Happy Freakin’ Monday Ep 39 – More Effective Advertising in 3 Steps

Effective advertising doesn't need to be complicated. In fact, some of the best advertising ever produced is extremely simple. Simplicity is really the underlying theme of today's episode. That's because far too often I see ads that are overly complicated, wordy, and trying to convey too much information that make the ad completely ineffective. 

So here is how you can make your advertising more effective in 3 steps: 

 

Step #1: Capture My Attention

There is so much advertising noise out there that it is more and and more important to try doing something different, something bold and unique in order to stand out. You also need to capture your audience's attention in 2 seconds otherwise they will move on and you've lost them, because well, that's just how we humans operate. Our brains are processing a lot of information quickly and we are good at avoiding advertising. So unless it's really interesting and eye catching and different, then your ad is not going to be very effective. If you want some inspiration, check out this previous episode on Being Different.

Step #2:  Make Me An Offer

What are you selling and why do I need it? Maybe it's just because it's on sale, but I need to know what it is you're selling. It may sound simple but it's amazing how many ads I've seen that don't communicate effectively what it is that they are selling. It should go without saying that this is a huge problem.

Step #3: Make It Easy To Buy

You might have the best, most unique ad in the market but if your call to action or your landing page is complicated or unclear, then you may be losing a lot of potential customers. It's really important to simplify the process with as few steps as possible so that you don't lose people along the way.

As I said in the beginning, the key here is to keep things simple. Ineffective advertising is often due to a case of information overload. However, if you stick to these 3 steps and focus on simple and clear messaging, then you are heading in the right direction.

Have A Great Week!

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Happy Freakin’ Monday Ep 38 – Marketing VS Taxes

It's almost December and I was thinking about the dreaded Tax season because with year end coming, how can I not? However, I hesitate to even mention the "T" word because I know a lot of business owners hate to hear it. Which is funny to me, but understandable. I used to hate the word too until I got a bookkeeper and an accountant. Now there's not much to stress about.

That got me thinking tough how Marketing is probably an equally dreadful word as well. There are a lot of similarities between the two but at the end of the day, just like your taxes, the stress and anxiety that the "M" word causes is really easy to avoid.

Here's how your Taxes and Marketing are similar:

1. Both are scary words that we like to avoid

We tend to not like hearing the words because they remind us that we should be doing more. that is understandable because if you're doing them yourself, it can be stressful, time consuming and worst of all, ineffective.  Instead of doing more, and getting better, we often just continue to procrastinate and avoid until the very last minute. 

2. Both are constantly changing

Just like the rules and regulations for your taxes change year to year, so do effective marketing tactics. People are fairly predictable creatures but the variables include consumer interests, new technologies, new media, just to name a few. Staying on top of what's new and what works can be a full time job... I should know, it is my full time job.  Which brings me to my third point:

3. You need to hire a Professional for both

Why have an accountant for your business but not a marketing agency or professional? Just like an accountant brings years of experience and insight along with up to date knowledge, so does a marketing agency. Not to mention creativity! that is just something, I'm sorry to say, many business owners struggle with. 

So struggle and stress no more. It's as simple as that. Hire a marketing professional who can work with your business to develop campaigns that will provide results and ultimately pay for themselves. Taking that weight off your back will help you to focus on what you do best, managing and growing your business. 

Have A Great Week!

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Happy Freakin’ Monday Ep 37 – Black Friday Marketing PSA

You probably don't need to be reminded but I'm going to remind you anyway... Black Friday is coming and it's a great time to offer a sale or promotion to your customers both new and returning who are probably looking for a deal this time of year.

It's really not hard to do, all you need is a compelling offer and start promoting it. This week is usually the time that everyone promotes their Black Friday deals too so you're not late, even if you start promoting your sale on Thursday. 

I did the same actually. I realized that I too could offer a promotion and so I'm offering 20% off all Product Photography orders this week only. See? it's easy.

So don't wait, get your promotion out soon and share share share.

That's it for me this week, just a friendly reminder... in case you were wondering, PSA stands for Public Service Announcement. now you know.

Happy Freakin' Monday!

Have A Great Week!

