We Win Ad Age Agency of the Year…Again!

Mistress has been awarded AdAge Small Agency of the Year for the third time!

Each year, the AdAge Small Agency Awards uncover and honor the independent agencies that are producing groundbreaking work. Ad Age seeks the teams who are strategizing and executing ideas that directly compete with advertising’s oldest, largest, and most sought-after partners.

The 2018 winners were announced from the stage at the Small Agency Awards on July 18 in Los Angeles. Mistress won Silver overall, in the premier award category, earning its third Agency of the Year award in eight years.

Read the full press release to come.

The post We Win Ad Age Agency of the Year…Again! appeared first on Mistress.

Why metaphors make powerful brand names

This article originally appeared on Brand Experience Magazine. 

Words are tools. We invent them, collect them, employ them to build meaning and communicate the meaningful to others. We are taught how to use our words most effectively and persuasively from a very young age. We call it rhetoric. And one of our earliest and most memorable introductions to the importance of rhetoric is the metaphor. Remember? It’s that figure of speech that compares two things, but doesn’t use “like” or “as” to do so. Metaphors are one of our go-to devices; we use millions of them over a lifetime to color our writing and everyday conversation. Unsurprisingly, their ubiquity extends to the world of branding, where they have become a powerful way to name.

Just what makes a metaphor such a powerful brand name is far more complex and fascinating than we think. The obvious is true. Metaphors make great names because they paint a simple, strong image in customers’ minds. When you hear the name Amazon, you think big, impressive river. And you remember that river. Metaphors also dance around the obvious. They are not the first, most immediate or literal way to express a key idea. Metaphors have that special surprise factor. They are big and broad and continue to surprise over the lifetime of a brand because they easily shift to tell more than one story. It’s the difference between the name Amazon and Online Bookstore; Amazon allows the business to grow in an infinite number of directions and change its focus time and time again.

All of the obvious reasons why metaphors make great names didn’t quite satisfy the experimental psychologist in me. I saw client after client respond to metaphorical names with an unmistakable twinkle in their eyes. And I knew if we so commonly turn to metaphors as a form of expression, there must be a more significant explanation for their power. There must be something happening on a deeper, cognitive level when we use or hear other people use a metaphor.

That something became clear when I found a journal article in Psychonomic Society that proposes metaphors play a unique social and emotional role in our lives. The researchers questioned whether metaphors create social bonds and help us understand others’ intentions. More specifically, whether the act of processing a metaphor actually enhances our ability to infer what a person is thinking or feeling.

The study is rather complex, but here is a quick rundown. In the first experiment, participants read short stories about two friends. One story ended with a friend making a literal statement. The other story ended with a friend making a metaphorical statement. For example, Maria liked her friend Julia’s idea, so she said “what a very good idea” (the literal), or she said “what a gem of an idea” (the metaphor). Participants answered a series of questions about how close the two friends were to each other. Closeness indicates intimacy. They were then asked to complete a test called the Reading the Mind in the Eyes Test (RMET). It measures one’s ability to gauge mental state from subtle facial expressions. You match a cropped black-and-white photo of the eye region to its mental state description (i.e., serious, ashamed, bewildered, alarmed). And you do it 36 times.

In another experiment, participants either read a long list of metaphorical statements or a list of their literal counterparts. They also took the RMET. Interestingly, when participants read the story that ended in a metaphor, they rated the two friends as having a closer relationship, and the degree of closeness correlated with greater accuracy on the RMET. The findings were similar in the second experiment; participants scored significantly higher on the RMET after reading metaphorical statements.

In simple speak? Metaphors create a sense of intimacy and they heighten our understanding of others’ emotions. Here is the fascinating way a researcher explained it: “There is a unique way in which the maker and the appreciator of a metaphor are drawn closer to one another.” It’s like a game of subconscious negotiation. If I use a metaphor to explain an idea to you, I’m giving you “a kind of concealed invitation.” I’ve invited you to consider my goals and intentions. And I then feel a heightened sensitivity to seeing whether you accept that invitation. The metaphor is what connects us.

Back to naming. What in the world does this have to do with naming? It means metaphorical names may be more emotionally powerful than we think. A suggestive or metaphorical name serves as that same kind of invitation. Not between two people, per se, but rather, between a brand and its audience. Amazon, Nike, Safari, Oracle, Kayak, Nest. They are strong names because they entice us to dig deeper and try to understand the story they start. They ask us to consider why the name of the world’s largest river is being used to convey scale and scope, or why a bird’s roost relates to a protective home automation system. It’s almost impossible to decline this invitation, and by working to understand the metaphor, we may in fact feel closer to the issuer, the brand. Perhaps this is the reason clients get that special little twinkle in their eyes when they respond to metaphorical names.

