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Insights: The EGC Blog

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It was a year ago that we wrote a blog post that looked at the questions surrounding the future of Google+ following its conspicuous absence from conversations at Google’s developer conference, Google I/O, in the summer of 2014. We mentioned then that Google+ has faced tough questions from the beginning of its existence when it launched on June 28, 2011.

In its nearly four years of operation, the platform has faced the premature declarations of its demise, which kicked up in earnest with the departure of the platform’s creator, Vic Gundotra, in April 2014. As we asked then: “Without its passionate advocate at the helm, where is it headed?”

Social giant Facebook has dominated headlines this year, having recently made news for its innovative approach to delivering news by teaming up with news organizations to create Instant Articles. But Google+ is now in the news (again), because this year, Google takes a different tack at Google I/O 2015 and tackles Google+ questions head on.

 

Bradley Horowitz, Vice President of Streams, Photos and Sharing, spoke to the press yesterday at the event about Google Photo’s disconnect from Google+ and that changes are on the horizon, but did not go into specifics of the product plans for Plus

Speaking with Backchannel for an interview Horowitz shared on his own Google+ account, he’s quoted as saying, “It’s fair to say you’re about to see a huge shift in what Plus is becoming. It’s a shift in response to what users are telling us. That’s a very healthy and natural thing. As opposed to sticking to strategies of years ago, we’re actually adapting to how the product is successful in market and doubling-down on that.”

 

Slash Gear, in its own take on the “Google+ is Not Dead” headlines that started popping up yesterday, proclaimed in its headline: “Google+ isn’t dead, but blood has been shed.” The piece opens with the question, “Remember Google+?”

While Horowitz argues that the platform is now showing greater signs of life now, to many, it did seem that the platform was being left by the wayside. So what does Google have in store for it, and will this be a dramatic shift from a “social network” approach to something entirely different?

When asked by Backchannel about where it’s going, Horowitz pointed to specifically what he feels is the platform’s current strength. “For instance, one particular use-case on Google Plus is people aligning around common interests. If I’m interested in astronomy and I want to meet other people interested in astronomy, we think we have a good solution – Collections, a new feature that we launched just two weeks ago. It’s the first in a series of pivots.”

Horowitz seemed mos excited to talk about was Google Photos. Google describes it on their official blog as “a new, standalone product that gives you a home for all your photos and videos, helps you organize and bring your moments to life, and lets you share and save what matters.”

An app, Google Photos allows users to enhance their photos, organize them and share a link to hundreds of photos at once. Recipients can see what’s been shared without having to use a special app or login and can themselves save the images into their own library.

It’s currently available on Android, iOS and the web. And Google notes more is in store for photos.

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Spot1

Spotify officially announced yesterday that in addition to music, it is now a streaming video content provider. Partnerships with companies such as Comedy Central, BBC, Nerdist, NBC, ViceNews and ESPN will provide Spotify with short-form video, which will thus expand the reach for these media brands.

 

 

Video isn’t entirely new for Spotify. In the fall of 2014, Spotify for Brands introduced Video Ads Users listening to music on Spotify were given the option to watch a brand’s video (called a “Sponsored Session”) in order to enable an interruption-free period of 30-minutes of happy listening. Brands could also purchase a “video ad break” or “Video Takeover” on desktop.

Spotify partnered with brand powerhouses that included Coca-Cola, Ford, McDonalds and NBC Universal Pictures on its video ad formats. Video ads launched in the US, UK, Germany, France, Spain and Sweden in 2014 and they will be rolling out in more markets this year.

 

 

The news of Spotify venturing further into video wasn’t met with total jubilation. Tech reporter Brian Barrett, writing for Wired, comments that this is part of a larger trend of tech companies trying to be all things to all people. He writes, “These aren’t pivots, as they say, so much as they are tenuously constructed chimera, features and functions stapled together in an effort to become The One True Internet Experience.”

Barrett contends that we’ve seen this “land grab” pursuit of “total dominance” before and it hasn’t ended well for the brands that tried it – or for consumers. Looking at the big picture of tech companies that aspire to be one-stop shops on the web, he laments, “And having one company (or more specifically, that company’s algorithms) dictate what, when, and how millions of people experience the digital world feels at least mildly dystopian.”

