Blog >> Branding

Darcy Grabenstein Nov 29

Don’t Overlook the Importance of Brand Building

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At this time of year, consumers have visions of gifts being exchanged, and retailers have visions of record sales. While Q4 is key for retail and other industry segments, businesses that focus solely on moving product do so at their own risk.

In fact, branding may be even more crucial at holiday time to distinguish yourself from the competition. So what exactly is branding? It’s more than slapping a logo and tagline on your ads, products and packaging and calling it a day.

Some of the most effective seasonal branding campaigns could actually be construed as promoting the spirit of the holiday over the commercial aspect. Here’s a partial list of stores closed on Thanksgiving. Instead of cashing in early on Black Friday sales, these companies show that they value their employees. This can go a long way in winning over customers.

  • A.C. Moore
  • American Girl
  • Barnes & Noble
  • Bed Bath & Beyond (Select Locations)
  • BJ’s Wholesale Club
  • Burlington
  • Cabela’s
  • Christmas Tree Shops (Select Locations)
  • Costco
  • Crate and Barrel
  • Dillard’s
  • DSW Designer Shoe Warehouse
  • Gamestop
  • Guitar Center
  • HHGregg
  • HomeGoods
  • IKEA
  • Jo-Ann Fabrics
  • Lowe’s
  • Marshalls
  • Neiman Marcus
  • Nordstrom / Nordstrom Rack
  • Office Max / Office Depot
  • Patagonia
  • Petco
  • PetSmart
  • Pier 1 Imports
  • Raymour & Flanigan
  • REI
  • Sam’s Club
  • The Container Store
  • T.J. Maxx

Brands that reflect the spirit of the season with cause-related campaigns are definitely on the right track. Burlington Stores’ annual Warm Coats & Warm Hearts drive is a perfect example. Not only does it directly tie to its products, it encourages customer participation.

 Burlington Warm Coats & Warm Hearts

However, even the best-laid branding plans can backfire. Last year, Starbucks introduced a plain red holiday cup instead of its traditional Christmas cups and came under attack from many customers. This year, its festive red cups are making a comeback.

Starbucks holiday cups

A Starbucks news release reinforces the brand’s seasonal tradition: “Since 1997, Starbucks has welcomed the holidays with a special red cup that celebrates the spirit of the season.”

Think about it. The commercial side of Christmas itself has excellent branding. There’s Santa Claus, a charismatic spokesperson; the use of red, an exciting color; interactive elements (writing letters to St. Nick, exchanging presents); and brand symbolism in the form of the Christmas tree.

And to all those non-believers in branding during the holidays, I say: Bah, humbug!

Darcy Grabenstein is senior copywriter at Annodyne.

Michelle DeVirgiliis Oct 31

How to Transform Alumni into Brand Evangelists

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Call it what you want — brand advocate, brand ambassador, brand evangelist — this is an individual who enthusiastically supports (and promotes) an organization and its products/services. At Annodyne, we prefer the term “brand evangelist” because it describes someone who has complete faith in your offerings.

When it comes to your Executive MBA program, what audience segment is likely to be your best brand evangelists? Your alumni. They have already gone through your application/admissions process, experienced your curriculum firsthand and hopefully are on to bigger and better things in their careers.

Marketing guru Guy Kawasaki is credited with coining the concept “brand evangelism.” He not only talks the talk, he walks the walk. Kawasaki was one of the Apple employees originally responsible for marketing its Macintosh computer line back in ’84. He currently is brand evangelist for Canva.

Kawasaki maintains that the key to brand evangelism is a great product. He has come up with the acronym DICEE to illustrate what constitutes a great product:



  • • A great product is Deep. That is, it does not run out of features after a few weeks of use. In the EMBA world, this could mean offering your alumni executive education courses to keep on top of industry trends or holding networking/reunion events to maintain connections beyond graduation.
  • • A great product is Indulgent. With the price tag of most EMBA programs, this is a given. Keep in mind that you don’t want to be the cheapest option available. However, you must provide value (think ROI) to your cohorts.
  • • A great product is Complete. The total user experience should be exceptional. If you have the greatest EMBA program around but a lousy admissions process, for example, you miss the mark.
  • • A great product has an Elegant user interface. Think about it. Are your faculty members accessible? Is the post-enrollment process (course selection, housing, transportation, etc.) a seamless one?
  • • A great product is Emotive. It is so awesome that consumers (i.e., students & alumni) can’t wait to tell others about it.