Gabriele Zamora is Senior Strategist, Naming. 

The post Why metaphors make powerful brand names appeared first on Siegel+Gale: Brand Consulting, Experience, Strategy, and Design.

Watch Kimmel’s spoof ad for ReZine, a prescription drug for Trump’s ‘serious medical condition’

Donald Trump made a Twitter reference on Wednesday to Trump Derangement Syndromea condition he thinks some people have that distorts their view of him. But in the segment above from Wednesday night’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” Kimmel suggests that Trump himself suffers from Trump Derangement Syndrome. “Fortunately, help is on the way,” Kimmel says before serving up a spoof ad for ReZine (Deceptinous Executane tablets, 500 mg).

Continue reading at AdAge.com

Leading Through Change

Ketchum is going through one of the biggest changes in its 96 year history. We’ve shifted to a communications consultancy model, leaning into our industry expertise and operating with a no boundaries framework to best serve our clients. We are thrilled to have a new vision and new values that support our strategy of transforming us into a more modern, agile organization.

As organizational psychologists, we know that change at a corporation needs to be supported by leaders at all levels in order for it to become a reality. Even the most exciting changes, such as our own transition, can be challenging. At Ketchum, we are fortunate to have the best leaders in the business engaging our teams and helping to chart our new course.

Helping to architect and implement this transformation, we have seen first-hand some important and helpful behaviors that effective leaders use to guide their teams through change. Whether you are responsible for a small team or an entire organization, consider these tips to help make the organizational shift easier for your team members and for yourself.

  1. Consider where you are on the change curve. Ideally, you’re one of the lucky ones who readily endorse the changes underway. However, at times leaders are called upon to make change happen while they themselves are still processing the information or acclimating in real time. Be honest with yourself about where you are on the change curve, and plan for ways you might authentically lead during this time. It’s important to project a sense of steadiness for your people, so take care to manage the outward demonstration of your own emotions. The need for proactive energy management practices and self-care are amplified during these times, and should be considered essential components of your leadership practice.
  2. Respect the change journey. We all progress through change in our own way. Many team members will be excited and able to quickly see the opportunity that a change affords them. Help maintain the energy of those people and enlist them as ambassadors of change. Ask them to lend their voice and advocate actively for the change. Other team members may be more hesitant and may feel like they are leaving something behind. They may need more support and listening time to process the transition. Both responses are normal and should be treated that way.
  3. Maintain an action-oriented mindset. Think about who the change ambassadors are on your team. Help operationalize the positive changes that they are looking forward to, and find ways to promote their early wins as a method to light the way for others. For those who are more hesitant about the change, think about what you can do to create a personalized approach to engage and retain them. Do these team members require more conversations? Do they require more data? Do they need to be more involved to commit to the change? Determine what each of your colleagues needs and act on it.
  4. Strive for personal and high-touch moments. During times of transition, it is even more important to create a regular cadence of team check-ins (both with individuals and groups). Protect team member meeting times and try your best not to shift or cancel these meetings. When not in the same physical location, opt to use video chat rather than a phone call. If you notice a temptation to delay a meeting or avoid contact with a particular person, use that as an interesting data point and explore what the underlying resistance might be for you. For example, if you have concerns about their reactions or challenging questions they may ask, seek counsel from your HR business partner, but resist the urge to avoid the conflict.
  5. Give your own workload management practices a tune-up. If only periods of change came with reduced workloads! Oftentimes, leaders with already full plates are called upon to do even more. Don’t assume you can simply fit it all in without an evaluation with fresh eyes. What can be delegated? What can be delayed? What may no longer be a priority and can be eliminated? Where might there be opportunities for others to step up and help you in new ways that could stretch their own capabilities? If you use an assistant, how can that role be utilized in new or better ways? What changes can you make to stay on top of the new workload and still remain accessible to your team?

In the constantly changing marketing communications landscape, leading through change is a skill that everyone should continue to develop and hone. While you and your team may feel understandably anxious at times, explore ways you might frame change as an exciting growth and learning opportunity for all who are involved. Do you have any tips for leading through change and inspiring your team during transitions? Connect with us via Twitter (Amanda Kowal Kenyon or Melissa Barry) and let us know!

The post Leading Through Change appeared first on Ketchum.

The meme machine gains some new gears

The Drum recently published this article by our Director of We Are Social Sport, Joe Weston, examining the boom growth of meme culture – particularity in light of England’s World Cup run this year; and how brands can get in on the action. They’ve been kind enough to let us reproduce it below.

Meme culture is as old as the internet itself, but at the start it was limited to the bearded basement dweller. The 4Chan anarchist and the Reddit keyboard warriors.

