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Carrie Marketers Get Crafty with Advertising Prank #FlexLikeCarrie

Posted October 10, 2013 by fran @ 11:24 am

This is online advertising at its finest.

Talk about spooky creative. The marketers behind the new Carrie remake film released a viral video experiment to test and capture the reactions of unsuspecting customers at a New Your City coffee shop as they witness a telekinetic event.

Entitled “Telekinetic Coffee Shop Surprise”, the video first shows us how the prank was set up. They created a fake wall, attached a harness to a stuntman so that it appears that he is lifted up the wall. The team also put some remote controlled tables and chairs in place, and spring loaded pictures and books so that they’ll look as if they’re flying off the walls and shelves. Finally, a bunch of actors took their place and pretended to be coffee shop customers.

And then the fun begins.

The stunt man knocks over a cup of coffee and the girl goes batshit and starts using her “telekinetic powers” to lift the man up the wall, move the tables and chairs, and make stuff fly off the shelves.

Needless to say, customers in the coffee shop were freaked out of their wits, while viewers watching from home were thoroughly entertained.

The Results

Two words: Viral hit. The #FlexLikeCarrie video spread like wildfire. It was posted on YouTube on Monday and got millions of views overnight. At the time of writing this, Telekinetic Coffee Shop Surprise has already reached more than 26 million views.

And the buzz is incredible. Carrie advertisers did a great job with using hasthags. They promoted the #FlexLikeCarrie hashtag at the end of the video and the Twitterverse just couldn’t stop talking about it. Fans couldn’t wait til the movie hits theaters on the 18th.

Similarly, the advertising prank was (and still is) wildly covered in the media, having been discussed in various blogs as well as major publications and networks such as the Los Angeles Times, CBS, New York Daily News, and more.

What You Can Learn

As far as generating online buzz goes, the advertisers and marketers in charge of Carrie most definitely got it right. They produced an awesome video that while promotional, was extremely entertaining and sharable.

Here are a few things that we can learn from this great online advertising campaign:

Go beyond traditional advertising and marketing tactics

Movie trailers? Billboards? Those tactics were so ten years ago. While the film did take advantage of traditional marketing methods such as the ones mentioned above, it went beyond that and effectively made use of online video. And take note, they used online video not for straight advertising purposes. They used video to distribute genuinely entertaining content.

Use cross-channel advertising

The advertisers behind Carrie didn’t just post a video on YouTube and went on their way. Instead, they took the time to distribute it via multiple channels. And by using the #FlexLikeCarrie hashtag, they were able make it easy for users to spread the word as well, thus generating more buzz in the process.

Put in the necessary resources

It was clear that the video was really well-made. The crew took the time to hire the right people and set up the proper equipment to make the prank work. Your campaigns should be the same way. We’re not saying that you should spend tons of money on stuntmen or equipment, but do spend ample time cooking up your campaigns. Budget or no budget, don’t submit anything that isn’t well-executed. There are plenty of ways to create wonderful advertising campaigns, and they don’t always involve a ton of money. What you do need is a lot of creativity.

 

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Dear marketers, your controversial stunts can do more harm than good

Posted September 25, 2013 by fran @ 1:14 pm

Earlier this month, outdoor marketing company Hornet Signs came under fire due to a controversial marketing stunt that it did.

It created a decal that showed a blonde woman curled up–seemingly unconscious–on the bed of a pickup truck. She was tied up and her hair was obscuring her face. The decal was then attached to the back of an actual pickup truck, creating the illusion that there was real woman lying there.

The tactic was meant to demonstrate the high quality of Hornet Signs decal and show how realistic its signs are.

The stunt was so believable that some individuals who saw it even called the police. Needless to say, the authorities weren’t pleased to be called because of some marketing stunt. They weren’t the only ones who were disgruntled though. A lot of people were outraged at Hornet Signs’ actions and after the story went viral, people from all over the world posted critical comments on the company’s Facebook page.

