Home Runs & Goals With Sports Campaigns

Football, hockey, basketball, baseball. We watch sports like it is the only thing in the world that matters. From die hard fans, to the occasional channel surfers, sports is at the heart of Americans. Game time brings people together. Marketers are fully immersed in this reality and are finding themselves pushed creatively to present sports fans with new and engaging campaigns constantly, especially at the peak of the sports seasons. With the kick off of baseball season and the Stanley Cup Playoffs, my 2 favorite times of the year, I thought it’d be a good idea to take a closer look at some of the current and most successful marketing and social media tactics being utilized.

MLB-Always Epic

The MLB, in an effort to lure in young fans, under the creative direction of Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos (part of the Interpublic Group) has coined the phrase “Always Epic”, replacing the old theme “Beyond Baseball” for this new round of marketing tactics. The previous campaign was noted for its traditionall use of media and marketing tactics, but this new campaign will tap into social and digital media in the hopes to appeal to the younger crowd.

So why take a sport that prides itself on being an American tradition and change it’s entire image to appeal to younger Americans? Well, this is just my opinion, but when I go to a baseball game (I’m 22 years old) I go with a big group of my friends and we go to kick back a few beers, scarf down some hot dogs, enjoy the sunshine and hang out with our friends. When you look around at a game, a good amount of the fan base is just like me and my friends. Tickets are a decent price for a typical home game and it’s summertime…of course the MLB is going to attract a young crowd looking for something fun to do on a warm summer night. It makes perfect sense for the MLB to change up their target audience for this new campaign.

What does this new campaign have to offer? Well, for starters it is going to take on a whole new look. Where the old spots featured videos of a glimpse into real action games and celebrated the traditions and charm of the long lasting American tradition, the “Always Epic” theme will play off humorous vignettes of today’s most popular players. Fans will also be invited to visit the campaigns microsite ,and tweet your thoughts about the campaign and during the games using with the #MLBAlwaysEpic hashtag.

In an extended attempt to make baseball seem cool and appealing to younger fans, and incorporate social media, the MLB network has created the MLB Fan Cave, which will share the thoughts of fans through twitter @MLBFanCave, an active blog, and through Facebook, video clips, and appearances on the MLB network.

NHL—It’s Stanley Time!

It’s that time of year again where hockey fans alike put on their most intense game face and fully commit to every second of every game. Yes, that’s right. It’s the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The “History Will Be Made” campaign, in collaboration with Young & Rubicam, proved to be highly successful last year, drawing in more than 302 million viewers for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, is back!

The campaign has kicked it up a knotch, as the NHL and NBC Sports Group have joined forces to extend the campaign across tv, print, radio, digital/social media for NBC, NHL and Versus, online, in arena, in store, and mobile platforms. The campaign, back and even better then last year, hopes to drive audience viewership and connect fans with the players on an emotional level. The hope is that this will inspire fans of all ages to post their own versions of the TV generated spots on YouTube and initiate social media conversation.  As an avid hockey fan (GO RED WINGS) I can relate to intense and emotion filled reality of the playoffs.  Like last year, fans will be urged to download the original music composed for the campaign from the NHLs Facebook fan page. Fans can also chose from 63 of the greatest moments in NFL playoff history, matched up head to head in an interactive bracket, and vote for their favorite on the NHLs microsite, History vs. History. ..perhaps first playoff hat trick of Wayne Gretzky’s career?

The first 2 spots, “Mess” and “Wish” already debuted in March and an additional 20 spots launches yesterday with the start of the playoffs.


Sports sure know how to create some great ads.


Tigers LogoWings Logo


Confessions of the Newbie

So in my last post I talked about how I was about to start a new job, in a totally opposite industry from what I was working in before. I’ve been with my new gig for about a week now and WOW has it been quite the experience. From college professors and career fair speakers, I’ve been told time and time again that the advertising industry was a fast one, but now that I’m actually working in it I KNOW it’s fast…like really really fast. I’ve loaded my brain with so much information this past week that I feel like it might pop at any minute. Luckily I’m a great note taker.

