She’s gone au naturel and we like it.

Aerie, American Eagle’s undies brand, has done away with advertising retouched models and is keeping it au naturel, and we (and its sales numbers) are in favor. As a group of strong-minded, creative female consumers in the advertising industry, we had some opinions about this business decision and its recent news, naturally.

Heather Apple, senior writer. Bold as she is blonde.

“Brands can support women for good and for profit. That’s what Aerie’s success proves: These aren’t mutually exclusive. It’s common sense. We spend so much time trying to understand our target; we should represent them—all of them.

“We still have a lot of strides to make to represent women of different sizes, ages and ethnicities, so if we could stop overlooking (and Photoshopping) those women, that’d be a big deal. If one brand shows real women, other brands will follow. Then eventually, we’ll see powerful, smart women of all shapes and sizes portrayed in the media.”

Alicia Ross, project manager. Only thing realer than her is her curls.

“I have two teenage sisters, 18 and 16. And even though we’re close, with social media, I have so much access into their personal thoughts because it’s 2016, and if they don’t tweet about it, then it didn’t happen.

“A recent tweet from my 18-year-old sister: ‘Buy all this makeup and I’m still ugly.’

“What? Nooooo.

“And from my 16-year-old sister: ‘This last year of body positivity toward myself (and everyone else) has really paid off. I love myself; ain’t no shame in my game. But as with anything, I still have progress to make.’

“That makes me super happy, but damn, why do 16-year-olds have to spend a year focusing on body positivity?

“So, if they’re shopping at a place where they can walk in and see attainable, realistic beauty where there are pictures of girls with folds in their stomach while sitting at the beach—because THAT’S WHAT BODIES ACTUALLY DO WHEN YOU SIT ON THE BEACH—then I feel really awesome about that. That’s where I want them to shop. That’s where I want to shop for them.”

Summer Ortiz, studio artist. You should see the girl sketch.

“Having had my own body issues through my adolescence and into adulthood, I’ll admit that I’ve been the person to give a perplexed sneer at this movement toward ‘real’ women in advertising.

“I’ve thought to myself: ‘Why is she in an ad? If a woman who looks like that can be in something like this, anyone could. I could.’

“But isn’t that the point? I was conditioned to think I should feel inferior to the women in ads. But why? Real women are beautiful.

“And from a sales perspective, this tactic is smart. If I see a woman with a body that more closely resembles mine, wearing something I too think I can look good in, I feel more confident purchasing it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen something on a model and purchased it, only to try it on and be reminded that I am not 6’1″ and a size 00. And then, not only do I feel badly about myself, but I feel negatively toward that brand, and I am less likely to buy from it again.

“This kind of advertising could change that cycle.”

Leslie Shaffer, creative director. She woke up like this.

“I love that this was a pure business move. Aerie didn’t stop retouching because of its own principles. It did it because it knew young women would be into it and spend their money with Aerie. That says a lot for a generation that gets a bad rap most of the time.

“Let’s stop advertising to some sad, imagined lowest common denominator and start assuming people are as smart and confident as they really are.”

Our experiences are different, but among us women, there’s a common trend: We’re all craving some realness and some rawness—some curves on the beach and some butts at the pool—because it’s time for brands to start reflecting its audience, not the other way around. Talk about an idea that makes a difference.

Does Your Localized Marketing Strategy Have These 3 Essential Qualities?

Advertising that features local content drives consumers into stores – whether they’re shopping with a national retailer or at a mom and pop business.

While brands have traditionally defined “local” as a physical location, “local” and “location” are not the same thing. Advertisers need to expand their definition to include people – taking into account how, when and what people buy in their typical or immediate surroundings. The IAB’s Local Buyer’s Guide explores how this consumer-centric view of local allows brands to execute campaigns that get results.

