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August 8, 2010No Comments

on: mcdonalds free wifi

fry-fi anyone?  As you all know I am a minimalist at heart.  There is an art to just enough. I'm loving it!

Wi-Fries – McDonald’s

on: mcdonalds free wifi via @jpenabickley

January 17, 2009No Comments

ON: Advertising’s Evolution

This is a great video created by ad agency Scholz & Friends.  The animation details the dramatic shift in the marketing reality over the last 100 years. What I love about this video is that asks an important question that we should be asking of the brands we work with.  “Don’t you have something interesting to say?"

Scholz & Friends: "Dramatic shift in marketing reality" from Michael Reissinger on Vimeo.

After years of “crafting messages” to appeal a mass
consumer market many brands have lost their ability to do or say
anything interesting. Te products and services that will survive the conversation economy will be companies that stand for
things more meaningful than just promoting the consumption of their

ON: Advertising’s Evolution via @jpenabickley

January 17, 2009No Comments

ON: Advertising’s Evolution

This is a great video created by ad agency Scholz & Friends.  The animation details the dramatic shift in the marketing reality over the last 100 years. What I love about this video is that asks an important question that we should be asking of the brands we work with.  “Don’t you have something interesting to say?"

Scholz & Friends: "Dramatic shift in marketing reality" from Michael Reissinger on Vimeo.

After years of “crafting messages” to appeal a mass
consumer market many brands have lost their ability to do or say
anything interesting. Te products and services that will survive the conversation economy will be companies that stand for
things more meaningful than just promoting the consumption of their

ON: Advertising’s Evolution via @jpenabickley

June 24, 2008No Comments

ON: Being Socialista

Is it a surprise that 85% of adults ages 18-34 use at least one Web 2.0 platform? According Universal McCann's "Media in Mind" study, more than half of adults rely on social media as a way to communicate with friends, family, and colleagues. There is no longer a question of  “if” or “when”, the new question that brands are asking their agencies and me is - how?  How do I get in the game? (call me at Wunderman and we'll talk)  And my professional favorite: Is my brand socially ready?

Your brand can be “Socialista” (social ready) with a big idea that will inspire people’s brand love.  Brand passion will fuel velocity and volume every time they choose or buy your product or service.  But how does that translate into the digital world?

It is pretty much the same, with the one big exception - worldwide access.  Pretend your brand is a person.  Pretend your brand is a rising talent and your are its advertising and public relations agent, design firm and marketing department with the ability to rapidly respond (in quarters not years) to consumer conversations.

Getting started can be easier than it sounds!
First you have to sing "Who are you? who…who...who...who"
The building blocks for any brand always start with your identity.  Who are you?  Who do you aspire to be?  Who are you today and who do you want to be tomorrow?

Mom always used to say…

“You are what you eat”
“Tell me who your friends are and I will tell you who you are” 
“birds of a feather flock together”
“if your friends jump off a bridge will you jump too?”

All of this is true for a brand.  If a brand wants to compete in this new digitally focused world you have to carefully build your social media DNA.  In order to become a Super brand you have to consider the following when upping the social ante’ by designing your way up he brand status chain.


Who are you? Your brand identity can manifest itself in many ways. This can be your archetype, brand temple or personality.   Pick your flavor.

Do we have a relationship? – If a brand never converses with you – how could we possibly have a relationship?  Imagine if your husband never spoke to you – likely you would not be married long.  A brand’s relationships to the people who consume it will define your future. 

When my brand is on the shelf, in the room, online, on a blog or in your presence, how do I look sound and make you feel? This is all about a brand’s presence.  If you do not have presence no one knows your there.

Listen Learn and Converse. When I meet your brand, what are you going to talk to me about?  Is it funny? Is it relevant?  Is the information you give me useful in my life?  Conversations are a way for your brand to listen to my needs and desires and your listening will lead to fulfilling both.

Share your brand stuff (content) with me.  Make sure the brand stuff (content) you share is interesting to me and not just about what you want to sell me.  Its about me - not you! When you figure that out – I will buy you. Share it in a way that makes it easy for me to repeat it, copy and take it with me.

Your causes, your passions and your groups all build communities of interest.

