The Blog and Pony Show

Archive for the ‘Interactive’ Category

Schifino Lee - 5:31 pm July 30, 2014

What Netflix’s rise in subscriptions really means

Why the rise of Netflix and other on-demand video services make product placement even more essential.

Netflix’s recent surpassing of 50 million subscribers (the equivalent of approximately 16% of the U.S. population) this week has us thinking. If this is going to be the next primary way to view programming, will traditional video ads still be as affective?

My belief is no. Of the many reasons why people abandon cable and opt for streaming, one of the key motives is the fact that streaming services offer less ads and more content. So if the market heads in the direction where video ads become limited the industry must take full advantage of an age-old strategy; product placement.

This strategy has been used extensively in Netflix’s original programming; most notably “House of Cards”; while on the other hand broadcasting companies have yet to place as high of an importance on this tactic. This will become a monumental advantage for Netflix as streaming becomes the norm. They will gain the ability to outbid such powerful broadcasters as Disney, Time Warner and NBCUniversal for advertising sponsorship due to their programming’s ability to spark more consumer interest in products/ services and promote more action.

Schifino Lee - 3:26 pm July 21, 2014

iBeacon brings light to foggy marketplace

Apple has implemented an indoor proximity system known as iBeacon into the newer generations of their devices.  These tiny, inexpensive, Bluetooth transmitters will provide device users with better location-based information and services; FourSquare and Groupon being examples of benefactors. Since iBeacon must be activated with the downloading of an app, the potential consumers opt in to viewing this content. So, what does this mean for advertisers? Everything.

In addition to making these services better, iBeacon transmitters will (upon app installation) stay alert for transmissions within range pertaining to sales and specials by local vendors. So if a device user were to pass by a beacon in a shop, after 20 seconds of remaining within range the retailer’s app would send the passerby’s device a transmission displaying an ad.

This is incredibly useful technology for advertisers. Those who choose to download the app have voluntarily made themselves susceptible to receiving advertising content. This allows a vendor to attain better engagement. First, the passerby is open to receiving content; second, they have been within a reasonable range of your store for 20 seconds or more. This leads to strategic targeting of people most likely to perform a transaction in your store. Coca Cola is one of the premier brands already strategizing on how to use this technology effectively.

(courtesy of zdnet.com)

Schifino Lee - 11:25 am May 15, 2014

Want proof of the power of email marketing? Check it out.

This week, we’re sharing insights on how to create successful email campaigns, using our own emails that were sent to top executives. Not to toot our own horn, but we sent out a series of nine eblasts over the past six months to a targeted database and it has significantly outperformed the industry average for open rates and click-through rates (CTR).

Now before outlining some factors that impacted our success, let’s look at the big reason for using email in the first place. According to The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) and Constant Contact, companies are seeing a sales boost of up to 40x their email investment. Which probably explains why many businesses are allocating a larger percentage of their marketing budget towards email marketing.*

A few things to keep in mind when developing an unbeatable eblast:

GO VISUAL OR GO HOME

Engaging photos and links to videos are proven to increase click-through rates. Our emails on ad campaigns for Alessi Foods and Westshore Pizza were the only ones featuring videos and delivered the highest CTR of all (3.87% and 2.41% respectively).

PINPOINT YOUR AUDIENCE
We purchased a targeted list of over 4,200 CEOs, CMOs, and Marketing VPs at Tampa Bay companies with sales of $25 million and up to receive our series of emails.

SUBJECT LINES MATTER

No matter how great your email is, it’s pointless if you can’t get recipients to open it. Subject lines need to be concise (ideally, under 40 characters), attention-getting, and relevant to the audience.

TIMING IS CRITICAL
Typically, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays are the days when prospects are most receptive to emails. First thing in the morning or after working hours are usually the best send times. Of course, the age range of your audience may also influence that decision.

BE MOBILE FRIENDLY
Over 50% of emails are now opened on smart phones, so your emails better look darn good on mobile devices as well as PCs.

*According to 2013 survey released by Vocus/Edge Research

Jeannette Adelman - 11:45 am April 24, 2014

Insuring an improved user experience for M.E. Wilson

M.E. Wilson, “one of the top risk management and insurance agencies in the nation” according to The Independent Agents of America, needed a trusted partner to update the company’s website. So when choosing the right firm to do the redesign, it was no surprise that the insurance agency founded 94 years ago selected the advertising agency that has stewarded the M.E. Wilson brand for the past 12 years: Schifino Lee.

