Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 1-17-16

Branding and Digital Marketing

Branding and Digital Marketing

We are breaking from the themed-approach for this weekend’s #SundayMusings.  There were several stories that caught my eye recently that I wanted to call out, but there is very little commonality between them.  You’ll survive, I’m sure of it.  

#1 –  “Super Bowl Ad Tracker: Everything We Know About 2016’s Commercials” via

Thoughts: Want to know who will be advertising during Super Bowl 50?  Look no further than AdWeek’s on-going tracker that can be found in the link above.  With the NFL Playoffs in full swing, we’re counting down the days for our next Super Bowl Ad Review!

What brands have caught your attention so far this year – whether that be by an ad teaser or news from the link above or elsewhere around the web?  I was a little stunned to see that Colgate-Palmolive has never advertised during the Super Bowl.  The other tidbit that caught my eye is that GoDaddy will not have an ad this year … and that is probably a good thing.   

#2 – “Post-Lafley, Procter & Gamble is Trying to Turn Challenges Into Opportunities” via

Thoughts: One company, and tens of brands, not found in the ad tracker above is P&G and its portfolio.  New CEO, David Taylor, is working on reshaping and redesigning the company and its portfolio, continuing to sell off brands to narrow its focus.  P&G continues to feel the pressure from investors to right the ship or more drastic changes are going to be requested.  

#3 – “Gobble Gobble: Turkey On Board – Woman Flies Cross Country With Her Emotional Support Turkey” via

Thoughts: #SaveThanksgiving efforts are starting in January apparently!  If for nothing else, click on the link above to see the turkey looking out the airplane window.  

There are several references here to the woman that flew with the turkey having coping issues, so I don’t want to make a joke about the state of Washington needing to reconsider the legalization of marijuana … wait …

Tweet of the Week:

Reverting back to Super Bowl discussion for a second, take a look at next year’s Super Bowl mascot.  Terrible.  We have plenty of time to go back to the drawing board NFL.  Please do so.  


Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 1-3-16

Hello 2016! #SundayMusings w/ Shore Branding (Photo credit:

Hello 2016! #SundayMusings w/ Shore Branding
(Photo credit:

Happy New Year!  2016 is upon us and I wish you nothing but the best as we say goodbye to 2015 and hello to 2016.  Before we fully jump into the new year, today’s #SundayMusings takes a look back at some of the best summaries in branding-related stories from around the web.  

#1 –  “2015’s Top Customer Lessons” via

Thoughts: If you are looking for a solid list of hot topics in customer experience, look no further.  Take a look at what trends began in 2015 and where CX is heading this year.  There were two pieces that caught my eye – “Data Discipline” and “Getting Personal”.  Brands and companies must overlay data from various sources and have them break through silos.  At the same time, brands and companies must embrace social media channels and focus on the one-to-one experiences of each individual.  

This all circles back to last weekend’s book review – take a look here.

#2 – “What Went Wrong For Your Brand This Year” via

Thoughts: There isn’t a better branding blog out there in my opinion vs. Branding Strategy Insider.  They consistently pump out must-read content.  Eight different targeted messages are included in this write-up for what may have went wrong for you / your brand in 2015, along with some first-step guidance on how to course correct.  This is absolutely worth the read if you feel underwhelmed with your business results this past year and a great start on how to make the appropriate adjustments.

#3 – “The best social media campaigns of 2015” via

Thoughts: One opinion on what brands had the strongest social media campaigns of the past year.  The two that I liked the most are HP’s #BendTheRules campaign that targeted Millennials and Lowe’s “Fix in Six” Vine campaigns – that we have touted in the past.   

Tweet of the Week:

The tweet above includes a link to the best and worst branding efforts of 2015.  Yes, another compilation article and look back at the past 12 months.  Leading the way – Google.  So much news and noise for the tweaking of their signature logo.  The worst – without getting too political – was Hillary Clinton’s, who seems to be open to doing absolutely anything in order to get elected.  I’ll leave all other opinions off of this write-up.  