On the flip side, others see the move as a serious (and positive) challenge to cable subscriptions. Consumers today, especially Millennials, are looking for the freedom to stream content without being tethered to expensive cable bundles. Streaming services like Netflix have already demonstrated the significant interest in streaming services, but that popularity is driving a push for more and more companies to try to jump on the bandwagon, making the streaming services landscape increasingly crowded and competitive.

 

 

Spotify’s move to offer more advertising and content-sharing options for brands demonstrates an understanding of the shift in the way consumers are looking to experience content. It also demonstrates an understanding that the Spotify brand itself needed to refresh its business model as it faced competition from Apple and Beats’ moves to rival its streaming service.

Ultimately, as our Creative Director Rich DeSimone discussed in a recent Q&A here on the EGC blog, “We know video is an important part of any marketing strategy. We know that watching a product video makes a customer 52% more likely to purchase that product. And we know that hundreds of millions of hours’ worth of videos are watched daily on YouTube with half of those views now happening on mobile…Our challenge will be to create dynamic videos that stand out as more brands produce even more video.”

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FBIA

 

Today, Facebook is launching a new program that will allow participating news organizations that range from The New York Times to BBC News to publish content directly to Facebook. Rather than sharing a link to their own publication website, Facebook promises instant articles with load times that will be up to ten times faster.

Interestingly, just last March, The New York Times published a piece about the possibility of the plan, Facebook May Host News Sites’ Content, while listing itself as a possible partner. Noting, “Facebook intends to begin testing the new format in the next several months, according to two people with knowledge of the discussions,” The New York Times also listed BuzzFeed as being in talks with Facebook.

Writing of its involvement in the program today, this newspaper noted, “The New York Times has been cautious about the Facebook program, viewing it as an experiment that could help it learn more about subscribers and potential subscribers who are reading its articles on Facebook.” In its previous post from March, however, the publication cited concerns about a loss of reader data as one of its concerns with the plan.

Facebook's plan to directly host articles on its site involves media companies including NBC News, BuzzFeed, The New York Times, National Geographic, The Atlantic and more.

Posted by The New York Times on Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Casey Newton, Silicon Valley editor at The Verge, writes in his piece that was published this morning, Facebook’s Instant Articles Arrive to Speed Up the News Feed, “Perhaps the most important thing to note about Facebook’s instant articles is that they feel inevitable. Content hosted on apps rather than websites isn’t the future of media – it’s the present.” In fact, as reported in The Wall Street Journal on Monday, Parse.ly, a provider of audience insights for digital publishers, found that at the end of 2014, Facebook had surpassed Google in sending readers to news sites (referral traffic).

At present, Facebook will allow publishers to sell ads on their instant articles themselves and keep the revenue. Facebook also offers the option to sell ads for the publishers, splitting the revenue. 

What could this mean for publishers, going forward? Casey Newton floats a gloomy scenario for publishers, wherein traditional links become decreasingly effective on Facebook, instant articles will become popular – and Facebook takes an increasing cut of ad revenue. He writes, “What appeared to the media as a friendly tweak to the user interface was really a trap.”

As Jamie Condliffe writes in his opinion piece for Gizmodo this morning, “It remains to be seen how successful the experiment will be, of course – but if it does perform as well as Facebook hopes, publishers could well finds themselves even more reliant on a service they have little control over.” In terms of control, one aspect of this that comes up across articles, blogs and opinion pieces today as a serious point of concern is the issue of algorithm changes.

You need never leave this place they call the Facebook.

Posted by Gizmodo on Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Facebook famously (or perhaps infamously) routinely “tweaks” its algorithm. In 2013, we at EGC took a look at dramatic changes in the News Feed algorithm and their impact. Additionally, we’ve looked at how Facebook shifted again in January of this year to push brands to promote more of its content to achieve visibility.

How this will work, and what the impact of inevitable algorithm tweaks will be, remains to be seen. Pew Research Center’s Journalism Project, with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, did find in recent research that 30% of US adults get news from Facebook. At the moment, 78% of those adults predominantly discover news when on Facebook for “other reasons” and only 34% of “Facebook news consumers” are actually following news organizations or journalists themselves. So, there’s certainly room to grow on the platform in attracting followers and consistently delivering content to them.