I’m all about lending a helping hand to new or soon to be college grads, especially my fellow MSU Spartans, about what it’s like working in the real world after graduation. I know I could have used more advice, especially about how the advertising world works. Although I’ve only been here for a little over a week, I think I already have a pretty good feel for how the whole agency business works and I’d like to share a few tips for those of you out there looking to pursue a brand new job in advertising.

Career Sign

1.  Ask to meet people in the agency. You will meet so many people and you’ll want to remember who is who. Write it all down! From the account and creative teams to print production, you will need to establish a good relationship with them because first of all, they are much higher up on the ladder then you and you are there to work for them as they work to please the client and secondly, like I said you will most likely start out on the bottom of the food chain, so you want to establish relationships with everyone you work with. Learning who does what in your agency and being able to talk with them and learn from them is a great way to gain insight and open the door to an array of opportunities down the road. The ad world is all about who you know.

2. Bring a note pad. Whether you are writing down the names of the people you meet or helpful tid bits about the client or agency you’ve picked up during your first few days, taking notes is absolutely crucial. I have half a note pad already filled with notes. It’s probably a good idea to then type up and organize your notes when you have some free time. This goes with any job.

3. Ask Questions. Be willing to learn! I’ll admit that sometimes I like to think I’m always right so I’ll avoid asking questions to clarify things. When you are starting a new job, any job, but especially in advertising where if you do something wrong it could cause a MAJOR problem, you need to ask questions. Don’t assume you know the answer. I’ve learned in the week I’ve been here that there is a very specific way to carry out each project. If one step is missed it can really mess up the process.

4. If you can’t be organized, advertising is NOT for you! This week I already have 2 huge projects going on at once. I had to catch on fast and be able to keep track of everything at once. This requires some pretty good organizational skills and the ability to multitask. Trust me, when there’s a Friday 6 pm deadline and you are trying to get a project through it’s final stages, the last thing you want to have happen is misplace something or mix up your projects. You need to develop a system that works for you…and fast!

5. Don’t let the stress get to you. I’ve been having a tough time with this one. My life isn’t 9-5 anymore. When you work at an agency with highly active accounts you will be working till 11, 12, 1 am sometimes even. This has been a huge adjustment for me, and I’ve been having some trouble at times getting used to it considering I’m used to a 10 pm bedtime. There are times when everyone around you will be in a state of panic. Just breathe, keep your cool, and do your best to work with the panic. Offer to help and find out everything you can do in order to aid in moving things along smoothly and efficiently.

6.  Learn to love coffee. That’s pretty self explanatory. There’s no time to be tired on the job

7.  Help and ask for help. People in any work environment want you to succeed because in the long run it’s all about the client. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or ask for help if you are in over your head. Some projects will be slower than others so ask if you can help out someone else if you find yourself having some down time.

8.  Have fun. It’s pretty cool to see the ads you see on tv or on billboards take shape. There are a lot of fun things happening around the agencies as well, from theme parties to bar nights after work with your co-workers. When everyone isn’t running around trying to get a project out to print, it’s a cool environment.

Well that’s all for now. Hope this helps all you soon to be grads looking to take on the advertising world.

Building a Home for Hip Hop

So I’m not a huge hip hop fan, but I came across this online video ad. Thanks to the creative efforts of Global Hue, this short video features a classical music conductor, lost in the urban streets of the Big Apple, only to find his way and break out into a crazy hip hop musical masterpiece. Made in honor of of the talented world of hip hop, this ad for the National Museum of Hip Hop definitely does a great job at impacting the viewer with it’s straight forward tag line “Help build a home for the classics of hip hop.” I thought it was a creative approach to online video advertising. What do you think?

Traffic Lights Gone Wild!


Compliments of Web Urbanist, I cam across these awesome photos of some extremely creative and modern traffic light designs. It’s amazing how you can take something so plain and familiar, that we see every single day and probably wouldn’t think of in a creative light, and with a little tweaking and creativity can transform it into something original.   Take a look at these traffic light makeovers.

Traffic Light

Traffic Lights

Traffic Lights

The Future of Advertising: Online Video

The other day I was asked what I thought the most influential emerging technology was for advertisers and marketers.