Let’s assume your EMBA program is a great product. How do you encourage your alumni to become brand evangelists? You can pray that they’ll see the light, or you can take active steps to foster their relationship with your brand:

  • • Segment your marketing strategy to target the alumni audience.
  • • Connect with and friend alumni on social networking sites.
  • • Invite them to share their enthusiasm in info sessions and class previews.
  • • Create a closed alumni/student group on LinkedIn and encourage alumni to acts as mentors.
  • • Better yet, set up your own private networking site (ask us how) where alumni can seek answers to work challenges, post job openings, announce & bid on RFPs and more.
  • • Interview your alumni to create case studies that can be used to market your program.
  • • Curate/create content alumni would be proud to share, comment on or like.

We can’t stress enough the importance of social media. In terms of alumni giving, donations have dropped at schools nationwide in recent years. However, Philadelphia’s Drexel University is bucking that trend, thanks to a social media engagement campaign. David Unruh, senior vice president of Institutional Advancement at Drexel, says in the Philadelphia Business Journal that seeking large donations wasn’t the main goal of the campaign. “[The campaign events] are not intended to generate large dollar amounts… they’re really designed to engage the broader Drexel community.”

We’ll take it a step further. Don’t just milk your alumni for donations. Milk them for prospects.

It’s all about social proof or social influence. Include alumni testimonials on your website and in your marketing materials. Alumni videos can be repurposed; include them on your website, your social networking sites and in online ads. Third-party “endorsements” — such as testimonials, rankings and news placements — are extremely effective in forming a positive impression of your program among prospective students.

To recap, create a great product. Maintain your connection with alumni. When you do, they’ll become  believers, brand evangelists who will help you convert your prospects into students. Amen.

Want to explore how to engage and connect with your alumni in a secure, private online environment? Learn about Ziel, Annodyne’s proprietary audience engagement portal.

Michelle DeVirgiliis is an account manager at Annodyne.


Darcy Grabenstein May 9

Marketing: A Matter of Perspective and Perception

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With the nation obsessed over the presidential election, many local candidates and races may not be getting the attention they deserve. In some cases, however, the opposite is occurring: More voters are turning out at the polls and, consequently, voting in local elections.

So how do local candidates grab the attention of voters? On a recent trip to Florida, I noticed that one candidate for sheriff did it very simply: by changing the perspective. My husband, who’s not in advertising, also noticed this, thus reinforcing the marketing theory I was forming in my head.

Take a look at the campaign sign below. It’s your typical square sign — turned on its side to form a diamond. (Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the candidate’s last name, Jett, lends itself to a visual icon.)

Campaign sign

The point is that this didn’t cost the candidate any more than a traditional square sign. But rotating the sign could mean the difference between capturing attention — and votes. The diamond-shaped sign stood out from the sea of square signs dotting both sides of the street.

Here’s where perspective and perception intersect. This diamond-shaped sign also may impart a subliminal message as well. Voters may see this as a reflection on the candidate himself, suggesting that he is non-traditional (which may not necessarily be a good thing in Florida’s Bible Belt) and willing to look at issues from a new perspective.

At the risk of jumping into the political fray, let’s go back to the presidential election for a moment. It just dawned on me that the campaign logos of the Democratic candidates focus on their first names, Hillary and Bernie, whereas the campaign logos for the Republican candidate focus on his last name, Trump. (So did those of the former Republican candidates: Cruz, Kasich, Bush.)  Candidates who truly want to connect with the people should probably take the more familiar approach. Politics. Perspective. Perception. Polls. President.

