BLOG WORKS

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Term Advertising

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Adam
Kristen

	
		
		

 

Last week we introduced you to Google Grants, the nonprofit edition of AdWords, which are the text ads that appear on the right of your Google search page results. If you've read last week's post, then you have already determined if your nonprofit will qualify for Google Grants or not. If you do, congrats!  That is awesome news!  Now, you just need to know how to make good use of it.

 

Whether you are managing your campaign yourself or are working with an agency (like GLAD WORKS, shameless plug there, sorry) there are a few tips we can share with you to make sure you get everything you can out of your account.

Know what you want to do

This seems obvious, but honestly you need to do a lot of planning and have a carefully considered list of objectives. Running ads just for the heck of it is a waste. You need specific reasons and measurable goals. Some of your goals might be:

  • Draw attention to new content on your website like blog posts or videos
  • Get people to sign up for your email newsletters
  • Attract people to an event
  • Recruit more volunteers
  • Get more donations

Once you've got that part sorted out, you need to have realistic expectations. If your goal is to get people to come to your site and immediately sign up to volunteer or receive newsletters, you may be disappointed. But if they click on your ad, you've at least gotten them to your landing page. Don't be discouraged because they will come back as long as you have something awesome and impressive to come back to (like a well designed, user friendly site with great content).

Measuring your success

There are ways to measure your goals. Establish some baseline numbers and then experiment to see if they improve. If something's not working, mess with it a bit until you start seeing results that please you. It's possible through AdWords to see what is performing and there is no extra cost for changing your ads. Make sure AdWords is linked to Google Analytics so you can do this.

Think about your content carefully

You can either write your own content or have it done professionally (ahem, GLAD WORKS, ahem). Either way, it's important to take the time to word your ads carefully. Be sure that what you say goes along with your general messaging and that it's engaging to the reader so that it draws them in

Consider whom you're talking to

If you want folks to make that ever-important click, you need to say something that will interest them. You do this through keywords. AdWords campaigns are collected into groups. Each contains an assortment of ads. Each ad collection is triggered by a set of certain related keywords. Your keywords should be related to what your audience is searching for so that your ad comes up when they perform a search. For example, if you're looking for volunteers, you want that to be one of your keywords

Do your homework

If you're not sure what keywords to use, do a little research. Start googling stuff that you would google if you were looking for an organization like yours. In other words, think like your audience. Having great keywords are at the heart of success with AdWords.

Other ways to come up with good keywords include:

  • Checking into your Google Analytics for what keyword phrases folks have been searching for. Again, make sure that's hooked up to your AdWords so you can accomplish this.
  • Define "negative keywords."  These are words that might come up that are not relevant to you at all. For example you do not want someone to click on your ad who is looking for a job, then you would make the word "job" a negative keyword. If you were selling flutes then you would want to make "champagne" a negative keyword so you don't get folks who are shopping for champagne flutes. Every click counts so don't waste em' on the wrong audience!
  • If you only serve a specific region, make sure that's a keyword 

A good way to start

Take some of your existing copy and edit that to include your keywords. Then, you can tailor your message to communicate what you want people to know. Maybe you have a conference coming up or a new blog post to promote. Work that in. Whatever you do, make sure the ads you are promoting reflect the mission of your nonprofit. If you're selling something 100% of the proceeds must benefit your organization.

Ask for help

You are busy trying to run your organization and it ain't easy. You're pulled in a hundred different directions and you don't have a lot of time to sit and really figure this out. If that's the case, ask for some help. Consider partnering with an agency (Gee, if only we knew one who does this sort of thing…) and get the help you need to make it a success.


	
		
		

 

Yes, Google is taking over the world, but that doesn’t mean they don't have a heart. They have programs out there that are meant to help struggling nonprofits get their word out without having to spend any of their precious donations to do it. Today we will explain those programs, and their requirements, Hope you qualify and get to take advantage!  We'll talk about what to do with it next week. Let's just get you qualified first!