Hornet Signs was forced to take the decal down. Brad Kolb, owner of the company said to the press, “I wasn’t expecting the reactions we got, nor do we condone this by any means.” The businesses also announced that it donated $2,500 to the Advocacy Center for Crime Victims and Children in Waco.

In spite of the bad press though, Kolb also said that the stunt resulted in a rise in decal orders.

The question is: Was the rise in orders worth the whole PR mess? We’d like to venture a guess that it wasn’t. Despite his claims that the company’s actions increased their decal orders, we’re guessing that if Hornet Signs were given a do-over, the company would demonstrate its realistic decals in other ways–you know, ways that didn’t involve abuse to women.

Let this serve as cautionary tale to marketers who are trying to garner more exposure for their products and services. Instead of resorting to being snarky, offensive, or controversial, why not try being creative and genuine instead? Use the wide range of online advertising formats out there to target your audience and deliver your message in a creative, tasteful, and fun way.

Because the fact is, snark and controversy aren’t just lazy tactics to get attention, they’re also second-rate, compared to genuine and wonderful content. Don’t believe us? Take Upworthy, as an example. The media company doesn’t resort to LOLcats or shady tactics to gain traffic. Instead, it focuses on curating meaningful content around relevant and serious issues such as immigration, politics, heath care, etc. The result? 20 million unique monthly visitors, 5 million subscribers, 3.2 million Facebook Likes and Z-E-R-O publicity mishaps. Oh, and did we mention that the company is just 18 months old?

Indeed, when you’re given the chance to choose between being shady or genuine, do yourself (and the rest of us) a favor and go with the latter. Because when it comes to getting more exposure, the challenge isn’t garnering attention–it’s doing it in an authentic and meaningful way. Choose to challenge yourself. The industry–heck the entire world–would be so much better off when marketers choose the honest route.

Filed under: Blogroll,Company Headlines

Wearable Tech: The Future of Advertising?

Posted September 9, 2013 by fran @ 1:54 pm

Smartphone, be prepared to move over, because it looks like another mobile advertising darling is about to take over.  In an insightful article, AdAge brought attention to the fact that many of the companies that we all know are love are venturing into wearable technology (aka: wearables).

From smart watches to wrist bands, and even glasses, businesses everywhere are pushing envelope in mobile technology by allowing users to integrate their smart devices into things that they can wear.  Consumers on the other hand, can’t wait to get their hands on these devices. The demand is evidenced by the sheer number of people clamoring to fund or get on the waiting lists for such devices.

For instance, there’s the Pebble smart watch, a project that grew to be the most successful campaigns on Kickstarter. The project not only reached its goal, but it garnered over 10 million dollars in funding. (Now available at a Best Buy near you.)

Samsung recently entered the smart watch space by introducing GALAXY Gear, “a perfect companion device that further integrates the Samsung GALAXY experience into everyday life. Samsung GALAXY Gear combines smart device connectivity, tailored technological features, and stylish design as a single premium accessory.”

And let’s not forget Google Glass, the search giant’s innovative device that fuses mobile technology with eyewear.

Yes, it certainly appears that we’re at the cusp of a new age in mobile technology. These devices are redefining the concept of connectivity for users, and advertisers can’t help but take notice.

Evidently, being able to advertise on wearable devices puts brands in a very valuable position. With wearable technology, advertisers can seamlessly offer their sponsored messages to users.

We can see now that large enough companies can develop their own devices that they can offer to their users. Take note though that brands developing wearable tech devices aren’t limited to technology companies. Nike for instance, has Nike+ a sporty wristband that lets users track their activities, set goals, and improve performance.

But does this mean smaller advertisers have no place in the wearable technology department? Not at all. Of course, the specific method on how adverts will be displayed is yet to be determined, but we anticipate that wearables will provide all kinds of opportunities for advertisers–large and small ones alike.

That’s why companies looking for more innovative ways to reach their customers should certainly keep an eye on the wearable technology space to ensure that they’ll be able leverage it when the right time comes.

