Stand Up and Stand Out: A Lesson from SXSW

In March, M/C/C sent a team of five to SXSW Interactive. We showed up in Austin, Texas on Friday afternoon wide-eyed with anticipation. From the moment we hit traffic, we could sense what was in store. As we inched along the highway, we pointed out a giant buffalo, tents packed into every corner, people walking around with totes we just had to find.

We made our way through registration, countless sessions and a plethora of brand activations. It was a four-day-whirlwind, filled to the brim with as much as we could possibly experience.

woman holding TV remote control with brain on blue background Continue reading “Stand Up and Stand Out: A Lesson from SXSW” »

Reaching Millennials on YouTube

YouTube is addictive. It’s a magical place where you can watch endless hours of games, cats, pranks, vlogs or whatever else tickles your fancy. Millions of people view videos on YouTube every day, so it’s no surprise it has become one of millennials’ main sources for entertainment and information. Google research shows that YouTube reaches more 18-34 and 18-49 year-olds than any cable network in the U.S.


Continue reading “Reaching Millennials on YouTube” »

Holiday Marketing is at a Fever Pitch but What’s Next?

Keeping the momentum with post-holiday marketing programs

Businesses, particularly retailers, have been planning for this holiday season since the last one ended – and with good reason. According to the National Retail Federation, the holiday season can represent as much as 30 percent of annual sales. We’re in the peak season for holiday marketing fueled by long hours, endless cups of coffee and a thousand moving parts from the best-laid plans.

Businesses are working furiously to get their piece of the holiday spending pie but what happens when that spending frenzy dies down? How can retailers and business-to-business (B2B) companies continue the momentum?

Holiday Marketing

For retailers, there are some fundamental and proven strategies for extending revenue opportunities on the heels of the holidays.

Continue reading “Holiday Marketing is at a Fever Pitch but What’s Next?” »

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Election Day


Now that November 8 has passed, and one of recent history’s ugliest campaign seasons is behind us, we can all let out a “yuge” sigh of relief. That’s what we all wanted, right? No more politics in our daily lives?

Wrong. As much as we all bellyache about the campaign cycle, political ads and robocalls, we apparently can’t get enough. Voter turnout for both parties was higher than ever. Television ratings for the presidential debates broke records left and right. And political contributions continue their upward trajectory. Politics is the American tradition that we all hate to love.

Even the advertising industry was not immune to the political bug this year. Normally, we and the brands we serve try to steer clear of politics at all costs. We’re supposed to put brands in their best light without risk of alienating consumers on any side. After all, it’s a tricky thing to tiptoe through the mud slinging and come out clean, which is why most marketers attach themselves to less divisive current events or just connect more broadly to a political look and feel.

Continue reading “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Election Day” »

Maintaining Marketing Focus in an ADD Environment

Choices, choices, choices. We’re all bombarded everyday with an ever-growing number of choices for how we spend our time and attention. It seems as if every second of every day is occupied with a thousand different things. Evidently, it’s even hard to stay focused on ordering something as simple as a sandwich – earlier this week at Subway, I saw a sign posted asking customers to “refrain from using your cell phone while ordering.” I only saw it after I looked up from my phone. In my mind, it’s neither good nor bad – it’s just the world we live in, where the new norm is to have our attention on 10 things at once.

business plan on wall

As marketers, the challenge is the same. The choices about how we spend our professional time are highly fragmented in a hyper world. We’re bombarded with data and marketing intelligence at every turn, we’re evaluating new and existing market platforms, media outlets and tools, and we’re studying our audiences and their sub-segments and sub-sub-segments. It can be overwhelming at times, and it can dilute our focus.

Continue reading “Maintaining Marketing Focus in an ADD Environment” »

Advertisers, Let’s Mobilize!

I love my phone. I take it everywhere with me: meetings, the grocery store, the bathroom, everywhere! For many, our phones are part of our identities – so much so that we spend an average of 4.7 hours a day on them, according to Informate Mobile Intelligence. This might sound alarming to some (like my mother), but to marketers this should sound more like an opportunity to reach millions of people at just about any moment in their lives.

Mobile ad spends are expected to exceed $101 billion and make up half of digital ad spends in 2016, according to eMarketer. That means if you aren’t in the mobile game, your competitor probably is. And if you’re not top of mind, you’re not top of wallet. So where do you start?

Get to know the basics with a quick overview of the top mobile advertising opportunities:

Mobile applications concept Continue reading “Advertisers, Let’s Mobilize!” »

Getting the Most from Your Media Relationships

When I say I work in advertising, people always ask where they have seen my work and what products I advertise; but when I mention I work in media, their enthusiasm fades and their eyes glaze over. Media buying is a misunderstood occupation that requires personal relationships as well as negotiations to ensure success for your clients.

