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DGC Roundtable: Halloween Marketing

The DGC Roundtable is moderated by our Fall Intern, Jamie Kurke.

Seasonal marketing kicks into overdrive this time of year, including storefronts with skeletons and commercials for candy. That’s right, it’s Halloween! Since we’ve all been gearing up for the holiday over the last few days – and celebrating here at DGC, the question this week was:

What is your favorite Halloween marketing campaign/ promo and why?

Pat Wentling, Senior Account Executive:

Cheetos launched Project TP a few years ago, which had Chester Cheetah putting “virtual TP” on houses using Google Earth. As an homage to my childhood, and the adolescent Mischief Night, I loved to see my present day house (and friend’s houses) covered in toilet paper. I even pranked my parents by sending them a “picture” of their house covered while they were traveling, and they were horrified. I guess you don’t really ever grow out of mischief.

Meg McMahon Stagaard, Account Director:

Denny’s “The Grand Slams” (created by our client Erwin Penland) has a great Halloween episode of the original web series: Food Fright, which takes a “stab” at Canadians, and no breakfast food is safe.

Kathleen Ruane, Vice President:

Crest and Oral-B serve up some fun Halloween humor in a kids’ focus group gone wrong. Costumed trick-or-treaters stage a mutiny when their candy is replaced with veggie flavored, vitamin-enhanced treats that look like candy. The only adult in the commercial soon has a mutiny on his hands as the kids reject his offerings. A nice closing reflects on the fact that nothing is more horrifying than a Halloween without candy.

I love this ad becuase the kids’ reactions are so real.  Not sure what they fed those kids, but it must have been pretty awful.

Christine Perez-O’Rourke, Account Director:

Without candy there would be no Halloween. Plain and simple. As a kid we get excited about dressing up in an outlandish costume, traipsing through our neighborhood and begging strangers because of candy. And as an adult, Halloween is the one and only holiday where devouring a whole bag of Reese’s is (somewhat) acceptable. So I’m going to have to give this one to a candy brand. In particular a brand that continues to take a simple idea created a few years back and make it feel fresh, not to mention funny. My favorite Halloween marketing campaign goes to Snickers. In particular, their ‘Horseless Headsman’ spot that aired back in 2012 and has been brought back each year around this time. Because you’re not you, when you’re hungry…

Gab Berman, Account Executive:

I love the Skittles Halloween ad with the giant spider – it shows him befriending a little boy who is trying to get Skittles from the spider’s cobweb. The ad then goes on to show the two doing fun activities together and becoming best friends. The kicker is at the end when the spider says he was just kidding and actually ate the kid, I love it.

Jamie Kurke, Intern:

I have to give my vote to Chipotle.  They’re bringing back their ‘Boorito’ campaign from years past, and it is awesome. Just show up (in costume) after 5 PM and any burrito, bowl, salad, or taco order is only $3.

As if I needed another excuse to dress up tonight….

 

Happy Halloween Everybody!

How Much Have We Really Changed?

In the weeks leading up to the season premier of AMC’s Mad Men, various business publications had a field day showcasing the sexist ads of earlier eras.

As astonishing as some of them are, it’s legitimate to ask just how much society and the industry have evolved, especially when you consider that the percentage of women comprising the advertising workforce has remained flat—holding at 55 percent since 1982, the earliest available data from the 4A’s.

Belvedere vodka recently ran an online ad that was suggestive of an attempted rape.  A steakhouse in Georgia thought it was funny to post on Facebook the name of one of its sandwiches—the Caribbean black and bleu–in honor of Chris Brown and singer Rihanna. And who could forget last year’s Chapstick ad?

In all three instances, the ads went viral, not because people thought them clever, but because consumers wanted to express anger and disgust at words and images that were demeaning or made light of violence against women.

Even though the companies apologized for the ads, it’s tempting to lament that societal attitudes about these issues haven’t changed much. However, the speed with which consumers can and do shame brands on social media regarding questionable messages gives us reason to hope.

Inside the Super Bowl Economy: A Behind-the-Scenes Peek at PR’ing This Year’s Super Bowl Ads

This post was originally published on Commpro.biz

Brian Pittman’s spotlight: Samantha DiGennaro, Founder, DiGennaro Communications

Over 173 million people will be watching the Super Bowl this Sunday, according to the latest stats from the Retail Advertising and Marketing Association. Yes, that’s a record. So are estimates for total Super Bowl spending by consumers—now forecast at $11 billion.

So what drives all of that spending? Super Bowl ads, of course. And who drives the buzz for those ads? PR firms like DiGennaro Communications, that’s who.

For a behind-the-scenes look into getting the word out about these entertaining, highly anticipated ad campaigns, we spoke to Samantha DiGennaro. An 18-year communication strategist, she launched DiGennaro Communications in January 2006. Since then, she has built a highly reputable business-to-business public relations agency that boasts a roster of clients ranging from global media companies to full-service advertising agencies to digital and design outfits.

And this year, four of the agency’s client partners are running ads during the Super Bowl. Pretty impressive. Read on for her insights on everything from how social media is being incorporated into Super Bowl advertising campaigns this year to lessons for other PR, communications and marketing pros:

How many Super Bowl advertisers are there this year—and what is the average budget?

