Madison Ave Insights

State of the Creative Series: Interview with the Chief Creative Officer at 360i

Posted in Advertising, Marketing, Media

So far in the “State of the Creative” series, we’ve heard from Chief Creative Officer’s at: Ogilvy & Mather North America, Weber Shandwick, and GREY. This week we continue to examine what it means to be a creative in today’s world…

 

 

 

 

I sat down with Adam Kerj, Chief Creative Officer at 360i, to discuss the state of the creative today.

 

Q
In this new era of data and technology, what has been the fundamental change for creatives?
A
We have more insight into consumer behavior than ever before, and we are living in a world exploding with content that needs to resonate for consumers to care and to be inspired to share.  Creatives are now using digital and social media as a powerful creative canvas.  To get to better creative and high-quality experiences, requires more collaboration in the creative process and the ability to build ideas and stories across touch points. But ultimately, it’s still about big, simple ideas.  Consumers don’t fall in love with technology, they in love with great ideas and great storytelling.
Q
What does it mean to be a creative today?
A
Creatives today can have a bigger impact on their clients’ businesses.  Marketers and their creative partners have opportunities to create completely new products and services that are integrated in to the DNA of the marketing ecosystem.  That’s a space where Creatives in the past didn’t have access to, but thanks to technology, user experience (UX), creativity and data coming together, creatives today can make a huge contribution to a client’s businesses.

Peel back the curtains and read the rest of the Q&A here!

State of the Creative Series: Interview with the Chief Creative Officer at GREY

Posted in Advertising, Marketing, Media

Continuing with the series on the “State of the Creative,” we reached out Chief Creative Officers at some of the world’s leading ad agencies on: What it means to be a creative in today’s world? How many “legs” does an idea have to have when advertisers and marketers are targeting various demographics, each using multiple media devices and social media platforms? And does having all that data mean you or anyone else knows how to use it?

 

 

 

I sat down with Tor Myhren, Chief Creative Officer at GREY, to discuss the state of the creative today.


Q
In this new era of data and technology, what has been the fundamental change for creatives?
A
Broader thinking and a better grasp of the way people are interacting with the different forms of digital media. It was simpler for creatives when it was just television, radio, and print. We all knew exactly how people used those media forms. Now in order to really talk to someone, you need to fully understand the way in which they are engaging with these different media forms. It’s way more challenging and interesting now than it was then.
Q
What does it mean to be a creative today?
A
The same thing it has always meant. In our business, anyone who can creatively solve business or world problems is a “creative.” To draw huge divides between the creative department and other departments is old school, because the business challenges we’re facing now are so much more holistic. So everyone in the agency better be a creative thinker today.
Q
How important is it for a creative to understand data?
A
It is important that we all understand the way people engage with the digital space. As for understanding data, as long as we can read reports and know whether we’re reaching people and connecting with people, that’s the most important thing.
Q
Is it harder to be a creative in today’s world?
A
It’s absolutely harder, and one hundred times more interesting. There is no better time to be a creative person in the business world than right now. All creative industries, from music to Hollywood to tech to marketing, are merging. And, I believe our business is at the nexus of this convergence. We are collaborating in radical, unbelievable ways and we’re sitting right in the middle of it all.
Q
In the market today, what does it mean to be the best, and what does it take?
A
The best in our industry are brilliant story tellers. That will never change. If you can get people to engage with a story, you win. And if you can get people to talk about that story, and pass it around, than that story becomes part of the cultural conversation – and that’s the Holy Grail in our business.
Q
What is the coolest object in your office?
A
When you walk into our lobby there’s a message written on the wall in soft pink paint that says “Driver, surprise me.” It reminds us every day what we’re trying to do at GREY.

State of the Creative Series: Interview with the Chief Creative Officer at Weber Shandwick

Posted in Advertising, Digital, Marketing, Media

As mentioned last week, we got to wondering, what does it mean to be a creative in today’s world? How many “legs” does an idea have to have when advertisers and marketers are targeting various demographics, each using multiple media devices and social media platforms? And does having all that data mean you or anyone else knows how to use it?

We posed these questions to Chief Creative Officers at some of the world’s leading ad agencies and will be posting their responses here over the next few weeks. Together, they should give us an interesting take on the state of advertising creative today.

