Posts Tagged ‘business’

H&R Block’s CMO on Jon Hamm and Why He’s the Perfect Tax-Season Spokesperson

January 10, 2017  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Taxes often are a dull affair, but this year, H&R Block is shaking things up with a new ad campaign starring the dapper Jon Hamm. The set of three ads from agency Fallon, the first of which debuted just after Christmas, uses the tagline "Get your taxes won" as a way of positioning the brand against competitors like TurboTax. With 12 TV spots airing in the run-up up to tax season, it's the largest campaign in the brand's history. The second set of ads, launching this week, features Hamm on a movie set, humorously explaining the features of H&R Block's tax promos and their advantages over TurboTax. Adweek met with H&R Block's CMO, Kathy Collins, to discuss the brand's marketing efforts as tax day approaches. Adweek: How is H&R Block positioning itself against its competitors, which often offer cheaper services, this tax season? Kathy Collins: We had a rough tax season last year, and we knew we had to do something bold. We had never called out any competitor by name [before now]. TurboTax had a great season; we did not. Sixty percent of people want help with their taxes, so we're emphasizing our expertise. TurboTax and others say, "This is easy. You don't need expertise," but our point is, you do because you might be leaving money behind. We can help you navigate through the tax code, which is 75,000 pages long. When we started the business in 1955, the tax code was 500 pages long. People who do their taxes on their own make a mistake about half the time, so highlighting our expertise is the right way to position the brand. Why did you choose Jon Hamm as a spokesperson? Because he has range.

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Unruly’s 2017 Predictions on Changing Media Consumption Behaviors

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January 9, 2017  |  Blog  |  No Comments

Here’s what you need know. In 2017, media consumption behaviors will only continue to change as emerging technology continues to evolve - staying on the cutting edge of these consumer behaviors is a big task! Unruly, a digital video distribution agency with a focus on emotional intelligence, has released their social and digital consumption predictions for 2017. Unruly’s managing director Oliver Smith will will be a featured speaker at our upcoming Engage: LA conference. The  report covers the following: Augmented reality has the scale but VR will have deeper impact. Vertical creatives will be the rule rather than the exception in 2017. Audio will have

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Here’s How Each Major Ad Agency’s Stock Is Looking as the Industry Prepares for the Trump Era

December 19, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Before Nov. 8, the big advertising holding companies faced a straightforward, slow-growth future. The business would continue to evolve, and the agencies would continue to adapt by expanding their capabilities, especially in digital media. But the election cast a blanket of doubt on the prospects for the major players. "To be clear, there was little uncertainty during the campaign," says Brian Wieser, an analyst at Pivotal Research Group. "Most business observers would not have believed that this outcome was possible. Now there is uncertainty." Industry watchers are grappling with the implications of Donald Trump's victory for the ad business, which had already absorbed one electoral shock with the vote in June by British citizens to leave the European Union. In their last quarterly reports before the presidential election and the first to fully reflect the U.K. balloting, the big holding companies—Omnicom, Interpublic, WPP, Publicis and Havas— offered a mixed reading on the health of the industry. At one end of the spectrum, Interpublic beat earnings expectations and boosted its outlook for the remainder of the year. At the other, account losses took a toll on Publicis, which reported weaker North American sales. For the ad industry, the big fear is that buyers will simply put their spending plans on hold while they wait and see how the new administration takes shape. If, for example, Trump follows through on his harsh campaign rhetoric regarding international trade, cross-border business could become more difficult. "We got so little insight into [Trump's] policies and plans from the campaign," notes Tim Nollen, who follows the ad industry at investment bank Macquarie

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GNC Plans a Fourth-Quarter Comeback This Year With Its Super Bowl Ad Debut

December 16, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Among the many familiar faces, including Skittles and GoDaddy, one new brand will be making its Super Bowl debut this year: GNC, long known as the place one goes to buy vitamins in bulk. The retail chain's bid is part of an elaborate rebranding strategy after a year that saw its stock price fall by more than 50 percent. Bullish, a creative "accelerator agency" launched in January by veterans of Deutsch and Johannes Leonardo, is serving as creative advisor on the campaign and also working on GoDaddy's Super Bowl LI entry. The spot will air during the game's first quarter, and it represents a national buy with buybacks up to two months after the Big Game. Its purpose is to let consumers know that GNC is making some changes. On Thursday, GNC announced plans to close all stores on Dec. 28 and reopen the following day as One New GNC, offering universal prices to replace a setup that had allowed for multiple pricing structures across channels and membership levels. The chain will also introduce a new loyalty program, mobile app and point of sale terminals to streamline the purchase process across locations. "For the last two years, we have spent time, through research, listening to thousands of customers who told us that our business model could use some improvement and the One New GNC is the result," said a company spokesperson. "Customers wanted a simplified pricing structure and a better loyalty program." The company cannot yet divulge any details about the ad but did say that "a number of creative teams" are currently vying to work on the project. In addition to Bullish, GNC's roster includes Edelman on public relations, Crossmedia on media buys and Superfly on social media.

