Posts tagged ‘Advertising agency’

Zag’s One Year Anniversary

On May 11, 2009, Zag IMC officially opened its doors, operating with myself, four interns and three clients.

As GCG Marketing’s sister agency, Zag IMC was created to be a full-service, professionally managed integrated marketing communications agency that employs up-and-coming talent (a.k.a. interns) for the execution of various projects.

The purpose behind Zag was to have the opportunity to reach out to small and mid-size businesses, as well as non-profits in the DFW community, that have a need for marketing. In many cases, these types of businesses don’t have a need (or budget) for a traditional agency like GCG. However, we are able to offer competitive rates for these smaller businesses by relying on student talent to execute the work.

I like to think of Zag as an incubator of sorts, not only for our interns, but also for our clients. The goal is to have our interns become familiar with agency life and gain real-world experience that may later help them in choosing the best career path. As for clients, the basis of marketing is to grow a business. Theoretically then, if Zag does its job well, those clients will one day become GCG clients.

At the onset of creating the business plan we didn’t want to have a specific niche. For example, GCG Marketing has many accounts in the healthcare industry as well as in oil and gas. I must say though, we’ve tried very hard to maintain a diverse group of clients, and the primary reason behind that is to give our interns as much varied experience as possible.

In order to emphasize the diversification of our client base, I’d like to introduce a few of our clients: Equine Sports Medicine and Surgery, an equine hospital in Weatherford; McKinley’s Bakery and Café; DKJ Tool Grinding; Little Jack Horner’s, a furniture restoration/custom fabrication shop; Kincaid’s Hamburgers; ECX Team, an energy-commissioning company; A & D Pharma, a custom labeling firm and Chadra Mezza and Grill. All of our clients have been an absolute blessing due to their trust and readiness to try new things. We couldn’t have done it without them!

Now, a year later, we have grown into an agency, with more than 19 clients and nine interns, we are still chugging along and enjoying every minute.

Thank you GCG for giving us the space to learn and experience all of the amazing things this industry has to offer!

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06/02/2010 at 11:04 AM Leave a comment

Celebrate your creativity!

Earlier this week, I learned that January is International Creativity Month, and being as how I work at a place that has a whole department dedicated to creativity, I felt like I should bring this to light.

Creativity is arguably the most subjective thing the world has to offer. What is creative to one person could be meaningless to another — this is why the critic exists. However, there is something about creativity that I feel can be universally agreed upon: everyone needs some form of creative outlet.

Creativity keeps our minds active and simply makes life more fun. What you do doesn’t matter; you can write a story, make an existing recipe your own or even invent a new drinking game ­— the avenues are endless.

So keep that in mind for the rest of this month. Add a little creativity to your day and see where it takes you.

To celebrate International Creativity Month, I have put together some of my favorite examples of creative outdoor advertising. My gift to you.

01/15/2010 at 4:16 PM Leave a comment

Guess what? The BCS isn’t good (at marketing)

It’s that time of year again: the leaves have changed, the air is cooler and colorful little lights can be seen on homes nationwide. Yep, it’s the beginning of the bowl season for college football. Today is a special day because it is the day after the BCS (Bowl Championship Series for you non-sports types) picked the 10 teams to be featured in its five bowl games.

What is special about today is that it’s the day that college football fans are the loudest and angriest. I can’t remember a year going by that hasn’t included a day where close to every sportswriter, blogger and fan unite to protest the BCS selections. Today, I join those ranks, having felt the effects of the BCS firsthand.

However, this is not going to be a blog about how TCU got hosed or how Texas v. Alabama is not what people want – there are plenty of other blogs talking about that. No, I want to talk about (surprise!) the BCS’s attempt at marketing through social media.

The BCS is a perfect example of what not to do in a lot of things, and marketing is no exception. Around mid-November, the BCS (like me) decided to get a Twitter account and a Facebook page. This was done at the behest of their PR firm who is owned and operated by former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer. What immediately followed was both equal parts catastrophic and hilarious – Twitter users from all around took the BCS to town; one user even compared them to the Ku Klux Klan.

Of course they responded by repeatedly stating how their system does really work and is the only system that works; this is the main problem with their campaign. The BCS has a great opportunity to engage in constructive, one-on-one conversations with the public, but instead are using social media as another medium to NOT encourage conversation. Also, when they did respond it just comes off as vindictive, here’s how they replied to one fan:

“You all agree on a “playoff” but don’t agree on who, what, where, when and how- that’s why the +1 and MWC [Mountain West] playoff plans were dismissed.”

This is textbook, the last thing you should do when you are already unpopular and trying to get the public on your side is to attack them. History has shown this doesn’t work too well (i.e. every revolution the world has ever seen). Also, as a sidenote putting quotation marks around “playoffs” just comes off as dismissive and arrogant.

Their Facebook page is no better. The wall features over 30 updates posted by the BCS. After first looking at that, I saw a tab labeled “Just Fans,” I assumed this is for the fans to say their perspective. After clicking on it, I was met with nothing but a blank screen– there was not one post on the wall. This means either no one on Facebook had anything to say or they were all deleted, my hunch is the latter.

Marketing is all about people and how can you take your message/product and make it connect with them. Social media has given us as marketers the ability to communicate with our target markets better than ever. That’s what makes it work, it’s a two-way communication, somehow the BCS and Ari Fleischer missed that.

For those interested you can find the BCS on Twitter at @insidetheBCS or at facebook.com/INSIDEtheBCS.

12/07/2009 at 5:49 PM Leave a comment

The countdown to June

I may be in the minority at the moment — I’m a huge football (soccer) fan. Today was a big deal for my kind. In South Africa, celebrities and representatives gathered to present the tournament draw for next year’s World Cup — a football fan’s paradise and a glimpse of the beautiful game to a mass audience.

Honestly, I don’t understand why the draw is done nearly seven months before the tournament; I guess it’s intended to build up the hype machine for the games, and in my profession, the marketing.

The rights to broadcast the World Cup span hundreds of networks across the globe, so it’s safe to say that the month-long tournament next June will be a cash cow.

I really hope Heineken does not snag major sponsorship rights to the big dance, because their treatment of Europe’s Champion’s League drives me off the wall. Imagine this advertisement being played 15 times before and after every match — and that’s not an exaggeration.

Being a worldwide event, I’m sure there will be a diverse bunch of World Cup-themed advertisements saturating the market soon.

Here is the final draw for the 2010 World Cup. I’m definitely going to be fighting over favoritism and patriotism as England, my favorite football squad, is going to take on the United States in the first round.

Group A
South Africa
Mexico
Uruguay
France

Group B
Argentina
Nigeria
South Korea
Greece

Group C
England
United States
Algeria
Slovenia

Group D
Germany
Australia
Serbia
Ghana

Group E
Netherlands
Denmark
Japan
Cameroon

Group F
Italy
Paraguay
New Zealand
Slovakia

Group G
Brazil
North Korea
Ivory Coast
Portugal

Group H
Spain
Switzerland
Honduras
Chile

World Cup Fever will be spreading quickly next year. For my sake, I hope the tournament will serve as a breakthrough for soccer in America. Even if that means the United States has to take down England, again.

12/04/2009 at 4:21 PM Leave a comment

Happy Thanksgiving!

There are only a couple more days until Thanksgiving – what a relief. I have always loved this holiday; it’s like a teaser for a movie — you get to see the entire family for a short time, eat good food, feel the “holiday cheer” and then you realize that in only a couple more weeks the real production begins, Christmas.

Unfortunately, Thanksgiving seems to get overlooked by the gobs of “Black Friday” advertising that infuses our lives.

