Are You Ready For Some Football…Ads?

September is here, and that means football is back, along with all the marketing behind it. But what about advertising for the games themselves; can you remember anything aside from the quick 15-second TV swipe on the featured game for the coming weekend?

If you can’t, there is good reason…the NFL and networks don’t need to put in a lot of effort to advertise its games. There is one straggler though: ESPN’s Monday Night Football (MNF). There are many negatives to MNF, like a late start on the east coast, less than desirable team match-ups, and most importantly, the entire ordeal is named after the worst day of the week (no one has a case of the Sundays).

To help solve this issue, ESPN actually embraced the day:

The campaign was aimed at public transit commuters, who travel further to get to work locations and thus are going to bed sooner. This particular ad was posted in commuter trains, where people have plenty of time to read. The campaign can also be seen on bus stops, subway stations, and billboards. I love all the copy, but the tagline is my favorite because it plays with your normal perception of the week: IS IT MONDAY YET?

ESPN does a new campaign each year, and I’ll look forward to the newest one.

~ Mike D’Ambrosio, Interactive Art Director, The S3 Agency

Does Hershey’s New Logo Really Stink?

Last night on Twitter, people were all (ahem) atwitter ripping the new Hershey’s logo apart. Specifically, everyone is drawing the comparison to the “pile of poop” emoji and lambasting the Hershey’s branding team for this heinous misstep. But is it really? Let’s think about this:

  1. The chocolate company’s newest icon is easily identifiable as the beloved Hershey Kiss. That IS the actual shape of the tasty treat – this is what a Kiss looks like. The logo also includes the signature paper that comes out of the top of the foil wrapper.
  2. The poo emoji is a cartoon character that really looks nothing like a pile of poop. I mean, unless you poop like chocolate soft serve ice cream, this is clearly not “real” looking fecal matter. The eyes and smile add to the fun – and take this image further away from reality.
  3. Hershey claimed this chocolate shape way back in 1962…and people still chow down on this bite-sized treat today. I believe the poo emoji came into existence a full 50 years later in 2012. So who is ripping off whom, hm?

Yes, branders need to be aware of what is going on around them – and I would imagine the designers behind the new Hershey logo all have iPhones and are quite familiar with the emoji in question. But does that mean that branders have to eschew their own iconic properties, just because someone creates a caricature that people use while texting? I’d like to think that brands like Hershey’s have earned enough brand equity with their 50-year-old product line that continues to delight people of all ages. Even if you think the new logo looks like crap, at least the candies don’t taste like it!

Of course, in the near future I’m sure there will be some peanut butter cookies topped with Hershey Kisses adorned with sugar eyes and smiles…and that’s just fine, too.

~ Denise Blasevick, @AdvertGirl & CEO, The S3 Agency

PS - In all of the criticism, not one person seems to have called the new logo a log. Softball missed…

Insuring They Don’t Need To Say Anything

Right now, GEICO’s main advertising campaign is geared around the fact that everyone already knows that 15 minutes could save you 15% or more – so they are free to spend most of their commercials entertaining the audience.

By saying you “could” save 15%, they are using slippery advertising speak to let you know that you also might NOT. Then they throw in the “or more” to get you really excited. But in reality, since you might not even save 15%, you certainly might not save more. They’re promising NOTHING. Not savings. Not better insurance. Not superior service. NOTHING.

There is, in other words, absolutely nothing of substance in their commercials at all. At the end of the day, their entire value proposition is complete bullshit.

GEICO is not alone in this tack. Consider Progressive Insurance and their “no price tags” approach. Again, this is not exactly true. In fact, it is exactly not true, which I think makes it even worse than GEICO’s approach. With Progressive (and any car insurance), there are just so many price tags, so esoterically assigned to so many variables, that you need to go to their web site and enter all of your variables to arrive at the final price. Name your own price? Really? Here’s how you name your own price: if what you want is too expensive, ask for less coverage or a higher deductible. WOW! Thanks, Progressive!

