Advertising That Works! Billboard Edition

McDonalds Oclock Ad

That’s right, folks! It’s McDonalds-o-clock! There’s a lot to love about Mickey D’s billboard. First off, it’s a working sundial. That’s pretty darn impressive, if you ask us! Second of all, it features images of all the delicious food that makes up America’s favorite fast food breakfast! And thirdly, we love that the images speak for themselves. The marketing geniuses at McDonalds know that the majority of people are familiar with their brand, so instead of using this billboard to share information with consumers (i.e. this is who we are, this is what we do) they simply use it to remind us that it’s (literally) time for a visit. The ad is a tad outdated of course (as we all know, McDonalds serves breakfast all day now!) but it also served to remind us the hours that breakfast was sold—so it was useful and unique!

Image courtesy of http://www.sliptalk.com
Image courtesy of http://www.sliptalk.com

We love this billboard for its simplicity and cleverness. Everyone knows what duct tape is and what it’s good for (pretty much everything), so what this ad does is suggest that 3M brand tape is better and stronger than many off-brand tapes (this, in my experience, is actually true). The ad is clean and simple, but also kind of fun—after all, that’s a giant roll of duct tape holding that sign in place!

image courtesy of world.kapook.com
image courtesy of world.kapook.com

Last but not least is this fantastic ad for Capisco hot sauce! While this Indian hot sauce brand is not as widely recognizable as McDonalds or 3M, the designers are still able to send a pithy message with nothing but an image. The bottle shape, color, and label make it clear that this is a hot sauce, and the hole that appears to be burned into the billboard (you can see right through it! We love the commitment here!) makes it clear that this is a HOT sauce. It’s clever, it’s clear—it’s all we could ever want in a billboard!

What are some of your favorite billboards? Send us recommendations in the comments, or on Pinterest or Twitter!

Enhance Your Autumn with “Etnico”

image courtesy of peace107.com
image courtesy of peace107.com

Ah, Autumn! The weather turns cool, the leaves turn colors, and we can all bundle up in warm cozy sweaters and drink cocoa around a crackling fire! At least…some people can do that. Here in Houston, of course, it stays a balmy eighty or ninety degrees until well into October. Leaves stay green, grass keeps growing, and the only time it would make sense to drink cocoa is when you’re trapped in an air-conditioned office all day!

Etnico color collage

This is exactly why we are loving Color Marketing Group’s September color alert, “Etnico.” With a little of this warm, earthy orange in your life, it really does feel like fall! “Etnico” reminds us of autumn leaves and pumpkin pie, and we think it’s the perfect addition to your fall ad campaign.

Here’s what Color Marketing Group has to say:

Courtesy of elitemillennial.com
Courtesy of elitemillennial.com

“Bringing to mind hardened earth, baked pottery and, indeed, the orange of the setting sun, the color embeds

itself deeply in products. It celebrates when enhanced with a metallic effect, seduces with a matte richness and glows with a polished gloss.

Not just a simple terra cotta, Etnico takes orange to a new level in home and office. It is becoming a new staple for leather and a solid color coordinate to copper. Count on it to accent classic hues like plum, navy blue, and ivory, and to create a new twist with charcoal grey, wine and olive green.

Earthy, yes, but also sophisticated, charming and energized.”

Love it, love it, love it! Take a cue from the experts and incorporate a little “Etnico” into your next design for a bold, warm, earthy look.

This chick likes “Etnico” too! A lot. Like, way a lot. Image courtesy of CMG.
This chick likes “Etnico” too! A lot. Like, way a lot. Image courtesy of CMG.

Advertising That Works! Lay’s “Do Us a Flavor”

This week’s “Advertising That Works!” is interactive—and tasty!

Lay’s latest campaign, “Do us a Flavor: Tastes of America,” takes foods from four different regions of the US, makes them into a potato chip flavor, and asks America to vote!

Lays 4 Flavors

The bags themselves are great advertising: they encourage consumers to vote on their favorite, which also makes them want to buy not just one bag of chips…but all four! Not only does this increase sales in the short term, but it also increases brand engagement by making consumers think about the flavors they’re eating. Even if a given chip-eater doesn’t love any of the flavors, they’re still likely to visit the voting site and express a preference—after all, it’s fun to vote!