That was a week ago…I think I finally have an answer

Even though online video isn’t a new technology I think it’s one that has advertisers have just recently begun to tap into more. Video advertising will be at the forefront of the online sector this year. This advertising opportunity will prove to be beneficial to media buyers because it contains less clutter, there’s better consumer targeting technology, and a lower cost of production when compared to television.  Online video advertising will also experience massive growth opportunities this year as the shift from offline to online activities continues as well as the explosive growth in mobile and social platforms and formats.

I can see more advertisers utilizing online video for the following reasons (in a nut shell)

  • mobile video will take off
  • branded entertainment and interactive advertising will continue to expand
  • online video can be shared across social media platforms creating even more buzz and video sharing, there’s the potential to target maximum reach on an enormous scale online
  • video search will improve, new online video destinations (other than YouTube) will become accessible to advertisers
  • media buyers may consider moving big budgets online if the consumer potential is greater (ex: to reach young consumers)
  • YouTube will continue to seek out premium brands and advertisers
  • the web will begin to challenge traditional TV and I can say that because I basically watch all my shows online now for lack of time to watch TV
  • real time biding

I’d like to elaborate a bit on what real time bidding is real quick, because I recently just found out myself…

With the recent advancements in broadband and Flash video capabilities, bringing real time video advertising to consumers is more important now then it’s ever been. It’s all about one simple concept…getting the right ad, in front of the right person, at the right time. This is no longer a game of luck: Will that shoe fanatic be on the web when my shoe store banner ad is running along top of yahoo shopper’s homepage. But rather, it’s a game of strategy and defining a target (regional or internet based), then finding that target (IP data parameters), and placing the ad in front of them.  The targeting parameters create impressions and each ad impression is sold to the highest bidder based on who the individual ad is being served to.  An ad buyer, creates a platform or an ad audience (travel, fashion etc), then they can value each opportunity in that audience to buy an impression, in real time. And there you go ladies and gentleman…Local Advertising.

By defining a targeted audience you get the results you want by bidding your ad in real time. Having that targeted audience allows online video advertisers to get better results by bidding their ad, a better ROI, and overall boots success of the ad.

And there we have it. Online Video Advertising…the online advertising of 2011

Above & Beyond with Guerrilla Marketing

Today I came across an article highlighting Microsoft’s recent guerrilla marketing campaigns, which got me thinking. Besides a short guerrilla marketing campaign I wrote in a Michigan State Junior year copy writing class, I really don’t know much about guerrilla marketing. What makes it good? What makes it bad? Is it really effective? How are advertisers using this technique to promote their brand? And a few more questions came to mind. So of course I pulled up the ever so trusty Google and got to work looking into this off the wall, creative form of advertising.

So what is guerrilla marketing? And no, it doesn’t have anything to do with the furry jungle giant here…

gurilla face

In a nut shell, guerrilla marketing is using unconventional and aggressive tactics to yield maximum results from minimal resources. With today’s strong social media presence as a powerful measuring tool and the decline of traditional forms of advertising, huge opportunities have opened up for guerrilla marketing as it is starting to pop up in the advertising mainstream. Today’s most successful guerrilla campaigns come in the form of viral, out of the ordinary billboards, over the top product promotions, marketers are even taking guerrilla tactics to bus stops. The possibilities are endless…it just depends on how far the advertiser is willing to push the limits for maximal creativity.

Mini Cooper Guerilla Airport Campaign coopswallsmall

But like every advertising effort, there’s the good and the bad

The Good: Guerrilla marketing is authentic, relevant, creative, attention grabbing, and strategic. Guerrilla marketing creates instant buzz, and whether it be good or bad, it still gets people talking about the brand and with today’s strong social media presence people will be doing more than just talking.  People will be tweeting, facebooking, snapping photos, telling their friends about the awesome ad they saw while running errands. Although guerrilla marketing can’t be measured like traditional marketing, it can be measured through social media. All social media conversation about the brand can be easily tracked in real time, making ROI easily measurable, and networking for the brand highly successful.

