New Stoli Work Featured on Campaign US

January 09, 2015

Campaign US features the latest work for Stoli.

Link to full article.

Posted By: The Martin Agency

Helsinki Holiday

December 12, 2014

First of all, if you're ever in a karaoke bar in Helsinki at 2 am in the depths of December, Duran Duran's "Rio" is a huge crowd-pleaser. Second, if you're slated to sing gentle Oreo songs in front of 250 people at 2 pm the next day, belting out 80's tracks at the top of your lungs the night before is hugely stupid. Fortunately for me, a good portion of the audience at my Eurobest session seemed to have been in that karaoke bar with me, so when my voice cracked like a boy in the throes of puberty, it was met with sympathy. Maybe even approval. If there's one thing the Finns admire, it's the ability to drink whatever's put in front of you.

But if there's another thing they admire, it's creativity. Finland—and really, the whole Nordic / Scandinavian region that includes Norway, Sweden, and Denmark too—is, at the moment, probably the most design-savvy, teched-up, dialed-in place in the universe, which made Helsinki an ideal place for a conference dedicated to showcasing the coolest work coming out of Europe. Held in the Aalto-designed Finlandia Hall, Eurobest was four solid days of meeting people with names that had no vowels (i.e., "Pyry") and seeing work that I wish I'd done. Simple, elegant, brilliantly executed stuff that reminded me of why we do what we do.

There was the "direct mail" campaign for Audi that sent mysterious cubes to prospects. Push a button, and a timer starts counting down from 90 minutes. When it hits zero, an Audi A8 arrives in your driveway and it's yours for 24 hours (18% of prospects bought the $100,000+ car).

There was the Google stadium wrap for Manchester United that used webcams to broadcast the cheers of fans in distant lands directly to players on the pitch.

There was the branded content series out of Spain in which a fictional ad agency makes ads for real brands, who essentially bankroll the production—ads that are far more creative and edgy than the brands would normally be able to do.

And then, there were a couple old-school TV spots that were simply stunning. A spot called "The Leap" for Lacoste, out of Paris, brilliantly dramatized the inner struggle of a guy as he decides to tell a woman he loves her; it was simultaneously ultra-stylish and emotionally moving. Yep, a heartwarming fashion ad. That can happen.

Of course, since I was showing work, Eurobest was also a chance for me and Dean to see how the rest of the world reacts to the work we make here at Martin. I wish everyone could have seen the smiles on people's faces when they saw the Oreo work animated down at Hue & Cry, or the new Walmart holiday spot that Deb Hagan CD'd (although, Finland being the birthplace of the Santa Claus legend, a good Christmas spot was bound to go over big). It's always been a strength of Martin to make work that speaks to a broad audience, but you realize just how broad that audience really is when you're making Estonians giggle.

Sadly, I didn't make it to an authentic Finnish sauna. I didn't eat reindeer meat, although we saw it on a menu or two. And while I did catch a glimpse of Santa—he was hanging out near a big H&M store—I can't say with certainly that he wasn't an imposter.

But I can say that inspiring, surprising, brave, innovative and delightful ideas are alive and well in the frozen north. And thankfully, back here at home too.

Posted By: The Martin Agency

Martin Wins Tic Tac Business

December 12, 2014

The Martin Agency announced it has been chosen by Ferrero U.S.A., Inc. as the new agency of record for the Tic Tac brand.

Link to Full Story.

Posted By: The Martin Agency

Martin Wins Sabra Account

December 04, 2014

The Martin Agency is now lead creative agency for the Sabra Dipping Co.

In selecting Martin, Sabra director of marketing Eric Greifenberger cited the shop's "keen understanding of our consumer, the fresh dips category, and Sabra's brand potential," adding that it provides a "depth and breadth of talent uniquely suited for supporting our needs going forward." Martin CEO Matt Williams, in turn, described Sabra as an "amazing brand."

Link to full article.

