Monday, December 22, 2014

Corporate Marketing Advertising Buyers: Beware...You’re Not Making Impressions

For marcom gurus who also oversee digital ad buying to promote your corporate brand across the ethernet, there’s bad news for you courtesy of barking from the consortium of advertising firms that you likely pay lots of money to. As a side bar note, The JLC Group has long eschewed the notion of impression-based digital ad schemes. We go to great lengths to urge clients who insist on running banner ad campaigns on 3rd party content sites to stick solely with PPC (pay per click) ad campaigns. The take-away from the below excerpt underscores the advice we’ve been providing to JLC Group clients for years.

As noted in a Dec 22 piece in the CMO Today edition of the Wall Street Journal by Suzanne Vranica, “..The American Association of Advertising Agencies sent a letter to some of its members on Friday saying it will “not endorse” the online advertising guidelines put out by the Interactive Advertising Bureau last week….

The guidelines suggested that online ad industry should aim to have their campaigns achieve a “70% viewability threshold” in 2015. That means when an advertiser runs a campaign online, 70% of the ads meet the viewability standard set earlier this year. For a display ad to be deemed viewable at least half of each ad must be visible on a person’s computer screen for a minimum of one second. For an online video ad to be deemed viewed, half of the ad should be on a users’s screen for at least two seconds.

Viewability, the ability for an online ad to be seen, has become a hot topic this year as advertisers bemoan the fact that they are paying for ads that are not being seen because the ads appear on part of a Web page that is never looked at by a human eye.

Google recently released data that showed over half of the display ads impressions in its research weren’t visible.

The IAB said in an open letter on Tuesday said that 100% viewability measurement is “not yet possible” because of the all the different types of ad units, vendors and measurement methodologies and that the industry should aim to have their campaigns meet 70% viewability. If a campaign does not meet that threshold, make goods—additional ads—should be given to the advertisers to make up for the shortfall, the IAB said.

The full article from the WSJ is here


Corporate Marketing Advertising Buyers: Beware...You’re Not Making Impressions

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Sony Stages Best PR Stunt Ever With North Korea Plot

From: Seth Rogen, Film Actor, Writer & Director

To: Amy Pascal, Sony Productions

Warning: Please make sure that no hackers from North Korea or any place else can read this before opening below note:

We should talk re: biggest leak yet re my film The Interview and news media nonsense promoting risk of terrorism attacks at movie theaters made worse by a blog posting at marcom and PR advisory firm “The JLC Group …”

“Dec 17…Sam Goldywn and Jack Warner are rolling in their graves thanks to news media coverage of Sony-produced parody motion picture profiling North Korea and dictator Sum Dum Fuk aka Kim Jung-un.

The publicity machine is operating on all 8 cylinders it seems now that Sony has suspended the release of its holiday season hit one week prior to the scheduled release of the The Interviews, a film which the producers have banked on to be the next generation of Sacha Baron-Cohen’s spoof film profiling a Kazhakstan dictator  named Borak, which not including its sequel, has grossed more than $250mil since its 2006 release. Not chopped liver…

NK Dictator Sum Dum Fuk NK Dictator Sum Dum Fuk

After all, a parody film of a 3rd generation, basket-ball-loving nutcase of a dictator who is better known in international diplomatic circles as the “King Crackpot of North Korea,” is destined to be a box office hit. We’re talking about a film that will be this generation’s “It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad World”, an epic comedy..

Let’s back up for a minute. Is it possible that  Sony and Seth Rogen-sponsored spin masters were enlisted to stage the entire series of events that have taken place this past week, starting with the headline story that Sony emails were hacked by North Korean cyberterrorism experts, and then revealing top secret e-mail exchanges about “Angela Jolie the bitch” and smart-ass jokes about President Obama?? And less than 3 days later, Sony announces that terrorism threats targeting movie theaters that show “The Interview” had first had Sony deferring to theater operators as to whether they want to show the film, but hours later, they announced they would officially suspend distribution to theaters, and that they have been passed on information about those threats to the FBI.

Here’s this PR Guru’s projection of what happens next: This whole thing was a set-up. Selling films on line is 10x more profitable than via theaters for companies like Sony.  No later than Dec 21, Sony will announce a “force majeure” event that immediately cancels the film theatrical distribution contracts they signed with theater chains due to” terrorism threats.” All distribution deals are canceled, and Sony will now sneak in (Tora, Tora, Tora-style) and bypass the distributors and the theatres and take the film straight to the web and pay-for-view at $19.95 per view. The ‘free publicity’ thanks to the hacking and then the threats surrounding the film is already reaching every corner of the globe. Instead of several millions, we now have hundreds of millions of people who want to watch this move. We can thank

CNN for that. Even the next James Bond film doesn’t get this much coverage. Sony is betting that worldwide sales from online will be $2billion during the first week alone, because everyone will want to see it before North Korea launches an attack against the United States… Think about the sequel rights value. OMG.

