Some Very Good Distracted Driving Work From Auto Week and Coyne Communications.

Posted by truecreek on April 27, 2010 under More Dam News | Be the First to Comment

Some Concepts to Combat Distractive Driving.

Posted by truecreek on April 26, 2010 under Opinions. Everyone has them. | Be the First to Comment

We recently commissioned several of our very talented writers to concept some headlines for a organization that has dedicated itself to combating distracted driving.  Here are just a few.  If you have a favorite, please comment and let us know.

Walmart, Target, Best Buy Named Most Valuable Brands.

Posted by truecreek on March 12, 2010 under More Dam News | Be the First to Comment

By Elaine Wong

Walmart topped the list of the most valuable retail brands in the U.S., followed by Target and Best Buy, per a new report issued by Interbrand today.

The report, compiled by Interbrand Design Forum—a division of the global brand consultancy, ranks retailers based on the value of their brands. The ranking is based on a number of factors: financial forecasting, the percentage of sales and profit that can directly be attributed to branding, and brand strength. These form a net present value, or the economic value of a brand.

Walmart dominated the charts again this year with a 19 percent increase in brand value to $154.1 billion. Target, in second place, saw a jump of 49 percent to $25.5 billion. Best Buy dropped 19 percent in brand value, though it still came in at third place with a brand value of $17.8 billion.

Rounding out the top 10 were The Home Depot, Walgreens, CVS, Sam’s Club, Dell, Coach and e-commerce site Amazon.com.

More about Walmart, Target, Best Buy Named Most Valuable Brands here.

New 4/C Print for Fortress Technologies.

Posted by truecreek on February 3, 2010 under The Work | Be the First to Comment

Delivered in a small and rugged form factor with its size, weight and power specifically tailored for vehicles, the Fortress ES820 provides industry leading radio range.  It’s an amazing piece of equipment.  This is the latest in 4/C print work produced by True Creek for Fortress Technologies.

Fortress Technologies. A New Client for True Creek.

Posted by truecreek on November 19, 2009 under More Dam News | Be the First to Comment

We’re proud to announce the addition of a new client, Fortress Technologies. They design, develop and manufacture secure wireless networking products for a wide variety of government markets, civilian organizations and corporations.

Right now, on the media side, we’re working on the planning and placement for the first half of 2010, in conjunction with Timberlake Media Services in Chicago.

Creatively, we’re working on a new direction that will offer them the ability to communicate their message effectively, while standing out in a very crowded field.

We’re really looking forward to the opportunity and hope to be posting some great work in the coming weeks.

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Home Broadband Adoption 2009. A Pew Study.

Posted by truecreek on November 5, 2009 under More Dam News, Research | Be the First to Comment

Only 37% left to go.  Give or take a few percentage points.

An April 2009 survey by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project shows 63% of adult Americans now have broadband internet connections at home, a 15% increases from a year earlier.

April’s level of high-speed adoption represents a significant jump from figures gathered by the Project since the end of 2007 (54%). The growth in home broadband adoption occurred even though survey respondents reported paying more for broadband compared to May 2008. Last year, the average monthly bill for broadband internet service at home was $34.50, a figure that stands at $39.00 in April 2009.

Download the report here.

How to Develop the Right Communications Strategy for a Conversation Economy.

Posted by truecreek on October 28, 2009 under More Dam News | Be the First to Comment

Great article from Ad Age.

By Marsha Lindsay:

What does the worldwide, technologically enabled drive for conversations mean for marketers? It means you’re no longer marketing products or services — you’re marketing conversations. It means marketing-communication planning should be driven by a conversation strategy.

The right conversation strategy answers two big questions: What meaningful content will attract sufficient conversations with the right people? And, how will you jump-start conversations and keep them alive?

When people are starved for time and already engaged in many conversations, jump-starting new and meaningful conversations is the big challenge of marketing today. Just building a website, writing a blog or posting videos on YouTube doesn’t mean sufficient numbers to impact ROI will find them organically, much less take the time and energy to converse with you. By definition a conversation requires others to be present and participate — otherwise you’re talking to yourself. Perhaps therapeutic, but no way to make a living.

