Category Archives: Marketing

My Top 5 Super Bowl Ads of 2014

Image of the Super Bowl XLVIII logo.Another Super Bowl has come and gone and that means it’s time for a breakdown of my top five ads from one of the biggest days in sports. There’s not much to talk about in the 43-8 beating the Broncos took from the Seahawks so we’ll just dive right into it.

This year’s crop of Super Bowl ads seemed pretty weak at first glance. Maybe I was a little distracted from munching on a delicious assortment of Chex Mix, pizza and other delicious treats. Maybe the game was so boring that I just had too many side conversations and browsing on my iPhone to catch all the details of the commercials. In any event, upon a thorough review of each game-day ad on YouTube, it turns out there were some pretty high-quality ads. I’m still a fan of the slapstick comedic spots, but this year seems to have fallen suit with 2013 in leaning toward the dramatic and heart-warming side of life.

Below is my fourth annual list of the top five spots that aired during Super Bowl XLVIII. View my top five list from previous years here.

#5. Audi: Doberhuahua

This ad was a must for my top five list for the sheer chaos that ensued during the 60 seconds of terror. Things got a little weird, but you gotta love the appearance from Sarah McLachlan and just the mere thought of a Chihuahua with a snarling, oversized Doberman head running rampant in a zombie apocalypse-style setting. It was certainly talked about at offices around the country on Monday.

#4. Jamie Casino: Casino’s Law

You probably weren’t expecting any local ads on this list and you’d be right in assuming I’ve never featured one before. However, this is the most extravagant local spot I’ve ever seen–Super Bowl or not–and it deserves to be on this list. As AdWeek put it, Jamie Casino takes on a Saul Goodman-esque role, who was a “lawyer to the crooks until something bad happened to him—and he reinvented himself.” Please watch the full two minutes of local advertising glory. 

#3. Budweiser: Puppy Love

Here’s a sweet quasi-followup from Budweiser’s “Clydesdales Brotherhood” spot from last year. This ad probably would have slipped into the No. 2 position had the music been of a different tune–I can’t stand Passenger’s voice. My opinion aside, the girls in the room were nearly in tears before the commercial ended and it’s a must for this list.

#2. Chrysler: America’s Import (Bob Dylan)

This ad being in the No. 2 position reveals two things about me: 1.) I’m a sucker for Americana and 2.) I love Bob Dylan–my parents even thought was good idea to name me after the legendary American singer-songwriter. There’s a couple moments of this ad that I think are a little weak and it probably could have been done in 1:30 or even 60 seconds, but again, you gotta love the Americana set to the tune of Dylan’s aging voice and iconic music. Actually, I’m probably only justifying the presence of this ad on my list because I am such a Bob Dylan fan. Who cares, it’s my list.

#1. Doritos: Time Machine

After four years of reviewing Super Bowl ads, the score is even: two dramatic ads and two funny ads clinch the top spot. By now you should be familiar with the annual Doritos Crash the Super Bowl online commercial contest. The contest made a big splash when it debuted in 2006 and has produced some of the most memorable Super Bowl ads of the past decade. Indeed, I’ve now placed three Doritos ads throughout my four years of top five lists. This spot has it all: Short, cute and hilarious. I could watch this over and over and get a smile on my face every time. Well done, Mr. Anderson and good luck in your future film career.

Bonus spots that didn’t quite make the cut:

CarMax: Slow Clap – Who doesn’t love a good slow clap? Plus a cameo from Rudy!
RadioShack: The Phone Call – Everything you loved about the 80s.
Coca-Cola: It’s Beautiful – Nicely done and bold move–even stirring up a little controversy.
Chobani: Bear – More Bob Dylan!

About these ads

Twitter Analytics is Finally Here!

Screenshot of eric_wheeler's Twitter analytics

Twitter analytics provides lots of useful data including interests and location of your followers.

Twitter recently launched its analytics function for advertisers. I’m a little behind the curve on this one, but I finally had the chance to poke around a bit by looking at my own analytics–I found all sorts of useful data. One thing that is especially useful is the ability to look at your entire history on Twitter (apparently going back to Dec. 28, 2008 for me) to uncover follower growth, top interests, gender of followers, top locations and more.

