Facebook Live, Trend or Tremendous?

One of the biggest trends in content marketing in 2016 was video and this trend will continue to rise in 2017. If you think about it, video is absolutely everywhere online: from live streaming to social media, articles, ads and these modes will only continue to grow in the years to come. Global giant Facebook recognized this trend and staying ahead of the curve launched Facebook Live in 2015, which is now available on all Pages and profiles on Facebook for iOS, Android, and the Facebook Mentions app.

So, what is so cool and beneficial about Facebook Live?
It gives anyone the chance to share live video stories, awareness campaigns, events, even products with your followers and friends in real time. One of the coolest elements of Facebook live is the interaction with real people in real-time. Facebook Live allows followers and friends to make comments while the presenter is speaking which helps to shape the discussion, flow, and overall feel of the live event. This type of personal interaction is unparalleled in any form of advertising. The other major benefit is that you don’t have to spend hours on editing and creating fancy videos, you only need a phone, a Facebook account and a good topic for your live story to reach your audience.

Here are some ideas for your first Facebook Live session:
– Hold a Q&A on issues or topics your followers are interested with or need help with.
– Explain, inspire and share with your audience a little bit of your mastery through live tutorials and workshops
– Give your followers an exclusive look into your brand by going behind the scenes
– Show a Demo
– Interview an interesting friend or colleague
– Livestream an event. Keep in mind that your live broadcast can last up to 4 hours.
– Launch a themed video series, like TV shows that would appear regularly on a set date and time.

Video is taking over the web, it is not a trend, so jump on the band wagon! Reach out to us at AFFIRM to plan your next Facebook Live event.

Source: https://flothemes.com/benefits-facebook-live/

Silly Season Sanity: Tips for Marketing During an Election Cycle

The silly season (i.e. political campaign and election cycle) has been upon us for a while, and it is only going to heat up over the next few months heading into what will be a historic presidential election no matter what happens. If you are a marketer in a contested state like Wisconsin, you may be wondering, “Is it even worth putting your message out there among the political ads and news coverage?” The answer is “yes.”

Here are a few tips for helping your brand not only survive, but thrive during silly season:

  1. Choose your media wisely: political campaigns spend most of their dollars on broadcast and cable TV.  That means that with increased demand and decreased availability, rates will go up. You may find yourself bumped for someone paying more money, or you might have to pay higher rates to keep your schedule intact. If you usually run a TV flight in the fall, you might want to consider radio, outdoor or online/mobile strategies instead. HOWEVER…if you do decide to use TV, your message will likely stand out as a refreshing change from a sea of politics, so it could be worth the extra budget.
  2. Piggyback off of preferences: candidates can be known for certain preferences, such as favorite foods or sports. Do you have a product or a service that might take advantage of that? If so, then use it. For example, Ronald Reagan was known to love jelly beans. The Jelly Belly factory (visitor’s center and warehouse are in Kenosha, WI) supplied Reagan with jelly beans all eight years of his presidency and sales grew exponentially. Thomas Jefferson and Jimmy Carter were peanut farmers – peanut and peanut-related product sales grew significantly as a result.
  3. Stay above the fray: watch what you post on social media about politics and political candidates, especially if it could be perceived as disrespectful. It can get back to clients and customers. Best to follow the rule, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything.”
  4. Timing is everything: while it’s probably not ideal to launch a new product on November 8, 2016, remember that November 9-11 might still be crowded with all the pent-up marketing that has been waiting until that day is done. November 14-23 is likely to be a grand time for advertising and PR for your product or service.
  5. Believe in your message: if you believe in your message and its value, then keep the word out there, no matter how silly this election season gets. Someone will be grateful you did and reward you with their customer loyalty.

A Once in a Lifetime Date- #61616

Earlier this year, one of our clients, METRO, decided to “reinvent” itself. While real-time update and trip planner apps and the introduction of new, more fuel efficient vehicles and mobile ticketing were garnering some interest from riders, the bus system was falling behind its goal of appealing to Millennials and other potential riders. So, when we found out National Dump the Pump Day falls on a once in a lifetime date this year, 6.16.16, it seemed like a no-brainer to kick of summer 2016 with a ridership event that will serve as a METRO brand relaunch. The event is largely social media driven, so we branded it #61616.

On #61616, four popular Cincinnati musical acts will play at four select METRO bus stops; two in the morning and two in the afternoon. Local radio stations will be at the four stops to excite people about the ridership event and promote riding METRO. In addition, there will be complimentary drinks and snacks at each stop for people to enjoy.

