Via @claire.m.harvey

This time of year there is no place better to unwind than the oasis of Nantucket. The crisp blue ocean against the green island emanates summer bliss, and CBC has found the perfect way to take advantage of this paradise. During three, 3-day sessions this June, nearly 30 lucky editors got the chance to indulge in the best of Nantucket at CBC Summer House.


Via @mkisiday

Summer House is a brand activation experience where top-tier writers and editors have a few days to relax at a charming, cedar-shingled house near Tom Nevers Beach. The schedule always includes fun activities where attendees get familiar with cutting edge products in a highly involved, hands-on yet organic setting.


Via @cerconebrown

The Summer House activities are tailored to the pristine summer environment. To kick off their mornings this year, House guests participated in the Champion R.I.P.P.E.D. Workout.


Via @cerconebrown

For lunch, Summer House guests munched on fish tacos made from fresh Sea Cuisine filets, which are available in your local grocer’s seafood case. Chef Marco prepared the meal directly from a whole Atlantic Salmon. (Could it get any fresher than that!?)


Via @snacktoria


Via @cerconebrown

The trip to Nantucket included afternoon Spire Collection and Galerie wine tastings, and extravagant meal experiences provided by DiGiorno, Garnet Hill and Miraclesuit. During their downtime, Summer House residents were able to explore the island as they pleased with a fleet of Cadillacs provided by Onstar.


Via @cerconebrown


Via @snacktoria

Adventurous Summer Housers went out on the ocean for wakeboarding, waterskiing and tubing while sporting TomTom Bandit Action Cameras to capture first-person footage of the experience.

The CBC Summer House offers an opportunity for editors to forget the stresses of everyday life and focus on the true essence of each onsite brand in the serenity of a Nantucket summer setting. Editors get to experience a lifestyle where they can authentically interact with each brand. They become familiar with each product in a much more intimate way than they would just using it in their home or office. And ultimately, the attendees have the advantage of forging true relationships with the brand sponsors, their representatives, and their one of a kind products.


Via @claire.m.harvey

Summer House is a fantastic brand activation adventure. Everyone who attends brings home stories of the flavors they tasted, the products they tried, and the memories they shared. We’ll see you next year, Nantucket!

With Tom Brady’s appeal happening as we speak, and the All World Quarterback’s Golden Globe-worthy performance in Ted 2 just days from release, I couldn’t help but think about what it would be like if Ted, and not Tom’s attorney Jeffrey Kessler, were representing him today.

Let’s just say that although Tom’s legal interests may be somewhat compromised, I feel confident that this little ball of Southie belligerence would finally tell Goodell to his face what we’ve all been thinking. (Warning: don’t click on this link if you are offended by extremely rude, off-color insults barked with a Wicked Boston accent.)


Okay…let’s get this away from L Street and back on Boylston. This little fantasy of mine got me thinking about how far we’ve come in content marketing (yes, I’m making a rough transition, but stick with me).

Remember when YouTube hit? You would have thought the entire paid media business was lost overnight to a cheap digital camera and some editing software. The ability to create engaging, nimble, smart content has been democratized, whereas what hasn’t changed is the power behind truly well done, strategic brand communications.

For example, consider Under Armour’s short film “Tom Brady’s Wicked Accent.” If you aren’t one of the 1.5 million folks who watched this hilarious piece, here’s the gist: it’s a three-minute Under Armour ad that people love to watch over and over again.


Basically, Tom Brady goes into a Dick’s Sporting Goods somewhere near his hometown of San Mateo, CA (naturally, he heads to the Under Armour section). The Funny or Die gag unfolds as the sales clerk and shoppers have fun with Tom’s accent. Of course, the joke is that he has no accent whatsoever, and his squeaky clean, nice-guy image unravels to the point where Tom drops an angry F-Bomb on the entire shenanigan.

As mentioned, the piece was viewed 1.5 million times on YouTube alone, and shared and talked about many, many more. The inbound marketing experts will point to this sort of success as proof that traditional brand advertising is dead… after all, there was no media buy.