What Progressive Insurance does have is Flo. And over half a billion dollars to shove her bland personality down our collective throats. That’s only half of what GEICO spends, though. Yes, they spend over a BILLION dollars annually on advertising (which they can afford to do for obvious reasons). Geico can therefore ruthlessly bombard you with their message – which is, essentially, that they exist and they have a sense of humor. Why wouldn’t they?

Some brands wonder if spending their money on advertising is worth it, but the simple fact is, if you spend enough, you don’t even need to have anything to say. Once again, it supports the idea that effective advertising requires bucks or balls (see our agency’s “Campaign Success Predicto” below). Both are great, but enough of one can compensate for the lack of the other.

~ Adam Schnitzler, CCO, The S3 Agency

Editor’s note: If I had to choose one, I’d choose Geico. The Pinocchio spot is definitely in my set of current commercials that crack me up. I may not know if Geico will save me 15% (or more!), but now I know that Pinocchio was a bad motivational speaker.

The Art of Make-up….Without Actual Make-up?

Projecting computer graphics onto buildings or rooms to make them digitally come alive isn’t new, but how about if your canvas is a living, moving, human face? Producer and technical director Nobumichi Asai, with a team of digital designers, CGI experts and make-up artist, have used a projection technology called Omote to project make-up onto a live model’s face. Asai is no stranger to projection mapping, having worked with Subaru and other companies in the past to put CGI onto everything from cars through docks to buildings. Most of the time, however, the subject of the projection is stationary.

In the two-minute clip, the subject’s face is immersed in transformative visuals, a kind of “digital makeup,” using real-time face tracking and projection mapping. With impressive accuracy the face is scanned before becoming a series of stunning masks that work even as the face moves around. The visuals range from makeup, rouge and some eyeliner, to a full-on cyborg face with amazing animated visuals that turn the model’s face into a reflective surface.

Watch for yourself. The facial transformations that happen, one after another before your eyes, are amazing.

~ Tracey Jeffas, Account Supervisor, The S3 Agency


NOT FALLING FOR IT

Here we are, two-thirds of the way through August, and I find myself grasping desperately at summer asking it not to leave, not quite yet. But alas, it will be over…on August 26th, according to some. You see, in recent history, the unofficial kick-off of autumn went from back-to-school and the changing of the leaves to – drumroll please – the return of the Pumpkin Spice Latte (a.k.a., the PSL) at Starbucks.

Apparently it’s a big deal. This year, Starbucks has created a sunglass-wearing latte (which I don’t quite get if it’s supposed to signal fall) who has its own Twitter account and Tumblr “Spot the Spice" game page. I guess for PSL fanatics Starbucks can do no wrong, but to browse the Tumblr page there are more questions than anything about how it all works – no one seems to really get it.

With hardly any marketing at all Starbucks would sell millions of the sugary drinks anyway, which leaves me scratching my head even more as to why they went to such great, confusing lengths to relaunch it. Maybe, just maybe, this year I’ll save up a days’ worth of calories to finally try a PSL, but I won’t be doing so because of a Twitter page or Tumblr game. I’ll do it because it just looks so yummy in the photos on the door clings.

~ Trish Salge, Sr. Art Director and Coffee Non-Conessieur, The S3 Agency

Editor’s Note: PS, PSL – I have to wonder if the advance tasting offer will motivate non-Twitter-users to finally get into another social network network in order to participate in a scavenger hunt. If the answer is yet, my hat (or plastic lid) is off to you, Starbucks.

What’s In A Name, Lexus?

The beautifully shot commercial above shows the engine note of a Lexus LF-A shattering glass because of the high pitch of its engine. If you have not seen one in person before, don’t be shocked; at a price of around $400,000, they are very exclusive. If you have not heard of the car before, then it would seem Toyota has failed in its mission with the LF-A.

Toyota would like you to believe that the LF-A shares its engineering advancements with the rest of the maker’s lineup, which is the point of a halo car. But there is to great a distance between a basic car and an LF-A. Has Toyota erred by placing this under the Lexus badging instead of, say, resurrecting a name that already means what they are trying to day? A name like: Toyota Supra???

