Marketing Maestros

New Ad Options on YouTube

By Cara Brooke Schultz
Posted: Dec 2, 2010 12:00am ET

According to research conducted by Nieslen, American consumers allocate 33 percent of their weekly media time to online. Nielsen also found that overall online video usage was up from 2009. Recently YouTube launched two new advertising formats: the first option allows viewers to skip advertisements after the first five seconds.

The second option YouTube is implementing allows the viewers to select which advertisement they would prefer to watch. According to an article on Mashable.com, advertisers are embracing this new option because companies have more control over their advertising budget and can target their ads to their ideal consumer.

As an advertiser, how do you feel about these new options? Share your thoughts!

Refreshing Your Brand? Not So Fast.

By Adrienne Tallacksen
Posted: Dec 1, 2010 12:00am ET

A new look going into the new year may seem like a good idea. But there's more to it than just updating your logo and slapping it onto your website and packaging. Remember Gap and Tropicana? The brands ended up reverting back to their old logos after debuting their new looks. In both cases, consumers revolted against the new designs.

Xilinx is an example of a brand refresh done well. The 25-year old high tech brand undertook this process in 2009 starting with extensive research about Xilinx's reputation in the marketplace and with its customers. Its marketing team knew that the brand's proliferation of sub-brand logos was not sustainable and worked to get support from senior management for the rebranding effort. Xilinx opted for subtle changes to its parent logo and more extensive updates to logos and naming conventions for its sub-brands.

Xilinx rebranded itself "from the inside out." This meant working closely with its employees who have a tremendous impact on the brand. It was important to let them know why the change was being made and what they could expect in terms of changes to the company's culture. To make sure employees fully understood the rebranding, Xilinx's marketing team held lunch and learns, presented at company-wide meetings, and redesigned the intranet portal.

This brand refresh was successful because Xilinx invested in a few key areas. The brand took the time to do research, get buy-in from senior management, and educated employees on the rebranding effort.

ANA Research Report: Multicultural Marketing and Newer Media

By Bill Duggan, Group EVP, ANA
Posted: Nov 29, 2010 12:00am ET

ANA recently fielded a survey to better understand how newer media platforms are being used to reach multicultural consumers. Topline results were debuted at the ANA Multicultural Marketing & Diversity Conference earlier this month.

A key finding of the research is that multicultural marketers allocate, on average, 6.6% of their multicultural media budgets to newer media platforms—versus 15.6% in the general market. Further, almost every newer media platform is more commonly used in the general market than in the multicultural market.

An important insight behind these numbers is that multicultural marketers are not allocating enough spending to newer media and many may not be allocating enough spending to multicultural marketing overall.

When results of the 2010 Census are released they will undoubtedly confirm what is already known by savvy multicultural marketers:

The population make-up of the country has reached a tipping point. The Census Bureau estimates that minorities will constitute a majority of the nation's overall population in about three decades and a majority of Americans under age 18 in only one decade.

More multicultural consumers and more younger multicultural consumers are a powerful combination ripe for an increased allocation in multicultural marketing spending overall and spending in newer multicultural media more specifically.

The implications to marketers are now clearer than ever before—multicultural consumers are no longer niche or "add on" segments. Rather, multicultural markets are the new mainstream and spending on multicultural marketing overall and newer media in particular must reflect that.

NBC News Embraces TV Time Shifting

By Susan Burke
Posted: Nov 17, 2010 12:00am ET

A surprising new ad featuring NBC Nightly News anchor, Brian Williams, encourages viewers who don't have time to watch the news when it airs live (6:30 p.m.) to record it and watch it later instead (a phenomenon known as "time shifting"). In a November 14, 2010, New York Times article, Mr. Williams commented, "I just thought it was high time to acknowledge, in our Nightly News promos, the way we live."

All of this raises new questions for the industry. Does acknowledging the very real fact that viewers time shift demonstrate that the networks are in touch with the way people consume media today? And, does time shifting make viewers more likely to watch a TV program, even if they miss the original air date?

According to a September 27, 2010, New York Times article, DVRs are helping many shows attain larger audiences (and Nielsen ratings). Fox's Glee scored a 5.6 Nielsen rating for an episode that aired in September, but after factoring in the time shifting audience, the rating grew to 6.3. The September 27, 2010, New York Times article went on to state that "many other established shows, like CBS's Two and a Half Men, and NBC's Law & Order SVU, added about 15 to 20 percent to their totals" after accounting for their DVR audiences.

Of course, these findings don't address a key issue for advertisers—are users fast-forwarding through the commercials when they do time shift? Most likely, yes. However, advertisers would be surprised by what sticks in viewers' heads as they are fast forwarding. Even while fast forwarding, I still caught a glimpse of and remember the fun Dove and Hellmann's commercials that played during the most recent season of AMC's Mad Men.
To read more on issues related to TV and video, please visit the Marketing Knowledge Center at www.ana.net/mkc or sign-up for our TV & Everything Video Forum on February 10, 2011.