However, on closer examination, just how non-traditional was this? Let’s see: Big-name star? Check. Hundreds of thousands in production cost? Check. Big reach? Check. PR-campaign behind it? Check.

You see, even though this is a great example of a successful “viral” video, it’s far from catching lightening in a bottle. Under Armour’s success wasn’t abandoning the tenets of good, solid brand work, it was simply making the most of the deployment channels at its disposal.

The lesson? Consumer-facing brands like Under Armour must continue to tap into the emotion and insight of their brands, while layering on more sophisticated ways to harness this reach. It’s something we call Brand/Action marketing at CBC, the combination creating powerful brand communications with the pragmatic, ROI driven practices of inbound marketing programs.

It’s not a choice between old and new—it’s just smart marketing in 2015 and beyond.

Now if the studio can just find a way to sell deflated footballs signed by Tom and Ted at this week’s opening, I think we may have all the elements for an amazing success…

— Len Cercone

Love or hate her catchy music, or maybe just envy her cats—either way, it’s undeniable that Taylor Swift has been an extra-hot topic this week after her public conversation with Apple.


In Case You Missed It:

On June 8 at WWDC, Apple announced the June 30 release of Apple Music, a new music streaming service intended to compete with Spotify, eclipse Tidal’s floundering efforts, and ensure that the almost-defunct Pandora remains as such. Apple Music has been slated to include a $10 streaming subscription plan, a free Internet radio station, and a media platform, which would allow artists to upload new content immediately available to listeners. In an effort to attract users from the competition, Apple also announced a free 3-month trial period—an unheard of and certainly expensive incentive. Immediately controversial, however, was Apple’s fine-print statement that artists, etc. would receive no royalties during that trial period—painful losses for those in the music industry.

Fast forward to Saturday, June 21:

The Internet and Apple received an open letter from Taylor Swift: “To Apple, Love Taylor.” In her note, Swift rebuked Apple for disrespecting artists, producers, and songwriters by withholding royalties, in addition she pointed out that the decision is uncharacteristic for the normally progressive brand.

Seventeen hours later, Sunday, June 22:

Eddy Cue, Apple Senior VP of Internet Software and Services, responded to Swift on Twitter. He humbly apologized on behalf of Apple and retracted their no-royalties plan.


Currently, the Internet is flipping out:

“Taylor Swift took on Apple with a blog post and won, all in a single day”

“Taylor Swift Criticism Spurs Apple to Change Royalties Policy”

“Apple caves after Taylor Swift threatens to pull album”

There are several lessons to be learned from this conversation between Swift and Apple, but also some factors to consider:

  • Internet speed

The turnaround of this online conversation is staggering and that’s a large part of what makes it so impressive: just 17 hours lapsed between Swift’s article being published and Eddy Cue’s response early the next morning. Apple pounced with a response before other, angrier opinions could be voiced. Thus, the opinions that did hit the news were positive, mostly on Swift, sure, but Apple only seems rebuked and certainly not like they’ve been beaten.

  • The power of social media

Social media allowed two individuals to correspond instantaneously and publicly. While Cue stated that he privately called Swift after reading her note, the key discussion points were available for the world to read. Good on you, Swift; Apple could not avoid the discussion, and what other response could they have given but a positive one?

  • The priceless personal brand

Brand, I believe, is the most powerful factor at work in this situation. While this weekend’s conversation took place between Eddy Cue and Taylor Swift, the two are representatives for brands: Apple, and Swift herself representing her $200 million “Taylor Swift” personal brand. Cue stated in an interview that Swift’s letter was not the sole factor that caused Apple to reverse its decision; it was simply that last straw, the final weight that tipped the scale.

By acknowledging Swift’s appeal and logic, Apple has appeared gracious, humble, reasonable, and even good-natured via Eddy Cue’s Tweets. Cue portrayed more personality for Apple than we’ve seen since the days of the Mac-PC commercials. This isn’t a PR nightmare, as some articles have stated, but rather what turned out to be a positive, productive, and ultimately mutually beneficial conversation between two of the most powerful brands in the world.