Changing the perspective works wonders for catching the eye — and ear — of your audience:

  • A speaker who really wants to make a point will whisper, not shout, to do so.
  • Printing your business card vertically instead of horizontally can differentiate you from the competition.
  • Sending a text-only promotional email will distinguish it from the glut of HTML emails cluttering the inbox.
  • A handwritten thank-you note, sent via traditional mail, is likely to be remembered.
  • Positioning a product upside-down on a billboard will turn heads.

So, the next time you’re looking for a unique way to market your brand, product or service, think of the diamond-shaped sign. You might just come up with a gem of an idea.

 Darcy Grabenstein is senior copywriter at Annodyne.



Darcy Grabenstein Apr 12

Empathy Key to Successful Healthcare Outcomes — and Successful Advertising

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Holding handsAs someone who has dealt with health issues for both my parents, who are now deceased, I can attest to the import-ance of empathy in healthcare settings. However, because
my personal experience with health issues is, fortunately, rather limited I cannot understand exactly what others are experiencing when they face their own mortality.

This is the premise behind the Cleveland Clinic’s focus on empathy. To get an idea of how the Cleveland Clinic makes patient empathy a priority, check out its empathy video series on YouTube. The underlying theory is that, beyond medical intervention, the human connection is what makes a difference.

Empathy is more than just a buzzword at Cleveland Clinic. Empathy is part of the employee culture, as evidenced in this video.

The Cleveland Clinic shares its focus on empathy with other professionals in its annual Patient Experience: Empathy & Innovation Summit. This year marks the summit’s seventh year. More than 2,100 people attended the 2015 Patient Experience Summit, from 45 states and 37 countries, representing hundreds of hospitals, healthcare systems and businesses from around the world.

There’s something to be said for a doctor’s “bedside manner.” Studies have revealed that physician empathy is linked to improved patient outcomes. Nurses’ empathy has been shown to affect distress levels in patients.

Paul Rosen, clinical director of service and operational excellence at Nemours, delivers a compelling TEDx Talk on The next revolution in healthcare? Empathy. “My loved one,” he said, “does not feel he’s being treated like a human being. Something is broken.”

It should be no surprise, then, that empathy is equally important in healthcare marketing. Empathy is a powerful emotion, one that helps brands connect with their audiences. Whether you’re advertising a hospital and its renowned doctors, a cutting-edge pharmaceutical drug to relieve pain or say, a home for first-time homebuyers, empathy goes a long way in conveying your message.

So how do you express empathy in healthcare promotions if you haven’t had the same experiences as patients? It’s all about storytelling. Let the patients and caregivers tell their stories. Note that patients’ stories are not necessarily the same as testimonials. Patients’ stories give a glimpse into their lives and their outcomes. In short, storytelling should be about the end consumer, not about the organization or product you’re promoting.

Empathy can have an impact across audiences. Empathy addresses a patient’s or loved one’s pain points (and we’re not only talking physical pain). For a parent, it could be how to protect a child. For a spouse, it could be advocating for one’s partner. For an individual, it could be the fear of the unknown.

Empathy in healthcare advertising not only recognizes these pain points, it validates, addresses and never dismisses them. Empathy begins with really listening to patients, understanding their concerns, discovering how to allay those concerns and then communicating this in a caring way.

Approach all communications from the patient perspective. It’s a tall prescription to fill, but it’s just what the doctor ordered.

Darcy Grabenstein is senior copywriter at Annodyne.




Diana Altobelli Oct 22

Nonprofit Strategies for Cause-Related Marketing

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“Not counting some kinds of skin cancer, breast cancer in the United States is the most common cancer in women, no matter your race or ethnicity.”

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

‘Tis the season of charitable giving. Well, almost…. Thanksgiving is less than two months away and what that means is Black Friday shopping, aka holiday season. However, let’s pause to celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It’s time to think pink! With that being said, here are some valuable marketing lessons you can learn from nonprofits.

Nonprofit organizations understand that deployment of marketing strategies costs time and energy. They must curate the right message, get it in front of their audience and build a loyal fan base. Most important, the goal is to actually obtain donations from doing so.

