Email-Fatigue … Are you responsible?

online shoppingI’m an online shopper … I admit that I love to shop in my jammies, capitalize on free shipping and use promo codes.  I keep a running list of what is to arrive and use my Amex card to get points … it’s true, I’m a user.  I have my favorite sites like Proflowers and Chicos … but seriously, do I have to hear from them every day?  I think not.

So I am forced to use the unsubscribe button … or face deleting the sale flyers in my email that proliferate at an alarming rate … I mean who buys flowers every day?  Someone who is either in love for the first time and has unlimited funding or a relative in the business?  So I unsubscribe. But low and behold … the emails come back. Grrrrrr. I read the fine print which admittedly informs me that that my email address has been sold to a third party who is sending me email on behalf of Proflowers … really?

Email pollutionEven when loyal to a brand or service, subscribers can experience email fatigue and choose to unsubscribe.  And once subscribers unsubscribe, they become detached, literally and psychologically, from an advertiser’s messaging.  So how do you as an advertiser protect your customer (and your business) from email fatigue fallout?  Follow some simple rules of e-mail etiquette.


  1. Don’t spam your list.  Determine the frequency that you should be using with your client list and stick to it.
  2. Don’t over-automate. Sending automated messages can be useful, but be sure you balance the automated messaging with the non-automated so you are nurturing your contact list … not alienating them.
  3. Respect the unsubscriber’s choice. It’s the law that recipients must be allowed to unsubscribe from your list, so please make it easy for them to do so.
  4. Scrub your list regularly. Determine the difference between soft and hard bounces and make sure to take off the addresses that have permanent delivery issues.
  5. Test your e-mail. Just as you would proof anything, proof your e- blast by sending a test to a small group and making sure the message is working and the subject is not ending up in the “junk” folder.
  6. Personalize. Send the message from a real person in your company and send it to a real name.  This is more welcomed than “Dear customer”.
  7. Be mobile-friendly.  Make sure your e-mail looks good on a mobile device.
  8. Offer a text version – just makes sense.
  9. Make e-mail attractive but do not use JavaScript and flash, which will be annoying to the reader.
  10. Avoid spam trigger words in your subject lines.  There are spam trigger lists to consult – just do it.

Happy e-mail customers make for successful e-mail campaigns … just sayin’.

Making a Case for “Case”

Fps or FPS …

Here is where case makes
a big difference.  If displayed
in logreg-shorts-1aflatedtsmwer case, fps is short for frames per second, a measure of how much information is used to display motion video. The term applies to both film video and digital video.  Since each frame is a still image, displaying frames in quick succession creates the illusion of movement. The image of the skiers is approximately a half second of frames display.

If seen in capital letters FPS is short for “First Person Shooter” … and this pertains to the video game genre where the gamer can only see the character’s hands holding a weapon on the screen. Games that involve first person shooting are great for letting off steam. While playing, one often times dies, or in attempting to heal, grabs a medical kit and as we say in gaming, lives to die another day.

Gaming has served yet another educational function … especially for people like myself … the visually cursed. I realized very soon that the resolution and display of the graphics in my video game needed to be very crisp and fast – for this the fps (the refresh rate of video) needed to be 30 frames per second for a great display experience sFirst-Person-Shooter-games-1024x819o a high definition graphics card is essential. Only Nvidia or AMD will do. Every time I buy a new computer I need a high end graphics card … cha-ching (see what I mean about visually cursed?).

This also means a fast connection is required – so no DSL for me. Fiber optic is supposed to be the fastest – so depending on where you live and how the data is delivered determines your speed for MMORPG (massive multiplayer online role-playing game). Also, many of us are in voice as we game together … so that also drains your signal.  I never knew I would learn so much about computers playing online … but hey – it’s good to still think like a 23 year old on occasion.

Contactless Communication

Close enough to kiss … but shopping instead

Soon SmartPhones will be used like credit cards and the need for carrying all images (1)those plastic cards on your keychain or in your wallet will seem positively primitive.  NFC technology is here and traces its roots back to radio-frequency identification or RFID (the wireless use of electromagnetic fields to transfer data, for the purposes of automatically identifying and tracking tags attached to objects that contain electronically stored information).  What does it all mean … let’s break it down.

visa-iphone-contactless-payment-in2payNear Field Communications (get it … near the field … lol) is a set of standards for smartphones and similar devices to establish radio communication with each other by touching them together or bringing them into proximity, usually no more than a few centimeters. This shorter communication range is more optimal for security reasons than RFID, which may be able to transmit data from hundreds of meters away.

Who is at the forefront of NFC technology?  In 2004, Nokia, Sony, and Philips came together to form the NFC Forum. This group is dedicated to promoting the security, ease of use, and popularity of near field communication. It aims to educate businesses about the technology and upholds standards that allow NFC to operate between different devices. Those who wish to create NFC compliant devices must meet these standards set forth by the NFC Forum. This ensures that any user with any NFC device can use it with any other NFC device or NFC tag.