 

 

I sat down with Josh Rose the Chief Creative Officer at Weber Shandwick to discuss the state of the creative today.

 

Q
In this new era of data and technology, what has been the fundamental change for creatives?
A
Well, I make a real distinction between data and technology. Data has meant that we know things we didn’t necessarily know before.  Creatives like knowledge. Sure, we have to let go of it, too, and just jam. But to truly understand our target to the degree we can in this day and age, because of data, we are empowered more than ever to discuss the validity of our ideas.  Technology, on the other hand, has simply expanded the palette for us with new media opportunities, new tools to express an idea with. A lot of times, a creative idea can start with, “Let’s be the first to. . .”  Technology allows us to break new ground more often.  That makes our jobs fun, interesting, innovative.
Q
What does it mean to be a creative today?
A
This is discussed a lot in the walls of agencies.  Creative, as an adjective, is something everyone is being pressured to become.  Account Management, Business Affairs and Planning are not, technically, creative disciplines, but the best people at those jobs are highly creative.  To be a creative, though, is not dissimilar to what it has been for a long time.  To be a copywriter, art director, designer, director, even a creative technologist – you study it.  You withstand years of critiques and going back to the drawing board.  You have more ideas killed than made.  Lots more.  And then you finally get an idea bought and you do everything in your power to make it according to your vision.  That’s the job.  It’s not nearly as romantic as it looks in the movies.  But that’s the dirty little secret.  The main thing creatives go through that no other discipline goes through nearly as much: rejection.  That’s built in to what we do. And it leads to greatness.  And that’s the only reason anyone would continue to do it.

Peel back the curtains and read the rest of the Q&A here!

State of the Creative Series: Interview with Chief Creative Officer at Ogilvy & Mather North America

Posted in Advertising, Marketing

In case you haven’t noticed, things have changed a lot in the advertising and marketing industry. With bigger bandwidth and faster, smaller, cheaper digital devices, the world is staggeringly more connected. With home-grown, artisanal wine, cheese, whiskey . . . pants . . . the world is a lot more “local” as well.  And, of course, all of the choices you make – whether it’s the restaurant where you just ate, the starlet you just Googled or the selfie you just posted to Instagram – are obsessively observed, analyzed, and sold to by advertisers and marketers.

So we got to wondering, what does it mean to be a creative in today’s world? How many “legs” does an idea have to have when advertisers and marketers are targeting various demographics, each using multiple media devices and social media platforms? And does having all that data mean you or anyone else knows how to use it?

We posed these questions to Chief Creative Officers at some of the world’s leading ad agencies and will be posting their responses here over the next few weeks. Together, they should give us an interesting take on the state of advertising creative today.

 

 

I sat down with Steve Simpson the Chief Creative Officer at Ogilvy & Mather North America to discuss the state of the creative today.

Q
In this new era of data and technology, what has been the fundamental change for creative?
A
Creatives now have the remarkable ability to learn from their work after it appears. We are never launched, we are never done and dusted, and we operate in a continual state of launch. We all get second (and more) chances to do it better.
Q
What does it mean to be a creative today?
A
The days of the copywriter doing the copy part and the art director doing the art part now seem quaint, childlike, and pathetically touching. A creative today takes on many more diverse responsibilities and possesses and uses many more talents. But these talents, although expanding all the time, are finite. We need to rely on experts, and part of our success is being good “expert locators” to do for us what we can’t do ourselves anymore.

Peel back the curtains and read the rest of the Q&A here!

Stuart Weitzman Turns Its Shoe Obsession into Success

Posted in Advertising, Marketing, Social Media

2014 has been a banner year so far for shoemaker Stuart Weitzman. The luxury shoe brand is a top choice for a dizzying array of starlets who love Weitzman’s combination of style and comfort – such as Beyoncé who has claimed to have danced a thousand miles in hers, and Kate Middleton who sported a pair of Stuart Weitzman wedges when the Royal Couple visited Australia – and the brand made a big splash with the launch of SWxYOU.

SWxYOU is a series of limited edition shoes that allow customers to customize their shoes by choosing their own colors and hardware. Of course, Stuart Weitzman, the man behind the brand, has always been an innovator, ever since he took over his father’s shoe business and famously started using materials like lucite and wallpaper.

