Turkeys in Advertising
I’ve been obsessed with advertising since I was young. I love everything about how ads are created. I think its brilliant how agencies narrow in on that one special thing about their target market, research to find out the exact angle, and how creative teams nail it in copy and art. Media planners determine the best media mix and format for ads to be shown, based on where their target markets will see the most impressions.
I worked at a global agency for two years, in Seattle, L.A. and San Francisco, and got to live out my dream of working in advertising on the big stage. Ever since being in a “real” agency, and learning from creatives, strategists and media planners, I’ve become somewhat of a nuisance to watch TV with or sit next to while looking through a magazine.
My poor husband – I routinely grab the remote from him to go back to the last channel, or jump on him because he’s supposed to know when I want to watch an ad – or not watch an ad. There are some ads that I love – I’ll want to watch them over and over, if they are good. If they are bad, even hearing them is painful, and I want them out of my life as soon as possible. It’s a deeply emotional situation.
So – now that I’ve qualified my obsession, here are a few recent commercials that I believe to be “turkeys.”
Navy Federal Credit Union – all of them.
Each ad starts out with a close up shot of the apparent service member, describing what we’re led to believe is a situation they were in while they were deployed, and in danger. They are always dressed in what seems to be military attire, many times it is, and they are placed in front of their plane, military vehicle, or unit. Then, we find out it’s all about selling memberships to a credit union.
In this ad, dubbed “3600,” the kid talks dramatically about being abandoned without a vehicle, in what seems to be a scenario when he was deployed and in danger. BUT NO! He’s really just a spoiled brat who needed a ride to paintball. But wait! He can finally get his own car now because his sister, who is in the military, is a member of the credit union, so he can join too.
In this commercial, called “Tour,” the shot starts focused close up on the husband, he’s riding what appears to be a military vehicle, he’s saying that this is his first tour, that “he’d seen the images on TV but until he’s in the thick of it…” and that “the guys in my unit who have been here before said just ride it out…” and then it pans wide to the guy and his wife at a theme park on the dinky ride above and how they used points from the credit union to book their trip.
I have a few words for how I feel about these ads: demeaning, disgraceful, belittling.
Maybe it’s just that I have close friends and family members who served overseas in the past few years, and both grandparents were in the military and overseas in WWII, but I believe that serving in the military is honorable and shouldn’t be mocked – especially for this purpose.
Nationwide Insurance – Baby
This Nationwide Insurance commercial shows the owner of……a baby?....washing it…saving it from being hit by a stray shopping cart, crashing it, then waiting at the body shop for it to be fixed – sweating and pacing around.
Not only does it take a while to figure out what this giant CGI baby is supposed to represent, but it’s a giant CGI baby. It’s totally distracting. Then, once you realize it’s supposed to be a car, you feel a bit like you’re being pandered to. Apparently American’s are so stupid that we’ll buy car insurance based on cute CGI babies.
Also, Julia Roberts does the voice over for this ad. Random. And sad.
Moral of the story:
Scott Kerfoot has joined Exsilio Solutions as Chief Operating Officer after nearly 13 years at Microsoft in various roles including Principal Architect Evangelist and Senior Director of Technical Evangelism. In his own words, Scott chose to join Exsilio because, “I believe there is something differentiated and exciting going on at Exsilio Solutions. During my tenure with Microsoft I got to work with a lot of great consulting companies and I can’t remember any of them that have such a strong combination of traditional Development consulting coupled with strong Creative, Marketing as well as value add-ons like the virtualization platform. As someone from the outside looking in, this combination of strength building on strength is unique and I want to be a part of it.”During his time at Microsoft as Principal Architect Evangelist he was named the World Wide Architect Evangelist of the year as well as receiving a Microsoft Gold Club award for leadership during his tenure as a Senior Director of Technical Evangelism. Additional achievements include managing the team that was responsible for the initial ideas and thinking around the Microsoft BizSpark program.In his role as COO, Scott is dedicated to working with everyone at Exsilio to build on the existing foundation and take Exsilio to the next level.
