App Happy


Honestly, what can’t mobile apps do? I was reading an article yesterday about new apps that set pretty sophisticated security measures in motion when someone steals your phone:

Then, I saw an article this morning that says Dr. James Andrews is developing an app that is designed to help young pitchers avoid the need to get Tommy John surgery:

Plus, the WEIRD LAWS app just told me that bear wrestling matches are illegal in Alabama. #themoreyouknow

The great thing about an app is that it can be programmed to do just about anything. That’s the reason that so many businesses are finding it essential to have an app as part of their overall marketing plan; that and the high number of people who own / constantly play with a smartphone.

Every business has at least a few pieces of information that they would like their customers to have with them at all times, and most would like those customers to be able to do something with those pieces of information as quickly as possible. An app provides that necessary drop-of-a-hat accessibility, to both the information and the way to use it.

And, if you’d like to offer your customers a way to play games, upload photos, download ringtones, or just about anything else a computer program can do, your app can do that, too.

If you would like to give your customers a way to keep your information with them at all times, a way to use that information as soon as they need it, and maybe even a way to have a little fun with their phones, drop us a line. We can design your app to do all that and more!

Using Discomfort as a Tool for Change


Have you ever seen or heard an ad that really rubbed you the wrong way? Did it rub you the wrong way because you knew it was true, but didn’t want to acknowledge it, or did you truly find it offensive? The Strong4Life campaign, an anti-obesity ad campaign that ran in Georgia several years ago, spurred much controversy by publishing ads featuring obese children with headlines such as, “Fat Kids Become Fat Adults,” “Big Bones Didn’t Make Me This Way; Big Meals Did,” and “It’s Hard to Be a Little Girl If You’re Not.”

Critics argued that the campaign offered no solution to the problem and employed inappropriate shock tactics, but Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, which co-founded the Strong4Life campaign, intended for the ads to be controversial. The goal was to help parents recognize the severity of the obesity epidemic in Georgia. And they were done trying to “sugarcoat” the problem.

The ads didn’t run for long, but conversations regarding the campaign continued online and in media coverage worldwide for quite some time. This only added to the debate over what makes an ad effective. If people are still talking about the campaign today, I’d argue that all publicity is good publicity. The controversial nature of the campaign certainly got people talking about the subject, which certainly seems like a first step toward combating childhood obesity.

I agree with Maya Walters, a teenager with high blood pressure who appeared in one of the ads, who said, “It’s very provocative and makes people uncomfortable, but it’s when people are uncomfortable that change comes.” Based on what I’ve learned about advertising and social marketing both through formal education and personal experience, what Maya stated proves true more often than not. Shock value that leads to discomfort doesn’t work for everything, but in this case, I think it truly encourages change.

As a New York Times article commenting on the issue stated, “The problems that obese children face, like hypertension and bullying, won’t be lessened by ignoring them” (Georgia’s Tough Campaign Against Childhood Obesity, KJ Dell’Antonia, 6/3/12).  Because in many cases, addressing obesity is something individuals can tackle with a commitment to lifestyle changes, the ads weren’t targeting and attacking people for something they could not change. Rather, they were designed to inspire people to begin making changes that may ultimately save their lives.

I can’t speak for other people, but often for me, feeling a little guilty about my choices and where they’ve led me serves as powerful motivation for making changes for the better.

Find Your Toothbrushes

Photo Source:

Did you grow up going to a dentist’s office where they had “Find the Hidden Toothbrushes” posters mounted on the ceiling above the exam chairs? If you didn’t, you should have – those things are awesome. And, they’re effective, for kids and adults. I can still picture the big Crest logo in the corner of the posters in my dentist’s office.

I was at a non-dentist doctor’s office recently, and I noticed that they didn’t have anything like that, on the ceiling or elsewhere. Come to think of it, the dentist’s office is the only place I recall regularly seeing little advertising puzzles like those. Why is that? Why don’t you see more 10-second brain exercises in advertising?

I posted a piece a few weeks ago about using bracket contests to drive traffic to websites and social media outlets. The idea here is similar in some ways, but not quite the same. The brackets promote low-energy interactivity along with regular visits. The “Toothbrushes” poster provides a welcome break from an otherwise boring (or scary) experience, but demands a little bit of short-term concentration.

There are lots of boring times in life, and people enjoy opportunities to actively escape them – even for a few seconds. Why not capitalize on those times by providing escape opportunities?

If a business runs an ad inside a bus shelter that features a word jumble, and then runs an ad with a different word jumble inside the actual bus, that company has just gotten two good chunks of solid concentration from a whole lot of bored bus riders.

There are lots of ways to gain your audience’s attention, and even concentration. If you’re having trouble coming up with ideas, we’ll be happy to help you find your “Toothbrushes”!

