Too Soon for Holiday Ads?

With 96 days ‘til Christmas, most consumers are just coming out of the Back to School shopping season, and contemplating which costume to wear for Halloween. The thought of Thanksgiving turkey might be lingering in the back of our minds, but is anyone really thinking about Christmas yet?

K-Mart is banking on it. In fact, they rolled out their first Holiday ad on Sept. 8th promoting their lay-away program with a “Don’t let the Holidays sneak up on you” message: www.youtube.com/watch?v=HDSz7APFmAk

So when is it too early to advertise for the Holidays? Is it when the National Media picks up the story and weighs in, a la Today host Hoda Kotb? Is it when Facebook fans post negative comments:

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Kmart isn’t the only one launching a Holiday campaign when temperatures are still in the 90’s. Walmart started promoting its layaway program a few days later. And, Target is expected to hit the market with its Holiday spots in early October.

Retailers believe getting a jump on the Holiday season will increase sales. And, with so many uncertainties with the economy, they’re willing to take the risk.

So, what do you think?

Is it too early to see Holiday advertising?

Download the Voto app to weigh in:

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Media Spotlight: Elizabeth Furlong, Junior Media Buyer

elizabethEditor’s note: “Media Spotlight” is an ongoing series where we interview the wide range of professionals that make up our growing office. From the traditional media planners to our digital buyers, you’ll gain insight into the many levels that make up Media Works Ltd. This week we interview Junior Media Buyer, Elizabeth Furlong

How long have you been working in media/ advertising? 3 years – I was an advertising major in college and knew I wanted to get into media planning as soon as I graduated!

Can you describe a day in your life at Media Works? A good day or a bad day? (Just kidding!) We tend to make most of our buys on a quarterly basis, so the month before a quarter begins – December, March, June, September – is always a crazy time because we’ve just gotten budgets and are spending lots of time making phone calls, negotiating rates, placing orders, and tweaking dates. During periods that are not so hectic, we have more time to spend researching industry trends for our clients, investigating new media platforms, and holding brainstorming sessions. Billing and paperwork, trafficking creative to the correct outlets, and iced coffee are things that pretty much stay the same for me each day.

What’s your all-time favorite ad campaign? What made it special?

A few years ago, Ogilvy did a series of ads for Dove (“Evolution” and “Onslaught”) which drew attention to some of the issues with the way the beauty and cosmetic industries target girls and women. It’s a really interesting campaign and I liked the fact that Ogilvy and Dove highlighted an issue associated with advertising, through advertising. It goes to show that sometimes you just need to fight fire with fire.

What advice would you offer to someone looking to get into the advertising industry?

Get internships and try to get a better understanding of what part of the industry you want to be in. Do you like working with big concepts or are you more of a numbers and details person? Do you like working with people and shaking hands on a daily basis or are you more of a behind-the-scenes, “make-it-happen” person? There’s no right or wrong answer but it definitely helps to know when looking for jobs and going on interviews. I learned a lot about this working on group projects in college and that really helped me.

What’s something that no one knows about you?

I entered college as a biology major, and thought I wanted to be a doctor.

How To: Create a Successful Facebook Ad Campaign

People all over the world are spending more and more time on Facebook and other social media platforms. Being what I would call “the company Facebook expert”, I have decided to show my Facebook passion by sharing some insight with you. Knowing that each brand has different goals, let’s keep this very generic and start with the basics. Set aside your Facebook page for now and let’s just say you are a brand and you want your ads to show in the follow main placements.

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There are many different types of Facebook ads, including your typical display ads as well as the popular ‘social ads’ that let you interact with the content. The display ads we are all very familiar with are the Right-hand side ads. The mobile and desktop News Feed ads are the more engaging ads and are fairly new.

The following tips are questions you need to ask yourself in order to create a successful Facebook ad campaign:

1. Who is your audience?

This is important because we want the ads served to people interested in your brand and therefore likely to click on your ad. You should know your audience for any type of advertisement. Fortunately, Facebook has many different demographics in order to help you reach your target. You can target based on geography, gender, age, birthday, education level, marital status, any hobbies, languages, and the list goes on. With Facebook you can really dig deep and get super specific in order to reach the right customer at the right time.

