Ad Stamp: Helping Brand Advertising Move Online

Federated Media Publishing, or the FM network, is rolling out a new option for advertisers called Ad Stamp.  Ad Stamp combines two of the industry’s largest ad units with a companion banner that pulls social media content.

FM currently offers a large “pushdown” ad, which is a 970×418 pixel banner at the top of Web pages that collapses to 970×60.  With Ad Stamp, FM will also place a “tower” ad on the right side of pages that measures 300×600 and they will add a social touch to their package with a 300×250 “conversationalist” ad that is placed at the bottom of pages and pulls in brand-related feeds.  The “conversationalist” ad pulls feeds from blog post, Tweets and also includes options for friending the advertised products or services via Facebook, or as a follower on Twitter.  According to the FM CEO, the goal of Ad Stamp is to build a Web ad product that serves the similar purpose as a 2-page spread in magazines or a 30-second commerical spot.

There is of course risk involved with advertising like this, where most of a web page’s real estate is dedicated to advertising.  Consumers may not like this new format and could express distaste for Ad Stamp, as consumers have mentioned their dislike for pop-up, pop-under and interstitial ads.  Ad Stamp’s rebuttal is that the three units the program provides work in concert for a single brand and actually provide a better user experience than the scattered advertising units we see now.

For more about the Ad Stamp program, including statistics and ad caps, go to: http://www.reuters.com/article/pressRelease/idUS112587+10-Sep-2009+BW20090910

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3 Tips For Successful Print Ads

Print ads have always been an industry staple.  The strategic goal behind print ads is different for every advertisement that goes out, some are made to build an image, other are created to drive consumers to a brand’s website, but whatever the reason, marketers hope that the time, money and creativity that is spent on these ads pays off.  MRI Starch Communications recently set out to learn what makes print ads successful i.e. moves the needle in terms of sales.  The company looked at 297 magazine issues between October 2008 and April 2009.  For each product category, they analyzed the top-performing ad based on the fact that the ad drove at least 15% of readers to make purchase.  Here are some of the results:

  1. Context Matters – Many of the ads that drove their readers to make purchases were in the magazines that were of natural interest to their target audience.  Ads for America’s Milk Processors (55% purchase rate), Vaseline Clinical Therapy Body Lotion (26% purchase rate) and Lipitor (18%) are all wellness and healing products, and were all placed in Health Magazine.  The male-dominated reader like Maxim magazine’s demographic saw ads for Discovery Channel’s Dirty Jobs and 21% of the audience tuned in as a result of that ad.  So, it is very important for advertisers to do their research and know their target audience.  Once this information is known, you can strategically place your print ads so they will be seen by the people most apt to purchase your product.
  2. Price May Matter – Research shows that none of the top print advertisements featured expensive products like automobiles, vacations or home appliances.  Because of the amount of time and research that goes into larger purchases, a single advertisement is less likely to motivate a consumer to go out and purchase high ticket items.
  3. Brand Perception Matters – MRI not only analyzed the ads, but they also asked their readers what they thought about the specific brands that were advertised.  Research shows that if a reader is favorably disposed to the brand, there is a greater chance that they will purchased the product or service being advertised.  Four of the nine categories had 90% of readers who were favorably disposed to the brand who had the highest conversion rate.

The MRI research presented isn’t necessarily anything that those of us in the industry didn’t already know.  But it does reinforce the fact that it is our responsibility as the marketer to do our due diligence in getting to know our target consumer, placing advertisments where they will see them and making sure we are a brand they can connect with and have a favorable response to.

For the full article, go to: http://adage.com/mediaworks/article?article_id=138810

Ford’s New MyKey Helps Keep Teen Drivers Safe

Ford’s MyKey is a new technology that helps parents control some of their teen drivers’ behavior.  MyKey allows parents to configure one key for their teen, which encourage teen drivers to drive safer and more fuel efficiently, as well as increase seat belt usage.  MyKey will only allow the teen driver to go up to 80mph and the audio system will not go on until the front two passengers are buckled up.  The MyKey also maxes out the stereo’s volume at half of it’s capacity and provides low-fuel warnings earlier than standard cars.  MyKey will become standard on most Ford models, but is now available on Taurus, Focus, Escape SUV and 9 others.

With the staggering statistics about how many teens are involved in car accidents each year, the MyKey program is not just a marketing program, but also a shift in providing people with safer vehicles.  Since MyKey will eventually be on every car, parents who don’t need the technology now, will be able to have it when their child is of driving age.  It will also allow used-car buyers to take advantage of the technology, without having to shell out the big bucks for a new 16th birthday present.

Does the MyKey program make a difference to you as a buyer? Would you be more inclined to buy a Ford when your teen is of age?

For the full article, go to: http://www.usatoday.com/money/autos/2009-08-31-ford-mykey-safety_N.htm

Back To School Necessities

Switched.com has provided 12 gadgets that they feel every student needs.  Even though I’m now part of the working instead of academia, I might check out a couple of these gadgets, they look awesome!

