The week in review – May 6, 2013.

Ellyn Davidson's picture

Social media is constantly evolving, with vigilant bloggers following every new app, rule and Facebook flicker. We sift through hundreds of blogs weekly to keep on top of developments and seek out new client opportunities. It’s our job. And we like to share. So, don’t fret about what you might be missing. We’ve got your Cliffs Notes. 

The History of the Second Screen         
Using two screens at once has become more common than only using one.

How People Use Their Mobile Device While Shopping          
84% of people are browsing and shopping on their mobile device while they are physically in different stores.
Youtube Maps Out Trending Videos Across the Country  
Youtube unveiled a new feature on Tuesday that maps out videos trending right now in cities across the U.S. You can filter the results by the gender and age of viewers, as well as by choosing to see videos trending by the number of shares verses the number of views.

YouTube map

Tighter Mobile Marketing
National brand campaigns using "geo-precise" techniques such as geo-fencing or targeting based on location-specific consumer behaviors increased to 58% in the first quarter.

Cost Per Facebook Like        
Facebook unveiled a new metric for evaluating advertising campaigns on Facebook, called "cost per action" (CPA). Now, advertisers can pay not just for impressions or click-throughs, but for specific actions they want consumers to perform once they've seen the ad - including becoming a fan of the Page.



Aruba? Arriba!

Kim Luebke's picture

Remember that day a couple weeks ago when it snowed in Detroit even though it was almost May? 

The day after that, everyone in our office was told to wake up at 2 a.m. and head to the airport.

You’d think all of this would have made us Broganites a wee bit cranky, but you’d be wrong. First, because our core value is “Cheerful and joyful.” And second, because we were embarking on our annual mystery trip.

Brogan at the airportWe’ve told you about our mystery trips before. Basically, the annual adventure is a big, fat, kiss from Brogan to its staff for all the hard work we put in all year. It’s a chance for us to rest our brains for four days. It’s also an opportunity for us to bond with each other and expand our horizons. Some of the places we’ve hit since the mystery trip tradition began in 1995 are Iceland, New Orleans, London, Washington D.C., Amsterdam, and Miami.

As a mystery trip planning alumna, it was painful not knowing exactly how to pack (I surprised our crew in 2010 for our last tropical destination to Jamaica). For this trip, we were told to show up at that unholy hour with our passports and the only clearly deciphered clue: swimsuits and sunscreen. We had no earthly idea where we were going. This year's trip organizer, Lauren Zuzelski, had sent some clever but confounding clues like “The trip will be magically delicious” and “Limbs point southwest.” But nobody had cracked the code.

Only when it was time to head to security were we handed our tickets to . . . Aruba!

After that, we were so cheerful and joyful that it made the news

Aruba private islandOn our layover in Atlanta, we picked up several of our staff from the Raleigh, North Carolina office. We made it to our all-inclusive Aruban resort in time for a late lunch.

I'm not gonna lie. It was luxurious. Our resort had a private island where we shared the beach with a small flock of flamingos. We spent hours on chaise lounges, napping, chatting, and reading. When we needed a little activity, we drummed up beach volleyball games, hit the pool (and the swim-up bar), played Euchre, or tried our luck at catching one of the roaming native iguanas.

Lori Bahnmueller Cliff DiveWe also got a chance to see Aruba’s gorgeous, uninhabited northern side by taking a jeep tour. Our guide filled us in on the tiny, desert island’s fascinating history while bouncing us along winding, rocky trails. Midway through this trip, we got a chance to swim and snorkel in a stunning natural pool. Like fretting mother hens, our CEO and managing partner, Maria Marcotte and Ellyn Davidson, had to hide their eyes when some of the Broganites decided to use the pool’s rocky surround as a high dive.

That’s the thing about a Brogan mystery trip. It feels like a family vacation. Our only “official” get-togethers in Aruba were a Friday night dinner and our jeep tour, yet we chose to spend most of our other hours together. On our trip’s last night, we almost sent one of the hotel’s sleepier restaurants into crisis mode when all 29 of us showed up for dinner. The evening lasted for hours, but nobody was in a hurry to leave.

Brogan regularly receives “great place to work” recognition. There’s no doubt that our mystery trip perk is one reason why. But the real reason Brogan is a happy workplace is because we love to work together. If we didn’t have so much fun at our jobs every day, these getaways wouldn’t be nearly as special. We go together to places unknown, whether we’re talking about travel or new frontiers in the marketing world. And that's why none of us were surprised when we spent part of our Aruban weekend hatching plans for an exciting new Brogan project while we were there.

