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How to Keep the Audience Engaged: Super Bowl Edition

With the Super Bowl only a few days away, it makes me think of one thing… and no, it’s not about the Atlanta Falcons finally making it to the Super Bowl again; it’s about the commercials. Since Advertising and Marketing is my profession, I can’t help but to think of those 30 seconds of pure entertainment. Don’t deny it, you know it’s the only time you actually want to watch the commercials instead of fast forwarding ahead. You and 100 million other viewers, to be exact. According to CBS, last year, companies spent $500 million for a 30-second commercial slot. Let’s break this down a little more; that’s equivalent to $166,666 per second. So, here’s the million-dollar question: What’s the secret to a memorable commercial that will, in turn, become an investment for a company? After all, this isn’t just another commercial, this is a Super Bowl commercial. Each company needs to focus on their brand, what they’re selling, who their consumer is, and how they want to engage their consumer in 30 seconds. Listed below are a few of the top creative strategies companies have used in producing the most unforgettable Super Commercials to date.   Nostalgia Nothing gets a viewer’s attention like a #throwback to a time when they were young and everything was perfect. At the 2014 Super Bowl, Radio Shack debuted a commercial where the ‘80s called and every Generation X’er got to reminisce on how great life used to be. You see the likes of Hulk Hogan, Chucky the demon doll, Alf, and loads of VHS video tapes. Did I mention colorful spandex workout clothes? What a time to be alive!   Comedy Who doesn’t love a good laugh? Commercials that incorporate a funny plot usually end up performing well. Doritos tends to take the cake every year with a commercial that leaves the viewer’s laughing. Last year, they showed a group of dogs trying to figure out a way to buy bags of Doritos from a grocery store. It ends with them piled up in a trench coat trying to pass as a human. How about the Doritos commercial where the home owner set a Dorito on a mouse trap to catch the mouse, unexpectedly being tackled by a human-sized mouse costume. Doritos’ commercial ideas are outside the box, unexpected, a little weird, but always funny.   Cute Animals It’s safe to say cute dogs and cats steal viewer’s attention. So, anytime a company produces an adorable animal commercial, people tend to remember. Anyone recall the Bud Light commercial with the dog, Wego? The owners would call their dog over by saying, “Here Wego”, and their dog would fetch a Bud Light for them. Brilliant and adorable. It tied into Bud Light’s tagline, Here we go. In addition, the Budweiser Clydesdales and dog will never be forgotten. It’s a classic commercial that brings depth and emotion to the Budweiser brand.     Stay Weird I’m sure we can all look back and remember that really weird commercial that aired on Super Bowl Sunday. The idea seemed as if it came from left field and we’re not quite sure if it made any sense at all. Well, that’s okay because guess what? They got you to remember. Last year, Mountain Dew introduced their Kickstart beverage with the famous Puppymonkeybaby. A combination of three things, just like Mountain Dews’ beverage. Brand recognition works for memorable ads, including outrageously odd commercials. Let’s tip our hat to Mountain Dew on that one.    


Nostalgia: Retro Design in the Modern Era

Nostalgia can be defined by the Oxford dictionary as “a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations.” When used in terms of design, nostalgia can play an important role in attracting an audience on both sentimental and emotional levels. Rather than always looking ahead towards the newest trends of design, sometimes it is better to look to the past for inspiration.   Modern retro design is one of the latest re-imaginations of the past, without going too far back in time. This style shines a light on the design characteristics of the ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s. One of the key ideas behind modern retro design is that it creates a sense of nostalgia and presents a pathway between the design and the user. This style works well across all mediums including product packaging, logos, posters, videos, and web design. Listed below are some of the characteristics of the style.   Typography Custom typefaces are generally used, which include slab serifs, variations of script and sans serif fonts, and fonts that mimic popular movie, television, video game, or book titles. An example that comes to mind for me is the enticing Stranger Things title sequence. Compared to other elaborate title sequences (such as Game of Thrones or Daredevil), the opening of Stranger Things is simple and to the point. The creators of the show give credit to Stephen King and his book covers as the inspiration behind the logo; select novels were even sent to the creative studio behind the title sequence. The combination of decorative serif Benguiat and geometric sans serif Avant Garde help set the tone for the show by using an extreme close-up cinematic technique, which helps invoke vulnerability and fear. Both fonts were released in the 1970’s and were inspired by the Art Nouveau movement and the Bauhaus movement, respectively.   Color Color should be used in a bold and adventurous matter. Try using neon colors or elements that mimic neon lights. Fun color palettes should also be considered, which include golden yellows, oranges, and reds. Even though the colors may also be slightly muted, don’t be afraid to let the color be bright and attention-grabbing. One example is the various editions of the Space Shuttle posters created by Aaron Draplin. Inspired by years of watching the many space shuttle missions, Draplin decided to make a graphic for the space shuttle after the program retired. The posters were designed to resemble the patches he enjoyed while growing up, with an icon of the space shuttle surrounded by a wave of colors forming a gateway to the sky. The first edition featured a bright blue background surrounded by waves of warm yellows, orange, and red. Other editions featured combinations of oranges and teals, as well as monochromatic greens or blues.   Shapes / Patterns Shapes and patterns are frequently used throughout the modern retro style. Line art and squiggles count as shapes in this style, but you cannot leave out geometric shapes with thick strokes. Sometimes these shapes are incorporated into logos to create more of a badge style logo. Shapes can also be repeated to create engaging patterns to help bring life and movement to the design. One company that makes use of these ‘80s influenced patterns to sell their products is Write Sketch &, a paper goods company in Milano, Italy. Their notebooks and decorative papers embrace patterns made with dots, squiggles, and lines that are combined with bright colors and black and white.   All in all, modern retro design and nostalgia go hand in hand. Modern retro design would not be as inviting and eye catching without the power of nostalgia and the recalling of pleasant memories. Whether through custom typefaces, bright colors, or engaging patterns, modern retro design helps bring us back to a simpler time when content was easier to digest and trends were easier to follow. Perhaps years from now, modern retro design will have a new meaning to future generations; but for now, reimagining the style of the ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s is here to stay.


