phone call – or visit or click.

Think about what your customer needs, wants, and feels in this very moment – the moment you are reaching them, be it online, in print, on their phone, or TV. While they’re getting ready in the morning, while they’re at work, driving in their car, or relaxing at home. Then speak to that precise moment with honesty and make that human connection.

Show you understand, and that what you have to offer makes their lives better.

That’s the way to get the phone to ring when you’re asking a potential new customer “call me maybe.”

What do you think of the “Call Me Maybe” phenomenon? Has it inspired you to use a new approach to get the phone to ring? Let us know!