There is also a breakdown of your timeline activity for the past 30 days that shows mentions, follows and unfollows for each day and each post. What’s cool about this is you can sort the data by “best,” “good” or “all” posts meaning I can sort by only the best posts and see what is most successful. So I can easily sort the data and know that one of my most popular tweets of the past 30 days is the article I posted about the food truck employee who got fired for tweeting at a company for not tipping–three retweets and three times the normal reach. It also tells me the link to the article got 13 clicks–highly valuable intel.

Here’s a nice summary article on using Twitter analytics from PR Daily if you’re interested in learning more:

A Twitter analytics cheat sheet

Have you used Twitter analytics yet? If so, how and what for?


My Top 5 Super Bowl Ads of 2013

It’s time for a breakdown of my top five spots from advertising’s biggest day. This was certainly a good year for Super Bowl advertising and an even bigger year for social media during the big game. Last year I ended up picking five funny spots and this year I have a more balanced list (as balanced as a top five list can get). Brands mostly went for heart-warming over hysterical this year and many of the comedic spots were really not that funny in my opinion or they were produced a little too over-the-top.

Social media played a role in this year’s brand bowl more so than ever before. If you’re a marketer reading this, I’m sure you’re well aware of the brilliant and timely posts delivered by the Oreo social media team. When the lights went out at the Superdome, Oreo pushed out the below image on Facebook and Twitter in a matter of minutes:

This was an image with real staying power. It picked up another thousand plus retweets the day after the big game, the Facebook post got over 20,000 ‘likes’ and close to 7,000 shares and the quick and witty post picked up tons of free press. Oreo is certainly on top of its game and made sure its ‘Cream Or Cookie’ Super Bowl spot was fully supported with social media build up and timely posts sent out before, during and even after the game. Social media activity like this can only be achieved with a command center and all hands on deck. The social media activity during the Super Bowl this year was certainly impressive, but it’s time to break down my favorite ads.

#5. Samsung Mobile USA – The Next Big Thing

I’m not usually one to fall for celebrity endorsements, but these two are hilarious. Not sure how much the ad will help in its epic battle for marketshare over Apple, but it can’t hurt.

#4. Viva Young – Taco Bell Game Day Commercial

This commercial is great. I can only wish I will be this cool when I’m sitting around in a retirement home a few decades from now. Only thing bad about it is now I have that Fun. song stuck in my head, which I spent most of 2012 trying to get rid of. At least it was in Spanish.

#3. OREO – Whisper Fight

A whisper fight in a library? Brilliant. Though I’m a little surprised it hadn’t been done before. Again, Oreo absolutely stole the show from a branding and marketing standpoint. They even took this moment to launch an Instagram account. Before the Super Bowl, Oreo had around 2,200 followers on Instagram and garnered around 35,000 followers by the end of Sunday night. Props to 360i and the Oreo social media command center.

#2. Budweiser Super Bowl Ad — The Clydesdales: “Brotherhood”

This ad literally brought tears to the eyes of some of my coworkers. With several terribly awful ads from Bud Light, Anheuser-Busch InBev totally redeemed itself with this tear-jerker of an ad.

#1. Ram Trucks Super Bowl Commercial “Farmer”

This one struck a chord with me from the first frame and had chills going through my spine by the end. Growing up in northwest Oklahoma and listening to farmers talk about the weather and wheat prices everyday definitely had an influence on this year’s pick. Paul Harvey had a big part in my life as well. Seemed like anytime I showed up at my grandparents house in Alva, Okla., Paul Harvey was delivering his famous “The Rest of the Story” segments on the kitchen radio. It also helped that the commercial was beautifully done with shots from a National Geographic photographer and a renowned documentary photographer. Nicely done, Dodge.

Bonus spots:

Because of my Oklahoma roots and because the Flaming Lips are just incredible in general: 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe | Big Game Ad | “Epic Playdate

Because I love awkward moments: Unattended Laundry: You needed the machine. You got caught panty-handed (Speed Stick)

Because I love Amy Poehler: Best Buy – Asking Amy: Official 2013 Best Buy Game Day Commercial


Surprise Prize Pack for Fallon Worldwide’s 10,000th Twitter Follower

Fallon Worldwide rewarded its 10,000th Twitter follower with a surprise prize pack of agency swag.
Fallon 10,000th Twitter prize package.