 

YouTube for non-profits

There exists a "YouTube for non-profits" feature that is a part of the Google Grants program. This is tied into Google Grants so once your organization is accepted, you'll be able to access the wonders and the glories that come with it. You will get:

  • Premium branding capabilities on YouTube channels
  • Increased uploading capacity
  • The ability to select custom thumbnail images
  • Call-to-action overlay on your videos

 From what we understand, the "non-profits" is a division of the YouTube partners program.

YouTube for non-profits (click that link so you can see what we are talking about) also allows for a "donate" button that can appear directly onto the video pages. It's important to note that you don't get any of these features unless you qualify for the program. It's not for everybody.

Google Grants

In summary, if your organization is accepted into the program, you will be given a daily budget of $330 a day, which works out to be $10,000 per month for free from Google AdWords. Pretty sweet, right? However, it seems that you can only bid up to $1.00 per click maximum as part of the program. There are certain eligibility requirements we will list below for your reference. Only one membership per organization is allowed and it is limited to text ads only. 

Here's some more information about the program taken directly from the Google Grants main page

Google Grants is the nonprofit edition of AdWords, Google's online advertising tool. Google Grants empowers nonprofit organizations, through $10,000 per month in in-kind AdWords™ advertising, to promote their missions and initiatives on Google.com.

About the Program

Google Grantees receive a grant for free AdWords advertising on Google.com. Grantees build and manage their own AdWords accounts just like paying advertisers, but participate with the following restrictions:

    •    A daily budget set to $330 USD, which is equivalent to about $10,000 per month

    •    A maximum cost-per-click (CPC) limit of $1.00 USD

    •    Only run keyword-targeted campaigns

    •    Only appear on Google.com

    •    Only run text ads

    •    Run for as long as the organization remains actively engaged with their  Grants AdWords account 

Eligibility

1) To be eligible for the Google for Nonprofits program, organizations must:

  • Hold current 501(c)3 status, as determined by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service; and acknowledge and agree to the application's required certifications regarding nondiscrimination and donation receipt and use.

2) Please note that the following organizations are not eligible for Google for Nonprofits:

  • Governmental entities and organizations;
  • Hospitals and health care organizations;
  • Schools, childcare centers, academic institutions, and universities (philanthropic arms of educational organizations are eligible). To learn more about Google's programs for educational institutions, visit Google in Education.

3) Google reserves the right to grant or deny an organization's application or participation at any time, for any reason, and to supplement or amend these eligibility guidelines at any time. Selections are made at Google's sole discretion, and are not subject to external review.

If you think your organization qualifies for Google grants AdWords for nonprofits, follow this link for application details.

Now that you're aware of what's out there, we can start to talk about ways to make the most of it once you're signed up and doin' your thang!  Your homework for the week is to see if you might be able to qualify and even get your application started. We'll help you along with the process so no worries.  We're with you every step of the way!


	
		
		

 

Yes, Google is taking over the world, but that doesn’t mean they don't have a heart. They have programs out there that are meant to help struggling nonprofits get their word out without having to spend any of their precious donations to do it. Today we will explain those programs, and their requirements, Hope you qualify and get to take advantage!  We'll talk about what to do with it next week. Let's just get you qualified first!

YouTube for non-profits

There exists a "YouTube for non-profits" feature that is a part of the Google Grants program. This is tied into Google Grants so once your organization is accepted, you'll be able to access the wonders and the glories that come with it. You will get:

  • Premium branding capabilities on YouTube channels
  • Increased uploading capacity
  • The ability to select custom thumbnail images
  • Call-to-action overlay on your videos

From what we understand, the "non-profits" is a division of the YouTube partners program.

YouTube for non-profits (click that link so you can see what we are talking about) also allows for a "donate" button that can appear directly onto the video pages. It's important to note that you don't get any of these features unless you qualify for the program. It's not for everybody.

