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Connecting with Consumers in Unexpected Ways

Consumers are inundated with advertisements. While the exact number is impossible to pinpoint, the head of Kantar Futures, Dr. J Walker Smith, and other sources have cited that a person sees up to 5,000 marketing messages a day.

What does this mean for advertisers? Traditional marketing techniques no longer cut it. Consumers tune out the “seen it before” promotions as white noise. In order to capture the interest of consumers, marketing needs to anticipate their expectations and then disrupt them.

In Digital

Using Ad blockers has become common practice. Netflix recognized this trend long ago and found a clever way to use it to promote their original show, Black Mirror. Advertising via a technology designed to eliminate advertisements was a brilliant move. The campaign also fit with the show’s eerie tone, which resonated well with viewers.

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In Print

Print has always been a fairly straightforward medium. That’s why we especially loved to see Chambord blow our expectations out of the water with their print series, “Because No Reason. The blunt tone of the campaign caught consumers’ attention, and the nod to “impulse purchases” appealed to shoppers. Brownie points, because the campaign also went viral on digital.

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In Broadcast

Everyone skips YouTube pre-rolls; it’s just a fact. Instead of trying to manipulate consumers into watching a longer ad, Geico recognized the irritation and adjusted their ads to fit within five seconds. Their humorous “unskippable ads” understood that consumers just want to get to their content quick and dirty. The ads were so popular that consumers even went so far as to seek out the uncut versions.

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Product Packaging

We at Cercone Brown know you have to get creative if you want to grab consumers’ attention. That’s why we were all over it when our client, Backyard Farms, asked us to rethink how they package their delicious tomatoes. We conducted focus groups in Maine and Boston to hear what their customers had to say about the brand. This consumer feedback served as inspiration for the package design below – a signature branding of Backyard Farms that customers have loved ever since!

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So what do all of these brands have in common? They embraced the modern way consumers interact with advertising spaces rather than trying to force a cookie-cutter message. The result: content that consumers actually seek out.

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Like it, tag it, buy it: Instagram’s new mobile shopping experience

Instagram has come a long way since its debut in 2010, priding itself on being a top-performing platform for mobile discovery.

And now, the beloved platform has broadened its horizons even more – it will soon allow users to purchase products directly from an image. That’s right, Instagram is joining the mobile shopping revolution. This new feature is ground breaking for brands who rely on their online sales.

Mobile shopping has become a consumer favorite, making up 30% of all e-commerce sales. In fact, it is estimated that more than 84 percent of smartphone owners use an app or web browser to view products. This is a HUGE untapped market of potential buyers who use Instagram to follow their favorite brands.

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According to Instagram, this is how shopping will work: 

  1. Each post will have a tap to view icon.
  2. When a product is tapped, a price tag will appear.
  3. If the consumer is interested, they can select to view the product details.
  4. Then there’s an option to shop now, which takes the user to the ecomm site to purchase.

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Unfortunately for those who want to jump right in, the new experience is still in its test phase. Instagram partnered up with brands like J-crewKate Spade, and Warby Parker for the beta version, gaging ease of use and depth.

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When it does go public, we at Cercone Brown are especially excited to see how brands like Garnet Hill and Stonewall Kitchen will enhance engagement with current and prospective users. Either way, our wallets are sure to be lighter.

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Creative Campaigns: Changing the Way Digital Campaigns Work

A seasoned agency recognizes that media consumption nowadays is more than just the initial viewing experience: it’s all encompassing. Your audience wants to engage, comment, share, and experience it. The ability to tap into this insatiable consumer behavior is what makes creative viral digital campaigns.

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In other words, a few small changes in how you’re approaching your audience and the creation of an interactive campaign could leave you rolling in thousands of free and easy impressions.

So what changes can you make to produce campaigns that are powerful enough to reach unprecedented audiences?

A West Jet Christmas Miracle

In 2013, Canadian company West Jet went from bargain airline to leader in the industry after releasing a video that quickly became an Internet sensation. On Christmas Eve, the company sponsored a real-time gift-giving event in two different airports to spark buzz.

To complete this goal, West Jet had to get creative to foster positive brand image from customers.

Always is Always Innovative

To drive conversation, Always took a negative stereotype about girls and molded it into a positive branding strategy.

