We’ve presented at local conferences in Texas, Oklahoma and Missouri, but next month we have the privilege to share with parks professionals from around the nation our experiences, methodology, TORCH™ Data-Driven platform and successes in “parks department marketing”.
For the last four years our agency has acquired a deep understanding of the internal and external forces that play key roles in building local brand awareness, driving demand and increasing positive public relations for city parks and recreation departments and districts.
Tim presenting at Missouri Parks and Recreation conference
“We implement a crawl, walk, run process and mentality with our parks clients that sets realistic expectations and delivers results on several fronts,” says our Managing Partner, Tim McCoy.
Many parks departments have, at most, one staff member dedicated to protecting and promoting the brand.
Yes, we said one.
One person in charge of maintaining a vibrant online presence with a barrage of social outlets. One person to develop, pitch and provide interviews for stories with the media. One person to build a year’s worth of strategy and content, plan and execute events and support the many parks, community centers and other locations they own.
These are the factors that have driven our little agency to focus on creating strategic marketing road maps, digital tools and creative ad campaigns for city government departments likes parks & rec.
Tim will be sure to send attendees home with a few easy-to-implement marketing hacks to help them move the needle on their brand awareness and engagement so if you don’t plan on attending the session at 3-4:30 p.m. Friday, October 7, be sure to follow the conversation on Twitter and Instagram.
Advertising is a trade-off. A product or brand is brought to your attention in exchange for an attractive image, an emotional connection or even a laugh. The brain makes a link between the two and the product is in your head whether you admit it or not. It’s a delicate marriage between campaign strategy and brand/product that make an ad resonate. Now consider the .gif below.
Here we see native advertising (another cross-eyed, drooling beast of misguided ad strategy) turning its head to consume the world of video. Imagine you’re watching a rerun of ‘Real Desert Housewives Season 5: Armageddon.’ You don’t remember an obnoxiously blatant Taco Bell billboard in this shot when you first saw the episode, yet there it is. Is that even possible? Am I watching too much E! channel?
Yes and yes.
With this technology, spearheaded by companies like Mirriad, native signage is digitally shoehorned into all manner of video from reruns, youtube videos (even personal ones), even other commercials. Advertising meets ‘Inception.’ Adverception. Shameless product placement is nothing new, but it was always at least at the discretion of the writers and showrunners. Mirriad’s retroactive technology undermines the original creative vision, and even worse, music video procurer Vevo and Mirriad insist this technology is doing us a favor[i].
But it could get even uglier.
Imagine you upload an old video of your late grandma to Youtube for you family in Antarctica to see. In your cut, she’s walking around downtown to the beat of “Graceland” by Paul Simon, and since you can’t afford to pay for the song, Youtube compensates by inserting some harmless Pfizer ads. Everywhere. Seems weird, right? According to Mirriad’s tagline, millennials are the ‘skip’ generation, the ‘skip’ referencing a desire to fast-forward through ads. Something about that label feels more than a little condescending. It’s not that my generation wants to skip over ads because we have attention deficit disorder: it’s the opposite. The millennial generation is actually quite intelligent and self aware of the nature of advertising, and casual product placement is not as effective as it once was. That’s why a lot of recently successful campaigns undermine the predictability and heavy-handed nature of commercials. Companies such as your Geico[ii] and Old Spice stand at the forefront of button-pushing, trail blazing creativity, and my generation responds. Brands are selling to us, but we’re at least being engaged with something interesting. Let’s take a closer look at an ad that creates a strong connection.
This commercial is called “Milky Way.” It has no taglines, no dialogue, no testimonials, pop music, or even celebrity cameos. However, it is widely seen as one of the most groundbreaking commercials to ever air. Why? It’s important that the worlds of commerce and art stay as separated as church and state, though it is okay for them to inform each other. They can never tread on each other’s ground. This commercial is so amazing because it’s incredibly engaging and aesthetically pleasing and it is one of the most artistic commercials ever made. Without the blatant logo at the end, it can be an incredible short film. In this ad, the Volkswagen takes a backseat to the much more powerful story, environment, and music. The directors have portrayed such a familiar experience, such a familiar feeling that you can’t help but compare yourself to the situation, to think back on a similar experience you may have had. It’s very hard to date this video. By using an older song by an [at that time], very unknown folk singer, the commercial can dislodge itself from any specific generation, and in that way bridge a gap between generations. Even though the faces are young, the commercial resonates with all ages. The experience of driving around in a car on beautiful summer night is powerful nostalgia. Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris are the husband/wife directorial team behind this ad. Unsurprisingly, they would go on to future success directing the film “Little Miss Sunshine.” What can companies learn from Volkswagen’s approach versus Mirriad’s approach? The best a commercial can do is establish a connection. And a strong connection comes from an engaging and creative vision, not from berating our eyeballs with ham-fisted product placements. If you’re wondering, ‘When will native digital advertising start becoming prevalent?’ The answer is: it’s already happening.
Here’s a palette cleanser of 2 more excellent commercials:
[i] If you watched the commercial in that link, you just witnessed a solid reference to “The Graduate”: http://youtu.be/gjtoi6Z4lAg?t=49s
[ii] “Our vision at Vevo is to continually re-invent music video as an entertainment art form. Over 30 years ago, music videos on television were a linear, one-dimensional experience. Today, connected platforms give fans more interactive and personal ways to engage with their favorite artists,” said Rio Caraeff, President and CEO of Vevo. “Mirriad allows us to continue bringing the industry forward and improve our fan’s experience by offering uninterrupted viewing while giving brands and content partners a native, creative, scalable and targeted way to come together.” via – http://www.mirriad.com/news/mirriad-vevo-levis-launch-native-video-advertising-technology-platform/ This quote implies Mirriad and Vevo are doing us a favor by giving us the opportunity to see that not only is Pit Bull drinking Bud Light, but we, us lowly peasants, can have the opportunity to partake of the SAME product! Amazing!
