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Most advertisers just want to tell people things in commercials and videos and have them immediately react and buy something, give money, sign up or schedule an appointment. GEICO has discovered that advertising in a digital world is a new medium that requires some subtle sales, loud and literal messaging, and a lot of entertainment value.

Like the GEICO ad that features Atlanta’s Tag Team (aka DC “The Brain Supreme” Glenn and Steve “Rolln” Gibson). “Scoop, there it is” is sure to be a slang phrase of 2021. The clever mix of ice cream names and the song drives the commercial. And according to Dr. John Medina, “Music boosts cognition.”

“Scoop! There it is.” GEICO has found a way to break through the clutter and build a brand around fun ads, great characters and music. It’s a triple scoop of creativity that is pleasing to the eye and ear.

So how is this ad doing? Well, for starters, the commercial has more than 14 million views on YouTube. That’s 14 million people who watched a “commercial” on YouTube. Who said people want to skip the ads?

Mark Mathis III is chief creative & strategy officer, partner and cofounder of AMPERAGE Marketing & Fundraising.

Shorter is better in the digital video world. That is the study summation by Wistia in research on engagement vs. video length.

The study revealed three basic ideas for video length of digital assets by studying more than 500,000 videos and 1.3 billion shares:

  • 1-2 minutes is the preferred video length for maximum engagement
  • There is significant engagement drop-off in the 2 to 7 minutes range
  • 7 to 12 minutes is constant and retains 50% of engagement

So let’s keep this short. Yet, if you want to create a 1-to-2-minute video, how long can your script be? As you can see, you have only 300 words max. (This blog is just over 150 words, or a little more than 1 minute of video copy.) 

Keep it to 1 to 2 minutes, and you’ll optimize your video engagement. But make every second count if you go over 2 minutes. 

Mark Mathis III is chief creative & strategy officer, partner and cofounder of AMPERAGE Marketing & Fundraising.

A resume is a resume, right? Not if you ask a robot. I like to think of a resume as a personalized, direct-mail effort. And in any successful mailing, you must first consider your target audience. The target audience for a resume is a human and a robot (either AI or ATS).  

Artificial intelligence (AI) predictive software hiring tools can rapidly evaluate resumes using keywords. The robot evaluates the skills, experience and education against the job requirements and spits out either a score or a pass/fail for the resume — all before a human resource person needs to review.

Some organizations are currently using Applicant Tracking systems (ATS) to automatically reject applicants without the right keywords or missing information. The good news is that robots are less biased than humans, and the robot can ignore age, sex, race and other information deemed prejudicial.

So before you send another resume, here are a few thoughts for the digital world:

  • Use keyword phrases from the job ads/posts in your resume and cover letter. Some call it “mirroring” the job description. Get used to the fact that your world is now controlled by keywords.
  • Use words such as significant and strong in your descriptions. This will give “clues” to the AI software of your elevated skill sets.
  • Quantify your performance throughout your resume. Detail your experience, such as the number of people managed, increased sales by percentage or percentage of projects finished on time.
  • AI may not be able to read your PDFs. The PDF may look like an image. Use text-based applications such as Microsoft Word. Also, fancy designs may look great to a human, but a machine will not appreciate the formatting.
  • Personalize your resume to each job description. It takes time, but the systems are built to weed out all disqualifying resumes.

Mark Mathis III is chief creative & strategy officer, partner and cofounder of AMPERAGE Marketing & Fundraising.

Here’s just a little bit about a lot of marketing things happening in the world we love.

The Logo Redesign Season Is in Full Swing

General Motors, Burger King, Kia and Pfizer are just a few of the companies that are rolling out cosmetic makeovers of their brands. The goal seems to be simplification and digital alignment. GM’s move coincided with its announcement that it is moving more into electric cars.

The Hyper-Market Choice Days Are Over

Many organizations are blaming the pandemic, but most are limiting choices due to what seems like a natural day of reckoning. McDonald’s is cutting back on breakfast, Clorox is cutting back on different scents and package sizes, Coca-Cola is cutting its underperforming offerings. What companies are finally realizing is that variety is the spice of life — but not endless variety.

Portrait of woman in supermarket

Grocery Stores Are Finally Thinking Like Shoppers

Walmart is working to make the store navigation clearer and match the app. Have you ever just wanted to pull up a store map and search for an item? You can put your shopping list in the app to more easily navigate the store and find items. Walmart calls it “end-to-end” digital navigation that guides customers through their journey. Now, if the app could just identify an employee who can help me.

Please Don’t Say Older People Are Set in Their Ways Again

COVID-19 may be killing brand loyalty because we have been forced to experiment with new products and services. According to Ad Age, “Older consumers age 55 and up, previously known for being intensely brand loyal, are now in play.” The coronavirus has forced everyone to shift buying habits. And we are all looking at products and services with new eyes. That also means that the marketing needs to be more real. I saw a graphic that featured a hunched-over man with a can as an example of the 65-year-old — I’ll race you on a long-distance bike ride any day youngster.

