Integrated ads: how & why they work

Did you watch the Oscars? Or the Superbowl? Then you probably experienced the new integrated advertising phenomena without even realizing it.

Do you remember seeing someone in the room with a mobile phone or tablet, accessing an alternative backstage view, or checking stats or the IMDB database? Or maybe you were sharing the event long-distance via Skype or a Google Hangout? Welcome to the new world of integrated media consumption, aka multi-screen consumption.

Think about the combined impact of seeing the Oscars or Superbowl logo across all these screens. Those logos instantly tell you that you’ve found the “official” app for the event, regardless of device, right? You relax, knowing you have the right channel. At the same time, you’re being exposed to that logo over and over again, so the impact is much greater than that of a single channel.

Now think about the similar effect for a brand that chooses to sponsor an event and/or advertise across multiple media channels. They get the same effect. Affiliation and association with the event is stronger. When the ad content is contextual (i.e. is made specifically for the Oscars, references the Superbowl), the brand recognition, engagement and recall goes through the roof.

In a recent article, ESPN warns that, to be successful, “you have to have a lot of different creative. It could be the same theme, but if sports fans—particularly sports fans that are in the moment—see an ad two or three times, they are done with it. We encourage advertisers to have seven or eight different pieces of mobile creative. You should have 15 or 20 different digital pieces. When you’re creating content for video commercials, don’t shoot the 30s—think in terms of 10s, 15s, 30s, in long form, and see what you can do with that.” In other words, the audience tunes out.

The key to success with integrated advertising lies in a brand being willing to provide consumers a variety of content that falls within a consistent campaign and that extends the storyline. When a viewer encounters this kind of orchestrated effort, no matter which channel s/he turns to, the impact is exponentially greater. That’s why they work.

The Lure of the Multi-Agency Deal

The Unagency. That’s what one group is calling it. You know it as the multi-agency deal, and it’s become the new norm. Why?

Marketers see the multi-agency deal as a way to maximize the special talents of a group of agencies, without paying for the services they don’t need or use: digital services from the best digital shop they can find, event planning from a shop that focuses on events, design work from a brand identity shop, conceptual work from a traditional ad campaign shop. In 2011, that mix often includes newer, smaller, more nimble independent shops. They have the advantage of being hungrier and cheaper, by comparison to the mega ad agencies. This is heady stuff for marketers who have grown tired of dealing with the old agency bureaucracy, cost consultants, etc. So, what’s the downside?

Well… someone needs to coordinate all that inter-agency communication. Otherwise you get duplication, mis-matched assets, and missing elements. Worse, there’s no-one to turn to when disaster strikes, because no single agency is responsible, right? So what happens next? It spins apart into an unholy financial mess with a dollop of legal woes to top it off. Any profit you may have made with this amazing campaign is quickly eaten up by legal costs and unforeseen production errors. This you do not need. Especially since it can be avoided.

In response, many marketers attempt to handle the communication themselves, with mixed results. This is to be expected: you cannot run an ad campaign the same way you run a manufacturing empire: the language, culture and laws are different. Sooner or later, you’re gonna need help, and the more experienced the better.

In the past, we’ve acted as the central hub for talent issues for our clients, ensuring that contracts and payroll for both union and overscale (celebrity) talent are uniform across agencies, across all media, and around the world. In essence, we’ve been the glue, the central hub for talent issues for all parties involved in a multi-agency deal. We’ve protected many a client from unnecessary costs and production delays. That’s great, but that still leaves many areas of the multi-agency communication unprotected.

So we’ve decided to expand our offerings. We’re opening up our trove of resources, and in February 2012, will begin listing our recommended partners on our website for easier access 24/7/365. We’re creating a network of expertise that you can turn to whenever you’re feeling out of your depth and in need of an expert’s help. Feel free to contact them directly, or call us first for more information.

Tech stars: Geeks are the new celebrities

It’s official: geeks are the new class of celebrities. They now rank as high in status as athletes and moviestars as brand spokespersons.

While Baby boomers may find this switch in status hard to believe, Millennials have embraced it without question. For this younger generation, a film titled, “Revenge of the Nerds” simply wouldn’t make sense. The Nerds won years ago. They are no longer underdogs, deserving of pity. These days, “Revenge of the Baristas” would be more believable.

Millennials view tech geeks as the inventors responsible for the many cool gadgets, games and social software that they use every day. Who wouldn’t want to grow up to be the creator of The Next Cool Thing?

At a more subliminal level, the generation raised on Harry Potter sees tech geeks as modern-day wizards. Rich wizards, at that. “Forget medicine, Dad, I wanna study computer science.”

GAP was one of the first brands to pick up on this trend and feature the likes of Dennis Crowley and Naveen Selvadurai, the founders of Foursquare in their Fall 2010 ad campaign. [Full disclosure: GAP is a long-time client]. A recent Mercedes Benz ad featuring Vic Gundotra, Senior VP of Social Business at Google (the man behind Google+) has proven to be phenomenally successful. Watch for other brands to follow this trend in 2012.

Desperately seeking top (women-owned) suppliers?

This week, an article in Adweek reports that advertisers (specifically Procter & Gamble) are increasing the pressure on ad agencies to raise the number of diversity suppliers. P & G is “urging its shops to help the company meet its goal of spending 16 percent of its U.S. marketing dollars on minority- and women-owned suppliers in its current fiscal year, which ends June 30. While P&G and others achieve a portion of their goals directly via the hiring of minority-owned agencies, they also rely considerably on general-market shops to help them when outsourcing specialty services, such as those related to the production of ads. Examples range from the hiring of casting companies and photo retouching firms to those that provide focus group research.” And why not Chloé Productions for talent business affairs and digital and celebrity negotiations? Oh and yes we just happen to be officially certified by the WBENC as a Women’s Business Enterprise, qualifying us to be one of your official minority vendors.