Encouraging customers to spread the word by either personal experiences or opinions can cause people to engage and connect with the brand. One of the most powerful ways to do so is the use of social media. This allows those who may have been affected by, say, breast cancer or ALS  to resonate with the content being displayed. By encouraging those brand ambassadors to share, the brand creates free marketing online. The use of the “ice bucket challenge” created a social media phenomenon that generated quite the stir, both virally and financially.

It is great to show support for breast cancer awareness through pink hair ties, pink clothing, perhaps eating a pink doughnut, the NFL wearing pink gloves, laces, etc. In most cases this is simply a show of support, although it also creates brand awareness. This puts the brand in the forefront of the public’s mind in hopes that individuals might be slightly more charitable toward the organization. The question is, how far do your marketing efforts go in terms of being pink-spirited?

When it comes to nonprofits, cause-related marketing is imperative for success. When used appropriately, it can generate awareness, raise funds and establish meaningful connections with the “customer.”

As I mentioned before, nonprofits struggle to come up with the time and investment for marketing. Tapping into the power of social can be a great asset. Everyone wants to be part of the “in” crowd when it comes to social media. I have seen personally with the holidays in the Philly area how everyone visits Longwood Gardens or Peddler’s Village for their holiday festivities. It has almost become a must-do on people’s holiday checklists for fear they will miss out on something.

You’ll want to employ a message that is easily aligned with thousands of others, giving them a reason and a voice when it comes to your cause. Creating an authentic message that enforces your core values through the use of others and their experiences is a win-win on social media.

Nonprofits can learn a thing or two from their for-profit counterparts. Many purchases are referral based. I see this every day with what hair products you’re using, what skincare regimen you’ve implemented, what movie you saw. A high proportion of these “sales” are based on personal accounts, or storytelling. The power of stories can emphasize your cause tenfold, whether it be a weight-loss product or a supplement for early onset diabetes. These stories sell. They make you believe. Make storytelling a central part of your marketing efforts. Testimonials, case studies and videos are powerful marketing tools.

One last tactic you can employ when trying to make some brand noise is to partner with well-known brands and influencers. This benefits the partner as well, creating numerous public relations opportunities. For example, on the first Sunday in October NFL players wore pink accents in support of breast cancer awareness. However, it is debatable as to the percentages of how admirable the NFL actually is when it comes to this cause.

Commitment, storytelling, partnerships, social media and creating highly shareable content can help a nonprofit generate loyalty, excitement and funds worldwide.

Diana Altobelli is search marketing specialist at Annodyne.

Diana Altobelli Jul 8

Are You Serious About YouTube Advertising? Here Is Why You Should Be.

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YouTube has made its way into all of our lives. Whether you are trying to find a “how to” video on home improvement, learn from some of the best makeup artists or follow comedians, the list goes on. It is the second largest search engine and processes more than 3 billion searches a month. Every minute, 100 hours of video are uploaded! Discover more in this YouTube infographic from Mushroom Networks.

So from an end-user perspective, it is a great thing. When it comes to video marketing, YouTube can be an awesome deal with many different options to hit your target audience. The video views can be dirt cheap compared to Google AdWords, Facebook and other search engines out there. More and more videos are being viewed on social media daily; you can see Facebook is trying to make waves with its video advertising and now 10-second promotional ads.

So why should you be advertising on YouTube, you ask? It’s simple. Billions of unique users flock each month to YouTube for anything and everything. The end user is there. There is no doubt in my mind you can find your target audience among those who view the 100 hours of video uploaded every minute on the platform.

What are your options? You have a few when it comes to YouTube advertising. And you can choose them when setting it up in Google AdWords.  You have the option to run display ads. These ads appear on the right of the featured video and above the suggested video list. These can be viewed on desktops. See the examples below. Can you tell I’ve been car shopping? Just drove home my 2016 Mazda 6 off the lot last night.

youtube display ad


Next you have the overlay ad. This is a semi-transparent ad that appears on 20 percent of the lower portion of the video being streamed.

overlay text ad


The most visible is the skippable video ad. This advertisement allows viewers to skip the ad after 5 seconds if they choose. This is played full screen before the selected video of choice during search.