Exsilio is participating in a new marketing operations initiative from Microsoft, called the Digital Efficiency Program (DEP). DEP pairs the industry’s top digital agencies with Microsoft’s premier Global Service Centers to deliver the same digital strategy, creative, and UX our clients love, with greater speed, lower cost, and increased security. This will result in increased technical breadth, scale, and speed of delivery to our clients.
We're excited to be a part of this initiative from Microsoft, about what it means for our clients, and the direction Microsoft is leading the industry in regards to thoughtful and purposeful marketing resource planning.
Interested in learning more about Exsilio's marketing services? Contact Anthony Tsim: firstname.lastname@example.org
With the number of people living around and commuting to and from Microsoft’s main campus in Redmond, Washington, you might guess there are quite a lot of after work drink meetings happening. And you’d be right. I’ve reviewed many of the beers found at these spots on my beer blog, enjoy the read.
When it comes to beer, Redmond has you covered. Redmond has become quite the hub for breweries – some just starting out, some with quite the following:
10. Palmer’sThere’s gotta be a number 10. Palmer’s is it. It smells… ahem… seasoned by the folks that come to dance at night and sing karaoke. Average beers, super nice bartenders, and a great place to go if you want to have some fun after dinner.
9. Willow’s Run Mini Golf – Rainbow RunYep. Mini golf. Why? Because they sell giant beers in cans in the clubhouse. Really standard stuff like PBR, Bud Light and Fosters. And yes, you can take them on the course! Good luck going back for more once you’re already playing, the trail back is pretty much non-existent.
8. Flying Saucer PiazzaYep, a pizza joint. They have great pizza, and they also carry all the local stuff on tap. Black Raven, Hi-Fi, Mac and Jack, and more.
7. Daman’sDaman’s is the closest bar to Microsoft main campus, right on 148th and 24th. They have decent food, and a surprisingly good list of beers. Plenty of seasonals and all of the standard weak American beers you’d expect at a dive bar. Pool tables, pull tabs, and darts, too. All around good old American fun.
6. JJ Mahoney’sGreat Irish fare and beers, with one of the better half and half’s in the area. That would be a half pint of Harp, with a float of Guinness. Their website needs some work, but that’s just the mark of a true Irish pub. Time spent drinking, not spent developing.
5. Celtic BayouHush puppies and Guinness. Need I say more?
4. Three Lions Pub No doubt the best place in Redmond to catch a cricket match, or an English Premier League game. Three Lions sports traditional English pub food, but with many American additions, such as their loaded hamburgers and all the English and Irish ales to go along with it.
3. Hi Fi BrewingThe newest addition to the Redmond brewery lineup. Hi Fi has great beers, and a super modern, sleek and clean taproom. Ask one of the owners (always hanging out) for a tour and they will be happy to oblige.
2. Malt & Vine Some hundreds of bottles of beer, wine and cider reside at Malt & Vine. They also have approximately 10 beers and wines on tap at any given time. Typically all the best of that season. Their bottles are categorized by country of origin, and you’ll be guaranteed to find all the usual suspects and all the hard to find seasonals here too. No kitchen, but bring in your own food, or have it delivered from one of the delicious restaurants next door.
1. Black Raven BrewingBlack Raven is known for their strong ales, comfortable atmosphere, and really classic standard beers. While they don’t have a kitchen, they have a rotation of food trucks that park in their lot. Speaking of parking, you will probably have to park on the street or far back in their lot on any given night, as this is a lot of people’s number one, not just ours.
What am I missing? Where do you go for a great beer selection? Leave a comment and let me know, or tweet us @exsilio, or find us on Facebook.
Hope to hear from you soon!
