FAGE USA TV SPOTS – Are Beautiful

I didn’t see the new TV Spots for FAGE USA on TV. Rather, the 48 second spot entitled “Total Plain Extraordinary™” appeared in my You Tube suggestions as a promoted video. If you go to the FAGE USA Website there is a link that says “Watch The TV Spots”. Besides their smart use of digital media, the yogurt company has chosen to work with Mullen, an ad agency with very talented creatives. I don’t have much else to say about the spots other then they are tremendously well art-directed, and the copywriting is spectacular. I’ll let you see for yourself. You also might notice that the poem is voiced by actor Willem Dafoe, who recently acted in and narrated a great Jim Beam spot for Strawberry Frog.

As for FAGE, I am a huge fan of the product. The yogurt is the thick, Greek kind. It’s great-tasting, healthy, and extremely versatile. I also support the company because in 2008 they opened a U.S production facility in Johnstown, NY, which is near my hometown. It is definitely an area that has seen its better days when it comes to manufacturing, but the baby food company Beech-Nut also recently moved its manufacturing and corporate operations to the small town of Florida, NY, the town I grew up in. Perhaps the Mohawk Valley can become a hot bed for food and CPG companies, but that is probably wishful thinking.

How To Make The Morning Drive Less Painful

When my wife took a new job in Newark, NJ recently, I started driving in with her and then taking the train into Manhattan from Newark Penn Station. This has awarded us some decent quality time together, despite the fact that we are usually both slightly grumpy as we sit in traffic. There is one thing on the radio that never fails to make us laugh, and that’s the Scott & Todd morning show on New York’s 95.5 PLJ. Well, as of Monday, it’s The Todd Show now. Todd’s personality is our favorite, but we were very sad to see Scott retire.

Despite the fact that we love the show so much, we find ourselves switching the channel at times to Elvis Duran or anything else. Why?  The commercials are so incredibly painful; who wants to spend their precious downtime listening to them? From time to time Scott & Todd have done live reads, or pre-recorded spots, and we will typically listen to those. But they are relatively boring as well.

I come from the print and digital publishing business, where sponsored content – or native advertising – is all the rage. With sponsored articles, an advertiser is able to join the conversation in a natural way, as opposed to a banner ad or something else that is meant to interrupt the experience. Branded content has also been popping up more and more on TV recently, but it’s not something that radio programs are offering to their partners. Every once in awhile you might hear the traffic reporter say something along the lines of, “This traffic report is brought to you by Auto Zone, get in the zone,” but that’s about it. I can’t help to imagine the opportunities for branded content on the radio.

Here are some ideas that would bring value to the morning drive:

1.) Get a brand to buy an entire commercial break. How amazing would it be to hear the morning radio show host say, “We are not going to a commercial break, thanks to our friends at Starbucks we are going to have a coffee break. In the studio with us is a team of baristas to give a quick update on what’s going on at your neighborhood Starbucks.”

2.) Allow a brand to sponsor a specific segment. For instance, “Today’s phone scam is presented by Geico, 15 minutes could save you 15 percent or more on your car insurance. We are going to call Gloria, her husband let us know that on her way to work yesterday someone rear-ended her. We are going to pretend to be the guy’s insurance company – True Blue Auto Insurance. Yeah, it’s no Geico.”

3.) Let a brand sponsor an original segment. You could record a day in the life of the host, or create a new interview series with famous athletes or even little league baseball players, or have an open mic segment for listeners – America’s got talent via the radio. It would be a way for a brand to align themselves with content that they know their target would find interesting.

Local radio is facing steep competition from streaming services, but at the same time if they have a good enough product they can use the technology to their advantage by picking up a global listener following.

In this multi-platform, always-on world we are living in, radio is one of the few mediums left where you nearly have someone’s full attention. Radio executives, if you are reading this, I don’t expect you to follow all of my advice, but please try to be a little more creative when it comes to advertising. And stop playing crap music!

Unheard In NY Project

This is a really interesting project that came across my Twitter feed. A group of interns from the ad agency BBH are helping homeless NYers gain a voice through Twitter. They started out by giving four men pre-paid cell phones and instructed them how to “Tweet” with them.

I think this is a very admirable thing to do for the homeless. Sometimes we take for granted how lucky we are to be empowered with digital tools. Technology like Facebook and Twitter allows us to get our points across, express ourselves, and socialize with others. We can turn to our social networks for advice on life’s decisions, whether they be small or large, for garnering support when we need it most, and for receiving congratulations when things are going well. People don’t have the time to stop and interact with homeless people on the street or in Penn Station, but for those who do have an interest in doing so Twitter allows homeless people to have a less intrusive voice and lets people socialize with them when it is most convnient.

Check out their first You Tube video, and follow the four men @jessie550 @putodanny @awitness2011 and @albert814 or the main Twitter account @underheardinNY.

You know my methods, Watson.

As a fan of Jeopardy, I was happy to learn that on February 14th, a supercomputer named Watson that was designed by IBM, will be competing against Jeopardy Champions – Brad Rutter and Ken Jennings. What is being considered IBM’s most ambitious foray into deep analytics and natural language processing, began back in 2007.

In this video, Dr. John E. Kelly III, Senior Vice President and Director of IBM Research says, “We decided that we needed to build a system that could extract knowledge at a must faster rate from enormous amounts of data than human beings or any other computer system could do.”

Could we as Account Planners be competing with computers in the future?