Image credits:  The Pug Father, giuseppe.costantino, and  aaronparecki on Flickr

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Why Promotional Branding Is A Worthy Investment For Your Business

Posted September 5, 2013 by fran @ 9:01 am

If you’re not using branded promotional products in your advertising campaign, you’re missing out on a powerful marketing tool. Giving away promotional items is a surefire way to draw attention and increase awareness of your brand. By associating your business with a reliable brand image, you give customers something concrete that they can trust. Below are just a few advantages of using promotional products to establish your brand.

Reaches a Wide Audience

The best way to reach a wide and diverse audience is to invest in a variety of different advertising tools. It’s easy to find promotional items that reflect the purpose of your business as well as the message of your brand, but you should also take your customer base into consideration. If you’re marketing to the general public, basic home and office items are best. For specific subsets such as IT techs, it makes more sense to invest in specialized items like branded USB drives. Getting specific with your advertising makes customers feel like you know them and opens the door for future communications that translate into sales.

Builds Recognition

Customers are more likely to keep promotional giveaway items than they are business cards, pamphlets and other printed materials. Choosing products such as pens, mouse pads and mugs keeps your brand visible on a daily basis. Portable items such as tote bags can become mobile advertisements that bring your brand message to an even wider audience. The more exposure a that customers get, the more likely they are to think of your company the next time they need a product or service you offer.

Improves Customer Response

An advertising campaign is only effective if it works to grow your business. The statistics don’t lie: promotional products generate markedly higher customer response than other forms of advertising. This includes providing contact information, generating referrals and making purchases. Repeat orders also increase with the use of branded items. Such tangible results make it easy to measure how well your promotional campaign is working and whether or not you need to make adjustments to bring in more businesses.

Lowers Marketing Costs

No matter what the size of your business, you want to make the most of your advertising budget. Investing in promotional giveaways gives you a greater return on each impression than other traditional methods. That’s good news if you’re looking to increase the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns. A single branded item may be seen by dozens or even hundreds of people depending on the type of item and how long a customer holds onto it. With some products costing less than a quarter a piece, that’s a hefty return on your investment.

Establishes a Positive Reputation
Giving customers something they can use establishes your business as friendly and helpful. When people associate positive experiences with your brand, it helps build trust. Trustworthy businesses get word of mouth advertising from satisfied customers and draw existing customers back to make repeat purchases, an effect that grows over time.

 

Abi is a marketer, interested in everything marketing. She writes for promotional merchandise specialists Fluid Branding, click here to view their full range of items.

 

Image credit: Woodlands Ad Agency on Flickr

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The AdMedia Team Hits the Ice

Posted August 20, 2013 by fran @ 10:57 am

It was a hot, sunny, 90 degree Friday in Southern California. With so many options of fun things to do in the LA area, the team at AdMedia went with the obvious choice — we went with the traditional LA activity of ice skating!

Ice skating isn’t the most synonymous activity associated with Southern California, but there are still a handful of ice rinks in the area. And it just so happens there’s one right next to our office. It was a simple one block walk to our local ice skating rink where the AdMedia team got together and hit the ice.

 

For most of that Friday morning, the AdMedia team skated, glided, raced, slipped and fell around the Pickwick ice rink in Burbank. Unfortunately, we did not find the next coming of Katarina Witt or Brian Boitano. Nor did we find the next Wayne Gretzky or Sidney Crosby. What we did find was a great way to hang out and blow off some steam at the end of a busy week. A lot of team members got to skate for the first time and some actually knew what they were doing. And for a few of AdMedia team members, it was a humbling experience falling on the ice in front of colleagues.

 

At the end of our special fun day, we had gourmet pizzas waiting for us in the conference room. Tomato & Basil, Pesto, and Chicken Barbecue were just a few of the flavors that the team got to enjoy. It was a perfect day to take a couple of hours out for ice skating and pizza. You can say it was the perfect ending to a fun team building day and a hard-working week at AdMedia.