The preview trailer will be the best upsell: “Warning, your ordering this movie online or via your cable TV provider may result in North Korean spies learning of your location and sending short, fat Asian people in tight-fitting uniforms to your house. Do not feed them any snacks, they might explode.”

Sony Stages Best PR Stunt Ever With North Korea Plot

Friday, December 05, 2014

#Bold, Brash and Other Marcom Buzzwords From Madison Ave MadMen

#Bold is the new better buzzword, according to NYT’s Stuart Elliott in his Dec 5 column.

We get it; after all re-purposing evocative phrases for brand awareness is a contact sport for Madison Avenue ad grunts..and Stuart’s pointing to illustrative examples below demonstrates that Madison Ave is often compared to blind mice chasing after the cheese that smells the best..

On the topic of “bold” –we thought we’d newsjack Stuart’s column, if only because here at The JLC Group, one of us is going bald (easily confused for bold), another one of us is always being tagged (not to be confused with “hastagged” for being “absolutely ballsy” (see the advertising elements we’ve produced for clients) and as a salute to the silliness that Twitter incites via piling on to new phrases, this is to officially remind everyone that we’ve been bold long before it became stylish. Our firm was founded on the notion of being bold and to used tactics that help push client brands to places where they’ve never gone before..and would likely never go to without a bit of envelope pushing.

Here’s the excerpt from Stuart’s column (notice the highlighted element below):

FORTUNE, the saying goes, favors the bold, and so it seems does Madison Avenue.

The word “bold” has grown increasingly popular among marketers for a panoply of products, turning up frequently in advertising on television, in print, online and in social media.

No matter the category, whether autos, clothing, jewelry, makeup, packaged food or plumbing fixtures, “bold” is boldly — er, um, make that confidently and assertively — going where the word has not gone before.

A campaign for the 2015 Toyota Camry includes print ads that carry the headline “The bold new Camry” and the theme “One bold choice leads to another.”

In a commercial from Zales, an announcer suggests, “Declare your love boldly” with the Celebration Grand diamond, which, she says, “shines bigger and bolder.”

And ads for True Religion jeans urge men and women to “Be so bold,” a line that doubles as a hashtag. An online video series for Revlon, hosted by Laverne Cox, is titled “#GoBold.”

Also, magazine ads for New York Brand Texas Toast croutons propose, “Live a big, bold, flavor-filled life.” The Kraft Foods Group sells a line of meats named Oscar Mayer Deli Fresh Bold cold cuts. And a campaign for the Kohler brand of faucets and other fixtures asks homeowners to consider “The bold look of Kohler.”

Some uses of the B-word seem baffling. For instance, signs in the windows of Santander banks offer potential customers “bold rates” on business lines of credit. And just what is it that makes Movado Bold watches bold? The textured dials? The accents in bright colors like orange and lime green?

The ardor for “bold” is another example of a tendency among creative executives on Madison Avenue to go mad for a certain word or phrase, which then seems to become omnipresent.

“Hello” has also been popular of late, as in “Hello tomorrow” for Emirates airline, the Hello line of oral-care products and the “Hello sunny” ads for Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

And several brands, among them Burger King, Gap Kids and Olay, have been using themes and headlines that begin with “Be your …

The reason “the same words or phrases keep recurring in marketing communications,” said Andreas Combuechen, chief executive of Atmosphere Proximity in New York, “all comes down to the fact we’re all creating in a connected world.

“No topic is local or even regional anymore, as social media has made every conversation global,” he added. “Today, a trending hashtag equals a homogenized culture where influential ideas seamlessly flow not just across borders but across brands.”


#Bold, Brash and Other Marcom Buzzwords From Madison Ave MadMen

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Corporate Social Media Marketing & Twitter: What Not To Do-Malaysia Airlines

From the “You Can’t Make This Sh*t Up” Department, Malaysia Airlines has once again found itself lost. This time its not because one of their planes disappeared, but because its brand marketing strategy has crashed head on into the Twittersphere thanks to someone at that airline tweeting a promotional message that reads: “Want to go somewhere, but don’t know where?”

140310150517-nr-quest-malaysia-airlines-flight-00022920-story-topWe love marketing/advertising tactics that employ simple rhetorical questions, its a tactic that often works well within the context of brand marketing and positioning, but gee whiz.. someone flying their branding campaign clearly failed to do a pre-flight check list, and in turn, Malaysia Airline’s violated Corporate Branding & Marketing Rule #1 of “What Not To Do..”