I’ve always felt very comfortable walking up to strangers and starting a conversation. Since I was very little, my CEO father took me to business meetings with him and forced me to walk up to his friends and say hello – most often, I had never met these people before. Sometimes he would go with me, but usually he would just point to someone, and say “now I want you to go walk up to Mr. so and so and introduce yourself. Shake his hand and make sure to say your full name.” Memories of this go back to when I was five or six. I remember being very nervous but it always ended well and made my dad happy, which was obviously why I kept doing it. I hold on to a number of memories like this one, being in professional settings with my dad when I was younger. Whenever my dad introduced me to someone, he always followed the introduction with the detail of where they were from, and what they did for a living – sometimes he would even remember something about the person’s kids or recent news in the person’s life. He has a notably exceptional ability to remember nearly everyone he’s met as well as a detail about them, and this was always well received by those he was introducing me to. Over the years, meeting what seems like thousands of people when I was with my dad meant that I had many opportunities to sit back and observe my dad interact with someone, or watch someone before I met them.Sometimes, my dad would tell me to watch someone from across the room, and “read” them. He would ask me later that day what I observed, and teach me things about that person’s personality from what I told him of their demeanor, body language, and sometimes attire. I’m sure my dad wonders where all of that training went when I started dating, somehow early on in my dating life, those skills didn’t transfer. What all of those experiences did do for me was make it feel natural to approach people, and be able to have a conversation with nearly anyone. It helped me to feel like everyone I met was a friend, with no pressure to accomplish anything during the conversation other than learn more about each other and have a good time. I learned the value of humor and letting your own personality come through. People know when someone isn’t being genuine, is trying to put on a façade or is only saying things to get what they want. This is my advice – be yourself, be interested in getting to know the person you’re talking to, not the reason they are at the meeting, conference, etc. Make your sales pitch or your business need second after getting to know the person, and you’ll find greater success. Not sure how to start a conversation, or what to say to keep it going? Here are some tips from Fast Company
Tags: people skills, networking
General | Marketing | Randomness
It was an early morning, but Jason drank enough coffee to deliver a fantastic presentation to members of the Redmond Chamber of Commerce around the idea of product and service trials.
Jason enlightened the audience to the main components of a successful trial program, which stemmed from his own experience with a seed company’s garden planner web app. Sometimes trials aren’t what you think they would be – specifically for service companies who don’t have the ability to let customers try their services.
Jason’s own experience, as mentioned, was with a seed company. He didn’t get seeds to plant, but instead free trial access to their web-based garden planning application. Simply put your garden dimensions in to this application, choose which vegetables to plant, and drag the areas you would like them to grow. The application will tell you how much of each to buy, when to plant, fertilize, harvest and how to prepare for the next season of growing.
So why not seeds? Seeds still require too much from the customer – or as Jason described, the barrier to entry is still too high. Seeds require the customer to know when and how to plant them, prepare a place in their garden, and then harvest them – all on their own. With the garden planner, the customer feels empowered with their how-to sheet from the seed company, a list of things to buy, and how to do it. Nearly foolproof.
Now on to more…
It may seem a no-brainer for a company who produces products to offer trials – it’s easy to download trial software, take a power tool for 30 days to try on projects at home – but the service industry should also have a stake in this kind of offering.
Trials have long been a stable and justifiable way for companies to win the favor of potential customers. Costco floods its stores with tasting stations, auto-dealerships let you take test drives, and software companies give free trials or limited versions of their products – all popular and rewarding ways to get new customers.
So how do you trial something that isn’t tangible, something that is a service versus a product? You can’t possibly try insurance out, and then decide in a week if you like it or not. No one is going to expect to be able to give a bank some of their money and see how it goes for a month.
So what if trying out a service didn’t actually mean trying the service itself. What is it about a service that you are really interested in? It’s the knowledge, the know-how and the expertise of those performing it. I don’t do my own investing or banking, because I have no idea how to do it, and would do poorly at it. I don’t fix my own roof because it’s dangerous and I don’t have the tools, or any idea if it would actually work.
