Wednesday, April 30, 2008

It is the End of the Semester- Nontraditonal Summary Post

When I was first given the assignment of writing a weekly blog, I was terrified. Those Internet savvy people who knew the ins and outs of the cyber world intimidated me. I was extremely hesitant to start an actual blog, and to have my thoughts in a public domain. However, given this was a class assignment, which without completing it, I would probably fail; I knew I had to overcome my fears.

Picking a topic was easy. I immediately browsed through all the options, and let my eye be caught by the one that most intrigues me- nontraditional advertising. Since my Advertising final project, which was to create an Ad Plan, I have been interested in nontraditional advertising and planning, as opposed to mainstream. When I first began thinking of my topic, and even working with it in advertising class, I had no idea of its greatness. I had a hunch that it would be a growing medium since alternative has in some ways taken over the popularity of mainstream, as it has become “cooler” to like the unknown, and the unconventional. However, I didn’t know about the actual research, the data, and the evidence proving nontraditional media as a huge increasing form of advertising.

I remember when I first began researching this medium; I came across several sources revealing the importance of nontraditional media and its relevance in our culture today. The big theme throughout this semester’s blogging experience has been realizing how hard it is for companies, brands, and organizations alike to differentiate themselves from their competitors, as well as position their image correctly in the market. It is much harder than you think.
However, there are two sides to every coin. As some find Nontraditional a great alternative to the everyday mainstream television, magazine, and newspaper ads, some think of nontraditional in that same exact light. In an article titled “Nontraditional advertising needs a shower bad,” it was expressed by author Paul MacFarlane that nontraditional, just like mainstream advertising, is always in our face. With this argument comes the idea that wit nontraditional advertising on the rise, ads are everywhere. You used to be able to escape to the coffee shop, and be guaranteed that you wont have to be convinced to by any product, but perhaps the soy latte you will purchase. However, now, your napkin dispenser might have an ad on it, or better, your coffee mug. Now with nontraditional advertising, adverts have become inescapable. And that makes some campers very unhappy, and maybe even reluctant to buy the product at hand. You would think using the restroom would allow you to not only release nature duties, but also escape advertising—not anymore; now toilets and restrooms are being used for advertising locations.

Moreover, since some people do have this preconceived notion of nontraditional, some companies choose to not participate in the field whatsoever, some even ban it. A reoccurring issue I came across in my researching was Target’s ban on nontraditional advertising, and their refusal to participate in any form of it. Even when it comes to customer support, feedback, and complaints- they refrain from any negotiation. This was a highly controversial issue in the blogging world, and even changed my opinion as a consumer about the company.

Come to think of it, all this research over the weeks has kept me updated on the industry in a way I could only hope to be. I wasn’t expecting to learn so much, and to become interested in the topic in a way that compelled me to browse other blogs and trade journals for fun. Over time, you can tell, I became a relaxed blogger. I developed a style, a theme I already had, but a general sense of comfort started to ensue from my blogs, or at least I think so.

With that being said, the fact that my topic was a creative one definitely didn’t hurt. Overtime however, I learned that as much as I thought nontraditional was an alternative method of advertising, it was becoming just as mainstream as anything else. On Dec 7th, 07', the Hollywood Reporter Reported that The Association of Independent Commercial Producers' newly released membership survey found that nearly 70% of member companies produced nontraditional advertising projects during 2006. They estimate that by 2010, on average 38% of their billings will be from such projects. (Goodwin Simon Victoria Research collected the data in the report). I also discovered that different companies use nontraditional for various reasons. Some companies have turned to unconventional marketing because they are unable to support large, national, expensive advertising campaigns. Others are just more innovative than most in developing their marketing repertoires.

On the same note, throughout my research, I discovered many marketing research firms uncovering recent trends. According to “What’s your marketing firm’s strategy in 08’” many marketing forms will explode in 08', however the "savvy marketer" will realize how consumers are breaking up into smaller and smaller communities, becoming less homogeneous, and more niche. This is why the media mix must reflect this. "Concentrating advertising budgets on a single medium will not work in this complex marketplace. So there will be a diverse mix of the traditional (TV, radio, print) and nontraditional (blogging, You Tube, social networking, such as facebook and multiply)."

Throughout all my research, I realized the media seems hyped about new these marketing fads in 2008. Apparently, more than ever, companies and brands have to make sure to stand out of the clutter, pay attention to the effectiveness of their specific marketing mix, and make sure it is reaching their desired, maybe large, preferably fragmented specific audience.

Although Nontraditional is now a huge trend, it is said to have started up as a cheaper way for smaller companies to get their name out there. However, with time, and as this industry grew, multi-million dollar companies like NASCAR, Huggies, NBC, Red Bull and others have embarked upon nontraditional campaigns.

