Posts Tagged ‘creative’

“L” Stands for loser.

February 10, 2012

Another Super Bowl is in the books. Over hyped? Yes! Bad halftime show? Yes! But the game was great and Super Bowl Sunday has become a holiday so why not enjoy.

Now it’s time to prepare for next season. The NFL players are resting, getting needed surgery and getting prepared for mini camps. Just like the players, the NFL is already working on future Super Bowls. And that’s a good thing because the NFL has a little problem with Super Bowl 50. Ever since the first Super Bowl, the league has numbered them using Roman numerals. That would make Super Bowl 50, Super Bowl “L”. “L” stands for loser. This creates a heck of a problem to solve. The league has managed it’s way through and around  Super Bowl IV in 1970 and Super Bowl XXX in 1996. But having a giant “L” with a sponsor’s logo like, say, Nike’s swoosh right above it could be a little awkward. Not to mention being awkward for the host city.

SO. Just like players trying to get stronger and faster, a crack team of designers and sharp thinkers are squirreled away trying to solve this big problem for a big client. Maybe they will take this opportunity to convert the Super Bowl to Arabic numerals. After all 50 is a huge mile stone. They didn’t think there would be ten Super Bowls let alone fifty. Maybe they’ll have the “L” stand for something other than “Loser” or find a way to hide it in the design. Who knows. But what a fun challenge that would be.

I have a lot of great ideas. I’ll just sit back a wait for the NFL to call.

Three births, three patient experiences.

March 29, 2011

My wife and I are the proud parents of three boys. I know, wow, three boys. Trust me, it’s a blast and we were blessed with three relatively smooth deliveries. Interestingly enough, each boy was delivered at a different hospital and each experience was very different.

The experience we had with the birth of our first son wasn’t what we expected. Your first child is never what you expect, but I’m talking about the patient experience. The hospital was cold and clinical, it was the area’s teaching hospital dedicated to “academic medicine.” My wife felt like a science experiment. The saving grace was a nurse working in the nursery at night; we’ll call her KT. She really loved babies and she loved her job. She made us feel like we had our own nurse caring just for us. We still remember her and I think my wife would include her in our will if she could find her.

Because of our first patient experience, we chose to deliver our second son at the local “boutique” hospital. It was like checking into a hotel to have a baby. It was quiet and comfortable, but we didn’t experience any hospital staff with the same passion of KT. We were treated fine and the delivery went well, but we didn’t leave feeling like we had been given care that was unforgettable.

Maybe I’m being too picky. I often think it’s unfair to expect everyone at a hospital treating my wife and me to exhibit the same kind of passion and zeal as KT’s. Or is it?

Recently my wife and I were blessed with the birth of our third son. We didn’t know what to expect. Our third son was delivered in a different city than his older brothers. My wife’s OB chose the hospital.

From the time we checked in to the time we left, we were reminded of KT because the entire staff worked with her passion and zeal. One nurse came to our room to check my son’s hearing. He started coughing and the nurse picked him up and cleared his throat. This is not uncommon but she did this gladly even though it wasn’t life threatening and not her job. Another nurse came by after her shift just to check on my wife before she left the hospital. It didn’t matter that another nurse was already on duty. Another nurse moved heaven and earth to get me a roll-away bed. I didn’t ask for a bed, all I did was make a joke about the couch being uncomfortable.

Not only are these doctors, nurses and staff members good at what they do, they love what they do and it shows.

I’m a Creative Director in the healthcare/hospital marketing field. One of the coolest things I get to do is witness the work of doctors, nurses and staff who really love what they do. When you talk with them their passion shines through. They believe in what they do and they love it.

As a “creative”, I’m always looking for new and different ways to communicate a client’s competitive advantage. I love what I do. We can saturate the market with a campaign message and light up the web with interactive and social media content. But the most powerful communications tool can be one doctor, nurse or staff member doing their job with a passion that makes them unforgettable to their patients. That’s a real competitive advantage.

While the recent great patient experience is still fresh in our minds, I know we will always remember this hospital stay with a smile. The same way we remember KT.

I’m a PC. I’m a Mac. What am I?

January 25, 2011

Remember the “I’m a PC. I’m a Mac” TV commercials? Me too. If you were a PC user, you snarled. If you used a Mac, you laughed. T-Mobile is trying desperately to use the same formula to attack AT&T and also dig Apple. They have been running their Mac/PC knock-off campaign for a couple of months and I think they’re missing a key element. Nobody cares.

T-Mobile wants to compare its service with that of AT&T. By using Apple’s “I’m a Mac” campaign, they also hope to take a passing shot at the iPhone maker. Good idea, nice strategy, here’s the problem — NOBODY CARES. The Apple campaign worked because PC users love their PCs (and hate Macs) and Mac users love their Macs (and hate PCs). And by the way, everyone dislikes AT&T, especially iPhone users. Is T-Mobile trying to convince iPhone users to buy an Android phone and switch to T-Mobile? Not going to happen. Once again they are loyal to Apple.