Instagram: The New Frontier for Brand Awareness

Did you know that of the top 100 brands in the entire world, 90% of them have an Instagram account? With over 300 million active daily users, Instagram has become one of the most effective platforms for digital advertising and marketing. Behind Facebook of course, Instagram is the 2nd most engaged social network. If you’re a brand who isn’t already advertising on Instagram, the amount of people scrolling through and engaging every day, every hour, every minute is reason enough to consider it. The level of brand engagement on Instagram is 10 times higher than Facebook, 54 times higher than Pinterest, and 84 times higher than Twitter. We have all come across those people on Instagram who seem to have a TON of followers. From Kylie Jenner types (SugarBear Hair Vitamins, anyone?) to fashion bloggers (Amber Fillerup Clark) to popular YouTube personalities (Tyler Oakley), this new category of Instagram users are called “social media influencers.” Companies compensate these influencers (paying them, sending them free products, etc.) to share posts using and promoting the company’s product. These sponsored posts seem to be quite effective because, in many cases, they just feel more natural to consumers. Seeing a product being used by someone you look up to makes you more likely to try that product. If you’re a brand looking to spice up your social media marketing, reach out to some social influencers and see if they’d be on board with promoting your product! If social influencers aren’t up your alley, there is still another Instagram marketing option you might like. Have you ever seen something on Instagram that you just had to have right then and there? Well, retail brands are now able to do e-commerce posts, which will be used as a sales tool to help generate traffic to retail websites. Retailers can even insert price tags into the photos so consumers can click through to look at the pictured product in detail. Then, consumers can purchase the product then and there if they desire. Essentially, consumers on Instagram can go from admiring a certain product in a post to purchasing that product in a matter of minutes! Whichever marketing method suits your brand the best, Instagram is the place to be right now. Seize this opportunity to reach the millions, yes millions, of consumers who fall directly into your demographics and boost your brand awareness!  


The Dos and Don’ts of Rebranding

After several years of working with companies that have needed to rebrand their company image, BURKE has learned some approaches that really make a difference. Below, we suggest some of the “BURKE approved” DOS and DON’TS of company rebranding! The Dos Do Your Research Doing research is the first and most crucial part of any rebrand attempt. You need to identify your ideal customer and what you hope to achieve with this rebrand in relation to the customer. Craft a unique and compelling message that you wish to achieve with your rebrand. Do Stand Out When thinking of new ideas, make sure they are unique but also make sense in relation to your company and what you do. Creating an unforgettable logo and tagline just help to further emphasize your new “identity.” Do Define The Whole A rebrand really looks at your company inside and out. Not only are you rebranding your look, but you are also rebranding your messaging which speaks to your company’s goals, values, purpose, and mission. Think of it as the company’s personality! Do Tell Everyone Now that you have a new brand, don’t be afraid to over communicate this. Share your new brand in ways that lets your current and future customers experience your company and brand differently and memorably. Strategize your new brand in all company activities and communication, both internally and externally. Do Train Internally If you want others to know about your new brand, first start with your internal team. Be certain all your employees understand the new brand from design to purpose. Only if they truly understand and believe in your new company brand, can they communicate this to your target audience. Speak it, show it and people will come to believe it!     The Don’ts Don’t Skip Internal Review It’s important to make sure your whole company is on board with the new image. Your rebrand goals have to be realistic and your employees have to be able to deliver. Make sure that everyone can deliver before your start the transition. Don’t Overlook The Details At times, companies can go through mergers and acquisitions, and each one will have its own set of unique branding challenges. It’s important to be cognizant of this and come up with a cohesive narrative that carefully examines both companies brand architecture. Avoiding this can result in confused customers and stakeholders. Don’t Say You Can If You Can’t Don’t over commit yourself to something you can’t do. Your brand promise is important to your customer and you need to make sure you can stay true to that. Your customer base can only grow if you’re a trusted brand that proves true every time. Don’t Forget ROI Establishing brand metrics is the only way to see if your rebrand is working. Performance, Perception, and Finance are three good ones that should be easy to measure and will tell you what direction your company is moving in. Don’t Rush Unveiling After months of hard work and planning through all the details of your rebrand, it’s important to consider how you want to present this to the world. Don’t let all your hard work go to waste by not unveiling the brand properly. Think through the roll out process which includes advance planning, coordination, events, and overall strategy. Don’t Miss An Opportunity Don’t let the rebrand just be about the look of your company. Take this opportunity to significantly change things internal and externally, whether it be a new company vision, mission, values, goals, audience, etc. Don’t limit yourself with a rebranding opportunity.   Planning a corporate rebrand can be a lot of work, so make sure you take the time to really think it through and perform the necessary steps involved. Involve the members of your company and discuss your goals before you make any hard decisions. This is your opportunity to refresh the company and let your audience know what you’re all about. Rebrand with a purpose and make sure your goals are strategic and achievable. Lastly, be sure to find a great agency like BURKE to help you get there!


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