The Supra was a car that was last made in 1998, and is still responsible for whatever sporty reputation Toyota has left. It tugs at the hearts of Millennials like me, who grew up with posters of them on our wall. Thanks to a well-known product placement in the original “Fast and Furious” movie, something Toyota never even paid for, the car still maintains a strong following 20 years after the last model’s debut. And the site of one sitting next to every other car on your dealership lot (as oppose to a sealed glass room like the LF-A) certainly couldn’t hurt.

Nissan has its Z, Porsche its 911, Chevy its Corvette. Bring back the Supra Toyota, and you to will benefit from a name that has real meaning.

~ Mike D’Ambrosio, Interactive Art Director and Car Enthusiast, The S3 Agency

Editor’s Note: While this car might benefit from a different name, it’s interesting to see how the new commercial harkens back to Lexus’ debut spot from 1989. The shattering champagne glass is a nice homage to the “champagne glasses” – the ad that put Lexus on the automotive marketing map. See the ad below. I remember it well – the ad and the car, since my mother had that first Lexus. Full disclosure: AMCI, the company mentioned at the beginning of the commercial, was a client of our agency. We rebranded them – and for giggles, below you can also see the logo identity we created for them that replaced the one shown in the TV ad. ~ @AdvertGirl

Stand Out at a Tradeshow with these 5 Tips

This shortbread brand leveraged a combination of authenticity, tradition and newness to stand out at the 2014 Summer Fancy Food Show in New York.

This summer, the Fancy Food Show descended upon New York City’s Jacob Javits Center, overwhelming visitors with over 2,700 vendors sharing sweet and savory foods and beverages. Many of those exhibiting are specialty brands with small staffs and small budgets. So how can one hope to stand out in this incredibly crowded, three-day marketplace to get the attention of retail buyers, media and consumers? A small, family-run shortbread company found a way to stand out at this massive food & drink tradeshow.

Shortbread House of Edinburgh, housed in Edinburgh, Scotland, made the journey to the Big Apple to share their finely crafted wares, and they were up against major competitors like the Walker Shortbreads of the world. To make the most of this tradeshow opportunity, Shortbread House employed some very smart techniques that brought their branding to life and grabbed the attention of passersby.

Here are some of the tradeshow marketing tips that worked for Shortbread House of Edinburgh – and can very easily work for other brands in other industries, not just food & drink companies:

  1. Bring your brand story to life. Shortbread House of Edinburgh employed Scottish gentlemen clad in the country’s traditional garb to man their booth. This was more than an attention-getting visual. Just by being there, these gents, who spoke fluently about their brand’s history and products, brought attention to the authenticity of the sweet treats by which they were surrounded.
  2. Be friendly. It wasn’t just the brogue that brought warmth to this Scottish brand. Warm smiles, inviting gestures, and conversation that wasn’t rushed – rather, that encouraged visitors to linger and partake of the samples – really stood out. Tradeshows can be grueling for both those exhibiting and those attending, and it can be easy to wear that exhaustion on one’s face. These gentlemen welcomed visitors as if they were welcoming them into their own homes to enjoy biscuits and tea.
  3. Don’t be afraid to talk shop. For some reason, tradeshow exhibitors often dwell in smalltalk and never get to the point. While one doesn’t want to engage in heavy-handed selling techniques that turn off visitors, the real reason everyone is attending is for an information share. After some niceties that seemed entirely genuine, the kilt-clad staffers were sure to guide visitors along their product line, which included a new product launch (see tip #4).
  4. Have something new! People like to be “the first” to experience something new, so if at all possible, tradeshow exhibitors should launch a new product. That’s what buyers want to know about – so they can leverage that “new” factor to bring buyers to their stores. That’s what the press wants to hear about – so they can share that “newness” with their readers and viewers. And that’s what consumers want to find out about – so they can have bragging rights via social media and word-of-mouth sharing. Shortbread House of Edinburgh was introducing a special holiday offering: a “Finest Whisky Cake” infused with Scotch malt whisky. Packaged in a festive tin, this food & drink item conjured up wonderful thoughts of holiday parties, entertaining and hostess gifting – a nice escape from the brutal heat of summer in Manhattan. It also gave the brand’s representatives a chance to talk about their country’s tradition of holiday whisky cakes, something with which many American attendees may not have been familiar.
  5. Be true to your branding. If a product (or service) doesn’t stand up to a brand’s marketing, that brand is likely better off not having a tradeshow presence until they get either the product or the marketing right. Surrounded by competitors, this is the ultimate sink-or-swim venue: retail buyers, press, and consumers will be the first to share negative impressions of their experiences, and they’ll often do it loudly – at the show, to other exhibitors, and beyond. Those trying samples at Shortbread House of Edinburgh seemed to feel that the taste lived up to the “truly handmade” tagline adorning the holiday whisky cake tin. That will likely translate into shelf space, positive media coverage, and something new for Americans to add to their own holiday traditions.