Posted By: The Martin Agency

Brewing a Movement: Being Heard When Your Voice is the Smallest

November 06, 2014

Brewing a Movement: Being Heard When Your Voice is the Smallest
By Corey Lane, Account Supervisor

The Fulton community just wanted a seat at the table.

The community had heard about the corner lot at the foot of Fulton Hill that was being eyed as a site for Stone Brewing Company’s first East Coast operation, a mammoth production facility that would effectively double Virginia’s annual beer production. They’d heard about the social media groups of beer enthusiasts that had bubbled up by the thousands practically overnight to voice support for the proposal. They’d heard the rumors about closed-door pitches and confidential meetings between City and State officials, clamoring for job creation, tax revenue and neighborhood revitalization.

But what the community did not hear was an invitation to weigh in. And to the community of Greater Fulton, this silence is deafening. Once a thriving blue-collar working neighborhood at the turn of the 20th century, it declined steadily as riverfront jobs dried up and sprawl pulled more Fultonites to the suburbs. In the 1960s, Richmond officials enacted Jim Crow-era legislature, citing the right for cities to “serve public welfare” and “challenge blight” by buying out and relocating citizens from under-resourced neighborhoods. Low-income persons in Fulton were displaced, and their homes were razed under the promise of shiny new development that never fully came to fruition.

But the people of Fulton were and remain to be a dynamic and close-knit community, balancing the stoic patience that comes from generations of hard working laborers with an indulgent flair for culture, music and art. When Stone Brewing Company ultimately did choose the corner lot at the foot of Fulton Hill for their facility, the Fulton community heartily—albeit cautiously—made the collective decision to roll out the welcome mat for their highly sought after new neighbors in an attempt to establish partnership early on.

The challenge for the people of Fulton was being heard among the many voices competing for Stone Brewing Company’s attention. A task force was formed to speak on behalf of Greater Fulton, consisting of civic association leaders, community organizers, and business owners. They looked at the efforts from other cities—rowdy block parties, bikini model contests—and decided that they were going to cut through the noise by being true to their collective identity. They were going to get Stone Brewing Company’s attention by being welcoming neighbors.

They worked with a local artist to design an installation 40 feet in diameter: a frosty mug of beer made from branches, hay and—of course—stones, with the hashtag #STONE2RVA, which had been popular with the fervent social media groups. Over 50 Fultonites came together on a Saturday afternoon to assemble the installation on the future site of Stone Brewing Company. Cathartically, they wrote their hopes, fears and well wishes to Stone Brewing Company on the very stones that made up the installation. An aerial photographer captured imagery from a drone and local news stations came out to cover the event.

Footage and interviews from the event were made into a short video, which was posted on the websites and social media pages of various Fulton community groups. Shortly thereafter, it was picked up by beer enthusiast groups via the #STONE2RVA hashtag. Ultimately, it caught the attention of Stone Brewing Company itself, where it was reposted onto their Facebook page, receiving 95,000 impressions and over 700 video views in the first week it was posted. On the video’s YouTube page, Stone Brewing Company left a heartfelt thanks to the people of Greater Fulton and the CEO commented from his personal account a commitment to meet or exceed the expectations that the neighborhood has from his company.

On October 28th, just four days after the video was posted, executives from Stone Brewing Company visited Richmond to meet with City officials, making a special stop at a Fulton community center to meet with neighbors one on one for over two hours. Many factors are at play with the negotiations between Stone Brewing Cmpany and the City of Richmond, but it was clear that the community’s efforts had struck a chord with brewery’s owners.

The community of Greater Fulton successfully circumnavigated the political machine and formed a relationship with Stone Brewing Company because they created a mini-movement. They engaged residents by tapping into the passions at the heart of Fulton: art, music, history and camaraderie. They broke through the clutter by being authentically raw, with intentional choices made in their communication channels, partners, production value, and music. At the same time, they introduced touches of excitement, like cutting edge drone photography and high profile media partnerships that helped amplify the organizers’ energy. Even the simple act of residents expressing themselves on the stones and collaboratively creating art helped individuals feel invested in the cause, and tapping into existing social media activity helped scale that investment.