Google Grants

In summary, if your organization is accepted into the program, you will be given a daily budget of $330 a day, which works out to be $10,000 per month for free from Google AdWords. Pretty sweet, right? However, it seems that you can only bid up to $1.00 per click maximum as part of the program. There are certain eligibility requirements we will list below for your reference. Only one membership per organization is allowed and it is limited to text ads only.

Here's some more information about the program taken directly from the Google Grants main page:

Google Grants is the nonprofit edition of AdWords, Google's online advertising tool. Google Grants empowers nonprofit organizations, through $10,000 per month in in-kind AdWords™ advertising, to promote their missions and initiatives on Google.com.

About the Program

Google Grantees receive a grant for free AdWords advertising on Google.com. Grantees build and manage their own AdWords accounts just like paying advertisers, but participate with the following restrictions:

    •    A daily budget set to $330 USD, which is equivalent to about $10,000 per month

    •    A maximum cost-per-click (CPC) limit of $1.00 USD

    •    Only run keyword-targeted campaigns

    •    Only appear on Google.com

    •    Only run text ads

    •    Run for as long as the organization remains actively engaged with their  Grants AdWords account

Eligibility

1) To be eligible for the Google for Nonprofits program, organizations must:

  • Hold current 501(c)3 status, as determined by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service; and acknowledge and agree to the application's required certifications regarding nondiscrimination and donation receipt and use.

2) Please note that the following organizations are not eligible for Google for Nonprofits:

  • Governmental entities and organizations;
  • Hospitals and health care organizations;
  • Schools, childcare centers, academic institutions, and universities (philanthropic arms of educational organizations are eligible). To learn more about Google's programs for educational institutions, visit Google in Education.

3) Google reserves the right to grant or deny an organization's application or participation at any time, for any reason, and to supplement or amend these eligibility guidelines at any time. Selections are made at Google's sole discretion, and are not subject to external review.

If you think your organization qualifies for Google grants AdWords for nonprofits, follow this link for application details.

Now that you're aware of what's out there, we can start to talk about ways to make the most of it once you're signed up and doin' your thang!  Your homework for the week is to see if you might be able to qualify and even get your application started. We'll help you along with the process so no worries.  We're with you every step of the way!


	
		
		

 

Today is going to be so much fun! We were having a meeting last week when the conversation came around to awesome television commercials. Everyone had some great ones to share with some really interesting insight as to why each particular commercial works so well. When advertising is done properly, it has incredible power. We can go on journeys, we laugh, we cry, we feel motivated to do our taxes…

Here are our favorites right now along with some cool thoughts from your favorite GLAD WORKS team members!

Gina:

I absolutely love this one for TurboTax. The copywriting in “The Year of the You” is sheer genius in the way that it transforms the act of doing your taxes, which everyone hates, into a reflection on the story of your year. A boring task is turned into an opportunity to report on your year your way rather than having someone else put the pieces together for you. It actually makes me want to do my taxes. It makes it even seem like fun. That’s powerful stuff right there!

The next one I love is “They Lived” by Subaru. I cry every single time I see it even though it’s very simple. Seeing twisted and mangled cars being towed and hauled away paired with the simple words “they lived” hits me in the gut every single time. Subaru has a reputation for making safe cars, and the tag line at the end, “Love it’s what makes a Subaru, a Subaru” adds that extra bit of impact and drives (no pun intended) their point home beautifully. The ability to protect the ones you love is one more thing to add to that list of what makes a Subaru a Subaru. Awesome.

Brittany:

Remember the moonwalking pony ads everyone was going crazy for a while back? Three, a British mobile phone network, is at it again with “Sing it Kitty.” The ad features a cute little girl and her kitty riding through town on a bike, rocking out to We Built This City by Starship. The two friends are sharing a fun moment and while you’re watching it, you can’t help but smile and think of whom you’ll share the ad with (I shared it with a friend who has a daughter the same age as the little girl in the commercial). 

But what does this have to do with mobile networks? It’s all about sharing and that magical moment that happens when you share something silly with another person. As the ad says at the end, “we all need silly stuff.”  And sharing silly stuff is an awesome way to make a connection with someone.