The user experience will matter a great deal in the success of Instant Articles. Facebook has worked to create a beautiful feature-rich experience here. For example, Facebook has always been an important home for photos. As early as 2011, Facebook was said to store more than 10,000 times more photos than the Library of Congress, and photos play a big role in this new publishing format.

Photos will be able to have accompanying audio captions. They can be Liked and commented on individually within stories, and also be geo-targeted with an interactive map that opens when the name of the location is tapped. Authors and photographers of Facebook articles and photos can be included at the top of the content, with links to their public profiles that users can choose to follow.

With the estimated marketing effect of Facebook in 2014 enabling $148 billion of economic impact and 2.3 million jobs, according to Deloitte, the global power of Facebook is unmistakable. And Instant Articles promises to create a new way to experience news, potentially adding value to the platform and making it more important than ever for all brands to have an active and strategic Facebook presence.

 

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 Backlinks_1-1

How many of you saw Matt Cutts’ announcement about backlinks and whether or not they were still important?

Well, if you were looking forward to watching and hearing about new innovations that will make worrying about backlinks obsolete– don’t get your hopes up. Despite all the hoopla about Google investing in “actual language understanding” and “Star Trek”-like computers, what we gather from Mr. Cutts is that links, and their impact on search rankings, won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.

But then, just how much of an impact are we seeing from backlinks (aka inbound links, incoming links or the display of webpages that link to your content)? Where is the line drawn between Strong Backlinks and Relevant Page Content?

THE BROAD ANALYSIS

To get a better understanding of the real effects of backlinks, we searched in Google for specific queries from a variety of highly competitive markets. We then analyzed how the number of link root domains  (the number of other sites that link to your site) factored into the positions of where sites were ranking in the results.

Starting with the first case, we analyzed broad search terms in the following categories:

  •          Auto Insurance
  •          Attorney
  •          Degrees

Once we determined who was ranking where, we grouped them into four “Position Groupings” within the Search Engine Results. We broke these out by ranking in the first five positions on the first page of Google results, then the next five, or bottom half of the first results page. The next two groups look at the second page of Google’s results for a fuller analysis.

In the chart below, you’ll see our position groups displayed in quadrants of five and color-coded for search term:

Backlinks_2

As you can see, the “Auto Insurance” and “Degree” categories were dominant in positions 1-5 by website pages with a large number of linking root domains (compared to the other position groupings). In fact, if you combine all the linking root domains from positions 6-20 for both categories, the positions still had about eight times the number of links! 

Not all of the categories performed the same, however, as can be seen in the “Attorney” category. Although positions 1-5 had more linking root domains than what was showing on the second page of the results, we clearly see that positions 6-10 (the second half of the first page on Google) actually had more linking root domains than positions 1-5.

(By the way, we’d like to thank “Forbes” for skewing the data and sneaking its way into the SERPs with an article about listening to divorce attorneys.)

But even with this anomaly in the system, we still see that when all of the categories are combined together, positions 1-5 accounted for 55% of the linking root domains of all twenty pages in the analysis. Comparatively, positions 16-20 only accounted for 1% of all the pages’ linking root domains.

Backlinks_3

BUT WHAT ABOUT LONG TAIL SEARCHES?

When we conducted the same analysis, but applied it to long tail geo-targeted search terms (keyword phrases containing three to five words). Long tail geo-targeted search terms can be most effective for smaller local companies and institutions.

Interestingly, in our study, we saw vastly differing results from our initial analysis:

Backlinks_4

By switching the terms to geo-targeted long tail keywords, we see that the positions’ groupings with the most linking root domains vary as such:

  •          Degree:                    positions 6 - 10
  •          Attorney:                 positions 11 - 15
  •          Auto Insurance:     positions 16 - 20

It was difficult to find consistency across the three categories, since each had a different position grouping which contained the largest number of total linking root domains. But there was one area of consistency: across all three categories, positions 1-5 never contained the most linking root domains.

 In fact, when looking at the final percentage breakdown of domain totals, we see that the top five positions only made up 1% of the total linking root domains. (Positions 16-20 made up a whopping 85%.)

Backlinks_5

SO HOW IMPORTANT ARE BACKLINKS?

With such differing results from each side of the analysis, it’s difficult to deduce exactly how directly backlinks are affecting search results. In one case, we showed that the higher volume of linking root domains directly correlated with the highest positions within the SERPs for broad searches. But as the searches became more direct and had more details, the results were the exact opposite (where sites that ranked the highest actually had the least number of linking root domains).

Backlinks_6

It certainly seems safe to say based on our analysis, there are two obvious takeaways:

                “Ranking for very general keywords requires an abundance of backlinks to rank well.

AND

            “Backlinks don’t matter as much as when it comes to ranking for long tail geo-targeted terms.

 

If Google is already planning to make inbound links less of a factor for determining organic positioning, and we’re already seeing that they play less of a role for long tail keywords – then the above statements may be true.

We advise conducting an audit of your site and the marketplace. See where your particular industry stands, and then analyze what appears to be the main determinant of positions for your core keywords.

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Pin_Blog_1

Now that every brand and local hardware store is utilizing Pinterest to promote the “lifestyle” of their market and drive relevant traffic back to their website, how can you track the success of this platform? Is the time and effort that you spend on creating boards and sharing pins really paying off? Pinterest Analytics are not new but very valuable and as the network opens up its advertising platforms this year, it will be important to include these metrics into reporting.

Pinterest has only opened up the Promoted Pins platform to selected advertisers as of right now, but there is still plenty of data to shift organically through from the content you are sharing.  Upon entering the dashboard for Analytics, there are three options of data to digest. There are Pinterest Profile metrics, Audience metrics, and Activity from your website. 

Pin_Blog_2

Your Pinterest Profile includes metrics that will determine how engaging your pins are on the social platform and how many people are utilizing them daily. 

Metrics Include:

  •      Avg. daily impressions
  •      Avg. daily viewers
  •      Avg. daily repins
  •      Avg. daily repinners
  •      Avg. daily clicks
  •      Avg. daily visitors
  •      Most repinned pins
  •      Best in search 

Why is it important?

It is important to populate your Pinterest community on a regular basis, and these metrics will show the response rate and activity from the community you are building. Creating these relationships and enhancing them ensures exposure and brand consistency.

Pin_Blog_3

Your Audience Analytics depicts where your audience depicts where your audience is pinning from and what their other interests on Pinterest are. This segment will also give you monthly data that shows the correlation between users and engagement. Accessing this data will help you to determine additional or off-brand content that you may want to share. 

Metrics Include:

  •      Avg. monthly viewers
  •      Avg. monthly engaged
  •      Country audience #
  •      Metro audience #
  •      Language audience #
  •      Gender 

Why is it important?

If your Pinterest strategy includes pinning multiple product images and links to your page and hoping that people will share them, you are not contributing enough to the community. Pinterest is a lifestyle inspiration network, and these metrics will clue you in to the type of lifestyle your audience is actively engaging in. This data will help to teach you more about your audience than what you might have known before (and even be a helpful tool to share new types of content)

Pin_Blog_4

The Activity from your website segment is a necessary tool that will confirm the kind of content that is getting pinned the most often from the website. The data shared here measures the outbound Pinterest activity from your site only.

Metrics:

Avg. daily impressions

Avg. daily viewers

  •      Avg. daily repins
  •      Avg. daily repinners
  •      Avg. daily clicks
  •      Avg. daily visitors
  •      Avg. daily pin creates
  •      Avg. daily pinners
  •      Top pin impressions
  •      Top pin clicks
  •      Top pin repins
  •      Top pin Likes  

Why is it important?

Like Google Analytics (but better), this segment will detail what happens when a piece of content or product gets pinned from a link on your site and becomes "social" on Pinterest. It is a fantastic way of learning about what product or content resonates with audiences. If you haven't activated this segment of data by verifying your website, you will not be able to access this data! 

Conclusion:

Social media strategies are multi-channel and multi-purpose. By measuring and analyzing the daily and monthly efforts of engagement and sharing unique, user-generated content and branded content, brands can identify new opportunities. According to the Pinterest blog, Lowe's found a hidden gem from using Pinterest Analytics. It is important to scale your time on each social network and know that the effort being put into the strategy results in positive brand experience, sales, engagement, or another goal for your brand. 

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You know who your customers are, right? Most marketers are confident that they do.

But while most of us may know who our customers are, do we really understand our customers’ path to purchase today? Changes in the way that we shop, communicate with one another, consume media, and engage with the world means that we might not be as savvy as we think when it comes to all the things that factor into a purchase journey in 2015.

At EGC, we’ve recently worked with several clients to dig deeper into how prospective customers are finding them, considering products and services in their category, making purchase decisions, and acting afterward. It’s led to strong insights rooted in their Customer Journey, and actionable marketing activity that takes advantage of the learning.

Journey_Graphic

How well can you answer each of these questions?

Take the test:

  1. Do you know where your customer will most likely first encounter your brand?
  2. Do you know all the places they’ll look for a product like yours?
  3. Who will they turn to for advice before purchasing your product or signing up for your service?
  4. What, or who, will influence their decision most?
  5. What are the top three decision drivers in your category?
  6. What role do online reviews play?
  7. Will social media impact a purchase decision? 

While many marketers have some working assumptions about these things, when was the last time you did some in-market learning to be sure?

So, how can you adapt to succeed in an evolving landscape?

First and foremost, you need to have a strong lay of the land when it comes to that Customer Journey. Think it through. Talk to your customers. Talk to your sales force and see what they are hearing and finding. A lot of times, just getting out of the office and into the field is a great learning opportunity. Having hypotheses and assumptions are a good starting point.

To build on that, if you’re ready to take a more rigorous and pragmatic approach or have some business challenges that are proving difficult to overcome, consider doing some research to uncover insight at each step of the Journey, and discover where the opportunities are for you to strengthen your marketing plan.

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An Interview with EGC Creative Director Rich DeSimone

rich-desimone_thWe sat down with Rich DeSimone, EGC Group’s Creative Director, to pick his brain about where he sees the wonderful world of creative heading this year. What hot trends are emerging? How critical is it to merge digital and creative strategies?

OK. Before we dive into new trends, what hot trends from 2014 do you think we’re leaving behind us?

Trends don’t always go away, sometimes they evolve.

With that being said, I think apps from brands that are not a utility to the user (such as ones that are purely for entertainment purposes) will be used less and less. As users move away from these, the development of these types of apps will also decrease.

Another trend evolution we’re seeing this year is that “responsive” websites aren’t just nice to have; they’re an absolute must-have. Next month, Google will be weighing mobile in its site rankings and users expect itIn fact, I think the word “responsive” will not be used in the advertising world because clients will just expect it.

What do you see as the top creative trends for the rest of 2015? 

1. Integrating Advertising Into Wearables:

One trend that’s evolving into something new and exciting (and creating fresh opportunities and interesting challenges for us in creative) is wearables. I’m really excited about approaching integrating advertising into wearables.

We’ve seen Apple follow other brands, branching into smartwatch territory, and interest in wearables is growing. What we’ve seen so far is adoption primarily in fitness. I think we’ll start to see wearables be used even more in day to day activities. And we’ve heard a lot over the last few years about “The Internet of Things,” and we’re going to see more of this integrate with wearables.

With a broadening variety of people wearing them, different brands are going to try to reach target audiences through different devices. Agencies will be tasked with figuring out best practices to reach people on wearables.

 

 

2. Geo-Targeting Campaigns:

Local media buys have long been a staple of advertising. And the possibilities for targeting specific locations in search, PPC and social advertising have become more advanced over the last few years.

Facebook and Twitter allow marketers to target people based on zip codes. At the end of 2014, we saw Facebook roll out hyper-local targeting, allowing marketers to serve ads to consumers within one-mile of a brick and mortar store.

This year, we’ll see a sharp increase in the number of brands implementing geo-targeted campaigns to drive store visits. Of course, mobile plays a huge role in this. Ads will connect people to the businesses where they are in real-time.

geo

3. Video’s Role Gets Even Bigger:

We know video is an important part of any marketing strategy. We know that watching a product video makes a customer 52% more likely to purchase that product. And we know that hundreds of millions of hours worth of videos are watched daily on YouTube with half of those views now happening on mobile.

Video is incredibly important in social media right now, from Facebook (particularly helpful to brands with its autoplay in News Feeds) to Snapchat (with its Snapchat Stories and Discover). Just last month, we saw the new live video streaming app Meerkat make huge waves at SxSW. 