The brand has also been making news with its successful expansion.  In 2013, Stuart Weitzman opened Zaha Hadid-designed flagship store in Milan, and 2014 openings include Hong Kong and Rome.  All told, the brand operates forty-four retail stores across the United States, sixty-two international stores, fourteen international shop-in-shops, and e-commerce sites in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Hong Kong, making its footwear and accessories available in more than seventy countries.

Much of Stuart Weitzman’s recent expansion was fueled by careful data collection and savvy use of social media. The company uses offline data, such as in-store sales reports, in combination with online performance data, to gauge international audience preferences. It then uses those insights to drive promoted posts on Facebook in countries where it is about to open new stores.  For example, when Stuart Weitzman opened its new store in Mexico City, the brand saw 5,073 post “likes” and 46,128 clicks. It has since used similar campaigns to promote store openings in United Arab Emirates, Taiwan, and Korea.

The Way I See It

  • I see a revival of bespoke clothing and shoes. From Stuart Weitzman’s SWxYOU initiative, to suit and shirt makers like Indochine and Blank Label, brands are catering to customers by offering unique and individualized merchandise they can make their own via online templates.
  • I see social media remaining a key aspect of a brand’s marketing and advertising. Brands will continue to push out content via social media platforms – such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Pinterest – as a mode of connecting with their customer base. After all, many of us rely on social media to obtain the latest trends, news, etc., and brands have taken notice.
  • I see store opening events as not something of the past, but as a key player for brands. For all the handwringing about the demise of brick-and-mortar retailing, store openings can still be major events for brands that know how to play them right.  As Stuart Weitzman has demonstrated, smart social media promotion can drive foot traffic as well as virtual clicks.

The Way the Industry Sees It

 

 

I sat down with Wayne Kulkin, Chief Executive Officer at Stuart Weitzman, to discuss social media and world retail domination.

 

Q
What was the inspiration behind SWxYOU, and what have sales been like through that program?
A
Our business model has always been inspired by creating styles that can be customized by the various merchants around the globe. We gave the merchants the ability to choose from hundreds of thousands of variables in an array of materials, heel shapes, heel heights, sizes and widths as well as their choice of ornaments and finishes. We even give customers the opportunity to change the type of sole from leather to a variety of comfort materials like latex. So we thought in this world of bespoke ecommerce that we would give individual customers the same opportunity as a retail merchant – allowing her to have a wide range of colors, ornaments, studding, and heels.
Q
You partnered with SocialFlow – social media optimization platform – and use their Crescendo platform for your social media marketing. What did Social Flow bring to the table that made it a good partner, and what does Crescendo allow you to do that other platforms don’t?
A
SocialFlow and Crescendo are the firepower that helps us to cut through the clutter and ensures that people that are interested in the brand are seeing the content we work so hard to create.  We partner with SocialFlow to promote our posts as well as utilize day to day publishing through Crescendo. SocialFlow and the Crescendo tool use data and an algorithm that allows us to post content at the optimum time, to the most relative and engaged audience. Our publishing decisions are determined by looking at audience availability, topical appetite, topical saturation, and a risk assessment that includes audience and topical variability. Crescendo also provides an ad buying platform enabling clients to run ad campaigns on Facebook and Twitter. The product uses keyword targeting, refined by demographic targeting, to segment and target existing, potential and competitor audiences based on real-time conversational data. Through SocialFlow on Facebook we average thirty-five to forty percent higher engagement than when natively posting. Our results on the paid media side tend to be even stronger, with click through rates (CTR) as high as ten percent. Industry standard tends to be around one to two percent. Through SocialFlow on Twitter, we have an average engagement rate of approximately three hundred percent above retail averages and an average cost per engagement eighty-seven percent below retail averages.

Peel back the curtains and read the rest of the Q&A here!

“MommyShorts” is Blogging Her Way into Hearts, Homes, and Brands

Posted in Advertising, Entertainment, Marketing

Maybe you’ve seen them on Instagram or Facebook – pictures of babies dressed up in grown-up suits like so many chubby-cheeked David Byrnes. It’s called “baby suiting,” and it’s the latest photo craze instigated by mom blogger Ilana Wiles, who just a year ago launched a surge of “baby mugging,” which is just what it sounds like (well, maybe not) – taking pictures of babies as though they’re sitting in coffee mugs.