Cardstore Has A Breakout Moment

Cardstore by American Greetings posted a video 2 years ago called #WorldsToughestJob that has almost 27 million views. People were interviewed for a job with “unlimited hours” and “no breaks” on top of an increased workload on holidays … but the audience didn’t find out what the job was until the end.

At the end, it was revealed that they job was in fact being a mother. Since they do so much you should probably get them a card … from Cardstore.com, of course.

Jet Blue Wins Big

Recently, Jet Blue created a viral campaign, which shined a positive light on crying babies during flights. The advertisement was so successful it earned them the 2016 Grand Brand Genius Award from Adweek.

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With every creative and innovative campaign, consumer expectations get higher and higher. Do you have what it takes to go viral?

White male dominated agencies, like in the show Mad Men, still exist today.
Photo Credit: from Justina Mintz/AMC

We Must Diversify in Order to Disrupt

Over the past decade, we have seen tremendous strides in advertising diversity, from gender to religious beliefs. However, let’s not pat ourselves on the back just yet. There is still so much room for more progress in attaining equal representation of these marginalized groups.

White male dominated agencies, like in the show Mad Men, still exist today. Photo Credit: from Justina Mintz/AMC

White male dominated agencies, like in the show Mad Men, still exist today.
Photo Credit: from Justina Mintz/AMC

Why Agencies Benefit from Increasing Diversity in their Workforce

At its most rudimentary level, advertising and marketing campaigns are meant to capture the attention of audiences. We do that by creating content that is relatable and strikes a universal chord. For minority demographics, we believe the best way to create content that resonates is to let them tell the story.

Agencies without a diverse staff are more limited in their understanding of their various target audiences.

With so many talented individuals from diverse backgrounds, why should we make our jobs harder by excluding their voices? We should embrace a breadth of perspectives as a way to stimulate industry progression and inclusivity.

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As Pepsi Co. Executive Brad Jakemen puts it, “Innovation and disruption does not come from homogenous groups of people. Quite the opposite. They come from collections of people with different life experiences coming together with a different perspective on the world. Different ages, races, sexual orientations trying to solve a problem from a different standpoint.”

Brands Pushing for Change

A few brands – including Pepsi Co., Verizon, HP, General Mills ­– have spearheaded this initiative by pressuring their agencies to hire diverse individuals. They’ve asked agencies to propose plans for how they will boost representation at all levels within their workforce.

The SMO for Verizon, Diego Scotti commented in a New York Times article that, “Marketers are expected to have a deep understanding and insight about their markets, about decision makers and about customers. We are more likely to create solutions that amaze our customers if our workforce and suppliers represent the communities we serve.”

We at CerconeBrown applaud the steps these brands are taking, but recognize there is still progress to be made. When new and unique perspectives are brought into the creative process, everyone wins.

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CBC Fall House 2016

Over the course of eight days, 20 editors, bloggers and journalists from top-tier publications attended Cercone Brown’s 11th annual Fall House in Santa Barbara.screen-shot-2016-10-28-at-2-56-04-pm

From October 16-24, attendees from publications like People, The Huffington Post, and SELF immersed themselves in the Santa Barbara County lifestyle as they lounged by the pool, explored picturesque California beaches, and participated in adventurous excursions all hosted by our brand sponsors.

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This year, brands like Buick, Miraclesuit, and Lather organized unique brand activations and experiences. The key to our success with our House Programs, we let the products speak for themselves. Buick kicked off the 2016 sessions with an iconic, self-guided road trip down the Pacific Coast Highway while Mircaclesuit hosted a pool party at the house.

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After all the excitement, Lather helped the editors unwind with facials and massages.

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Other brands like Sabra and Jackson Family Wines indulged the media influencers with delicious food and cocktails throughout their stay. They were even treated to a mixology class with blogger and author of This Girl Walks into a Bar, hosted by Bolthouse Farms.

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While Fall House is certainly fun for media influencers, it also encompasses a series of tailored experiences designed to give each brand meaningful exposure to media in a natural setting. Editors are experiencing a product in the way it is intended to be experienced – and without being clouded by the competition as each brand is offered exclusivity in its product category.

But enough about what we thought of Fall House – let’s let the attendees speak for themselves:

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Check out all of the social buzz from Fall House online at #CBCfallhouse.