The IAB defines three essential qualities of successful local campaigns:
  • Presence refers to an advertiser’s need to not only show up throughout the consumer’s multitude of digital touch points, but to optimize those digital points of presence with local information and reasons to connect.
  • Discovery refers to search and listings, and using search engine optimization/search engine marketing (SEO/SEM) techniques to be found when consumers are looking for local solutions.
  • Engagement refers to the actual connections marketers make with locally targeted consumers.

Below are the questions brand marketers might ask themselves when evaluating their localized marketing strategies and some contextualized examples of what drives consumers into a physical store.

Establish Great Presence

Ask yourself: Is your content where your consumers are? Does it show up in their preferred channels and on their preferred devices?

While Snapchat has become the “it” platform for reaching younger audiences, the WSJ reports the instant messaging tool is just as important to teens as Twitter is. Knowing teens love social media, AMC Theatres recently ran a mobile-social campaign focused on reaching that audience using concessions coupons.

Localized Marketing Strategy AMC Theatre

Mobile Commerce Daily breaks down the details, but the essential lesson is this: AMC knows teens are glued to their phones, browsing Twitter and Snapchat without a lot of extra cash to spend. By offering up an easily redeemable mobile coupon via their preferred social channel, AMC reached teenagers where they were spending their time with something they (and their parents) wanted.

How could it have been even better?

The end goal of this campaign is clearly to drive young consumers to a movie theatre. And it does that well. However, in a fully realized localized marketing strategy, these offers would’ve been for specific theatre locations – coupons redeemable at the user’s neighborhood AMC Theatre. Scaling the offers to that level would have allowed AMC to take an ad with great presence and direct the consumers to exactly where they need to be in order to complete the next step in the purchase path.

Make Content Discoverable

Ask yourself: Can consumers easily find you and your message?

A great localized marketing strategy includes a strong search engine marketing approach because when people ask themselves: “Where can I get what I need?” that inquiry inevitably ends up in a search engine.

Home Depot has always made sure that when their customers’ needs arise, their offers return on search. They buy product and category level terms like “mulch” and “garden hoses,” but they also invest in broader phrases like “how to repair a gutter” and their brands like BEHR paint.

Localized Marketing Strategy Hoses Localized Marketing Strategy BEHR

 

They think about every angle their consumers may consider when they have home goods needs – how, what, where – and they invest in an SEM approach to support it.

How does Home Depot go the extra mile?

Being truly “discoverable” in a successful cross-channel campaign involves more than just an effective search though.

Home Depot succeeds here as well.

The retailer puts a great deal of effort behind getting their messages out and in front of consumers wherever they go to look for a home goods-related need.

Most recently, for their busy spring construction/gardening season they ran a “Spring Black Friday” campaign, recreating the sense of urgency and great in-store savings consumers associate with “traditional” Black Friday.

Localized Marketing Strategy Home Depot Social Localized Marketing Strategy Spring Black Friday

This campaign included a variety of tactics to reach consumers beyond SEM – including a micro-site, mobile campaigns (in and out of app), and social ads. But more importantly, the consumers knew exactly what they could get and where and when they could get it regardless of how they encountered the campaign.

Drive Quality Engagement

Ask yourself: Are my content experiences personally relevant to my consumers and are they driving these customers to act?

At its core, the desire consumers have for “personalized” content is a desire for something more relevant. This is how a broader understanding of local can help here as well. Local content is some of the most relevant content a brand can share because it is immediately actionable; a consumer can jump in a car, walk down the street, or, in some cases, just move to the next aisle and grab the product they encountered in a localized digital ad experience.

Localized content is highly engaging because it grabs attention by connecting to a space and a sense of immediate availability.

Meijer is one example of a retailer that realized its existing localized assets could be optimized to do more. By inserting a dynamic page into an eCircular experience, the company introduced dynamic content into a traditionally static, but familiar and trusted, browsing experience.

In the example below, Meijer highlights spring fashion trends, encouraging shoppers to browse the tips and latest styles on the Meijer website.