A new feature is being added to everyone’s favorite streaming site, Netflix. While it has been one of the only TV/movie streaming websites without annoying 15-second product ads, it recently decided to integrate advertising (for movies, that is) ever-so-craftily into its experience.


Now, when you are sifting through movies and TV shows on Netflix, there will be a ‘Trailer’ button that will lead you to a preview of whatever movie or TV show you are thinking of binge-watching. In fact, this function now enables viewers to binge on the trailers themselves.

“Netflix ‘Previews’ is like every viewer in a movie theater seeing a different series of trailers based on their personal tastes,” said Netflix Chief Product Officer Neil Hunt. “This unmatched, highly personalized selection of movie previews makes it even easier for Netflix members to discover movies they’ll love.” [Source]


Is this one step closer to Netflix adding traditional advertisements to their website in the future? While they insist they will remain ad-free, Netflix, which chargers its viewers monthly subscriptions, seems like it may be making moves toward the slippery slope of advertising outside the movie-sphere. As one of the most successful online streaming websites, we suspect Netflix would have a pretty good advantage if they did decide to add third-party ads. Since the start of the Netflix phenomenon, the company has been analyzing what their viewers are interested in and using that information to suggest movies or TV shows back to them—which is, conveniently, the same type of formula that marketers use.

For now, admen will have to continue binging on their favorite shows and movies without their ads, just like the rest of us.


Early June is a special time for the people who make the technology we love. Each year, thousands of developers storm a San Francisco convention center for five days of apps, announcements, and, well, Apple. However, the impact of the event has always extended far beyond the Silicon Valley.

Some of the most disruptive technologies of all time have come out of Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference. Just seven years ago, Steve Jobs stood on stage and unveiled the App Store for the first time. That announcement alone completely changed the way brands advertise and connect with their customers, yet it is only one of the milestones from this impressive event.

Here at CBC, we love to stay digitally savvy, so check out this short list of what to look out for from this year’s WWDC15:

  1. Safari gets more social: Safari is getting a handful of improvements, including “pinned” sites. This allows you to keep your favorite sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram at the side of your browser window, making your Mac even more integrated with social media than before.
  1. Your iPad is ready for work: Apple is rolling out brand new multi-tasking on the iPad, allowing users to run two apps side by side. This means you can finally check Pinterest while checking your email (or even while writing a blog post). For marketers, it means that competition for valuable ad impressions is going to get even fiercer.
  1. Search everything: One of the newest refinements of IOS 9 will be the ability to search all the content on an iPhone, its apps, and the internet, all from Spotlight Search. This new functionality could divert a lot of precious mobile traffic from Google search; Ad Words beware!
  1. Here comes watchOS 2: No matter where you stand in the Apple Watch debate, some big updates are coming. App makers now have more access to the watch controls, allowing for more complex apps. For PR and Marketing professionals, it shows that the new watch app store is not only here to stay, but will offer unprecedented tools to connect with consumers.

Don’t believe us? Want a few more? Check out a full roundup here of all the WWDC15 excitement.




When Apple introduced its iWatch in 2015, some of the most exciting capabilities included features that are able to track the biometric qualities of the wearer, including heartbeat, acceleration, and temperature. While these features are advertised as fitness-related benefits, many are seeing possibilities with these technologies in advertising. Marketers can test different ad campaigns with the ability not only to learn the viewer’s vocal reaction, but also be given insights into how they are reacting internally, based on their physical changes.


Both biometrics and wearable technologies are hugely expanding markets, and some companies have already taken this technology and adapted it into their own products. TomTom, for example, has introduced an action camera that can mark places in the video deemed most “exciting” through the use of an optional heart-rate monitor. These spots are specially marked within the Bandit Action Camera and make editing and uploading content in real-time more mobile and convenient than ever before.