Wiles and her blog – MommyShorts – are part of a growing and influential trend of moms who blog. According to recent research by eMarketer, there are roughly 4.2 million moms who blog, accounting for eighteen percent of all adult bloggers. An established mom blog can have hundreds of thousands of regular readers.

As Wiles and her MommyShorts blog has proven, mom bloggers wield an enormous amount of influence. If you can get thousands of other moms to dress their infants up in their husbands’ best jackets and ties, what do you think happens when she mentions – let alone reviews – a product she likes? And like Wiles, many mom bloggers are quite entrepreneurial, and actively court brands to advertise on their blogs or to submit products for review.

The Way I See It

  • Blogs are an effective way to reach important demographics. Most moms have a list of blogs they read daily, and almost seventy percent of them believe the word-of-mouth information they get from blogs is credible. In fact, eighty-one percent of all consumers trust the information they get from blogs and social media.
  • I see brands actively courting moms and their audiences, often participating at events like the “Mom 2.0 Summit” and other events for mom bloggers, which, among other things, also teach bloggers how to work with brands.
  • I see the relationship between brands and mom bloggers, specifically, growing. Who better to receive advice from than a fellow parent?

The Way the Industry Sees It

 

I sat down with Ilana Wiles, founder of MommyShorts, to discuss mom bloggers and their influence as brand ambassadors.

 

Q
What was your goal in launching Mommy Shorts, and how has that goal evolved over time?
A
Almost four years ago, I was laid off from my job as a creative director shortly after I returned from maternity leave. I had a hard time finding a full-time job at my level when most of my portfolio was in traditional advertising – television, outdoor, print. I had very little digital experience. Many of the brands at my old company had recently started paying attention to mom bloggers, and I thought if I got involved in that space, it could end up being a real asset in the advertising world. I decided to work freelance and start a blog in my down time. I became immersed in social media, building my own brand and creating content to engage a growing audience of new moms. As my audience grew, I received more ad jobs where agencies wanted to leverage my reach for their clients. They were building Mommy Shorts into their pitches and their proposals. I decided it made more sense to pursue the blog full-time and see where it could go if I focused all my energy on building my own brand. In the end, my advertising experience helps me be a better blogger instead of the other way around. As I work with more brands, I find the ideation and the partnership possibilities even more exciting than I did at a traditional agency. This year I started to realize my brand can be bigger than the blog. I have a show on ulive, a licensing deal in the works, and an Instagram following I am leveraging all on its own. I’m not going to be writing about my kids in the same way ten years from now, so it’s nice to know there are lots of possibilities of where this can go.
Q
What’s your relationship with your readers like? Do you feel you have a responsibility to them? If so, what is that responsibility?
A
I put my readers first always. There are lots of bloggers who are writing entirely for themselves, and their readers love them for it. I am more about reader response. Their engagement determines my content entirely. Every sponsorship I take on means my content has to be that much better. You can’t just sell to people. They aren’t interested. You have to be entertaining and authentic.

Peel back the curtains and read the rest of the Q&A here!

Ghostery Assuages Privacy Concerns Through Transparency and Control

Posted in Uncategorized

Maybe you’ve noticed this, or maybe you’ve worked on a campaign that uses this tactic: You visit a website to look at shoes, a car, or whatever, then move on to some other website – say Facebook or the New York Times –  and an ad for the site or the product you just visited appears somewhere on the page.  This is called “behavioral advertising” or “behavioral retargeting.” While some consumers like it, others find it creepy.  That “creepiness” feeds into broader concerns about privacy – companies selling consumers data or the NSA scooping up phone records.

Ghostery is a company that’s attempting to insert a level of trust and comfort into behavioral retargeting by giving consumers control over how and when their online and mobile behavior is tracked by advertisers. Ghostery’s free software lets them see all of the entities that are tracking their web activity and choose which ones they want to allow to follow them. Ghostery makes its money by tracking the trackers (not the consumers) and selling that data back to online marketers who want to measure the effectiveness of their efforts.