San Francisco Makes Kids Frown: Bans Toy Giveaways in Meals

By Cara Brooke Schultz
Posted: Nov 3, 2010 12:00am ET

San Francisco lawmakers approved legislation on Tuesday, November 2, that would limit toy giveaways in children's meals specifically those with high calorie intake. San Francisco is the only city in the country that will now forbid any restaurant from including a toy with a meal that doesn't contain specific levels of calories, sugar, and fat mandated by a new ordinance.  However, restaurants are permitted to include a toy if the meal (including beverage) contains fewer than 600 calories (less than 35 percent of the calories can come from fat). The ordinance is scheduled to go into effect December 2011.
How do you think children will respond? How do you think the restaurant industry will respond? Share your thoughts!

Message to TV Networks: Don’t fill sidebar pillars of ads with your logo or network promotions

By Bill Duggan, Group EVP, ANA
Posted: Oct 29, 2010 12:00am ET

MediaPost's Dave Goetzl wrote a story recently on how TBS is promoting its Conan show using "pillars" that appear to the left and right sidebars of some ads on their HD feeds. 

The majority of spots on TBS during the recent baseball playoffs, were produced in high-definition. When an ad is produced in standard definition, it doesn't fill the entire screen and leaves the sides black. So the pillars with network promos can only be used then. TBS inserted C-O-N-A-N in the pillar sidebars, while an ad aired between them.

According to the MediaPost article, for the most part, networks leave the pillars blank, although TBS and TNT have inserted their logos, as has ESPN; but NBC Universal, CBS, MTV Networks, the Fox cable channels, the Discovery networks and Rainbow's AMC leave the space untouched.

Let's hope that the use of the sidebar pillars by the networks—either with their logo or, worse yet, a network promotion—does not gain further traction. Plain and simple, it competes for the viewers' attention and devalues the effectiveness of the advertising.

Intuit Makes TurboTax Snazzy with Social Media

By Cara Brooke Schultz
Posted: Oct 26, 2010 12:00am ET

In case you missed it, Seth Greenberg, VP, global media & digital marketing at Intuit spoke at the 2010 ANA Annual Conference - The Masters of Marketing. Seth talked about how Intuit is successfully utilizing the social media space to get the word out about TurboTax—and not only is the word out—the word is that TurboTax is cool! So how did Intuit make tax preparation software hip & happenin'?  

First off, they took risks! Intuit hired Vanilla Ice (in 2007) to create a "tax rap" which resulted in a viral frenzy! The video received over 1 million views with a homepage takeover on YouTube and ranked as the most viewed entertainment video the week it debuted. Over 370 homemade videos with more than 2.5 million views were submitted to win the $25,000 grand prize for the TurboTax Rap Contest. Right after that, Intuit launched another YouTube contest called "tax laugh," with the tagline, "Comedy is hard TurboTax is easy!" Pretty cool for a 25-year old conservative company huh?!

With 41 percent of first time TurboTax customer's learning about the product via word of mouth or a recommendation it's no surprise that social media is a key piece to Intuit's communication strategy—and isn't social media simply word of mouth advertising on steroids with a massive megaphone?!

Raw, Flawed, Ugly, Confusing

By Bill Duggan, Group EVP, ANA
Posted: Oct 21, 2010 12:00am ET

According to SI.com, Wednesday night's baseball playoff game between the San Francisco Giants and Philadelphia Phillies was "raw, flawed, dazzling, ugly, confusing and entirely wonderful."  Sorry, but I didn't have the opportunity to see it-nor did 10+ million other people who are Cablevision customers as the dispute between Cablevision and Fox continues.  That has resulted in Fox pulling its New York and Philadelphia affiliates from Cablevision's system.  All four Giants/Phillies games (so far) have been wiped out.  Thank goodness the Yankees and Rangers are on TBS.

Where's Major League Baseball during this mess?  Surely, they can't be happy that Fox has taken their product off the airwaves in the Cablevision footprint. Unless I missed it, mlb.com makes no mention of this dispute.  It does have a link that says "Postseason.TV has live angles, no blackouts" that caught my eye.  The link promotes a MLB product actually called Postseason.TV that  is billed as a companion viewing technology (meaning, companion with Fox and TBS) and costs $9.95. But MLB should be more aggressive in getting Fox and Cablevision aligned. As my blog on Monday stated, consumers and advertisers are unfairly caught in the middle of this dispute.  And that's just raw, flawed, ugly, and confusing.

Biting the Hand that Feeds You!

By Bill Duggan, Group EVP, ANA
Posted: Oct 18, 2010 12:00am ET

Fox and Cablevision are in a nasty battle over the retransmission fees that Cablevision pays to Fox to carry their programming. Negotiations have reached a stalemate and after the contract between Cablevision and Fox expired at midnight Friday, Fox pulled its New York and Philadelphia affiliates from Cablevision's system. This impacts 3.1 million households (including mine!) and likely 10+ million people.
Consumers and advertisers are unfairly caught in the middle. The much hyped pitching match-up on Saturday night between Roy Halladay of the Philadelphia Phillies and Tim Lincecum of the San Francisco Giants was nowhere to be found in Cablevision households. Nor was football on Sunday afternoon as fans of the New York Giants undoubtedly turned to the radio or visited their local bars-the ones with DirecTV.
I just returned from the ANA Masters of Marketing annual conference where many speakers preached - "the consumer is boss." Unfortunately, Cablevision and Fox clearly have ignored that marketing principle.
Meanwhile, advertisers also are impacted as 3 million potential households disappeared from media buys. That's just not fair to the many companies that counted on the Fox audiences to move their respective products and services.
The PR machines of both companies are now in overdrive. Fox and Cablevision need to remember that they exist because of consumers and advertisers and that they shouldn't bite the many hands that feed them.

