Tagged: San Francisco

BBDO Promotes the Creative Behind Barbie’s Reinvention to CCO in San Francisco

Over the past year-plus, Mattel has brought Barbie into the 21st century with the help of its evp and chief brand officer, Juliana Chugg, and creative agency BBDO San Francisco.

This week, the latter organization promoted Matt Miller, who led the Barbie effort beginning with 2015's "Imagine the Possibilities" campaign, to the role of chief creative officer. Miller is the first person to hold that title in more than 15 years.

"It's a growth story for the agency and for Matt," said BBDO San Francisco president and CEO Jim Lesser, noting that the office's staff has more than doubled over the past two and a half years. "We've been on a great new business run, and this marks how much he has impacted that."

"Matt is a vivacious creative who does brilliant work and inspires other young creatives," said BBDO global chairman and chief creative officer David Lubars, adding, "He will help lead the agency forward."

Since launching the Barbie work, BBDO has become lead agency on all three of Mattel's major brands including Hot Wheels and Fisher Price. Lesser described the expansion, which happened without a review, as "a huge vote of confidence from our clients."

Miller, who built his reputation working on the Allstate "Mayhem" campaign for Leo Burnett Chicago, moved to BBDO's Bay Area office in 2014 to join the Wells Fargo team and subsequently took on lead creative duties for Barbie when Mattel picked BBDO after an unannounced review.

"I have two main goals," Miller told Adweek. "One is to create the most poachable people in the industry, those with the biggest thinking, the deepest books, the best presentation and client-management skills—the leaders. Then I want to create an environment that's so supportive and nurturing that those people never want to leave."

The Barbie campaigns were among the work that led Adweek to name BBDO its U.S. Agency of the Year for 2015.

Article originally appeared on Adweek Advertising & Branding: Link.

It’s Time Marketers Rethink Their Commitment to Content

Eighty-six percent of B-to-C marketers in a recent study say they will be including content marketing in their budgets this year. That makes plenty of sense because it's no secret that as consumer attention scatters across channels, devices, times and places, simply hammering people over the head with paid advertising is becoming harder to do.

Adam Kleinberg

The word "content" means something is more than an ad. Content implies value—perhaps utility, education, empowerment or entertainment. Regardless, content is powerful for brands because a value exchange is at play.

The more value brands put in, the more value they get out—in currencies of attention, intention, loyalty, and ultimately, sales.

Of course, content has very little value if it sucks. In fact, if your content marketing is lousy, it can actually hurt your brand.

Doing content marketing well requires commitment on many levels. The same Content Marketing Institute (CMI) study mentioned above shows that 90 percent of the organizations deemed "most successful" were characterized as "extremely committed" to content marketing. That's compared to 37 percent of such commitment from organizations classified as "least successful."

"We're committed," you might be saying, "We've allocated budget and a team to getting this done."

Good on you. However, there are a number of dimensions of commitment that need to be attained to maintain a content marketing operation that delivers high value for your customers and your brand.

Commitment to Insight
It is trite to say, "quality matters," but what kind of content actually is good content? Too often the output of content marketing programs is a fire hose of crap across every imaginable channel that people don't actually want.

To create something people want, you need to invest time and effort to understand them. Maybe you achieve this through traditional research methods. Maybe with digital tools that mine trends in search or social. If you don't have insight, you're likely to flop.

Traction, the agency I run, creates content for Lenovo for an IT audience buying computers and servers en masse. When we talked to customers, we learned that IT guys loved to tell war stories about the users they serve in their jobs. Content like a music video of IT guys rapping about users helped Lenovo's engagement metrics with content soar by nearly 400 percent over previous benchmarks.

This even holds true if your content is something simple like recipes. You can settle for playing an SEO game, or you can use insight to give people a reason to seek out your recipes over the deluge of others out there competing for the same keywords.