Guerrilla marketing can also be cheap. A good campaign can strategically, and successfully be carried out with a budget of even a few hundred dollars, and on the viral end it’s free! Doesn’t get much better then free advertising! Guerrilla advertising is also great for small businesses, in fact in was initially developed for just that. It can be tailored to meet specific needs, whereas traditional advertising can get complicated and expensive to achieve exactly what the brand wants. Finally, guerrilla marketing is, in my opinion, the most creative form of advertising. Like I said earlier, the possibilities are endless.

The Bad (dun dun dunnnn…) Guerrilla techniques, like any form of advertising, can be perceived negatively. Something over the top may not be easily accepted by consumers, or worse case scenario legal action could be taken against the campaign. Keeping that in mind, its important to check city laws before carrying out the campaign. Yes, guerrilla marketing can be inexpensive for small businesses, but if you really want to out-do your competition it could require a pretty big budget and the willingness to dedicate time and energy. Another disadvantage to this technique is that unlike online advertising, for example, where you can measure the effectiveness of the ad based of CPP and other measurements, you won’t see the success or failure of your guerrilla campaign overnight…it requires time, and lots of it!

If you want an ad that takes creativity to the extreme and aren’t afraid of pushing your brand’s limits then guerrilla marketing is a technique to consider squeezing into your advertising budget…like i said above, you can spend as little or as much as you want it just depends on how far you’re willing to push the ad.  You’ll receive maximum exposure for your brand, create instant buzz, and get people talking about the awesome ad they just saw. Guerrilla marketing is making its way to the forefront of streamline advertising and for that reason it’s worth tapping into.

Tis the Season

With the Holiday’s right around the corner, advertisers have once again outdone themselves with quirky, comical, and even some down right ridiculous ads, but they all have one thing in common…that “WOW” “What the heck?” and “Where’s my purse I need to go buy that NOW!” factor. The point of advertising, especially during the holiday season, is to spark an interest in your product, get people to remember your brand through creative adverting and most importantly get people off their couches and into the stores purchasing your product RIGHT? Well these ad’s don’t fall short in sparking an interest and definitely aren’t easily forgettable. Here’s just a few of my favorites

HBO TRUE BLOOD-Comical and memorable…a classy spoof on one of today’s most popular TV series

Brand: HBO Videos
Agency: BBDO Worldwide

LG “SOMETHING’S LURCKING”–I think you’ll agree with me that LG just took vacuum commercials to a whole new level…in a good way. This commercial is an amazing combination of animation and suspense, right down to the music. The constant movement of the animation through the danger zone (portrayed as a family room) keeps viewers drawn in for the full :60 seconds. The spot is visually compelling even down to the treatment of what little text the commercial has, warning viewers to “Protect your family, from things that are lurking.”

Brand: LG Home Appliances
Agency: Young & Rubicam New York

TARGET HOLIDAY SERIES–Yes the portrayal  of the nut-job of a holiday housewife, Maria Bamford, may be perceived as a bit “out there” but it’s still grabbing your attention and more importantly keeping it.  I must admit she slightly frightens me, but that’s what’s so great about this campaign. We all have that Maria Bamford in our lives who’s absolutely obsessed with the holiday’s and tends to get even a bit looney during the season. People either really love or really hate the new Target commercials, but either way People are talking about them…great PR for Target



For my MSU Social Media Drivers License class I was tasked with designing a mock online Google Adwords Campaign.

As the largest university-based credit union in the world and the leading banking institution for MSU students, it is important for you, the MSU Federal Credit Union, to utilize the most effective and cost efficient means of advertising to reach your diverse and rapidly growing member base.

Over the past few years there has been a consistent and rapid growth in the use of online advertising, contributing to some of the most successful and well known campaigns to date. With the ability to provide a cost effective, maximum exposure campaign, with a variety of advertising approaches and the ability to target a specific audience, online advertising is an effective approach in reaching the Spartan community.

THE MSUFCU SERVICE: You have been successfully serving the MSU community since 1937, with a membership base of over 153,000 today. From loans to free checking accounts, and credit card options, MSFCU is continuously dedicate to providing quality service to help members make the most of their college experience and beyond.

