Let’s talk about that…Superb Owl

(Yes…Superb Owl.)

Before one Super Bowl is over, brands are already busy planning, plotting and preparing for the next. But plan they must, as creating a memorable, relatable, engaging 30-second message – as well as navigating the thin line of product pitches, brand standards, celebrity endorsements and current issues – remains one of their most formidable challenges. Though this year’s big game was…underwhelming, it was clear the advertisers came to compete. After all, there are only over 100 million watching – and waiting to see which spots are worthy of the worldwide stage.

Here are the true winners of the day – according to the experts (that’s us).

Washington Post “Democracy Dies in Darkness”
As an agency of many journalists, the Post’s inaugural Super Bowl ad spot truly resonated. Featuring imagery from WWII’s D-Day and the first landing on the moon – all narrated by Tom Hanks – the ad honors journalists and reporters, their role and the freedom of the press. The message really brought it all home — “Knowing empowers us. Knowing helps us decide. Knowing keeps us free.”

NFL’s “100 Years of Football”
We love this for two reasons: the legends and the grand silliness of men becoming boys (in a ballroom, might we add). There are obvious illusions to the old, star-studded Miller Lite ads, but it reminds us of one of our all-time favorites – Nike’s “Keep the Ball Alive” campaign, which features a battalion of world-class rugby players running wild through a city.

Bud Light’s “Jousting Match”
Promoting the upcoming and final season of Game of Thrones, the commercial – very much like the series itself – is a helluva twist. At 1:35, the commercial entertains with everything from a lucky loincloth to a deadly plague. The ad set fire to social media, amassing more than 183 million social impressions, according to iSpot.tv. Or, perhaps it was the dragons? We could almost hear the joyous cheers and applause of GoT superfans everywhere when they made their appearance…

Pepsi’s “More Than OK”
The #PepsiMoreThanOK hashtag received more than 65.2 million impressions (Brandwatch) and nearly 18,000 mentions on Twitter (Salesforce). Featuring Lil Jon, Steve Carell and Cardi B, Pepsi successfully reached their target audiences, but was charming enough for all viewers to enjoy. It had us practicing Cardi’s famous “okuuurt” much longer than we’d like to admit.

M&Ms “Bad Passenger”
Christina Appelgate plays the suburban mom – van and all – who’s trying to settle the feud in the backseat to no avail. (Ah, parenthood.) Finally, she slams the brakes, turns and yells a form of what us parents have threatening since the days of mules and carriages: “OK, that’s it! If you don’t stop, I will eat all of you alive right now!” The camera pans to the back seat where we’re able to place the distinctive voices to the three M&M’s we’ve come to know and love, but in a very different form. This time, they’re embedded into one giant chocolate bar and reply, “I prefer the ‘break-us-apart option.’” Simple. Effective. Delicious. Three ingredients to successfully – and memorably – introducing a new product.

Skittle’s “Skittles Commercial: The Broadway Musical”
Weeks before the big game, the company dropped a teaser of Michael C. Hall (Dexter) clarifying that Skittle’s Super Bowl commercial would not be a commercial at all. Instead, the company put up an entire Broadway musical in NYC – complete with a Pulitzer finalist playwright, director and choreography. The 30-minute long play, attended by 1,500+, was a self-deprecatingly funny take on advertising itself that felt like a true Broadway production (Business Insider). All proceeds went to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

Google’s “Job Search for Veterans”
The company was once again successful in tugging at the heartstrings and shining light on an oft-overlooked issue. Focusing on the 7% of our society that have served in the military, the ad humbly reminds us of all they’ve sacrificed and endured before it unveils their latest, progressive feature. Using their specific military job codes, veterans can find civilian jobs that require skills similar to those used in the service – reminding them: “No simple code can define who you are. But now, it can help you search for whatever’s next.”