Even if people know there’s an opportunity to have a conversation with you — on Twitter or your blog, for instance — you can’t expect them to engage given all the other demands on their time. You’ll need a strategy that both gets them to know you exist and care so much that you exist, they’ll become intrigued about conversing with you. This requires a strategy that integrates search optimization, media, message and contributions of content from consumers.

The right strategy begins with the end in mind: What message can work across multiple platforms and be scaled so quickly and broadly it can drive sufficient revenues to support a business model?

Very few companies have the luxury to let conversations build slowly over time. And no business can afford to risk a high-waste and low-impact effort. More often than not, high-impact campaigns with reasonable returns don’t materialize solely from online ads and social media. Traditional media must be a major component of the mix.

Stefan Olander, Nike’s global director of brand connections, noted at Lindsay, Stone & Briggs’ Brandworks University 2009 that many of Nike’s online campaigns received overwhelming response at launch. Colleagues at Nike were excited about the prospect of dropping expensive traditional media campaigns in favor of these successful digital campaigns. Olander reminded them that, despite how well-known the Nike brand is, to optimize online conversations they still must jump-start initiatives with traditional media.

That’s because traditional media can do what social media cannot: aggressively interject messages into people’s lives in a socially acceptable way. Research conducted by the Advertising Research Foundation indicates that messages delivered by TV may, in fact, be the fastest and most cost-efficient means to jump-start productive conversations in the digital and real worlds.

Experts at the World Advertising Research Center have also studied what it takes to optimize engagement in a conversation economy. They recommend this media priority:

  1. Mainstream media.
  2. Open networks such as blogs and websites.
  3. Closed networks such as Facebook and MySpace.

A multimedia mix framed to spark conversations requires a compelling message concept that can work across a multimedia platform. Its foundation has to be far more than a one-time promotion or product attribute; it must be a message strategy that connects brand meaning with search habits and accommodates ongoing contributions that can range from casual conversations to consumer-generated content.

This is a tall order, but not impossible. That’s because the solution can be found in the motivations of the conversationalists themselves. Some psychologists say that people subconsciously come to a conversation with a desire to be changed by them. This makes sense. Conversation is mankind’s natural search engine.

The New Sweatpants Society.

Posted by truecreek on under Opinions. Everyone has them. | Be the First to Comment

By Joseph Young

Well, we’ve crossed the threshold.   In my travels today, I had the chance to stop off at the local Wegman’s to take advantage of their snappy food bar.  Lunchtime can be pretty busy in that place and today was no exception.

What was interesting was seeing what I will call “The New Sweatpants Society.”

The New Sweatpants Society

Men and women, meeting, then having lunch with their significant others at the grocery store.  That is no big deal.

What was interesting was that in almost every case, one of them was dressed in business attire.  The other, in sweats.

It was striking.

Couples all over the place, dressed entirely differently.  Someone obviously didn’t get the memo.

So, do you think it’s a statement of the times?  The extremely casual nature of their dress could mean that one of the two is working from a home office, works in a very casual environment or perhaps they have a day off.  But this is Tuesday, yes?

Unfortunately, I suspect it’s something a little more sinister.  One of them is out of a job.

On the bright side, I’m sure most of these couples are relishing the chance to break some lunchtime bread together.

But on the other, perhaps it’s a sad commentary on the current employment situation in our country.

I plan on checking in again in a month or so to see if the things have changed any.  Let’s all hope I see a few more shirts and ties!

Lights. Camera. Action!

Posted by truecreek on July 21, 2009 under Opinions. Everyone has them. | Be the First to Comment

As advertisers, we are all aware that it is becoming increasingly difficult to cut through the clutter of the multitude of messages we are receiving daily from those companies that want to share their wares with us.

Cinema AdvertisingSo many in fact that it has become extremely difficult for an advertiser’s message to stand out from the pack.  Add in the prospect of the increasing use of DVR’s and other time shifting technologies and you have a real advertising challenge on your hands.

There is however, one advertising tactic that is gaining greater acceptance. That tactic is cinema advertising.