1) JBL Onstage 400p iPod Dock/Alarm Clock – Why wake up to that annoying beeping when you could rise and shine to the music you love.  Definitely helps to start the day off on the right foot!

2) Doorganizer – This hanging organizer fits perfectly over your doorknob and allows you to find those too-early-in-the-morning-to-actually-think necessities.  It definitely beats out my current system of post-its.

3) InfoScan TS Elite – Although it looks like a highlighter, this portable scanner holds up to 500 pages worth of data.  You can scan the data directly from the page and the TS Elite will read, save and then transfer it to  your computer.

4) Smencils – These gourmet-scented pencils – bubble gum, cinnamon and root beer – not only smell delicious but they are fun and environmentally friendly.

5) Anti-theft lunch bags – Never have your lunch stolen again.  These bags are specially designed to make your sandwich look disgusting and mold-ridden.  Both your kid’s and your lunch will be safe from potential thieves.

6) Targus HeatDefense – Keeping your laptop cool is the key to prolonging your battery life.  The HeatDefense not only helps keep your computer at a safe temperature but it also keeps your lap cool.

7) Seagate FreeAgent Go – You always want to make sure that your data is backed up.  The FreeAgent Go backs up your data automatically and has encryption technology to keep your files safe.

8) Ecosol Powerstick – This back up power device allows you to charge your cell phone or PDA while on the go.

9) ASUS Eee PC – In the market for an affordable, but reliable PC? The ASUS Eee PC is great for getting you through a day’s worth of lectures and presentations, as it boasts a 10.5 hour battery life.

10) Livescribe Pulse – This pen is also a digital recorder.  It allows you to tap on what you wrote to listen to the corresponding part of the recording.

11) PowerSquid Surge3000 Calamari Edition – This surge protector is designed for today’s electronics and is particularly useful for rooms where outlets are rare.

12) Sony Reader Touch Edition – The eReader offers more flexibility and 1 million free public domain books from Google and other titles from Sony’s own eBook store.

Hopefully one or more of these items captured your attention.  Like I said, Switched.com picked these gadgets out for the modern day student, but I can see myself utilizing almost all of them at my workplace.  If you happen to purchase any of these gadgets we want to hear your reviews!

Consumers Choosing To Save Money Over Environment

In this economy, Green consumers are choosing to save cash over spending a little extra on “green items.”  The Shelton Group advertising agency’s study, which pulled from Earthsense data regarding 1,000 US consumers who buy green products, found the following:
– 59% of green consumers say economy is top priority when making purchasing decisions
– 8% consider the environment as their top priority

– 77% of the population occasionally buys green products
– 73% said they bought green because they wanted to reduce bills & control costs
– 26% say they buy to lessen impact on environment

–  72% of respondents found the idea of owning or renting an “energy-efficient home” appealing
– Only 47% felt that about owning/renting a “green home”

The study finds that the range of green consumers allows for marketing approaches to vary.  The key right now is cost & perceived value, so if you are a green product or brand and your cost is higher than your competitors, consumers want to know what else they are getting and how it will save them money in the future.

For the full article, go to: http://www.brandweek.com/bw/content_display/news-and-features/direct/e3i08b5226bcb8cd0c4d32fd9a97a091e61

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Pampers Target Gen Y

Pampers is going digital with their newest campaign “A Parent is Born,” which chronicles the birth of parents.  The show focuses on an LA couple anticipating their first child.  There are 12 webisodes that detail different aspects of a new parents journey, including “Finding Out the Sex,” to “My Big, Fat, Beautiful Body.”   Pampers rarely does digital advertising on a large scale, but the diaper brand wanted to connect with Millennial (Gen Y) moms and they knew their target demographic was online.

The webisodes will run on Pampers.com, YouTube, DirecTV On Demand and TLC.  MommyCast, the weekly radio/podcast series, will do a follow up with the couple, once their little one is born.  There is no product placement in the videos, and aside from the opening Pampers logo, the webisodes hardly mention or show the Pampers product.  Pampers will continue to use TV, print and direct mail to push their product.

For more information on this interesting approach to selling diapers, go to: http://www.brandweek.com/bw/content_display/news-and-features/direct/e3i91e05ffd5e045bf1370e789781ff7ef1

Dannon Yogurt Creates Loyalty Program

In Dannon Yogurt’s effort to make a name for itself as a back-to-school staple, they have launched a loyalty program that rewards shoppers based on how much they spend.  The campaign is called “Dannonomics” and allows customers to submit receipts when their totals hit $15, $20 or $40 for purchases made through October 31st.  For each submission, Dannon sends back coupons for additional savings on their products.