Over the years, meme culture has been democratised. As the social networks grew in popularity, consumers gradually started to understand how the algorithms powering these social channels worked. As a result meme culture has gone mainstream. To the point where the definition of a meme itself has been hijacked and morphed into simply ‘internet joke’.

Accounts like @FuckJerry (13.7m followers), @TheFatJewish (10m followers) and @Beigecardigan (3.7m followers) among a multitude of others are now some of the most influential Instagram accounts going – constantly feeding the meme machine.

Even football accounts like Joe.ie, BBCSporf, @433, @NOTMOTD and @Sportbible have capitalised on this and in some cases grown into fully formed publishers. What was once a basement hobby has become big business.

For sport, football in particular, it makes perfect sense. Football provides an unparalleled amount of clippable moments which, when taken out of context and placed in the hands of meme makers, become hilarious. Just ask Mick McCarthy.

But this World Cup has seen a fundamental step change in meme culture. Not only in terms of prevalence, but also sophistication. But what is the driving force behind this?

Firstly, an undeniable (and now dampened) sway of optimism sweeping the nation under the guise of #ICH or ‘It’s Coming Home’ fuelled by the best performing and likable English team in decades – a bit of sun never hurts either.

This World Cup there’s also a growing trend of players themselves getting involved, like Harry McGuire who jumped on a meme after a snap of him talking to fiancée Fern Hawkins after the team’s match against Colombia started doing the rounds on Twitter.

But more interestingly, social technological developments are providing more power to consumers to remix the culture they see around them.

A nation of interactive filmmakers
Apps like MadLipz, Piscart and others have handed power to consumers. No longer do you need an editorial department loaded up with designers, video editors and motion graphics artists to produce sophisticated edits of video.

All you need is a funny idea, a smartphone and a group of mates to share it with. Underpinning this is the continuing growth and developments we see on Instagram Stories and Snapchat who continue to add new and increasingly sophisticated functionality in a UX version of the space race.

These relatively new interactive video formats are producing a set of social savvy consumers who are now thinking in detail about storylines, composition, transitions, punchlines, graphics, after effects, grading and now interactivity. In effect, platforms and apps are creating a nation of interactive filmmakers.

What was once the preserve of film studies students has been democratised and now anyone with a smartphone and an idea can make something incredibly sophisticated. Taking a helicopter view of this, there is almost a Darwinian process of natural selection of content happening right now.

Constantly competing memes in their millions removes the weak with the best rising to the top. This natural selection is producing accounts like FuckJerry and alike, but every now and again a tech development happens that leaps that evolution forward 10 steps – which is what we’re seeing now.

We’ve gone from static imagery with two bars for copy lines to fully post produced and manipulated special effects films being made by the most basic of consumers. Its fascinating.

So what does this mean for brands?
Well, the first thing is to tread with caution. A few brands – shout out to British Airways and KFC here (which pastiched Neymar’s now infamous roll) – have managed to get involved without falling foul.

William Hill however has taken a bit of bashing for hijacking #ItsComingHome.

Typically We Are Social would recommend not to trying and keep up. Fashionably late isn’t something which applies to meme culture. Better never, than late.

However, that doesn’t mean brands can’t get involved in other ways.

Firstly, marketers need to consider about how they can nurture and encourage this kind of behaviour around their brand and its content. How it can provide the ingredients or tools for people to make memes on its behalf.

For example, think about how the content can be easily chopped up and remixed. How can you build ‘giphable moments’ into your video content? Rather than trying to borrow from current culture, can you provide a platform for new meme culture to be created?

Secondly, keep on top of platform updates. Instagram recently partnered with Giphy to provide transparent stickers for Instagram Stories. Since this launched, we’ve been producing branded Giphy stickers for adidas Football to be used on Instagram by consumers and we’ve seen incredible results so far (162 million views and counting).

Finally, if you are going to take the plunge, relax a little. Those approval processes and rigid design guidelines – those things designed to make you feel safe prior to publishing – will without a doubt kill your idea before it even gets off the ground. Bravery and self-awareness of your brand, and a willingness to step outside your comfort zone and embrace humour, are what will truly generate results.

The post The meme machine gains some new gears appeared first on We Are Social UK.

Phones, cars, tech: The usual suspects are dominating online video views

Only one ad campaign was new on the Viral Video Chart this week, demonstrating the commitment of the usual suspects to keep on spending on video views. It’s as vivid a reminder as ever that this chart tracks both “organic” views, the sort many people would think of when they hear something went viral, and paid views, like pre-roll and other ad placements.

The newcomer this week, moreover, is Samsunga Viral Video Chart regular.

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Continue reading at AdAge.com