Brogan Mystery Trip 2013Brogan Mystery Trip 2013 crew 2

We’re here at Brogan, not because of the mystery trips, but because we love our work. We do it cheerfully, joyfully and yes, occasionally on a beach with mojitos in hand.


Blog Category: 


Abercrombie & Fitch markets to women with mean.

Ellyn Davidson's picture

Do I make you look fat?“Demographic.” “Target audience.” These are very useful terms of our trade. We all know that Anthropologie caters to bohemians, Lane Bryant celebrates the plus-sized, and Forever 21 is all about the young and trendy. Targeting helps companies find their niche and it gives shoppers a shortcut through the mall.

But Michael Jeffries, the CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch, has turned targeting into something ugly.

First, he created Abercrombie’s notorious small-size policy. The largest sizes available (to women, anyway) are size ten or Large.

He also instituted rigid requirements for the employees who can work in Abercrombie’s stores. They have to be young, beautiful, and thin. They’re also usually Caucasian.

Jeffries has long been open about his views. Abercrombie is cool, he told Salon in 2006, precisely because it excludes the “uncool.”

“In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids,” he said. “Candidly, we go after the cool kids. We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely. Those companies that are in trouble are trying to target everybody: young, old, fat, skinny. But then you become totally vanilla. You don’t alienate anybody, but you don’t excite anybody, either.”      

I agree with one (and only one) thing that Jeffries says here. Targeting a particular group (as the companies I mentioned above do) is smart.

But targeting them by making them feel like they’re better than their bigger peers? That’s the part I find reprehensible. It’s also bad business.

By being so bald-faced about his prejudice, Jeffries hasn’t just alienated average-sized people. (Let’s remember that, as Meg Cabot says, size 12 is not fat and neither is Size 14.) He’s alienated thin people who are friends with average-sized people. He’s alienated anyone, really, who has any empathy at all.

Wearing Abercrombie clothes is now making a statement. It’s saying that you support the man who said it’s cool to exclude; the man who produced a T-shirt that said, “Do I Make You Look Fat?”

My 13-year-old daughter long ago rejected Abercrombie & Fitch for its showy labels. “Why would I want to walk around with a giant ad on my clothes?” she asked me.    

But if she were an Abercrombie fan, I have a feeling this latest controversy would turn her off. The company has revealed its target audience to be queen bees and mean girls (and boys) — people who feel better about themselves by making others feel bad.

I’m happy to say that my daughter does not fall into this demographic, and neither do any of her friends.

The next time I set out to buy my kids some trendy clothes, I’ll be likely to head to a store like H&M, which sells both teeny-tiny teen duds and plus-size ones. H&M has also recognized that 67 percent of the purchasing population is plus-sized and started featuring a plus-sized model in their swimsuit ads

If more shoppers support companies that celebrate our different shapes instead of shaming them, Abercrombie’s brand of cool is bound to go out of style.


Marketing to women that connects, example 13: Adidas.

Laurie Hix's picture

A great marketing to women campaign that is #awesome, #inspiring, and #brilliant is the #mygirls campaign for Adidas. This global campaign aimed at girls 14-23, with a concentration on 17 year olds, uses social media as the anchor to engage and rally girls all over the world with their passion for sports. Nike was always the vanguard for marketing to women since the 1980’s but, Adidas is about to give Nike a run for its money. Using the hashtag #mygirls, this campaign engages its audience on Twitter and Instagram. The microsite is a hub for girls to follow other girls around the world like Jordanian boxers or Brazilian divers. A visual feast of connectivity, it shares its fans pictures and tweets. It inspires, gives advice and contest opportunities, and connects its audience to trend-setting gear and wear.  A guerilla aspect of the campaign is putting pop up gyms in various cities to invite girls to explore and try their hand at different sports like fencing and cricket. This campaign is a homerun for all girls with a passion for sports, whether they sport Adidas or not. And the goodwill Adidas will get from going beyond the sell to engagement should get them more fans and sales all over the world. My new current favorite marketing to women campaign is #mygirls.  Do you think this creative connects to girls?

Want to see more, check out my first post in my series 20 examples of marketing to women that connects.

Adidas My Girls


The week in review - April 29, 2013.

Ellyn Davidson's picture

Social media is constantly evolving, with vigilant bloggers following every new app, rule and Facebook flicker. We sift through hundreds of blogs weekly to keep on top of developments and seek out new client opportunities. It’s our job. And we like to share. So, don’t fret about what you might be missing. We’ve got your Cliffs Notes. 

Why Social Media Fails Businesses          
Brands have to know how to use social media correctly in order for it to yield results.