Also, the industry isn’t stopping any time soon. Currently, the new fad is facebook advertising. As my research progressed, and as months went on, I kept on encountering more and more articles on facebook advertising and its benefits. And I am sure that in years to come, we will see new popular methods of advertising being utilized more and more, as opposed to just mainstream.

In preparing my final project, a media plan promoting Bling H20 for Audience Research, we mostly concentrated on placing ads in various media. We did chose the mainstream channels such as Television, Magazine, Internet and Billboard advertising, however we focused a chunk of our $30 million budget on nontraditional. Keeping this blog over the course of the semester has definitely motivated and compelled me to buy nontraditional ad space. We created events, as well as product placement, and a building projection. We believed that using a mix of traditional and nontraditional suited Bling’s persona.

With a blog under my belt, I have something to show to future perspective employers, as well as peers. I feel I am now involved in the industry, at least in cyber space and I’m more aware of the world I am going into. Also, if I had a choice, I would like to work with more nontraditional, avant-garde firms and agencies, as well as on those types of accounts. Through all my research, writing, and rambling I’ve realized my creativity and love for this specific niche.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

How Much Would You Pay to Have Simon Cowell Sip Your Drink?

In an article in Brand Curve, a professional Marketing/ Branding blog, blogger Susan Gunelius discusses the outrageous cash brands are paying for thier products to be featured in speciif tv shows or movies in her post "Ford, Coke & AT&T Pay More to Sponsor American Idol"

It goes to show that American Idol is still "hot", and when the new season kicked off, the same three major sponsors were on board at a needless to say hefty price. Ford, Coca Cola and AT & T have all signed on as sponsors again paying $35 million each to have their brand name and products featured on American Idol. This price is up from the $30 million they forked over last season.

That money however allows Ford, Coke and AT&T to air their commercials during the show, post online content about the show and their sponsorship, as well as run off-air co-branded marketing programs. Even though most of the marketing plans and programs will remain similar to prior seasons, Ford said t will promote its Ford Escape Hybrid, Ford Edge crossover vehicle and its new Sync voice-activated systems more this season, and the top two finalists will receive Ford hybrids rather than Ford Mustangs as they have in prior seasons. This makes the environmentally conscious happy, as" it’s great to see a focus on a more eco-friendly vehicle."

Morover, Nestle will be joining American Idol for another year as an off-air sponsor. The brand will hold a $1 million interactive sweepstakes tied to their packages, and to an online element. the off-air sponsorship pricetag for this season haven't been revealed yet, but last season, off-air sponsors reportedly paid $1 million to have their brand names associated with the "all-powerful American Idol brand."

Many find it obnoxious to see the judge's cups with the Coke logo turned facing the camera in an obvious way, as well as interruptions from the singing show to Ford commercials, and excited idols singing around a car. The public has become very aware of these efforts, and we are not blind consumers, we are avid ones. We know very well that Simon, Paula and Randy don't bring those Coke cups from the hotel, and we are also aware that Ford isn't just being kind with free car giveaway. WE KNOW. That doesn't mean however that product placement isn't effective. It increases brand awareness, and sends us subliminal messages, and keeps the product/brand fresh in our minds. These brands aren't just paying millions for nothing. They could get a billboard for hundreds, but they know the dealio.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Dove does micro-series with Alicia Keys

Much talk is going on about the new MTV micro-series "Fresh Takes" sponsored by Dove. The series airs during commercial breaks from the "reality" show "The Hills," and stars diva Alicia Keys as its main star.

In a Marketing blog in Gawker titled "Dove Abandons Real Women for Alicia Keys," it is discussed how Dove has moved on from their "Real Women" campaign on to...Alicia Keys? Dove is obviously juggling with marketing ideas and tactics, and actually this non-traditional method to promote the brand.

In MediaPost's Marketing Daily, author Karl Greenberg explores this campaign in the article "Unilever Launches Micro- Series for Fresh Takes Products."
This campaign is being used to promote its "Fresh Takes" products. This micro-series puts short, episodic narratives within advertising pods to reach twenty-somethings.

The campaign, by MindShare Entertainment and MTV, promotes Dove's Go Fresh line of body mists, moisturizers, body wash, shampoo and conditioners. "The company is positioning the products by emphasizing its fragrances, including grapefruit, lemongrass, green tea and fresh mint."

The featurettes are "Sex and the City" like scenarios, and
the company says this new effort is actually an extension of the successful "Real Beauty" campaign that launched in 2004- which featured women who don't conform to the "thin and beautiful" standards. That campaign gained a lot of publicity and was an impressive use of integrated marketing communications efforts. Now this is supposedly being continued with the three comely stars of the micro-series.

