Felix Hernandez wins the 2010 AL Cy Young. They got it right.
With a 2010 ERA of 2.27, 232 strikeouts, and a league-leading 249 2/3rd
innings pitched, Felix left an impression on hitters, fans and reporters
alike. Even more impressive, he’s one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet.
So congratulations to Felix Hernandez on a well-deserved Cy Young Award.
Turns out the baseball writers see him the same way we do.
Little things say a lot about your brand. Think about your office. The materials used on surfaces. Books on your bookshelf. The computer on your desk. They all give a visitor clues about your brand. What message are you sending? And how can you change it to make it more consistent with your brand?
Do you feel the earth moving under your feet? We do, too. A massive shift is taking place in the media landscape; an upheaval that is permanently transforming the relationship between consumers and marketers.
Connecting brands with the right audiences is a daunting task in today’s marketplace. The brand must be differentiated within millions of competing messages in an ever-expanding choice of media outlets.
What’s more, consumers are taking a more active role in conversations about brands. Their blogs, online reviews and Facebook posts can equal or exceed the impact of a TV commercial or online display ad.
The solution for marketers is simple, but not easy: Be authentic, accessible and valuable through innovative interaction with customers and prospects.
At Copacino+Fujikado, we believe that people are inherently social and seek relationships not only with other people but also with brands. Brand stories, conversations and experiences in all forms can build lasting relationships between marketers and consumers.
Dave Niehaus was the voice of the Seattle Mariners since the team’s inception in 1977. He broadcast more than 5,000 games over the course of 34 seasons. His rich baritone, great storytelling ability and infectious love of baseball made him the most beloved personality in the team’s history. He died suddenly on November 10th of a heart attack.
The outpouring of love and affection for him is remarkable. On call-in shows and online, ordinary fans are paying eloquent tributes to the Northwest’s “voice of summer.” It makes you believe in Walt Whitman’s assertion that there is poetry in each of us. We all felt we knew Dave. The leisurely pace of baseball and the long, slowly unfolding season leaves ample time for chat and storytelling in baseball broadcast booths. We develop deep connections with radio play-by-play announcers like Vin Scully, Mel Allen and their fellow Hall of Famer, Dave Niehaus.
I knew Dave Niehaus as a fan through the radio. I was also fortunate enough to know Dave personally and professionally. As the long-time agency for the Mariners, we frequently worked with Dave. One of the joys of my career was to write TV and radio scripts for his voice, trying to capture the lyrical magic of baseball. The video below is a commercial the Mariners have run in anticipation of Opening Day each year, welcoming back baseball.
We’ve made a slight edit, and we offer it up as a tribute to Dave. It was an honor to have worked with him. He was a great talent and a delightful human being. Enjoy his voice, one more time.
Some people think so. According to one marketing consultant, “The whole idea is outdated, and the concept hasn’t evolved since the late 1960′s. It’s a bunch of guys in suits using your dollars to try and win themselves awards.”
“Advertising,” it seems, has become a code word for the misguided act of squandering vast sums on 30-second TV commercials that no one sees, remembers or cares about.
As a result, agencies are coming up with all manner of blather to describe what they do. One proudly proclaims itself a “marketing solutions consortium.”
For the record, we label ourselves an advertising agency without apology. It’s a simple word for “we communicate with people to sell stuff.” Much like “iPhone” is a simple word for, “this baby does a million amazing things in addition to calling your mother.”
The key question is not what we call it but, rather, what should an ad agency be doing in 2011?
“Interspersed with Willard’s words of wisdom are onscreen supers that note retirement milestones, like the fact that you can start withdrawing from retirement accounts penalty-free at age 59 and a half. None of the information imparted by the onscreen type is earthshaking or in any way exclusive to Symetra. But in tandem with Willard’s amiable presence, it has the effect of giving viewers a feel for the temperament of a company they may be wholly unfamiliar with. Even Willard’s old Jerry Hubbard character probably wouldn’t invest his life savings with Symetra solely on the basis of a video like this, but it does an agreeable job of introducing the company and making viewers curious to learn more.”
When a research project is under consideration, we should always spend a few minutes (or longer, if necessary) discussing what I like to call The Four Questions of Research. These are simple, easy to remember, yet surprisingly powerful planning tools.
What do we know?
Research can cover many different topic areas and take many forms. But often, the client knows the answer before research is ever conducted. Given that it takes time and money to conduct research, we should not be asking questions when we know the answer. Doing so is a waste of money that could be better spent learning answers that we don’t know.
Similarly, sometimes there will be a desire to “throw in the kitchen sink,” asking questions about every conceivable subject on a study. The rationale for this approach is generally along the lines of “well, we’ve recruited the audience already, let’s ‘get our money’s worth.’” The problem is that more questions means more time for the respondent, and more time means a higher cost for the project. A second consideration is respondent fatigue. If the questionnaire or the interview takes too long, the respondent will be more inclined to simply stop responding, or worse, will provide answers without thought. Any of these results damage the quality of the research. So we shouldn’t ask questions we know the answer to simply because we can.
We recently worked with the comic actor Fred Willard. Willard has a long list of credits dating back to the 1960s—from Get Smart to Waiting For Guffman to Modern Family.
We hired Fred to do a series of Web videos in which he plays an eccentric grandfather dispensing dubious financial advice to his skeptical grandson. It’s part of our ongoing “Don’t Fear 65” campaign for Symetra Life Insurance encouraging prudent retirement planning.
Let’s face it: three web videos for a little-known financial services company in Seattle is a far cry from the Oscar and Emmy Red Carpets. As much as we love Mr. Willard’s comic persona, we feared that he might fly in, walk through his lines and take home a nice paycheck for a day’s (yawn) work in the hinterlands.
Fred proved to be an extremely polite and very thoughtful guy. No attitude, no celebrity demands. What was most impressive, though, was his approach to the project. He liked the scripts (whew!) but, beyond that, he respected the work and treated it with importance. He didn’t stop at two or three good takes. He was self-critical and explored variations and nuances. He cared. He worked tirelessly. And he was funny as hell.