The Apple campaign was smart and well written with great casting. The T-Mobile campaign is ham-handed, forced and comes off as a cheap knock off. Click on the links above and compare for yourself.

P.S. A big high-five to Verizon for getting the iPhone. I hope to be a customer very soon!

THE LOGO EVOLUTION; an optimistic revolution

January 18, 2011

A logo update often speaks of a company trying to stay up-to-date in its offerings while strengthening its’ connection with consumers. But, with Starbucks falling into the bucket of recent logo evolutions within the last few months, I was forced to put down my Venti, Non-fat, Carmel Macchiato and ponder – could it mean something more? Could we be on the cusp of a branding revolution?

Every New Year begins with the hope for better things to come. Resolutions are made to convince ourselves that we can try harder and be more than we were the year prior. Every January, we are motivated to turn over a new leaf, conceive and commit to a better version of ourselves, and to accomplish big things. 

Essentially, a rebranding.

I believe the growing appetite for brand evolutions may possibly be an effort by these companies to demonstrate a new promise for the future – even in spite of familiarity feeling more sensible to their consumers.

Perhaps after being smacked around by the impact of the recession – and still jostling from the residuals – we are all eager for a more optimistic perspective.

According to a recent Gallup Poll, twice as many Americans think the U.S. economy will be better rather than worse in 2011.

2011 Expectation (vs. 2010) In Terms of the Economy (Percent of Group)
  Expectation % of Group
Group Better Same Worse
National adults 52% 21 25
   East 55 24 21
   Midwest 56 25 18
   South 51 20 27
   West 48 17 32
$75K or more 55 23 22
$30K to $75K 52 21 25
Less than $30K 51 20 27
Republicans 46 23 31
Independents 50 23 26
Democrats 62 19 16
Source: Gallup, December 2010

Recent tracking results show that consumers only became increasingly optimistic about the economy as 2010 came to an end.

Gallup analysts suggest this could be due to our general optimistic nature as Americans, or it could possibly reflect views of a recovering economy.  

Or it could simply mean that we are all ready to move forward.

And, honestly, was it the attempt these organizations made to put forth a new image that has been debated? Or the lack of creativity, planning and strategic foresight that has forced us to question the success of these new brand transformations?

As Paul Rand said, “Good design is Good for Business.”

And bad design will get you posted on every blog and Facebook page known to man!

 

Ho Ho Ho and Christmas Marketing

December 21, 2010

The other night I saw a Norelco ad with a robotic “droid” looking man on it. It caught my eye, not because it was unique, but because it was so different from their old ads with Saint Nick. Even if you aren’t old enough to remember seeing the spot during “Rudolf” or “Frosty” you have probably seen it somewhere.

Jolly Saint Nick comes sliding down the snowy slope on a rotary razor blade bobsled (http://bit.ly/8tTq8k). Sure it is silly, but it makes you smile. And you get a warm, lighthearted feeling from it. Isn’t that what this season is about – good will toward man or toward the brand?

From the iconic singers with candles to the animated polar bears, Coke usually does a good job of spreading cheer along with their product name. Budweiser has the Clydesdales with sleigh bells, and, at the opposite end of the spectrum, Target has the bright lights and techno music. Going beyond tv spots, some companies are literally projecting their holiday spirit in a larger than life manner. H&M in Amsterdam (http://bit.ly/g4Kc4d) and Saks in NYC (http://bit.ly/f05sid) are using 3-D projection technology to create a fun and entertaining experience for the public. What could be more magical than walking down the street and seeing giant snowflakes fall down the side of a building?  Just seeing the video made me smile. Check it out for yourself and have a Merry Christmas and safe New Year.

 

Nike+ Unleashes a Data-driven Revolution

September 10, 2010

I think anyone who actually admits to enjoying running can legitimately call themselves a runner. A few years ago, I would have never called myself a runner. An iPod and Nike+ changed that.

Nike+ is a sensor system created by Nike and Apple that works with an iPod and the Nike+ website to track a runner’s data – distance, pace, caloric burn and more – over time. According to this 2009 Wired article, Nike, through Nike+, has gathered the largest community of runners ever assembled — more than 1.2 million runners who have collectively tracked more than 130 million miles and burned more than 13 billion calories. And those are last year’s numbers.

Amassing loads of data has uncovered interesting running stats. Like that people in the US run more often in winter than those in Europe and Africa. More often, but for shorter distances. That the average duration of a run worldwide is 35 minutes. The most popular day to run? Sunday. Even the songs we most often choose for extra amps of power.