 

Why Publishers Should Think About Advertising Too

Posted August 14, 2013 by fran @ 1:19 pm

If you’re an online publisher then you’re probably familiar with serving up ads on your site to earn revenue, but have you ever thought about buying ads of your own to do the same thing?

It may seem counter-intuitive when you come across the idea. After all, you’re producing content to make money, not spend it all on online advertising, right? Here’s the thing though, in the business of online marketing and advertising, you often have to spend money–at least at first–to make money.

You need to invest in a lot of things, including yourself, your education, technology, and getting your name out there. Let’s focus on the last point. When starting from scratch, getting your name out there can be an uphill battle. Building an audience takes a lot of time and resources, and you need to produce awesome content often and at a consistent basis.

Say you’re already doing that. What if you’re already exerting a ton of your time and effort in producing great content, but it doesn’t seem to be paying off?

If you already have a great website with useful content in it but you aren’t getting the amount of traffic that you know it deserves then you probably need a boost to improve your numbers. That’s where advertising comes in.

When done right, online advertising can pay off tremendously. As long as you know your target audience and where to find them, you stand a good chance of reaping the benefits of your advertising investment.

See, online ads can bring in more traffic, which could then translate to more readers and revenue (either through ad clicks or with the purchase of your products / services). Serve up relevant, targeted ads to in front of users that you know will love you’re content, and you’ll start seeing some improvements in your metrics in no time.

They key is serving up those ads to users that count. What’s the use of a million impressions if those users have absolutely no interest in what you have to offer? If you haven’t done so yet, conduct market research on your audience and determine where they hang out online and what ads and messages appeal to them the most.

By the way, before you start thinking that market research involves dropping a ton of cash on focus groups and what not–stop. In this day and age, even a one-man team can conduct effective market research without spending a dime. How?

Below are a few ideas:

– Send out a quick survey to your subscribers and ask for feedback’

– Read comments on your blog to get an idea of what types of content resonate most with your audience

– Turn to social media. Check out the pages that your target audience likes on Facebook, join relevant groups on Linkedin, and see who they follow on Twitter

– Conduct surveys using free tools such as Google Docs or GoPollGo

– Tweet out a question / post it on Facebook and take note of the responses

Doing the things above should give you a wealth of data and insights about your target audience. Take those insights and use them to create engaging ads that would drive more traffic (and eventually revenue) to your site.

Filed under: Blogroll,Company Headlines

Display Advertising: 3 Highly Effective (Yet Often Overlooked) Places to Show Ads

Posted May 30, 2013 by fran @ 3:57 pm

You know how people say that timing is everything? Well in display ads, positioning can be everything as well. People have become so accustomed to seeing ads at the usual places (i.e. sidebars, top of the page, etc.) that they hardly even notice them anymore.

Whether you’re an advertiser frustrated with people simply glazing over your ads, or a publisher looking for more dynamic advert placements, below are a few highly effective (yet often overlooked) locations where you can display ads.

Checkout pages – Shoppers always pay close attention to an online store’s checkout page because it usually contains important information such as shipping info, confirmation numbers, and the like. That’s why displaying relevant ads on these pages is a great tactic to get users to view and click through them. Use the checkout page to suggest products related to what the customer just bought. Doing so will increase clicks and conversion rates.

Thank you pages – Thank you / confirmation pages that show up right after a user submits a form also serve as great locations for your ads. Like checkout pages, users who arrive at thank you pages are more inclined to look at and read ads. Additionally, since they obvious just completed a specific call to action, these users are more engaged than your average visitor. Take advantage of that engagement and serve up your ads when they count. (Note: Be sure that the ads are relevant to what they signed up for to maximize clicks and conversions.)

Emails – Why are users more inclined to click on ads that they see via email? Simple. It’s because they’ve already subscribe to the emails that land in their inbox, and they’re most likely interested in the content of those messages. And the fact that they actually OPENED the email further validates this. Make users’ interest work for you by selecting ads that are related to the content of the message. Doing so can tremendously boost your CTRs and conversions.

Remember: It’s not always a question of “where”. HOW you display ads is equally (if not more) important.