Fallon put together a rather nice package of swag for its 10,000th Twitter follower … me!

I’m a little slow on this one, but I definitely owe a big thank you to the great Minneapolis ad agency Fallon Worldwide. Out of pure luck, I became @wearefallon’s 10,000 Twitter follower on July 11, 2012 and I received a surprise @mention the next day announcing me as the winner of Fallon prize pack. The surprise is two-fold: 1.) Considering I have a PR & Advertising list on Twitter and I’m a big fan of their work, I was surprised to learn I wasn’t already following Fallon and 2.) I had no idea they were planning to reward their 10,000th follower. Here’s the surprise tweet:

Of course I sent in my address right way. However, I didn’t really know what the prize pack would include. I assumed it would be some pens and a note pad or something. Little did I know, I would have a box of high-quality goodies show up at my doorstep the day before my birthday.

The swag pack included a Lands’ End vest, an aluminum water bottle, ball point pen, journal, bracelet and rather nice coffee table book celebrating 25 years of Fallon’s work. But that’s not all, I even got a signed and framed picture of Pat Fallon to hang on my wall (which I did).

From a social media marketing standpoint, there’s a couple key takeaways here. First, the power of a surprise reward can be just as good as a full-fledged online contest. Sure, you might not get all the consumer information as you might with a sweepstakes (users’ email, mailing address, demographics, etc.), but if you do it right, it can still work for you. After Fallon announced its winner on Twitter, they also posted photos on Facebook and Google+ to get a little more traction. It also helps that Fallon’s 10,000th follower also happens to maintain a blog (I’m now writing about my experience). 

Another takeaway was Fallon’s decision to go big on the prize package. It would have been much easier and cost effective to send me the pen and note pad I was thinking. However, I don’t think I would have gotten too excited about that. By including a book, vest, framed photo and other swag worth around $100, I definitely felt obliged to brag about it on my social networks and, eventually, blog about it.

Again, I thank the good people at Fallon Worldwide for taking time to reward a random Twitter follower. I’m looking forward to wearing my vest this fall and The Work: 25 Years of Fallon compliments my favorite advertising book, Juicing the Orange rather nicely.


10 steps to get the most out of Foursquare for your business

Foursquare check in decal

Foursquare is definitely one of the most underutilized social media platforms. Sure brands such as the History Channel and Starbucks are completely killing it on Foursquare, but the location-based app is fantastic for businesses of all sizes. Small businesses in particular have a great opportunity to gain exposure, reward patrons with deals and earn customer loyalty. Chances are, your business already has a spot on Foursquare. Wouldn’t it make sense to claim your venue so you have control of it?

There are plenty of articles about Foursquare success stories and you can skim through a few case studies on the app’s website. Probably the best reason to get your business on Foursquare is for the check-in specials–those are deals users can unlock after a certain number of check-ins or for becoming the ‘mayor.’ Check-in specials are only the beginning though. The following is a quick how-to on getting the most out of Foursquare–without spending any money.