Dove says the micro-series is intended to promote the new products while confronting the issues of the self-esteem "Inner Critic Syndrome" issues of twenty-something consumers.

The three-minute episodes will run over a five-week period, and are also accessible online and on mobile digital at, and after each air date. There is also behind-the-scenes footage of the cast.

This is a new, non-traditional way of reaching one of Dove's primary markets, the twenty something women. Having Dove sponsor this niche series, while continuing with the "Real Women" campaign shows their commitment to their efforts to appeal to all women, and confront the usual stereotypes of what is beautiful in our society.

Sometimes companies have to think out of the box, take a risk, and go with something different. Sponsoring a micro-series might not be the first thing one would come up with for a Dove campaign, but people are hearing about it! Even if they're not watching it- it is creating buzz and that is what's important. The message the company is trying to send while promoting its products is also an important one that women will appreciate and even admire. Maybe now they'll switch to Dove?

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Web is most credible?

The Christian Science Monitor recently published an article titled "Credible Web? It's Where We Click the Most," by columnist Tom Regan.

The article goes into detail, and even questions how the web has reportedly become a credible source to consumers. He begins the article with an interesting question- "
Years ago, when I first started building websites for newspapers, many journalists told me that they saw the Internet as the end of reliable journalism. Since anyone could publish whatever they wanted online, real journalism would be overwhelmed, they said. Who would need professional reporters and editors if anyone could be a reporter or an editor?"

However, Regan believes thatnontraditional media sites on the web will only survive if the quality of their information is trustworthy and credible. He contends that the future of online news and information will actually demand better reporters and editors.
He continues to say that it is actually important for people to trust the information they encounter online. Furthermore, the need for people to find valid trusted information online is increasing, thus the need for more solidified expertise.

Usually the
sites that are trusted are built on nontraditional expertise. The author gives examples of sites such as,, or There, users spread information that others depend on. In these sites, when many users select a particular story, that story accumulates votes of confidence ("diggs" in the case of, which consequently cause other users to choose and trust that story. The stories that have accumulated votes are seen as more trustworthy than the "gatekeeper" model of traditional news and information.

It is quite interesting, agrees
J.D. Lasica, a social-media strategist and former newspaper editor, who expalined : "I've seen very little evidence that the sweeping cultural shifts we've seen in the past half dozen years show any signs of retreating," Mr. Lasica says. "Young, tech-savvy people now typically rely on social networks ... to take cues from their friends on which movies to see, books to read.... And didn't 'Lonely Planet Guide' explore this terrain for travel and Zagat's for dining back in the '90s?"

With all that said, traditional media is still first choice of online users because the reporters and editors of these media outlets have created credibility. However, there are also many professioanl nontraditional information sites that become some of the Internet's most trusted places.The author gives the example of, written by lawyers about cases in the Supreme Court. It has become the place to go for other lawyers, reporters, and editors to find in-depth information about important cases.

In general, the Internet lets individuals achieve a significant level of trust. Regan gives the example of the blog written by Robert Scoble who is a former Microsoft employee and tech expert. He is seen as one of the most important people to read from when you want to learn what's happening in the world of technology. He built his large audience on the fact that people trust his writing. Aside from Scoble, there are many other professional blogs that are written by CEO's, presidents of companies, as well as by really established individuals.

The web is full of ideas, facts, information- all that need to gain that trust from people. Since it is a comparatively "new" medium, especially the non-traditional part many people convict to stay away from, it will have to keep proving itself... I have faith..

Friday, April 4, 2008

Alternative Media spending going up up up...

In an article featured in the Hollywood Reporter March 25th, 2008, author Gail Schiller wrote "Alternative Media Spending Jumps."

Apparently spending
on alternative media rose 22% to $73.4 billion in 2007 and is predicted to grow another 20% to $88.2 billion in 2008 despite a not so booming economy, according to new research released Wednesday by PQ Media.

Alternative media, is said to include "18 digital and nontraditional media segments, accounted for 16% of total advertising and marketing spending in 2007, up from nearly 8% in 2002. "
However, by 2012, it is forecast to represent about 27% of total U.S. advertising and marketing spend (PQ Media).
So not only have i been egging Nontraditional media use on in my specific blog, it is actually stated that by 2012, it is anticipated that one out of every $4 spent on advertising and marketing will be on alternative media, according to PQ Media president and CEO Patrick Quinn.

Recent technological advances have caused outstanding changes in consumer behaviors and media-usage tactics, which have pushed the advertising and marketing systems into a transitional period. Driven by these market forces, facts, and brand competition, brand marketers are constantly seeking new strategies to reach consumers more effectively through captivating methods in specific locations. This fad is fueling the shift of spending dollars to alternative media.