YOUR TARGET: The majority of your target lies in current MSU students, ages 18-22, followed by incoming freshman and MSU graduates/alumni.  It is important to heavily target the prospective MSU and incoming students, as they have the potential to provide the majority of your yearly growth. The ease and ability to access and monitor their money is a powerful contributing factor in making that final college decision. Targeting recent graduates is important as well. As many look to move away from the East Lansing college scene, they need to be reminded that MSUFCU is there to continue helping them on their journey into the real world. Keeping in mind that much of your target consists of college students, the campaign will be more successful if information is presented in a way that they can relate to by minimizing lengthy jargon.

It is also important to realize the potential disadvantage you could face: A percent of students coming into MSU have banking accounts back at home with branches available to them in the East Lansing area. Although you are the number one bank in East Lansing, you are still competing against those banks with a loyal follower base of students who intend to keep the same banking institution as they had back home. Your online campaign will need to stand out and draw in this percent of incoming students by showing them how MSUFCU is the better, more convenient choice for them.

YOUR CAMPAIGN APPROACH: Google Adwords is an online approach that could greatly bnefit your online presence as it would increase traffic to your website, therefore increasing traffic to your site and resulting in increased membership.

Google Adwords is a Google marketing tool that marketers and advertisers utilie to launch their product or service intot he online public sphere.  Google Adwords is pay per click based meaning you only pay when a customer visits your website, making the tool cost efficient. Adwords has the ability to deliver the most relevant content for your brand in minimum time and will even reward you for the most relevant ad for any search term.

YOUR KEYWORDS: The following keywords were chosen for MSUFCU’s Online Adword Campaign based on results from the Google Search-based Keywords Tool and Google Insights. Selection was based on the best and most searched keywords to match your industry.

1. Student Bank Accounts  2. Best student bank account  3. MSUFCU Login  4. MSUFCU  5. Federal Credit Union in       Michigan


Target: Current MSU Students

1. MSUFCU…helping you live like a Spartan

2. Combining your Spartan spirit and all your banking needs. Go Green. Go White. Go MSUFCU

Target: Potential MSU Students

1. Your Spartan journey begins with the MSU Credit Union. Learn more now!

2. Choosing MSU was a no brainer. Choosing a student bank should be too. Join MSUFCU today. The Choice is simple

Target: MSU Alumni

1. A Spratan for life. MSUFCU for life. Discover our Alumni options

2. From eager freshman to Corporate VP, MSUFCU is with you all the way.


Your Google Adwords campaign will be easy to manage and track results. You will be provided with a user friendly marketing management system that measures based on number of visits, cost per visitor, and cost per campaign. Finally, traditional advertising can take week to get a campaign up and running, but with Google Adwords your campaign is produced and running in under an hour. Google Adwords will not only direct people immediately to your site, but will also put out ads on the side of the Google search engine results to direct people to their specific need of your service. Keeping all the benefits of Adwords in mind, it would be extremely beneficial for you to utilie this wonderful tool and reap the benefits of the results.

Google Tools: Dominating Online Advertising

Google has done it again! At the forefront of social media and marketing, Google launched its Google for Advertisers site.  This addition to the search engine giant is all about providing information for advertisers. The site is broken down into basically 4 main platforms.

1. The ability to read up on various media platforms such as search, TV, content network, or mobile. This teaches advertisers how to reach their target in the most relevant and effective way through different devices.

2. The Marketing Cycle shows advertisers how to combine strategy, creative, media and optimization to deliver a strong campaign

3. Marketing Objective platform brings together all the different Google tools to solve your marketing goal

4. The Personal Toolkit allows you to add all the interesting Google tools you stumble upon and add them to a “toolkit” that you can share with others and use as you build your campaign.

I spent a lot of time checking out the Creative tools available through the site. One of the tools available is called the Double Click Studio which gives you all the Flash based tools you need to build appealing media ads and manage campaign workflow. Double click is packed with a wide range of formating, features, and cutting edge video capability, saving you time while creating big ideas. This week’s featured creative is by Sony Pictures.