2. Is your image eye-catching?

Choose eye-catching, high quality, colorful images!  You will only have a few impressions to reach your target so make it count the first time. Stay away from the color blue because it blends with Facebook’s colors. Images with people in them seem to do very well. A good first impression always works.

3. Does your ad copy include a strong Call-to-Action?

You have caught the eye of the user with your flashy image so now what do you want them to do? In most cases we want them to CLICK on the ad, LIKE the ad or both. Make sure in your copy you express what they need to do in order to get more information about the ad. The most common CTA that I use is a “click here”, “apply now”, or “learn more” phrase. Or even better “Click here to apply now”.

Start with these three basic questions first in order to figure out which type of Facebook ad is necessary for your campaign.  Also keep in mind the goals of your campaign. Do you want more pages likes, new users, app installs, or just branded awareness? Lastly, make sure you start with multiple ads and test them to see which work the best. Play around with different ad combinations, images and placements and you’ll have yourself a great campaign in no time!

Media Spotlight: Kate Shaffer, Media Buyer

MWbw-33Editor’s note: “Media Spotlight” is an ongoing series where we interview the wide range of professionals that make up our growing office. From the traditional media planners to our digital buyers, you’ll gain insight into the many levels that make up Media Works Ltd. This week we interview Media Buyer, Kate Shaffer

How long have you been working in media/ advertising? I have been in the media industry for almost 8 years. I started at the rep firm Continental in 2007 and worked through the political year. I then worked on the station side for 3 years. I have been at Media Works since April of 2010.

Can you describe a day in your life at Media Works? A day at Media Works is never the same. Whenever I am explaining what our job entails I talk about the monthly process. The month begins with negotiating rates and placing buys for the next quarter. In the middle of the month we tend to do billing and client meetings. At the end of the month we are posting and making sure that our clients are receiving what was ordered. Every day is different and walking through the Media Works doors, you never know what you will get any given day.

What’s your all-time favorite ad campaign? What made it special? My all time favorite is “Elf Yourself”. It launched in 2006, and was one of the first interactive advertising campaigns. It allowed consumers to “star” in the marketing message. It is now an annual holiday event, and apart of many consumers holiday traditions. To me this campaign reached one of advertiser’s ultimate goals, make your product or brand so ingrained in tradition that consumers identify you with a tradition.

What advice would you offer to someone looking to get into the advertising industry? My best advice is to be prepared to grow and learn every day. Starting in college, do as many internships as possible. Once you are in the work force, go to as many webinars and training sessions as possible. It is a constant learning process and there is something new to the industry every day.

What’s something that no one knows about you? I am a country girl at heart and being from a small town is the best way to grow up. Even though the commute may be 45 minutes each way, I love going home to the country. There is nothing better than being surrounded by fields and greenery — and cows. You can’t forget the cows, they make it distinctly country.

Cutting the Cord – The Next Big Thing!! (or the End of TV as We Know It)

Do you have a contentious relationship with your cable company?  Has your cable bill doubled in the past ten years?  Are you finding yourself or your family members watching TV over the internet more frequently?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you might be ready to “Cut the Cord!!”  This is a fairly recent phenomenon and signals the biggest change in how media is consumed since the internet began killing the print version of newspaper a decade ago.

Consumers now have alternatives to dealing with their dreaded cable providers – these include Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime.  Nearly 1 million households have “cut their cords” during the last 12 months – and while this represents a fraction of the estimated 100 million cable households in the United States, this is no longer being viewed as an “urban myth” but rather a growing trend.  It is estimated that by 2016 nine million households will eliminate their cable subscriptions entirely.  The number one reason given by consumers for cutting their cord (83%) is that the subscription has gotten too expensive.