According to the research report, titled "PQ Media Alternative Media Forecast: 2008-2012," alternative media is expected to increase to an annual growth rate of 17% in the 2007-12 period, reaching an outstanding $160.8 billion.

However, there are specific alternative methods that are more popular, more exploited than others. "The largest alternative media segments in 2007 were event sponsorships and marketing, search and lead generation, e-direct marketing, online classifieds and displays, local pay TV and product placement."

Other frequently used segments that are projected to increase in growth i the next five years include "consumer-generated media, mobile advertising, video game advertising, online video advertising, word-of-mouth marketing, advergaming, webisodes, product placement, search and lead generation advertising and digital out-of-home media."

I am almost at then end of a semester of posts about Nontraditional advertising, and in every post i realize the progression, expansion, and growth of this trendy medium. And unlike other supposed "dying" media, Nontraditional/ Alternative i constantly changing, and takes many different unique forms. Nontraditional is not going anywhere.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Red Bull Goes Surfing Dude

"Imagine adjusting to the rhythm of the surfboard as you ride Tahiti's Teahupoo. Suddenly, a huge wave envelops you. You have two choices: stop it or watch it from all angles as the water crashes down."

On February 22, 2008, AdWeek featured an article titled "Red Bull Hangs 10 with Surfers" by contributing writerShahnaz Mahmud. The article discussed how energy drink maker Red Bull launched a new web site dedicated to surfing. has incorporated video technology (by Immersive Media) give viewers and "web-surfers" the feeling that they are a part of the action. "The technology uses a special camera that captures 11 separate video streams, which are arranged according to geodesic geometry to create a spherical image intended to provide a 360-degree view."

Apparently, this new initiative came about after TAOW Productions, charged in a marketing brief by Red Bull, sampled the Immersive Media technology off the Florida Keys in a gunboat simulation. Butch Bannon, director of special projects and business development at global marketing agency TAOW described how that is when it hit them-- "Our mission is to connect brands with their core consumers in ways that really impact and affect them in a multi-sensory fashion."

They went to increase traffic to the site by offering the target customer an experience they crave, compelling footage that will make them want to return to the site, and support the brand that brought this about--Red Bull!

EvenB. Scott Taylor, founder and president of TAOW, stated that"Red Bull is at the forefront of experiential marketing techniques that will have a profound impact on the industry."

We all know of the "Red Bull will Give you Wings" campaign, one that has stuck in our minds, that most can spot from a mile away. However, this is a new technique, a new campaign, with a new innovative idea.

Experimental marketing, much like nontraditional is almost crucial to any campaign now. Brands are more than over competing for thier consumers attention and retention- and the smartest way to win thier hearts is to give and show the what they want.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Huggies on the Big Screen!

In an an Article in BrandWeek titled "Huggies Goes to the Movies," Vanessa L. Facenda discusses Huggies recent new ad effort for its kids bath and body products. "A singing flamingo shaped like a toilet and a hippo with a soap dispenser for a head star in the "Cleanteam" music video which debuted last week before the new Dr. Seuss movie, Horton Hears a Who!"

This 60-second ad runs in more than 3,500 movie screens nationwide through April 24. It will also air before Nim's Island, Food Fight and Wild Child.

Huggies new "Cleanteam" is a seven-SKU toddler bath and body line, featuring products such as bath wash, shampoo and hand soap. This new campaign also introduces cleansing cloths and new inspired packaging (the line launched in January 2006).

Like the commercial ad, they created a two-minute bath time "Webisode" which combines animated characters with real people. "The music video brings the characters to life to engage the toddlers and their mothers. The bath time Webisode is more about product usage," said Stacey Tomoda, Cleanteam media and relationship marketing manager. Huggies, owned by Kimberley Clark utilized Mindshare, New York, to create the music video and Webisodes.

More than anything, this campaign hopes to drive consumers to the newly created, which launched March 17.

Cleanteam is also teaming up with Nick Jr. and PBS Sprout to air the video on video-on-demand programming. Nick Jr. also will air a 30-second trailer before VOD programs. At the same time, Webisodes will air on,, and

The brand spent about $1.4 million on Cleanteam in 2007. The Cleanteam campaign part of K-C's ongoing effort to increase their nontraditional efforts. They estimate their Nontraditional spending should reach 34% of its total marketing budget this year, up from 25% last year.

It seems that K-C is really trying to integrate nontraditional advertising in to their mix, not only with Huggies, but also with Cottonelle (discussed in my blog "Unconventional Toiletpaper"). Brands like K-C, that try to appeal to a specific market (Toddlers/ their moms) while utilizing unique media and methods, are usually the ones that see their profits, their brand equity and image go up-- especially when they are creating a consistency within the umbrella brand.