While location, location, location  is really important in display advertising remember that manner of how the ads are served up also matters a great deal. Let’s say you don’t have the option to place your ads in the above-mentioned locations and you’re stuck with the traditional ad spaces like the sidebar.

You can still grab user attention and get those clicks and conversions by implementing these two things:

Behavioral targeting – Serving up ads at the most optimal time and environment based on users’ browsing history, location, previous searches, online behavior on more.

Remarketing – If people leave an online store without buying anything, you can implement Remarketing to bring those users back. The Remarketing technology will then serve up your ads even when users are browsing other sites (i.e. checking their mail, reading blogs, etc.)

Quick tip: Supercharge your Remarketing ads by implementing Cross-Channel Remarketing which enables the system to display ads across multiple platforms and channels, including mobile, social media, search, apps, and more.

Image credit:  pasukaru76 on Flickr

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Another Point to Internet Adverting: Research Shows that Online Video Has Higher Impact Compared to TV

Posted May 2, 2013 by fran @ 9:58 am

An infographic released by Adweek earlier this week showed that online video ads are stronger than ever. The number of people in the US watching videos online has grown to 58% this year, compared to just 38% in 2008. The number of Internet users watching digital video is following the same trend, and has gone up from 56% in 2008 to 75% in 2013.

Compared to TV ads, online video has delivered higher numbers in terms of message recall, general recall, brand recall, and ad likeability which could indicate that online ads are more memorable than TV commercials.

To see all the stats and get the full details, be sure to check out the infographic at the bottom of this post.

Not using video ads yet? It’s high time that you do!

If you aren’t using online video yet, then you could be missing out on tons of traffic and branding opportunities. Internet video ads have a much wider reach now compared to just a few years ago, so getting in front of your target audience is easier than ever. Additionally, since online video has a higher impact compared to its television counterpart, you’ll have better chances of making an impression on customers using this medium.

Two ways to take advantage of online video:

1. Pre-roll ads – These are ads that are played at the beginning of online videos. They’re a good way to reach people who are already engaged and when paired with relevant content, they can significantly boost brand recall.

A best practice in pre-roll video advertising is to include a skip button if you have a lengthy ad. You don’t want to annoy users by forcing them to sit through a long video. Doing so can do more harm than good and cause viewers to see you in a negative light. If your video runs for more than 30 seconds, be sensitive to the time of users and just give them the skip option.

You can work on work on minimizing skips by creating an entertaining ad that will keep people watching. Also make sure to put important messages at the beginning of the video. According to AdWeek, “on average, people streaming video watch ads for 20 seconds with and average completion rate of 87%” so you may want to take that into consideration when timing your ad.

2. FooterRoll Ads – FooterRoll appears as a horizontal bar at the bottom of the browser window and is used to play videos on regular publisher sites. It’s a unique ad unit that always shows up above the fold so viewers can’t help but notice it. The FooterRoll toolbar also contains links and social media buttons so it’s more interactive.

Best practices for using FooterRoll include adding a skip button as well as allowing users to minimize the videos. You want to get people to notice your ads, but not at the expense of their browsing experience.

 

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5 Huge Tech Trends to Watch Out For

Posted April 10, 2013 by fran @ 10:07 am

Everything has a trend. Clothing is a perfect example. Each season brings something new. At one point in the year, everyone is wearing the same thing. Trends in fashion change almost every day. It’s a great indication of what’s socially accepted at any given point in time. Now, if we’re talking about trends in other industries we would revisit some of the same points. A trend is defined as something that is current and commonly used among the greater part of the population. It doesn’t necessarily have to be one thing. There can be several different trends circulating at the same time. When it comes to online advertising, that’s usually the case. If you’re missing something, but can’t quite put your finger on it, let’s go over some of the 2013 internet marketing trends.