As the virtual face of the company, M.E. Wilson’s website speaks to customers and facilitates a deeper working relationship between the company and its clients. M.E. Wilson tasked Schifino Lee to not only redesign the site, but also improve the overall user experience for both desktop and mobile visitors. The new site’s homepage now welcomes visitors with a clean, uncluttered design and features content showcasing the agency’s services and expertise. The redesign also includes new elements such as client videos and testimonials.

Navigating the insurance marketplace can be a tough task, and Schifino Lee understands how important it is to simplify content and navigation by highlighting only what’s necessary. We are proud of our long-standing relationship with M.E. Wilson and highly recommend them as their insurance customers ourselves.

Schifino Lee - 11:08 am December 20, 2013

Schifino Lee’s 55 Random Acts of Merry

Ah, the holidays. The busiest, most stressful time of the year. But what if we put that craziness on pause to embrace the real spirit of the season? Made time for small acts of kindness (a warm shot of “merry”, if you will) to friends, family, even strangers? It might start with something like this — 55 simple, offbeat, and most definitely random ways to share a little goodness, courtesy of your friends at Schifino Lee. Try a few and spread the word. Trust us, you’ll be glad you did.

http://www.actsofmerry.com/#

Schifino Lee - 6:58 pm November 29, 2012

Schifino Lee helps Vigo Importing grow its Alessi Foods brand

Pursuing its goal to grow the Alessi brand of food products nationally, Vigo Importing Co. and Schifino Lee partnered together to embark on a substantial marketing campaign. The integrated campaign launches with cable TV spots, in-store displays, radio spots, digital advertising and social media for its Alessi Premium Pasta Sauce line.

While Alessi has been producing top-quality Italian food products since 1947 and is the country’s No. 1 seller in the balsamic vinegar and breadstick categories, brand awareness is relatively low. The company sees enormous opportunity to grow Alessi’s brand equity and increase market share in several food categories.

“We want our branding and advertising to reflect the appeal and quality of our products, highlighting our use of the finAlessiest ingredients,” said Alfred Alessi, owner of Vigo Importing. “Schifino Lee has a successful track record of creating communications that build emotional connections between brands and customers.”

Schifino Lee held focus groups to better understand the Alessi retail customer. Based on the findings from these groups, Schifino Lee refined the Alessi Premium Pasta Sauce brand and developed compelling communications to reach the desired consumer.

Josh St. Aubin - 3:41 pm October 15, 2012

How to decide between Apps vs. Mobile Websites

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Since the introduction of the iPhone, the debate over how to distribute content to customers through mobile devices has centered around the misconception that you have to choose between developing a native mobile app or a mobile website. The truth is, it’s not an either or battle. Mobile websites and native apps offer different benefits and serve different purposes which create better customer relationships when they work together. At the end of the day, people don’t care about the web vs. app debate; they just want to find what they’re looking for on whatever device they have in front of them.

Of course other factors do come into play with this discussion – price, timing, audience, etc., but the focus always needs to be placed on how people will experience, engage and interact regardless of the platform. App users and web users coexist not because they use both to perform the same function, but because they use each independently to solve different problems. Apps are generally used by your “heavy users” to perform definitive, more personal and reoccurring tasks, while websites are used more for generic research or quick lookups on-the-go. Simply put, doing vs. searching.

Doing vs. Searching may help to provide clarity as to why your customers need these tools, but additional questions need to be asked that help evaluate the best development and deployment strategy:

  • Why do you want or need a native app?
  • What platforms are you trying to reach?
  • How often will you make updates?
  • What is your budget?

Like any other media, mobile development is not a one-size-fits-all solution and should be structured to fit your customers’ needs and goals regardless of what device they have in front of them. Native apps provide rich media integration with a higher engagement rate, while mobile websites offer a wider reach at a lower cost. But, it’s always more important to focus on making something people can use.

Download our full presentation or contact us today.

Josh St. Aubin - 6:37 pm September 24, 2012

If you want your customers to interact with your products, interact with them!

More and more brands are finding interesting and compelling ways to interact with their target audiences in this interactive world. Nestle’s Contrex bottled mineral water knew that if they wanted to more effectively reach their audience, they’d have to come up with something nobody has ever seen before.

What appeared to be a row of random pink exercise bikes in Paris turned out to be the heart of Contrex’s viral ‘My Contrexperience’ digital campaign created by the Paris-based agency, Marcel. As you can see from the video link below, intrigued women approached the bikes and began pedaling and their movement came to life to be reqarded with a sexy exhibition as well as Contrex water conveniently located next to every exercise bike.

The bottled water market today is filled with boring clichés that people no longer get excited about. Contrex’s interactive campaign targeted women with a common message: if you want to lose weight, exercise rigorously, then cool down with Contrex water. They were able to take an ordinary message and turn it into a unique, extraordinary concept.

The days of just merely seeing an ad on television or in print are over. Consumers are now expecting to be entertained, as much as interacted with, in an engaging manner. Newspapers are even moving to the digital space to better interact with their audiences and give their consumers an opportunity to better connect with the traditional media.

No brand is going to survive if they don’t step away from play-it-safe techniques and start moving towards original, creative consumer interaction. The execution and delivery proved to be a success and the video went viral.

 

 

Schifino Lee - 2:59 am October 5, 2011

Social Media vs. So What Media

Fantastic Adweek piece (http://www.adweek.com/advertising-week/are-we-cusp-social-blindness-135427) points out that most marketers treat social media as if it were cheap broadcast media.

Audiences are tired of that. Businesses need to create relevant content and participate in genuine conversations – not mindlessly use social media with a short-term transactional mentality.

True social media is about building an emotional connection, not selling a transactional promotion. The best news comes at the end of the piece. When brands do the right things with social media, it is a powerful way to build equity and create measurable value.

We would love to learn from your experiences… Who is creating social media that is authentically social, and who is churning out social media that is merely “so what media?”

Schifino Lee - 8:45 pm May 16, 2011

how to sell designer ice cream

Rachel would rather enjoy a Magnum than canoodle with Baptiste

Here’s a marketing challenge: make ice cream on a stick a super premium luxury product that size double-zero fashionistas will crave as much as Birken bags.

The solution:

  1. Hire Rachel Bilson, the unspeakably pretty (and skinny) actor/ model to be your spokesperson
  2. Retain uber designer and Chinese fan waver Karl Lagerfeld to make short films (web commercials) starring Rachel.
  3. Premier the resulting masterpieces at the coolest of all film festivals, Tribeca.

Now stand back as your brand goes viral and market share skyrockets thanks to the amazing, super cool, hyper stylized images that are not quite art, but not really marketing either.

(more…)

Schifino Lee - 7:39 pm May 11, 2011

Baa Baa Black (leather) Sheep

Zynga and Gaga present sheep on hog action starting May 17.

In a cross promotional concept so huge the human brain cannot begin to comprehend it, Lady Gaga has struck a deal with Zynga, maker of FarmVille and other social games popular on Facebook, to promote her upcoming album Born This Way.

Players of a new game called “Gagaville”  will be able to hear portions of the album prior to release and access exclusive, extra  material afterward.

What can one expect down on GagaVille Farm? ”think crystals, unicorns, sheep on motorcycles,” Zynga said in the press release. The madness begins May 17.

FYI: Lady Gaga is Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, born 3/28/1986 in NY, NY.

Schifino Lee - 6:36 pm April 18, 2011

Schifino Lee joins battle against PI

Schifino Lee has stepped up to the plate to help strike out Primary Immunodeficiency by becoming the marketing partner for the 2011 All-American Beach Bash and Wiffle Ball Tournament.

Our work includes www.medicalchampion.com, the online home for the annual 2-day event held on St. Pete beach at the Don CeSar resort. This will be third year for this major fundraiser for All Children’s Hospital and the University of South Florida’s Department of Pediatric Allergy, Immunology and Rheumatology Division.

At Medicalchampion.com businesses and families can register for sponsorships and event participation, make 100% tax deductable donations, and view event photos and videos all in one place.

Make sure to spend your Independence Day weekend with us at St. Pete Beach for an all-American outing to help children with allergies and PI. Whether you stay a day or the weekend, this family getaway offers adults and children alike the chance to give back, with tax deductable donations that will be matched 100 percent by the Jeffry Modell Foundation. Please go to www.medicalchampion.com for more details.

 

Schifino Lee - 4:46 pm February 23, 2011

Using Quick Response Codes

We wrote last week about QR (quick response) codes—that square matrix that connects a smart to web content. Today we’re adding some “best practice” guidelines for their use.

  1. Size matters. A bigger code is easier to capture, especially for phones with a hair-trigger auto focus. Trying to hold your phone just right to is really frustrating and will not engender good will.
  2. Get a commercial for the price of a bus shelter. QR codes to link to any kind of data. It can be text, flash, audio or a short video. So it is essential that—
  3. Content has to be mobile-enabled. What’s the use of connecting people to a web page or site they can’t read on a mobile device?
  4. All codes are local codes. QR codes let you run the same ad in multiple publications without any changes except for the code. It is even possible to use APIs to localize and personalize the resulting web experience.
  5. It’s okay to tease. When you include a QR code you can whittle down the ad, poster or even speciality network video to its selling essence and let the web carry all the details. Reaction becomes interaction as the viewer is able to get more information immediately.
  6. Close the deal in seconds. Talk about hot irons and strikes: an interested consumer can connect from your poster to your e-commerce site and make a purchase within minutes of first seeing your message.
Schifino Lee - 4:24 pm February 21, 2011