 The Way I See It

  • Privacy issues were big news in 2013 – Edward Snowden, the NSA, the Target and Nieman Marcus data breaches. Privacy was top of mind, and Dictionary.com made “privacy” its word of the year. With Heartbleed and other issues, “privacy” might be the word of the year for 2014 as well. All of this anxiety around privacy winds up getting applied to the legitimate attempts of brands and advertisers to provide a quality online experience to consumers.
  • The regulatory issues are all over the place, especially for companies that do business internationally. Privacy laws in the European Union are very strict, and seem like they’re about to become even stricter. In the United States, regulation varies from state to state. When it comes to behavioral retargeting, advertisers have tried to get ahead of the game through self-regulation. The Digital Advertisers Alliance recently published a new set of guidelines that includes how behavioral targeting should (and should not) be implemented on mobile devices.
  • Privacy is a brand issue. Brand is built on trust, and brands that are perceived as being deceitful or simply just careless with customer data are going to pay a huge price.

 The Way the Industry Sees It

On June 10, Davis & Gilbert and Ghostery co-presented a Digital Media & Privacy Seminar, after which I sat down with Todd Ruback, Chief Privacy Officer at Ghostery, to talk about privacy, transparency, and the future of behavioral retargeting.

 

 

Q
Take the consumer’s temperature for me. What is the typical consumer worried about related to privacy? And how well-informed is that worry?
A
Thanks for having me here today, Ron.  To level-set, I don’t like the term “consumer.”  Not to be nit-picky, but a consumer is someone who buys something and you don’t have to buy something to have your privacy at risk.  We’re talking about people.  What we see and hear at Ghostery is that people, even if they can’t fully articulate their privacy concerns, feel that as technology has become more embedded into every facet of our lives, society has transformed into a surveillance society.  Over 30 million people have downloaded our free privacy tool, Ghostery, which allows them to see who’s tracking them on any given website and to control that tracking.  We see an absolute explosion in downloads, over 100% every six months.  People care and they are arming themselves with information so they can take control over their online experience. As the Internet has become a pillar of our lives, there is a salient concern that it is a gateway to privacy risk.  People are well informed generally, through both the excellent efforts of organizations like the DAA and through self-education.
Q
What do consumers understand or misunderstand related to privacy and behavior retargeting?
A
People understand that the Internet is free because advertising subsidizes websites.  Study after study show that people are cognizant of the quid pro quo that is the present day engagement model of the Internet. Maybe folks don’t exactly know what a “cookie” is, but they know technology is used to track them as they traverse the Internet and is used as a means to ultimately market them something that is related to their interests.  That’s both kind of cool and a little creepy.  At Ghostery what we are hearing is that people aren’t objecting to this tracking, rather they are objecting to it being hidden.  The answer to the real question, which is “what do people want,” is easy. People want transparency.  They want openness and honesty from the company that they are choosing to do business with. When I go to Amazon to buy a book I’m cool with given it my credit card info, email and address, so I can buy my book.  That’s the trade. But, I’m the one who dictates whether or not I’m okay with it.  After all, I came to your site. So the trade in a free Internet model is I will get free Internet and be able to go from site to site, but you get to anonymously track me in order to serve me an advertisement that will be relevant to me. You want to track me, fine, but tell me about it first so I can decide if I’m okay with that.  It’s all about empowering the individual with information so they can make the decision that is best for their selves.

Peel back the curtains and read the rest of the Q&A here!

Likeable Applies the Lessons of Social Media to Branding

Posted in Digital, Marketing, Media, Social Media

Marketers promote, entertain, celebrate, and explain. In other words, they talk. But Dave Kerpen, cofounder and chairman of Likeable Media and founder and CEO of its sibling company, Likeable Local, believes that a different skill is needed in a media landscape increasingly driven by social media – listening.  And by listening, Kerpen means more than just using social media channels to respond to consumer questions and complaints.  He sees listening via social media as a means to tell stories and engender authentic conversations with and among consumers and to promote conversations that strengthen and reward brand loyalty.

In a lot of ways, it’s the next step in the evolution of branding. Branding started with the idea that companies and products had actual identities and that consumers would affiliate with brands that enhanced or fit well with their own identities.  And – without invoking John Roberts and suggesting corporations are people – the next step seems to be making brands part of the consumer’s social circle, or at the very least, using the social circle to validate the brand.