Mobile marketing grows up

Mobile_Bicycle_Billboard_from_Singapore,_April_9_2013Apple unveiled its newest iPhone models recently. (You may have heard a word or two about this.) The event, as these tend to be, was a big spectacle, full of pomp and circumstance. While they somewhat pioneered the practice, Apple is far from alone these days in turning product launches into news events themselves, thanks to their grandeur and scale. These events look to make a big splash for each product they launch and generate as much buzz among consumers as possible.

But they also point to a larger, underlying truth about our society – we really, really like our smartphones. Indeed, many of us couldn’t imagine living without them. As our smartphones and tablets become more and more important in our daily lives, so too are they becoming more important as a point of engagement for brands. How important? A couple of studies out recently show that social marketing – especially mobile marketing and mobile advertising – is growing like crazy, and doesn’t show signs of slowing down any time soon.

  • Social media ad spend will continue to grow over the next several years. It’s already up 40 percent this year, according to this report, and will reach $14 billion as an industry by 2018.
  • Social media ad spend continues its rapid shift to mobile. In fact, mobile social-media advertising is expected to surpass non-mobile by the end of this year. By 2018, it will be two-thirds.
  • Social media ad opportunities are exploding with the addition of paid platforms on sites like Pinterest and Instagram. This study shows that 73 percent of marketers think Instagram is the breakout social network of 2014, and that trend is expected to continue into 2015 and beyond. With both Instagram and Pinterest rolling out ad opportunities, marketers are better positioned to take advantage of that growth.
  • The next big mobile ad platform? Apps. The use of app-install ads are growing faster than mobile advertising overall.
  • Ad placement and targeting is becoming much more sophisticated and advanced. Networks are continuing to roll out tools that ensure social ads are getting to the right audiences – and no one else. This helps drive better engagement and increased cost-effectiveness.

Bottom line: Social as a marketing tool is a big deal, as it has been for several years. Now, advertising via social – and especially mobile social – is becoming a big deal as well. This new reality brings with it its own challenges – and opportunities for those brands that are aware and prepared to take advantage.

What does this mean for you? At a time when many marketers are laying out their plans for 2015, it’s important to ask – and answer – the question of just how important mobile is becoming to your audiences – and, as a result, how big a part it plays in your marketing efforts.

Building bright ideas

When it comes to ways of saving energy for both business and homeowners, not many people would think to turn to the company they pay when they use energy – Indiana Michigan Power. I&M wants to change that perception and help Hoosiers learn more about the many programs and services it offers both residential and commercial customers to help them save energy. That’s why it’s soon launching an awareness campaign – and selected us to help them develop, design and implement the campaign.

We were honored to be selected as their marketing partner for this campaign, and are even more excited to get started. We’re busy coming up with a range of ideas and ways to get the light bulb for Hoosiers to go off and help them see I&M as a partner and resource when it comes to saving energy. Stay tuned as we roll this campaign out in the coming months.


Energy Efficiency News Release FINAL 8.9.13



Y they join

Everyone knows the YMCA. But do you really know the Y? Helping our community understand more fully the complete suite of programs, services, events and opportunities the YMCA of Greater Fort Wayne makes available is at the heart of Find Yourself at the Y, our new campaign. The multimedia campaign – including print, television, outdoor and online media – brings to light programs and services offered by the Y through inspiring stories of real people who found themselves at the Y. Hear their stories and share your own at findyourselfatthey.org.


Find Yourself at the Y.

Let’s get naked

How well do men understand their own bodies? Do they know the types of cancer that afflict men more often than women, and more importantly, do they know how to spot the warning signs their bodies may be sending them? Or are they just too embarrassed to think about it at all?

These questions were at the heart of Cancer Exposed, a campaign we launched this summer with the great people at Cancer Services of Northeast Indiana. We took a group of local men including our own Bob Kiel – stripped them down to their birthday suits and plastered them on billboards all throughout northeast Indiana to help men understand two things – don’t be embarrassed to talk about your body, and there is help and resources available.

The billboards were used to drive area residents to a campaign microsite, CancerExposed.org, we designed and developed to provide such resources and help. The site presents statistics, symptoms, testing and treatment information on various cancers specific to men. And the billboards…well, the ads draw attention.


The naked truth