Who’s currently in on the action? Google has launched Google Wallet that supports MasterCard PayPass, PayPal offers money transfers between smartphones, and other companies are expected to follow suit. As the technology grows, more NFC compatible smartphones will be available and more stores will offer NFC card readers for customer convenience.

So there it is, just wave the smartphone over a NFC compatible device and actually pay a merchant. I mean … .what’s not to love?  There is a strong chance Apple’s iPhone 6 will include NFC-compatibility. If so … that will be a game changer. Apple is the only smartphone manufacturer that has enough influence over its customers to change payment behavior en masse.

Let’s go shopping!




Apps to Live By (come on get appy)

Where would we be without them … those apps we have learned to depend on.
Our handhelds hold google walletthe keys to our lives and that is likely why you see people in the streets, supermarkets and restaurants looking at their phones. For me…the more paper I can eliminate, the “appier” I am.

I recently installed the Google Wallet – and wow – am I glad to remove all the loyalty cards that have been crowding my keychain!  Now I simply open the app, show the loyalty card and the cashier can scan my phone.

When shopping … if I see the logo for NFC technology, I can use my Google Wallet to tap- and- pay utilizing contactless payments.  Can it be this easy?

wazeWhen I am driving anywhere over 30 minutes I depend on Waze for real time traffic and road information. This app also indicates where the most economical fuel is located … who could ask for more?

And here is another great app – Big Oven, a cooking app that helps you with step by step cooking directions, creates a shopping list and even provides nutritional big oveninformation (ok, that might be over the edge). I love the design which features a user friendly interface and appetizing images. I keep this one on the tablet so I can have larger pictures and allow the husband to be influenced (*wiggles eyebrows*) which is always a good thing.  It even helps you use left-over’s which is economical … so let’s see what’s in the Big Oven …then let’s eat!

shazamFor those who love music (wait …that’s me) here is a great app, Shazam.  This app will recognize music and media playing around you and identify it for you.  It will additionally create a playlist for you and … of course direct you to iTunes so you can make a purchase it if you like.

As a coffee drinker, nothing is more convenient than my Starbucks card. Flashingindex the phone is way easier than finding the little card when I am standing in front of my favorite barista … and I can always load using the convenience of my laptop so I’m never charging/signing at the cashier … I love this app.

An how can any of us live without our banking app.  Forget to pay a bill, check a deposit … transfer money … the bank is right there in the palm of your hand. I can remember when the first ATMs showed up and we thought they were the coolest … but now that acronym just means “at the moment” *smiles*


Can you recognize great advertising?

Good is good … there is no argument there.  Sometimes advertising is not good … but it sells anyway, even if it insults.  On occasion advertising messages can be confusing and I say to myself “Geez … I should have been in that copy meeting … I mean … what were they thinking?”

Here are some of reviews from where I sit:

Great advertising …

The Defiance ad for Citrical, created by Energy BBDO, USA, featured a heavily female team that was led by creative director Nancy Hannon.  Copywriter Gwen Rutledge wrote the line “Beauty is Bone Deep” and in my humble opinion this ad speaks to women about bone health with positive, compelling messaging. The visual of the female skeleton moving about in an x-ray visual is technically interesting, strong and on point … with the hook being that you cannot see the age of the woman until she becomes full color.

“Defiance knows no age, and neither do you. Citrical keeps your bones strong, so you’ll feel as good as always.”

I love a happy ending.

Good job ladies!



Good Advertising

The following is an example of good advertising. What prevents this ad from Milk Mustachebeing great is that it is predictable, carrying through an advertising concept that has been around since 1993. Ad agency Goodby Silverstein & Partners wrote the line “Got Milk” for the “California Milk Processor Board” and later it was licensed for use by milk processors and dairy farmers. The campaign has been credited with greatly increasing milk sales in California though not nationwide.It does speak to how you can use milk and why it is good for you … well done and clever line “oh la latte” but not as creative and amazing as Defiance.


Mediocre Advertising

I’m sure the food
stylist and the
art director felt
totally clever creating
this ad … but it’s Heinz a bit far from ketchup in my view. Maybe if it was food that people actually put ketchup on … or maybe if the ketchup were not representing the mouth and breasts?  Oh wait. I get it. It’s HOT ketchup.

Nope. Not even then … it’s not fair to the brand in my view – and unless we are selling potatoes … it’s mediocre and [ahem] tasteless.


Bad Advertising

Marithe & Francois Girbaud, French designers of fashion for woman and men created a satirical last supper replacing the apostles with female fashion models. The image offends the religious sensibilities of many people by trivializing the intense and dramatic moment during the Last Supper (in which Christ anticipates his crucifixion in order to liberate humanity from sin) by appropriating religious symbols – such as loaves and fish – for commercial purposes.