Think about the generation that has realized they no longer need a land line and opted to use their mobile devices as their only phone. These are the people who will most likely opt out of the cable universe.  According to Forrester Research 32 million consumers are already getting video over their televisions using Internet devices such as Xbox, Blu-ray players and smart TV’s.

All of this change creates new opportunities for content creators of which there is no shortage of!! The real winners may end up being the technology companies like Google, Apple, Microsoft and Amazon as they have the ability to operate across the divide of selling content as well as designing the devices on which the content is viewed.

I believe the other winner in this game may ultimately be the consumer who will have more choices and by virtue of the marketplace may will pay less for these choices!!  Cord cut away!!

Media Spotlight: Katie Keane, Junior Media Buyer

Katie KeaneEditor’s note: “Media Spotlight” is an ongoing series where we interview the wide range of professionals that make up our growing office. From the traditional media planners to our digital buyers, you’ll gain insight into the many levels that make up Media Works Ltd. This week we interview Junior Media Buyer, Katie Keane

How long have you been working in media/ advertising?

Media Works was my first job in media/advertising right out of college. Hard to believe I started almost 2 years ago! Before Media Works, I interned at three different agencies in the Baltimore area.

Can you describe a day in your life at Media Works?

I know this has been said, but no two days at Media Works are the same – minus the coffee intake, of course. I think that is what makes our jobs so interesting. Some days I can be checking invoices, the next I can be putting buys together or doing research. I have recently taken on new roles, so a lot of my time lately has been learning about the new accounts/markets I am working in.

What’s your all-time favorite ad campaign? What made it special?

I don’t know if I could pick an ‘all-time favorite,’ but I definitely love the Allstate Mayhem commercials. I think it was so creative to give these potential accidents the personality of “Mayhem.” The comic relief definitely helps catch your attention, not to mention the actor is hilarious. I think the only downside is that the viewer may not remember which insurance company is the advertiser; even I had to Google it to write this!

What advice would you offer to someone looking to get into the advertising industry?

My biggest piece of advice would be to do as many internships as possible, and attend as many networking events/fairs that you can find. I did two internships in college and one immediately after graduation. I did not love them all, but they helped me figure out exactly what I was interested and lead me to Media Works.

 

CBS – Time Warner Blackout Update

If you’re a Time Warner Cable customer living in New York, Dallas, Los Angeles, or several other major markets, you probably noticed your channel options for most of this week did not include CBS. The two communications giants have been disputing network fees and the valuation of CBS programming, which has resulted in a blackout of CBS programming in eight different markets. As retaliation, CBS blocked TWC internet users from CBS.com material. In short, if you’re a TWC customer in one of these markets hoping to catch the PGA championship this weekend, you may be out of luck.

This disagreement underscores the larger issue of the increasingly blurry lines between one media entity and another. The way today’s media landscape is controlled is largely a result of isolated chronological events. First there were broadcast TV stations, which established an advertiser-based revenue model. Simple enough.

Then, cable TV boxes came along, which function on both subscriber revenues and advertising dollars. If your home receives cable, your cable box also provides the over-the-air channels that non-cable homes receive for free (which is how TWC is able to cut off CBS from customers).

Finally, in the Internet age, we have even more subscriber-based options – such as Hulu and Netflix – in addition to streaming options, which can have any of these revenue models. In other words, you could be watching an ABC show on Netflix, through your Time Warner Cable internet connection. If you’re not confused yet, try deciding who you think really owns that transaction and who should be given the biggest piece of the pie.

I’m not sure, but apparently neither are CBS or Time Warner. TWC’s proposed solution earlier this week was to offer CBS as an option to customers “a la carte,” which is an interesting idea but to me would only be fair if all stations were offered that way (CBS promptly rejected the offer).

It’s always frustrating when consumers must suffer as a result of disagreements at the corporate level, and it seems a bit juvenile that both companies appear to be showing the other whose boss by slashing the options consumers are paying for (apparently without a deduction in their bills). I hope for the sake of millions of customers that the issue can be resolved soon. If not, there’s always the other 200 channels…