  1. Cloud-Based Options – First things first. What is “the cloud” and why do I need it? It is simply the use of hardware and software that is delivered through a network. If you’re not using a cloud-based tool just yet, it might be safe to say that you’re behind. This is a great way to collaborate while having a virtual server. It gives you instant access to the resources that you may need while saving your bank account from taking a hard hit.
  2. Social Media – This is a HUGE part of what’s current! Even if you’re not running a business, there’s a 99.9% chance that you have a social media account located somewhere on the World Wide Web. Social media is a great way to spread the word on whatever it is that you’re trying to convey to your fans. It is almost unacceptable for a current business to not have some kind of social media outlet. This tool is something that has over 1 billion users, so there really isn’t a shortage of potential clients waiting to hear about your business, and the only thing standing in the way is you and a social media account. Are you convinced yet?
  3. Mobile – Smart phones link back to social media. Why? Well, most (if not all) social media companies have their own apps. Users are able to access their accounts on the go!  Why not create a way for those same users to check out the latest on your business? That’s very smart advertising!
  4. Multi-Screens – What if you could reach TV Viewers while reaching your social media fans? Studies have shown that 86% of social media users are watching TV while using their devices. Throw a commercial in there. Advertise a promotion on TV that can only be accessed through their mobile app!
  5. Videos – 68% of people that view videos will share a video link to their friends.  Create a video that catches your viewers by surprise. Do something that they wouldn’t expect. Make them laugh while advertising! This is a great way of spreading the word even further.

Of course, there are more ways to utilize online advertising. The above listed are well-known trends with proven results. So, before you venture out, try these five simple steps. We’re sure you’ll reap the benefits very soon!

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3 Reasons Why You Should Pay Attention to SXSW 2013

Posted March 4, 2013 by fran @ 12:54 pm

South by Southwest is around the corner once again and everyone in Austin and beyond is gearing up for this huge conference. Known as one of the biggest, must-attend events in film, music, and tech, SXSW showcases some of the best new companies, ideas, and products. People from all over the nation flock to it every year, and 2013 is no different.

Whether you’re an advertiser or a publisher, keeping abreast with what’s happening at SXSW Interactive is something that you should keep on your to-do list. The conference, which will take place March 8-12 “will feature five days of compelling presentations from the brightest minds in emerging technology, scores of exciting networking events hosted by industry leaders, the SXSW Trade Show and an unbeatable lineup of special programs showcasing the best new digital works, video games and innovative ideas the international community has to offer.”

Even if you can’t be there in person, be sure to follow news stories, tweets, and updates surrounding this event because they’ll certainly give you an idea of where the digital world is heading.  Still need more convincing? Below are a number of really good reasons why you should stay informed with what’s happening at SXSW:

You’ll be able to come up with relevant material – Next week is going to be anything but a slow news week. The digital world will certainly be abuzz with what’s happening at the conference, and you’re bound to see a lot of shares and engagement.

Your job is to find your unique SXSW angle that will allows you to create relevant content for your target audience. Whether you’re an advertiser looking for new material for an online advertising campaign, or a publisher trying to come up with something to write about, SXSW is something that you should certainly look into.

Another reason why this is a great idea? People will be actively looking for SXSW-related content. So if you keep up with this trending topic, your material will have a much better chance of getting found.

You’ll get a glimpse of the hottest companies and products – SXSW will be crawling with brilliant startup founders and creators, so if you’re looking for the next big thing in tech, chances are you’ll find it here.

Take the opportunity to get to know the rising stars of the digital realm and see how you can use their products or services in your own business.

You will learn a ton of new things – This conference isn’t just about demos and swag. SXSW Interactive will also hold keynote talks from some of the industry’s most influential individuals and thought-leaders. Listen to what they have to say, folks. You’re bound to pick up a ton of great advice and ideas.

This year, keynote speakers include Elon Musk, the CEO and Product Architect of Tesla Motors and the CEO / CTO of SpaceX, Tina Roth Eisenberg, a designer who runs Brooklyn-based collaborative workspace Studiomates and creator of TeuxDeux, Julie Uhrman of OUYA with Joshua Topolsky of The Verge, and Matthew Inman of The Oatmeal.

 

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