That’s not all. The targeting options are terrific. Creepily terrific. Being in the online marketing realm since 2011 (mainly SEO, SEM and social), I still find it amazing the way we can target the end user. Some of the available targeting options available are:







Device targeting


If you’re new to YouTube, I suggest testing one option at a time. For example, overlay a text ad just to get your feet wet. If you are very familiar with Google AdWords, the transition will likely be easier. With all these options for video advertising online today, YouTube is a serious contender and will improve performance and brand awareness.

Diana Altobelli is a search marketing specialist at Annodyne.

Darcy Grabenstein Feb 25

Bravo! State Farm PR Does It Again

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Let’s make one thing clear from the get-go: State Farm is not an Annodyne client (although we’d be more than happy to send a proposal). It is, however, quite adept in the public relations department (see my first post on State Farm).

This was evident in my visit to the Philadelphia Auto Show earlier this month. While most exhibitors were focused on showing off their shiny new vehicles, State Farm gave us a lesson in PR 101, focusing on teen driving safety and on interacting with the public. Its signage, in that trademark red and white, reinforced brand recognition.

State Farm Garage at Philadelphia Auto Show

The insurance company’s “State Farm Garage” area, with its teen driving simulator, was a big hit with both parents and teens. Teen drivers (and wannabes) lined up to try out the driving simulator. For their efforts, they were rewarded with a State Farm drawstring backpack and other giveaways.

Teen driving simulator

Teen driving simulator

The driving simulator showed teens just how easy it is to become distracted behind the wheel. While I’m not questioning State Farm’s motive, it does make sense that an insurer would want to reduce the number of car accidents — and the number of insurance claims it receives.


State Farm revealed its lighter side with an interactive quiz and photo sharing area. The quiz was designed to match participants with the car type that best suited their personal preferences. I’ve got to question, however, the logic used to determine the matches; a sedan was my teen stepdaughter’s match. Not even close.

Tag. Post. Print.

The quiz concludes with an opportunity to have your photo taken and emailed to you. State Farm encouraged participants to “Tag. Post. Print.” their photos, in an effort to incorporate social media.

And now, for a little more PRaise. I must also give a shout-out to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, which sponsored a car seat safety check at the auto show. What a perfect tie-in to the event.

The moral of the story? With a little thought and a lot of planning, organizations can piggyback on community events to get their name out there and their message across. It’s a great way to reach a wide audience, and raising important issues creates both awareness and goodwill.

So, now that I’ve traipsed all over the Philadelphia Auto Show with my husband, he owes me big time. Did I mention that the Philadelphia Flower Show starts this weekend?

Darcy Grabenstein is senior copywriter at Annodyne.

Darcy Grabenstein Feb 18

How a Flat Tire Pumped Up My View of State Farm (and Its PR)

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The other night on my way home from work, I got a flat tire while driving on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Of course, it was THE coldest day of winter this season.

As I maneuvered into the far right lane and put on my hazard lights, I debated whether I could make it to the next exit. My car was riding like a belly dancer on steroids, so chances were slim. And that’s when I spotted it in the dark, cold night: My light in shining armor, a white turnpike safety patrol truck (emblazoned with the red State Farm logo on its sides) on the shoulder, its flashing lights a beacon of security to me.

The driver of the truck was already assisting another stranded motorist, but he came right over to my car. Mr. Truck Driver (Andre Nadzieja) asked me if I was a member of AAA, and when I said yes, he said help was on the way. He said he would alert them that another driver was in need of assistance as well. He took my AAA card and other information and called it in.

Granted, I could have done this on my own. But since the truck driver handled it, this allowed me to call my husband and then various car repair facilities to determine what my options were. Ironically, we had just ordered a new set of tires online for my car earlier in the week, so I was praying the shipment had arrived.

