Cheetos Setting a New Standard for URLs?

There was a point, years ago, that it became a standard practice to add your company’s URL to the final slide of your TV commercial. There’s been an evolution of how that URL is displayed…

http://www.visitmywebsite.com

http://www.visitmywebsite.com

visitmywebsite.com

Now check out how Cheetos has decided to change the game even more. What do you think? I kind of like it!

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20 Resume Tips in 20 Minutes

I was given 20 minutes to impart some resume wisdom upon the eager young learners in the Ad Club at the University of Nevada, Reno. So, I decided I’d give them 20 tips in 20 minutes. Here’s what I told them.

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Time for the “Big Game” (psst… that means the Super Bowl)

Super Bowl

Ah, it’s that time of year again already. The air is crisp, anticipation is high and marketers across America are trying to say “Super Bowl” without saying “Super Bowl.” It’s a time-honored ritual to skirt trademark law. Only the official sponsors of the NFL can use the trademarked phrase, “Super Bowl” their marketing and advertising. Even if you’re spending millions of dollars for a Super Bowl ad this Sunday, you can’t say “Super Bowl” unless you’re an official sponsor. (of course, this doesn’t mean that there aren’t a ton of violations – companies using “Super Bowl” in their promotions)

So, what are we to do? Well, come up with clever euphemisms for the Super Bowl, of course. Here are some of the ones I’ve heard (or been forced to use) in the past:

  • The Big Game (The most popular one. At one point, the NFL considered trademarking this, too.)
  • The Big Football Game
  • The Professional Football Championship
  • The Football Championship Game
  • Sunday’s Game
  • Super Sunday
  • The Greatest Sunday in Sports

Let me know if you see any other awesome euphemisms for the Super Bowl. Enjoy this one from Costco’s home page.

 

Costco Ad

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The Effect of the FTC’s Testimonial Disclosure Rule Change

About a year ago, the FTC updated its guidelines on testimonials. I wrote a post about it on my other blog (for work) if you’d like to read that article. The highlights of the guideline updates were around transparency of results and testimonials. The updates included more guidelines around revealing any “material connection” between advertisers and endorsers. In other words, if the endorser received money or any other kind of payment for their endorsement, it needs to be disclosed.

This past week, I noticed the execution of these guidelines on a couple of TV commercials. Fairly interesting. This first one was the most interesting to me. It was an advertisement for a car (I don’t recall which one). The story line was essentially a couple talking about their future together and how this car was going to be a part of that future, etc. But that’s not the interesting part. The interesting part is the disclaimer line: Individuals were remunerated. What the hell does that mean? I’m probably just a big dummy, but I didn’t know what that statement meant. And I figure most people don’t.

Remunerated (verb)
Pay (someone) for services rendered or work done

reimbursed, paid, testimonial, remunerate

Yeah, it basically means that person got paid to say what they said. This seems fair enough at first. But then it also makes me wonder if this was a “real testimonial” and the people were thanked and given some money, or if they were just paid actors reading lines, parading as “real people.” Either way, they were paid. But I can’t tell if this was an actual testimonial or not. I feel like I’m being duped.

Here’s the other one – an ad for Vonage – explaining that these people shared their stories in exchange for an opportunity to appear on a television commercial. I think the description of this disclaimer is far less furtive. I think it’s much more honest and I applaud Vonage for their transparency in respecting the new guidelines. Don’t you?

testimonial, reimbursed, advertisement

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Fraternity Social Media Policy

Note: this is not Sigma Phi Epsilon.

I spend a lot of time volunteering with college students – most of which is spent with my fraternity, Sigma Phi Epsilon. I just received communication from the national organization about representation on social media. The message was intended more for undergraduates than alumni (I think!), but I found it interesting enough to share. We are familiar with more and more workplaces developing social media policies to help protect their brand value. Believe it or not, fraternities (and sororities) are in the same boat. They have a brand to maintain, and with thousands of representatives of that brand all over the nation, it can be difficult to maintain. Especially when there is an interest to reject the “frat boy” stereotype of boozing and womanizing.

What makes it an added challenge is that we’re working with people age 18-22 (generally) who are in the habit of documenting their lives on social media such as Facebook. Posting a photo of you and your buddies hoisting up beer cans or the ubiquitous red Solo cup are badges of honor in a Facebook profile. This isn’t just a Greek Life thing, it’s a college student, high school student, young person thing. We have all seen these types of photos on Facebook. But, the dynamic changes when you’re representing an organization and not just yourself. It will be interesting to see if any national organizations impose a social media conduct policy with consequences for violations.

After all, these are brands built over hundreds of years. Keeping “incriminating” photos off of Facebook isn’t going to protect the brand (it’s made up of so many other factors), but the types of photos that are celebrated on Facebook tend to be the type that entrench Greeks in the negative stereotypes. Don’t get me wrong – these students are doing this to themselves. But they’re affecting a brand that’s larger than them – just like employees who carelessly post can have an affect on the company they work for/represent. We’ll see what happens over time as we deal with a population that’s even more and more entrenched in technology and social media and a habit of documenting their lives – good and bad.

Here is the friendly reminder to the undergrads of SigEp:

“In today’s world, everybody must learn to be careful about how they are portrayed on the internet, particularly on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.  We must all be careful about privacy settings, and about what gets posted on a profile, group or fan page—whether public or private.  More and more employers are using these sites to look at potential employees every day.  University administrators are also using these sites to learn more about their students and campus.  As brothers in Sigma Phi Epsilon, we should think about how we are portrayed on these websites, and how our actions reflect upon the Fraternity as a whole.

Be conscious of how your chapter brothers are using social media sites, individually and on chapter accounts.  Chapter members should not be identifying themselves as SigEps via usernames, titles, captions, clothing, etc. if they are participating in inappropriate or unlawful behavior, using illegal substances, or failing to live up to the Cardinal Principles of Virtue, Diligence and Brotherly Love.”

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Newspaper Fail

Just thought this was funny enough to share. It’s a nice example of when media collide. It’s perhaps an even better example of the newspaper being lazy and just copying over the web article and not editing correctly. I like to picture a world where, one day, newspaper and web can co-exist peacefully. Or maybe a world where printed newsprint is capable of containing active hyperlinks. But I’d rather have a hoverboard, so work on that first.

Newspaper hyperlink fail

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Target Ads Target Lost Viewers

Regardless of your feelings on the quality of the season finale of Lost, I thought one of the standout performances was by retailer and advertiser Target. Target rotated through three, 15-second ads during the season finale of Lost. What made them stand out to me (and truthfully what made me stop fast-forwarding through the commercials) is that the ads started with footage from Lost. The ads were then tagged with a product and a price. The commercials were pretty funny – there was one where the smoke monster was searching through an empty camp, finding nobody. The punchline to the ad is a photo of a smoke detector sold at Target. C’mon, that’s funny!

I’ve included video of all three spots in case you didn’t see them. I like this trend of creating TV commercials that are relevant to the show that they air during – I thought these were brilliant, strategically. If you were familiar with Lost, you understood the commercial and got the payoff. I wouldn’t mind seeing advertisers make an effort like this in the future.

And a spoof for good measure…

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