The Millennial monsoon is beginning to be in season and those who are not ready will dearly pay the price–just ask a cab driver. 20170608_123141

This generation, like any target audience has unique idiosyncrasies that show up now and again.  All generational bubbles are disruptors, but millennials are moving the cheese of more than technology.

When millennial-targeted products do break the tradition barrier, it is with a sonic boom that shatters all sorts of glass ceilings and boxes. I saw one the other day, a can of wine. Forget the box wine, screw tops or synthetic cork alerts, this is 100% can of rose. Even worse, Whole Foods declared 2016 the year of the can wine. But what this tradition-killing trend says that you need to be on your game and incredibly flexible to survive in this new market.

The sarcastic tone of the advertising around can wine not only is unapologetic, it slaps at the traditionalists. For can wine producer The Drop, it’s website, it says, “The Drop has no time time for tradition.” The Drop website

I’m a wine lover, but I’m not a snob, so I will try the can wine. You should never judge a wine by its cover, although research shows we think expensive wines are better than inexpensive wines if we know the price (in blind tests, we don’t do so well). But I think for this generation of experience over possessions, there is no better experience than opening a bottle of wine a cork screw, decanting it and then pouring it into Riedel stemware and swirling it a bit before tasting.

However, I also know that convenience wins in the marketing world. It will just make the wine cellar look a little strange.  What’s your industry’s wine in a can?

With the country divided along political ideologies, it seems like a bad idea to mix your brand message with political leanings. Some are taking a not-so-subtle approach in advertising, but is it smart marketing? 1 in 4 people have boycotted a product because of political leanings.f000910c-f9b1-4610-9c3f-adad9a9e23fb

The issue is for brands is do you need declare or can you keep your head down? If consumers are “organizing their brands around their political identity, according to the research firm Ipsos, can you afford to stay on the sidelines?

It’s a slippery slope for most, yet for some of us, being pulled in may not be our decision. You need to have a plan if for some reason you are singled out or pulled into a political debate about your products or services. We call this a PR crisis and it is better to be prepared than winging it when it breaks. Yet some brands transcend the political correctness. Apple’s CEO has taken strong stands in speeches and in advertising, but you don’t see an organized product boycott.

For some the political divide is providing creative fodder for comedy. Smirnoff launched a campaign mocking the Russia investigations. Again, this may seem like poking a sleeping lion,  but in this hyper cluttered world, it may be the way to breakthrough. In spite of the material opportunity, you need to really know your audience and have a PR plan in place if it all goes wrong. 11111111


We want more, and digital is providing more. By now, you have probably seen a 360-degree video that engages and delights you. Mine was the 40th anniversary of Saturday Night Live SNL 40th Anniversary 360-degree. Being able to see and hear Jerry Seinfeld tell jokes and then spin the view around to look at the audience still amazes me. You can also look at the cue-card person and the lighting grid.IMG_0203

For most businesses, the 360-degree video doesn’t make sense, but I believe you’ll find many ways to make 360 an interest point in your organization. Patagonia found a way to entice people with its ad in the New York Times digital newspaper.

The video is beautiful, and I’m sure it directly connects with the persona of its target audience. Yet there is so much more going on with this ad. There is a clear cause-marketing effort. In recent study by Toluna, 51% of people are more likely to purchase a brand that supports a cause we agree with. More on that topic in the next blog.

The ad is also a perfect landing page: It has singular focus and a clear call to action, “Explore & Take Action.” But all of this doesn’t come together without the immersive, beautiful and fully engaging 360-degree video. A way to look beyond the crop marks of any photo or video.

Far too many times, as marketers, we forget to close the loop. We are very good at planning and implementing, but there is a forgotten step in this digital age. snip 5-step journey map

We all know there is a strong connection for people and reviews. This is strongly indicated in research, but it is also just common sense. We prefer word-of-mouth advertising to any form. We find it more credible and useful.

The forgotten step is the “reviews” step: Encouraging, asking for and arranging for reviews from credible testimonials on review sites. Smart marketers include star reviews on a page, indicating positive feedback.

On several occasions, I’ve had someone hand me a card after an event which offers the place where I can go to review the experience. That makes it easy for me and a good reminder for when I get home.

So when you are diagramming your brand journey map, make sure you are remembering the Review phase at the Promise phase. They are connected and equally important.

We’ve all heard the phrase, “No one is watching TV any more,” or “No one is reading the newspaper today.” Statista smartphones for TV

Well, no one is right. We are in an age of transition and change, and it seems that absolutes make us all feel better. We do have to change with the prevailing winds, but you also have to keep the ship upright and avoid oversteering.

Here’s a chart from people I trust (Nielsen) and who have not been known to provide fake news or worse, fake research. It shows that smartphone usage is growing for 18-24-year-olds. While for people 35+, TV has a healthy advantage. I believe if you look at the spendable income, you will also see that TV has the advantage.

The problem with these kinds of comparisons is that it pits TV against smartphones, and the comparison seems a bit false. So, with this knowledge, does it mean you should be putting more money into web/app advertising or TV advertising? And what do you do with the 25-34-year-olds where the playing field is even?

From my perspective, it means what it always has: You must carefully identify your target audience and you must understand the idiosyncrasies of that audience.  In fact, you must also understand so much more than the age of the audience. We spend a lot of time talking about personas with our clients. The fact is that different people need different messaging, no matter if they are 18 or 65.

Outside my window was the digital age coming alive in one of the most unusual ways. DSC_6279

On a quiet Saturday afternoon, the airplane sculpture became a hotbed of activity as car after car stopped and unloaded groups of people. They were collecting items for a modern day scavenger hunt, but instead of asking for a golf ball or a pogo stick, each group needed to take a selfie at various landmark locations around town.

The selfies were posted on Facebook and the time was monitored as each group finished another task. It’s a great take on an old game, but now you are not stuck with a bunch of junk. Pokemon Go, flash mobs and modern-day scavenger hunts are all examples of immersive media activities that are sweeping the country. It’s a great way to have a game and extend the activity into social media. Winners all around.

Gravestones of Andersonville National Historic Site