 Prior to the event, Cincinnati residents are being asked to take the pledge to ride METRO on #61616. Pledges can be made on the campaign’s microsite: www.METRO61616.com. By taking the pledge, people will receive a free METRO Day Pass and are automatically entered to win great raffle prizes, including concert tickets (Jimmy Buffett, anyone?) and restaurant gift cards.

Aside from branding the event and designing and maintaining the campaign microsite, we are incorporating both new and traditional media. Promotional tactics include print ads, radio commercials, online banner ads, promotional items (t-shirts and stickers!), and, of course, social media to attract Millennials.

While big events may be overwhelming for some, they are a great way to bring attention to a brand and introduce a new product, service, or feature. So, whether you’re planning a product launch or wanting to reintroduce your brand in a seemingly stagnant market, don’t be afraid to make the most of it! After all, it’s always best to “go big or go home,” right?




Getting to Know AFFIRM – Part 4


Happy New Year from everyone at AFFIRM! As we settle in for another successful year after a nice holiday break, I thought it would be fun to let our readers get a sneak peek into what we typically do outside of work. For this post, I asked “Where could we find you on a typical Saturday?”

Danny: At a live music show.

Katie: In a yoga studio, at the park with my dog, or drinking a craft beer somewhere near my house in Bay View.

Karissa: In the summer, I’ll be on the lake – paddle boarding, swimming, and soakin’ up the sun. When it’s colder, I’m a big fan of fuzzy blankets and cheesy rom-coms, but I also enjoy hiking, shopping, spending time with family, anything really. I’m not picky.

Amy: Well it depends on the season, but for sure at brunch at The Knick or in the Third Ward! In the summer, I’ll be checking out the festivals in Milwaukee. In the fall and winter, I’ll be watching college football and basketball.

Cathy: I’m usually at home during the day doing boring stuff like cleaning. Evenings are more relaxed; go out with friends for dinner or drinks

Ryan: You can’t find me. On the weekends I am conducting secret missions and flying around the world.

Erik: At home brewing a meticulous pot of coffee; probably off to the library for a bit in the afternoon.

Rick: Kids’ sports, family outings, back yard, deer stands or sitting somewhere with a Bloody Mary and a chaser.

Steve: It depends on the time of year but it’s usually one of three things. It could be on a golf course, at a Badger football game or working in the yard!

Traci: On a typical Saturday, you will find me sipping on a cappuccino, running errands, spending quality time with family, and finishing the day with an Old Fashioned or craft beer.

Laura: No such thing as a typical Saturday for a mom of two, but most likely would be cheering on my kids at a soccer, basketball or baseball game depending on the season, regular weekend chores, and in the evening, either a family movie night at home, a date with my husband or a night out with friends.

Meaghan: On a typical Saturday, you could usually find me catching up with friends or spending time with my family. Either way I like to be on the go!

We’d love to hear from our readers as well. What do you do on a typical day away from the office?

The Power of Dates


Photo Source: Vice.com

I recently had a conversation with a client about a potential anniversary campaign, and it got me thinking about the importance of utilizing special and unusual dates.  Big anniversaries, the return of Halley’s Comet, and January 23rd, 2045 (01/23/45) aren’t events you can celebrate just anytime, so you have to plan accordingly.  A special date is a perfect opportunity to do something unique, but when the date passes, the opportunity is gone.

Wednesday, October 21st, 2015 is a red letter date in the history of science fiction. It’s the day that 1985-based Marty McFly, Jennifer Parker, and Dr. Emmett Brown arrived in the Hill Valley, California of the future, in Robert Zemeckis’ Back to the Future, Part II.

Their voyage gave 1989 audiences a theoretical glimpse at what 2015 would be like:

Flying cars (not yet)
TVs you control with your voice (yup!)
Fax machines all over the house (yeah, but why would you want that?)
Take-and-hydrate pizza chains (close, but no)
Hoverboards (coming soon!)

Lexus recently released a cryptic but exciting promotional video for the SLIDE, a hoverboard product they are developing. You can find a little more information about the device if you dig online, but Lexus has promised to release more official information about their magnetic levitation machine on, you guessed it… Wednesday, October 21st, 2015.

