“The Idea Writers” by Creativity editor Teressa Iezzi

The Idea Writers by Teressa Iezzi

Marketing in the digital era can confuse and frustrate the heck out of people – clients, agency managers, 20-something interactive whiz kids.

About two months ago a longtime ad-agency pal asked me, “What in the world has happened to our industry?”  I tried to answer. Teressa Iezzi, editor of Creativity, explains it a whole lot better in her book, The Idea Writers. Continue reading

Don’t make your customers look like twits in the name of “creativity”

Maybe your small business can’t run an ad campaign during the Super Bowl. But you can take lessons from a couple of big brands that did – and in doing so, offended the environmental community, all of Brazil, a huge chunk of the black community and anyone who is sympathetic to the Dali Lama. Continue reading

The hardest-working Super Bowl commercial was…

There’s a brand that’s in trouble. It’s been making shoddy products for years. It was (and maybe still is) at the brink of failure. It needs not just a Hail Mary, but a succession of them.

Wieden + Kennedy may have answered at least one of those prayers with its work for Chrysler, the first-ever 2-minute Super Bowl commercial.

A Super Bowl commercial must work much like any other marketing communication. It has to speak to the right people, on a matter that’s relevant, in terms they understand, and be compelling. It has to address a need in the client’s sales process, or sales funnel.

Do you think another Super Bowl spot worked better than Chrysler’s?
Please comment at the end of this post. Or email me directly.

But the Super Bowl comes with extra burdens: It creates more pressure to make impact than any other venue in the world of advertising. Everyone’s watching. Even if they’re not watching the game, they’re watching online. They’re FB’ing, Tweeting and emailing. They’re even blogging. You mess up, you’ve done more than waste time, money and opportunity. You can embarrass your brand.

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Your marketing message: Does it connect?

From 25 years ago, the words of David Kennedy, co-founder of Wieden + Kennedy: “We’re really not in the business of making ads. Our job is to make a connection.”  Today you could add websites, Facebook pages, YouTube channels, email and much more to his list of stuff we’re not really in the business of making. It’s always about the connection.

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Sometimes you can tell right away if the marketing effort connects. It hits you in the gut.

Other times, you can only tell something about the quality of the design and writing.

And yet well-written, well-designed work often misses the mark. Sometimes terribly. (Just look at two-thirds of Super Bowl commercials, and four-fifths of all websites.) So for each of these samples from my portfolio, I’ve given some context. To view the work, click the images above or the links on the left.

Thank you to WalMart, The Martin Agency, and our troops

It’s not too often you want to thank a company and its ad agency for a commercial. Here’s a wonderfully touching spot. Congratulations to all involved.

Most important, thanks to every one of our service men and women, and their families, especially during the holiday season.

If any of you Martin folks read this, please send along some credits.

If you’re going to make bad advertising, why not make it REALLY bad?

That’s a pretty cute headline I saw in the lobby at my local Bank of America the other day. “Buy Pizza, Get Dough.” Get it? Don’t worry, not many other people do, either.

Buy Pizza, Get Dough, from Bank of America

Tabletop poster with flier, at a Bank of America branch

It made me think of some less cute headlines that have been in the news lately:

Is it too much to ask BofA to be less jovial about their schemes to stockpile more of our money — especially when they’re back-dooring fee increases on things like safe-deposit boxes and giving Merrill Lynch executives huge bonuses?

A few BofA headlines I’d like to see… Continue reading