Tradeshows can be a key tactic for brands, from start-ups through Fortune 500 – but they are often quite costly: space rental, booth design and execution, staffing, product, marketing…it all adds up. Be sure it adds up to the right results.

~ Denise Blasevick, @AdvertGirl & CEO, The S3 Agency

Note: This post originally appeared in my Examiner.com column – please follow me there too!

DOES THIS UNDER ARMOUR SPOT DISARM YOU?

This is a beautifully shot commercial, and yet when I saw it the first time, I really wanted to whine about a few things I felt it did wrong. I use the past tense, “wanted to,” because I have come to the conclusion that I was falling into overthinking, and that it is, in reality, just perfect.

Give it a look, and see if your first viewing makes you think things like:

- Is that girl’s voice reading an actual letter that was sent to Misty when she was 13?

- And if so, why doesn’t the commercial come out and TELL me that?

- Why are they making me work so hard to understand their tagline?

Those were going to be my main complaints – and then I realized that I was about to complain about an advertiser actually giving me credit for having half a brain. Because even as I was wondering these things, I was looking up who Misty Copeland was – I wanted to know more. I was simultaneously thinking about how I didn’t realize Under Armour made athletic gear for women.

That’s when I realized I suddenly knew the answers to all of those questions that had initially popped into my head. I either figured them out for myself or I looked them up. Now that’s engaging your audience.

That’s when I decided to shut up and write this blog post instead, and use it to heap praise on Under Armour, their ad agency Droga5, and on Misty Copeland herself. Bravo.

Adam Schnitzler, Chief Creative Officer, The S3 Agency

5 Things Your Loyalty Program Should NOT Do

I’ve been a Verizon Wireless customer for quite a few years now – and truth be told, I’ve been considering switching as it seems the once powerful signal giant now leaves me with more-than-my-fair-share of dropped calls. Lo and behold, yesterday I got an email from the Big V announcing their new rewards program. How timely, I thought – and when the email told me I already have 26,000 points, I decided to check it out. After all, that sounds like a lot of points.

Unfortunately, the rewards program leaves a lot to be desired and actually turns me off, which is a shame, because I’ve seen first-hand how much these programs can cost brands. Here are the issues with Verizon’s program – things brands should be sure to avoid with their loyalty programs:

