Archive RSS


highlighting the best digital advertising campaigns, marketing trends, technological innovations, and anything that inspires smart creative thinking.

mercedes benz #untamed

mercedes-benz celebrates the launch of their new CLA series with #untamed, the first digital art installation of it’s kind.  site visitors at are invited to connect with their instagram account and select the (3) most unusual photos from their photo stream.  each of the photos is then given an #untamed score that shows how different and how original their photos are from others that were submitted.

the three submitted photos then become part of #untamed, an international digital photo installation which can be viewed live in paris.  the final installation in paris will showcase rotating photographs and a collection of images submitted by site visitors from around the world.   

Posted on March 10, 2013

personalized content is the silver bullet marketers have been waiting for

consider amazon and the unique personalized content that it delivers on their homepage to different site visitors every day.  if 100 people visited amazon’s site, the content experience they deliver will be different for each person and that goes a long way towards conversion, repeat visitation, engagement, and referrals.  the content experience they deliver is relevant, highly contextual, it’s based on my purchase history, and it creates a one-to-one customer experience that keeps me highly engaged because it’s an experience that centers around me.  

imagine being able to apply amazon’s recommendation algorithm to an entire website.  i think that the next iteration of personalized content, like amazon’s, will soon appear in new ad formats, websites, and email newsletters.  while there are already some ad formats that allow for a certain degree of personalization, in the near future, users will be able to change paragraphs, headlines, landing pages, images, and offers based on context, time, and relevance.  


you never get a second chance to make a good first impression and personalized content can help to ensure that you’re speaking the same language to customers about the content they’re interested in at a moment when you’re most apt to capture their attention.  as display advertising click-thru rates still linger in the area of 0.1 - 0.3%, the industry will have to find more effective ways to garner higher click-thru rates and using relevancy to your advantage could be the silver bullet marketers have long been searching for. 

Posted on February 26, 2013

the power of visual storytelling

if a picture is worth a thousand words, then the story behind it may be worth a million more. just as our ancient ancestors once used cave drawings to illustrate stories of their great hunts and the conquests of neighboring tribes, visual storytelling has remained a powerful force for over 40,000 years.  despite the emergence of new technologies and marketing channels to connect with consumers, no state of the art technology can substitute for state of the heart storytelling and rich visual imagery remains at the center of the most memorable and beloved stories.


as brands compete for air space in skies that are filled with noise, it’s the most visual images that capture our attention and brands that utilize rich imagery are the most successful at breaking through the clutter.  no other brand on the planet, or the earth’s outer atmosphere for that matter, generated more buzz than redbull last year.  the visual imagery of felix baumgartner in a redbull branded space suit and lunar module alone conveyed that redbull was up to something huge, extraordinary, and out of this world.  the images that appeared via twitter and facebook looked compelling, intriguing, and fascinating prompting millions of people, many of whom have probably never consumed an energy drink, to tune in.   


oreo’s ridiculously clever tweet during this year’s super bowl blackout was simple, smart, contextual, and perfect for that moment.  it might not have been the prettiest product shot, but the illuminated cookie stood tall and garnered more attention than brands that paid in excess of seven figures for a share of the super bowl spotlight. 


an image can be simple, complex, photoshopped, hipstomaticised, instagramed, pinned, tumbled, and then tweeted for the world to see.  while our media consumption becomes increasingly more fragmented and our attention spans grow shorter it’s imperative to remember that by keeping it simple, relevant, visually engaging, and contextual to the medium that you’re giving your brand the best chance to stand out and be noticed.  

Posted on February 20, 2013

great video from coca-cola’s brand team about the “art of storytelling”

Posted on November 6, 2012

red bull “stratos” and new marketing frontiers

red bull’s recent “stratos” project was not only a huge leap for science and technology, but also a monumental leap for digital marketing as millions tuned in online to watch felix baumgartner’s supersonic free fall from the outer edges of space.  the stunt not only shattered a previous free fall record, but it also set an online video stream record for YouTube with more than 8 million concurrent video streams recorded.  however, records and metrics aside, the part of the program that appeals to me the most as a champion for smart brand marketing is the amount of brand exposure red bull received through social chatter on both facebook and twitter as a major sponsor of the event.

it’s no secret that many of the world’s top adventurers have long relied on corporate sponsors to finance expeditions and new discovery missions.  robert scott’s early expeditions to the south pole were funded largely by loel guinness, a wealthy cousin of the namesake brewing family.  bertrand piccard and brian jones’ globe circumnavigating “orbiter 3” balloon was constructed with the support of swiss watchmaker breitling.  

red bull’s sponsorship of the “stratos” project is no different than sponsorships before it and there inherently is great power in association, especially when the buzz is as palpable as the noise surrounding the “stratos” project was.  however, in redbull’s case, the sponsorship gave them an opportunity and a platform to amplify their brand message, which helps tremendously when only a few market share percentage points separate you from your closest competition.  

orchestrating an event and sponsorship like redbull’s “stratos” project takes a lot of guts for a brand, and in baumgartner’s case, some brass balls.  if “stratos” had gone horribly wrong and baumgartner had died, the ripple effect for the brand (viewed as the enabler and facilitator of the mission) could have been crippling.  risking human life and putting your brand in the line of fire while leaving it exposed to global social chatter as you’re shouting for the outer edges of space is a risky maneuver that most smart marketers would avoid like a flesh eating disease.  however, with great risk comes great reward and a little bit of brand lift can go a long way when it translates into increased sales volume.  

redbull may not have totally slayed the dragon, but skywriting their brand name from the outer edges of earth may have been enough to keep the monster at bay.  congrats to team redbull for stepping out of the capsule and soaring above the clutter…

Posted on October 18, 2012