Firstly, on behalf of DGC, I want to say how happy we are, year after year, to play such a big role in the Super Bowl economy by promoting the ads that entertain millions of people during the game. This year, there are more than 30 advertisers, of which 11 are auto brands.

Some 30-second ads are going for $3.5 million, but not everyone is paying that price. And some advertisers are buying packages, including the Olympics. In addition, some brands have more than one spot, and as you will see, many are going beyond TV. They are investing in social, apps and user-generated content.

How many clients does DGC have in the Super Bowl?

We have four agency clients who are doing ads for major brands, and we—in partnership with our clients and their clients—are promoting ads from the following brands:

How is social media being integrated into campaigns?

The Super Bowl has always been a social experience and now technology makes it more so. That is why we see advertisers and their agencies embracing social media so fully. In fact, Mashable is running a piece on the most shared 2012 Super Bowl ads, which demonstrates that marketers are looking to maximize the return on their ad dollars. Advertisers today want people to see them before, during and after the Super Bowl. Meanwhile, consumers are enjoying the fun—and they get to feel even more part of the game. Kudos to our client Goodby, Silverstein & Partners for their work with the popular Dorito’s teaser: http://mashable.com/2012/01/23/most-shared-2012-super-bowl/#3usaGfn7r0w

This is also a chance to show how fun live TV can be, and not just at the Super Bowl. Clients of DGC’s such as BrightLine and Organic, Omnicom’s global digital agency, are talking about how social technologies and advanced TV help the audience participate with content in entirely new ways. It raises the creative bar. The increasingly social nature of the Super Bowl will be a precursor to trends we can expect to see at other highly-visible live events, such as the Oscars, Olympics, elections, etc.

Why is user-generated content tied to Super Bowl campaigns so successful?

User-generated ad campaigns are successful for a couple of reasons: Super Bowl is a national pastime, and there are millions of people in the US, and even around the world, who want to feel like they are a part of the game. Combine that with the fact that people have been producing and sharing their own content on the web for several years, and the Super Bowl, advertising and user-generated content make a perfect trifecta.

A large part of the Chevy ad campaign, created by our client Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, is built around user-generated content, and people can vote for the best ad. We believe Chevy will stand out by offering an app that viewers can use during the game to play games, interact with one another through Twitter and win prizes. The free Chevy Game Time app is available at the Game Time site http://www.chevrolet.com/gametime and at the Apple App Store and Android Market.

Crash the Super Bowl, Dorito’s user-generated Super Bowl campaign created by Goodby, is likewise inherently social, as people get to vote for and share their favorite ads. The most-viewed user-generated ad is about a guy who wants to share his Dorito’s recipe. Instead of making the chip, he makes gold!

Who are some of the newcomers and innovators in this year’s Super Bowl adscape?

Our client Red Tettemer is doing Century21 Real Estate’s work this year. This will be Century21’s first foray into the grand stage of Super Bowl advertising, and the work features Donald Trump; professional Football Hall of Famer and NFL Analyst, Deion Sanders; and eight-time Olympic medalist, Apolo Ohno.

With a rallying cry of “Smarter. Bolder. Faster.” the 30-second, third-quarter ad matches a formidable and unflappable Century21 Agent with these well-known business and athletic icons as they participate in the home-buying and selling process.

Behind-the-scenes footage, teaser premieres and the final Super Bowl spot will be released on facebook.com/century21 in advance of the game. Also, in the coming weeks leading up to the big game, via Twitter, the talent will announce key milestones, drive votes to the USA Today Ad Meter, release teasers of the spot, and use the hash-tag #C21SuperBowl.

In addition to the third quarter spot, Century 21 will have 11 pre-game spots and will be sponsoring the 3:30-4:00pm block of the pre-game show.

We are incredibly excited for our Red Tettemer client, as this is their first Super Bowl campaign.

On another front, David & Goliath is leading Kia’s third consecutive year of Super Bowl advertising.  Kia is the first brand to preview a Super Bowl ad in cinema. The spot goes live at midnight on February 2 on the Kia YouTube channel and officially launches during the game. There will be synergistic Facebook and Twitter branded experiences, leveraging the campaign look, tone and feel. On February 2, you will see flash banners driving people to YouTube, a Yahoo homepage take over; on February 7, Kia will take over the MSN home page, so you can see a multi-pronged campaign from Kia and David & Goliath.

What other trends should we be watching?

We are seeing several important trends emerge this year.

Companies are spending millions of dollars to reach more than 110 million people around the country during the game. And while national TV buys are a major component of the advertising strategy, recent viewing stats during the NFL playoffs from our client TVB, the not-for-profit trade association of America’s commercial broadcast television industry, show that there is a huge opportunity for smaller, local advertisers to reach 305% more eyeballs in key football cities during the Super Bowl.

We are also looking at advertising in a much more integrated fashion, and watching where new technologies and apps take us.  According to MediaCom, a WPP media-buying and planning company, TV remains the most important channel as it provides the spark to create conversations about brands. In fact, advertisers are stepping up and securing their Super Bowl TV buys much earlier than in years past.  That said, other channels are clearly driving the interest in ads: YouTube creates buzz; mobile apps and content give people snackable content they can share during the game; and paid search helps marketers increase their visibility when people search for them by name or for related products and services.