Piero:

I always enjoy the Allstate commercials because they’re funny and fun to watch. They do lots of unexpected things and I think the silliness of the commercials draws away from the stiff corporate image that plagues insurance companies. Why can’t insurance be fun?  Everyone needs it, we can’t escape it, so why not poke a little fun at life’s little incidents?

 

Matt:

I’ve always been a fan of the Travelocity Travel Gnome commercials. The gnome is iconic to the brand and the commercials usually have a fair amount of wit to make them memorable. Any way that an ad can conjure up some sort of emotion in the viewer is a great way to make sure it’s not soon forgotten.

Adam:

The BMW missed opportunities ad is my current favorite because it speaks to me on many levels. I roll on the floor with laugher every time the guy says “140 characters?  I just don’t get it.”

It also resonates with me because I’m constantly chasing and seizing opportunities. When I see a good thing, I know it right away and I never let it go, unlike the poor sap in the commercial!  I think this ad targets it’s demographic perfectly.

Melyssa:

I am a bit obsessed with the Sprint “Framily Portrait” commercials. They’re entertaining to watch and each one tells the story of a diverse network of people called a “framily” who stay connected to one another through Sprint’s Framily plan. I love the way the ads are shot in a way that engages the viewer and gets the point across with very little copy. Images can at times express far more than words can and this advertisement proves it quite beautifully.

Kristen:

Okay so this one is a bit of a tearjerker, but that’s why I love it. Like what Matt said, any time you can get the viewer to experience an emotion, it’s a good thing!  Unlike the Allstate commercials that Piero loves, this Thai Life Insurance Company “Unsung Hero” ad goes straight to the heart. It makes you think about what’s important in life and why your own life is important.

The ad asks a simple question: “why do some people have plenty of money but no joy?” It then follows a young man who goes about his community performing random acts of kindness, finding joy in helping others. The man witnesses the happiness he brings, feels love and gets things money can’t buy from a life lived making the world a better place. Just get the tissues ready. What happens to the little girl will do you in.

What are some of your favorite television ads right now, GLAD WORKS friends?

Tell us in the comments!


	
		
		

 

Greetings GLAD WORKS friends!  We’ve been doing so many heavy posts about very serious things that we thought we should lighten things up a little bit. After all, it’s almost summer time and the livin’s easy! Today, we have some really fun videos for you as we’ve chosen four of our favorite viral ads to share. They all have a few things in common that we think greatly contribute to their virality. Can you guess what those elements might be?

No skipping to the end to find out the answer!

Carlsberg- Standing Up For a Friend

One of the world’s leading brands of beer has a fantastic online campaign called “Carlsberg puts friendship to the test.”  In this video, a group of volunteers are placed in a very dramatic scenario and asked to call their best friend to bail them out. Which friends will show up in the middle of the night in a seedy neighborhood and which ones will hang up the phone and go back to sleep?  You’ll have to watch the video to find out who stands up for their friend and enjoys a moment that “calls for a Carlsberg” in the end.

Kmart ‘Ship My Pants’ and ‘Big Gas Savings’

Nothing makes folks blush and/or laugh more than an ad with perfectly innocent words that when said together sound naughty. That’s exactly what Kmart has done and to great effect!  Some people may think these ads cross the line into inappropriateness, but we think it’s great that there’s a bit of controversy. After all, it’s got people talking about Kmart. When was the last time you talked about Kmart?  They have a bit of a fuddy-duddy reputation, but this campaign boosts their hip factor a bunch!  We dare you not to laugh when the man at the end ships his bed!