Negotiation Negotiation is an art with the top prize culminating in the greatest benefits for your clients. In the fifth season of “Mad Men,” Roger Sterling said, “The only thing worse than not getting what you want is someone else getting it.” How you achieve these goals for your clients is a spirited contest played by those in media. Here are some key insights which will lead you down the path to success.
Continue reading “Getting the Most from Your Media Relationships” »

Pay No Attention to That man Behind the Curtain! Uncovering the Mysteries of Programmatic Advertising

The digital media world is ever-evolving; and Yellow Brick Road sometimes we as marketers feel like we’re clamoring to keep up with the latest tools and technologies. The current discussions around programmatic media and theories about how it will alter the media landscape are hot topics. We’re on an epic journey down the yellow brick road, but what’s behind that great green curtain of Oz (or in this case, programmatic media)?

In a recent study by eConsultancy, 62 percent of marketers are using programmatic buying for brand objectives with an expectation to increase over the next two years. It seems that programmatic is quickly becoming the norm for digital media buying in display, mobile, video and sometimes TV.

Arming ourselves with the Lion’s courage, the Tin Man’s heart and the Scarecrow’s brain Continue reading “Pay No Attention to That man Behind the Curtain! Uncovering the Mysteries of Programmatic Advertising” »

Crime, Corruption and Advertisers: How Big Brands Got Roped Into the FIFA Scandal

There are those that hate soccer; and there those that hate the term “soccer” because it’s referred to as “football” in every country except America. If you fall in the latter category, you probably love The Beautiful Game on a level few locals can comprehend. Drogba, Messi and Ronaldo are household names. And if you’re not familiar with those legends, don’t worry. This isn’t an article about soccer. I promise. You gave up the sport in second grade after taking a corner kick to the face, and I want to respect that.

This is about FIFA — an organization so blatantly corrupt that one executive was using kickbacks (pun intended) to house his ornery cats in a $6,000-per-month Trump Tower suite. It’s about an organization so powerful that it has countries fighting over the right to host a global event that spirals the lucky winner’s economy into cataclysmic turmoil. It’s about an organization so dominant that media partners and global advertisers routinely overlooked the corruption and human rights violations  surrounding the world’s biggest, single sporting event. It’s about an organization’s 20-plus years of thousand-dollar handshakes, bribery and embezzlement finally coming to a head, courtesy of the one country that doesn’t care enough about soccer to call it “football.”

Whatever side of the pitch (or soccer field for you bloody Americans) you stand on, you can’t deny the great theater being played out on the global stage. The U.S. Justice Department recently laid the hammer down on FIFA executives while several were holed up in a five-star Swiss hotel (fitting). This move left those not publicly targeted, such as FIFA’s then-President Sepp Blatter, looking over their shoulders. It also left every one of FIFA’s sponsors extremely vulnerable. For this instance, let’s focus on those FIFA Partners.

Caught in the crossfire were some of the world’s top brands: Adidas, Budweiser, Coca-Cola, Hyundai, McDonald’s and Visa. They remained quiet. They assessed. They made vague statements. Carefully worded phrases like, “We are deeply concerned,” and, “We continue to closely monitor the situation,” accompanied the headlines. Public Relations 101.

Look, I get it. You can’t just stand up and say, “You know, we want to see which way the wind blows before we make up our minds on where to stand on this issue.” But this is FIFA, the slumlord of the sports world. What about Common Sense 101? Here was your chance to be a hero. This was your moment to say to the public, “We do not agree with and demand reform from an organization that has been tied to human rights violations and bribery in Qatar.” Never has there been a better opportunity to scorch the earth. Sponsors are among the handful that can actually hold organizations accountable, and the closest we got was Visa saying:

“We expect FIFA to take swift and immediate steps to address these issues within its organization” and “should FIFA fail to do so, we have informed them that we will reassess our sponsorship.”

While it was welcomed, it wasn’t enough. The Internet vigilantes wanted justice.

Shortly thereafter, a slew of creative artists called out FIFA sponsors with reimagined logos and taglines. Each interpretation depicted the company’s public identity with slavery overtones, shining a light onto the migrant labor deaths caused by building World Cup infrastructure for the 2022 event previously awarded to Qatar. Each image was a small stain on your corporate shirt that kept getting louder and louder with every viral share.

Continue reading “Crime, Corruption and Advertisers: How Big Brands Got Roped Into the FIFA Scandal” »

‘Mad Men’ Finale Eulogizes Golden Age of Advertising

Television GraveyardWhen I talk to creatives at other agencies or watch Super Bowl ads each year or read industry news, I can’t help but admit a very difficult truth. In many respects, the advertising industry is in a sorry state right now. In our rush to generate the most opens for emails, the most clicks on websites or the most likes on social media, the era of “the big idea” is perilously close to taking a dirt nap. The forever kind. And that’s not good for business.

Continue reading “‘Mad Men’ Finale Eulogizes Golden Age of Advertising” »