Localized Marketing Strategy Meijer

Learn more about this Meijer example »

The “interstitial” page allows the mass retailer to insert anything from last-minute special events to seasonal inventory – whatever gives browsers a reason to act on the featured offers available at their local Meijer store.

How will Meijer push it further?

Future iterations will include content like videos and recipes – all pre-existing content assets that when integrated can create a more compelling and seamless digital experience.

The Bottom Line

A localized marketing strategy works because it speaks directly to consumers’ needs and wants. It can speak powerfully and actionably to consumers as people with known behaviors, not just potential buyers in a given location.

If advertisers want to build experiences that have a strong presence, empower the consumer to “discover” what he or she wants and compel engagement that ends in an in-store purchase, they have to make sure they take a multichannel approach that includes localized content.

You can learn more about the power of local in the IAB Local’s Buyer Guide by downloading it here.

Does Your Localized Marketing Strategy Have These 3 Essential Qualities?

Advertising that features local content drives consumers into stores – whether they’re shopping with a national retailer or at a mom and pop business.

While brands have traditionally defined “local” as a physical location, “local” and “location” are not the same thing. Advertisers need to expand their definition to include people – taking into account how, when and what people buy in their typical or immediate surroundings. The IAB’s Local Buyer’s Guide explores how this consumer-centric view of local allows brands to execute campaigns that get results.

The IAB defines three essential qualities of successful local campaigns:
  • Presence refers to an advertiser’s need to not only show up throughout the consumer’s multitude of digital touch points, but to optimize those digital points of presence with local information and reasons to connect.
  • Discovery refers to search and listings, and using search engine optimization/search engine marketing (SEO/SEM) techniques to be found when consumers are looking for local solutions.
  • Engagement refers to the actual connections marketers make with locally targeted consumers.

Below are the questions brand marketers might ask themselves when evaluating their localized marketing strategies and some contextualized examples of what drives consumers into a physical store.

Establish Great Presence

Ask yourself: Is your content where your consumers are? Does it show up in their preferred channels and on their preferred devices?

While Snapchat has become the “it” platform for reaching younger audiences, the WSJ reports the instant messaging tool is just as important to teens as Twitter is. Knowing teens love social media, AMC Theatres recently ran a mobile-social campaign focused on reaching that audience using concessions coupons.

Localized Marketing Strategy AMC Theatre

Mobile Commerce Daily breaks down the details, but the essential lesson is this: AMC knows teens are glued to their phones, browsing Twitter and Snapchat without a lot of extra cash to spend. By offering up an easily redeemable mobile coupon via their preferred social channel, AMC reached teenagers where they were spending their time with something they (and their parents) wanted.

How could it have been even better?

The end goal of this campaign is clearly to drive young consumers to a movie theatre. And it does that well. However, in a fully realized localized marketing strategy, these offers would’ve been for specific theatre locations – coupons redeemable at the user’s neighborhood AMC Theatre. Scaling the offers to that level would have allowed AMC to take an ad with great presence and direct the consumers to exactly where they need to be in order to complete the next step in the purchase path.

Make Content Discoverable

Ask yourself: Can consumers easily find you and your message?

A great localized marketing strategy includes a strong search engine marketing approach because when people ask themselves: “Where can I get what I need?” that inquiry inevitably ends up in a search engine.

Home Depot has always made sure that when their customers’ needs arise, their offers return on search. They buy product and category level terms like “mulch” and “garden hoses,” but they also invest in broader phrases like “how to repair a gutter” and their brands like BEHR paint.

Localized Marketing Strategy Hoses Localized Marketing Strategy BEHR

 

They think about every angle their consumers may consider when they have home goods needs – how, what, where – and they invest in an SEM approach to support it.

How does Home Depot go the extra mile?

Being truly “discoverable” in a successful cross-channel campaign involves more than just an effective search though.

Home Depot succeeds here as well.

The retailer puts a great deal of effort behind getting their messages out and in front of consumers wherever they go to look for a home goods-related need.