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Media Consumption in the Age of Fake News

Media Consumption in the Age of Fake News

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December 12, 2016  |  Blog  |  No Comments

Fake news has been in the real news a lot lately. It’s a multifaceted conversation with many sides to the argument. In a clickbait economy, how do we focus on honest reporting without censoring or suppressing voices? How are Google and Facebook’s crackdowns on fake news outlets going to affect digital advertisers? We rounded up the stories you need to read to be fully in the know as this conversation will ultimately shape the way digital media is created, distributed and marketed. What if fake news affects your business? Huffington Post has your reputational clean-up game plan here. Will fake news have

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Breakthrough Agency of the Year: Venables Bell Is the Next Great Creative Shop

December 5, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Cultural relevance can be bittersweet, as Venables Bell & Partners learned in 2016. Just as the agency and client Audi were negotiating to use David Bowie's "Starman" in a Super Bowl ad, the rock icon tragically passed away at 69. Then the independent agency scored a chance to work on Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, only to see her lose in what founder and chairman Paul Venables calls a "heartbreaking" election. But it was, in all, an astounding 12 months for the San Francisco-based agency, which came into 2016 buoyed by global acclaim for its work on REI's " #OptOutside " Black Friday campaign and then quickly set the stage for a strong year with its "Commander" Super Bowl spot, Audi's tender tale of an aging astronaut who relives his glory days during a night drive with his son. "There were no gimmicks: no dancing Chihuahua, no talking privates, no breakdancing babies," explains Venables. "We did it in our style, which is craft and storytelling. It was an exciting way to start the year." The Big Game appearance marked a high point for a shop whose namesake entered the ad industry in that most humble of roles: Madison Avenue receptionist. Venables says he knew from his first days behind a front desk in Manhattan that he eventually wanted to launch his own agency, and he left his job as a creative director at Goodby Silverstein & Partners in 2001 to do just that. After struggling to stand out in the early years by focusing on every detail of his creative work, Venables had an epiphany: If he could attract and retain the right talent, everything else would eventually fall into place. It paid off. This year, VB&P was one of the few truly independent agencies to consistently generate stellar creative, public attention and critical acclaim. For the eye-catching caliber of the agency's work throughout 2016, Adweek has named VB&P its Breakthrough Agency of the Year, an award honoring shops that have exploded beyond their previous expectations and reached dramatic new heights of creative achievement. The art of good timing In the midst of a 2015 holiday marketing brainstorming session, outdoor retailer REI's head of merchandising had a big idea: "We could never do it, but what if we close on Black Friday?" The rest, as they say, is history. "['#OptOutside'] is the antithesis of a Super Bowl spot," says Venables, adding, "Every single client and/or new business prospect that has come in the door since then basically said, 'We want some of that.'" The agency doubled down on this calendar-centric strategy in 2015 and 2016

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Presenting the Hot List—the Year’s Top Magazines, TV and Digital Media

November 28, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

It was the year that Donald Trump dominated and demonized the media. That magazines built around news and analysis (New York, The New Yorker, Time) made the greatest impact, and produced the most eye-catching covers. That The People v. O.J. Simpson, Stranger Things and Samantha Bee ruled the tube—and that Megyn Kelly found herself on both sides of the news. This was also the year that digital platforms, players, obsessions and innovations—from Snapchat to Pokemon Go to Facebook Live, DJ Khaled to Chrissy Teigen—commanded our attention. Here, we present Adweek's annual Hot List, featuring our editors' picks for the year's top magazines, television and digital media, and the executives and content creators who dictate where the business is and where it's headed. Take Amazon's Jeff Bezos, our 2016 Media Visionary, who not only has changed the way we shop but, via his ownership of The Washington Post, is helping to save journalism in a perilous time of real-vs.-fake news. Here, we also present the winners of our annual Hot List Readers' Choice Poll, which this year generated more than 1.2 million votes at Adweek.com. As ever, all the terrific content being produced out there is made possible by the smartest, most creative leaders in the business—aside from Bezos, individuals like Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, FX's John Landgraf, and Hearst's David Carey and Michael Clinton. It is on them that we cast praise, and on them that a vibrant, forward-leaning media industry depends. Check out all this year's honorees: Hottest Magazines Media Visionary: Jeff Bezos Magazine Executive Team: Hearst's David Carey and Michael Clinton Magazine Editor: New York's Adam Moss Hottest TV Shows and Networks TV Executive: FX's John Landgraf TV Creator: Full Frontal's Samantha Bee TV News Anchor: Fox News' Megyn Kelly Hottest Digital Brands and Products Digital Executive: Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg Digital Creator: Casey Neistat This story first appeared in the November 28, 2016 issue of Adweek magazine. Click here to subscribe.

