Gonesh, an incense company and a longtime client of ours, came to us with an exciting opportunity that had been offered to them: a partnership with a minor league baseball team that would include running a 30 second ad for Gonesh on the videoboard during every home game for the 2018 season.
Midwest Performance Cars came to Sparkfactor looking for help with an ad. They wanted to place an ad in the Porsche Club of America Chicago’s magazine to advertise their Porsche repair services. They also wanted to update the previous ad to look more inviting and have images take up more space.
Last April I spent a very rainy and cold Saturday traveling around Chicago with some friends, running in and out bookstores, collecting punchcards. It was the last Saturday of the month—Independent Bookstore Day—and we were participating in the first My Chicago Bookstore Challenge: if you visited 10 of the participating independent bookstores throughout the city and suburbs, you received a 10% discount from all participating stores for the next year; if you visited 15, you got 15%. We succeeded in visiting 11 participating bookstores and several more that weren't on the list, just for fun.
In Chicago, there are Special Service Areas (SSAs) throughout the city, streets that are economic thoroughfares in the neighborhood. SSAs are under local neighborhood organizations and provide services to business owners, like facade and building improvements and marketing and advertising of the area.
The Back of the Yards Neighborhood Council has several SSAs under its care, one of which is SSA #39 Brighton Park and Archer Heights, which was established in 2007. These two lesser known neighborhoods on the Southwest Side of the city are connected through the SSA, which runs southwest down a portion of Archer Ave from California in Brighton Park to Pulaski in Archer Heights. The SSA commission wanted to create a brand identity and an ad campaign to increase the awareness of the area, not only to bring in more visitors from around the city and tourists that happen to pass through the transportation in the area, but also to encourage locals to see their neighborhood as a place to invest in with their time and money.
The Rogers Park Business Alliance has a few different City of Chicago Special Service Areas (SSAs) under its purview, including SSA #43. SSA #43 includes a good portion of Devon Avenue (a busy east/west street in Chicago) and a part of Western Avenue (the city's longest continuous street). SSA #43 wanted to develop a brand identity for the area and an ad campaign to draw people—city residents and tourists alike—to the businesses to boost the local economy and show off what Devon has to offer.
Baseball is back! Today was supposed to be the opening day for Wrigley Field, but with the snow that fell this morning in Chicago, the Cubs decided to postpone the game, while the White Sox found a pretty ingenious way of dealing with the snow on their field to still play their home opener.
As the Cubs were prepping for Opening Day, I'm sure they wanted to get as many people as possible in the stands. In the days leading up April 9, I came across Facebook ads in my feed reminding me that Opening Day tickets were still available.
The ads themselves are simple: nine words, the Cubs hashtag for the year, and a couple of photos with stadium seats. But there's so much communicated in such a simple ad that it should act as the template for your future social ads.
Last year, I wrote about the Oscar's Best Picture debacle and what marketers could learn from it when thinking about communicating information in print or in digital: add signals of importance (like bold or italics), make it easy to interpret, give readers room with white space, and use the inverted pyramid of importance to convey information. While we don't know if the card inside the envelope was any easier to read this year, we do know that the envelope itself was considerably easier to read, making it harder for the original error in last year's crisis to be repeated—Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway were given the wrong envelope for the category they were presenting.
I love the Olympics and the Winter Olympics are by far my favorite. I enjoy watching sports you don't even hear of outside of the Olympics: ski jumping, bobsled, skeleton, and, of course, curling. So all of the Olympics promos during the Super Bowl on Sunday got me so excited for the next two weeks of winter-based sports.
According to Wired, NBC is going all out to broadcast this year's events. Not only will sports be airing live across NBC's multiple channels, but the social media team will have streaming clips and live updates across multiple platforms. The thing about this year's website that caught my attention was the amount of storytelling content already up.
In terms of this year's commercials, some are calling it the #BoringBowl—although the same cannot be said for the actually game.
Personally, part of the boring aspect is that a significant amount of ads could be found online days before the game. By my count, half of the top ten on USA Today's Ad Meter list were online early last week.
While there were some inspiring commercials, most had either already aired or could have been seen online before the game. But who is hyped for the Olympics to start at the end of the week?
So instead of the best ads of this year, let's do the most surprising, the ones we didn't see coming.
A brand is the way a company presents itself to outsiders: consumers, board members, partners, customers. A brand is used to identify one organization from another. And it's not just the logo—although that plays a significant part—a brand identity takes into consideration tone of copy, content, visual elements like fonts and images, and even fundamentals like the company's mission statement. Without a clear brand identity, organizations can sink in the sea of competition.
And even if a company has a brand identity, if the ideas that make up that identity only stay with the C-suite or with those in leadership, it's not being put to good use. An organization's brand needs to be communicated to all team members. The best way to do that effectively is to develop a brand guideline.
Brand guidelines are a set of standards that create a company's brand. It can be as long or as short as necessary—as long as all the essentials are present so that, as Shelby Clarke puts it, "every single person in your company . . . understand[s] both what the brand is, as well as how to implement it in the work they do." It can be a physical document or it can live digitally on an organization's collective drive, so long as every single employee knows how to access the guidelines.