Twitter wasn’t initially thrilled to have a third-party app plug into its graph, and was looking to make headlines of its own with its own new video cameraTwitter’s crackdown on Meerkat seems to have only helped the brand gain attention and increase users

Our challenge will be to create dynamic videos that stand out as more brands produce even more video.

adidas' "Here's to the Takers" topped the Visible Measures Viral Video Chart yesterday, April 14, 2015.

In light of these trends, how would you characterize the importance of connecting creative with digital strategy?

Creative now is digital, which is the cost of entry. The question now is how to have traditional dovetail into creative. And the answer to that is create the digital strategy and campaign first, and then work on the traditional components from there. With the social landscape being so prominent in people’s daily routines, we have to ensure our core ideas translate in that space to be successful.

How will 2015 trends impact how brands present themselves?

To put it in its simplest form, do the reverse of traditional designing.

Agencies will be designing for mobile first and then looking to make sure it also works on desktop. Campaigns need to hit consumers where they live and that is on their mobile devices. The goal is to continue to increase traffic from these devices.

How can we at EGC differentiate ourselves in the way we produce campaigns for our potential clients?

By surprising and delighting audiences with creative ads for brands we work with. This means not always leading with the points brands may traditionally lead with in their messaging. We need to learn what’s most important to the consumer and lead with that first, building a conversation that customers want to have.

A perfect example of this is the Dove campaign. They speak to inner beauty, which really beautifully speaks to their target. Yes, they also talk about why their product is the best, but the messaging connects with customers, first and foremost.

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Voice1

NBC’s The Voice is well into its eighth season with live playoff performances having kicked off this week.  Reality shows have been facing a ratings slump and news broke this week about Viacom (which heavily relied on these types of programs), suffering from serious financial shortfalls. The Voice, however, continues to bring in strong ratings and its viewership grows each season, despite competing against other networks’ hit shows like Dancing with the Stars, Grey’s Anatomy, The Blacklist and Big Bang Theory.

What’s made The Voice such a hit? 

Smart marketing has definitely helped the show fight the tide of reality TV’s decline. Not only does the show promote itself actively through traditional marketing (like promo spots on NBC), it weaves marketing principles into the show itself.

In a recent blog post, we discussed the concept of inbound marketing. Inbound marketing strategically pulls customers in through the use of engaging, intriguing and relevant content. Customers come to you rather than pushing your messaging out and risk getting lost in the noise or being blocked out by customers.

Can a broadcast TV show really be considered inbound marketing? We can definitely see some of these strategies at work within the fabric of The Voice. Key components of inbound marketing are strong content that draws people in, a strong social media plan, and networking.

While networking in inbound marketing terms often refers to a strong link-building program as part of a robust SEO strategy, The Voice integrates partnerships with other brands – including personal brands – to create relationships and help draw in viewers. The producers are also savvy about tapping into trends and using social media very effectively to build excitement about the show.

 

The Queen returns to her throne February 23 on NBC. #TheVoice

Posted by The Voice on Friday, 13 February 2015

 

If you’ve surfed the web lately, or visit Facebook, you’re sure to be inundated with blogs, lists, quizzes and open letters on nostalgia – particularly about growing up in the 80s and 90s. Who doesn’t love a good flashback to our youth?

Remember running home from the bus stop to catch Total Request Live with Carson Daly on MTV or driving all the way to the mall to get the newest Christina Aguilera CD? Almost all of the personalities that have starred on The Voice have had, and still do have, very successful careers in the entertainment industry. These relationships with popular personal brands help enrich the show’s content.

Watching these celebrities on the show brings back good memories. We feel all warm and fuzzy inside, therefore making the show more appealing to us as an audience.

The Coaches:

While we’re on the topic of the personalities who appear on The Voice, let’s take a moment to talk about the coaches. Notice they’re called “coaches” and not “judges.” 

And you can’t deny that after watching just five minutes, you want to jump through your TV screen and be friends with Christina, Pharrell and Adam… and sometimes Blake.

The playful banter, joking and secret pacts they make with each other during the blind auditions and battle rounds are a nice change from the rude, negative and discouraging feedback that contestants routinely receive on other competition shows. 