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Ad of the Day: Homebuyers Start Turning Into Their Parents in Progressive’s New Ads

November 22, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Some serious Mommy and Daddy issues are amusingly on display in Arnold Worldwide's latest campaign for Progressive insurance. Homebuyers assume the most annoying traits of their parents in the ads, based on the insight that folks change in weird ways when they buy their first home. "It's as if you flip the 'grownup switch,' " Cat Kolodij, Progressive's business leader for marketing strategy and innovation, tells Adweek. "For many of us, the first time we realize we are grown up is when we catch ourselves doing something our mom or dad always did." The spot below shows a young wife acting like her father, with a gruff attitude, manly mannerisms and, worst of all, a taste for watching golf on TV: Honey, let's get divorced. You can keep the house! Next, a husband takes on the fuss-budget traits of his mother, right down to obsessive vacuuming and serving deviled eggs at all hours of the day: "Daughters are influenced by fathers as much as mothers," Kolodij says. "Sons are influenced by mothers as much as fathers. We didn't think the story had to conform to a traditional 'daughter-becomes-her-mother' paradigm. Since the insight is so true, we find people quickly get the idea." Too bad the characters didn't start dressing up like Flo and chasing each other around with name-your-price tools. (We're assured the iconic ad character will return for Progressive in the near future.) The new work trades in sitcom-y cliches, but director Roman Coppola keeps the material from lapsing into complete absurdity and coaxes spirited performances from the cast. "Roman is very good at identifying what's funny in an idea or a scene, and then nurturing that thing without overdoing it or pointing at it too hard," says agency executive creative director Sean McBride. "He told us from the beginning that he wanted to create moments that looked and felt like they were lifted from these people's lives." On set, improvisation was strongly encouraged.

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Lyft’s New Device Aims to Increase Safety and Eliminate Awkwardness With Drivers

November 15, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Do you even Lyft, bro? Lyft, a ride-sharing service, is shaking things up in a major way. The young company, which was launched in 2012, has already gone through a few identity iterations. The most recent one is sort of a cool-older-sibling vibe. Today, the brand announced a new part of it's in-car experience: the Amp. What looks like one of those fancy Bluetooth speakers everyone has at pool parties is actually a cool new way for drivers to communicate with riders. By day, the Amps will be the signature Lyft pink/magenta color. But when it's pulling up to a Lyft user who has ordered a ride, the display will turn green, thereby eliminating the awkward moments that plague a lot of ride-share app users. Bonus feature: if multiple people in a specific area all order a Lyft, their cars will each display a different color, as specified in their app. "We've seen three times our typical growth in the last 18 months," said Melissa Waters, Lyft's vp of marketing. "And we want to expand as we grow." Getting into someone else's car means agreeing on a shared assumption of safety.

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GoPro Launches Its First Scripted TV Ad, Part of Its Biggest Global Campaign to Date

November 10, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

For years, GoPro has taken a user-centric approach to its advertising, packaging submitted content for TV spots that have run everywhere from YouTube to the Super Bowl. But today, it's launching its first scripted TV spot, which is part of its largest campaign yet that's rolling out on a global scale. TV spots will run in the U.S., Spain, Germany, France, Korea, Australia and other markets. And there's an accompanying global campaign aimed at creating around 1.4 billion impressions. The campaign is a combination of regional and national ad buys, with the first spot airing today before ramping up Friday and then airing in prime time during Sunday Night Football. According to GoPro svp of marketing Bryan Johnston, the campaign is meant to reflect the diversity of the brand's users over the past few years, as its core user base grows from being adventure-seeking people documenting the great outdoors to a camera that can be used by anyone. "If we succeed, then we create thousands upon thousands upon millions of 21st-century storytellers," Johnston told Adweek

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