Spock vs. Spock!  Leonard Nimoy vs. Zachary Quinto: The Challenge

This ad was perfectly timed to coincide with the release of Star Trek Into Darkness. Audi clearly knows how to make a successful video and if they continue to make ads like this one, they’ll certainly live long and prosper (Sorry. We couldn’t help it!). In this online commercial, Audi pits the two Dr. Spocks against each other in a car race to the golf course. The loser buys lunch, but sadly, Nimoy’s car doesn’t seem to be up to par with Quinto’s Audi, and Quinto beats him to the club. Will Nimoy get the last laugh?  There’s a surprise ending you’re going to love!

It’s often said that there’s no formula for a viral video, but we think there are a few things that help increase your chances big time. Your video needs to be topical, it needs to have some element of surprise, it should evoke an emotional response, and it should be short and sweet. All of the videos we talked about today have those elements in place and that’s a big part of their success.

Have you seen any online “commercials” or viral ads that you thought were really effective?  Don’t be shy, share!


	
		
		

 

 

Recently, Twitter rolled out a new effort to build up their advertising business. Now you can purchase ads that will reach users based on the keywords in their recent tweets as well as the tweets they’ve interacted with recently. Today we’re going to go into some detail about this new feature and talk about how useful it might be to you. 

In other words, we’re going to tell you why you care.

We might also talk about ice cream because it’s May now and summer is coming!

What is keyword targeting?

Keyword targeting is a way for brands to show ads to users based on specific words in their tweets as well as words in tweets they’ve interacted with recently. In this way, people can be targeted based on things they’ve already said they’re interested in. As Twitter explains it, marketers can “reach users at the right moment in the right context” instead of trying to reach them on the basis of geographic location or demographic information.  

This does not mean you’ll see more ads on Twitter

Twitter promises us that this won’t mean that every time we tweet something we’ll see an ad for something related to it.  It just means that we’ll see more stuff related to things we actually care about. We’ll still be able to ignore Promoted Tweets, but we might not be as likely to ignore things since the ones we see will be more relevant to us. And indeed that is the hope behind these changes. Twitter hopes that this new feature will make people a lot more likely to engage with Promoted Tweets.

And this is why you care: people who are already interested in what you’re saying will see your tweets.

Pretty freakin’ sweet, right?

Speaking of sweet…

How it works

Twitter uses the example of advertising concert tickets to explain how this all works, but we’re going to talk about it in language that more of us can understand and appreciate: ice cream.

So let’s pretend that a user tweets about totally digging red velvet cake, and it so happens that YOU just added that flavor to your ice cream menu. You can run a geotargeted ad campaign using the keywords “red velvet cake” with a tweet that links to your ice cream shop’s website. That tweeter, having expressed an interest in red velvet cake, will now become aware of the glory and the wonder that is your newest flavor— red velvet cake ice cream. And it’s all because of this keyword targeting business.

How to do it

Setting up a targeted keyword campaign is easy peasy. First, you do your research and come up with the keywords you’d like to use (in our example that might be “red velvet cake,” “red velvet cake ice cream,” etc.). Choose whether you want to use phrase match or unordered keyword match. Next, you pick from other targeting options like geographic location, gender, and type of device. Your promoted tweets will then appear in user’s timelines when they mention any of your keywords or interact with other people’s posts that contain them.

It’ll be interesting to see how this takes off, but we think it sounds like it’s going to work really well. Folks who have already tried it are giving good reports, but we’d like to hear from any of you who’ve given it a whirl.

How did it work for you and would you do it again?


	
		
		

 

So, you’ve read our post about Google AdWords and Facebook Ads and you’ve decided to go with advertising on Facebook. But now what?  They have so many products!  There are Promoted Posts, Sponsored Stories, Page Post Ads and Marketplace Ads, but what do all these things do?  It’s overwhelming!

Not to worry, GLAD WORKS friends. We can sort this out for you.

Let’s dig in and take a look at Promoted Posts and Sponsored Stories—the two things we think you’re most likely to be interested in to start out with. 

Promoted Posts

A year ago this May, Facebook rolled out Promoted Posts, which gives businesses a chance to pay to get their content in front of more eyeballs. Since only a very limited percentage of your page’s followers actually see your posts come up in their news feeds, using Promoted Posts makes sense if you’ve got something you really want people to see.