That rule clearly states: DO NOT allow any employee to tweet anything unless it is approved by both the head of corporate marketing and the head of public relations. That said, if the marketing department’s “air traffic control” as well as its “flight operations manager” were both on board when that message was launched, it clearly demonstrates that whoever is flying that airline is completely lost.


Corporate Social Media Marketing & Twitter: What Not To Do-Malaysia Airlines

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Monetizing Social Media in 2015: The Brand Marketers Dilemma

Social Media Marketing Trends: How To Monetize in 2015

The Top Reality TV Show in 2015 “Bots For Boobs”

While no great surprise, a recent report found that marketers focused on B2C (business-to-consumer) brand awareness/marketing strategies have found LinkedIn to be much less significant when compared to Facebook or Twitter for their marketing efforts. For the B2B crowd however, there are several different options, and LinkedIn remains the domination choice. In the Social Media Examiner survey, 88% of business to business marketers are utilizing LinkedIn in comparison to 89% for Facebook and 86%t for Twitter. The 2015 outlook envisions LinkedIn will increase its market share, subject of course to whether Facebook’s recently-announced service for corporate enterprises gains quick traction. Because adoption by corporate users is dictated by an assortment of compliance rules, one can argue that the winners in the war to win social media audiences will be niche players that provide business professionals with specific offerings that address their focused interests..

Social media marketing will continue to become a major pillar of content marketing strategies in 2015.  During the upcoming year, we expect that smart corporate marketers will appreciate there are actually 2 major pillars for content marketing strategies: publication and distribution and that social media is the most efficient technique of enhancing the reach and visibility of their content. Consequently, social media will become the amplifier for their published content somewhat more than the content itself.

Notwithstanding above, most industry followers will keep a keen eye on how “social shopping” evolves in 2015, and specifically as it applies to features/functionality within social media websites and apps. While social media marketing strategies are designed for executing and enhancing brand marketing campaign, transactional activity is where the rubber should meet the road for any corporate marketer who is presumably focused on ROI.   Given their respective audience sizes, the likes of Facebook and Twitter are hoped to be the holy grail for truly monetizing messages, but advertisers and marketers are becoming increasingly aware that the audiences that FB and TWTR claim to have are actually highly-populated by non-humans. Facebook recently acknowledged that of its reported 1.3 billion users, at least 67 million and as many as 137 million are fake accounts, and FB claims it continuously policies those phony accounts accordingly.

According to filings made by Twitter with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission, their estimated number of fake accounts aka “bots” is estimated at 9 percent of its total base. While FB and TWTR are arguably the largest social media platforms, there are tens of dozens of others that offer advertisers and marketers audiences that are clearly over-estimated.

Because social media websites are more concerned with reducing the amount of malware and viruses that both infect and effect their platforms, the disconnect between butter and margarine will not be easily-solved in 2015. This is best illustrated in a Nov 20 New York Times column by reporter Nick Bilton (“Phony Friends, Real Profit”), which profiles the burgeoning availability of  free or nearly free software that offers “bot programs” that enable amateurs to create legions of fake followers and “AI” re-tweeters. As such, the only high-probability prediction that we can make is the launch of a new reality-TV show “Bots For Boobs”…which will profile a group house whose residents include 2 hot-babe Russian avatars, a metro-sexual black-belt Indian programmer, a former member of China’s secret internet espionage squad and led by a 25 year-old billionaire who made his first fortune building services for the medical marijuana industry.

Monetizing Social Media in 2015: The Brand Marketers Dilemma

Saturday, October 11, 2014

If You Think Its Expensive to Hire A Real Marketing and Corporate Branding Professional?

words to live by  Words to live by..If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional, wait until you hire an amateur..

Yes, every smarty pants overseeing corporate marcom budgets would like to believe that “since the cost of technology becomes cheaper, and as the cost of advertising becomes more efficient [thanks to the ad industry embracing the types of electronic trading tools that are ubiquitous across Wall Street]..there’s no need to pay  so-called madmen any premium to help frame [our] value proposition…”

Good luck with that notion.

This isn’t to suggest we advocate or fully embrace the adage “you get what you pay for.” To the contrary, if I had $10 for every frustrating experience shared with me by a client who was over-promised and over-charged for what inevitably turned out to be under-performance, I might be eligible to join the 1% crowd.

Rules of engagement: Objective advice, if only used for purposes of weighing a strategy can prove invaluable.




If You Think Its Expensive to Hire A Real Marketing and Corporate Branding Professional?

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Rampart Asset


Engaged to oversee design of new website and craft value proposition narrative on behalf of Rampart Asset Management, an alternative asset management firm owned and operated by financial industry executives who are also  certified service-disabled veterans.