Setting up a ‘personal’ account:
  1. Create a new account for your business. To make this happen, go to foursquare.com and download the free mobile app.
  2. Fill out profile completely. This includes a good profile photo/logo, location, phone number, Twitter handle, and your company’s bio (160 characters).
  3. Add people you know & people in the area.
  4. Create lists & add tips. This is why setting up a personal business profile is important. Maybe you’re a restaurant owner who also serves pizza by the slice at local sporting events … might as well add a tip to those venues for fans to grab a slice during intermission. As the social media manager at KVSC-FM, I created a list of “KVSC’s Favorite Eateries.” The restaurants on the list are all underwriters for the station and the tips include special discounts for members of KVSC (a public radio station). Being a college radio station, I also created a list of tips for venues around campus such as “If you’re walking through campus or driving around town, tune to KVSC 88.1FM for college radio awesomeness! You can listen on mobile devices too. Just go to http://www.kvsc.org/listen.php” and “Make sure you get to hockey games in time for the pre-game intro. It. Is. AWESOME! Read more.” What’s really great about adding tips and lists is that you can link to websites and you can easily check the stats (e.g. “10 people have done this tip”).
  5. Connect other apps, check privacy settings. Foursquare has a number of apps you can connect such as Foodspotting, Instagram and The Weather Channel. If your business is on Instagram for example, you can sync Foursquare to automatically check-in at a venue when you share a photo (by the way, if your business is on Instagram, go ahead an connect your Tumblr and Twitter accounts too). Since you’re a business and not an actual person, be sure to make your privacy settings as loose as possible–make it easy for customers to get in touch.
Setting up your business page:
  1. Create/claim your venue. Unfortunately, this can be quite a drag–taking up to a week or more. This is good though because Foursquare is doing its best to make sure only real venues get claimed by the rightful manager. To get started, head to foursquare.com and sign in using the business account you just created or your personal account–doesn’t matter which. Search for your business and look for the “Do you manage this business?” and hit the “Click here” button. After that, just follow the steps. You will need to verify using the phone number of the business.
  2. Fill out profile completely: Profile photo/logo, Address, phone number, Twitter handle, website, hours and keyword tags. Restaurants also have the ability to add menus and prices.
  3. Create a special. Now that you’re managing your venue, go ahead and create your first check-in special. Foursquare offers a variety of specials to attract new customers or reward existing customers. Choosing a special for users who check-in to the venue for their first time might be a great way to get started. You can create multiple campaigns and test which ones work best.
  4. Add employees and managers. If you’re a busy manager or owner of your business, it might be a good idea to delegate the responsibilities of general venue upkeep to another employee. Also, you can add employees to your venue so they can’t become the ‘mayor’ and reap the rewards that your actual customers should be getting.
  5. Promote. You should get a window cling from Foursquare when you secure your venue … put it somewhere visible. Create fliers, Tweet it, include it in your eNewsletter, put it on your business card, train your employees to tell customers about it, add links to your website and anything else you can think of. Just be sure to follow the Foursquare brand guidelines.
Further reading:

New Google+ Events Feature Brings the Social Network to a New Level

New Google+ Events has animated themes.

New Google+ Events feature has cool animated themes and ability to share photos during the event to create a slideshow.

I was greeted with a pleasant surprise when I opened Google+ in my browser the other day: Google+ now has events. I guess I geeked out pretty hard as I immediately created an event even though I didn’t really have an event coming up. I created the methodical “Event Celebrating the New Events Feature on Google+” and invited a few Google+ friends I thought might actually be interested in the new feature just to see how it works.

My test run turned out pretty good. Creating an event is rather fun because it’s really easy and Google+ has a classy set of animated stock photos to choose from to be your theme. This is definitely a step up from other social networks with event features–Facebook doesn’t even have photos to choose from, let alone animated images. Of course, you can also use your own photo–either by choosing from your photos already uploaded to Google+ or you can upload straight from your computer (proper dimensions are 940px x 280px, only static images supported at this time.).

After a theme is set, add a title, select time and date, location, other details and invite your friends. That’s pretty much it as far as creating an event. When inviting people, you can choose between searching anyone on Google Plus, choose specific circles or type in an email address. This is another feature that definitely sets Google+ apart from Facebook. With Facebook events, you can only invite other Facebook users. With Google+ events, you can invite anyone you know as long as they are either on Google+ or have an email address (which is pretty much anyone).

Google+ Events Integrated in Google Calandar

Google+ Events Integrated in Google Calandar

Some of the event options include allowing guests to invite others, allowing guests to add photos, making it a public event or making it an exclusive a Google+ Hangout. Advanced features include adding a website, a ticket seller URL, YouTube video and transit/parking information. Probably the best part about Google+ events is that it’s fully integrated into other Google products. You can easily add the event to your Google calendar (it adds automatically when you create an event or mark yourself as “attending”) and emails are sent to guests with an invitation. I can see the last point as being a negative as well–more popular Google+ users might get spammed by event invitations. Receiving an invitation in your gmail inbox might not be so bad, but you also get an email every time someone comments on the event page. Of course, this is a minor problem as you can easily mute updates to the event (just as you can regular Google+ posts) and you can always adjust your Google+ email settings.