“Snackable” Content            
Sometimes little “snacks” of content are more effective than long-winded posts since attention spans are so short.
Online Videos are More Effective Than TV Ads           
The audience for online video is soaring, with 58% of the U.S. population streaming, up from 38% five years ago.

Big Brands Want Instagram Ads    
Mark Zuckerburg disagrees with brands, claiming that ads could end up stunting Instagram’s rapid growth. Instagram is currently growing at a faster rate than Facebook did at the same age.

70% of Brand Engagement on Pinterest is User Generated            
This study reveals the opportunity for brands to drive the conversation on visual platforms like Pinterest.

Instagram Adds Tagging         
On Thursday, users can tag people in photos, and browse feeds of photos you and others appear in.

Instagram tagging


Marketing to women that connects, example 12: Kindle or Apple?

Laurie Hix's picture

When the Kindle first debuted, it did so with a memorable campaign that featured a woman and used stop motion to tell a story. The idea was to breakthrough in a creative way, as the product at the time was creative and breakthrough. It was inspired by previous YouTube stop motion viral videos online and inspired more YouTube stop motion videos afterwards. Without going into too much detail on the product benefits, the campaign created a name for the brand with this memorable concept. But now in efforts to keep up with Apple, the new Kindle Fire advertising is being more competitive and more demonstrative—taking a cue from the Apple brand playbook. Now, while the voiceover and copy are emotional in the Kindle Fire spot it is more about how great the product is and how many apps it has. I wish, Kindle would have stayed with a fresh approach and just added some more product benefits without going to the tired “anthem” format. Apple is continuing to do simple television demonstrations with their products in a clever way that seem to resonate with men, women of all ages. And with ads like the one featuring Zoe Deschanel talking to her new bestie, Siri, apple continues to spurn spin offs in the viral world of YouTube like this duet with Siri. So which do you think is the most effective way to engage women with a tech product?  A great concept, great demonstration or a great anthem?

Want to see more, check out my first post in my series 20 examples of marketing to women that connects.


Healthcare social media review:

Lauren Zuzelski's picture

PatientslikemeA few weeks ago I reviewed Sharecare, a healthcare social media platform that I felt really didn’t deliver any true benefit to its users, let alone serve as a good example of a successful healthcare social media example. But while I was researching, I came across Patientslikeme, which was extremely interesting and unique, and from my introduction, seemed like a much better and successful example of how a healthcare social media platform can really change the world of healthcare. In fact, Forbes notes that the site is "producing some of the most compelling clinical data the healthcare industry has ever seen."

The idea of came from three MIT engineers, who had a family member/friend diagnosed with a rare disease. They were having trouble finding research, data or even a network of people that shared a common diagnosis. With that, they developed a platform that has now grown and into the site PatientsLikeMe. Within the platform people can connect with others that share a similar diagnosis and track/share their own experience. While this may not sound very interesting, the greatest part is the data mining that happens simultaneously with the sharing. Throughout the whole process, the company is very openly gathering the stories and data to help with the future of these specific diseases – sharing it with researchers, pharma companies, providers, non-profits, etc.

My initial reaction to the idea is that of brilliance, but I wanted to test the platform. It was during this test and review that I continued to be Wowed. Below, I have highlighted some of the key areas of the platform for an in-depth review:

Create a profile:
I started with creating a profile, which took less than 5 minutes and instantly gave me a snapshot on my condition, how many within the network had the condition and a breakdown of other age/gender/diagnosis information.

Patientslikeme - Create profile

Part of building your profile included questions about your history with the condition:

Patientslike me - profile questions about your history

Connecting with Patients:
And then after that, I was quickly able to start using the site to my advantage. One of the greatest areas was the "find patients" tab, where you are able to search for patients like you to connect with and to read their stories.

Patientslikeme - connecting with patients

Patientslikeme - Member journals

Treatment information:
Another area that I found extremely beneficial was the “your treatments” tab that allowed me to enter in my personal treatment information and to read about other treatments reported by other patients of my condition. This area is complete with information from patients on how the medicines made them feel, benefits, drawbacks, etc. In addition to being clear and easy to understand, the network is actually large enough to make the data useful.

Patientslikeme - Your treatments

Patientslikeme - Community Treatment Reports

Not only did I find the site and the information relevant, useful and beneficial, it also made me want to share my story, which in the social media world, is the ultimate goal. The more that share their story, the greater the chance of making medical progress and advancements. I am truly impressed with and believe that the site is one of only a select few of healthcare social media sites that understand how to leverage social media, ultimately making a direct change in the healthcare world.


Smells like brand marketing.