Your reputation is your street cred.  If people in groups with passions socially recognize your brand then your big idea should facilitate their conversations, knowledge, entertainment, or public eminence.

When you have built all of that then you are SOCIALISTA 

Related Articles:

ON: Being Socialista via @jpenabickley

May 11, 20083 Comments

ON: Speaking To The Consumer

Direct, Advertising, Digital, Search, Retail, Promotions, Word Of Mouth (on and on and on) –  are all used to create awareness, attempt to convert consumers and inspire their loyalty once we have their attention.   We are all marketers.  If your fees come out of a marketing budget – you are a marketer.

Just as I have stated that we are all creative, and all responsible for the consumer experience - no matter the medium - we are also all speaking directly to consumers and all our work should be asking people to act, buy and take action now.

Clients are not buying tactics like a TV commercials, direct mail, viral videos, widgets or banner ads. Clients worth working with are buying ideas.  If they are not buying ideas from you, it is likely you do not have a consultative relationship with that marketing organization.  No one tactic can drive the volume of sales needed to have an effective sales driving campaign.  A piece of direct mail without the amplification of a phone call, television ad, or search result has yet to drive sales with any substantial volume.  And when they are not in concert with each other  (like a great band)  they are merely noise - not music.  The only way to capture the attention of consumers who are bombarded with millions of messages is to be consistent in our message and and make sure that each of the mediums are working in harmony with each other.

If you sell tactics, what happens when that tactic becomes too expensive, proves in effective on its own or is outsold by a competitive channel agency with a new bright shiny object? In my experience, you and your agency are OUT. Out of money, out of interest and out of options.

Stop selling agencies as tactical “machines”!  In the service economy there is no respect or substantial money in the “machine” or production aspect of what we do.  There is how ever substantial money in the creation and articulation of an idea.

Ideas Sell

What is an idea?  In marketing, an idea generates desire for the product or service you are selling.  A great idea creates desire with entertainment and a compelling and valuable call to action.

Like every creative in the business I have a copy of Ogilvy On AdvertisingDavid Ogilvy was famous for creating his agency's slogan: "we sell or else."   That still holds true today.  What David knew was that the he could not sell without an idea. The once constant in every effective case study I have read, written and studied is that the idea in conjunction with the right media sold the product.

If you never create an idea that creates desire – people will not look at the product you are selling as something they need.

The only way to do that is to deliver an idea that is worthy of a consumer conversation that is long lasting.  You have to answer the consumer question – what’s in it for me.  Don’t sell products…sell passions.  No one does this better than American Express, Doritos, Mercedes, Adidas, Coke, Nike and The Gap.

Delivering Consumer Relationships To Brands

All the years I have spent working on brands and consumer retention programs I have found that it is NOT the tactic that makes a consumer love us. 

It is what we say, how we act and their perception of our product’s effect on their lives.

Customer Relationships 2.0 starts with more than a welcome letter or gift.  Now more than ever it involves acknowledgment and the amplification of consumers voices who profess their love or hate for you through earned media such as comments, videos, blogs and photos.

The voice of the consumer is paramount to delivering product re-sell and service retention.

ON: Speaking To The Consumer via @jpenabickley

May 4, 20082 Comments

ON: Our Business Has Changed – Have You?

The tide has turned. Brands teams that have allowed their brands to be touched by consumers have won and have upped the marketing ante.  Consumer generated content, products ideas and conversations are not going away – as a matter of fact it is in full swing and marketers and creative’s who are using it – are inspiring deeper connections and relationships with their consumers.

This week I will focus my posts on the best practices that have lead to the best work which always leads to greater profitability for agencies and their clients.

This time last year I predicted that the agencies which used words like “traditional” and “interactive” to describe themselves would be the dinosaurs of 2008.  And indeed they have become just that.

If you are living in the here is now, you are focusing past the latest tactical hype and having relevant, insightful conversations with your client’s consumers.

In my article “All Media Is Social” I stumbled upon on to a theme that affects the way agencies work with their clients.  That theme was that in partnership with our clients we needed to become conversation architects.   In David Armano’s Conversation Architect theory he expresses the need for creative’s to refocus their work in digital eco-systems.  I believe that it has broader implications.  Its not just digital, its about where and when the consumer wants it.  Brands like Unilever's Dove has proved that to be true.