I can definitely see this as being a great marketing tool for businesses to promote upcoming sales events or conferences. The ability to easily share photos before, during and after the event is what Google+ Events is basically built around. It will be interesting to see what brands come up with to further connect with consumers.

Further reading:

9 Reasons to Switch from Facebook to Google+
Google+ Events: This Week in Social Media
Google+ Events: Learn More on google.com

Social Media: Personal and Visual, Pt. 2 – The Power of Visuals

Infographics can be a great way to communicate complex statistics.

Infographics can be a great way to communicate complex statistics.

In my previous post, I discussed the importance of knowing your audience as I presented at a recent St. Cloud State University mass communications alumni event. Now is time for part two of that discussion: the importance of visuals in communication.

The idea that people are visually minded is nothing new, but I feel it is important to discuss as the concept directly transfers to the public relations industry. There’s been talk for a number of years about whether or not news releases are effective and if they are on the way out. The short answer is no, they are not on the way out. That’s my opinion maybe, but as long as there are journalists with tight deadlines and news organizations that continue to cut staff, news releases will be an easy go-to source for journalists.

Without getting into the particulars of  journalists expected to push out more content in a shorter amount of time and editors choosing to sensationalize soft stories instead of producing in-depth hard news, I’ll just say news releases are still important. What has changed over the past few years is how the news release is developed and disseminated.

Now in the PR world we’re seeing more interactive news releases. News releases optimized for search engines and the “social media news release” are commonplace. These are news releases rich in content—containing at least one visual element, keywords and links for more information. A media-rich news release is far more effective in reaching a target audience and should resonate with reporters much better.

Visuals are so effective now that many companies are using infographics in place of the news release. Infographics are great because they can take relatively complicated statistics and visualize them into easy-to-understand graphs. A news release with a bunch of stats crammed in the body will never be as effective as a well-designed infographic. They also are easy to share and can make their way around the Internet with little effort.

Further building off the importance of visuals in PR, let’s take a look at what has brought us to this point. Surly, communications specialists have recognized the importance of strong visuals long ago. Marketing and advertising is almost completely based off of visual cues. Even radio commercials contain a visual element—a good radio spot will paint a picture in the mind of the listener, which can be more effective than actually seeing something in print or video.

Social media and, more importantly Web 2.0, have made it much easier to share images and video across a variety of platforms. A few major news items have surfaced over the past few months that have really made this point be heard.

The first is Pinterest. Pinterest is a social networking site that allows users to pin images that link back to the original source onto “boards,” or a scrapbook-style collection of a user’s personality. Pinterest is significant because the website hit 10 million U.S. monthly unique visitors faster than any standalone site ever.

Another interesting phenomenon is Draw Something hitting 20 million active users in just seven weeks. Draw Something is a Pictionary-style mobile gaming application in which users draw something from a set of words and the other user watches the drawing unfold as he/she tries to guess the word.

A final piece of news is that of Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram for $1 billion–which was still a startup at the time with only 9 employees. Each of these news items should aid in understanding the the importance of using visuals in communication.

Lastly, please stop using comic sans and clip art:


Social Media: Personal and Visual, Pt. 1 – Know Your Audience

The importance of knowing your audience.

Is your target audience a crowd of conservative men or does it have a greater variance to allow for more flexibility?

I recently spoke at a St. Cloud State Mass Communications alumni event regarding trends in social media–especially in the Public Relations industry. As an intern at Kohnstamm Communications and only a couple years as a social media manager at KVSC-FM under my belt, I’m hardly an expert on the subject, but I do feel I came out with some good points and generated an interesting discussion. I rarely write out word-for-word what I plan to say at these things, but for some reason that’s what happened. I ended up making an outline of speaking points for a more natural impromptu delivery and my original ‘script’ for my presentation “Social Media: Personal and Visual” is below.

I learned a lot as the Director of PR & Social Media at KVSC and a lot of what I learned along the way is directly transferable to the PR industry—whether the B2B clients I work with at Kohnstamm care about social media or not. I learned two main things while building KVSC’s social media presence: 1.) It is important to know your audience and 2.) People are very visually minded.

For the former, I learned early on that no one really cares about basic station updates that can easily be found at kvsc.org, people want to be entertained and involved in the conversation. In other words, people want to be reached at a personal level. I found that posting opinionated articles relating to the station’s music format or pop culture in general would garner a greater response than simply announcing what was coming up in the programming lineup.