In “The Arbitron Cinema Advertising Study”, the evidence is very clear:  consumers are showing increasing acceptance of movie theater advertising. Younger viewers and those who frequent movies now see the on-screen commercials “as part of the entertainment experience.”

What a wonderful treat.  We finally have “a willing and attentive audience.”

According to the study, more than 45% of the respondents had gone to the movies at least once, with 60% of those watching the commercials prior to the start of the movie.  It was also determined that the perception of the method of advertising is positive, with over 63% stating that they “did not mind the advertisements they put on before the movie begins” with the younger audience being even more receptive.

So, give cinema advertising a try.  Better yet, just give us a call and we’ll get things moving.

‘Let Me Tell You a Story’

Posted by truecreek on July 1, 2009 under Opinions. Everyone has them. | Be the First to Comment

By Carmine Gallo

It’s the best way to grab potential customers’ attention and warm them to your pitch. Here are some tips:

During a business trip in Reno, Mario Moretti Polegato took a walk in the Nevada desert. His feet began to hurt in his rubber-soled shoes, so he took out a pocket knife and cut holes in the soles for ventilation. When he returned to his home in Italy, he manufactured a special insole that lets perspiration out without letting water in. Polegato is now the chairman of the Geox shoe company. Polegato recounted that story in a recent interview in The New York Times. The same story is told on the Geox Web site, along with a photo of Polegato and the shoes he cut holes in during that fateful walk.

Most business communication is dry, writes David Meerman Scott in his new book, World Wide Rave. “People love to share stories. When someone says: ‘Let me tell you a story…’ you’re interested, right? When someone says: ‘Let me tell you about my company’s product&’ is your reaction the same? It doesn’t sound like a way you want to spend your valuable time, does it? Stories are exciting.” Tell more stories to create excitement. Consider employing the following tips in your next business presentation:

iStock_000006643045SmallTell stories about yourself. Stories can be incorporated into almost any business communication—blogs, Web sites, and especially face-to-face presentations where you have the best opportunity to make a strong emotional connection with your audience. In September 2007, Brad Nierenberg, CEO of RedPeg Marketing in Alexandria, Va., pitched a project to Gaylord National, a massive new resort outside Washington, D.C. He, along with several other members of the team, competed for the account to publicize the hotel’s hiring event the following year.

Nierenberg told me the team members told stories about themselves in the first slides of the pitch, connecting those stories to the roles each would play on the account. For example, the account lead showed a photo of herself as a young cheerleader and discussed how her role is to lead with precision and to keep spirits high. Nierenberg brought a picture of himself as a 6-year old in a cowboy outfit. As the “sheriff” in town, he might not be on the account every day, but he would be available to make sure “all was right in the town of Gaylord.” Nierenberg knew the stories were making on impact on his audience from the smiles on their faces. “They couldn’t wait for the next story,” he said. The attendees even asked for copies of the photos to show the other decision makers. RedPeg won the account.

Tell someone else’s story. “In a mental world, it is ideas that shape behavior, and it is the transformational leader’s job to package the right kind of ideas into a story and to effectively communicate it to the organization,” according to Charles S. Jacobs in Management Rewired. Note that Jacobs doesn’t say that a leader’s job is to tell his story. Personal stories work best in some cases, but not all. Sometimes your clients’ stories are more relevant than your own. For example, Eastcastle Place is an independent living complex for seniors in Milwaukee, Wis. Chicago-based Celtic Marketing, Eastcastles’ advertising agency, decided to use storytelling in its 2008-09 marketing plan. According to Celtic President Marlene Byrne, research demonstrated that seniors were interested in independent living but feared making the move. They assumed the transition would be stressful financially and emotionally. “We felt the best way to show them that moving doesn’t have to be overwhelming was to share stories of Eastcastle residents who already made the move and were happy they did.” Stories of real residents (along with their photographs) appeared in direct mail and public advertising.

The purpose of the Eastcastle ads are not to make a sale over the phone but to inspire prospects to visit the community. More often than not, a story doesn’t make the sale. Stories open the door, making a prospect more receptive to the message. Although I’ve never owned a pair of Geox shoes, on my next visit to Nordstrom, I will probably look at a pair and think about the guy who poked holes in shoes in the Nevada desert.

If you want to connect with your audience, inspire them, and motivate them to action, start telling stories.

Glenn’s Work is Something Special.

Posted by truecreek on June 9, 2009 under The Work | Read the First Comment

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You have to give Glenn a lot of credit.  He’s an extremely talented art director, with a tremendous background in production to boot.

The best thing?  He’s a member of The Creekbed.  I was impressed by the fact that he’s done work for over 150 companies, so you know he’s going to bring the level of experience and creative talent needed to effectively communicate with art.

Here are a few examples of some of his work for the automotive industry.mclaren-ad1

Sometimes a Picture Tells a Thousand Words.

Posted by truecreek on June 3, 2009 under Opinions. Everyone has them. | Read the First Comment

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Before Marketers Ask for Trust, Perhaps They Should Apologize.

Posted by truecreek on May 27, 2009 under More Dam News | Be the First to Comment

By Jonah Bloom

There are many ads today from our imperiled banks, insurance companies and automakers telling us that we can still trust them and should still buy their products. But there’s one word consumers haven’t heard much that might serve these companies better than their current dirges: sorry.

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That thought came to mind as a rash of “We’re sorry” ads broke out recently across the pond in the U.K. As a native of Britain, I should note that being sorry is our national pastime. (My parents, who are always profoundly apologetic, often on my behalf, fondly recall the time I briefly knocked out my 10-year-old self by walking into a parking meter and came to fuzzily apologizing to said inanimate object.) I’ve often wondered whether this propensity has anything to do with some deep-seated national guilt at the many atrocities committed by our former empire.

Regardless of its origins, these days it manifests itself in nothing more serious than an underwear manufacturer apologizing for charging bigger-breasted women more for bigger bras. Yes, Marks & Spencer recently ran a national campaign apologizing for this. The headline, of course: “We boobed.”

This mea culpa hit more or less at the same time London’s Evening Standard newspaper, relaunching under new ownership, ran a major outdoor campaign saying sorry: “Sorry for Losing Touch,” “Sorry for Being Negative,” and so on.

Sunny Delight also decided to confess its sins. It’s running ads in a number of U.K. women’s weeklies, with the wording: “Britain’s mums told us where to stick the artificial ingredients. And it wasn’t in the bottle.” The drink has been relaunched as a healthful option.

Apologizing in ads isn’t new. Under fire, it’s crisis 101. In the auto industry, we’ve seen many variations, from Renault apologizing to the French people for its various missteps in the early ’90s to various apologies alongside product recalls to GM’s semi-apologetic “Road to Redemption” campaign.

Yet despite a mountain of evidence that American people feel they’ve been let down by car companies, banks, insurers and, indeed, corporate America as a whole, we haven’t heard a whole lot of sorry.

Doug Wojcieszak, author of an apology-strategy book called “Sorry Works!” and founder of a company by the same name, says it’s not a cultural thing, and that, in fact, sorry works in the U.S. “It works very well here because of our immigrant culture. Many of us screwed up elsewhere, that’s why we’re here. Americans get mistakes — they just don’t get or like coverups.”

Perhaps the problem is CEOs and lawyers don’t want to admit culpability for anything that’s gone wrong. But even that doesn’t stand up as an excuse, according to Mr. Wojcieszak. Most of his work has been in the litigation minefield of health care, where he’s building a growing body of evidence that failure to apologize is often a key factor in malpractice becoming a lawsuit, and, conversely, that apologies defuse more potential legal situations than they create. “Even senior health-care executives are starting to understand that apologizing actually takes away the urge to litigate,” he says.

Of course, as any savvy marketer, or properly-adjusted human being, knows, there are two conditions that have to be met for contrition to mean anything. You have to mean it, and you have to be able to show meaningful ways in which you’re changing whatever it was you’re apologizing for.

But assuming that many of the people at America’s bailed-out banks and automakers probably are pretty sorry about way they mismanaged their businesses about now, I can’t help thinking that it’d be a valuable start for a bunch of companies generally regarded as having been too arrogant to see the mistakes they were making to share their regrets with the public.

Some Fun Stuff from Kyle Williams, a Member of The Creekbed.

Posted by truecreek on May 21, 2009 under The Work | Be the First to Comment

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17 Ways to Use Twitter.

Posted by truecreek on under Opinions. Everyone has them. | Be the First to Comment

By Maki

I’ve signed up for a Twitter account a long time ago and used it sporadically because it never really did appeal to me. Last week I decided to give it another chance and installed Snitter, a desktop application for Twitter.

I started using it actively and gradually developed an avid interest. I think Twitter is a manageable process that can be adopted for all types of lifestyles, busy or inactive. You’ll just need to integrate it within your normal workflow. It’s addictive but once you understand how to use it, it’ll be a very effective tool indeed.

Having read a great deal of other articles on Twitter, I decided a do a quick summary of all the ways you can use Twitter for both your professional or personal life. Some of these methods go beyond the use of Twitter as a lifestreaming device:

1. Personal Branding. Twitter is a social media platform you can use to build your personal brand. It has the primary benefit of developing a casual persona and establishes you as a social personality that is connected and approachable. As Twitter adoption increases, new users will be drawn towards well established Twitter personas.

2. Get Feedback. Need an alternative perspective on how a website looks or the right course of action to take?   Blast out a message asking for advice and you’ll receive replies from other users. This collective intelligence can be used as fodder for articles or projects.

3. Hire People. Need a good logo designer, marketer or programmer? Send out a message asking for recommendations. This is a very quick and easy way to hire freelancers or even companies based on familiar recommendations.

4. Direct traffic. Twitter can be used to get traffic to your websites or the sites of friends. If you ask your friends to tweet about it, the message will spread faster and further as other active users pick it up. There is a viral nature to all types of news, even on a site like Twitter.

5. Read News. Twitter users often link to useful sites or articles and can be a source of scoops and alternative news. You can also subscribe to Twitter feeds for specific websites/conferences, which allows you to receive and view content quickly. This is very useful for active social news participants.

6. Make New Friends. Like any other social network, Twitter has a built-in function for you to befriend and track the messages of other users. This is an easy way for you connect with people outside of your usual circle. Make an effort to add active users you find interesting. A Twitter acquaintance can be developed into a long lasting friendship.

7. Network for benefits. Twitter can be used as a socializing platform for you to interact with other like-minded people, especially those in the same industry. It can be used to establish consistent and deeper relationships for future benefits such as testimonials or peer recommendations.

8. Use it as a ToDo list. Use Twitter to record down what you need to do while you are away from the computer. Mark the tweet as a favorite to file it for referencing. Another alternative is to use an Online task management service that is synced with Twitter. One example is Remember The Milk.

9. Business Management. Twitter can be used as a company intranet that connects employees to one another. Workers can liaise with each other when working on group projects. Particularly useful when certain workers go out often in the field. Updates could be set to private for security reasons.

10. Notify Your Customers. Set up a Twitter feed for the specific purpose of notifying customers when new products come in. Customers can subscribe via mobile or RSS for instant notification. Twitter can also be used to provide mini-updates for one-on-one clients.

11. Take Notes. Twitter provides you with an easy way to record important ideas or concepts you want to explore further. Include links relevant to ideas you want to explore. Note taking can also be done offline via mobile applications.

12. Event Updates. Businesses can use Twitter as a means to inform event participants and latest event happenings/changes. This is a hassle-free way of disseminating information, especially when you don’t have the means to set up a direct mobile link between you and the audience

13. Find Prospects. Twitter can be used as a means to find potential customers or clients online. Do a search for keywords related to your product on Twitter Search and then follow users. Tweet about topics parallel to your product and close prospects away from public channels by using direct messages or offline communications. Discretion and skill is needed in this area.

14. Provide Live coverage. Twitter’s message size limit prevents detailed coverage of events but it can allow you to provide real-time commentary which may help to spark further discussion or interest on the event as other Twitter users spread the message. Very useful for citizen journalism.

15. Time Management and Analysis. Twitter can simply be used to keep a detailed record of what you are doing every daily. This might be boring for others but this type of usage is useful when you want to analyze how you spend and manage your time.

16. Set Up Meetings. Twitter can help you organize impromptu meetups. For example, you can twitter a message while at a cafe, event or art gallery and arrange to meet fellow users at a specific spot. It’s an informal and casual way of arranging a meeting.

17. Acquire Votes. Send a link to your stories you’ve submitted in other social news sites like Digg. Sometimes your followers will vote up the stories because they agree with it. This allows you to acquire more support for your efforts on other social media websites.

Comcast Medical Vertical Market Four Color Print.

Posted by truecreek on May 19, 2009 under The Work | Be the First to Comment

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Some Nice Upmarket Design From a Member of The Creekbed.

Posted by truecreek on May 11, 2009 under The Work | Be the First to Comment

As a member of The Creekbed, True Creek’s very talented freelance creative team, Gabe has designed some nice work.

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It’s Really a Shame. Enter the CAPTCHA code.

Posted by truecreek on May 7, 2009 under Opinions. Everyone has them. | Be the First to Comment

I hated to do it.

When you start a blog, you want it to be as open as possible to everyone.  No hurdles, you say.  Let anyone say what they want, whenever they want.  That’s the reason I started this thing.  Comments are a good thing.

Then the spammers started sending comments on certain posts.  Then they added a few more.  Then they would subscribe.  It was brutal.  I was being inundated by the bots.

And so, the blog had to change.

As of today, when you want to comment on an article, you have to take that extra step and enter the code into the CAPTCHA box to submit your verbiage.  Sorry about that, but spam is a terrible thing and sometimes can force us to do things we don’t want to do.

By the way, their copy sucks.

Increasing Marketing and Advertising Spend is a Good Thing. Trust Us.

Posted by truecreek on May 6, 2009 under Opinions. Everyone has them. | Be the First to Comment

Time and time again, we’ve heard the  story:  Increase your marketing and advertising spend.  Now.  Not only to keep your brand top of mind but to assure that when everything settles down and we’re back in business, you will be too.  And in a big way.

Folks will remember you were there when the proverbial crap hit the fan.  That you were strong enough to keep the fires burning so that when the time comes for them to need your company, you will be there.  Better, stronger and leaner than ever.

Seize the opportunity now.  Start thinking positive about things and get back in the game.  Add weeks, don’t cut them.  Print the entire quantity, not just a segment.  Use better paper.  Shoot in HD.  Raise those production standards.  Buy more media.  Shoot, how about running some great print ads?  The newspaper community needs your business.

Better yet.  Hire a great Northern Virginia Ad Agency by the name of True Creek and we’ll help your company put it together.

picture1A few months ago, Mike Matson wrote and article that merits another post.

MarketSense study during the 1989-91 recession demonstrated that brands such as Jif Peanut Butter and Kraft Salad Dressing increased their advertising and experienced sales growth of 57% to 70%. During this same period, most of the beer industry made cuts to their ad budgets, but Coors Light and Bud Light increased their budgets and saw sales jump 15% to 16%. Among fast food companies, Pizza Hut sales rose 61% and Taco Bell’s 40% due to strong advertising support, reducing McDonald’s sales by as much as 28%.

MarketSense concluded the study by reporting. “The best strategy for coping with a recession is balanced exploitation of ad spending for long-term consumer motivation, plus promotion for short term sales boosts.”

Strategies to help your business thrive in this economy.

• Don’t cut your ad budget, increase it. Let your competition cut their budgets. When you increase your spending, you increase your share of voice. If your competitors cut back, your message grows even stronger.

• Have a strategic marketing plan that is well thought out, so you don’t waste money advertising the wrong message in the wrong place to the wrong audience.

• Keep your loyal customers by keeping in touch with them and letting them know what you have to offer.

• Maintain your brand awareness. Advertising works cumulatively so you have to remind people frequently about your brand or they’ll forget you.

• Achieve greater media efficiency by taking advantage of more negotiable rates and special promotions.

• Don’t degrade your advertising by trying to save a few dollars on creative or production costs. Your customers will notice and will perceive lower quality not just in your advertising, but in your products and services.

This is one time to stress quality—and value. “All great enterprises move forward in a recession, and the weaklings move backward. The dumbbells cut back on advertising. The smart people don’t.” -Ed McCabe, founding partner of Scali, McCabe, Stoves advertising agency, a legendary Madison Avenue agency of years past.

VW Keeps Spending on Ads, Which Helps its Market Share.

Posted by truecreek on May 4, 2009 under More Dam News | Be the First to Comment

By Theresa Howard, USA TODAY

Car advertisers that maintain their ad spending can rev up market share in down times, gaining an edge to exploit in a recovery.

Sure, the auto industry is in the doldrums. Car sales through April this year are down 37%, to about 3 million vehicles from 4.8 million through April last year, according to Autodata’s latest sales report out Friday.

But while some brands all but stopped spending on marketing, others kept or increased their budgets, particularly for new or improved models. Among those for whom that paid off:

Kia Motors increased U.S. ad spending 43% in 2008 vs. 2007, according to ad tracker TNS Media Intelligence. Its U.S. market share is up from 1.9% at the end of 2007 to 3.1% through April of this year, according to Autodata.

Mercedes-Benz raised ad spending 39.8% in 2008 vs. 2007. Its U.S. market share is up from 1.6% at the end of 2007 to 1.8% through April this year.

Volkswagen raised ad spending 45.7% in 2008 vs. 2007. Its U.S. market share is up from 1.4% at the end of 2007 to 1.9% through April of this year.

VW’s U.S. marketing chief, Tim Ellis, says that despite the tough sales year, 2009 ad expenditures will be held even with 2008.

“When we invest in marketing, things happen,” says Ellis. “We think it’s important to stick to our roots and stick to our value message. We’re getting a higher percentage of the dwindling marketplace. And when this crazy situation comes straight side up again, we’ll be positioned to increase our share even further.”

Beer is Your Friend. Oh, Yes It Is.

Posted by truecreek on April 29, 2009 under Opinions. Everyone has them. | Be the First to Comment

A very good friend of mine and a member of The Creekbed, is a great designer by the name of Kyle Williams.  This is a cool little piece of work he produced for the Tampa Bay Brewing Company.

Beer is your friend.  Never forget that.

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There’s a Lotta Love Coming From Comcast.

Posted by truecreek on April 28, 2009 under The Work | Read the First Comment

We’ve just completed a very smart campaign for Comcast.  A strong winback message, IMHO.  Honest.  Just the way it should be.  And you have to appreciate the humility of the subhead.  Here are two of four oversized postcards, which will be followed by a letterpak.

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How to Get the Most Out of Social Networks and Not Annoy Users.

Posted by truecreek on April 27, 2009 under Opinions. Everyone has them. | Be the First to Comment

By Emma Hall

Welcome to social-media message overload.

The constant barrage of invites to sign up for this group or download that app are starting to wear on social-network users, presenting big challenges for the brands and marketers who are looking to use these sites to aggregate fans and cultivate relationships with customers.

Nearly a third of social networkers say they are fed up with the constant requests to join groups and try new applications, according to research by the Internet Advertising Bureau in the U.K. That means marketers will need to work harder and keep innovating if they want to harness the consumer power of social networks and persuade people to join their sponsored sites or pages.

istock_000001281196smallWhen asked “What do you dislike about social networks?” by far the highest response, at 31%, was that there are too many invites to install applications, followed by 16% who said “when advertising isn’t relevant to me.” Slightly more than 5% complained about messages from brands and another 5% actually lamented the addictiveness of social networks. About 12% said they had no complaints. The research showed that 7% of respondents sign up to find out about brands.

“From a marketer’s perspective, social networks look brilliant on paper,” said Alistair Beattie, head of strategic planning at AKQA, London. “It’s a switched-on crowd with a huge amount of time who hold brands close to them. The difficulty is that they regard this as their space. We have all become our own source of entertainment. But there is a resistance to being advertised at in our own spaces.”

Amy Kean, IAB senior marketing manager, said, “Despite [social networking’s] popularity, this study shows that respect for the user is just as important in social media. Users will not respond to spam or irrelevant advertising.” And controlling those intrusions will have to become a higher priority for social networks, said Union Square Venture’s Fred Wilson at Ad Age’s recent digital conference.