Mr. Truck Driver stopped back periodically to check on me and give me status updates. He also suggested I keep my car running to avoid having the battery die (the temperature was in the teens) and so I could keep the heater on and stay warm (ya think?).

Now I know Mr. Truck Driver gets paid to provide this service, but the fact that he was there and seemed genuinely interested in my well-being, all under the auspices of State Farm, made me feel all warm and fuzzy (well, at least fuzzy) toward the insurance company.

Turns out that State Farm has teamed up with other state transportation agencies to sponsor motorist assistance patrols. What a brilliant public relations initiative. I guess you could say State Farm’s PR is on a roll. Besides Pennsylvania, other states/agencies include Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and the Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority. On the Pennsylvania Turnpike site, for instance, the State Farm logo gets top billing:

PA Turnpike site

This service is free to the public and is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. It brings to mind a tagline used by many State Farm agents:

State Farm Anywhere. Anytime. Any day.

I would assume that State Farm must pay a hefty fee to sponsor this service. In my daily commute, the trucks are like moving billboards; I see the State Farm logo numerous times as trucks are stopped to help drivers. Obviously, State Farm has determined that the positive PR — and potential new customers — it generates as a result is worth the investment.

Mr. Truck Driver handed me a pamphlet about the State Farm Safety Patrol. As I sat in my somewhat toasty car, I looked at the pamphlet not from the perspective of a stranded motorist but from that of a PR professional.

State Farm pamphlet

State Farm roadside pamphlet

As a public service, the pamphlet listed what to do if you’re in an accident, as well as safety measures. The pamphlet included a tear-off card that could either be handed to the driver or mailed in later. It asked if my perceptions of State Farm were much more favorable/slightly more favorable/unchanged/slightly less favorable/much less favorable/don’t know as a result of my experience. (Much more favorable? Check!) The pamphlet also included a windshield sticker with instructions to dial *11 for assistance (accompanied of course, by “State Farm” in large white letters on its familiar red background). And the pamphlet included short promotional copy — “State Farm® is the number one insurer of cars in the United States.” — followed by five bullets, its URL and tagline.

Windshield sticker

Windshield sticker

The pamphlet also said I could share my comments online. Several people have already done so, making this PR promotion a great source for testimonials. Here’s one driver’s story:

“I had just dropped my cousins off at the airport. They were in NY for my father’s funeral. I was feeling emotional and heard a pop and my tire was flat. I was alone and scared. Joe LaBella calmed me down and got me on my way. He was amazing. Thank You State Farm. Now I truly believe ‘like a good neighbor….State Farm is there.’” – Deborah R., NY, Assisted by Joe L., NYSDOT H.E.L.P. – Long Island on Aug. 28.

By the way, Mr. Truck Driver stayed with me, his truck’s lights sending a warning to other drivers, until my spare tire was installed and I was on my way. While I was waiting, the jingle kept repeating itself in my head, over and over: “Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.” Yes, this PR campaign dovetails with State Farms branding, advertising and marketing strategies.

Staring at the truck’s flashing lights in my rear-view mirror, I couldn’t help but draw a few PR analogies. Let’s face it, many PR efforts are like a flashing light, designed to attract attention to a company, product or cause. Or, in the case of crisis PR, efforts are made to distract the public’s attention, steering them away from the “glaring light” of inquiry. In this case, however, State Farm brings to light the fact that it simply is good business to help others in need, no matter what the circumstance. And State Farm comes out shining.

Will I switch my auto insurance to State Farm? Possibly. Will I at least consider State Farm when I’m comparing auto insurance rates? You betcha. And that may be all State Farm hopes to gain from this community program.

But wait… there’s more! See Part II of my love fest for State Farm.

Darcy Grabenstein is senior copywriter at Annodyne.

Phil Heness Jan 14

Challenges in Advertising During The Super Bowl – Items to Ponder Before Choosing The Big Game

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Inflation is evident in our daily lives, from the cost of a cup of coffee to the asking price for the house down the block. However, there may be no better example of inflation than the escalating cost of Super Bowl ads.