The cost to promote a post varies based on your geographic location and the number of people you’re reaching, but you can spend anywhere from $10 up to $100 to make the magic happen. If any of your followers interact with your post (by sharing, liking, or commenting), a higher percentage of their friends will also see it. 

Promoted Posts show up exclusively in news feeds and you can purchase them right there on the post. Just look for the “Promote” option at the bottom right hand corner of each post. You’ll have a few options for how much you want to spend as well as an estimate of how many people will see your post. 

Sponsored Story

Another way to get your content in front of more Facebookers is to use Sponsored Stories. Sponsored Stories are built around user activity. As an advertiser, you pay to highlight an action that users have already taken. That action appears to the user’s friends either on the sidebar or in their news feed. An audience that’s not connected to a brand page themselves or through a friend will not see a Sponsored Story. 

The goal of a Sponsored Story is to get more users to take the same action that a friend has taken. So, if for example someone Likes a page, the Sponsored Story will appear either in the news feed or sidebar of that person’s friends, hoping to inspire them to follow suit. Think of it as being like “word of mouth” advertising. 

There are different kinds of Sponsored Stories:

  • Page Like Sponsored Stories appear when a user has liked a page
  • Offer Claimed Sponsored Stories appear when users have claimed an offer
  • Sweepstakes Sponsored Stories show up when someone has entered a sweepstakes.

You can purchase most Sponsored Stories through Facebook’s self-serve ad tool. 

Which is right for you?

Well, that depends on your goal. If your goal is to remind your existing fans that you’re still alive and kicking, or to spread the word about something awesome you feel the world needs to know about, Promoted Posts are a fantastic way to do that. You have to have more than 400 likes on your page in order to use the Promoted Posts option. 

Sponsored Stories can help you grow likes on your page, but it can also help you when you’re running a promotion on your website or hosting an event. For example, if a user signs up to go to an event you’re hosting, that story will appear to their friend who will hopefully say “Oh! That sounds like fun! I want to go too!”

It’s tough to say which one is right for you since every audience is different and the answer isn’t so clear-cut. It might make sense to dip your toe in the water a little bit and go with a Promoted Post first. If you don’t have enough followers, then a sponsored story might be the way to go toward getting your message out while giving you a chance to attract more likes to your page.

Whichever you choose, be sure to use it strategically and then track your results. Not everything is going to work for every audience, so keep testing to be sure you’re not wasting your time, money and effort on something that’s getting you mediocre results.

 


	
		
		

 

If you’re thinking about investing in some pay per click advertising, but you’re not sure if you should start with Google AdWords or Facebook Ads, then this is for you!

We can help you get it all sorted out so you’re on your way to a solid plan by the end of this blog post!

As it turns out, Google AdWords and Facebook Ads are both good, but for different things. It all depends on what you intend to do with your ad. So, the first thing you need to do is establish your goals. They’ll help you determine what the best fit will be since even though there are many similarities between the two, the web audience for Google AdWords and Facebook Ads behave differently.

But before we get into how they’re different, let’s talk about how they’re alike.

Google AdWords and Facebook: more alike than unalike

Both advertising platforms share some basic things in common. Both have massive audiences and both offer self-service pay-per-click advertising. They’ve also got free marketing tools like Google Places and Facebook Pages.  But perhaps the best thing about both of them is that they each allow you to run highly targeted ads to very specific folks based on geographic location and other demographic data that they’ve collected about their users. However, as similar as they are, they work differently.

What’s your goal?

Having a well thought out goal for your ad is super important. If you’re heading into it with a shot in the dark approach saying, “I’ll just pick one and give it a try” it’s probably not going to work the way you want it to. So, ask yourself if you’re wanting to build brand awareness or if you’re hoping to get more visits to your website.

The answer to that question will determine if you should go with Google AdWords or Facebook Ads.