The promotion is running across several brands, including Activia, DanActive, Danimals, Light & Fit and Dan-o-nino.  The campaign includes TV, print, online, in-store and package messaging saying “Delicious yogurt in your fridge. Money back in your wallet.”

Personally, I think that this campaign would be more successful if they did a money back promotion instead of a couponing promotion.  Will people really take the time to send all of their receipts in and wait for coupons before returning to the store? I guess we will just have to wait and see.

What would you do? Would this couponing idea make you more apt to buy a Dannon product? Or will you just buy your kids whatever good-for-you yogurt is on sale at the time of your store run?

For more information on the campaign, go to: http://www.brandweek.com/bw/content_display/news-and-features/direct/e3ib9d44f33bad88c08c2a273a9172322fa

Rebranding Radio Shack – Will It Work?

Radio Shack has taken a back seat in the marketing game for the past few years.  But with the announcement of Lance Armstrong’s new cycling team, Team RadioShack, and their new rebranding plan, Radio Shack is making a comeback.

In 12 new TV ads that started running nationally yesterday, Radio Shack, is now going to be known as “The Shack,” at least informally in its marketing materials.  The new campaign includes in-store signage, digital media, out-of-home, direct and a three day bi-coastal event which will broadcast live video connecting New York and San Francisco.  “The Shack Summer Netogether” will use two 11 x 17-foot “laptops” broadcasting live video to connect activities in both cities.  There are also plans for a new website and a new Facebook page.

The goal of this campaign is to give it a more modern image that speaks to its premium brand offerings in wireless and connectivity.  The brand is 80 years old and its definitely time to spice things up.

Rebranding is always risky business.  We’ve seen several companies do it lately, i.e. Pizza Hut it with “The Hut,” Circuit City did it at one time with “The City.”  But RadioShack is not just changing its name and resting on its laurels, they are covering most of their bases with this campaign, as they are using both traditional and experimental media.  It will be hard to ignore their new “The Shack” messaging, which in for a marketer is one of your top goals.

For the full article, go to: http://www.brandweek.com/bw/content_display/news-and-features/retail-restaurants/e3i2249411481f0057b413e041c487ac7bf?imw=Y

For an interesting opinion from PC World, go to: http://www.pcworld.com/article/169613/radioshacks_the_shack_shift_3_things_to_consider.html

New Ways to Advertise Online

Moving advertising online is hard for some companies, especially when people are rapidly going through web pages and advertisers don’t know if their ads are having the impact they desire.

New developments in web advertising are confronting this issue head on.  There’s the development of new, larger ad units by major publishers and an increased focus on creativity within the industry, not to mention there’s an increasing number of people consuming online video. Two ad networks specifically, VideoEgg and Meebo, are introducing what they call – persistent ad formats.  Unlike the typical banner ads, these units stay on the screen, occupying a border at the top and bottom, so that online consumers do not just whiz by your ad.  Both companies believe these persistent ads will work because similarly to television, the longer you show an ad to someone, the more likely it is to sink in.

VideoEgg’s persistent ad product is called Twig.  When users hover over the banner it expands it into a full-screen ad with video and other graphical elements.  VideoEgg is paid by advertisers only when users expand the ad from either the top or bottom.

Meebo, a popular internet messaging service, runs its messages along the bottom of the screen.  The bar allows users to easily activate chats with friends from the site and share items on the page.  Toyota and AT&T are companies that have an advertising presence on this product.

Advertisers no longer have to be scared of the Internet.  More and more people are going online for business and pleasure so your consumer is out there.  With the constant upgrades and innovation in advertising online, companies are sure that you are going to get the ROI you deserve.

For more information on these technologies, go to: http://www.brandweek.com/bw/content_display/news-and-features/digital/e3i8ccae23c8456ba46bacf1746b2013fd1

Recession Creates New Advertising Norm

The recession has created a change in the fundamentals of the advertising world.  The new face of the ad business includes clients reducing ad expenditures and scaled back marketing costs including renegotiating agency fees.  Once the recession is over, this new client behavior is not expected to revert back to pre-recession ways.

PriceWaterHouseCoopers reports that advertising expenditures will total $467.3 billion by 2013 worldwide.  This is about 2.5% lower that 2008’s tally of $479.3 billion. Consumer confidence will also affect this figure over the next few years.  The current global economy has forced agencies to explore new business models and look forward toward emerging markets and new media for growth opportunities.  It has also shown the consumer that they do not need to spend like they did pre-recession.  Industry experts have differing opinions about the future of consumer spending. While some believe that frugality is here to stay, others believe that spending will be halted only until the economy starts to turn around.

What everyone agrees on though, is that the push towards digital was inevitable and was in effect before the economy bottomed out.  So the future in digital is only going to grow and become a more predominate part of the advertising world for years to come.

For more information on the new advertising world, go to: http://www.adweek.com/aw/content_display/news/agency/e3ia2224c3f78e5a3ce8f0edef5e540cd3d?pn=1