Uncategorized

small biz ads

Making Sense of that Horrible Nationwide Super Bowl Ad

  • by

Making Sense of that Horrible Nationwide Super Bowl Ad

So much has been said of Nationwide Insurance’s totally depressing Super Bowl XLIV commercial that featured a dead child. “Who thought this was a good idea?” “Who approved this?” These are things I keep hearing. I figured I’d try and make some sense of this ad and break it down a little more.

Watch it here if you somehow missed it:

I’ll be honest. I saw it, got drawn in, and then when the boy says he was killed in an accident my initial reaction was that I was kind of mad. Yes, I got mad at a television commercial during the Super Bowl. I’m a 34 year old male who allows :30 TV spots to irritate my mood. I’m sitting there with my wife and our 12 month old daughter pointing out things to her about her first Super Bowl she’ll never remember… I’m enjoying the game, enjoying the ads… “Aww, those horses saved the puppy!”….”Wait, did I just see a nude Mindy Kaling!?”… and then all of a sudden I’m being forced to think about losing a child in an accident. That’s literally about the last thing I want on my mind ever while enjoying a Super Bowl.

So let’s break down this ad. Why did they make this ad in the first place?

I think this particular commercial missed the mark mainly because they failed to clearly get their message across. Nationwide doesn’t offer some magical product that prevents your child from getting into an accident. What they do offer as a large insurance corporation however, is, a heavy influence over how products are regulated on the market. Most people don’t realize that insurance companies do more than just write policies, collect money and settle claims. They also lobby to regulate all kinds of products and manufacturer regulations and grade systems that help keep unsafe products off the shelves and out of our lives. And yes, this in turn does theoretically and practically save lives. That’s the angle they were going for, but clearly missed the mark. This aspect of the insurance business isn’t necessarily done with the sole goal saving lives. They’re spending resources on helping regulate unsafe products and standardizing regulations because less accidents means less insurance claims which means less money they have to pay out. Coincidentally it also saves lives and this is the spin worth mentioning. It’s a hell of a fantastic spin actually.

If Nationwide had made an ad that better explained how they strive to keep products regulated and safe in order to keep our families protected that would be one thing. But instead, they made it sound like they offer some sort of groundbreaking product that somehow keeps our children above the ground at the expense of bumming us all out and almost shaming us into feeling the need to better protect our families.

You can tell the idea was there. Just not the execution. They missed by a lot.

You can argue it was a successful ad in ways because everyone is talking about it and everyone remembers it was an ad for Nationwide. However, that’s not the press you want when you don’t clearly address your message.

Conversely, Nationwide’s other ad that they ran during the Super Bowl, “Invisible Mindy” featuring Mindy Kaling was a great, creative and memorable ad. The problem with that ad though – is that you forget what it’s about and you forget who the ad was for? It could’ve been an ad for JC Penny as easily as it was for Nationwide Insurance! I don’t even remember what the ad said. I just remember thinking Mindy Kaling was funny because she thought she was invisible.

Nationwide is this year’s biggest loser when it comes to Super Bowl ads. They had a couple chances to get it right and got them both wrong for very different reasons.

 

Marc Bethel is Co-Owner of Commonwealth Creative Marketing, a full-service design and production firm located in Norfolk, VA. Read more posts by Marc at https://ccm-web.com/blog/.

8 Things NOT to do on Facebook

  • by

8 Things NOT to do on Facebook

My internet marketing firm spends all day online. I personally spend a great deal of time on Facebook for business reasons, and have a large and varied friends list. This blog post will help you steer clear of bad etiquette on Facebook.

1. Stalking on Facebook is just as inappropriate as in real life. If you are commenting on and/or liking EVERYTHING that someone posts, that is a form of stalking.

2. Punctuation matters; there is nothing as aggravating as having to mentally insert the missing and or corrected punctuation while I am reading a post. Slow down, and have some respect for your reader.

3. Don’t use quotes every day as your status. It’s boring and lazy and tells your audience nothing at all about you, hence it is poor for engagement; and that is what supposedly you came to Facebook to do…you know, engage with actual people.

4. DO NOT FRIEND FARM!!!! That is the act of pillaging one of your popular, successful, networked friend’s list and sending friend requests to whom you think look cool, or a good business target, or whatever. It is rude, and it is the height of bad online manners.

5. DO NOT accept people as friends if you think you are being friend farmed. If you don’t know them, click ignore. There are no trophies for having the biggest friends list, and why the heck do you want to interact with someone you do not even know?! Unless they are in your very favorite band, say no. This is how friend farming will finally come to a halt.

6. Grammar matters too: Google it if you have to or re-word, but when you use the incorrect form of your, their, or wear, it makes it hard for people to read.

7. And whatever you do, do NOT be judgmental on someone else’s wall; you may misunderstand their humor, you may not know the inside joke, the back-story, or the reality on someone’s post, and for you to pass judgment in a snarky, superior way ON THEIR WALL is unprofessional.

8. Do not post links to or about your business, charity, project, or passion to someone else’s wall without asking first. It is both presumptuous and rude, and is akin to putting a sign for your business in your friends’ yard without asking.

In other words, be kind, be intelligent, be polite, be positive. Just like in real life, if you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all. As a partner in a small business marketing company, I can promise that obeying all these rules will make your Facebook world a better, happier, more cheerful place.

~Kim Finley, Sales Director

Yes, Small Business CAN Play with the Big Boys!

