Instagram Video is a Hit in the Ad World

Short videos posted on social media platforms are not new, right? Vine has been around since the beginning of this year with its 6 second loop videos. So, what is so special about video on Instagram? Christopher Heine offers up “5 Reasons Why Instagram Video May Cut Down Vine,” an article posted on

1) Longer videos

15 seconds could turn out to be a far more engaging length than Vine’s six-second clips. Not to mention, in terms of advertising, that’s the length of TV spots constantly employed by brands.

2) Cool filters

Anyone who has made a Vine knows that they are fun but kind of rough-looking. Instagram’s filters and cinema elements really seem to give it the upper hand here.

3) Brand Engagement

On the pure marketing level again, social media teams are getting stretched like crazy these days, as they have for a few years been trying to market items with Facebook, Instagram photos, TwitterLinkedIn, Google+, MySpaceFoursquare, Pinterest, etc. If brands can incorporate good-looking Instagram videos into their messaging via those channels, will they bother with Vine? It undoubtedly will be interesting to watch.

4) Built in scale and community

Instagram—as a photo-sharing app—has 10 times more users than Vine. Those folks are used to constantly updating the app, so consumers are going to start using Instagram videos in the next few days if not hours. It should not take long for it too overtake Vine in terms of sheer audience.

5) Oh yeah, and Facebook is also big

FB has a billion users who are likely going to start regularly seeing Instagram videos of children, puppies and random footage of things like street mimes. CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s huge platform should be an unusally strong advantage to the forthcoming Instagram video vs. Twitter Vine battle.

Heine also writes about marketers utilizing Instagram Video in another article on titled “Brands Are Already Using Instagram Videos and Planning for More: Stoked marketers quickly whip up 15-second ideas.” He quotes the social media lead for Red Vines, the super delicious licorice candy, as saying the following regarding Instagram Video:

“It was wise to make them 15 seconds, because it allows for more engagement than the six seconds you get with Twitter Vine,” said Michael Kelly, Red Vines’ social media lead. “It allows you to tell stories that are at least a little more complicated.”

Marketers are hoping that they can utilize these 15 second videos to give consumers a more intimate look behind the scenes. There is a benefit in the homemade feel of these short clips because it puts the brand in the same creative space as the consumer: they’re all just a bunch of people using their smart phones to tell stories about the things they love. And the relatively unpolished Instagram Videos feel like home videos, so consumers can feel more connected to the products that they use every day. Here are a few examples that Heine shows in his article:



Red Vines


Charity Water

Jenis Ice Creams

I will admit that I am not a fan of Vine. I had a project in another class that involved Vine and I just don’t see the point of it. Most of the videos seen on Vine feature teenagers doing stupid things that they think make them cool. Vine’s network isn’t as big as other social media giants. The benefit of video on Instagram is that the network is already built up, so users aren’t jumping into a new platform with no friends. They can share video with the friends, celebs, and brands that they already follow. And, the Instagram platform supports both photo and video, so you aren’t stuck with just video as you currently are on Vine.

It will be interesting to see how the video war plays out. What do you think?

3-D Printing and Advertising

What does the future hold for creative advertising? New 3D printing technology is making a move into the ad industry and brings with it various pros and cons.

yodaAki Spicer wrote an article for Fast Company titled “What 3-D Printing Means To The Future Of Advertising” that takes a look at how this new technology will force advertisers to be more critical of the work they produce. The key portion of the article states:

“At its core, 3-D printing foretells of a philosophical shift beyond flat-dimension brand expression–2-D ad slicks, taglines, pictures of things–toward the embrace and execution of 3-dimensional expression: tactile baubles and mementos and experiences. This is no longer just pictures and drawings of things,; this is real things. In the world.

At first blush, agencies will need to become experts (or hire them) in CAD manipulation, architecture (no, really, this time) and display arts, fashion design, and jewelry making. These roles are not necessarily “new” to the world, just not native to the typical ad agency, and increasingly they may become more of a norm in our midst.

Advertisers will be forced to reconcile their physical outputs in the world in a way that spitting out spots and microsites never faced us with. Or, said differently, our ad crap is made more evident when it’s a real piece of crap sitting on a desk or floor. We’ll have to continue to ask ourselve[s], “Is this additive value or just some more crap?” And the crap factor will, hopefully, make us work harder to do better for audiences who are increasingly immune to our virtual ad crap, more so when it’s physical ad crap.”

In other words, advertisements are EVERYWHERE. We see them all day everyday. Once more advertisements start taking up physical space in the 3D world instead of on billboards, in magazines, and in TVs, they will be more noticeable and more prone to criticism from the general public, as well as other agencies. But, it is not all bad news.