  1. Don’t Make Customers Sign Up for Email Offerings. In order to sign up for my free rewards program to see what my 26,000 can do, I was required to sign up for “Verizon Select” – allowing the brand’s advertising partners to add me to their email lists. In a time when people’s hatred for spam is at an all-time high, forcing customers to opt-in in order to see what’s behind door number two is a gigantic no-no.
  2. Don’t Make Things Complicated. It took me a good 30 minutes to figure out how Verizon’s loyalty program actually works – and the ROI on my efforts was definitely not worth it. Basically, you don’t actually get things for free – you get to use your points towards discounts at different retailers…but you have to purchase things (like gift cards) from the retailers in advance in order to obtain a discount that you may or may not use. Not worth it.
  3. Don’t Offer Rewards That May Have To Be Returned. Really Verizon? You think maybe I want to try my sizing and fit luck with you and get a dress from your rewards program? A dress that I have to pay for since your cruddy rewards basically just give me a discount on it – just like I can get on my own at any retailer who has a sale, accepts coupons, or both (which is almost every retailer), only there I can actually try on many sizes and styles and get just what I want? It’s almost as if Verizon is taking all the bad parts of various retail loyalty programs and putting them together here.

  4. Don’t Leave Customers Wondering If Rewards Will Actually Work. I don’t know if you’ve experienced this, but several times I have tried to use a legitimate reward via my iPhone and have encountered retail employees who had no idea what the reward was or how to process it. It leads to frustration on both sides and a negative taste in the consumer’s mouth, as he or she (or I) end up having to argue and prove that the reward is real in order to get it. Take a look at what happens I you tried to download a $5 off coupon for my local pizzeria – a warning comes up telling me the reward will be live for only 10 minutes. That means A) I can’t do it now, I have to remember to download it the next time I’m at the restaurant, and B) I have to believe the cashier will know all about this convoluted reward and honor it immediately before it expires. Yikes.
  5. Don’t Pretend To Be Something You’re Not. Is this really a rewards program? Take a look at the very bottom of the image above. Upon trying to redeem my shady $5 off “reward,” the screen revealed that this program is “powered by entertainment.” For those of you who don’t know, Entertainment Books are big books of coupons that you pay $25 for (some or all of that fee goes to charity) and you are able to pull coupons to use all year long at many local and some national retailers. Aha! This is just a glorified coupon program disguised as a loyalty program – but at least when one buys the Entertainment Book, one doesn’t have to opt-in for spam from all of the retailers who have coupons inside. This may be the most egregious of all the issues within Verizon’s unrewarding program.

I’ll never get back the 30 minutes I spent being disappointed by Verizon’s weak new offering, but hopefully this post will help branders who are considering crafting or reconfiguring a program that actually will engender true customer loyalty. At the very least, maybe it will save someone else from going down a Verizon Rewards wormhole.

~ Denise Blasevick (@AdvertGirl), CEO, The S3 Agency

The New YouTube Advertising

Finally, someone did it! They made an ad where the pre-roll, non-skippable portion makes you want to not skip the ad. We’ve been trying to convince clients to do this for a while now. My guess is that Nail Communications was running into the same roadblocks, so kudos to them for making this video for themselves. ~ Denise Blasevick (@AdvertGirl), CEO, The S3 Agency

Does Your Brand Have “RE2PECT”?

What does it mean for an entire culture when an iconic athlete is on the eve of his leave? Derek Jeter, member of the 3,000 hit club and one of the few baseball players to hit their 40s during their MLB career, will end his time in the league after his 20th season. As a five-time World Series champion, he is widely regarded as a major factor to Yankee victories.

Jordan, a brand within Nike, launched a very tasteful ad in the form of a tribute to Jeter. It begins with a shot of him at bat - presumably taking place at his last game - and then the pitcher, fans, rivals, celebrities, other athletes, and the entire city of New York all tip their hats to him. It’s a small but meaningful sign of respect, or “RE2PECT”, which includes Jeter’s jersey number.

This commercial reaches more than just Yankee fans. Although most of the shots take place in New York City scenery, it also shows long-time rivals Boston Red Sox fans paying their respect. Nike endorsers Tiger Woods, Michael Jordon and Carmelo Anthony are also featured, as well as pop culture icons Spike Lee and Jay-Z. Former mayor Rudy Giuliani, legendary comedian Billy Crystal, and others also take part in the respectful gesture.