Once a consumer actually goes to vote, they encounter a cute website that’s cleanly designed and simple to navigate. Not only do you get to vote, but you also have the opportunity to learn more about the featured flavors. Site visitors can “meet” the “real people” who suggested the flavor from their region!

Lays Meet the Finalists

Lays Meet A Finalist

They can also experiment with this interactive map that shows how each flavor is doing in each state.

Hilariously, the south HATES Biscuits & Gravy flavored chips—I assume that’s because we know what it’s supposed to taste like.
Hilariously, the south HATES Biscuits & Gravy flavored chips—I assume that’s because we know what it’s supposed to taste like.

After you vote you’re redirected to this page, encouraging you to vote as many times as you like, via Twitter, Text or Instagram.

Lays Vote Again

Genius! This gets consumers engaged on multiple social media platforms, and keeps them engaged for the entire campaign! They also get a chance to win $10,000!

There you have it: the Lay’s Do Us a Flavor campaign is fun, engaging—and tasty! That’s why they’re this week’s “Advertising That Works!” We even got in on the fun here at Hunter-McMain, Inc. Our votes were:

Gyro: 4

Rueben: 1

Truffle/Biscuits: 0

I guess we fit right in with the rest of Texas:

Lays Gyro Map

Cool Off in August With “Vintage Mint”

Images courtesy of http://www.hawaiikawaii.net/. (Left) Color Marketing Group’s August Color Alert (center), and http://www.polyvore.com/ (right)
Images courtesy of http://www.hawaiikawaii.net/ (left) Color Marketing Group’s August Color Alert (center), and http://www.polyvore.com/ (right).

August in Houston is always hot, and this year, it’s record-breaking! Cool off a little with this month’s spotlight color, “Vintage Mint.” We’re loving this light, refreshing shade of green for everything from ads, to accessories…to cocktails.

There's nothing like a classic mint julep! Image courtesy of https://cocktailvultures.files.wordpress.com
There’s nothing like a classic mint julep! Image courtesy of https://cocktailvultures.files.wordpress.com

Plus, we don’t like to brag (too much), but as you can see from our blog’s color palette, we liked “vintage mint” before it was cool (pun intended)!

If this cute dude can figure out how to rock vintage mint, you can, too! Then you’ll be as cute as he is! Image courtesy of CMG.
If this cute dude can rock vintage mint, you can, too! Then you’ll be as cute as he is! Image courtesy of CMG.

According to the experts at Color Marketing Group (CMG):

“Vintage Mint has its roots in mid-century design…[but with] a distinctly modern edge… Always fresh, but now a bit daring, this new version has the energy to take on fashion, graphics, industrial design and transportation. Its daring has brought diversity, as it takes on unexpected roles in menswear, accent furnishings, and kitchen appliances.

Take a cool, fresh breath, with Vintage Mint.”

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves! Take a cue from the experts and incorporate vintage mint as a fun, fresh addition to your next ad or postcard.

Advertising That Works: Sprint “Oxen” Commercial

Remember way back, long, long ago, when flip phones were all the rage? Then maybe you remember this commercial:

In it, a farmer is standing in his field, forlorn, surrounded by hundreds of wiener dogs. What’s the problem? Well, he says, “I ordered two hundred oxen…not two hundred dachshunds.”

As a somewhat too-late solution, he is offered a new Sprint cell phone, to keep his conversations clear from now on.

We think this ad works because it’s hilarious! Not only does it brilliantly get the point across (“clearer service is useful; we offer clear service”) it also resonates with consumers over a long period of time. Viewers are still sharing this commercial around social media, and although the particular deal advertised is (obviously) no longer available, it’s still great publicity for Sprint.

Feel-good marketing is popular, and ads that keep making people laugh will keep being relevant for far longer than ads that simply inform consumers of a deal. That’s why this Sprint ad is this week’s “Advertising That Works!”

 

Advertising that Works: Oreo Thins For the Win

Oreos, but…better for you? The same great taste, but…smaller? Brilliant!

At least that’s what the new Oreo Thins Ads would have us believe, and we think they’re doing a very convincing job.

Image courtesy of static.thefrisky.com.
Image courtesy of static.thefrisky.com.

The latest series of ads for the new Oreo Thins (a permanent addition to the Oreo cookie family) emphasizes a “sleek” and “clean” feel with few words and large, impactful images of the cookies–which look totally delicious, just smaller.