Driving the Seat Belt Safety Message in WI


Staples Marketing has been fortunate to be able to work with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation on its annual CLICK IT OR TICKET campaign since 2006.  In some ways, it’s amazing to me that in this day and age, we still have to make a concerted effort to get people to do something that should be a no-brainer.  Bottom line is; you wear your seat belt, you have a much greater chance of surviving a car crash. This is incontestable fact.  However, for a variety of reasons; peer pressure, laziness, misguided libertarianism or just simply forgetting, too many people in Wisconsin are still not buckling up.

Things are looking up, though.  In fact, since the state implemented its primary seat belt law four years ago, seat belt usage has increased by almost 10%, currently standing at 83%.  This still trails the national average of 86%, as well as neighboring states such as Illinois and Michigan, which see levels in the mid-90% bracket.

That’s why we’re happy that future Hall of Famer Donald Driver has been on board as our seat belt safety person for the past four years and just helped us kick off the 2014 campaign with a news conference in Madison.  Driver, who by the way has the perfect last name for a highway safety campaign spokesperson, gets emotional when he talks about how he was personally impacted by the issue when a good friend of his who was not wearing her seat belt was killed in a car crash that she might have survived had she been belted.

By teaming up with WisDOT, Driver gives us an excellent chance to reach the 18-34 year old male segment of the population that is most prone to not buckling up.  After all, if they won’t listen to one of their all-time football heroes, who will they listen to?

Late Monday afternoon, Donald posted his annual CLICK IT OR TICKET message to his Facebook page, reminding his “friends” that they could enter to win an autographed football from him if they click through and take the Driver Safety Quiz on WisDOT’s ZERO IN WISCONSIN campaign web site. In just four days, nearly 5,000 people have done this, an incredible amount of direct engagement with many of the people we need to reach most with the campaign.

So, if anyone reading this post knows a friend or loved one who, for whatever reason, doesn’t wear their seat belt; please remind them to do what Donald Driver does; CLICK IT OR TICKET!

Getting to Know Staples Marketing


Maybe you’re visiting this blog because you’re a client or a prospective client. Maybe you want to learn a thing or two about the world of advertising, or maybe you just stumbled here by accident. Whatever your reason for stopping here, wouldn’t you like to learn a bit more about the people behind the blog? Well, I’m here to help. Over the next few months, I’m going to conduct a “Get to Know Staples Marketing” survey and post everyone’s answers here. Most questions will be fun, some will make us think, but all will give you a better understanding of the people here at Staples.

So let’s jump right in! Personally, I think you can learn a lot about a person based on their taste in music. The question I asked around the office this week was, “What is the #1 most played song on your iPod?”. The first thing I learned is that most people do not, in fact, listen to music on an iPod. So the following is a list of everyone’s most played songs on their iPods, Android phones, mp3 players, cassette players, or whatever the case may be!

Question #1: “What is the most played song on your iPod?

Jenny: The station I listen to on Pandora the most is Black Keys. It’s built around their song “Lonely Boy.”

Cathy: “Toes” by the Zac Brown Band

Josh: “The Weight” by The Band

Danny: “Echoes” by Pink Floyd

Amy: “Mirrors” by Justin Timerblake; anything by him!

Ryan: “Five Seconds” by Twin Shadows

Rick: “Dig” by Incubus

Ingrid: “Happy” by Pharrell

Laura D.: Anything from PITCH PERFECT! Or I stream K-LOVE

Traci: “Graceless” by The National

Katie: Anything by Jimmy Buffett!

Roe: “Best Day of My Life” by American Authors

Laura M.: Right now, it’s “Wish I Were Here” by Next to Normal

Erik: Either “No Church In The Wild”  by Jay-Z and Kanye West, “If I Had A Boat” by James Vincent McMorrow, or something by Radiohead – maybe “House of Cards”.

Steve: “Take Five”, The Dave Brubeck Quartet

We hope you enjoy getting to know each of us a little bit better. Stay tuned for more questions and answers!


The Unofficial Mascot

Source: http://www.twitter/BrewersHank

Have you heard about Hank? If not, where have you been? Hank has become a household name when discussing the Milwaukee Brewers in any aspect. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Hank, here is a short backstory: Hank, believed to be a Bichon-Frise mixed breed, wandered onto the Brewers spring training facility in Arizona during spring training. He has since become the new “unofficial mascot”.

This season, the Brewers have been integrating Hank into a lot of their advertising and promotions. So far, Hank:
– Has his own baseball jersey…K-9 (get it?)
– Will have his own bobble head given out to fans later this season
– Makes his appearance in his dog house at home games
– Regularly is featured via the Brewers social media platforms and onsite promotional events
– Even made an appearance running in the famous Racing Sausage event during a game.

What’s next for Hank? Will we see him in print ads and TV? Will we hear his bark on the radio? Like all good marketers, the Brewers recognized the power of Hank’s story to connect with existing fans, attract new fans, and highlight the charitable nature of the Brewers organization. Are there stories to tell in your company or organization that have the power to motivate and engage your audiences and customers? If so, make sure you are sharing them, not only through word of mouth, but through your other marketing tactics as well. The power of Hank is a good example to follow.