Last Thanksgiving, I went to Weber's website—like I do every year at that time. Google has 154,000 results for the phrase "BBQ turkey," but I go to Weber every year because they understand that I'm not messing around when it comes to my bird. Their recipes tell me the exact number of coals I need to add every hour to cook my bird using the indirect grilling method.

They get my needs, so they get my attention.

Commitment to Patience
One of the overwhelming responses in the CMI study was that only half of respondents felt that they were given enough time by executive leadership to produce content marketing results. This is a symptom of a larger problem where intense pressure for short-term ROI on every marketing dollar has created far too great a focus on "digital" as a direct-response channel.

Banner ads, for example, are better at driving awareness than sales, but are primarily used by marketers for the latter because you can't put a tracking pixel on your customer's brain to measure awareness. "Content" is perceived as "digital," so it must be a revenue-driver too, the thinking goes.

Good CMOs, however, know that long-term brand building creates equity. Good CMOs are also good at helping CEOs understand why they are doing what they are doing. Often, meaningful results take time to deliver. If you're not committed to accepting that fact, you run the risk of driving results that are not meaningful.

Commitment to Working Differently
Agencies are fond of saying that the work would be faster, cheaper and better if it weren't for clients.

This is not because clients are bad people. It's simply because the traditional back-and-forth process of getting ideas developed, presented, refined, re-presented, refined again, approved, produced, tested and then finally launched is time-consuming and expensive. Clients and their partners need to be committed to embracing processes to get great work out the door without noodling it to death.

Mike Trigg, COO at creative collaboration vendor Hightail, hit the nail on the head when he said, "I'm always amazed at marketing organizations that spend thousands of dollars on agencies to produce content and thousands more to distribute that content, yet don't have any system in place to get that content through the creative process efficiently. Without a simple, unified solution for creative review and approval, your content will be weak, your results will be lackluster, and your creative team will get burnt out."

Commitment to Activation
Many marketers have been seduced by this "brands have to be publishers" mentality and choose quantity over quality when it comes to content. As a result their process winds up looking something like: produce, spray, pray, repeat.

If your conversation begins with, "I need a piece of content for ___," you're probably doing it wrong. What does your customer need?

Instead of just creating a flood of assets, do less stuff better and invest more time in thinking through how to activate that content. Just publishing for the sake of publishing isn't enough. What a marketing tragedy it is when a great piece of content fails to make an impact because it wasn't activated thoughtfully!

Don't make that mistake. Less can be more.

Abe Lincoln once wrote, "… your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other one thing." Commitment matters. A lot.

Just make sure you are committed to the right things.

Adam Kleinberg (twitter: @adamkleinberg) is CEO of Traction, a digital agency based in San Francisco. 

Article originally appeared on Adweek Advertising & Branding: Link.

Why CES Is a Key Incubator for Marketing Execs

CES has become the place for companies to showcase new, innovative and promising technology. And with the expo celebrating its 50th anniversary, it's more obvious than ever why the largest consumer electronics show in the world remains a must-attend event for forward-thinking advertisers.

Katie Kulik  Alex Fine

A lot has changed since the first CES in New York, which showcased products from just 14 companies. Last year, it played host to nearly 4,000 exhibitors—with over 170,000 attendees getting a first look at new products and ideas.

As a svp of sales for CBS Interactive, I've worked with the CNET brand for over 18 years. I've watched more and more marketers make the trip to CES each year to understand how tech can help them better connect with consumers and which tech might help burnish their image as trendsetters.   

What can brands expect at the 2017 show, which is set for Jan. 5-8 in Las Vegas? Even more smart home and car tech. People have been talking about the advantages of connected appliances, home automation and tech-enhanced cars for the past few years, with many of the first announcements on autonomous cars and smart washing machines made at CES. 

Now with top-tier companies including Amazon, Apple and Google investing in the future of our homes and cars, we're seeing voice-activation technology becoming the center of innovative platforms that brands can use to reach consumers.