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Happy Freakin’ Monday Ep 36 – Endangered Syndrome Generating Buzz

The Canadian Down Syndrome Society has launched a campaign to apply for endangered species status with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). I didn’t intend on talking about buzzworthy advertising again this week but I really want to talk about this controversial move from a charity that knows how to get people’s attention.

In full disclosure, I happen to know the Executive Chair of the society. I am in a networking group with her and so I’ve had the chance to get a little bit of insight and hear what it’s like to live through that tornado of a media frenzy which is fascinating to me. That being said, these are 100% my own thoughts and feelings on this campaign.

*CORRECTION THE AGENCY IS FCB CANADA... NOT WHATEVER I SAID.

In my previous videos about generating buzz, I mentioned that doing something controversial is one way to get people talking but that I don’t recommend it because it can be a fine line to walk. Plus if you’re not prepared to deal with the fallout, it can be devastating to your brand. The Down Syndrome Society's new campaign falls into the category of controversial but it is generating conversation, has been viewed over hundreds of thousands of times (and counting) and has been covered by most of the major Canadian Media outlets so in a lot of ways, it’s working.

Before we talk about why the new campaign is controversial, here is a little background. The new campaign, launched at the beginning of this month to kick off Canadian Down Syndrome week. The video features Men and Women with Down Syndrome dressed as endangered species to announce their very real application to be the first humans to apply to be on the endangered species list.

The entire campaign was produced by their agency FCB Canada and it was done pro bono. That’s right, the agency has done multiple campaigns for the Canadian Down Syndrome Society completely free of charge which is really amazing to me.

You may remember their very popular “anything but sorry” campaign from last year that featured a similar cast providing suggestions for what to say to a someone giving birth to a new baby with the syndrome. The point was that you should be happy for them, and say anything except “sorry”. It went viral because it made an excellent point and the suggestions included a lot of swearing which made it funny but I think really challenged a general perception as well. That is that people with intellectual disabilities are seen as sweet and innocent and not capable of such language, which is obviously wrong. Here is that spot for your viewing pleasure:

Here is the Endangered Syndrome Video:

With the new campaign, the controversy is obviously around this perceived comparison of people with Down Syndrome to animals. This is what the media has latched onto, and what some people feel when they watch the video. I say “perceived comparison” because there is a lot of context around the campaign that I think most are missing. Here is what I think that the  Society and their agency did right to get ahead of that negative controversy for a successful campaign.

  1. They launched a website www.EndangeredSyndrome.com that provides more context and rationale for this campaign. They share a variety of facts to support their position that their population is shrinking and therefore so is their support. You can sign the petition and read their full application to the IUCN.
  2. They have taken the media head on doing a variety of interviews since the launch. I was told that they also intend to respond to CBC for what the Society felt was “unfair coverage” of the story. So instead of staying out of the spotlight they are using this opportunity to have that discussion and try to educate people about their cause.

So if you intend on going the controversial route with your marketing campaign, you better be prepared. 2 weeks ago I shared the example of the video game company who offered to buy ad space on peoples tombstones. That failed miserably because there was no rationale other than a cheap ploy to get attention. However, In the case of the Canadian Down Syndrome Society they actually have a point to make and they have done their homework. While it may be a controversial point, they are willing to fight for it and I for one think they will come out on top.

Have A Great Week!

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Happy Freakin’ Monday Ep 35 – Generating Buzz Pt2

Last week I dressed up as a really lame bee for halloween to talk about generating buzz with your marketing. I shared 2 ways to appeal to your audience in a way that will get people talking about your brand and you can find that post here: How To Generate Buzz Pt 1. This week I am sharing 2 more ways to generate buzz.

The first one I shared was do something controversial, one that I don’t always recommend because it can be effective if it is strategically aligned to your brand and your audience. The second was do something extraordinary. This is one that can be more costly or difficult to pull off but with some creativity, anything is possible.

The point of buzz marketing is to do something that not only gets people talking about your brand but that is newsworthy where that word of mouth is amplified by the media. The key to buzz marketing is that people love telling good stories so you need to create a story worth telling.