Image courtesy of delish.com.
Image courtesy of delish.com.

The way they emphasize how “thin” the cookies are in the ad designs play into a cultural interest in healthier eating, as well as the constant shift toward slimmer, sleeker products in the tech world. For instance, the ad above shares some similarities with this ad for the Apple iPad Mini:

Image courtesy of www.hightech-edge.com.
Image courtesy of http://www.hightech-edge.com.

The iPad is sexy, so Oreos are sexy, too! The Oreo Thin ad campaign is also making clever use of celebrity and social media–for instance, not long ago, actor and comedian Neil Patrick Harris sent out this tweet:

NPH Oreo Tweet

Accompanied by this charming Instagram post:

NPH Oreos instagram

If that doesn’t make you want Oreo Thins, I don’t know what will.

For these reasons, we have to officially declare the Oreo Thins campaign to be some Advertising that Seriously Works!

Oreo Has a History of Quality Ads…Check it Out:

The Number 1 Thing Designers Hate

Welcome back! We’ve covered a lot in this series, and we’re almost finished! We’ve come a long way together, and now it’s time to reveal the number 1 thing designers hate. Drumroll please…

1) You say, “Give me something….Different/Unique/Special!”

Image courtesy of www.warcom.com.au
Image courtesy of http://www.warcom.com.au

“I want it to be different, but I’m not sure how.”

“I love what you’re doing, but could it be more…artsy?”

“I’m not sure what I’m looking for, but I’ll know it when I see it.”

Here you have it: a designer’s worst nightmare. It can be difficult to satisfy a client who speaks in vague concepts, but has little idea about what kind of visual they’re looking for. A request like, “give me something unique,” can be fun for a designer, because it gives a lot of opportunity for creativity! But it can be frustrating, too, because it puts a lot of pressure on a designer to guess what you will love.

Buzzwords that evoke feelings like “family,” “futuristic,” and “fun,” are common in marketing, but they’re also not very specific. Graphic designers are more visually oriented, and they’re looking for more visual descriptions like “use shades of blue,” or “line drawing,” or “photographs of puppies.”

Here you go! This is a photo of a puppy with shades of blue and line drawing! What could be better?
Here you go! This is a photo of a puppy with shades of blue and line drawing! What could be better?

Often clients do have something in mind—they just don’t know how to describe it. That’s when they may default to vague descriptors (like “unique”) and then be disappointed with what we come up with. If you know what you want but have a difficult time describing it, it’s great to bring examples of what you like to share with your designer (but try to avoid #9). Just be ready to say what you like and don’t like about each example.

For instance, a client for a new website might send a list of links to the designer and say, “I like the layout in this one, but I want less text,” and “I like the color scheme here, but mine should be brighter and the pages on this site are too cluttered.” From that, a designer can start to glean the aesthetic you’re looking for, and what kinds of things won’t work for you.

If you really have no idea what you want, that’s ok, too! Trust your designer to create something unique for you—they’ll be thrilled to do it. Then you can tweak it together, until you have exactly the right design for your company!

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Top 10 Things Designers Hate Number 2, or: The Great File Caper

We hope you’re as excited as we are to be getting to the top 2 on this list! We’ve covered rate cards, too much text, and all kinds of great stuff about fonts. We’re now approaching the two most difficult problems that designers encounter with clients—but never fear! We’ve got the scoop on how to avoid these snafus and keep your process running smoothly. The number 2 thing designers hate is when a client says…

2) “My last designer was terrible! She wouldn’t give me the design files!”

Uh-oh! When we hear those words we know there’s trouble a-brewing—because we won’t give you those files, either. Image courtesy of www.amandavyne.com.
Uh-oh! When we hear those words we know there’s trouble a-brewing—because we won’t give you those files, either. Image courtesy of http://www.amandavyne.com.

Occasionally, a client may believe that he is buying not just a logo or ad, but also all the ad’s component parts and the right to make changes at will. The client may ask the designer to create the artwork in Microsoft Word, or simply to share the InDesign or Quark files so it is easier for the client to make adjustments himself.

This is generally not something a designer will do. In most design contracts, clients own the final artwork, but not the “working files” or drafts. While a designer will be happy to collaborate with a client on making changes until the final design is satisfactory to both parties, the majority of designers will not allow a client the right to make changes to a completed design.