Talk about taking advantage of an opportunity! Like the 2011/2015 Nike MAG campaign, Lexus is jumping all over 30ish years’ worth of expectations and delivering one of the cooler theoretical products from the fictional 2015. It would’ve been cooler still to see a flying car, but hey, you’ve got to hoverboard before you hoverdrive.

Campaigns like this show a great situational awareness. People who saw BTTF2 when it came out are in prime car-buying years now AND they’ve been waiting 26 years to see if the movie’s predictions will come true. Even if Lexus never sells an actual hoverboard, this branded product launch process will capture the attention of millions of 35- to 65-year-olds.

I can’t wait to see the SLIDE in action, but it doesn’t take a new technology to celebrate your special occasion.  Some new messaging, good press relations, and perhaps an anniversary logo and collateral can really go a long way to letting everyone know about your big date.  That said, the company that comes out with Star Trek-style “beaming” or Blade Runner “spinners” will have my undivided attention!

Getting to Know AFFIRM – Part 1



Well, it’s official. You are reading the FIRST installment of “Getting to Know Affirm”. As I’m sure you’re aware by now, we’ve recently re-branded ourselves. We decided it was time to change our name to something that better describes what we do and how we do it. We provide positively engaging marketing (we don’t sell toner or paper clips.) In honor of the re-branding process, I thought it was fitting to ask a survey question that actually relates to what we do. What did I learn? It’s shocking that our office doesn’t constantly smell like Old Spice.

What is your all-time favorite marketing campaign?

Ryan: Old Spice, “The man your man could smell like” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=owGykVbfgUE

Danny: The original Miller Lite Beer campaign in the late ’70’s/early ’80’s featuring famous former athletes and comedians arguing over “Tastes great” and “Less filling”

Katie: Old Spice, “The man your man could smell like”. I also love new Southwest Wedding Season commercials! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lRZ_xX-CuP0

Karissa: The 2015 Budweiser Super Bowl Commercial – “Lost Dog” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xAsjRRMMg_Q

Erik: I don’t know about all-time, but this child abuse PSA designed to be seen only by children is a great campaign in recent memory: http://www.fastcocreate.com/1682912/the-child-abuse-psa-designed-to-be-seen-by-children-only

Amy: Old Spice: The Man Your Man Could Smell Like! (link above) Otherwise a not as funny but great commercial is the Budweiser 2014 Super Bowl commercial. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQB7QRyF4p4

Cathy: I don’t know if it’s my favorite, but the one that immediately came to mind was the Get a Mac campaign. I will admit to rooting for poor PC. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0eEG5LVXdKo
And if you’re looking for a more current one – I do enjoy the Kristen Bell & Dax Shepherd ads for Samsung. http://www.adweek.com/adfreak/kristen-bell-dax-shepard-kill-you-cuteness-their-latest-samsung-ads-164856

Josh: Guinness is good for you.

Traci: I’d say the Anti-Smoking “Truth” campaign. It was very hard hitting public service announcement that really made an impact for me.

Steve: That question is like asking what’s your favorite dessert or song – way too many choices! Here are my top three:
1. Volkswagen – Think Small. It’s an older campaign but a testament to the fact that Volkswagen never tried to be something there weren’t.
2. Apple – Get a Mac. Simple, clever, and people could easily relate to the people and benefits.
3. Old Spice – The Man Your Man Could Smell Like. Proof that even great marketing can resurrect an old, tired brand.

Rick: Quiznos Subs – Spongemonkeys

Roe: The Fireside Dinner Theatre – High School Musical

Laura: I have many favorites, but two that are sentimental faves:
Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup: “You got your peanut butter on my chocolate. You got your chocolate in my peanut butter. Two great tastes that taste great together.”
Tootsie Pops: “How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Tootsie Pop? The world may never know.”

Web Design Lives!

I'm not dead yet!
I’m not dead yet!


Someone over at UX Mag has declared that web design is dead, and we all need to be UX designers now. Hmm. Now I know how those medieval scribes felt when Gutenberg came out with his fancy new printing press. Or painters when the dagguerotype meant no-one would ever have their portrait painted again, or, much more recently, graphic designers when the introduction of the web meant no one would ever need print collateral again.

Over and over, we hear about the death of one artistic discipline in the face of a new technology, and over and over, the old tenaciously survives. Often, the shift exemplified by the new highlights unsustainable practices in the industry surrounding the old field.