It’s definitely important to know your audience and have a good understanding of what types of posts will get their attention without offending anyone too much. A great example of this is with a new recruitment firm I’ve been working with. At KVSC, it seemed I could get away with just about anything. Making fun of Nickelback, posting popular memes and silly YouTube videos are all commonplace on the KVSC Facebook wall. For example, one of the more popular posts on the KVSC wall consisted of a black and white photo of a little boy smoking a cigarette next to a chicken and the caption “Could someone please explain this picture?” (side note: the little boy happens to be a young István Ládai). With Grapevine – Targeted Sales Recruiting, I posted a picture of an Easter bunny portrait gone slightly wrong and wished everyone a happy Easter. It was all in good nature and was meant to be funny. However, someone didn’t like it and contacted the owner of the business and we took it down.

Lesson learned. Monitor and know your audience before you really test the waters. As with any good PR campaign, knowing your audience will help in crafting a news release, pitching a reporter or otherwise getting a client’s news out. Knowing your audience allows you to create much more targeted and personal messages. Maintaining personal messaging in any communication strategy allows for better conversation, but can only be achieved if you know what your audience is interested in talking about.

Further reading on the subject of knowing your audience:

Image via juicebag.blogspot.com.


Tweet-A-Beer: An app for buying your friends a beer via Twitter

Tweet-A-Beer app for buying a beer via Twitter.If you’ve kept a close eye on my Twitter stream, you may have noticed my occasional update on the world of craft beer. Or, maybe you’re aware of my love for a well-crafted brew because you’ve shared one with me. Either way, I’m announcing here on my blog that I enjoy a good beer (shocking, I know).

As most beer lovers would admit, the only thing better than enjoying a well-balanced frothy cold one is enjoying a well-balanced frothy cold one for free. Equally rewarding is sharing a beer with a friend and picking up the tab yourself. Certainly a nice gesture in any environment. The problem, though, is you can’t always be at the local watering hole with your buddy or maybe you’re both out-and-about, but in different locations. I hate to use a cliché here, but well, there’s an app for that! Online networking app Tweet-A-Beer allows for the payment of other Twitter users’ drinks. Cool, right?

I have yet to give the app a try, but it sounds pretty straightforward. Tweet-A-Beer syncs your Twitter and PayPal accounts so you can safely send beer money in $5 allotments. Tweet-A-Beer appropriately rolls out during South by Southwest in Austin, Tex. this weekend.

The Tweet-A-Beer website describes it quite eloquently:

Tweet-a-Beer was brewed and bottled by tenfour and Waggener Edstrom, longtime drinking buddies in Portland, Oregon. Tweet-a-Beer connects your Twitter and PayPal accounts together to ensure that distance, agoraphobia, and gang rivalries no longer prevent you from sharing a pint.

Please tweet responsibly.

Of course, you’re not actually purchasing a beer, you’re just offering to pay for $5 of their experience. Or as Doug Gross at CNN put it:

Technically, we suppose you could use those five bucks at iTunes or Amazon, for online gambling of dubious legality or, well, most anything. But there must be some bad karma associated with not buying an e-beer when a buddy has taken the time to tweet it your way.

With me, however, you can Tweet-A-Beer with confidence by knowing I will enthusiastically consume a hoppy pint and thank you for the kind gesture. I’ll probably announce to the entire bar what a cool guy/gal you are too. So, tweet me a beer. You’ll make my day. My Twitter handle is @eric_wheeler.

Redeeming a beer seems pretty simple as well. According to the FAQ page on the app’s website you just click the Tweet-a-Beer link mentioned in the tweet and follow the steps. Additionally, you will then be set-up to pay-it-forward and start tweeting beers to others, too.

As a PR guy, I can appreciate knowing the app was developed by Waggener Edstrom Worldwide and tenfour with no profits gained. The recipient’s PayPal account is charged a small fee of 10¢ to cover Chirpify’s fee. Chirpify is a ‘Twitter commerce’ platform used to make sure the transaction is secure. Read about their service here.

Please retweet this post and post your comments below responsibly.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,385 other followers

%d bloggers like this: