May 2014 - CRAFT Media Digital - PR News 2017 Digital Agency of the year

There is a growing practice in the digital space called “programmatic advertising.” It’s all the rage and more companies are doing it everyday. But few people know exactly what it is. Much like the latest celebrity diets, people are subscribing to the practice of programmatic advertising but don’t entirely understand what it is or how it works. Unlike the latest celebrity diet though, programmatic advertising is here to stay and it will change the way we advertise online.

Simply put, programmatic advertising is the automation of ad buying. Now ads can be purchased in real time, the same way hotel reservations can be made online instead of going through a concierge or travel agent. The streamlined process increases efficiency and reduces the cost of ads.

This allows advertisers to focus on more specifically tailored audiences, instead of simply trying to reach as many people as possible for the least cost. Agency resources can then be directed to facilitating creativity and personalized interaction. Therefore, businesses can seamlessly integrate their message into their target audiences’ online behavior.

CRAFT embraced programmatic buying early, launching our own agency trading desk, CRAFT Levers. Now CRAFT bypasses traditional ad networks and directly accesses the inventory, data, transparency, and insights available through industry-leading Demand Side Platforms (DSPs), including Google’s Bid Manager, AOL’s AOP, BrightRoll, MediaMath, AdRoll, and others.

Buying directly has two key benefits; first, it increases transparency, knowing when and where our ads run reduces potential fraud; second, a greater percentage of the budget goes to actual ad placement and not ad network overhead, giving our clients more bang for their buck. Thus, CRAFT advertising specialists can use a larger percentage of our clients’ budgets to leverage more accurate real-time data to improve results, ensuring the right ads reach the right people, at the right time.

Online Content: Less is More

CRAFT_ContentLength Think of all the distractions you experience when surfing the Internet: multiple tabs and windows, ads on every sidebar, videos appearing at every new page visit. So how do you grab and keep the attention of your online audiences? Besides inspiring creative, at CRAFT we focus on the psychology of the mind. We look through the lens of a content consumer to learn when, where, why and how long users look at content. That’s the basis for Buffer blogger, Kevan Lee’s post, “The Ideal Length of Everything Online, Backed by Research.”

So what does this mean for your social content? For each social sharing platform, sweet spots exist that will garner higher engagement from your audience. That’s where you want to be. Each audience is different, and each member has different content expectations. But human nature dictates that your audience will immediately judge your content by its length to determine if they want to engage.

We get it — content writers are humans too, so to help remember optimal content lengths across platforms, we created a cheat sheet.

Print it out, share it with your friends, keep it handy, and successfully engage your audience.

You’d be hard pressed to find someone these days who doesn’t engage social media on even the most basic level. It’s because of this that social media often takes a back seat when brands or campaigns make decisions about where to invest. Simply put, people need convincing that their organization actually needs help doing something that they personally already do every day.

So what actually goes into launching a social media campaign? What does a defined strategy look like? What are some best practices?

These questions need answering, so we had our social media strategists weigh in.

Without further adieu…


Think, what’s my goal?

Your social presence is a process. It lives. It breathes — Take it in stride. Goals will help you reach incremental milestones, which we guarantee you’ll find much easier than trying to conquer the beast all at once.

Do you want as many fans and followers as you can possibly amass, or do you cater to a smaller, more personalized and qualified audience?

Do you want people to donate to a campaign or cause, or do you want to drive attendance at an event?

These are examples of questions to ask yourself, and your team, before embarking on the social journey.


Wait, posts are planned out in advance?

News stations plan feature stories in advance, why wouldn’t you? Good content grows out of good monitoring and strategic planning.

Map out the details. When will you use graphics? How often will you link to your other online properties? How many posts will ask your audience to take action compared to those meant simply to educate?

But don’t constrict yourself. Leave some breathing room for the uncontrollables. Our general rule of thumb is 80/20: plan 80% of your content, and leave 20% for breaking news or the cat meme that’s gone viral on Buzzfeed.


Which of these posts would you click?

A good post evokes emotion and tells a story.

Let’s play a game. Which of these posts seems more compelling?

Post 1: Tomorrow, Congress is voting on the Jobs Act. Make sure to tell Congress to support jobs.

Post 2:  Sara opened her bakery 2 years ago. She’s struggling to pay her employees, turn a profit, and find leftover money to invest back into her store. If Washington continues to overregulate, Sara will be forced to lay off several workers. Let Congress know that the Jobs Act would provide the relief Sara needs to keep her business running strong.

Engaging your audience is as simple as telling a relatable narrative. Show the firsthand effects of the issues your organization supports or opposes. If orchestrated properly, your content will incite your followers to share it, extending your reach to potential fans, supporters, or customers.


How do you Engage with your audience?

Someone walks into your business. Do you hide from them and act like they’re not there? Of course not; you greet them.

Someone walks into your Congressional office to express disappointment about a certain issue. Do you hide and act like they’re not there? Of course not; you listen to their point of view and tell them you’ll pass along their concerns.

Why wouldn’t you do the same on social media?

Life is a series of interactions that come together to create an overall experience. This translates to social media. Treat your social feeds as if someone were standing in front of you. You needn’t respond to every comment or tweet, but if someone asks a pressing question or expresses a valid concern, respond. Engagement makes for a better experience, and a better experience means more loyalty.


How do I integrate my new social media strategy?

Social media is not a siloed effort; it’s an extension of your existing marketing toolbox.

When you host an event, provide a branded hashtag, or set up a photobooth, making it easy for your attendees to interact with you online, before, during, and after your event.

Add Facebook and Twitter sharing icons to email signatures and landing pages.

Re-share that video on Facebook that you already have YouTube pre-roll dollars behind.

Leveraging the uniqueness of each marketing tool with social media extends your reach, reinforces your message, and ensures an engaged audience.

Strike the heart, not the head.

That’s the essence of a recent examination into a growing advertising trend Fast Company swiftly dubbed “sadvertising.”

It doesn’t take much guessing to grasp the meaning of the term; it’s a reference to the shift in advertising towards long-form, emotional, storytelling narratives.

Think about it. Perhaps the most anticipated Super Bowl ad this year wasn’t about an impromptu goat purchase gone wrong. It was a goose bump inducing spot about the friendship between puppy and horse.

This trend is about creating storylines that people want to watch, not feel forced to endure.

It’s about telling relatable narratives that make people say, “Hey, that could happen to me, and if it does, that brand will be there for me.”

Enter Guinness.

That sentiment of brand trust transcends commercial branding. It’s made its way into one of this cycle’s most heralded political ads.

The notion of pursuing emotional connections with viewers and users is nothing new to CRAFT. We’ve long pushed our clients to create meaningful, shareable content; content that inspires and pushes traditional norms and boundaries. Because when content makes you feel good, you want to tell the world.

CRAFT recently hosted a two-panel discussion, CRAFTing Creative, centered on the intersection of creative and politics. Arising from the conversation was an idea that people don’t always remember exactly what you say, but they do remember how you make them feel.

This lies at the very root of “sadvertising.” Emotional ads don’t necessarily make you run out the door to buy a bar of soap or vote for a candidate, but when the time comes to make a purchase or cast a ballot, you’ll remember how you felt watching that spot.

Despite the elegant play on words, CRAFT Partner Brian Donahue is weary of the term “sadvertising,” (rather preferring sentimentising) fearing the insistence that a story must be sad to elicit an emotional response:

“In politics, we must be equipped to hit all emotions on the sentiment scale.”

Humorous reactions can stimulate equal levels of brand trust, a pillar we touted by parodying the notorious “Dollar Shave Club” commercial.

Now, here’s the catch. According to PJ Pereira, chief creative officer at Pereira & O’Dell, “there’s nothing more dangerous in advertising than following a trend.” In his experience, “any time you see a trend…it’s about to die.”

So we leave it to you — Is “sadvertising” the flavor of the day, or here to stay?

Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.

Music is a powerful tool in advertising. It can define a brand identity or help target the ideal audience. From the catchy ad jingles that dominated postwar American radio and television to the indie-pop music that lingers in modern commercials, advertisers have used music to get their brands into our heads—sometimes years after their campaigns stopped running.

This is what Canadian comedian Jon Lajoie has parodied in his latest music video, “Please Use This Song.” Prior to his success on the FX show “The League,” Lajoie garnered a large YouTube following through his hilarious “Everyday Normal Guy” rap series and other comedic songs. He has poked fun at subjects ranging from the banality of daily life to rap MCs that know too much about bees. With “Please Use This Song,” Lajoie uses a peppy, indie-inspired riff to convince advertisers to buy the rights to this accessible, yet seemingly hip, song that cleverly hits on the alternative ad music trend whose origin traces back almost 50 years ago.

During the turmoil of the late 1960s, advertisers began becoming more interested in using popular music to connect with the young Baby Boomers. In 1968, Buick Motors bought The Doors’ hit “Light My Fire”, which it planned to use to market the Opel. Unfortunately for Buick, the deal was done without the consent of Doors’ front man, Jim Morrison. The deal was quickly scrapped when the singer threatened to smash an Opel with a sledgehammer if the commercial ever aired.

The manufactured jingle continued to reign supreme until the early 90s, when Pepsi used the Van Halen’s socially charged anthem “Right Now” to advertise Crystal Pepsi. While the beverage’s sales eventually fizzled, advertisers saw an immediate response. To a maturing Generation X and Generation Y, songs written by legitimate musicians made brands seem more authentic and just a little bit cooler. This trend carried on well into the late 1990s and early 2000s, with companies using the works of The Rolling Stones, The Cure, and Nick Drake to peddle their software, cameras, and cars.

Lesser-known, independently labeled musicians also began seeing huge benefits to their songs being used for commercial purposes. In 2003, Mitsubishi featured “Days Go By,” a hypnotic dance piece by the U.K. house music group Dirty Vegas, in an ad showcasing the Mitsubishi Eclipse. The song skyrocketed up the U.S. Billboard charts, hitting number 1 in the dance category.  In 2005, Sony released a brilliant, playful, and highly acclaimed spot featuring 250,000 rubber balls bouncing gracefully down San Francisco streets to Jose Gonzalez’s delicate “Heartbeats.” The struggling Swedish folksinger was studying for his PhD in Biochemistry when the song became a huge international hit, thanks in part to the success of the Sony commercial.

Professional commercial songwriters began getting wise to the trend; creating wispy, folksy tunes and indie pop melodies mimicking the music of The Feist and Phoenix. This made the “hip but accessible music vibe” that smaller companies, brands, and even political candidates desired far more affordable. Even tech behemoth Apple embraced both indie and the indie-faux musicians, using a childlike, xylophone ditty for their heralded “Mac vs. PC” campaign alongside commercials featuring bands like Honeycut, Yael Naim, and The Black Keys.

This is where Jon Lajoie’s “Please Use This Song” hits a strong cord. Gone are the days of musicians adamantly opposed to “selling out,” instead replaced with a bevy of guitar strumming, independently labeled, singer/songwriters clamoring for the chance to have their work featured in an Apple ad, or at least a decent detergent commercial. This begs the question: have ads gotten cooler or have musicians (or their labels) just gotten more business savvy?

CRAFT Reading List

“The man who does not read good books is no better than the man who can’t.”

— Mark Twain

Below you will find the reading selections of everyone at CRAFT. This list is not made up of our “favorite” reads, but rather the books that made us think, laugh, learn, and grow. These are the books that we recommend for each other and recommend for you.