You know that all of the judges are at the top of the game. They’re the best at what they do and for that reason alone, they are relevant and gain the respect of viewers. But at the same time – they’re relatable and viewers feel a connection to them.

 

A very HAPPY birthday to our coach, Pharrell Williams!

Posted by The Voice on Sunday, 5 April 2015

 

Next Level Social:

Sure, there’s social engagement during some shows and maybe even a featured tweet every now and then, but The Voice goes all out. They don’t limit their social media engagement to just a semi-translucent hashtag displayed in the bottom corner of the screen during the show.

Did you ever notice that The Voice changes hashtags to correspond with the team that’s currently singing? And their hashtags only pop up for a limited time when they are relevant.

Coaches tweet at each other, competitors tweet at the coaches, fans tweet at the coaches and they feature these tweets throughout the show. But, they don’t stop there. They’ve brought social engagement to another dimension with the Instant Save. 

What’s Instant Save? Basically, you have five minutes to tweet and save your favorite in-jeopardy contestant. 

After just four episodes in from the launch of Instant Save in 2013, The Voice generated 3.5 million tweets and nearly doubled their Twitter followers throughout the season. (That’s about 1.25 million followers gained!) Talk about engagement. No wonder Instant Save won Shorty Awards for Best Integration of Social Media with Live Television and Best Use of a Hashtag on Twitter. 

Product Placement:

Product placement has been a mainstay of TV and film. While some have predicted the demise of product placement, and it does seem to be experiencing some growing pains, it is still very much alive and ubiquitous.

And it would be hard not to notice it on The Voice. From the Starbucks Green Room to multi-angle pans over the 2015 lineup of Nissan vehicles during pre-performance packages, it’s clear there are some very powerful brand relationships in place.

While we confess that sometimes those product placement moments could use a bit more finesse (some of those Nissan pans, for example, are a bit slow in our opinion), not only is this a great opportunity for brands to get visibility on the show, it creates connections with viewers who experience these brands in their daily lives.

The Voice is a great example of how effective and versatile marketing can be. 

Voice2

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Mad_Men

This Sunday, the first of the final episodes of Mad Men will premiere on AMC. For seven seasons, audiences have watched this retro take on the professional (and personal) adventures of a diverse group of people employed in a Madison Avenue advertising firm. There will no doubt be Mad Men parties, especially for the first and last episodes, and fans will eagerly tune in to see what becomes of these characters (not to mention the agency of Sterling Cooper Draper Price).

Don Draper, Joan Holloway, Bertram Cooper, Roger Sterling, Peggy Olson, and Peter Campbell (among other characters) each made an impression on television audiences. Whether they were loved or hated (or both), these characters had style. (But hey…it was New York in the 1950s and 1960s. How could they not have style?) One could even go one step further and say that the overall style of the show made as much of an impression as the characters. And this style was something to sell…

The marketing powers at the show’s network, AMC, know a good thing when they see it, and have been promoting events that would have made Draper and his colleagues feel everything from pride to amusement, to “why didn’t I think of that?” frustration. But it’s fittingly obvious: only advertising professionals could fully appreciate and promote the power of a television series about advertising. And the common thread that is running through everything from events to displays to retro-style products is style.

Just last week, for example, an inventive take on “Restaurant Week” took place in Manhattan. More than 30 well-known establishments (such as P.J. Clarke’s and ‘21’), where the staff of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce dined and made deals, offered lavish lunches at the equally appetizing price of $19.69 (an expensive tab back in the day, but a bargain in 2015). This then, was a promotion that combined style with savvy savings for those who fancied an elegant lunch.

Currently, The Museum of the Moving Image, located in Astoria, NY, is hosting “Matthew Weiner’s Mad Men,” an exhibit showcasing an assortment of eye-catching ‘50s and ‘60s costumes (some classy, others crass). These costumes are complemented by a variety of props, advertisements, and other items that were seen on the program. Fans will be interested to know that the creative consultant who worked with the curators at the museum on this exhibit was Janie Bryant, the costume designer of Mad Men. How’s that for authenticity (not to mention style)?