“One of [social networks’] biggest costs is ‘environmental mediation,’ or keeping the bad people at bay,” Mr. Wilson said.

AKQA had success with a Marmite group on Facebook. The savory spread’s advertising message is “Love it or hate it,” so the group works well as a discussion topic for social networkers. Fans post recipes, discuss weird and wonderful ways to enjoy the sticky black spread, tell tales of conversion to the taste and share frustrations about not being able to purchase it outside the U.K.

Too often, Mr. Beattie said, advertising on social networks is “still a traditional interruptive approach where brands are piggybacking on content that people value.”

The IAB research found that exclusive content, which appeals to 28% of social networkers, and a genuine interest in the message, which attracts 37%, are the keys to a positive response from consumers on social networks. And because only 5% say that they actively dislike messages from brands, there are big opportunities for marketers who can hit the right notes.

“To be popular, brands need to have a personality and be someone that people want to be friends with,” Mr. Beattie said. “The guiding principle is to offer things that are not available elsewhere, things that give social kudos or bragging rights. Brands are part of the fabric of people’s lives and ultimately most are happy to be identified as friends of a brand.”

The IAB study of nearly 2,000 internet users also showed that social networks are taking on extra relevance in the current economic climate. Forty-one percent of members say they now place even more value on ratings and reviews from family and friends on a social network. Mobile social-networking is also on the increase. Updating social-network sites via mobile handsets is increasing, with 25% of all respondents logging on to check or update their pages.

Can’t We All Just Get Along?

Posted by truecreek on March 18, 2009 under Opinions. Everyone has them. | 2 Comments to Read

Today, I got on an elevator with two young people.  We had a twelve floor trip to the lobby ahead of us.

Immediately after entering the elevator, their respective blackberrys just seemed to fly out of their respective pockets and voila!  There it was…The Blue Screen Of Death.  Or in this case, “The Blue Screen of I Don’t Want to Have Anything To Do With You.”

You know what I’m talking about.  Why do people find it necessary to go to such lengths to avoid all contact with another simply by opening up the device and clicking away.   I mean, what are you really reading that is all so important?

I have a suggestion.  The next time you get on an elevator and are face to face with another human, try this:  Put those things down.  Heck, don’t even bring them out.  Say hello.  Join us all in some light banter.  Open up.  Make us laugh.  Do something that differentiates  you.  Speak up.  Look us in the eye.  Tell us a quick story.  Encourage us.

Just don’t pull out your damn device and lose yourself in the light.

It’s just not sociable.

Small Virginia Ad Agency Takes on Big Tobacco.

Posted by truecreek on February 9, 2009 under More Dam News, The Work | 2 Comments to Read

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 5, 2009

ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA – David may have slew Goliath, but can a small Virginia ad agency slay the state’s big tobacco industry?

Joseph Young, president of True Creek, Inc, an advertising agency in Alexandria, Virginia has created a series of ads in support of the legislation banning smoking in indoor restaurants and bars that is pending in Virginia.

“I am proud to have commissioned this wonderful artwork. I really want to make sure the message is sent to the voters of Virginia in a loud and clear way…that they still have time to contact their representatives to make sure the Indoor Clean Air Act is passed. Now is the time to act and make that call. As we say in the ad copy, it’s time to clear the air for the common health of the Commonwealth, “ Young said.

“On a personal note, my mother was stricken with esophageal cancer five years ago. Through her determination and upbeat spirit, she was able to beat the disease. It’s my hope that the voters in Virginia have that same level of determination in supporting this bill,” Young said.

Last Tuesday, Young presented his ads to the House bill sponsor, Delegate David Englin, his communication team, and others interested in the legislation. Thursday, the Virginia Senate approved four bills dealing with the issue. The legislation then went to the House, where revisions and compromises were made. It’s possible the legislation will be voted on either Monday or Tuesday.

The provocative ads feature headlines such as “Formaldehyde, cyanide, carbon monoxide and arsenic shouldn’t be on the menu anymore.” and “The Virginia house killed bills in recent years to restrict smoking. 1,700 Virginians were killed in each of those recent years by secondhand smoke.”

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