There are many reasons for this! First is professional pride: designers want to prevent their painstakingly crafted artwork from being altered. A client is not likely to know as much about composition, fonts, or graphics as a trained graphic designer, and that can lead to oddly stretched or pixelated images and strangely composed ads. We have our reputations to think about, after all!

Maintaining ownership of working files is also good business sense: if a client believes that he or she can simply re-adjust the same ad over and over, then why go back to the designer for a fresh new ad campaign? (of course, wouldn’t you rather have a shiny new design?!) In addition, there are some potential licensing issues. Most images are copyrighted.  If a client gives a designer a photo for their ad, then the photo continues to belong to the client. But if a designer acquires fonts or images elsewhere, then they have the right to sell the final product, but they may not have the legal right to sell you the individual parts.

Understanding what you are (and are not) buying from a designer is an important part of maintaining a positive working relationship. Many conflicts between designer and client can be avoided if ownership and the process are discussed beforehand! Then everyone knows what to expect, and you’re all happy…just like this puppy in a bucket!

Image courtesy of justcuteanimals.com.
Image courtesy of justcuteanimals.com.

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Top 10 Things Designers Hate: Number 3

A simple but important part of any working relationship is respecting each other’s time. We think most people totally get that! But this particular issue still comes up every now and then, so this week, let’s talk about how much designers hate….

3) Last-Minute Changes

Image courtesy of http://www.zerouno.org.
Image courtesy of http://www.zerouno.org.

Every designer has had a client wait until at or after the deadline to request a color change, a text-rewrite, or even a complete overhaul of an ad. These last-minute changes are often accompanied by, “oh, it’s just a little change, it shouldn’t take you very long,” or the dreaded: “I need it by today.”

Of course, clients often don’t realize how long a given change is going to take. Something that seems simple, like replacing the copy, can actually be time-consuming because it requires the text to be sized and formatted to fit in the same space as the old copy. A change like, “could you just add a photograph?” isn’t a matter of just sticking something into the ad. A designer needs to find the right image, get the client’s approval, and make sure it’s the right size and resolution to look good with the rest of the ad. stop-the-press 2

Sometimes, as with ads printed in magazines or newspapers, there is a hard deadline for getting the ad to print. That can mean the designer has to work overtime to get the ad in on time. If you’re printing a brochure or a magazine and want to make a change when it’s already at press, you can end up wasting paper (oh no! the environment!) and you may be charged by the printer for the time they’re not able to use the press because of you! Nobody wants that!

All these last-minute changes can be avoided if you build your schedule with a little buffer-time—and stick to it! Then you’re happy, the designer’s happy, and look: this puppy is happy, too!

Image courtesy of idressmypets.com
Image courtesy of idressmypets.com

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Top 10 Things Designers Hate: Number 8

Welcome back! To recap: last week, we talked about “borrowed” images, and before that we covered ads with too much text! Today we’re covering number eight on our list:

“Please, Read the Rate Card!”

Ah, do you hear that? Off in the distance? you can just make out the troubled cry of many a frustrated designer.

What’s a “Rate Card,” you ask? And why should I read it?

A Rate Card is a document provided to you by the publication in which you will be placing an ad. The Rate Card contains all the information that you need about placing your ad in a publication: prices, deadlines, size requirements, and in what format your ad should be sent to us (i.e., .pdf, .cps, or .tif). Often, the Rate Card will look something like this:

This is the rate card we gave to clients who were placing ads in the 2014 Quilts Buyers’ Guide. As you can see, the card shows ad sizes, costs, for both black and white and color ads, and deadlines.
This is the rate card we gave to clients who were placing ads in the 2014 Quilts Buyers Guide. As you can see, the card shows ad sizes, costs, for both black and white and color ads, and deadlines.

The publication where you’ll be placing your ad will always give you one of these—please read it! While working on a publication like the Quilts Buyers Guide, which contains many ads placed by different companies, designers can spend a surprisingly large amount of time fielding emails and phone calls with information about sizes, deadlines, and prices—in other words, information that can be easily found on the Rate Card.

Your designer will be happy to help you out if you have questions or difficulties with your ad! But if you check the Rate Card first, you will help ensure that the conversations with your designer are focused on more important and difficult questions than “when is this due?” For example: you want a flying squirrel in the ad? Sure, why not!

Thanks for reading your Rate Card!

 

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