What this TV spot says to a person is “you might not respect the Yankees, and you might not respect baseball, but you respect Derek Jeter.” Why is that? Because Jeter has done more than play professional baseball for the last two decades. The Yankees’ #2 has created a personal brand based on more than his abilities: he has treated others with respect and, therefore, earned the same in return.

This sentiment serves a purpose for the Jordan brand too. Being famously associated with MJ, another sports icon, the subsidiary of Nike has a hard time getting its non-basketball products recognized. (I had no idea Jordan sold cleats, and I’m a huge Jordan sneakerhead.) But after seeing a closeup shot of Derek Jeter’s baseball boot on television, viewers might give Jordan the wider recognition that it wants.

Currently, Nike only sells Jordan basketball, running and football shoes, but after such a successful marketing campaign, I can guess that this is a prelude to a more diverse collection. “RE2PECT” is printed on sold-out hats and t-shirts, and related hashtags are amongst the most trending on Twitter and Facebook.

~ Jay Kim, Summer Associate, The S3 Agency

DO YOU OR YOUR MARKETING TRY TOO HARD?

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I don’t usually watch music videos, but when I saw my Facebook feed was blowing up with posts about Colbie Calliat’s latest video for her new song, “Try,” I had to check it out. In order to prepare, I did a little research before investing myself. Results dredged up hundreds of articles with headlines about how Colbie is taking a stand against Photoshop and telling girls to take off their makeup. Not being able to resist a good controversy, I took the bait.

What I found was actually a cute little song and a simple video. The song has a message that tells listeners that they don’t have to try so hard to impress others by changing things about themselves, or by spending hours of their lives doing their hair and makeup. The video features Caillat and a diverse group of women lip-syncing the song. At the beginning of the video, they are all dolled up with hair and makeup. As the song progresses, the women wipe off all their makeup and reveal their natural hair. The song ends with a hit right in the feels as Caillat sings, “Take your makeup off/ Let your hair down/ Take a breath/ Look into the mirror at yourself/ Don’t you like you?/ Cause I like you.”

Personally, I don’t think that Colbie is pushing an anti-makeup agenda. I think it is more of a call for people to feel comfortable in their own skin, and if they do put in the extra effort, do it for themselves.

However, not everyone receives the message the same way. There are many critics saying that Colbie is telling women it is a bad thing to dress up and wear makeup. Others are claiming that the women in the video are not naturally ugly enough, so only pretty girls can go without makeup.

The debate caused Caillat’s video to go viral, racking up over 17 million views within the first few weeks of being posted.

Whether the singer is actually on a mission to break down the over-airbrushed world or build up the self-esteem of women everywhere, she definitely struck a chord with this one. Either way, for such a low-production music video, it brought in fantastic attention and stirred up just enough controversy to attract more than just regular fans. Overall, it is a clever angle with the right timing.

I sincerely doubt her team had this planned, but it’s definitely a PR success for Caillat and her music. On the other hand, it’s also a win for Colbie’s message: Take your makeup off, let your hair down, take a breath and people will like you…or at least watch your video.

~ Kristin Drabik, Summer Associate, The S3 Agency

Making Dinner Hilarious, One Tweet At A Time

There’s nothing like scrolling through your timeline and stumbling on Twitter gold. Although rare, it does happen. You might not expect the most interesting, witty, or clever one-liners to come from a brand, but I present to you @helper, the beautiful location of Hamburger Helper’s “punny” tidbits.


For a product that’s been around for several decades, they sure know how to stay relevant. The brand ditched the “Hamburger” and just goes by Helper now – and the super simple handle makes it even more attention-grabbing. @helper seriously knows how to infuse their product/theme into the current ramblings of pop culture and social media.

Their specialty? Pop music!

@helper even found out what caused the fight between Jay Z and Solange Knowles.

If this Twitter account doesn’t give you a good chuckle, I’m not sure what will. It’s safe to say, I’m slightly obsessed with @helper, which is resulting in a lot of scrolling. Mind-blowing only because it’s just a food additive. This is the kind of presence brands need to have if they’re trying to make a comeback, rebranding, or just trying to appeal to my generation (Millennials) and future generations.