Here are two more ways to do that and generate a whole lot of buzz:

  1. Do Something Secret or Exclusive

When most social media platforms first launch, they try to get people talking by making it exclusive. People want what they can’t have. By only allowing subscription by invite only, it makes people want it more and talk about it, especially when they do get in and others have not. Being in the know is social currency and that is what makes great buzz.

A great example is a speakeasy in New York called Please don’t tell. It’s actually a hidden bar that you find through a phone booth that you step into and dial 1 to reach the operator who lets you in.  Even though it’s out of plain sight, it’s not really hidden. By creating such a fun secret experience, it’s bound to get people talking. Also bonus points if your business concept itself is buzzworthy like Please Don’t Tell.  

  1. Do Something Absurd  

Absurd, hilarious, completely off the wall and unexpected. That’s what gets people talking. It’s also at the core of many viral videos. When doing something absurd and unexpected, guerrilla tactics are often best. Take for example this campaign from Goldtoe breiefs who dressed the charging bull statue in New York in a giant pair of boxer briefs. As you can imagine it was quite a spectacle and definitely buzz worthy.

The best thing about doing something public like this is that it gives people who witness it the opportunity to be a social media star. Again it comes down to social currency and allowing your audience to capture something no one has seen before. When people want to take photos and videos and share your campaign with their networks, that is the sign of a buzz campaign done well.

Have A Great Week!

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Happy Freakin’ Monday Ep 34 – How To Generate Marketing Buzz

Generating Buzz is essentially word of mouth marketing but with a loud speaker. When we talk about generating buzz, we’re not only referring to getting people talking about your brand but doing something that is even newsworthy where that word of mouth is amplified by the media.

This approach is obviously appealing because the media and word of mouth exposure is free. That doesn’t mean that generating buzz itself is a cheap form of advertising. It can be quite expensive but here are some ways to appeal to your audience in a way that will get people talking because people love telling stories. So create stories for people to tell by doing one of 4 things (that I will share over 2 episodes). Here's are the first 2 ways to generate Buzz:

If you’re really brave, do something controversial. Not always a great tactic but if calculated well it could work in your favour. One of my favourite stories of a controversial buzz campaign was from a video game company called Acclaim Entertainment. They created a series of games around a character named Turok who was a Dinosaur Hunter. But they launched a campaign in the UK around the a new Turok game and they announced that they would pay any new Parents £10,000 to name their newborn “Turok”.

As you might guess this caused quite a buzz. It was kinda funny, kinda stupid, and only really harmful if anyone took them up on it. As far as I know, noone did. The thing about this story however is that Acclaim pushed the envelope with another campaign and not only found the line of controversial buzz marketing, but they crossed it. They took the same approach with another video game launch and they offered to buy ad space on people’s tombstones. The public had a hay day with this and they were forced to quickly revoke the offer and I’m sure it was a pr nightmare. So bottom line is that I don’t recommend this tactic often.

Something I do recommend is doing something Extraordinary - Something your audience has never seen before.

Ok this one can be difficult and costly. Like one of my favourite examples that fits this category is Red Bull’s Stratos stunt. Remember when that guy jumped out of a weather balloon from the stratosphere, over 36,000 meters above the earth and broke the sound barrier as he fell to the ground? Ya you can’t afford that but what an awesome way to generate buzz. Here is the highlight video from that event, in case you missed it.

Something more budget friendly and realistic might be a flash mob. All you need are a couple of actors/singers/dancers and someone to film it. A flash mob can be a great way to give people an immersive and unforgettable experience that they are sure to talk about. Here is a flash mob campaign from T-Mobile: 

And here is a pretty buzz worthy campaign from ING Netherlands, promoting an art exhibit where a famous painting comes to life: 

Next 2 ways to generate buzz coming next week. See you then!

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Happy Freakin’ Monday Ep 32 – Marketing to Cannabis Culture

It’s Monday October 15th which means that in just 2 days CannAbis will officially be legal in Canada. Cannabis, marijuana, pot, weed, dope, ganja reefer, whatever you want to call it, has been illegal in this country for over 90 years and this change is going to have a profound impact on our society on so many levels.

Of course, I want to talk about marketing and what this widespread social and economic change means to big brands as well as me and potentially some of my clients.