New York-based grooming and cosmetics store Birchbox partnered with AMC to promote Mad Men-inspired gift boxes for both men and women. Ladies can get samples of items such as ‘Liz Earle Eyebright Lotion,’ ‘Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Gel’ and ‘Cargo Swimmables Water Resistant Blush in Los Cabos’ (try saying that in one breath). Gentlemen can purchase such eclectic items as ‘Baxter of California Facial Scrub,’ and an exotic-sounding cocktail condiment called ‘Royal Rose Three Chiles Syrup.’

Birchbox Man is helping you get ready for the Mad Men premiere on Sunday, April 5 at 10|9c. Subscribe today: http://birch.ly/1Nm3Glu

Posted by Mad Men on Friday, 27 March 2015

And so, the fate of the "Mad Men" and their families, friends and other cohorts will be known in a few weeks. Regardless of whether audiences will be satisfied, surprised, or disappointed by the finale, no one can deny that the promotion department at AMC is giving this show a memorable send-off – in style.

“It ends the way it should end.” - John Slattery. The Final Episodes premiere this Sunday at 10|9c.

Posted by Mad Men on Wednesday, 1 April 2015

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In the spirit of camaraderie, the EGC team held its inaugural “Bowling Night” outing at Bowlmor Lanes in Melville. Orchestrated by EGC’s own Amanda Mauceri, Account Manager, several of EGC’s finest got together for an exciting night of laughs (mixed with fierce competition).

Bragging Rights – Nicole Coughlin, Traffic Manager, had a record breaking four strikes in a row and scored a whopping 185 in her third game – wiping out her own teammates and the competition. Kudos!

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Consistently Awesome – It’s a tie! First mention goes to Tina Zhen, Account Manager, for her slow and deliberate strikes and her ability to turn any second frame into a spare (which crowned her “Queen of the Spare”). And second mention goes to Adam Chan, Social Media Community Manager, for his consistently good rolls and smooth precision, frame after frame.

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“Box of Chocolates” – Because it seemed like he never knew what he was going to get, Dillon Winegar, Jr. Marketing Analyst, won the Forest Gump-inspired title for his back-to-back gutter ball/strikes that had everyone scratching their heads.

“Maybe this is intentional; maybe it’s some kind of a scare tactic,” Mauceri said. Winegar was, after all, wearing what appeared to be a bowling shirt.

“It seemed like he knew what he was doing, but the pins told a different story,” Mauceri continued.

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Obliteration Squad – This squad consisted of: Chris Bing, Search Marketing Coordinator; John Mannhart, Social Media Community Manager; and Jeremy Waszak, Search Marketing Manager. They won this title for their consistent crushing obliteration of the pins, loud smack talk and fierce celebrations.

These celebrations manifested themselves by spinning around after their rolls, high-fives, back-handed high-fives, and fist bumps. The primary reason they earned the title of “Obliteration Squad” (and, as Mannhart put it, “people probably hate us right now”) is that these three really brought their A-game to bowling.

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There was even a FACE OFF between Mauceri and Mannhart, who both pushed courtesy aside and decided to bowl at the very same time – a bowling faux pas. Onlookers gasped.

“You want to roll at the same time?” Mannhart asked.

Mauceri nodded.

“Okay, it’s your funeral, kid,” Mannhart continued, as he crushed the pins in the face of Mauceri’s four-pin knock down.

Sadly, Mauceri (who bragged about the bowling class she took in college and her regularly above average scores) wasn’t able to break 100 – and never heard the end of it.

“I realized pretty quickly that the reason I got an “A” in bowling class was because I showed up, I listened, and I bowled. And you know what? That’s what we all did at Bowling Night. So in a sense, we’re all champions.”

Special shout out to our “celebrity” bowler, Jackie Fede, Graphic Designer, whose schedule only allowed her to guest star in a few frames. Her encouragement and all-around cheer was greatly appreciated by all.

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“This night almost didn’t happen,” says Winegar.

“Bowling Night” was an event that had been on the books for weeks. It had been rescheduled twice (due to inclement weather, followed by office-borne illness, and quite possibly – smack talk intimidation), leaving EGC employees to wonder: “Was this ever going to happen?”

But thankfully, it did happen…and it won’t be the one and only time. There’s unlimited bowling on Mondays for a discounted rate. So, it sounds like our next plan is in the works!

That or “EGC Karaoke.”


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