Most recently, for their busy spring construction/gardening season they ran a “Spring Black Friday” campaign, recreating the sense of urgency and great in-store savings consumers associate with “traditional” Black Friday.

Localized Marketing Strategy Home Depot Social Localized Marketing Strategy Spring Black Friday

This campaign included a variety of tactics to reach consumers beyond SEM – including a micro-site, mobile campaigns (in and out of app), and social ads. But more importantly, the consumers knew exactly what they could get and where and when they could get it regardless of how they encountered the campaign.

Drive Quality Engagement

Ask yourself: Are my content experiences personally relevant to my consumers and are they driving these customers to act?

At its core, the desire consumers have for “personalized” content is a desire for something more relevant. This is how a broader understanding of local can help here as well. Local content is some of the most relevant content a brand can share because it is immediately actionable; a consumer can jump in a car, walk down the street, or, in some cases, just move to the next aisle and grab the product they encountered in a localized digital ad experience.

Localized content is highly engaging because it grabs attention by connecting to a space and a sense of immediate availability.

Meijer is one example of a retailer that realized its existing localized assets could be optimized to do more. By inserting a dynamic page into an eCircular experience, the company introduced dynamic content into a traditionally static, but familiar and trusted, browsing experience.

In the example below, Meijer highlights spring fashion trends, encouraging shoppers to browse the tips and latest styles on the Meijer website.

Localized Marketing Strategy Meijer

Learn more about this Meijer example »

The “interstitial” page allows the mass retailer to insert anything from last-minute special events to seasonal inventory – whatever gives browsers a reason to act on the featured offers available at their local Meijer store.

How will Meijer push it further?

Future iterations will include content like videos and recipes – all pre-existing content assets that when integrated can create a more compelling and seamless digital experience.

The Bottom Line

A localized marketing strategy works because it speaks directly to consumers’ needs and wants. It can speak powerfully and actionably to consumers as people with known behaviors, not just potential buyers in a given location.

If advertisers want to build experiences that have a strong presence, empower the consumer to “discover” what he or she wants and compel engagement that ends in an in-store purchase, they have to make sure they take a multichannel approach that includes localized content.

You can learn more about the power of local in the IAB Local’s Buyer Guide by downloading it here.

See the power of blood donation

Back in October 2015 we proudly announced that our ‘virtual blood donation’ idea won the Interactive category in Ocean Outdoor’s Digital Creative competition. Worth £100,000 in free outdoor media for our client, NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) all that remained was for us to make our vision a reality.

 

Fast forward 8 months and the time is finally here for members of the public to experience virtual blood donation for the first time.

From the 18th to 22nd May shoppers on Birmingham New Street and in Westfield Shepherds Bush will have the opportunity to become a virtual blood donor and see the life-saving transformation of patients before their eyes. We’re aiming to inspire those who have never given blood before to register to donate blood for the first time.

The engagement and impact of this activity will driven by two firsts:

1. The

So let’s talk about Instagram’s new logo, okay?

Instagram’s new rainbow sherbet vomit is currently causing a rift in the design community. Some people love it, while others absolutely abhor it. Personally, I kind of like it…kind of.instagram-old-new-logo_2

When Apple first launched iPhone, much of its interface followed skeuomorphic design principles. Skeuomorphic design pulls ornamental elements from real-life objects and brings them into the digital realm even though those elements are no longer necessary. For example, the top of Apple’s iCal App interface used to look like leather with stitching; the Notes App used to look like a real notepad with paper torn at the top; Apple’s Newsstand used to look like a miniature wooden book shelf…you get the idea.

skeuomorphic

The old Instagram logo was still stuck in this dated, literal representation of an object realm.

The new logo strips away all the unnecessary decorative elements and gives us the bare minimum of visual cues necessary for our brains to decipher that the logo is a representation of a camera. In my opinion, when it comes to app design, for the most part, cleaner and simpler equals better ease of usability.