Schifino Lee launches new agency website & blog

Why are we refreshing our website? For the same reasons every business should consider:

  • To better represent who we are today (not last year or 2-3 years ago)
  • To take advantage of innovations in web programming
  • To simplify navigation for quicker arrival at what visitors want to see
  • To build a better showcase for our work
  • To create an efficient platform for future content
  • To refine our design aesthetics

As a leading provider of online solutions, our business has evolved so our online presence had to as well.
It’s imperative that we have a site that exemplifies what a website should be for our business and to convey our brand personality.

Some improvements you will see:

  • Featured work on the home page. Our product is what visitors want to see, so there it is.
  • More interactivity, because many brand experiences happen on the web today
  • New options for searching our online portfolio by industry and by category
  • A complete overhaul of our Blog to reflect the most current agency and industry information

And a few features you can’t see: We built it on an open-source CMS for easy updating; and we’ve incorporated some best practices for SEO (search engine optimization).

So please explore Schifino Lee’s new web experience, follow us on Twitter and visit often to see new content and catch up with our “Blog & Pony Show.”

For more information visit our website at www.schifinolee.com or please contact Ben Lee or Paola Schifino at 813-258-5858, exts. 224 and 223, respectively, or at ben@schifinolee.com and paola@schifinolee.com.

Schifino Lee - 3:28 pm February 18, 2011

secret society

QR codes are the new secret weapon for reaching cream-of-the-crop demographics. That square matrixy looking thing you see on ads and posters and shop windows is a QR code. QR stands for quick response. You point your smart phone at it and get connected to info on the web. Way cool. When I first started seeing these—and Microsoft’s colored triangle version— I felt like I was missing out so I had to upgrade to a smart phone (Android platform HTC Evo).

To view QR codes you need a code reader app. There are several of them, all free, for all the platforms. The app opens the phone’s camera, focuses and captures the matrix. It reads the URL embedded in the code and opens it in the browser.

We’re using them at Slee. We made a series of posters for AT&T with codes that lead to exclusive content. We’ll do the same with materials for ICAM. And we’re even putting them on our own collateral and ads to connect prospects to our fabulous new website.

Less than half of mobile users have smart phones, so a huge part of population can’t read QR codes, but they are still worth pursuing. They let you connect directly to professionals, decision makers, high wage earners, youth and early adapters—the customers who launch new brands.

Schifino Lee - 10:24 am July 8, 2010

Man or machine? iPhone or Droid?

Here’s an interesting comparison: two very different ads—and strategies—for parity products.

Here’s the commercial for iPhone 4

And here’s the promo for Droid X

We all prefer the iPhone ad, and not because we are elitist Apple devotees. We like the iPhone message because we like being human.

The raison d’etre for a phone is connectivity. This spot demonstrates how the new iPhone lets you reach out and connect with people in a meaningful way. It lets you have dialogues and share emotions; “only connect” as E.M. Forrester famously wrote (Howards End)

Droid, on the other hand, turns you into a machine. Droid = Android = imitation human = antisocial techie. That’s a fine strategy as it speaks to people who love technology and are more interested in doing things than getting all touchy feely. It all makes perfect sense since a Droid (Android) is an artificial person.

Compare this to the Sprint Evo intro that is aimed squarely at first adapters. This type of geek is actually more social because what is the use of having the newest, latest, coolest gadget if you can’t brag to other life forms about it?

Paola Schifino - 11:12 am May 27, 2010

Fresh from the kitchens of Schifino Lee

Two new websites are hot out of our creative and programming ovens.

The first is for La Segunda Central Bakery, the premier maker of Cuban-style breads and pastries in the U.S. (at least according to a  poll of diners at Columbia Restaurant). The site greatly enhances the hundred-year old Ybor City bakery’s profile in the food service industry and spearheads their expansion as a regional commercial baker. Senior Interactive Art Director Nico Gomez (an expert on the Cuban sandwich) designed and built this great-looking site. I personally quality-tested all the products before they were photographed.

Our other delicious new website is for HOPCO Food Brokers. Tampa-based HOPCO represents national and local brands to the food service industry in the southeast states. It allows the brokerage and its clients to extend their reach into the kitchens of restaurants, hotels, schools, hospitals, retirement homes and other institutions. In addition to information about the brands, the site features important resources for food managers and contact info for all of HOPCO’s offices. Creative Director Max Blevins took the lead and was assisted by Mark, Nico and Eric.