I can only see one thing (Hamburger) Helper is doing wrong: there’s NO link to this amazing Internet find on their website. With something this great, they should be shouting it from the rooftops – or at least on desktops!

See ya later from this friendly face (or hand)!

~ Monique Moore, Summer Associate, The S3 Agency



WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM THE NEW Airbnb REBRANDING?

Last week Airbnb launched a rebranding campaign that included a website refresh and introduced a new logo which they called the Bêlo. They also released a new video explaining the new logo: 

The new logo has all the elements of a well designed logo in today’s world: it’s memorable, simple, and looks like a part of the female anatomy…wait WHAT?!?!

In case you haven’t heard, there has been quite a backlash about the new logo. There’s even a new Tumblr dedicated to alternatives for the logo (many of which are NSFW). The backlash also took to social media with many witty comments made on Twitter.

So how does this happen? How does a company miss what’s obvious to so many people? And more importantly, how can brands avoid having this happen to them?

Now some may argue that all the attention may not be a bad thing – after all, the company is now getting a lot of free publicity. I think it’s too early to tell if that’s true. Let’s not forget creative misfires of the past like PepsiCo’s disastrous Tropicana packaging change which was quickly reversed and cost the brand $33 million in two months.

I feel that bigger, more successful brands are more likely to have rebranding blunders because they have trouble envisioning failure. A long run of success may lead to egos that believe their company can recover from any misstep. Larger companies are also more likely to suffer from hierarchy issues: employees may defer to the opinion of the senior person in the room, despite the fact that a few junior people might think “that logo looks a lot like a …”.

Brand embarrassments as such can be avoided by doing a few things:

  • Don’t overthink the logo – Assuming it will make or break your business may lead to the latter.
  • Listen to junior marketers – They’re closest to their consumer instincts.  Get their opinions first before senior leaders weigh in.
  • Test it – Use a focus group, it’s easier than ever now. (Consider cost-effective online options.)
  • Use common sense – There’s not enough of it out there.  Try to avoid getting caught up in the symbolism as it can lead to self-delusion.


As for Airbnb, their heart was in the right place and I actually do like their new logo – just with a few alterations.  It’s amazing what a change of color can do.

~ Walid Elshahed, Web Designer, The S3 Agency

Don’t Feed The Troll

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As an avid podcast listener, I am disgusted about something that is happening in our country’s Federal Court system. A Patent Troll named “Personal Audio” is suing the Adam Carolla Podcast for a patent violation. They bought a very general patent for a “System for disseminating media content representing episodes in a serialized sequence.”

Personal Audio doesn’t have much of a legal leg to stand on…. right? Unfortunately, they do. Personal Audio has sued Apple that it held patents on the concept of “playlists”. Playlists?!?!?! Basically every broken-hearted teen that made their girlfriend a mix tape in the 80s should expect to be served papers any minute now.

Who are these vampires? Personal Audio is a shell corporation with a PO Box / Empty Office in East Texas. Why East Texas? Because it remains, by far, the most popular place for patent lawsuits (U-S-A!!!). Personal Audio also carefully selects the amount of money they go after to encourage the plaintiff (in this case, Carolla) to settle out of court – rather than rack up legal fees. They are supported by Patent Troll Lobbyists, and they seem to have quite a bit of “influence” with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (U-S-A!!!), who recently squashed a bipartisan compromise minutes before it hit the floor.

If Personal Audio succeeds in their efforts with Carolla, they will then have legal backing to go after EVERY podcast. Thankfully the Ace Man is not rolling over and giving in; he intends to take fight the case in court.

Is Carolla’s personal brand enough to effect change? It depends on whether or not his followers actually do something about the situation. What can they do? It’s as easy as 1…2… Well, just 1…2.

  1. Donate to the Adam Carolla defense fund here.
  2. Learn more about patent reform and what can be done by watching this video:


Mahalo
Jaime Hamel, Digital Strategist, The S3 Agency