B2B goes digital

Business-to-business publishers have embraced the digital world. The trend among them is to put an exact copy of their print version online. The only change most of them make is to add hotlinks to their advertisers’ websites. While digital does not yet make up the majority of the total circulation of most magazines, we need to monitor this trend to see what impact it will have on advertisers.

Target Audience Delivery

I applaud those publishers who are just as concerned about verifying circulation of their digital versions as they are of their print publications. BPA, the traditional B2B circulation auditor, now offers digital circulation audits. Media planners now have access to data on target audience coverage and composition to help them make informed recommendations. Unfortunately, some publishers are still “claiming” circulations that are unrealistic, at best.

Another way that publishers are ensuring target audience delivery is through a subscription-only basis for online viewing. Readers are required to fill out a subscriber profile for the online version with the same requirements as for the print version.

Ad Size Units

When you view an online version on a regular monitor, it’s easy to browse and read. But not so when you’re using a smart phone or a tablet. You might judge a spread to have a lot of impact on a big-screen monitor. But when you have to scroll between the two pages on your handheld device, it loses legibility, visual appeal and message delivery.

Big-Screen Monitor

Big-Screen Monitor

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NBA adds ads to courts

Image courtesy of You Only Blog Once

Image courtesy of You Only Blog Once

Starting with the 2014 NBA season, teams will be allowed to sell advertising space on their home courts and backboards. No values have been set yet, but, according to Business Insider, the NBA believes this could be a $100+ million income-generator.

Just think, the next time Kobe’s sitting on the bench with a towel over his head, reminiscing about the good ol’ days when Shaq was around, he could be tapping his personalized size 14s on a Kia ad. Or when LeBron dunks on someone, he can reach for the stars — or the Starbucks ad at the top of the backboard. Why not, right?Read full post...


It’s okay to ship your pants!

In a world where advertisements hawking everything from cars to cleaning products bombard our oversaturated brains at every waking hour, a little shock can go a long way towards driving a company’s message home. Witness Kmart’s most recent YouTube ads entitled “Big Gas Savings” and “Ship My Pants.” If you say the names of the commercials out loud (try it in a crowded office), you’ll quickly figure out the hooks. Both videos rely on “potty” words and a mischievous sense of humor to relate a message of convenience and savings.

Blurring the line between propriety and indecency has proven effective. More than 22,000,000 people have seen and heard Kmart’s message in the past month. Combined, the videos received 103,732 likes and only 4,411 dislikes.

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The art (and science) of persuasion

Using science to get into the customer’s brain

Using science to get into the customer’s brain

One of the most interesting new business pitches I was ever involved in was when a prospective B2B client, a large and well-known electronics company, was trying to introduce a new product line. The problem was, these new products were very different from those that the company was well known for.

The client had spent considerable sums introducing the new line, yet had made little headway in the market. So they opened this assignment to other agencies.

We were briefed, we developed creative, and we took it to a focus group. The creative bombed, badly. But why it bombed was the same reason the product line was getting so little traction — in the mind of the customer, these new products just didn’t fit with the way they perceived the company.

Well, we quickly regrouped and developed new creative. But this time, rather than just introduce the new products, we built a connection between them and the products the company was known for. The new creative worked well, helping to create an “aha” moment with people in the second focus group.

In our final presentation to the client, we took them through our experience, even showing the creative that bombed. Not only did we win the work for the new product line, we became agency-of-record for the entire account. We also learned a valuable lesson in the art of persuasion.

We called it, “meeting the audience at its mindset.” Read full post...

May 13, 2013

ab+c Creative Intelligence amasses 28 Healthcare Marketing awards

WILMINGTON, DE – ab+c, a full-service marketing communications agency, won a total of 28 awards between two prominent healthcare competitions. At the 30th annual Healthcare Marketing Report Health Advertising Awards, the agency received 19 awards. Also, the agency hoisted nine awards at the 2013 Aster Awards, judged by Marketing Healthcare Today.