When to use Facebook Ads

Let’s say your goal is to build brand awareness or to get a specific message out to a certain group. Facebook Ads are your best choice here because these ads are highly targeted to folks who may be interested in what you’re offering at some point. Facebook users are generally there to catch up with friends and look at cute kitty pictures. Nobody is really looking to buy something right then and there when they’re on Facebook. This means that fewer people are going to click on your ad since they’re on Facebook for another purpose. With Facebook Ads, the demand is created by the ad. Think of it as planting a seed. Just as it takes time for a seed to grow, it may take time to see results this way. But as people develop a need for what you have, they’ll think of you because they saw your ad.

When to use Google AdWords

With Google AdWords on the other hand, the demand is already there—the seed has already been planted and the consumer is searching for what you’re offering. This means that more people are going to click through to your site and possibly purchase something because you came up in a search at the exact time they were looking for you. Google AdWords can capture their intent right away and send them over to your site. So, if you’re trying to get some traffic, this is a good choice.

What’s easier to use?

We tend to think that Facebook has the advantage on this one since more people are accustomed to Facebook’s user interface. Google AdWords can be overwhelming because of all the fancy features and functions, so if you find yourself crying in the corner after trying to do this yourself, you can always call us. Nobody’s going to think you’re silly for needing the help because it can be tough to navigate this stuff!

The short version

If your goal is to get some business quickly, then Google AdWords is the way to go. If establishing brand awareness and visibility is what you want, then go with Facebook. Of course, nobody says you can’t choose both!  That would be ideal, but if you’d prefer to be conservative for now and just dip your toe into the waters a little bit, use your goals as your guide and see what happens. You can always try your other option later.


	
		
		

 

This year’s Super Bowl seems to have generated more buzz than in years past. Advertisers are coming back full force, spending upward of $4 million for a 30-second spot. That’s up 90% from a decade ago!  This year more than in years past, we noticed quite a bit of buzz building even before the Super Bowl. People are even still talking about the ads a few days later!

Advertisers seem to be raising the bar, and many people who previously did not care about the game are pulling up a chair to see the commercials (and the half time show, of course).

Some companies, aware of this phenomenon, make very wise use of that incredibly expensive screen time, creating memorable ads that not only entertain, but stick in the minds of those who watch them. But what happens if that attention draws a negative reaction?  What happens if what sticks is a bad vibe associated with a brand? Are those dollars wasted?

These are the questions we found ourselves asking after seeing the reaction the GoDaddy ad got during the Super Bowl.

Take a look if you haven’t seen it and we’ll see you on the other side.

 

The first thing any good commercial does is get attention, and GoDaddy has a history of doing this through racy commercials. In 2008, their first Super Bowl commercial was rejected for being too racy, but the one that did air made sure viewers could find it online. By the end of the game, 1.5 million people visited their site!  Clearly, shock and awe works for them, and this year was no exception. Some folks thought the kiss between a gorgeous model and a nerdy guy was gross, some thought it was too racy, and some just laughed. The stars of the commercial even appeared on the Today show the next morning to talk about the “controversy.”  But is there truly such a thing as bad buzz?

In this case, we don’t think so. The folks at GoDaddy are pretty stoked right now and we love that they’ve kicked up a little dust and gone for the gusto. Somebody’s got to push the envelope!

This has actually happened to us when we worked on a 30-second TV spot for the Providence College Friar’s Men’s Basketball Team. We tossed around a few ideas here and there, some safe and traditional, some a little edgy. In the end, we decided that edgy was the way to go. The spot caused quite a stir and raised a few eyebrows. It aired after some of the basketball players had been involved in a much talked about off campus brawl. To some, the tough Friartown image we portrayed in the spot was too gritty, especially in light of the unfortunate incident. Others loved it and thought it was just as fierce as the illustrious team it aimed to promote.

Either way, whether folks liked it or didn’t, it did its job. It got attention and made people talk. Providence College was actually happy with the spot because it started conversations and ultimately put some buns in the stands at the Friar’s games!