The fact is that most brands will steer clear of this subject just like alcohol consumption but with this change in legislation will come a change in attitudes and stereotypical demographics.

Speaking of stereotypical demos One notable brand already jumping on board the cannabis train is Hershey’s with their oh Henry 425 bar which is targeted directly at a younger “pot smoking” or “stoner” demographic. Obviously referencing 420 which if you don’t know what that means, here is a link to the urban dictionary definition. But they’re basically saying it’s perfect for 5 min after you get high and have the munchies.

Hershey’s partnered up with a youtube channel “epic meal time”, a Canadian based channel with 7 million subscribers to promote the bar. Now this is not a new strategy there are lots of channels, producing content for big brands but  what’s interesting is the utter lack of subtlety in this video. In the spot they act high and create a 100lb version of the bar to satisfy their munchies. To me, it’s a bit of a bold move to be so blatant about a product created for stoners but it’s kind of an obvious tactic and one we might also see from brands like Doritos or Taco bell.

However, good marketing is about understanding human behaviour and attitudes and what I am really interested in seeing is how decriminalizing marijuana will change attitudes and a lot of those stereotypes. The fact is that it’s not just consumed by a young 18-25 male demographic. It was decriminalized because it is used recreationally,  medicinally by people from all walks of life. So where before we might have used a cliche of busy mom comes home from work and pours herself a glass of wine, we might see a shift to cann ibis products whether it be a joint, oils, or edibles.

It’s like that Nike spot I was talking about a few weeks ago featuring Colin Kaepernick. The brilliance of that ad was the subtle yet impactful message that was a direct reflection of the times we live in and the times they are a changin’. Especially come Wednesday.

See you next week!

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Happy Freakin’ Monday Ep 28 – The RnR of Advertising

No unfortunately this episode is not about Rest and Relaxation as much as I would love it to be. Instead we are talking about Repetition and Recognition. Two very important words that I want you to remember and I will ensure that you do remember  through use of Repetition and Recognition... see it’s already working.

If there is one takeaway from my entire series I hope it’s this and here’s why. When I was in Highschool I had an art teacher who changed my life. I was really into drawing and he challenged me and taught me a lot but probably the most important lesson I learned and always remember was just 4 words. He would say “Black, White, and Grey”. He would say it constantly to remind us that good drawings should have variety of black white and shades of grey. Not just black and white as most kids tend to draw.

He would also reinforce that by showing us drawings that used a full range of black white and grey. It was through repetition and recognition that I never forgot his words and was able to produce some pretty amazing drawings. Just check out this portrait of my parents I drew in my 20s.

So how does this apply to your advertising? Well have you ever ran a single ad, that didn’t send any leads so you stopped? I’m sure many of you have because it can seem risky to put money into something that may not provide a return, so you pull the plug. The fact is however, if you only ever run one ad, chances are it won’t provide a return anyway because there was no repetition and recognition. This is key to being in the right place at the right time.

Talking about being in the right place at the right time, just this past weekend I was contacted by a potential new client who knows about BFresh.Media because of watching Happy Freakin Monday. So right there, a weekly video series is the repetition. Getting in front of my audience and staying top of mind. However, she admitted that she contacted me after seeing my branded car drive past her on the street. There’s the recognition in the right place at the right time. Sometimes it’s luck, but this client I don’t think believes in coincidence.

That’s why social media can be very effective because if you put in the effort, it can be a lot more cost effective to get that repetition going. For more on recognition, I have a past episode on Brand Consistency that can really help with that.

But that’s it for me. For more repetition and brand recognition, tune in next week.

See you next week!

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Happy Freakin’ Monday Ep 27 – Nike’s New Ad is Amazing

“Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything.”

Nike just dropped a bomb of an ad last week and here is why it is so important, and why I think it will go down as one of those commercials that people will talk about for a very long time.

The quote above spoken by none other than Colin Kaepernick, the NFL Quarterback who became a household name for taking a knee during the national anthem to protest racial inequality and discrimination against people of color in america. In august of 2016, after his protest first began,  Kaepernick was quoted as saying:

"I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color," Kaepernick told NFL Media in an exclusive interview after a game. "To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder."