The $ocial Revolution at TurboTax

Posted: Oct 18, 2010 12:00am ET

By Guest Blogger Lesley Neadel, CooperKatz

Seth Greenberg, the VP of Global Media and Digital Marketing for Intuit, took the stage as the final speaker of the conference to discuss TurboTax's social media activities. He asked how many people in the audience had used one of their brands, and then said thanks, but his focus was really on those who hadn't!

He let us know right off the bat that, "we are on a journey - we're only in about year four. This is one channel that we're really trying to encourage, and alight."  

Intuit has a proven formula for delighting customers - with more than 20 million TurboTax users alone! They are able to do this via fabulous employees. For 7 years in a row, they have been one of the most admired software companies in the business, according to Fortune. They are the number one in consumer tax prep and small business financial management, among others.

How does this factor into media?

Intuit uses in-channel optimization, cross-cannel and platform engagement measurement, predictive analytics and testing for impact. They are constantly asking how they can make these work together tighter, better and stronger.

Years ago TurboTax had an online team and an offline, with different agencies and objectives. Now, they are integrated, and a lot less complex.  They annually poll customers, and in doing so they ask how they first heard about TurboTax. A whopping 41% were via word-of-mouth or recommendations. 

So to help with that statistic, they embarked on their first social media venture: they hired Vanilla Ice to run a Tax Rap contest. They had 500 videos submitted, and business correspondent Ali Velshi even did one on CNN! This was great, but they didn't touch or ignite their key brand messages.

Next year, they hired Jay Mohr for "The Tax Laugh" with the on-strategy message that, "Comedy is hard, TurboTax is easy."

The next year, TurboTax did a social guerilla marketing experiment - "We said let's be extremely entertaining, but also drop in brand messages every few seconds." Greenberg found pro-skateboarder Billy Martin who had a talent with ping pong balls... Total cost? $18,000. The team clearly had no idea what was going to happen but this ended up one of their highest rated videos ever.

Another campaign they started was the "Super Status" - they said they'd pay customers to change their status on Facebook. 10,000 people did, with a fill in the blank status update about deductions. Those status updates reached about 1.5 million people. 

"The closer you are to your product, the more viral it can be, and a bigger impact, it will have," said Greenberg. This is now a key part of their MEdia strategy (emphasis Greenberg's). With all the noise and interruption, they want their campaigns and messages to be really relevant and helpful to people.

So, how does TurboTax cut thru the clutter?  This past year, they did a few experiments.

They first put a "Like" directly into their product. While it was very tough to get a marketing tactic into the actual product, they did so at the bottom of the very last page when customers were doing their taxes. What happened? People clicked it then personalized and shared in their news feed! 10 million people saw the like button. 1% actually clicked - which means that 100K actually "friendcasted." However, they each had an average of 150 friends - so 15 million people saw this.  500,000 clicked on that (you still with me?) leading to 2 million comments, and 100,000 purchases.  79% of these were new customers, who for no cost were touched by a medium that ended up being four times more effective than banner ads, and THE most effective in acquiring new customers.

The next experiment was regarding customer reviews.  Seth brought Bob on-stage to demo this technology. They gathered 100,000 reviews in 6 weeks via opt-in after finishing taxes, and developed a "Friendalyzer" to help potential customers wade through these to show the most relevant to them. Within the "Friendalyzer," the first choice is the most important: life change (job status, bought / sold investments, had a baby, moved) as these are traditionally hurdles for people not wanting to use TurboTax. Once potential users type in their prior tax prep method and family details, they drill down to only those reviews that are the most relevant. For Bob specifically, this went from 100,000 reviews down to 160 - a much more targeted and manageable sample.

The biggest learning here: Don't sit on your assets! TurboTax put these hundreds of thousands of reviews right into their display advertising, creating super relevant ads that appeared in the "hurdle" areas - i.e. people who just bought houses' reviews showing on Trulia and Zillow. Seth also showcased an interactive online ad from Yahoo! With Chris Berman who touted the "Friendalyzer" reviews and an instant refund forecaster as well.

Seth let us know that these components all cooperated to create TurboTax's best year ever - and the bar is only getting higher next year.

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About This Blog

To complement our two leadership blogs and build dialogue on the seismic changes happening in marketing, we launched Marketing Maestros. Our in-house citizen journalists will talk about everything from marketing technology to accountability and everything in between. This blog is written for marketers by ANA's marketers whose insights are drawn from the voices of the client side marketing community.