The advertisers´ primary defense was that modern society has enabled women to achieve sexual equality with men only by sacrificing their femininity. The advertiser maintains that this ad’s interpretation of Leonardo´s painting does not trivialize the sacred, but rather creates a new perception of femininity by presenting men – instead of women – in a position of fragility.


Iconic Animated Characters, What makes them Timeless?

Animated characters can be tremendous in advertising for a variety of reasons … and the first is that they are timeless. An animation doesn’t age, never goes out of fashion … and in some instances can be just as cool in 2014 as it was in 1951.

And yet, they are flexible and they can change with the times. Just give them new language, attitude and a hip humorous script and they will be extremely effective and relevant.  Brand recognition has been, and continues to be, amazingly successful with anthropomorphized animated characters.

Let’s take a look at some of these amazing creations and pay tribute.

Speedy Alka Seltzer   1951                                                                               

Speedy was created for a TV commercial in 1951 and featured a tablet body with aSpeedy Alka Seltzer hat and an “effervescent” wand. He was originally created to communicate how fast Alka Seltzer worked and appeared in 212 different television commercials from 1953 to 1964. He is still alive and was last seen in Alka Seltzer commercials touting the cold relief product.  His peppy voice and happy face made him the hardest working tablet on TV and let’s not forget the great platform song “Plop, plop, fizz, fizz oh what a relief it is.”


The California Raisins   1986

The California Raisins were originally created in 1986 for a televisiCalifornia Raisinon commercial commissioned by the California Raisin Advisorary Board.  The anthropomorphized raisins became a fictional R&B group and became wildly popular with a portfolio that included 2 TV specials, a cartoon show, a holiday special and future television commercials. Using the 1968 Marvin Gaye song and the voice of Buddy Miles, this advertising team got it “right on”.  Let’s not forget their amazing line which gave Marvin Gaye more exposure that he ever dreamed of with “Heard it Through the Grapevine”.

The California Raisins reportedly grossed more in the year that was their heyday, 1988, than Californian farmers made selling raisins!


Poppin’ Fresh: The Pillsbury Dough Boy    1965

“Nothin says lovin’ like something from the oven … and Pillsbury says it best.”

The Pillsbury Doughboy is an American icon. An anthropomorphic embodiment of fresh dough, Poppin’ Fresh has a winning smile, big blue eyes, his signature “belly poke” and payoff giggle.

The Leo Burnett advertising agency of Chicago was assigned to work on Pillsbury’s refrigerated dough account in 1965. Rudy Perz, a copywriter at the time, popped open one of the cans and envisioned an image of a doughboy popping out. Martin Nodell, one of the artists in the advertising group, supposedly quickly came up with a sketch of the character.

Perz first thought the character could be animated, but after seeing the stop-action motion technique used in the credits of “The Dinah Shore Show,” he liked that better. So in March of 1965, the Doughboy was brought to life on television through the ground breaking technological process at Hollywood’s Cascade Pictures, Inc.

Within three years of his debut in 1965 in a crescent roll commercial, the Doughboy had an 87 percent recognition factor among consumers!

Poppin FreshPoppin’ Fresh has been featured in numerous commercials over the years. He has been an opera singer, a rap artist, a rock star, a poet, a painter, a ballet dancer, a skydiver and a skateboarder. In addition, he has been seen playing harmonica, accordion, bugle, electric guitar and violin.

He is amazing … timeless … and still making beautiful music for the brand.



In 1995 M&M’s introduced computer animated “spokescandies” in their television commercials. These include the team of the cynical and sardonic Red (originally voiced by Jon Lovitz, thereafter Billy West) who is the mascot for milk chocolate M&M’s, and the happy and gullible Yellow (originally John Goodman, thereafter J.K. Simmons), who is the mascot for peanut M&M’s (he was originally known as “Peanut” when first introduced). Other mascots include the “cool one”, Blue (Phil Hartman, thereafter Robb Pruitt) who is the mascot for almond M&M’s; the seductive Green (Cree Summer), who is the mascot for dark chocolate M&M’s; and the slightly neurotic Orange (Eric Kirchberger) representing crispy M&M’s.

The Mars company took their success with the M&M characters into ground- breaking territory when they cast Ms. Brown (the voice of none other than Vanessa Williams), the “Chief Chocolate Officer”, into a Geico commercial.

It opens with Ms. Brown seated across the table from her insurance rep. She says she understands that being made out of “delicious chocolate” makes her “high risk for insurance companies”. The shot then turns to the GEICO Gecko standing across from her on his desk. He says unfortunately he can’t help her because she’s not a human. The commercial ends with the infamous GEICO camel shouting, “Guess what day it is” as Ms. Brown exits the elevator and tells him to “save it, hump boy.”

The humorous 30-second commercial is the brainchild of BBDO New York and Mars Chocolate North America, who collaborated with auto insurance company GEICO to bring together Ms. Brown and the Gecko.

It’s cross marketing at its best!