Being more noticeable means getting more exposure. 3D ads have a better consumer interactive opportunity than 2D ads. People can pose with a 3D ad and share the photo with friends and generate more EARNED exposure through word of mouth.

Spicer also says that 3D printing can lead to bettering the creative output and uniqueness of an agency. “The upside lies in our unbound ability to deliver truly unique and physical brand experiences. If our brands have something truly unique to say, why wouldn’t they express it in more dimensions in taglines, in television films, in sites, in check-ins, in pins, and in real “things”?”

Glen Emerson Morris, in an article for The Review titled “Advertising in the Third Dimension: An Advertiser’s Guide to 3D Printing,” states that the arrival of 3D printing is the third and final phase of advertising:

“We’re now well into the third and final phase, or dimension, of the digital revolution. The first phase was the digitalization of media – converting things to computer code, including desktop publishing and digital video. The second phase has been the Internet – the distribution of digital files to anywhere on the planet. The third phase of the digital revolution is about converting information into physical objects and sensing and controlling things in the real world, like 3D printing and robotics. It’s the reverse of phase one. At maturity, this technology will provide all the functionality of the Star Trek matter replicator. It’s the ultimate destabilizing technology, and it will make boneyards of many current industries, but it’s effect on advertising will likely be very positive.”

Morris says that the advertising industry has the most to gain from 3D printing because it will bring a whole new… dimension (haha)… to ads. He says that there are 6 things an ad agency can do with a 3D printer:

  1. To design and print prototypes of 3D promotional giveaway items.
  2. To print promotional items like iPhone cases with the agency’s name.
  3. To design and print promotional & thank you objects for clients.
  4. To print parts used is automated animatronics window displays.
  5. To print android robots (for live automated sales pitches).
  6. To print items needed for the office.

What do you think 3D printing means for the ad industry???

Technology and the Retail Space

AT&T’s Chicago flagship store on the Magnificent Mile (Photo from AT&T)

Christopher Heine recently wrote an article for titled: “The Store of the Future Has Arrived (and No, It’s Not Apple): How brands are digitizing retail.” In the article he talks about how AT&T, Audi, and Pep Boys are using new technology to revolutionize the consumer experience in the places where they buy merchandise.

When describing the AT&T store on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile, he says that customers are “sprinkled with what AT&T calls “innovation sounds”—perhaps best described as raindrops going pitter-patter on a digital rooftop interspersed with wind chimes producing cyber inharmonic spectra.” Heine says that the “AT&T flagship attracts an estimated 30,000 customers per month, many drawn in by bells and whistles.” The store boasts an 18-foot video wall with motion sensor software, a section devoted to music apps, a Nissan Leaf that is used to show how parents can use apps to monitor their teens’ driving, and another section devoted to showing how to use apps to track home security. Surely enough activities to draw people in and keep them there for a while, which leads to more product exposure (and hopefully more sales).

Nissan Leaf Display (Image from Fast Company)

Even the point of sale counters have been revamped at the AT&T store. Heine says the “store has only one traditional retail counter, and the cash registers are tucked away in stylish wood cabinets. Sales associates access the registers not with a key but via biometric fingerprinting software and not while standing behind the tills but, rather, while sitting on a couch face to face with the customer.” This approach brings in an element of luxury to the checkout process and makes the transaction more intimate because consumers are sitting down with sales associates instead of being separated by a counter. It is a great way to further develop consumer relations and create a story that consumers will remember and share with friends.

The high level of technology incorporation is a nod to how Apple has set up their stores for years now, but they are no longer the only savvy retail space on the Mile. Other retailers are catching up and going beyond the example set by Apple. As society becomes more and more involved with its technological life, consumers will continue to expect these kinds of revolutions from retailers. They want the bells and whistles as well as a more personalized experience. I think it is an interesting time to watch the face of retail to see what kinds of changes will be made over the next five years as retailers compete to have the coolest store space that appeals to consumers while drawing them further into the fold to becoming brand loyalists.

Global Marketing Challenges

Freddie Laker, the VP of global marketing strategy at SapientNitro, and Hilding Anderson, the research and insights director at SapientNitro, wrote an article titled “Five Challenges For Tomorrow’s Global Marketing Leaders: Study,” which is posted on In the article, they address five challenges that were identified in a six-month CMO Global Marketing Readiness Study that was conducted by SapientNitro and finalized in September 2012:

  1. Disruptive technologies
  2. Globally connected consumers
  3. Localization revisited
  4. Multi-channel misses
  5. Organizational structures

The first problem, disruptive technologies, deals with the onslaught of new technologies emerging today: “from social media and mobile apps to in-store digital experiences and mobile payments.” Laker and Anderson indicate that “just 20% consider themselves ‘very knowledgeable’ about technology, yet by 2017 these CMOs will purchase more technology than their CIOs, according to Gartner.” CMOs today need to be comfortable and highly knowledgeable about emerging technology because it is such an integral part of advertising today. Companies without a tech-savvy CMO will flounder in the marketplace compared to their competitors with highly specialized technological knowledge.