Kerpen first made a splash in all media – not just social – when he and his then soon-to-be wife raised over $100,000 selling sponsorship rights to their wedding, which was hosted at the Brooklyn Cyclones ballpark. They then leveraged their notoriety to launch Likeable Media, a social media and word-of-mouth marketing company that is one of the fastest-growing privately held businesses in the United States.  Kerpen also authored two New York Times Best Sellers: Likeable Social Media and Likeable Business, and was also named the #1 LinkedIn Influencer of All Time last summer when his article, “11 Simple Concepts for Becoming a Better Leader” garnered 1.8 million views and 21,000 likes. The first concept on his list – listening.

The Way I See It

  • As much as things still keep changing – and will likely continue to keep changing – I see a growing maturation in the use of social media. Whether marketers are arriving at it through Dave Kerpen’s advice or their own observation, more and more brands are realizing the central nature of listening and storytelling to the way social media works.
  • I see consumers heavily relying on participation as a means of measuring trust. They want brands they can engage with and relate to. And they want that engagement validated by their own social networks.

The Way the Industry Sees It

I sat down with Dave Kerpen, cofounder and chairman of Likeable Media and founder and CEO of Likeable Local, to discuss listening, social media, and his most recent book, Likeable Leadership.

 

Q
Two of the strongest themes in your writing and speaking are listening and storytelling. How are those two skills related?
A
I always say, “Listen first and never stop listening.” Listening is the single most important communication skill, and sometimes it’s harder than you think. Often when we think we’re listening, we’re just waiting to talk. Try shutting up and really listening to everyone: your customers, your fans, your employees, your husband or wife, your children, etc. You might be surprised at the valuable insight and stories you’ll hear when you do. The next step, of course, is to share those stories. No one remembers facts or statistics, but everyone remembers a great story. Practicing listening and storytelling will make you a better communicator and, ultimately, more likeable, and more successful.
Q
What did you learn as you were “listening” to the stories you collected for the new book? Did anything surprise you?
A
I am constantly surprised by how much I learn when I just shut up and listen. People’s lives and stories are so fascinating to me, and there are always lessons to be learned. Last year, I wrote an article about my interaction with an older man on a flight to Boston. I chatted with him, asked him a few of questions, and listened … a lot. I had met Frank Lautenberg, the late United States Senator, who taught me, in just forty-five minutes, one of the most important lessons of my life: Career Highlights Won’t be on Your Tombstone. With a few questions and a lot of listening, you can literally change your life.

Peel back the curtains and read the rest of the Q&A here!

Reebok Gets Fit with an Intense CrossFit Sponsorship

Posted in Advertising, Marketing, Social Media

Go to the gym. Load up a barbell. Pick the bar up off the ground ten times. Then jump up and down off a twenty-four inch box ten times. Follow that with ten pull-ups. Repeat the sequence as many times as you can in sixteen minutes. Congratulations, you’ve just done a CrossFit workout! To some people, it sounds like hell. To Reebok, it’s a way to invigorate a brand.

CrossFit is an exercise regimen that combines elements of gymnastics, weightlifting, and endurance sports with the goal of creating the ultimate level of cross-functional fitness, and it’s caught on like wildfire. The first CrossFit gym, called a “Box,” opened in 2000. Today, there are more than 8,000 worldwide. In 2007, CrossFit launched the “CrossFit Games.” Reebok began sponsoring the Games in 2011 and inspired the idea for an “Open,” basically a giant qualifying round open to any athlete who wanted to enter.

Reebok is constantly working to design apparel that helps athletes achieve their best possible workout, no matter what their sport, with a special emphasis on products that have the durability and functionality that Crossfit, the Spartan Races, and other demanding regimens require.

Reebok’s line of CrossFit shoes and apparel has grown along with the sport. Revenue from Reebok’s CrossFit merchandise grew by 13% in the first quarter of 2013, and sold millions in business just selling gear at regional CrossFit Games. In fact, Reebok is so committed to CrossFit that the brand opened a CrossFit Box in its corporate headquarters.