You can track your data on the website, and even broadcast run stats on Twitter and Facebook. And why on Earth would anyone want to do that? The article explains something called the Hawthorne Effect. The theory that people change their behavior — often for the better — when they are being observed. An effect you can see in real-time on millions of Facebook statuses each day.

Did Nike and Apple create Nike+ to sell more stuff? Of course. But they have not rested on their leading-edge laurels. The products have evolved and the product line has grown. The irritating shoe sensor is now history thanks to a new GPS-utilizing software app that launched this week.

In a few short years, Nike has done more than sell more pairs of shoes. They have created a worldwide community of millions that are engaged and excited about running. A strategy that will surely pay dividends in the long run.

Transcendent Marketing is in Bloom

June 4, 2010

Have you heard about the steak-scent-spilling billboard our grocery-chain neighbors to the north, Bloom, have posted? Chances are that you have.

After all, it was on the front page of our local Columbia newspaper yesterday even though we’re 90 miles from Charlotte. This morning it was featured on NPR. It’s on the Huffington Post, ABC News, Chicago Tribune, Twitter, Facebook – it’s everywhere. (Google “Steak scented billboard and you get 22,300 results.)

That’s what makes it such a great board.

Bloom’s daring creative transcended outdoor’s traditional drive-by audience and generated hundreds of thousands of impressions in other media. And did I mention that all of those impressions were free?

That’s what great creative does. It breaks the bounds of its media space to become infinitely more valuable to the advertiser.

Will I ever smell the pepper and charcoal fragrance it emits? Probably not.

But, it’s reached me – and hundreds of thousands of other people who will never see the board – dozens of times. And for the first time in years, it has me thinking about, and talking about, Bloom.

I haven’t had a reason to talk about them since, well, that muffin billboard they did a couple years back…

A consistent brand message is more important than ever.

April 14, 2010

I read a New York Times article this morning about another way the Internet is changing advertising: by extending the life of traditional television campaigns.

It made me think.

With consumers having access to older commercials via YouTube and similar sites, it’s now more important than ever to maintain a consistent brand message – especially if you’re a mid-sized hospital that may only produce a handful of spots each year.

Since your spots can live on the Internet long after your broadcast schedule expires, they now have the opportunity to carry your messages to audiences well into the future. This can be an incredible asset, enabling you to show growth and development in directions defined by your brand  – but only if every  spot you produce is well grounded in those values.

So it’s time to make sure you know who you are. Are you the high-tech hospital? Are you the leader in personal service, attention and care? What are your core values?

It’s also time to take stock of your current, past and planned marketing initiatives to ensure that they truly reflect your brand. Any departures will be obvious both to you and your consumers.

When all of your creative expounds on your core brand, your commercials will continue to work for you long after they’ve left the local airwaves.

As simple as skiing downhill

February 24, 2010

I really enjoy watching the Winter Olympics even though I know nothing about most winter sports. I’m from the South. That’s not to say that southerners don’t enjoy winter sports. I know a lot people who ski, ice skate and play hockey. But I’m not one of them. While watching a skier prepare for her event, the camera zoomed to a close up of her face. I was struck by her focus; she could have burned a hole through steel with the look on her face. I’d never thought of the focus and concentration it must take to be a good skier let alone an Olympian.

Which brings me to my point. It’s nothing new or earth shattering to our business, but it’s more important now than ever before. We need to keep our clients’ marketing/advertising messages focused and simple. Finding that single laser-like message isn’t easy and outside forces can easily complicate the message. But, like the skier, we need to shut out distractions and keep looking and moving ahead.

It’s not a revolutionary concept, but it’s something we can easily forget. So take a deep breath, get focused, keep things simple and great work will follow. Maybe even a medal here and there.

I wish I’d thought of that.

December 7, 2009

Most creative types start every project with the same hopeful thought, “this will be the best work I’ve ever done.” So you dig into your creative briefs and pore over the research. You think, brainstorm and execute. Finally, you step back with great pride and think, “they are going to love this.” You present the work and you are correct. They love the work and everyone is happy. Then, several months later, you thumb through a Communication Arts, Print or some other industry book and you think to yourself, “I wish I’d thought of that.” You look back at the work you just did and you know it could have been better.

Your work is still good. It’s on strategy, very effective, and your client loves it. But, as you look back, you realize at one point you were on the verge of something unique. Then you put your industry-specific hat on and unwittingly watered down a great idea.

Wait. Hold on. Timeout.

You always want to know the nuances of a specific industry in which you are working. It comes with the territory. But most of the time we pull that industry specific hat down over our eyes for one reason: fear. We use specific words and images because we think we have to. We forget that every human brain – whether it belongs to a consumer, creative or client – craves and notices novelty.

Like a lot creative people, I’m guilty of being afraid to develop something that may seem too radical from time to time. But not anymore. I’m more afraid of looking back on a project and thinking, “I wish I’d thought of that.”


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