The second problem, globally connected consumers, deals with highly knowledgeable consumers using technology to change marketing rules. SapientNitro research shows that “82% of senior marketers feel that interconnected consumers have broken down the barriers between global and local marketing.” This means that instead of focusing campaigns separately on local and global markets, marketers need to learn how to target both markets in a single campaign and even in single ads. Consumers today are used to getting all information instantly and have short attention spans, so ad campaigns need to quickly and effectively spark their interest while optimizing the few seconds of attention they gain from consumers.

The third problem, localization revisited, deals with consumer diversity. Laker and Anderson indicate that “coping with the diversity of “global consumers” that also have strong regional subcultures is regarded as a challenge by 75% of senior marketers.” Therefore, ‘global’ campaigns really need to be tailored for local cultures because a single ad does not target even an entire country. With digital marketing, it is easier today to modify creative pieces for different target areas and broadcast them across multiple channels.

This leads us to the fourth problem: multi-channel misses. Laker and Anderson say that “a full 37% of senior marketers don’t believe that their marketing activities are fully integrated across digital and traditional channels.” Marketers need to find a balance between utilizing large multi-channel digital campaigns and targeting localized global consumers. Optimizing creative and financial capital for the biggest bang across multiple channels will be key to the survival of many ad agencies.

And the final problem is organizational structures. The old ways of separating the executive power in a company between several branches does not work anymore. So many departments are integrated and have overlapping responsibilities that it is difficult to maintain a functional operation if the department structures remain segmented and segregated. The SapientNitro study suggests that “56% of marketers agree coordination between digital and traditional marketing teams is more challenging than five years ago – silos and a lack of coordination are getting worse just as the need for collaboration is becoming greater.” Companies need to find an organizational structure that allows fluid collaboration and avoids unnecessary segregation between and among departments.

All companies need to analyze their threats and opportunities in these five areas in order to be leaders in their field. The thread tying many of these issues together is new technology. Current CMOs and marketers need to be willing and able to educate themselves in order to keep up with the ever-changing technological playground if they want to play in the major league.


Social Media & Advertising

Social media websites, such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, have been around for the latter part of the last decade, primarily. These websites allow people to sign up as users and connect with friends and family. People share intimate information regarding the daily activities of their lives on these sites. They also share links to books they like, articles they read, music they listen to, political and religious viewpoints they agree with, and products they love and hate. Businesses have realized that there is a social power that can be harnessed in these sites and utilized in a way to get the site users to interact with brands and promote their message/product. recently published an article, How to Triple Your Success Using Social Media Advertising Platforms by Neal Rodriguez, which illustrates how companies are utilizing Facebook’s ad program to boost sales by targeting their key psychographic areas. The article specifically studies a company called Tektronix who hired an advertising agency called aimClear to help with increasing traffic on their website. Rodriguez notes that:

“Tektronix also used Facebook ads to increase the traffic to its blog content pages. As expected, its traffic level to its blog significantly improved to 3,747 visits referred from Facebook in the most recent month while using Facebook ads; from 64 visits that it welcomed from its Facebook unpaid posts in the month prior to using Facebook ads. The conversion rate generated from unpaid Facebook traffic welcomed by its content pages was 1.8 percent in the month prior to using Facebook ads. The conversion rate increased to 5.9 percent in the most recent month while using Facebook ads.”


The founder of aimClear, Marty Weintraub, breaks down his process of utilizing Facebook into three steps, as illustrated in Rodriguez’ article:

1) Ensure that your content is appropriately packaged using the Facebook Open Graph

2) Develop your content with the objective of helping people as much as possible

3) Targeting Facebook users based on various interests including but not limited to media consumption habits, professional roles, cultural preferences and more

Rodriguez also says that when you are using social media to advertise, the focus needs to be on collecting contact information and getting people to subscribe to or like your page or get on an email list. He says the reason for this is because “with an engaged following, you create an endless line of opportunities to recoup your investment in the advertising every time you publish new content. Moreover, now that everybody’s a “journalist,” with the immediate ability to tweet, post on Facebook, or launch an online publication with WordPress or other type of open source content management system, when something is worth citing, you’ll have an active user base of publishers that are likely to link to your content.”

Using social media to advertise is more about telling a story about your brand and getting people to subscribe to your brand and less about getting immediate sales. If you build your story and get people engaged with your brand, you build awareness about your brand, which will lead to word of mouth advertising and then funnel into more sales from an informed and loyal customer base.