It’s Time for a Chief Entertainment Officer

With the return to events and event marketing, it is time to get serious about the expense and effort. Many shows have gone bankrupt because the people didn’t understand competition with other events, rights fees, legal hurdles and liability issues, not to mention getting a true and relevant branding message into the event. And with streaming and social media, the biggest bang for the marketing buck may not be the event at all, but after the event. The marketing officer has other considerations; the entertainment officer can make sure the money is well used and invested wisely to move the needle.

Mark Mathis III is chief creative & strategy officer, partner and cofounder of AMPERAGE Marketing & Fundraising.

In 1996, I left a great job at KWWL because the entrepreneurial bug bit me. I have saved the Nielsen ratings books from 1996 when we started the agency and was looking through them the other day. I had remembered some of the ratings and shares, but I had forgotten the high number of real people.

In 1996 (M-F average), there were 92,000 people watching KWWL for the 6 p.m. newscast. KCRG had 69,000, and KGAN had 38,000. That is nearly 200,000 people watching news at 6 p.m. in Eastern Iowa. Some 20 years later (2020 May Nielsen), KWWL has 50,100, KCRG 52,400 and KGAN 11,300.

We know there has been an erosion in numbers of people watching broadcast television, but where did the nearly 100,000 people go? I’m guessing all over. They are on the internet live streaming, shopping on Amazon, interacting on social media (predominately Facebook), watching 200 different cable or satellite TV channels, and they are going to their children’s soccer games. (There are many more athletic and school activities that are running into the evening than in 1996.) 

So is broadcast TV still a good media buy? Absolutely. Where else can you consistently reach a concentration of 114,000 people in a market with a single message and at the same time? You can build 100,000 views for a YouTube video, yet many of those views will be from outside the market and those viewers will take a lot of time and effort to build in a midsize market area.

Where did nearly 100,000 viewers go? All over. With more choices for our attention, all media is diluted. Yet TV is still a powerful medium with a large concentrated audience.  

Mark Mathis III is chief creative & strategy officer, partner and cofounder of AMPERAGE Marketing & Fundraising.

I hope when we all break from this pandemic and return to normal that we don’t forget the innovation we have all experienced. There are many meetings that should stay on Zoom. Speed to market should be constantly improving. We should be willing to try more ideas and experiment with new techniques and concepts, and we constantly need to rethink our paradigms of service.

We need to remember from this pandemic that you need to hyper-focus on the needs, wants and goals of your customer/donor/patient/stakeholder first. It should be the No. 1 node on your chart for determining new innovation. I read an article in the Washington Post about how an opera decided not to remain silent during the pandemic. They decided to forgo the closed concert hall and brought the opera home in a box.

Opera may have needed to reinvent itself anyway in this new digital world, but one found a way to offer an idea that was music to the ears of fans. On Site Opera in New York was already experimenting with taking the opera to the people. The pandemic forced its hand even more.

Each person who signed up received a new diary in the mail with different songs that you could listen to via QR codes. As writer Michael Andor Brodeur put it, the secret is “if you can treat the exile from the stage as a form of liberation, experimenting with ways to bring audiences and music together again in real spaces,” you can have an experience that will grow the market.

Brodeur told of an LA Opera production that typically would bring in 1,100 people in a two-night, sold-out theater. Once it moved online, more than 22,000 watched. Others who estimated 30,000 people a year attending live productions have more than 200,000 people attending online and outdoor programming. And that is just for opera.

The organizations that are learning from the pandemic, not waiting to get back to normal, are the organizations of the future — fueled by revolution from chaos. The times have changed, accelerated by the pandemic. There is no normal, only innovation.

Mark Mathis III is chief creative & strategy officer, partner and cofounder of AMPERAGE Marketing & Fundraising.

There is a spate of logo remodels going on across the country. And rightfully so: Many logos just don’t work in an internet environment like mobile or on an app. One company has decided not to design out its history and its brand from its new look.

Metro Goldwyn Mayer has unveiled a new updated logo. If you expected a flat design with yellow greens and aqua blues, you will be surprised. The logo is the traditional golden color. In fact, the sepia tones have been removed. The new logo is CGI. So a new lion was not introduced, but the designers cleaned up and sharpened the design — and did not destroy 60 years of history, identity and branding.

It is modernized, but in a subtle way that will build on all the past brand equity. The new logo was intended to premiere in the new James Bond film “No Time to Die,” but that release is still up in the air due to COVID-19. So no MGM-like fanfare, just a simple rollout to new and old audiences. The Latin tagline — Ars Gratia Artis (Art for Art’s Sake) — was not thrown aside either but has now become part of the marketing for the organization — a modernizing of the spirit that has driven this Hollywood staple.