His protest grew as other players joined him and even other teams. It became a national issue with even the President of the United States weighing in and further dividing the country on his decision to not stand during the national anthem.

Now in 2018, Kaepernick is no longer with the NFL and is taking legal action against the organization and the owners claiming that they colluded not to hire him back. Whether you are on the side that feels he is a disgraced figure or a national hero, you cannot deny that a lot of people are talking about this ad.

I think this ad is very smart and strategic and here are 3 reasons why:

  1. Timing

The timing of this could not have been better. Just before the NFL season kickoff, and as part of the 30 year anniversary of the Just Do It campaign, Nike knew that they wanted to make a statement. The interesting thing about this timing as well is that Kaepernick is back in the spotlight as he takes legal action against the NFL and their owners, claiming they colluded not to hire him back.

  1. Controversy

I have often said that when it comes to brand advertising, controversy is something that you should avoid. Historically brand advertising has been about not offending anyone, by staying even keeled on most issues, especially heated political and social debates. That being said, every rule is made to be broken and although we have seen some brands making statements on some issues in the recent past, very rarely do we ever see something of this magnitude that is incorporated into the very fabric of their marketing.

There was risk in making this decision to use Kaepernick but it was very calculated and well executed. If you watch the full 2 min ad you will notice that while it is narrated by the former quarterback, it is not focused completely on his story. In fact, out of context, that powerful quote could apply to many other athletes and their struggles and Kaepernick is just a part of that story that they are telling. On the surface it is another inspirational “Just Do It” ad but in context, obviously, it has a lot more meaning behind it.

So they played it safe but there is buzz of boycotts and actually people burning their shoes and apparel but I’m sure Nike figured that might happen. At the end of the day I think those people are not Nike’s core demographic plus they will probably get over it, or continue buying merchandise that they don’t even realize is Nike.

  1. A reflection of the times we live in.

It sort of comes back to timing but on more of a social and political level. We live in a time where the United States is divided by a very polarizing President who has added a lot of fuel to the protest fires burning around the country. There are also many different issues and movements that are gaining exposure and dialogue not just the Black Lives Matter but there have been the Me Too and Times Up, plus many other issues like gun control that at times seem to be boiling over.

This spot is a response, I think, to the argument made that “the football field is no place for protest” or that “He should shut up and play the game”. To me Nike is saying No. They are reminding us that there is no platform off limits for peaceful protest because look around you, it’s happening whether you like it or not and I’m happy to see them supporting Kaepernick.

 

So that’s my take on this whole campaign and the controversy around it. I wonder if it might potentially be a sign of things to come by brands continuing to taking a stand on certain issues. I think we have seen some already but maybe not quite to this extent. I for one support that bold risky marketing but just be careful. Nike makes it look easy but after all, they’ve been just do(ing) it for 30 years.

See you next week!

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Happy Freakin’ Monday Ep 26 – Start Planning Your Holiday Campaign

I know! It seems way too early to be talking about the Holidays... unless you're in marketing. As much as I hate to say it, the Holiday season is right around the corner. However, that means that it's not too late to start planning your campaign. The holiday season is obviously a good time for many businesses, especially in retail but many don’t consider how much time it takes to plan a great holiday campaign.

This week  I want to share a very important public service announcement to not put it off but start planning. Right now, today, before it's too late.

Basically if you think of putting together a campaign for the holidays in late November, there's no helping you. Now is the perfect time to start planning to get ahead. I’ve even put together some (made up) stats to help prove my point.

Let’s talk about Starbucks for a moment. Here is a brand that is very good at embracing the holidays. Not in a way that is in-your-face, or over the top but they really mix in just the right amount of holiday cheer into their customer experience. It’s funny how something so simple as a cup design  can make such a huge impact on consumers but it really does. It gets noticed and even talked about on the news (for some reason).

But do you think Starbucks decided in late november “oh hey, we should do something for the holidays”?. NO, of course not. It must take months to design, print and distribute those cups to all of their locations.

So whether it’s something simple and subtle like changing a cup design or rolling out a mass media video campaign, do yourself a favour and start now and plan for success. You will thank me come January.

See you next week!

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