When a member of an older generation asks me my opinion, there has been more than one occasion I have hear “As a millennial, what do you think about this? We need the insight from people like you?” People like me? You mean the expansive demographics of anyone born between 1982 and 1996? When did I lose the privilege of being asked for my opinion as “Erin”?
“Millennial.” Hearing the word is almost like nails on a chalkboard. Baby boomers and Gen-Xers that play roles as our proverbial elders will put us into boxes that we’re lazy, narcissistic, and simply unbearable. “Millennial” is simply the nail in the coffin.
I really didn’t realize I even had a “label” until right before I went to college (MIZ!). Like most college freshman, there was a required book reading that we were to discuss with our peers before we dove into lecture halls. That book was “Generation Me” a book about how my age group was more entitled, overly confident and incapable than any generation ever before in known history. Quite frankly, I think the book deserved a title more like “Generation You’re Seriously the Worst.” Even as seniors, my friends and I still had our sardonic jabs at this piece of literature that we made from time to time, ridiculing its naive pigeon-hole it gave us.
While Millennials are tech-savvy, social and more in debt than any other generation, they also are a variety of other labels including:
In March, the Washington Post reported, “Just 57 percent of those between the ages of 18 and 33 are non-Hispanic whites, four points lower than members of Generation X and 15 points lower than the Baby Boom generation.” This easily separates us from other generations from the get-go. While some Millennials may have grown up on the same street their whole life, there are others who are children of immigrant parents, and then those that are immigrants themselves. The forks in the cultural trail mean that not all paths lead to Rome, requiring marketers, businesses, and even potential bosses to recognize cultural nuances that may not even be directly connected to Millennials.
2. Not Interested in Your Partisan Politics
Family Ties displayed the generation gap of politics with Alex P. Keaton, the Reagan Republican opposite to the Hippie counterculture Keaton parents but you won’t find that today. Instead of rebelling against their parents, Millennials are politically fed-up. 62 percent of Millennials believe elected officials are motivated by their own selfish reasons and less than a quarter said they will definitely visit the polls in the November. This generation remembers a world pre-9/11 and has lived through two wars and a single greatest recession in history since then. While they may advocate for their own causes, don’t look to invite them to Young Republicans or Democrats meeting.
3. Not That Different from Baby Boomers
As post-recession college students and graduates, Millennials are incredibly conservative with their money, as reported by CNBC. Just like their Boomer counterparts who lived in a post-Depression world they always keep cash on hand and are more concerned about saving. This largely contrasts with Generation X, who believe that money is best managed through investing it. This point is less about money and more about how characteristics of generations can recycle. While we stand here being ostracized by generation-shaming phrases such as “overly confident” and “trophy kid”, it’s important to see that Millennials harbor a lot of the same values as their counterparts. Millennials are an influential group but they are also a broad group, wanting to be segmented and recognized by their own individual qualities.
A big idea that began as a little fruit stand on the corner in 1948 is the propelling force behind the Cosentino’s brand.
A long-time client of BCG, Cosentino’s Food Stores are a Kansas City cornerstone.
This year, Consentino’s tasked us with redesigning the Cosentino’s Markets website.
Built for the Buyer
From day one, we determined the importance in structuring the site to appeal to two distinctive buyer profile groups—The Downtown Market shoppers and the Brookside Market shoppers. An always-vital piece in our web design process, our content strategy sessions with Cosentino’s became even more important as the buyer profiles we defined now dictate the user’s immediate interaction with the site, providing an overall better experience.
Photography Frames Design
The homepage of the site displays information important to both buyers (a blog feed, the Cosentino family story and social media buttons). The main focus of the homepage is a series of interchanging sliders; they truly are the centerpiece of the site, and we have Mr. Ben Pieper to thank for that.
A culinary master and expert photographer, Ben Pieper’s photography set the tone for the site design. The product lifestyle shots mirror the very values the Cosentino’s Markets hold near and dear to their hearts—high-quality, fresh food handcrafted to meet every shopper’s needs.
Two Distinct Paths
Once the user chooses his or her preferred Market location, the site breaks into two pathways each displaying content tailored to that buyer. There is a calendar that lists Downtown Market events, and then there is a Brookside-specific calendar, as well.
Both Markets are popular lunchtime destinations, and thus the Market menus differ for the two buyers.
The site runs on an easy-to-use intelligent Content Management System. It is designed to be responsive, or able to adapt to any device on which a user views the site.
We built the site to operate as a powerful marketing platform for the Cosentino’s Markets and their ongoing events, promotions, specials, etc.
We had the opportunity to utilize the platform this month with LobstoberFest 2012
The brainchild of Marketing Director Mark Winslow, LobstoberFest 2012 is a month-long celebration of all things lobster. Cosentino’s wanted a way to showcase their featured lobster items, deli and prepared items and lobster-ific events going on throughout the month of October.
BCG built a custom landing page to serve as a central location where shoppers could go to learn all they need to know about LobstoberFest. With specials rotating weekly, multiple events per week and a lobster feast giveaway, the landing page is the perfect way to dynamically aggregate all this content and push the information to users—and push users to the site, as well.
Our team had fun designing all kinds of supporting graphics to be placed in the stores. From a huge lobster cardboard cut out to a racetrack floor graphic for a live lobster race, we armed Cosentino’s with a hearty supply of lobs-tastic visuals.
This is Lorenzo the Lobster saying, “over and out.”