Last year at OMMA, I met Janet Kestin, the creative mastermind behind Dove’s evolution, she told me that capturing lightening in a bottle was as easy as launching a conversation starter that began with a set of consumer insights.  What Janet artfully did was tap in to all woman’s desire to let our inner beauty shine. The evolution piece was one way to continue re-enforcing a three year campaign which shed light on the nasty truth we all needed to be reminded of so that we can go forth and have real beauty as real woman.  The genius behind it is that Janet positioned Dove as the product that allowed woman to let their Real Beauty shine.  The one thing that she did share with the OMMA audience was that Unilever did not easily embrace this part of the consumer conversation.  It was seen as less of a risk as the video was a fraction of their typical creative production budgets  for TV spots (125k Canadian Dollars). This portion of the conversation (one part of the campaign for real beauty) was fuelled by heavy public relations, celebrity endorsements like Oprah and Rosie as well as a little known mass vehicle called YouTube.  What I learned from Janet is that clients and their consumer’s are not buying tactics – they are buying ideas.

The only way for agencies and marketing organizations to become Conversations Architects is to gently guide our clients with us on this journey.  An agency, General, Direct or Digital must have a partnership that leads to broader stewardship of the brand to deliver on true consumer conversations.  The one thing that has not and will not change is the fact that the agencies primary business is the relationship with our clients.  With out them we do not have a business.  The client agency relationship continues to be a partnership, which fuels our bottom lines.

Clients know they need to change – So how do you frame that change? You must be strategic and give market case studies that prove how great brands create and inspire brand loyalty in a world where all media is social and we the people have become the medium.

I often have been accused of being a bit of a Polly-Anna when it comes to how I view the agency world and the way we work collaboratively with clients.  But I sincerely believe in the philosophy that tight-knit groups who have overlapping areas expertise as well as specific role functions can act as swat teams within large organizations to bring about smarter work and bigger ideas.  When you work smart you get smart work. (and inevitably make more money together)

We are all creative

From the relationship leaders in account to the insights strategists in planning to the writers, designers and information architects in creative to the business logic and server engineers in technology to data analysts in analytics – WE ARE ALL CREATIVE.   And we are all responsible for the consumer experience.

Now seat our clients at that table for briefings, brainstorms and tissue sessions and what you get is a cohesive SWAT (Special Weapons And Tactics) team.   

Each one of us comes to the table with an arsenal experiences and expertise in executing tactics that can act as Brand’s secret weapons. We are all experts in our fields but when we come together in SWAT team we become a force to be reckoned with.

I know that it sounds like utopia, but what I have found is that it leads is a rich relationship with your clients and their consumers. And more importantly, it leads to more profitable agency relationships.

Where Do You Start?
In a world where all media is social we must begin by identifying our target consumer and learning about how they live, what they do, why they do it and what they want. Once you have formulated the SWAT team that includes your client this should be the first step.

This is easy to do… The data is out there, no matter where you or what you subscribe to – Forrester, eMarketer, Simmons, ComScore, Nielson or Intelligence - any combination of these sources will get the answers to the basic questions.

Without answering those basic questions, how might one begin a relevant conversation with consumers?  Imagine going to a networking event where you know nothing about the tribal passion that people are networking around.  Without these consumer insights all your tactics will act as incredibly expensive cold calls.  Cold calls are not the acts of marketers – they are the acts of sales departments.  Even in this day of amplified technology, marketing is still part science and part art.

The best consumer conversations start with right consumer insights.  Once you have that down now its time to brief the creative team.  The best briefs do not merely happen on paper they kick off with the insights, the support points and product innovations and then turn into brainstorms.  The best briefings include the account team, planners, creative’s and the client. When you combine those insights combined with the key brainstorm take-aways what you do is give your creative team the right foundation that will lead to the creation of big ideas that act as conversation starters for brands.

Once the results of those brainstorms are recorded now it is time for the creative team to go off and formulate a few cohesive big ideas.