As A Man Thinketh, James Allen
(Buck Cram)

Big Russ & Me, Tim Russert
(Cory Maran)

Cognitive Surplus, Clay Shirky
(Evan Gassman)

The Color of Water: A Black Man’s Tribute to His White Mother, James McBride
(Bradley Heinz)

General Lee’s Army: From Victory to Collapse, Joseph Glatthaar
(Matthew Attkinson)

House, Robert Remini
(Joe Greeley)

In the Blink of an Eye, Walter Murch
(Nadav Kessous)

Lie Down in Darkness, William Styron
(Alex Finland)

Likeable Social Media: How to Delight Your Customers, Create an Irresistible Brand, and Be Generally Amazing on Facebook, Dave Kerpen
(Catie Weckenman)

Lolita, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
(Louisa Tavlas)

Lovely Bones, Alice Sebold
(Ashley Carter)

Master of the Senate, Robert Caro
(Joe Greeley)

Rape of Europa, Lynn H. Nicholas
(Evan Ross)

Reagan at Reykjavik,   Ken Adelman
(Travis Holler)

Resonate, Nancy Duarte
(Catie Weckenman)

Shit My Dad Says, Justin Halpern
(Buck Cram)

Show Your Work, Austin Kleon
(Jess Matsumoto)

Social/Management Styles, Robert & Dorothy Bolton
(Danielle Theroux)

Start Where You Are: A Guide to Compassionate Living, Pema Chodron
(Matthew Dybwad)

Steal Like an Artist, Austin Kleon
(Jess Matsumoto)

The 5 Love Languages, Gary Chapman
(Morgan Farenthold)

The Capital in the Twenty-First Century, Thomas Piketty
(Zachary Hanover)

The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter and How to Make the Most of Them, Rebecca Solnit
(Liberty Riggs)

The Field Guide to Getting Lost, Rebecca Solnit
(Liberty Riggs)

The Graveyard Book, Neil Gaiman
(Alice Ly)

The Help, Kathryn Stockett
(Lana Tsimberg)

The Mechanical Bride: Folklore of Industrial Man, Marshall McLuhan
(Brian Donahue)

The Paris Wife, Paula McLain
(Ashley Carter)

The Presidents Club, Nancy Gibbs & Michael Duffy
(John Randall)

The Rehnquist Choice: The Untold Story of the Nixon Appointment That Redefined the Supreme Court, John W. Dean
(Evan Ross)

The Tao of Pooh, Benjamin Hoff
(Alice Ly)

The Thin Man, Dashiell Hammett
(Jerry Stephens)

This Town, Mark Leibovich
(Zachary Hanover)

Three Cups of Tea, Greg Mortenson & David Oliver Relin

Who Moved My Cheese, Dr. Spencer Johnson
(Bryan Levine)

Winesburg, Ohio, Sherwood Anderson
(Brian Donahue)

Z, Teresa Anne Fowler
(Sinead Casey)

For most of us going to the movies means two things: lots of trailers and lots of snacks.

It turns out, however, that the popcorn and chewing gum you’re indulging in may actually be effecting the way your brain receives advertisements. A recent study published in the Journal of Commercial Psychology suggests that the simple of act of chewing makes viewers significantly less likely to respond to ads – the implications of which stretch far beyond the silver screen.

What does this mean for digital advertising? Perhaps it means that advertisers should take into consideration what activities consumers are engaged in while online. For example – when driving traffic to an organization’s event landing page, video placements  could be day-parted to avoid users who are likely to be eating dinner. Greater ad effectiveness during ‘off-meal’ times could yield  deeper insight into when target audiences are least distracted.

Gum as Interference

Why CRAFT built Levers

Programmatic ad buying, which is what CRAFT Levers does, plugs into and enhances every part of a campaign.

As the latest installment of AdExchanger’s Data-Driven Thinking points out, programmatic advertising, while not a strategy in and of itself, is strategic in its application.

Programmatic is the hub at the center of any integrated digital marketing effort.

In addition, programmatic buying opens the doors to insights buyers don’t normally get from digital ad campaigns:

“Often times campaign optimization reveals niche markets that tend to engage with ads but were previously unbeknownst to a brand.”

CRAFT built its own agency trading desk to bring our core philosophy of campaign integration across channels to the digital advertising practice.

Learn more about CRAFT Levers.