Lori Bahnmueller's picture

I expected cigarette smoke, beer and the sickly, sweet tang of girlie cocktails. And, desperation steeped in sweat.

Instead, Las Vegas smelled like rosemary and lavender with a hint of sweet orange. JW Marriott calls it “subtle sophistication,” part of a growing trend in brand marketing that engages multiple senses to influence consumer behavior.  

The last leg in a 10-day trip out west, Las Vegas was our least anticipated destination. We’d hiked through canyons in Utah’s national parks, the Virgin River and climbed thousands of feet along switchbacks, breathing crisp, clean, exhilarating air.

So, when we entered the colossal resort/spa/casino, I held my nose.

My husband detected “subtle sophistication” on the elevator ride to our floor. “Do you smell that?” Sure enough. Rosemary and something sweetish. The not so subtle images of herbs and oranges that peppered the hotel’s marketing materials confirmed the ingredients of its version of branded sophistication.

Called sensory brand marketing, hotel behemoth’s like JW Marriott are among the early pioneers to capitalize on scent, sound, texture, and even taste to enhance the overall consumer experience. Hospitals are also employing scents to improve the patient and visitor satisfaction. The MRI unit at Florida Hospital Celebration Health, for example, is perfumed with an ocean scent and the waiting room on the Savannah Floor smells like grass.

Scent is a particularly powerful influencer because humans are hard-wired to respond emotionally to what they smell. The brain's olfactory bulb, which detects odors, fast-tracks signals to the limbic system, which links emotion to memories. It’s why the scent of popcorn takes us directly to a theater, coconut reminds us of a sun drenched, sandy beach and cigar smoke makes us remember Uncle Bob.

According to the Scent Marketing Institute, 75% of all the emotions we experience daily are prompted by scent.  Positive, congruent scents make shoppers linger a bit longer and help condition them for purchase.

Shoppers at Nike were 80% more likely to purchase in a room perfumed with a floral scent than consumers in an unscented room. What’s more, they were willing to pay more for the same shoes. In another study, slot machine receipts increased by 53% in the scented area of a casino (Brand Sense,  Martin Lindstrom, Free Press ,2005).

With brands competing among some 5,000 ads served daily to consumers, it’s no wonder a third of Fortune 500 companies are considering other channels to our wallets. What does your favorite brand smell like?


The week in review - April 19, 2013.

Ellyn Davidson's picture

Social media is constantly evolving, with vigilant bloggers following every new app, rule and Facebook flicker. We sift through hundreds of blogs weekly to keep on top of developments and seek out new client opportunities. It’s our job. And we like to share. So, don’t fret about what you might be missing. We’ve got your Cliffs Notes. 

Creating Viral Tweets
This article is full of tips on how to create content that is forwarded and shared over and over again.

Creating Viral Tweets

Twitter to Add TV
Twitter is close to reaching partnerships with TV networks that would bring more high-quality video content and advertising to the social site.

Mastercard and AmEx Feed Data to Advertisers
Credit Card companies are partnering up with digital advertisers, which makes some question the issue of privacy.

Facebook Will Debut Video Ads This Summer
It's assumed that the videos will auto play and will be presented in a video player that expands beyond the main news-feed real estate to cover the right- and left-hand rails of users' screens on the desktop version of Facebook.

A Facebook Fan is Worth $174
The study compared Facebook fans and non-fans based and their corresponding product spending, brand loyalty, propensity to recommend, media value, cost of acquisition and brand affinity to arrive at the figure, which is up 28% since 2010.

Instagramming Your Brand
Instagram is easy and engaging, so why wouldn’t you want to use it for your brand or business?

Instagramming Your Brand


Innovative healthcare marketing example #17.

Julia Mastropaolo's picture

What will your last 10 years look like? Using a split screen creative approach, this spot from the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Canada effectively shows two diverse paths. The striking visual contrasts drive the point home that your last 10 years can be healthy and vibrant, or full of illness and hospital care. We see a bicycle tire and a wheelchair tire; a grandchild giving her grandpa a juice box, while a nurse helps the same feeble patient take a sip of his ice water; a vibrant gent confidently adjusting his tie, his counterpart adjusting his breathing tube.

The contrasts go on as does the emotionality of this touching spot. A touch of fear factor coaxes you to check out the website to be sure you end up in the left side of the screen category. As the spot says, "It's time to decide."

Great healthcare marketing for a great healthcare cause. Did it make you stop and think?


Dove remembers how to market to women.

Ellyn Davidson's picture

In October, our creative director Laurie Hix mourned the passing of Dove’s Real Beauty Campaign. For seven years, Dove had celebrated women with body fat, freckles, wrinkles, gray hairs, and other “flaws.” In the first two months of the campaign, Dove’s U.S sales increased by 600 percent, illustrating the immense power of brands that know how to market to women.