I also spent some time browsing around the Insights section since I had never heard of this before it especially grabbed my interest. Insights is all about learning how to use web search trends to receive feedback from customers and keep track of competition.  Insights for Search is one tool I played around with for a bit. With all the recent news surrounding Lebron James, I decided to put Insights for Search to the test with LeBron James as my keyword. I was shocked to find that on a regional interest level the Phillippines held the top spot, and US follwed in third. His name was most searches obviously in the sports and entertainment categoy. The most searched term in this category, shown on a graph and at their highest peaks to date, were “Lebron James NBA” and over the past few weeks the worldwide top rising searches were “LeBron James picks Miami” followed by simply “LeBron James.”

I also read up on some of the Media tools available that help create web content in order to reach the right people at exaclty the right time. Included in the media tools are Google Product Search which helps drive internet traffic to your site, gadgets capabilities to create interactive based social content and the ability to create customized google maps.

Finally, I took a quick look at Optimization, a series of tools to help the advertiser focus on the user and generate geater profits. From Google Analytics, to YouTube Insight, the Optimization panal offers all the tools needed to create the most effective campaign strategy.

Overall, Google for Advertisers is an excellent marketing resource equip with a wide variety of tools for marketers to create, execute, and maintain the best possible internet campaign possible. For the marketer seeking to take a deeper look into how internet users operate and search through google, this site proves to be invaluable and rich with opportunities and benefits

. Google for Advertisers

Image by Jessica Wernette’s Snapshot

Spartans Will…Sharing the Stories of True Spartans

MSU Spartans…who are we? We are a Final Four basketball team,  a world renound study abroad progam, we are East Lansing, we are the block S, the GO GREEN, GO WHITE, an original Agricultural College, a party school, a place of higher education and success. There is not just one answer to who we, MSU Spartans, are and this presented a problem for MSU’s branding.  University officials, upon realizing that MSU didn’t have a consistant image saw this lack of a unifying identity as a threat to students. This has led to a year long in planning campaign, with a budget of $478,000 to create a national campaign to create a positive image for MSU with a consistant branding approach focusing on the stories of the 500,000 strong Spartans around the world and their contributions to society. The Spartans Will campaign will bring together all students, alumni, and faculty to portray the Spartan community as a collection of people who go above and beyond to benefit the community and share their successes with the world each and every day.  The goal of the New York Times worthy campaign, under the direction of 160 Over 90, will take the University’s Spartan pride and use it as an entry point to what the school is accomplishing  on and off campus. It shows the Spartans as a brand that creates solutions to the world’s problems through utilizing the vast capabilities, knowledge, and opportunities one can benefit from by being a Spartan.

The campaign incorporates print, which is currently seen in Chicago O’Hare International Airport, Time Magazine, and Newsweek, TV spots featuring famous Spartans such as James Cameron, online banner and video ads, and a microsite called the Spartan Sagas (see 160 Over 90 Ads Here).  Spartan Sagas encourages MSU alumni to nominate themselves or others to share their stories of success that is rooted in their MSU education.  The videos, some of which are even produced by Michigan State, will launch this month.

As the 8th largest higher education campus in the US, it is important for the public to see how MSU isn’t just about the outstanding athletics or partying which are mainly the only aspects that make the news. This campaign is a great way to create a MSU brand showing that Spartans make significant contributions to society and have a remarkable impact on problems all around the world.

I think this campaign is indeed a great way to unify the Spartan community. From experience, when I tell people I graduated from MSU the first thing they associate the university with is the basketball or football teams, or the cedar fest incident a few years ago. I think it is important for the public to look beyond the surface and see deeper into what MSU is all about, which is rooted in the education we receive from this outstanding university and how we use our MSU education beyond our 4 years in East Lansing and use that to benefit the world around us. This campaign does just that.

We are Spartans and Spartans Will.

I tweeted the Spartans Will Campaign site to MSU’s Twitter page and they RT-ed my tweet for everyone to see so I thought that was pretty cool!!! The power of Twitter!

Spartans Wil Poster Image by NY Times