“The healthcare marketing industry is just as competitive as healthcare itself,” says ab+c president and CEO John Hawkins. “Our team is tremendous. We start with top healthcare clients and add laser-focused strategy and engaging creative. It’s a recipe for sustained success.”

The Healthcare Advertising Awards are evaluated by a national panel of judges. More than 4,000 entries from 268 agencies were judged on creativity, quality, message effectiveness, consumer appeal, graphic design and overall impact. The agency won awards with 14 different clients. Along with 11 gold, two silver, one bronze and four merit awards, ab+c received a Best in Show for its physicians video mailer for MedStar Union Memorial Hospital, one of only 17 to earn this high designation.Read full post...

Music to our clients’ ears

Over my nearly (ahem) four decades in the ad business, I’ve written tons of jingles. Presided over original music sessions from Nashville to New York. And spent hundreds of hours listening to and selecting stock music and sound effects — all to create that elusive emotional connection between our clients’ brands and their consumers.

Boy, have times and budgets changed. Weeks of lead time and wads of cash to create one-of-a-kind audio tracks that stuck in your brain are now virtually unheard of (unless you’re selling cars, beer, airlines or cosmetics). Today, Garage Band, Pro Tools and a plethora of music libraries fill the void cheaply, quickly and — I must admit — conveniently.Read full post...


Digital is dynamic

The fate of static outdoor displays may soon be much the same as CDs and VHS tapes.

The fate of static outdoor displays may soon be much the same as CDs and VHS tapes.

Digital outdoor displays are quickly becoming one of the best mediums for cost-effective, high-impact advertising.

With the ability to change a client’s creative frequently and immediately, digital outdoor displays allow you to target your consumer with the most time-relevant message.

Another advantage of digital displays over traditional static displays is consumer retention. Research shows that while only 43 percent of respondents have any kind of recall of traditional static displays, more than 94 percent of respondents actually recall the message on a digital display. This is remarkable, given the fact that the message on a digital display is usually shown for only eight seconds at a time as part of a continuous rotation.Read full post...


What makes an impression really an impression?

Doesn’t seem fair for an advertiser to pay for an ad that wasn't viewable, now does it?

For as long as I’ve been in the business of planning and purchasing digital media, we have been buying display ads by impressions served. That means that when the server serving up the banner ad to the site records that an impression has been served, it is counted as an impression. When you buy display ads, oftentimes you pay by impression, and part of my job is to ensure my client’s ad has received the number of impressions I have purchased.Read full post...


30 seconds that can make or break you

With such massive price tags, these commercials better deliver.

On February 5 NBC will broadcast the epic rematch between the Giants and Patriots. But maybe your team didn’t make it to the big game. Will you still watch Super Bowl XLVI? Of course you will. You’ll watch for the same reason about 54% of viewers do — the commercials.

On one night each year the titans of marketing and advertising attempt to wow us with about 50 minutes of the most expensive commercials on television. NBC has sold out all commercial airtime for the big game, reporting that the average cost this year for a 30-second spot is $3.5 million, with some time slots costing as much as $4 million. That’s a 16 to 25% hike from the $3 million average cost last year. With such massive price tags, these commercials better deliver.Read full post...

Good Ad or Sucky Ad

Paul Pomeroy weighs in on a couple of car ads.

As a guy who works in advertising I often get asked by family, friends, acquaintances and perfect strangers to offer my opinion on current ads in the marketplace. I find this funny because, unlike most people, when I meet doctors, lawyers and auto mechanics, I don’t find a way to wedge questions related to lumps on my back, clauses in my will or an incessant knocking noise coming from under the hood of my car into the course of casual conversation. But whatever. Most advertising people are raving narcissistic know-it-alls who are more than happy to share their opinions on just about anything — especially good ads vs. sucky ads.

OK, that really just describes me. And that brings me to the point of this post.Read full post...