Color doesn’t always equal tacky, and black doesn’t always equal elegant.

As for that rainbow gradient of colors in the background of the logo? The part of me that jumps for joy when seeing a rainbow—or even better, a double rainbow—loves it. I’ve never been one to shy away from color in anything in my life; from my wardrobe to design to my apartment decor.

Color doesn’t always equal tacky, and black doesn’t always equal elegant. Color, when used appropriately, can elevate a design to a whole new level, so don’t be afraid of it!

But another part of me worries that these colorful gradients are just a fleeting trend and five to 10 years from now, we’ll all be saying, “Oh, yeah, that was definitely made in 2016.”

Usually, good design doesn’t rely on short-lived trends. Logos like Coca-Cola, GE and IBM have stood the test of time because each were designed using unwavering core design principles and with longevity in mind. But then again, Instagram exists in a fleeting, temporary digital realm, so maybe they’re allowed to design something that won’t make it to the year 2116.

Overall, I’d say it’s an upgrade and a step in the right direction, but this new logo might be so simplified and trend-based that Instagram has given its new brand a very short shelf life.

So let’s talk about Instagram’s new logo, okay?

Instagram’s new rainbow sherbet vomit is currently causing a rift in the design community. Some people love it, while others absolutely abhor it. Personally, I kind of like it…kind of.instagram-old-new-logo_2

When Apple first launched iPhone, much of its interface followed skeuomorphic design principles. Skeuomorphic design pulls ornamental elements from real-life objects and brings them into the digital realm even though those elements are no longer necessary. For example, the top of Apple’s iCal App interface used to look like leather with stitching; the Notes App used to look like a real notepad with paper torn at the top; Apple’s Newsstand used to look like a miniature wooden book shelf…you get the idea.

skeuomorphic

The old Instagram logo was still stuck in this dated, literal representation of an object realm.

The new logo strips away all the unnecessary decorative elements and gives us the bare minimum of visual cues necessary for our brains to decipher that the logo is a representation of a camera. In my opinion, when it comes to app design, for the most part, cleaner and simpler equals better ease of usability.

Color doesn’t always equal tacky, and black doesn’t always equal elegant.

As for that rainbow gradient of colors in the background of the logo? The part of me that jumps for joy when seeing a rainbow—or even better, a double rainbow—loves it. I’ve never been one to shy away from color in anything in my life; from my wardrobe to design to my apartment decor.

Color doesn’t always equal tacky, and black doesn’t always equal elegant. Color, when used appropriately, can elevate a design to a whole new level, so don’t be afraid of it!

But another part of me worries that these colorful gradients are just a fleeting trend and five to 10 years from now, we’ll all be saying, “Oh, yeah, that was definitely made in 2016.”

Usually, good design doesn’t rely on short-lived trends. Logos like Coca-Cola, GE and IBM have stood the test of time because each were designed using unwavering core design principles and with longevity in mind. But then again, Instagram exists in a fleeting, temporary digital realm, so maybe they’re allowed to design something that won’t make it to the year 2116.

Overall, I’d say it’s an upgrade and a step in the right direction, but this new logo might be so simplified and trend-based that Instagram has given its new brand a very short shelf life.

ICONS ARE BETTER #82: THE VINYL RECORD

From the turn of the century we’ve had methods of recording and listening to music. Since then we’ve continuously evolved how we listen to it, making the music better, more accessible, portable, and sharable. Music is everywhere today. But with all that convenience we lost a bit of the magic that comes from the listening to it.
Music these days is everywhere. It follows you to work each morning, giving you space as you commute among crowds. It creates a cocoon as you sit in your desk and manage daily tasks in an open plan workspace. It’s your constant companion, always in your pocket ready to distract at a moment’s notice. But it is typically relegated to the background, it’s a barrier to your surroundings, and more often than not it’s passive, secondary to the task of driving, walking, working etc. The same is not so with Vinyl. Vinyl is