Puppy Love

Jonny Hamilton, VP, Creative Director, AdspaceThis past weekend my Twitter feed was filled with images of heart-shaped food, my Spotify account had suggested I listen to the Fifty Shades of Grey soundtrack, and on the local news there was even a story about two falcons that had found love on top of the Tappen Zee bridge.  

I know it's cliché and perhaps I'm just easily manipulated, but I find myself thinking about love this time of year- and love, as they say, is what "makes a Subaru, a Subaru."

For me, Subaru's "Dog tested. Dog approved." campaign from Carmichael Lynch was love at first sight.  It focuses on an anthropomorphized family of Golden Retrievers in everyday suburban, driving situations.  Here's the one I saw recently:


The money shot is the puppy in the car seat- you can't unsee that and why would you want to?

Although the slogan is, at best meaningless, and at worse a flat out lie- how exactly does a dog "approve" a vehicle?- the ads stand up.   Animal lovers in particular will not resist the charm, and that's their target.  They did their research, and according to Carmichael Lynch "Subaru drivers are two times more likely than the average car owner to have a pet." 

Here's another one we can all relate to:


There are five ads altogether, and they're all clever, relatable, and most importantly: sharable. "Dog tested. Dog Approved." has been a recurring campaign in one form or another since 2011 when it debuted on Animal Planet's Puppy Bowl. The spots have racked up millions of views and thousands of shares and were even voted best automotive spots of Super Bowl XLIV by U.S. News and World Report (running on a different network, no-less!).  Their website has a page introducing the dogs, a.k.a. The Barkleys, and their real-life backgrounds. You can even follow them on Tumblr if you're in need of any driving-dog memes.




These days, most companies have a social media presence, and many have resources dedicated to making sure that presence is worthwhile. Brands like Oreo have taken this challenge very seriously and have scored major points with the public by consistently nailing it with the right creative at precisely the right time. In 2012, they boldly proclaimed their stance on a controversial issue with the now famous Gay Pride Facebook Post. A decidedly risky move, their Facebook engagements rose by over 50% and the positive sentiment for the brand more than doubled according to Unmetric.    


Infographic originally appeared on Read full post: How Oreo Took a Controversial Stand and Achieved an Epic Social Media Win

They followed up with another hit post, lampooning the technical difficulties of Super Bowl XLVII.  The post was “designed, captioned and approved within minutes,” and was retweeted 10,000 times in one hour according to Ad Age.


Not every social media post makes that kind of splash, in fact the vast majority of Oreo’s posts get just a fraction of those likes, and reposts.  Still they remain busy dreaming up, creating and posting fun creative to keep fans engaged. The frequency of these posts keep them nimble, and their content naturally evolves in a sort of stream of consciousness style, leading them in many different directions.  Oreo's sculptures, magic tricks, and stop-motion animation have populated their Facebook wall.  Most recently they've created a series of “Snack Hacks” where chefs deconstruct the cookie and rework it into some sort of culinary miracle (#delicious).

To take full advantage of the numerous resources being poured into daily, or even hourly posts, Oreo needs to get their content in front of as many eyeballs as possible. The Adspace Smart Screens provide a bigger, brighter stage reaching a wider audience, including those who haven’t yet made the conscious decision to follow.

Using our network connection, Adspace can link up with brand’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Vine accounts to increase their reach, and gather new followers and fans in the process. These “snackable” posts are focused, self-contained and ideal for our environment. Our screens can update the creative as fast as the brand can create it. Additionally, our creative team is ready to help (for free!) make this a seamless process.

Here is an example of how Oreo could use our screens to increase their reach and make the most of their awesome creative. With minimal additional effort they could be reaching millions more viewers with fresh new creative everyday.

So Oreo, now I am talking directly to you, you have done all the work-- now get your terrific content out there with Adspace!





Maybe it’s because I’m a new father, or perhaps I’m just passionate about good creative, but I’m about to give you the “potential” lecture I received so many times in my youth.  So go ahead and roll your eyes, but know, we’re not mad at you… just a little disappointed.  Now look- Your creative is good, but it has the potential to be so much better!  Here are the most underused, awesome features that Adspace offers that you may be missing out on...