Take music, for example. Record labels built their business model around having control over the expensive technology needed to record and distribute music. Powerful home computers, ever-improving software, and digital distribution gutted the foundation of that model. So for (at least) the past decade, the industry has been in upheaval as it simultaneously tries to patch a desperately broken system and reinvent itself. And yet, music is not dead.

I have friends who work as wedding photographers. A difficult industry in the first place, it’s increasingly hard to explain the value to consumers. As digital cameras have become ubiquitous, everyone’s got a friend with a decent consumer DSLR who they’re pretty sure can just get some pictures for them for free, or “as their wedding gift.” Meanwhile, people who do hire photographers now expect to have full rights to their photos to reprint and redistribute as they please, without coming back to the photographer each time. Yet my friends can still make a living. They’ve responded to the changes in technology and culture, and adapted their business models to work.

What wedding photographers have done, what musicians are doing (and labels are still figuring out), what practitioners of all sorts of disciplines have done throughout the ages is what we need to do. We adapt. This isn’t a big deal. Frankly, we’re better positioned than those who’ve worked in most of these fields throughout history. Web design has always been in flux, and we’ve always been racing to keep up with the latest trends and technologies.

So now there are new trends (template sites, social media), and new technologies (mobile, automation, the ever-elusive AI). What do we do? Adapt. We learn how to work with, through, and against these things as necessary, and we build better websites. We look at the trends and tech that we need to integrate, and we figure out how to do it well. We’ve always designed user experiences. We just do it on the web, so we call ourselves web designers. Web design lives on.

Staples Marketing will change its name to AFFIRM as of July 1, 2015!


We’ve been talking a little about the process we’ve undertaken in the past year or so to better define who we are at our agency; our purpose, mission, core values and the kind of work that inspires us and our clients. The end result of interviews, surveys, feedback and input from our staff, our clients, our vendor partners, colleagues, friends and family is a new name: AFFIRM.

We will be the same company with the same staff at the same location, but our new name better reflects the positively engaging marketing we do. We’ll write more about it in the coming weeks leading up to July 1, but in the meantime, see our news release about the name change.

Who are you? Who? Who? Who? Who?


Borrowing a refrain from The Who, ask yourself the same question about your company. Why? Your customers really wanna know. Your customers won’t know unless you know. What is your mission? Your promise? What do you deliver? What are your values? How do you treat employees? Clients? Vendors?

If you are having a hard time answering those questions, imagine what it’s like for your customers. While it may sound silly to work hard at defining and sharing your identity, it’s at the heart of the success of your business.  At Staples Marketing, we have spent a little more than a year asking ourselves those same questions, and finding a great deal of value in the answers. We are taking our own advice and our own medicine, and it’s good for us.

Why do you care about this? Well, if you’re a client, our soul-searching is likely to make our service to you even better, our vision clearer, and more consistent. If you’re not yet a client, you might be interested in seeing how this process works.

We’ll keep you posted – lots of new things to share in the next few weeks.

The Earworm


Photo source: Etsy.com

I first heard the term “earworm” a few years ago, but the phenomenon goes back much further than that.  The works of Edgar Allan Poe and Mark Twain and Seinfeld are some prominent places where you can find discussion of a song that you just can’t get out of your head.

I had an earworm recently that was a little unusual.  I don’t think I’m alone in that my earworms are generally songs with lyrics, as opposed to pieces of music that don’t feature singing.  This one had no lyrics but it really stuck.

The interesting thing about this earworm was the source – it’s a music bed from a Snapple commercial (linked below).  It caught my ear because the first time I heard it, I thought the saxophone-sounding part was a keymonica (pictured above).

What device actually made the music isn’t important.  What is important is that I’ve thought about this Snapple ad for a whole lot longer than I’ve thought about anything Snapple-related in quite some time.  Why?  Because the music that’s playing sounds like it might have come from a plastic musical instrument I used to bug my parents with as a kid.

I’m not saying that everybody should load up their commercials with keymonica music or similar-to-keymonica music, but this demonstrates how little details can go a long way towards winning your audience’s attention.  It’s not enough to just deliver a message.  There should always be a little pizazz (a song, a slogan, a spokesperson, etc.) to attract the eyes and ears and the brain!

If you’re having trouble reaching your audience or holding their attention, don’t underestimate the power of adding a little extra something(s) catchy to your message.  Don’t overpower your message, but don’t be afraid to add a couple of different hooks to catch more of your audience.

You know your message is right for your audience, so do whatever you can to keep them thinking about it!