We were excited to be part of a buzz generating TV spot, even if it wasn’t well received by everyone. In the end, the important thing is that it got attention and generated excitement about the Friars.

In this way, negative buzz is just as good as positive buzz.

We think the GoDaddy buzz is also a good thing. We’re just jealous we didn’t make the commercial ourselves. We would have loved to have met Jesse Heiman and Bar Refaeli, the stars of the commercial.

Besides, it’s fun to kick up a little dust every once in a while…

What do you guys think?  Was the ad a bit much for you?  Is there such a thing as bad buzz when it comes to TV ads?


	
		
		

 

You know, this is going to sound a little whacky, but we have a lot of respect for Friskies as a brand. Yes, we realize they sell kitty chow, but it’s the way they do it that impresses us.

Friskies started out in 1930 when the Carnation brand was struggling to sell canned milk during a time when need for such a thing was dwindling. In an effort to diversify their products, Friskies dog food was born. It was a great seller, and a few years later, they decided to add cat food to their product line. By 1960, Little Friskies was such a success that they decided make Friskies exclusively a cat food brand.

And here’s where things get interesting.

How do you sell pet food to people?  Who cares what flavor the food is or whether or not your cat thinks it’s tasty?  When Friskies started out, people were just looking for something to feed their cats. They didn’t care so much about whether or not it made their cat happy, so long as they weren’t hungry anymore.

So, people just needed something to fill that dish and get kitty-face out of their hair. Even though they didn’t enjoy quite the social status they do today, people still loved their cats and wanted good things for them. Friskies was able to capitalize on this, and eventually transform the social standing of cats in households from beloved pet, to humanized member of the family.

How?

By personifying them.

It started out with some genius copy (Who says copywriters aren’t important? WHO? They make the world go ‘round, baby!) and it snowballed into where we are today.

Friskies made it important to care whether or not your cat was having a satisfying gastronomic experience when she ate. They did this by using words you’d use to describe a human experience. Referring to a cat as “she” instead of “it,” helped a great deal to humanize them. Friskies gave cats preferences by saying things like “cats love the true fish flavor.” Suddenly, instead of simply dumping food into a dish, you’re actually doing something that makes cats happy!

Friskies described their flavors as “irresistibly delicious,” and they referred to their food as a cat’s “favorite.” These things all combined to help transform cats into consumers with strong preferences and human feelings.

Fast forward to today, and the humanization of pets is what drives the pet industry. Cats in many households these days are treated as equal members of a family and it’s largely due to the advertising efforts of pet brands.

Last year, Friskies took this humanization of pets to a whole new level by creating the first ever game app for cats. In the game, objects appear on the screen of an iPad, iPhone or Android for cats to bat at or try to catch. Not wanting humans to feel left out of the fun, a more recent app allows owners to compete against their cats. This sounds silly, but think about how genius this is. It’s never a bad thing to encourage bonding with your pet, especially if it makes you want to buy more stuff for that pet!

Recently, Friskies decided to take a stand to “end cat boredom” by developing a campaign featuring great videos hosted by Chris Parnell. He urges pet owners to help fight this epidemic with Friskies cat treats. The ads direct consumers to the Friskies Facebook page to learn more about how they can help.

In February of this year, Friskies further proved that they are dedicated to making life fun and exciting for cats. They built Friskies Plus Playhouse; a colorful residence for shelter cats that featured a pond and a touch screen floor. The lucky cats who got to live there for two weeks were broadcast live on the Friskies Facebook page. The Friskies Facebook community was then given a chance to interact with the cats through Facebook by remotely controlling several toys and webcams. This was meant to be a way to inspire new ways to play with their own cats at home—or better yet, adopt a shelter kitty!

Not only is Friskies a brand that’s willing to adapt their advertising strategies to fit a changing market, but they actually work to change our culture in the process! We think Friskies is a wonderful example of how advertising does not only have the power to sell products, but it can actually influence and change our culture in sometimes surprising and unexpected ways.