Look at this five-year comparison of the average cost to run a 30-second spot (and this doesn’t include production costs):

2011: $3 million

2012: $3.5 million

2013: $3.8 million

2014: $4 million

2015: $4.5 million

That’s a lot of money to plunk down for a single 30-second spot. And that’s why the folks at Newcastle Brown Ale have, for the second year in a row, tried their best to be a player, so to speak. They have thumbed their collective nose at the powers that be. Last year, Newcastle’s entire media budget was equal to about half the cost of a 30-second spot, so the brand launched the “If We Made It” campaign (Adweek’s choice for the No. 1 ad campaign of 2014). The campaign was just that: If Newcastle had made a Super Bowl ad, how epic it would have been.

This year, the brewer created a fake Doritos ad, its tongue-in-cheek attempt to enter Doritos’ “Crash the Super Bowl” ad contest so that it could get on the Super Bowl for free.

So, if you’re still considering forking over the cash for 30 seconds of fame, you’ve got to ask yourself the following questions:

1. How will I quantify ROI from this campaign?

According to industry estimates, a Super Bowl ad generates an ROI 250 times greater than that of an average TV ad. So compare the $4.5 million price tag of a Super Bowl ad to the $627,300 average cost of a :30 TV spot. You do the math.

Sometimes, however, running a Super Bowl ad is more about sending a message to your competitors than about engaging your audience. SodaStream first advertised in the big game in 2013. “It’s really a statement that we are playing serious,” CEO Daniel Birnbaum told Adweek.

2. What is the goal of this ad? Is it brand awareness? Lead generation? Sales?

Think about it. Of all the memorable ads from previous Super Bowl matchups, do you remember which brands they represented? Or do you simply recall the ads themselves?

Do you provide a service, such as GoDaddy, and want to generate leads? Or do you have a product, like Coca-Cola, and hope to boost sales? As in the game itself, Super Bowl advertising is all about goals.

3. How do social media engagement and website traffic assist in determining the success or failure of the ad?

In 2012, only 7 percent of Super Bowl ads contained hashtags. reported that number climbed to 50 percent in 2013 and, according to, last year hashtags outnumbered corporate website mentions.

Oreo demonstrated the power of social media during Super Bowl XLVII in 2013. When the game experienced a blackout, Oreo capitalized on the occasion with this memorable tweet that was retweeted 15,663 times. Oreo’s social media strategy was deliciously on target.

Keep in mind, too, that if your ad is being seen by 100 million viewers (give or take a million or so), your web servers better be prepared to handle a huge influx of traffic. In fact, the football playoff has been renamed The Second Screen Super Bowl by Adweek and others, as viewers multitask during the game by using mobile devices and laptops.

4. Are you capable of properly collecting and aggregating the data associated with ad?

See question 1 above. In order to determine ROI, you’ve got to be able to collect and analyze the data associated with ad viewership and real or perceived results.

5. Could the sum of the dollars spent on the ad be implemented differently with better overall results based on profitability targets?

In other words, are you better off by not putting all your eggs in one basket?

If you’re able to answer the questions above with certainty, and all responses point to placing a Super Bowl ad, there are a few items still to consider:

1. What type of ad resonates better with viewers? How does your product match up with the themes below?

• Serious/Emotional
• Family
• Entertainment

2. How will you, the advertiser, persuade the viewer to buy your product/service or learn more about it on website, landing and social media pages?

If your goal is brand awareness, taking the viewer to your home page may suffice. But if you really want to move product or push a service, you may need to create a dedicated landing page to create a seamless experience for the consumer (and, in turn, increase conversions).

3. Can the ad be used for future ad placements rather than one and done?

You must determine how you can get the most bang for your advertising buck. If the ad is football-specific, it might be difficult to find an appropriate slot until next football season. If the ad is more generic, it could appeal to a broader audience.

4. Can your media/production costs be mitigated with the inclusion of a sponsorship from another company or organization (i.e., movie release, auto-collaboration, product tie-in)?