When the creative team to heads off into their groups to create. What they should be delivering are ways to position ideas as conversations that create desire for a product or service.  Those campaign ideas / conversation starters, are the awareness drivers needed in pre-purchase cycle of any product or service.
When I create an idea I step back and look for what the audience desires.  If my idea quenches what they want most, then I have done my job.  Once I formulate the object of desire, then I work with tactical experts in media, technology and production to get the best in class ways to deliver the conversation starter through mass vehicles that give me maximum awareness that amplify the conversation.

Depending upon the audience consumption of media – you should tailor the idea to engage the consumer in the conversation through tactics that deliver a rich and innovative experience.  This can happen through consistently tailoring and deliver on the desires of the audience and drive sales.

Up Next – Streamlining The Agency Process

ON: Our Business Has Changed – Have You? via @jpenabickley

November 25, 2007No Comments

ON: Experience Design Matters

Today I was studying along side of my daughter who is preparing for a role in a play.  We were discussing the emotions that her character was feeling and the empathy that she needed to draw from her audience.  At that point - I made my own connection for a brand that I am ideate-ing for... I had that moment when it all came to me and the big idea emerged. That epiphany brought me to explore what makes a strong brand experience.

The wallpaper of Spanish caveman, the hieroglyph-ridden obelisks of ancient Egypt - modern design descends from a primeval tradition of iconography, embodying the same simplicity, directness and preoccupation with visual codification humans embraced long long ago.  Since the dawn of design our ancient ancestors communicated through visual icons just as modern day brands speak to consumers through experience.

Today consumer brands speak through advertising, the internet and packaging.  Business brands converse with audiences through sales forces, literature  and the internet.  Each medium contributes beyond the intended message.  For example, a phone number on a business card carries different baggage that that of the same phone number etched on a bathroom wall.  Its not just what is said, but how and where it is said.

Because a brand appears so often and in so many places its message must be clear, refined and protected.   In creating branded experiences all of the mediums come together to sing one common song, some in different octaves... but they converge to deliver a symphony that spawns consumer emotions - gut feelings and desire.  It is that desire that sells products and services.

"The creation of art is not the fulfillment of a need but the creation of a need.  The world never needed Beethoven's Fifth Symphony until he created it.  Now we could not live without it." - Louis I Kahn

October 18, 2007No Comments

ON: Ciroc’s Celeb Brand

Its about who you know! Ciroc knows Puff Daddy. They are so close that Sean ‘P. Diddy’ Combs announced his appointment as Diageo’s Ciroc Vodka Brand Manager and CMO in an Ad Age Q&A interview this week.

The role is “too big for one title,” he told Ad Age, but, he added, “I’ll be taking the lead on all the things traditionally a CMO or a brand manager would do, just doing them my way. Marketing in a way that is truly unique.” - Source Ad Age

This is more than the typical product placement

Diddy is not just a spokesman. He has become the brand. Ciroc will be making more than an just appearance in his videos. He is both vested and invested in Diageo’s marketing objectives. This type of involvement will transcend the typical endorsement relationships. Before Diddy—a product and brand himself—launched his first marketing directive, he’s already a walking talking media channel for the Ciroc Vodka brand. Not your standard brand agent hire.

This big challenge will be how Diddy and Diageo will coexist. This joint endevour could prove to be a real life product placement that elevates a Brand to real celebrity status. Read the entire Ad Age article here.

Update 10/07/2008: First Campaign - Diddy Becomes The Chairman of The Ciroc Board
What I love about this move is that it breaks the mold and brings the brand into a true circle of celebrities. P. Diddy is to launched The Art of Celebration! Celebrate Life Responsibly! campaign.


Diddy has brought the art of "sophisticated celebration" to life on the small screen for the only ultra-premium vodka. Shot in black and white at one of Sinatra's former California homes, the 15- and 30-second commercials depict Combs as a high-spirited host amidst a chic crowd during an impromptu private house party. Combs is serving CIROC while engaging with his modern-day "Rat Pack" entourage. Combs mingles, dances and jokes during the intimate party, before finally stealing a private moment to gaze into the night as the crowd enjoys a fun-filled evening inside.

I love the sell the sophisticated strategy employed here. Yet another game changer.

ON: Ciroc’s Celeb Brand via @jpenabickley



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