And of course, as advertising evolves in the digital space, so do we at DiGennaro Communications. The DGC team is actively blogging, tweeting, Facebooking, and posting Super Bowl coverage and content in real time.

What are the traits of successful Super Bowl ads?

Racy ads are not necessarily the ones that win hearts. Clever humor typically fares well. Yes, endearing spots with a strong knack for storytelling are often times the most crowd-pleasing. Last year, Volkswagen won big with “The Force” about a young boy trying to empower things to move while dressed up as Darth Vader. It has had nearly 50 million views on YouTube alone. And this year’s VW ad, “The Bark Side,” already has 7.8 million views on YouTube. So we are seeing the power of a big brand echoing the power of another big brand, but in a charming, human and in this year’s case—dog-loving way.

How do ad agencies brainstorm killer creative with clients for the Super Bowl?

Goodby, Silverstein & Partners is one of several companies that Business Insider talked to about the making and buying of Super Bowl ads and you can check it out here.

Any other lessons or tips that come out of this for advertisers and marketers?

Don’t wait for Super Bowl Sunday to air your ad—we are seeing incredible brand power and recall by going public beforehand.

Think viral. Think social.

Engage your PR department or PR agency to promote your work. There’s a method to the madness of Super Bowl PR. Better yet, it’s an art.

What are the biggest challenges around undertaking PR for these campaigns before and during Super Bowl season?

From a business and communications perspective, we love being part of the Super Bowl. Here at DGC, we have a robust team of PR pros pitching our clients’ expertise in Super Bowl advertising. Like I said, we have secured several news stories, with more than 50 outlets expressing interest in talking with our clients and their marketers/clients this Super Bowl season.

Outlets are asking for pre-game and post-game advertising analysis; some even welcome real-time blogging, ad critiques and judging. And of course some clients’ campaigns are getting major coverage in The New York Times, USA Today, and Ad Age, among other publications. It’s really gratifying to know that some of our clients are behind that work.

And while it’s not a challenge per se, we do need to be mindful of the fact that we cannot PR the work until the client blesses it. There are lots of moving parts—and people—involved, so timing needs to be impeccable. For each client, it’s a different set of rules—a different timeline. And we work carefully with our clients on that. We are all part of a team.

What will you and your team be doing on Super Bowl (hopefully, having some fun!)?

I am sure we will all be watching the game but the team at DiGennaro Communications will likely be very interested in the creativity and production value of the ads and the resulting real tine chatter in the social media space. In fact, we are proud to say that our clients and our DGC team will be fueling that conversation!

Counting Down To Super Bowl XLVI: The Ultimate Pre-Game

The Super Bowl has turned into more than just a game — it is a two-week celebration with events every day building up to the big game. Although we have a seemingly “super” matchup this year, and many DGCers are excited that the Giants are playing, we’ve realized that the game isn’t the biggest attraction to the Super Bowl. There are parties, concerts, more parties, live tapings of every NBC show imaginable, and yes — more parties. You’ll find the Playboy Party, the GQ Party, the Coors Light Lodge Party, and even a celebrity poker tournament – all on February 3.

It’s a media planning frenzy from a PR standpoint. Every media outlet in the country will be covering the Super Bowl, looking for stories, pictures, and interviews. Everyone wants a piece of the NFL pie.

With such an action-packed schedule in Indianapolis and on your TV, we thought we’d share with you DGC’s top seven Super Bowl events (besides the game, of course).

7) Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl – Because who doesn’t love puppies playing football?

6) The NFL Experience – Each year the host city also hosts the NFL Experience, which is essentially the Disney World of football. This year it will be at the Indianapolis Convention Center, with NFL Charities donating $1 million of ticket sales to local Indianapolis communities.

5) EA Sports Madden Bowl – The athletes that couldn’t quite make it to the real Super Bowl get a second chance virtually.

4)  Pepsi Fan Jam 2012 – Folks tune in to watch Gym Class Heroes, B.o.B., and the All-American Rejects perform on VH1.

3) Super Bowl Media Day – Super Bowl Media Day receives more coverage than any sports interview ever should. With Eli Manning and Tom Brady leading the teams this year, Super Bowl Media Day offers a special treat for fans that get to watch from the stands. If you can’t make it to Indianapolis, you’ll be able to watch live on NFL Network – and it’ll be the top story on any televised sports news that Tuesday.

2) The Bridgestone Halftime Show – Although it’s been toned down since the infamous “wardrobe malfunction” of 2003, we’d venture to guess that some people are watching this year’s Super Bowl just to see the latest iteration of Madonna.

1) The Ads – Whether the game turns out to be a nail-biter or a total snooze, people will be buzzing during the game and the next morning about the ads regardless. And with companies spending an average of $3.5 million for 30-second spots, marketers hope to make a splash that will reach beyond the game.

With all this talk of pre-game hype, DGC is already looking forward to the 2014 Super Bowl XLVIII in New York – let the planning begin!

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