  • by

Yes, Small Business CAN Play with the Big Boys!

The Internet has leveled the playing field for small business in many ways, even with larger companies having the advantage of big bucks.  Large advertising dollars can pay for expensive pay-per-click campaigns, expensive social media contests with expensive prizes and expensive tie-ins with other forms of advertising.

So how have small businesses made up the difference?

1. A visually strong website that contains calls to action and instructions for your visitor.  If you do not have a qualified person on staff, engage an ethical, small business website design company to help.

2. Always consider a niche, specifically, your niche.  You don’t need to appeal to EVERYBODY on the web, so don’t spend your money or your time doing so.  Target market to a very narrow segment of people who NEED your solution to their problem.

3. Execute search engine optimization (SEO) practices to the extent you can afford.  What you can’t pay for or outsource to a professional, do yourself.  It is a time investment that can pay off dramatically in revenue, if done right.

4. Set up your analytics to run on your website, and TRACK everything!  Design your sales funnels and your conversion goals and monitor your results, tweaking where you can.  Data is power.
Remember, Google has an interest in a level playing field, and the consumer does too.  So you CAN beef up your online presence without breaking the bank.

~ Kim, Sales Director

Why Prebuilt Themes Are Bad for the Web WordPress, Joomla, Drupal get a bad rap

  • by

Why Prebuilt Themes Are Bad for the Web WordPress, Joomla, Drupal get a bad rap

There’s been an ongoing debate by everyone in the industry as well as with the do-it-yourselfers aspiring to have an easy-to-build, easy-to-manage website with dynamic capabilities… Which of the “big 3” content management systems is the best?  Over the past several years the “big 3” CMS’s have emerged as leaders:  WordPress, Joomla and Drupal.  So which is best for what? and why?

Let’s pick on WordPress for a second…  It’s the most popular of the 3.  Originally developed to be an all in one blogging platform with easy to use SEO plug-ins, content widgets for streaming and open-end development, WordPress quickly became a popular option for bloggers.  Soon after it became apparent that WordPress could be used for much more.  It then morphed into a CMS where anyone, whether skilled in web-design or a novice, could grab a template and make a decent looking webpage.

My first, second and probably 328th impressions of WordPress were that I could identify a WordPress site from a million miles away.  Their templates all looked the same with a two-toned header that runs all the way across the page, a white solid background in the body, a thick footer all the way across the bottom of the page and widget boxes down the right hand side.  You know what I’m talking about… you’ve seen this site a millions times.  Even Joomla templates can be equally as boring and played out for the most part…  as seen here.   Here’s something I came across recently that I find astoundingly yucky:  A very large ad agency in Washington D.C. uses a prebuilt WordPress theme for their own site.  Ummm Shouldn’t an ad agency design their own creative site?  If this is what they’re doing for their own site, I don’t wanna know what kind of creative they’re selling to their clients!

Then I realized that WordPress isn’t necessarily about themes.  It’s not necessarily about blogs.  It’s not even about widgets.  It’s about a content management system that makes building, organizing, managing and editing a website much easier.  At CCM, we have a strict philosophy that we only build our clients’ own themes from scratch, never using/purchasing non-unique, prebuilt themes to be customized, but rather creating customized website designs for our clients based on their needs, branding and uniqueness.  We use WordPress all the time… but a major difference in what we do from what other designers do is that we design the site ourselves and then put it into WordPress so that its easy to manage.  Our clients end up with a creative, unique site design that is easily customizable to their individual needs and branding.  What I can’t stand to see is many of these other designers buying preexisting themes for their clients, putting them in WordPress and trying to customize them slightly.  Nine times out of ten they’ve limited themselves right from the beginning.  Most prebuilt themes were built for a reason.  When you try to take someone else’s work and make it work for your client, there’s almost always going to be something that can’t work out right.  Whether it’s logo placement, an RSS feed in a certain area, or a slideshow it’s inevitably going to happen.  About once a week someone will send me their existing site and ask me if I can make a few edits to it.  Once we begin playing with their pre-bought theme it becomes apparent that what they want simply won’t work.  I have to explain to them that the pre-bought template they’re using is limiting them and if we can build them a new customized site from scratch, this problem will be avoided.

Before working in WordPress as our preferred CMS, we did a lot of sites in Joomla.  Joomla isn’t bad.  In most ways it’s the same as WordPress, and likewise for Drupal.  They all have little hiccups and features here and there that you may like better with one compared to the other, but WordPress gets my vote for the overall easiest to use, best SEO plugins and ease of blog and social media integration.  But in the end it doesn’t matter which CMS you work with.  They all mostly accomplish the same thing.  WordPress just does it easier in my mind.  The real issue is whether or not you’re using your CMS for evil or for good…  For uniqueness or for the ordinarily stale depreciation of the web.

Let’s face it… Themes aren’t going to go away.  We all get why they exist:  someone develops a theme and sells it to the masses of people who need a website for a profit.  They captivate buyers with discount prices and simplicity.  It’s a business.  Look at Intuit, Verizon, AT&T, Godaddy and 1and1.com just to name a few.  They all offer several hundred pre-built themes you can customize in some fashion or another, but they’re ordinary, limiting and existing all over the web.  If we as an industry know what is good for the web, we should commit to using content management systems as CMSs without prebuilt themes.

311 said it best… You’ve got to come original.