The Way I See It

  • I see Reebok as the official “CrossFit gear,” much like lululemon is synonymous with yoga. I see product development continuing to be a large part of the brand’s business model, and not only a way to connect with customers, but to engage and support them.
  • I see Reebok as a trendsetter in the durability-focused fitness gear. As cross-functional fitness continues to expand in popularity, brands will look to Reebok to set the benchmark.
  • I see that Reebok is onto something interesting. Unlike sponsoring professional sports, and receiving endorsements from professional athletes that go along with it, Reebok is sponsoring the sports equivalent of a grassroots movement in which the fans are also the athletes.

The Way the Industry Sees It

 

I sat down with Chris Froio, ‎Vice President of Fitness & Training at Reebok, to discuss how its CrossFit partnership has opened opportunities for its brand and aided in product development.

Q
How do you see CrossFit fitting into the issue of exercise trends? Do you see this as a long lasting change or a reflection of the moment?
A
As far as trends are concerned, the biggest trend that is shifting is fitness enthusiast have moved away from solitary jogging, running, and weightlifting on their own to a more group focused environment.  We are seeing a shift to communities, tribes, etc. and people are doing functional fitness in a CrossFit gym – or a “Box” as CrossFit calls it – with 20 to 25 people in a class. We are also seeing people do Spartan Races alongside a couple hundred people.  Group studio classes are starting to grow as well, such as Spinning or SH’BAM.  People are taking the idea of “I have to get the work out in,” and rather than making it a chore, we are seeing people turning workouts into a lifestyle and social thing. We see that working out with others increases motivation and helps eliminate the excuses, now you have people counting on you to come in for that class because you have formed relationships with the people in your class and your instructor.
Q
How did Reebok decide to focus its energy on CrossFit? Was it attributed to the community-based workout trend shift that is underway?
A
The whole aspect of social media, social lifestyle, and the way people interact is where fitness trends are going. 4 years ago, we decided to go back to Reebok’s roots – fitness – and identify or create on our own a fitness regimen that was engaging and social. We wanted something that was more relevant than a gym full of treadmills or a weightlifting machine, and that is what spurred our relationship with CrossFit. I don’t see CrossFit as something that is going to go away. The more Reebok can make fitness engaging, the more it will inspire those who are not yet motivated.

Peel back the curtains and read the rest of the Q&A here!

Disclosures And Privacy Policies Head 2014′s To-Do List

Posted in Advertising, Marketing

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) made a number of changes to its regulations and guidelines in 2013.  Specifically, the FTC updated its “.com Disclosures” guide to provide advertisers with more specific instructions for complying with the FTC’s Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in various forms of new media. Moreover, the updated guide emphasized that disclosures must be clear and conspicuous on all devices and platforms where consumers may encounter advertisements and clarified methods by which advertisers can implement effective disclosures.  The FTC also announced new mobile privacy guidelines designed to improve the disclosures that appear on mobile platforms and that are used by application developers.

On the privacy side, dozens of state and territory attorneys general filed comments with the FTC addressing consumer complaints about “mobile cramming” – a practice involving the placement of unauthorized charges on consumer mobile bills for unwanted services as well as the inadequate disclosure of these third party charges.  The comments also expressed concerns about the limited mechanisms available to consumers to effectively block or dispute such charges.

A 2013 FTC ruling against juice company POM Wonderful clarified the FTC’s standard for determining whether an advertising claim is misleading. Specifically, the FTC found that, based on the overall “net impression” of the POM advertising campaign, at least a “significant minority” of reasonable consumers would believe that drinking POM juice would prevent heart disease and/or that there was clinical proof of these claims.  Applying this “significant minority” standard, the FTC concluded that the challenged claims were misleading despite the fact that most reasonable consumers would not interpret the advertising to mean that POM’s juice actually prevented heart disease.

The Way I See it

Advertisers and agencies will need to adapt to these regulatory approaches by:

  • Ensuring that clear, conspicuous and truthful disclosures are made on mobile and social media platforms.
  • Working with application developers to develop and implement effective disclosures and standardized privacy policies.
  • Recognizing that advertisers are responsible for all reasonable interpretations of their claims – even those interpretations that only a “significant minority” of reasonable consumers would believe to be true.