I’ll be the first to admit, I am a Black Friday shopper. I thrive on good deals, especially in this economy. It still amazes me how stores are able to lower prices such a significant amount for one very special and chaotic day. And it’s not just Wal-Mart lowering prices – Target, Best Buy and loads of others are on the list as well. Talk about incentive marketing! Black Friday wins the jackpot.

Some customers haven’t even stepped foot in one of these stores since last year’s Black Friday, which is awesome because it hits a unique target market every year; these people thrive on good deals and intense shopping.

I just wonder how the stores fare. If a look into Wal-Mart at 8 in the morning on Friday is any indication, it would like business is booming — especially for clean up crews.

Besides all of the great deals, try and enjoy some good ole’ family time this holiday season. Believe me, it’s worth it.

The Zag staff would like to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving!

11/24/2009 at 11:48 AM Leave a comment

Why I like Twilight (professionally)

With the new Twilight movie “New Moon” coming out today, I feel it’s only necessary to write about the elephant in the room. Twilight is a series that is guaranteed to spawn one of two reactions: rolling eyes or incessant swooning – I fall into the former group.

However, while I personally view the movies to be about as entertaining as a water fountain, professionally I am fascinated by them — starting with the first one.

Here was a movie that had a no-name cast (the only people I recognized was the guy who played Cedric Diggory and the guy who was the jock in “Can’t Hardly Wait”), was made on an average budget at best and has some of the corniest plotlines I have ever seen – there’s no way this will fly with the jaded movie-going public. Wrong.

The marketing minds behind the Twilight movies need a raise right now. They used their knowledge of the target audience and market trends to turn what was a just another series of books into a cultural phenomenon.

One of the most important things the minds behind Twilight’s marketing discovered was their Internet savvy target audience. From there they launched a digital marketing campaign that has been compared to what Obama did during the election. The campaign utilized multiple social media outlets, widgets/applications and microsites featuring exclusive web content. Keep in mind executing a multi-platform digital plan was still relatively new (yes, marketing moves that fast), so while it seems like this is standard now, last year it was viewed as progressive.

How well did it work you ask, lets go down the figures. In the month leading up to the first movie’s release, Fandango reported 58% of their online ticket sales were for “Twilight”. Another survey conducted by Fandango showed 87% of people had seen the trailer online and 92% of those people said the trailer made them want to go see the movie. Why hello return-on-investment, good to see you.

The efforts don’t look to be slowing down either. For the just-released “New Moon”, the studio partnered with AT&T and released a mobile/social media plan designed to actually connect the fans with the actors in the movie, further imprinting any emotional ties they might have with the story. Say what you want about Twilight, those people know what they’re doing.

11/20/2009 at 4:08 PM Leave a comment

Lessons Learned, Part 5

Rolando

A graphic designer never stops learning because there is always something to improve upon or innovate. Six months have come and gone by so quickly. In that time, I have learned so much from my co-workers, colleagues and clients.

Here are a few things I’ve taken from being a part of the Zag team:

  • Comfort: The best thing a designer can do to stimulate his or her creative ability is to put them in an environment that they are comfortable with. I have played music, taken walks, joked around  — anything I could do to calm my nerves and de-stress myself. The advertising industry can be jarring at times, and I need all the help I can get.
  • Communication: The ability to communicate and stay organized is essential to an agency’s productivity (and sanity). I’ve learned to organize the thousands of files have had to work with into carefully placed folders so that at me and my co-workers can easily find and access them.
  • Criticism: You can’t please everyone, especially when it comes to design — an inherently subjective topic. I’ve learned how to take criticism of my work in a positive and professional manner in order to complete the task at hand. The first thing I realized was it was not criticism, but constructive criticism that I was hearing. Everyone in the agency is working together for the betterment of the company, and that’s something I haven’t forgetten.

And finally, have fun and enjoy the ride. Hopefully that goes without saying.

11/13/2009 at 3:41 PM Leave a comment

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