The smart home offers a new level of ad targeting, with tech able to offer more relevant and personalized marketing messages to individual consumers. Imagine, after someone asks Google Home for traffic info before leaving for work, also being offered an opportunity to order coffee from their favorite coffee place for fast mobile pickup along the way. 

Tech is no longer a niche market. It's at the center of almost everything we do each day.

That's why we're starting to see more nonendemic advertisers embrace the smart home. Real estate, insurance and security companies are incorporating smart home ideas into their marketing strategies. Why? Because our homes are getting smarter. But it's early, which means there's an opportunity today to be among the brands that help customers understand how things work and to help them choose the right tech for improving, simplifying and protecting their homes.

Take Coldwell Banker Real Estate. It's educating its sales associates on smart home tech so they can help home buyers and sellers accurately identify smart homes. This is part of the company's Smart Home Education Curriculum, exclusively for its agents. To help its policyholders save money, Travelers Insurance now offers customers with qualifying smart home devices discounts on their renters and homeowners insurance. 

Expect more investment in these kinds of programs and services.

The opportunities aren't limited to big or occasional consumer purchases. Companies in the CPG space can market through the smart kitchen; furniture companies through the smart bedroom; DIY companies through the smart garden; health and wellness companies through the smart gym; and automotive makers through the smart garage. 

Beyond the smart home tech, we're also starting to see a ramp up in discussion around the future of car tech. From electric cars to autonomous and self-driving tech, the auto industry is preparing for the biggest change in motoring since the Model T. Tech is becoming a game changer for Detroit.

About two-thirds of the estimated 90 million new cars to be sold each year will be "connected" and integrated with the internet and devices like our phones by 2020, according to automotive security manufacturer Giesecke & Devrient. More motorists are using their cars as an extension of their home, thanks to savvy technology for communications, navigation and entertainment. All those new systems offer brands the opportunity to extend their reach to consumers. 

This year we'll see more brands like Toyota push the edges of self-driving technology. That's no surprise. But it's important to remember that self-driving tech is about more than convenience for automating wheels and pedals. It also has the potential to cut accident rates, shift your focus from driving to media consumption and improve roadway efficiency.

How can brands use this? Look to Budweiser, one of the world's most powerful brands. It garnered loads of publicity when it teamed up with Uber last month to deliver 50,000 cans of beer using an autonomous truck.

It's no secret the show is a place for brands hunting for the next big thing. There's no one better at making us all (myself included) smarter about what's coming next in tech than CNET's Brian Cooley, who's been covering the industry for years. "Great technology," he says, "has the power to be transparent, intuitive, intimate and constant." 

Technology for the home and on the road offers brands new ways to reach consumers in intriguing new ways. Each year, CES peels back the curtain for advertisers, offering a peek at the future. Be sure to take a look.

Katie Kulik (@katiekulik) is svp of sales at CBS Interactive. She has worked for nearly two decades with CNET, one of the world's largest and most trusted online sources of consumer tech news and reviews. She is based in San Francisco.

Article originally appeared on Adweek Advertising & Branding: Link.

Let’s Make This the Last Year That Digital Didn’t Know How to Handle Election Ads

Political professionals will use the word "watershed" when they talk about 2016 for many reasons.  For those of us in digital advertising, 2016 is the year spending went from a river to a flood.

Chris Nolan

But many of the boats lifted in this rising tide were piloted by inexperienced captains. Their naïveté has created potentially dangerous currents for those of us who respect free speech in political discourse—no matter how critical or sometimes harsh it is.

With a projected $1 billion on the table for online ad buys before elections started, it was clear that campaigns were going to buy a lot more advertising on mobile phones, tablets and computers. And spend they did. It's estimated that Facebook alone took in $300 million in political ad dollars.

There's more on the way. My firm, Spot-On, recently surveyed political campaign managers and ad buyers. Almost 60 percent characterized the digital market as "an emerging channel that I want to understand better". The same number said they had increased their spending this year, some by as much as 25 percent.