Service trials are successful when the one interested in the trial is given just some piece of the intellectual store behind what makes a service good. This can be done when the service provider writes a whitepaper containing proof, evidence or how-to behind what they do.
It’s not enough information so that the customer could then go execute the service themselves – and they wouldn’t have the experience to do so anyway – but enough to get the customer interested, and to feel like they have been informed and guided by an expert – you – the person they will go to for the actual job they need done.
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Welcome, GeekWire Readers!
If you were to look up “Exsilio,” maybe just to learn how to pronounce it, you’d also find the definition of the Greek word meaning “leap forward, or bound ahead.” The company is as unique as their name; since Exsilio started in Irvine, CA, their continual innovation keeps them at the top of the competition, with strong growth year over year.
We believe our work speaks for itself, and with 80% of our business from past clients, we think that’s pretty good backup.
Since 2006, when we opened our first office in Irvine, CA with just four employees, we have continued to grow in every one of our departments. We’re proud that our turnover is very low, keeping the quality of our work high, with employees who are dedicated and loyal to us and our clients.
While our story is not unique, we believe it’s rare, and we invite you to experience the difference of working with a company who cares as much as you do – about your bottom line, your deadlines, your stakeholders, and your business in the years to come.
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In our latest venture outside the office and the land of code and Expression Studio, we have teamed with the Irvine Chamber of Commerce to bring "Legends and Leaders" to the Orange County business community. In its second year, Legends and Leaders is an extradordinary event showcasing standouts in corporate Orange County. Four times this year, we will meet for lunch with an individual who has been uniquely successful in his or her industry. Last month, we met and learned from Wing Lam, co-founder and CEO of Wahoo's Fish Taco, a large and extremely popular chain of fresh fish taco restaurants with locations from California to New York. Meeting Wing was an incredible experience, as someone who is a pillar of the Irvine business community, dedicated to philanthropy, and gives a fresh perspective on corporate culture and marketing a business.
Wing's vibrant personality, long hair and beard, flip flops and board shorts fit right in with his natural sense for what customers want. Wing has had huge success driving marketing and advertising for Wahoo's by listening to his customers and going with his gut.
It was a great pleasure to meet Wing, hear his story, and be inspired by his approach to business. Stay tuned for May's Legends and Leaders special guest and a recap of the lunchtime presentation.
Learn more about Wing Lam
Tags: Wing Lam, Legends and Leaders, Irvine Chamber of Commerce
About five years ago, when I was a budding account executive in advertising, my boss at the time told me that I could benefit from re-evaluating my use of exclamation points. He was SO right. I was a major abuser and over-user.
Since then, I've noticed the unnecessary use of exclamation points grow and grow—in business communications and in my personal conversations—among men and women.
Exclamation points have their place, they were invented to show emotion in an otherwise flat medium—words on paper. Exclamation points convey excitement, anger or extreme passion, and are usually visualized with someone talking quickly and a high pitched voice—yelling, screaming, shouting—all of those things warrant exclamation points.
However; most often, I see exclamation points being used in very common email communications where, if said out loud, the tone would never be used the same as it is conveyed through email. People do not normally talk with exclamations at the end of every sentence, so why is it happening on paper? It's my opinion that over using exclamation points can damage the writer's credibility and can even make them sound ditzy.
Bottom line, if you’re excited about something, use your words, don’t abuse the exclamation point – keep it for something that really warrants the tone that you’re conveying.
Tags: Punctuation, Writing Style, Tone, Voice
General | Randomness
Let's help the Make a Wish Foundation change a child's life for the better! For every view of our funny holiday video, Exsilio will donate a small amount to the Make a Wish Foundation with the goal of raising $10,000 by January 31st. Come back every day to contribute more money, and don't forget to share with your family and friends.
Tags: Charity, giving back
Creative | General
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