New logos do need to represent the future, but if you fail to bring along the past, you will shake off all the brand equity you’ve built over time — equity you can never get back.

Mark Mathis III is chief creative & strategy officer, partner and cofounder of AMPERAGE Marketing & Fundraising.

My apologies to Henry David Thoreau, but this seems appropriate as more of us are fishing in streams of content, spending time trying to find a good show or movie to watch. And you thought skimming through 250 cable channels was a time-waster.

Recently ViacomCBS rebranded CBS All Access to the subscription service Paramount+.  Quite frankly, I would have stayed CBS in the name. It has more brand power in sports, news and programming and is much easier to remember and enter into URL searches.

Take a look at this chart of the start of streaming services: Amazon, Apple, Disney, HBO, Hulu, Netflix, etc. More than you could ever want and certainly more than you would ever want to pay for.

One thing we all know is that hit TV shows or movies drive subscriptions. The fans will follow football. The money will follow the fans. However, this is turning into an interesting conundrum for those who want to save money by cutting the cord on cable. You can go broke covering all the streaming services, but who can have only one or two? If you have kids you have to have Disney. HGTV shows are moving to Discovery+ and NFL will be on Paramount, Fox, NFL.com and other outlets. And if you want the latest movie release, that will be a premium cost for the first run since the movie is not going to theaters as readily.

We have not even started on the local broadcasting that will eventually move to some kind of streaming service. And don’t count out the cable companies. They have the magic bullet — they own the access point to most homes in America to pipe in the internet that provides most of the bandwidth needed for crystal-clear movies and programming. 5G, 10G or 100G will provide more capabilities over the air, but then we are just going back to broadcasting days of over-the-air TV with all of its issues, regulations and weather technicalities.

The clear winners are addressable TV commercials and OTT commercials. More on the difference and availability in future blogs.

Mark Mathis III is chief creative & strategy officer, partner and cofounder of AMPERAGE Marketing & Fundraising.

You may have missed last season’s NFL playoff game on Nickelodeon. It was between the New Orleans Saints and the Chicago Bears. It featured slime-filled graphics on the field when there was a score, and the announcers were not your typical NFL sports broadcasters. SpongeBob SquarePants was on the net catching field-goal kicks.

The Nickelodeon game was the network’s most-watched program in nearly four years with 2.06 million viewers. For the NFL, this is what it will want to see in negotiated rights to broadcast the game. It is a simple way to bring new fans to the game — especially young fans. The NFL is searching for new audiences and ways to extend its content. Amazon is bidding. So are Disney/ESPN, FOX, CBS and maybe even some social media outlets. ESPN has experimented with multiple channels from ABC, ESPN, Freeform, ESPN2 (coaches’ room), ESPN+ (analytics-focused) and ESPN Deportes.

It is all intended to build more audiences, bring in a new generation of football fans, extend content offerings and appeal to a broader audience set for each game.

The alternative broadcasting helps extend the brand and make it more accessible to fans and new fans. The negotiations will be the best game to watch this summer. But there is a lesson for us all in this: Take your most popular content and leverage it for broader reach and spinoffs.

Mark Mathis III is chief creative & strategy officer, partner and cofounder of AMPERAGE Marketing & Fundraising.

After boomers and millennials, the generational names are getting less descriptive and certainly less original. It seems like it is a race to see who can name the next generation the fastest and, most importantly, have it stick.

You don’t have to say “generation” boomers or “generation” millennials as you do with Gen X, Gen Z (we should have started earlier in the alphabet) and, introducing today in this blog, Generation Alpha.  I guess it is easier just using the Greek letters now. This name is credited to Mark McCrindle, an Australian researcher. He says that “Alphas” will be the wealthiest generation on the planet. (He could have called them the wealthies or the richies or the Well-to-doers.)

Generation Alpha may not last. Greek letters are not very imaginative — and who wants to be Generation Xi or Psi or Mu? For now, the oldest members of Gen Alpha are 10 years old. The rest are not born yet.

This group should be called “Generation Social*” because they will be the first generation to live their entire lives under social media’s influence. They are or will be the best educated generation, the most technologically immersed and the wealthiest.

Some have said they could be the most impatient generation because of technological advances. According to McCrindle, “This newest generation are part of an unintentional global experiment where screens are placed in front of them from the youngest age as pacifiers, entertainers and educational aids.” (So Generation Screeners?) 

This generation will also live the longest and will drive autonomous vehicles, constantly use voice commands and smart speakers, use aerial ride sharing and their computers will have quantum-level ability. Nano technology will explode in uses from health to technology. Maybe this is Generation WOW. 

*Just remember where you heard it first.

Mark Mathis III is chief creative & strategy officer, partner and cofounder of AMPERAGE Marketing & Fundraising.