Two companies, specifically – Mindshare and Lightwave – have teamed up at the forefront of this creative branch of advertising analytics, envisioning biometric technologies as a way for companies to tailor consumer experiences in real-time. Jeff Malmad, head of mobile and the wearables unit at Mindshare North America said, “Being able to get the data from the watch and the phone simultaneously and create better and more adaptive experiences is something that’s just going to grow in importance for brands” [Source].

As popular as wearable tech has become (see the Infographic below for proof!), one can’t help but have privacy concerns regarding the experiences some devices are proposing. The consented-to analyzing of bodily responses to ad campaigns is one thing, but the fear of getting fired if your boss finds out about your high blood pressure has an almost “Big Brother” feel to it.

How soon do you think we will be eating at restaurants with lighting that changes with the mood of the diners? And maybe more importantly – isn’t that a little creepy?Untitled

[Infographic Source]


With a constantly growing fan base, Instagram has continued to find new and exciting ways to keep up with its ever-developing consumer. Looking ahead, companies must recognize the importance of having a strong presence on “the gram” so they can utilize its newest features to the best of their abilities.


A recent trend in many companies’ Instagram profiles is the so-called visual strategy of “insta-tiling.” Profiles feature photos in a mosaic-style grid that, together, make one larger image. Each individual piece of the puzzle usually has different bits of information, providing more detail than a single post would. Posting nine images instead of just one also provokes viewers to further explore what the brand’s profile has to offer. [Source] What do you think about this strategy’s effectiveness? Are you more prone to click-through when you have nine photos to choose from?


Jumping on the Advertising Bandwagon

On Tuesday, the company announced it would make yet another monumental change to its mobile app. Instagram now has plans to open up users’ news feeds to all types of advertisers. From the global fashion brand to the corner boutique in the user’s area, users will be able to see it all by this fall.

Closing the Deal

In addition to the wider variety of advertisers, Instagram will also be testing a new “shop-now” button. This e-commerce link will allow users to move directly from the image to a page where they can purchase the featured item. Companies like Banana Republic have already taken advantage of this new update. [Source]

One can only hope that with the addition of more advertisements, users’ feeds will not become cluttered with “Click Here for Free Coupons” as so many Facebook news feeds have now become. In an interview with the NY Times, Instagram’s global head of business and brand development ensured fans, “Visual storytelling for brands has more resonance… But we want to make sure the ads [you] see are for things that matter to [you].” We agree, sir. We’d like for our Instagram content to matter to us, too.





Have you ever stood in the long line at Chipotle, breathing in the smell of freshly cooked meats and fajita veggies, as you eagerly await your chance to order? Maybe you discussed with a friend whether you planned to order a bowl, burrito, tacos or a salad, and which of the colorful ingredients you would add to your personalized meal. If you have done this, then you are a part of the incredibly successful word-of-mouth marketing web of Chipotle.

chipotle pic

Chipotle, the simple, fast-casual restaurant chain has experienced explosive growth over the last ten years. The company’s annual advertising budget has remained under $10 million, while Chipotle has outperformed the fast food giants that drop hundreds of millions on ads.

In its annual report, Chipotle describes how the focus of its marketing strategy is on consumer experience:

“[Our collective efforts] have helped us create considerable word-of-mouth publicity, with our customers learning about us and telling others, allowing us to build awareness with relatively low advertising expenditures, even in a competitive category, and to differentiate Chipotle as a company that is committed to doing the right things in every facet of our business.” [Source]

chipotle pic 2

Chipotle has achieved phenomenal publicity from its consumers up, with a few crucial ingredients:

  • Identifying young adults as the target market segment and crafting the image and culture of Chipotle around millenials’ values and dining preferences.
  • Offering an outstanding product that motivates consumers to share their positive experience and recommend the brand to peers.
  • Acknowledging evolving media, and focusing on modern marketing channels such as mobile and social, which have been more effective in reaching Chipotle’s target demographic.

Next time you find yourself recommending Chipotle to a friend, remember that its marketers owe you a ‘thank you’. Maybe on your next burrito the guacamole won’t cost extra.

[Source site]