In less than a month, and with no media spend whatsoever, the community of Greater Fulton avoided being relegated to history’s sidelines once again and took their rightful seat at the table, right beside the founders of Stone Brewing Company. That’s an accomplishment to which we can all raise a glass.

*Corey Lane serves on an advisory board for Virginia Local Initiative Support Corporation, a community development nonprofit heavily invested in Fulton.

Photo Credit: Scott Strimple, CinemAerial Visuals

Posted By: The Martin Agency

Production Cost-Cutting: How Low Can We Go?

October 31, 2014

Production Cost-Cutting: How Low Can We Go? Five Tips to Help Save the Budget and Concept
Steve Humble for Ad Age, October 31

As marketers increasingly use video to engage with customers and work to keep a steady stream of relevant and engaging content in the marketplace, conversations about production costs are reaching a fever pitch.

With advances in technology, marketers are seeing amateur camera buffs capturing some pretty impressive footage with their smartphones, GoPros and remote-control drones. So why aren’t ad agency and content provider production costs going down faster?

Ad Age reported recently, for example, that in an effort to trim more than $1 billion from its marketing budget, P&G had reached out to NASA “seeking a new way to produce moving images for TV commercials and digital video at costs significantly lower than today’s averages.”

Looking to a different industry for fresh ideas is interesting in theory, but great commercials and content won’t come from Excel spreadsheets and process documents. Rocket scientists are clearly some of the smartest people around, but finding the right balance between cost and quality really comes down to these five simple areas:

  1. Trust the client/agency relationship. Our best client relationships have a high degree of trust. Some of our best, most cost-effective experiences are when we work with the client at the beginning of the year and develop and work with their year-long budget together. Oreo is a great example of a client that approaches production budgeting this way. We work the brand at the start of the year and plan out the production budget based on the marketing and media calendar. We bucket money for specific initiatives, discussing where we can make creative choices that can save money in some areas to make sure we fund others. We even budget for working with musical artists, such as Owl City, Kacey Musgraves, Tegan and Sara, Chiddy Bang and others. Working this way, we took the client’s previous budget and doubled the number of executions.
  2. Create tight concepts. We regularly try to focus on ideas that are based on one location and can be shot in one day to try to contain costs. Our most cost-efficient productions come from getting specific parameters in the beginning and then letting our creative teams concept accordingly. But even when parameters are tight, our best clients allow us some flexibility on set to take advantage of impromptu takes and grab additional content as it presents itself.
  3. Remember that spending less means more risk. Choosing to work with tight production budgets often leads to more risk in the finished product. Opting to go with a director who has been shooting for years and has a track record of success is more expensive than choosing a novice just out of film school to direct. Can that new director shoot an amazing spot? Hopefully. Will you save money shooting with him or her? Yes, but the amount of risk you and the client take on goes up with this approach. We can make choices with our clients to reduce budgets, but everyone needs to be clear about the risks that come with those choices at the beginning.
  4. Know that change orders are expensive. If you’ve ever been involved in a construction project, you know that contractors use a little device known as a change order for each deviation from the original plan. One change order for every single change, including the additional cost. Big changes at the pre-pro meeting or on set are expensive, too. Changing the script at the last minute puts everyone in a risky position to be able to do the best work and bring the spot in on budget.
  5. Crew size can affect the work and the cost. Some believe that the fastest way to save money on production is to reduce the crew size. But this choice typically results in one of two things -- a spot that looks less polished because there were fewer people to light and tweak the set, or fewer options in the final edit because you had to agree to fewer shots and fewer camera setups. Some creative concepts work fine with a smaller crew -- just make sure you’re choosing crew size for the right reasons.

Great content comes from talented people understanding a core insight for a brand and communicating it in a way that connects with its target audience. How something is executed and how much you spend is a choice the agency and clients do have more control over than they think.

Posted By: Steve Humble