After that, the company launched a self-esteem saver and continued to redefine beauty. It made many women, including me, very, very happy.

When Dove shifted gears and started producing spots with sassy, skinny women soaping up in the shower, Laurie wrote, “It seemed like all the progress they made just evaporated.”

Well, it seems Dove got the message. If the company was seeking redemption with its new video, it has succeeded in spades. The film instantly went viral, with almost 3.5 million views as I write this. A 6.5-minute version has gotten almost half a million views. And while I’m at it, Dove’s Facebook page has more than 13.7 million likes, which blows competition like Olay’s 1.6 million likes away.

The video portrays women who’ve been partnered with a stranger for reasons unknown to them. After spending some time together, each subject goes into a sunny loft and describes herself to a forensic artist. The artist is separated from the subjects by a screen and draws their images based on the subjects’ descriptions only. Next, the partner describes this same woman to the artist. Then the subjects come and view their two sketches side-by-side. Invariably, the self-described portrait looks heavy, unattractive, and downright melancholy compared with the prettier pictures made with input from the strangers.

As the women view their sad self-images, their faces fall. One of them even cries. I must admit, when I watched it, I teared up, too.

The message at the film’s end, accompanied by quiet piano music, is, You are more beautiful than you think.

I’m excited by Dove’s return to its Real Beauty roots for a couple reasons:

  1. Money Talks
    Such a quick reversal might indicate that Dove’s sales fell when they started using conventionally beautiful models instead of women who were both beautiful and (take your pick) short, flat-chested, overweight, or older.  This shows that a cultural shift has indeed happened. In addition, a powerful branding phenomenon has happened. Dove spent years carefully and even lovingly building a brand around this idea of real beauty. They sent positive messages in both their advertising and their products like the lotion they named Pro-Age instead of Anti-Wrinkle.

    That’s why women felt so connected to the Dove brand—and why they may have stopped buying when the Real Beauty ended.

  2. The Expansion of Advertising
    These videos (you can choose between a 1.5 minute version, a 3-minute one, and a 6.5-minute one) are not commercials. They are films, with a narrative arc, beautiful art direction, and a real emotional impact. (Have any of your Facebook friends shared the video with the comment, “This made me cry?” Several of mine have.)

    Dove isn’t pushing product here. They don’t even mention a product, or the Dove name, other than a brief flash of the logo at the end. Yet the impact on the brand is massive.

This shows me just how powerful it can be to think both outside the box and in long-range terms when you’re molding a brand. If we’re brave, genuine, and give our target audience—women—what they really want, we can achieve big, big things.

When Dove does a more conventional soap sell, as Laurie pointed out, it looks just like its competitors. It’s when the product takes a step back—and lets the beauty of real women shine—that the brand really stands out.

I hope the instant success of this video encourages Dove to stick to its guns—to connect to women in a unique, respectful, and beautifully real way. In short, to make an emotional connection.


The week in review - April 12, 2013.

Ellyn Davidson's picture

Social media is constantly evolving, with vigilant bloggers following every new app, rule and Facebook flicker. We sift through hundreds of blogs weekly to keep on top of developments and seek out new client opportunities. It’s our job. And we like to share. So, don’t fret about what you might be missing. We’ve got your Cliffs Notes. 

Vine Launches Hashtags         

Vine hopes to make exploring content easier with the launch of trending hashtags. The new feature allows users to easily see what the community is Vining about.

Vine Launches Hashtags

Brands Buy Real Time Mobile Ads Based on Weather

Twitter and The Weather Channel announced an agreement centered on a new weather-based ad-targeting product. Twitter says that 60% of its audience derives from smartphones—where users will be seeing Promoted Tweets thanks to the TWC deal.

Facebook Home Screen Ads        

“Home” lets consumers enable an ever-changing rotation of visual content from their Facebook friends called "cover feed" on their home and lock screens -- where ads will eventually also go.

More Customer Service Experiences are Being Shared via Social Media  

With regard to wielding their social networks, almost half (45%) of respondents said they share bad customer service experiences via Facebook, Twitter, and other popular platforms, while 30% reported sharing good customer service experiences via social media.

More Customer Service Experiences are Being Shared via Social Media

Facebook Opens Up Advertising to Very Specific Targets

Over the past year Facebook has been expanding the data that can be used for ad targeting to include non-Facebook information like the sites someone visits outside of Facebook, loyalty program memberships and, more recently, the types of products they buy in a brick-and-mortar store.



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