While the Newcastle Brown Ale example above is an ad spoof, the idea of a co-op ad would spread out the cost of the ad over several brands. Look at Target’s TV ads, for example. They often feature numerous products, each of which most likely contributed toward the cost.

Let’s face it, only a handful of companies can actually cough up the money for a Super Bowl spot. However, the same questions should be asked before launching any advertising campaign, regardless of channel.

 I’m rooting for the advertisers in this year’s Super Bowl matchup. Who are you rooting for?

 Phil Heness is digital marketing manager at Annodyne.

Darcy Grabenstein Jan 14

Take a Stroll with Me Down Advertising’s Memory Lane

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The other day in the gym locker-room, I overheard two older, bra-clad women reminiscing about Maidenform’s “I dreamed…” ad campaign. The writers at the William Weintraub agency who dreamed up this campaign were brilliant — and risk takers. After all, the ads, which ran from the 1940s to the 1960s, were considered risqué for their time. An advertising campaign that lasted 20 years? Unbelievable! Today, advertisers are lucky if they get our attention for 20 seconds.

Maidenform ad

Maidenform’s “I dreamed…” ad campaign

Each ad in the series touting the “dream bra” depicted a woman, wearing her Maidenform bra, confessing that she had dreamed wearing her bra while in a social or imaginary situation such as working, shopping or bullfighting.

As the two women at the gym reminisced, it got me to thinking about successful ad campaigns of yesteryear. What makes an ad campaign memorable? Certainly longevity or saturation has an impact. You’re unlikely to forget an ad campaign (or its brand) that spans 20 years.

Let’s take a look at some of the most memorable ad campaigns/slogans over the past decades. I noticed that many of the ones that stuck in my head were actually jingles, so my theory is that music must help with memory. I also noticed that most of the jingles are short and catchy. I think it’s safe to say that less is more when it comes to ad slogans:

I can’t believe I ate the whole thing.
Plop-plop, fizz-fizz, oh what a relief it is.
Try it, you’ll like it.

American Express: Don’t leave home without it.

Army: Be all you can be

I am stuck on Band-Aid, ’cause Band-Aid’s stuck on me!

Brylcreem: A little dab’ll do ya

Burger King: Have it your way

California Milk Processor Board: Got milk? (Since imitation is the highest form of flattery, the folks at Goodby Silverstein & Partners should be quite flattered.)

Campbell’s Soup: Mmm mmm good

Don’t squeeze the Charmin!

I’m a Chiquita banana and I’ve come to say …

Clairol hair color: Does she or doesn’t she?

Coca-Cola: It’s the real thing

Crest toothpaste: Look Ma, no cavities!

Kellogg’s Rice Krispies: Snap, crackle, pop!

Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority: What happens here, stays here.

LifeCall: I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!

Maxwell House: Good to the last drop.

McDonald’s: You deserve a break today

M&M’s: Melts in your mouth, not in your hands.

Nationwide is on your side (Note that, like the State Farm slogan below, this is designed to instill confidence in the brand.)

Nike : Just do it.

Oscar Meyer: I wish I were an Oscar Meyer weiner.

Rice-A-Roni, the San Francisco treat

Nobody doesn’t like Sara Lee (So much for avoiding double negatives.)

Uh-oh, SpaghettiOs!

StarKist tuna: Sorry, Charlie

Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there

Sure deodorant: Raise your hand if you’re Sure

Tareyton cigarettes: I’d rather fight than switch. (Not very PC by today’s standards, on several levels.)

United: Fly the friendly skies

Virginia Slims cigarettes: You’ve come a long way, baby

Wendy’s: Where’s the beef? (This could have a very different connotation today, depending on the brand.)

Wheaties: The breakfast of champions. (Going strong since 1934, it beats Maidenform’s 20-year reign.)

Wrigley’s Doublemint Gum: Double your pleasure, double your fun

Which ads do you consider unforgettable? Share your thoughts below, or give us a shout-out to us on Twitter.

Darcy Grabenstein is senior copywriter at Annodyne.