Rampart Asset

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Branding Opportunity Up-Tick For Hedge Fund Industry Marketers

2009-02-26-hedge-fund-managers As noted last week by WSJ reporter Andrew Ackerman, the hedge fund industry regulator aka CFTC has further eased restrictions on hedge fund advertising, a move that could spark an uptick in creative branding strategies within an industry long constrained by rules that could further promote their offerings.

The below opening lines of Ackerman’s story should be a call to action for HF managers who understand the need to better position their story within mediums that are known to resonate with your targeted audience. After all, the most successful and most respected firms in other parts of the financial industry have enjoyed outsized ROI by investing in cohesive and creative ad campaigns, as measured by a combination of garnered AUM and increased good will value.

“..Washington–U.S. commodity regulators took long-awaited steps to make it easier for hedge funds and other firms to raise cash by publicly advertising stakes in their funds.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission late Tuesday eased long-standing marketing restrictions on so-called private offerings by hedge funds and other funds sold only to wealthy investors, a move aimed at aligning the CFTC’s restrictions with similar rules set by the Securities and Exchange Commission…

The bulk of the hedge-fund industry declined to take advantage of last year’s eased SEC rules, in part because many funds were still barred from public advertisements under separate CFTC rules that apply to funds that engage in derivatives trading, as many firms do. The CFTC’s move to ease those restrictions Tuesday and make them similar to the SEC’s comes after more than a year of lobbying by the hedge-fund industry.”

Jay Berkman, the principal of corporate marketing and brand strategy firm The JLC Group, whose clients include a number of financial industry firms, including global macro strategy firm Rareview Macro LLC, noted, “If I were managing a hedge fund, this would be the time I’d be tapping into firms that are creative, but also truly understand the industry landscape and the profile of the targeted audience. ” Added Berkman, “An expert that understands that it’s not about what you are selling, but about what your customers want to buy.”

The WSJ story is available by clicking this link (subscription might be required).

Branding Opportunity Up-Tick For Hedge Fund Industry Marketers

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Real Branding: Pictures Tell 1000 Words; Infographics 101; FB Selling Fish Oil

Today’s Sunday NYT Times featured a story profiling how Facebook advertising gurus are constructing an ad campaign to sell fish oil for MegaRed, a neutraceutical brand that is trying to break through the clutter within a product category that is literally swimming with products; the best take away from that story can be found in a comment courtesy of FB VP Eric Schnabel: “Great words with an image attached to them are the purest form of expression.”

Adds Schnabel: Story lines that stretch across multiple ads (ad gurus call this strategy “short-form narratives”), spread out over days or weeks, could also be very effective. “We try to make them more like ‘Law and Order’ than ‘Game of Thrones,’ ” Mr. Schnabel said. “You don’t need to see every episode in order for it to make sense.” But don’t overdo it, he warned. Ads that pop up too frequently feel like spam. Facebook itself generally aims to show one ad for every 20 items in a person’s news feed, although users who like or comment frequently on ads might see more.

In due respect to above-noted young turk, we don’t suggest that Schanbel has hit on new concept within the context of using images, he is simply regurgitating what every brand advocate should know; wisdom that we’ve espoused in this blog more than a few times during the past 8 years. That’s right, we’ve been evangelizing this notion for more than 15 minutes; most recently in our July 10 “blog post”. 

imgadTo illustrate this simple observation with just one example, in 2009, while representing a consumer product company that sought to create awareness about hand hygiene and their alcohol-free hand sanitizer, we ran the adjacent photo image in a Google ad campaign..During the first 36 hours, the ad inspired 10,000 (that’s right, Ten Thousand) click thru’s, converting into more than 1000 orders for the company’s products.

Yes, we do push the envelope when advocating clients’ brand messages. We also pound clients’ tables (and every so often, we’ve had to ceremoniously knock their heads against a wall) to drive home this critical approach to branding in a world where images have become the greatest influencers. How/why else can one explain the success of Pinterest, Instagram and of course, Facebook (among others)? How else can one explain the dramatic shift by brand marketers to mobile device advertising, a format that only “sticks” when images are the primary element?

Because it works.

sandwich-pie-chartAnd before signing off to sun on the beach on this sunny day, this update wouldn’t be complete without making reference to the use of infographics–an approach that uses minimal words within a message dominated by a visual element. We touched on this topic in the July 10 post, but we’re compelled to grab it and shake it some more, this time with a shout out to, one of several online sites that help marketers create a variety of informative presentations that leverage the impact of images.





Real Branding: Pictures Tell 1000 Words; Infographics 101; FB Selling Fish Oil