But this tsunami of cash has triggered behavior illustrating just how unprepared—and silly—online publishers get when faced with questions about political ads.

Facebook CEO Marc Zuckerberg intervened to stop his employees from labeling Donald Trump's comments as "hate speech," but similar discussions are occurring outside that walled garden. Across the Internet, online publishers are making arbitrary and capricious demands on political advertisers.

Here are just a few examples:

• Tronc's ad/ops techs refused to run an endorsement ad until they were provided with a letter giving a California Assembly candidate permission to use Gov. Jerry Brown's image. That's unusual to say the least. Brown's endorsement is public record.

• Spotify rejected an ad, saying it was a "negative attack ad" because it claimed the candidate's opponent was "just like Donald Trump." More troubling? Spotify didn't make that classification. The designation was made by a programmatic middleman firm's "audit review." A faceless third party characterized the ad before it got to publishers and well before it got to voters.

• Pandora, the Internet "radio" service, insists that all political advertising carry a "Paid for by …" disclaimer. That disclaimer is required by California law, where Pandora is headquartered. It's not required for Congressional or other federal candidates—in California or elsewhere. This problem isn't limited to Pandora—publishers' disclaimer requirements vary wildly and are often not in keeping with the law.

• Almost all local news outlets raised their prices, creating massively inflated "political" rates for direct buyers. To cite two examples: The Denver Post's ad price ballooned to more than two and half times normal (more than The New York Times). McClatchy imposed a 25 percent "premium" on political ads running within 10 days of election day.

Candidates want to be online because that's where voters are spending time. But outlets should not be in the business of picking winners by deciding the quality, nature or tenor of political ads.

With his eye on Facebook's bottom line, Zuckerberg put down a "mini-mutiny" about Donald Trump's comments. He made the right decision. But who's going to tell the ad/ops guy at tronc that Jerry Brown's endorsement is public record? Can we expect the same treatment for a Republican candidate? Who's going to challenge the faceless review process that labeled "Just like Donald Trump" as a negative statement? Clearly Trump's children would disagree and my bet is they use Spotify (or used to…).

As things stand now, it's up to each campaign to argue the law and navigate unchartered waters. Frustration abounds.

There's a solution. Online publishers can imitate cable companies. Cablers are not required to observe the Federal Communications Commission regulations for political ads. But they do. During election season, cable and broadcast have similar pricing structures, standards and review processes. Every political ad maker knows how it works—one reason political money keeps flowing to TV.

The Internet Advertising Bureau or Digital Content Next could easily bring online parties together to set some basic guidelines and standards for political ad review and placement. Here are some ideas to get them started:

• Do away with "attack", "negative" or "positive" classifications across the board. These characterizations are for voters to make.

• Put political review and policy making in the hands of people who understand the laws governing political speech—not brand management or customer service.

• To guide those reviewers, create baseline standards: Is an ad factual? Can the claim be documented? Where? Require that ads with critical claims link to a website providing that evidence.

• Establish a clear pricing structure. TV rates go up at election time because there's more demand and limited supply. That's not always true for online ad inventory, which can be purchased via third parties. Publishers need to account for multiple points of sale when they raise rates and set arbitrary guidelines.

This was a good year to espouse left-center, left-leaning causes, as Spotify, tronc and some Facebook employees clearly have. But political tides ebb and flow. Today's conventional wisdom can be tomorrow's punch line.

That's why it's important for publishers to act now, to anchor sound business practices that are clear, straightforward and, most of all, fair. The year's deluge of online ad dollars is clearly a sign of a robust market—with more to come. But it needs to be channeled and managed, soon, while the floodwaters are receding,  not as the next high tide of money arrives for a sure-to-be contentious 2018 election season.

Chris Nolan, a former journalist, runs Spot-On (@SpotOnPolitics), a cloud-based political agency based in San Francisco. 

Article originally appeared on Adweek Advertising & Branding: Link.