Now, obviously no one (smart) hires a supplier simply to satisfy a quota. But what a fabulous perk it is when a top supplier just happens to also fulfill your need for diversity? Help us help you look good.

Social Media Celebrities

There’s a new kind of celebrity on the rise: the social media star. Major publicity firms, who represent some of the biggest names in Hollywood, are on high-alert, watching to see how this new form of competition plays out. The smart ones are morphing as quickly as possible to cater to this new breed.

Meanwhile, advertisers are rushing to find these “influencers” and sign them up for online product endorsements in the form of paid tweets, product placement in YouTube videos, FaceBook fan page mentions, etc. Not only is their reach more effective than the average TV spot, the conversion to sale is higher, since it involves a trusted endorsement. See the article on the latest KLM campaign.

The biggest misconception? Many advertisers presume that negotiating the use of an amateur’s time will be easier and cheaper. They assume that these “amateurs”, sans agent/publicist, will have no sense of precedents for compensation, and will be so dazzled by the notion of fame and real income, that they will be falling over themselves to sign a deal.

Dream on.

Someone who’s that popular and connected can find an agent in under 3 minutes. And there are other issues. They’re kinda big on the whole transparency/authenticity/integrity thing. Accepting money for promoting a product, without being transparent about it, could swiftly put an end to their newfound fame. They know thattrust is their biggest asset. It’s taken them a lot of time and effort to build that trust with their army of loyal followers. They’re not going to risk it for peanuts. And they’re not going to promise to play nice either. They *are* going to tweet about the experience, good or bad. Every. Last . Detail.

All the more reason why you could use a little help from an experienced talent broker: someone who understands the often-bizarre demands of celebrities and their entourages, who has the inside contacts, because they negotiate non-standard deals and contracts every day. Someone who shares the same values of integrity, honesty and fairness, because without them, we simply would not have survived this long.

Our final advice? The next time someone suggests including a social media star or influential blogger, call us for the fastest, easiest, most cost-effective results.

Is the celebrity backlash real?

As an advertiser or brand manager, you would be forgiven for wondering if using a celebrity spokesperson is more of a hindrance than an asset in 2009, what with the whole recession-chic, anti-luxe zeitgeist. So it’s not surprising to see an article in Brandweek suggesting that celebrity ad deals are dead.

But let’s take a look at some hard facts.

Last month alone, we reported (via our Twitter feed) a spate of new campaigns featuring–surprise!–celebrity endorsements: Burger King (athletes, comics, tv stars), Macy’s (tv, music, entertainment, fashion stars), Wheaties (athletes), Unilever (actors, red carpet events), Sears, Wrangler & ESPN (athletes),Panasonic (film directors), State Farm Insurance (actors), not to mention Sony‘s new $80 million campaign (musicians, athletes, actors). Just how many of these involved contract negotiations help from our team at chloepro? Take a wild guess. (‘Cause we’d never tell.)

Ironically, the BrandWeek article ends up disproving its own headline, “Consumers Unswayed By Celebrities in Ads.” As the survey results revealed, any poll asking participants if they think they’re swayed by celebrity endorsements is flawed from the outset. Very few people would openly admit to being dazzled into buying something based on a famous spokesperson’s pitch or association with a product. Of the rare few profiled who do confess this, most reveal what savvy advertisers have long known: effective advertising appeals to subconscious desires and aspirations.

Regardless of economic conditions, people will continue to yearn for excellence, fame and fortune. If a specific celebrity represents that for your target demographic, then common sense tells you that associating your brand with them can only boost brand recognition and appeal. This fact is reflected repeatedly in sales reports. Just ask any of the brands mentioned above.

We therefore respectfully submit that celebrity endorsements in advertising campaigns are alive and well. Feel free to add your 2 cents below.

Celebrities adjust to the "New Normal"

Average citizens aren’t the only ones having to adjust to the “New Normal” recession lifestyle. Celebrities are being held to similar standards. The pressure is on to appear as authentic, simple and bling-free as possible. In short, to live up to their I’m-just-like-you-but-famous mantra with real actions.

Promoting good causes has long been a staple in the world of celebrity PR. For many years, the best way to positively promote a celebrity’s image, particularly in the wake of a scandal, was to present them as the spokesperson for a popular medical charity. More recently, it took a more intimate, authentic turn, becoming a matter of personal accountability, namely how ‘green’ a celebrity was. Now it’s how New Normal you are. From Obama to Jennifer Aniston, it’s about proudly (pro)claiming your inner-cheapskate.

What is this “New Normal”? A combination of survey results released last month from Gallup, IPP, and Razorfish, reported that US consumers intend to maintain their recently acquired frugal lifestyle well into the future, regarding it as the “New Normal.”

Many don’t believe it will last. Google’s CEO, Eric Schmidt:”those who think consumer frugality is here to stay don’t understand the American psyche.” — Cannes, July 2009. Still, while it does, savvy advertisers are studiously avoiding aligning their brands with ostentatious lifestyles.

Meanwhile, celebrities are, well, adapting to the new reality. So, who’s the reigning king of New Normal celebs? Leonardo Di Caprio. He takes commercial flights, drives a Prius, speaks out about global warming and the problems facing African nations. Go Leo!