Audio -  One of the most frustrating things I see on a surprisingly regular basis is creative coming in without audio.  Audio is a simple and effective way to attract greater attention, enhance and punctuate what is seen on screen. Why would you not want to take advantage of this feature?  Here are the common excuses we get, followed by my responses…

Advertiser:  “We don’t have music to use.”

Me:  “We have an EXTENSIVE library of royalty free music that is FREE for you to use!”

Advertiser:  “The mall is too loud.  Nobody will hear it anyway.”

Me:  “Au contraire mon frere.  Our screens are equipped with amazing self-leveling Brown Innovations stereo speakers. They actually take regular readings of the ambient noise, and automatically adjust to maintain a not too loud and not too soft level.”

Advertiser: “We didn’t realize we could use audio.”

Me:  “Well you can, and you should.  Bam.”

One final word on audio: Since over 90% of our creative does have audio, your spot appears to be broken when it pops up silent. The audience expects sound, so unless you’re trying to make a point of not adding it, we suggest you give it to them.

Dynamic Data - Be it predictable info, like locations and sales, or unpredictable info like weather conditions, or sports scores, we can take hum-drum creative and make it sizzle with up to the minute dynamically changing fields.  Our network has the capability to connect to a variety of live feeds, dramatically improving your ad’s focus and relevance.  Here, just watch this video.


Copy Splitting and Day Parting - Have too many messages to fit comfortably in one ad?  We can take a number of different creative executions and rotate them in your position in the loop.  You could have a branding spot play one loop and a sale spot the next.  Or, why not run the branding spot in rotation with a sale spot that runs from noon to 3pm on weekends, and a third dynamic spot that offers a different gift with purchase at any point based on current weather conditions?

Mind blown? I thought so.

Maybe it’s that you didn’t know, or simply didn’t believe such excellence was possible, but your mother and I saw it in you from the beginning.  Now get out there and make sure your creative is reaching its full potential!



You're Doing It Wrong! Common Creative Pitfalls in Digital Place-Based Advertising - Part 1

Digital Place-based advertising has a ton of benefits:  Low cost per impression, amazing reach, location specific targeting... But it’s important to pay attention to your creative, and think about how, and where it’s going to be seen.  What is the audience’s frame of mind?  Are they on the move or settled in?  Can they interact with the medium, and if so, would they really want to?  Here are just a few common pitfalls to watch out for!

• Inappropriate Amount of Copy - Local advertisers, I’m looking at you.  I know there are a ton of amazing reasons why the viewer needs to choose your business over others, but save it for subway advertising.  It’s true, my morning commute just flies by when I have the chance to read a good Dr. Zizmor article, but aside from that, the more information you include on your ads, the less likely I’m going to read any of it.


Even in an elevator, the viewer only gets a few seconds to take a look, so do yourself a favor: Choose a message and keep it simple.

• Lame Interactive Experiences -  What are the benefits of interactive advertising?  You get to track how well it’s working, and the interactor will be so impressed that they’ll tell someone else leading to a veritable snowball of organic marketing.  Well, only if you put in the effort to provide an intriguing experience.  If all you have to offer is a link to your website (which they can easily find on their own) stay away from QR codes, SMS and have faith that they know how to use The Googler.  However, if you have the means and budget to create something brilliant, please do.

How fun is THIS?!

• Narrative-Based Creative -  You know how in movies they turn on the TV right as the breaking news hits?  It’s called a “Coincidental Broadcast”, and they do it because it’s more nobody wants to watch Ryan Gosling watch TV for an hour waiting for the relevant news to break- okay maybe Gosling was the wrong choice for this analogy, but I digress...  Most out of home viewers will catch a random 4 seconds of your ad (not always from the beginning), and have no idea what is going on- And you just wasted a perfectly good yarn.  When reaching people who are on the move, it’s important that they know what your message is instantly.  This means keeping your logo and call to action prominent for the duration of the ad. If you’re advertising in an environment where viewers aren’t sitting in a chair with a bowl of popcorn, nix the narrative.  

If you have to tell a story, tell it with a single image.

Your television spot wasn’t made to go on a billboard, and your print ad wasn’t intended to be broadcast on television.  If you respect the medium, your advertising will have greater impact, and your ad dollars will be wisely spent.