What caught your attention in 2015?  Have any particular brands resonated with you or driven a change in your perception of them over the course of the past year?  Let me know in the Comments section below.  

Happy New Year!


Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 12-20-15

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding - Happy Holidays! (Photo credit:

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – Happy Holidays!
(Photo credit:

Happy holidays everyone!  Today’s #SundayMusings focus take a look at my two favorite stories related to Christmas branding.  Both campaigns were found via AdFreak.    

#1 –  “Miller Lite Dresses Times Square Billboards in Huge, Handwoven Ugly Sweaters” via


Ugly sweaters may or may not be as popular as ever, but I still love them.  The most amazing part of this campaign from Miller Lite is that all of the ugly sweater billboards are handwoven out of yarn!  For those not interested in clicking the link above, if you are in NYC you can find the campaign on 49th and 7th.  

#2 – “Reese’s Turned Gripes About Its Ugly Christmas Candy Into Funny Ads About Tree Shaming” via


Due to us living in a world where you have to complain about something all of the time, several people took to Twitter to complain about Reese’s Christmas tree snacks and the shape that they were coming in.  Reese’s turned it into a beautiful campaign and drove some relatively free PR out of the entire situation.  

Tweet of the Week:

Despite the move to online shopping, brands still have a tremendous opportunity to build engagement with customers and the general foot traffic that passes through their stories.  While I virtually never praise their name, Apple did a nice job with their window display seen in this article.  

What Christmas branding or ad campaigns caught your attention this season?  Happy holidays everyone!  Merry Christmas!


Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 12-6-15

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding focusing on Pinterest (Photo credit:

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding focusing on Tech Gifts (Photo credit:

Today’s #SundayMusings focus on the forthcoming holidays and tech-related gifts that have caught my eye … you know, for others of course.  

#1 –  “Great home tech gifts” via

Thoughts: Great gifts for around the house, but the Petzi webcam at the end of this review is amazing.  We’re now at a stage where through the webcam and an app, you can talk to your pet and give them treats via push of a button.  Think about that for a few seconds …

#2 – “The Hottest Tech Gifts of 2015” via

Thoughts: I figured this was just going to be another writer’s list of top tech gifts to purchase this holiday season, based on their respective opinion of one.  Instead, it is a nice compilation of ideas from some of the most well known folks out there in technology, digital, and social media.  

#3 – “Santa Might Have to Check eBay and Craigslist to Get You a Samsung Gear VR” via

Thoughts: I saw this and my first thought was, “Damn it!”  The Samsung Gear VR was on my list this year and we’re likely just going to have to wait until 2016 to see what level of awesome we have with Samsung’s latest extension.  I was checking out the Oculus website for the apps that were going to be coming along with this one and am looking forward to trying it out … eventually.   

Tweet of the Week:

The PhoneDrone was on a tentative holiday list and then I decided at the last minute to not send in the money to KickStarter.  Why?  I just wasn’t sure how much I would use the drone and I didn’t feel like reading all of the potential paperwork for registering the drone – if that is even necessary for the PhoneDrone.  Maybe next year … or at some earlier point in 2016.

What is on your holiday list?  What tech gifts are you looking for from Santa?  


Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 11-22-15

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding - Thanksgiving Edition (Photo Credit:

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – Thanksgiving Edition
(Photo Credit:

Welcome to a Thanksgiving-geared, #SaveThanksgiving special edition of #SundayMusings with Shore Branding.  There has not been too much news or debate – maybe I’m too busy to notice – on retailers opening up on Thanksgiving Day for Black Friday / holiday deals.  I’ve seen a number of petitions but none of them have necessarily exploded.  

In any case, for those of you celebrating Thanksgiving this coming week, I hope you enjoy it and get to spend time with your friends and family.  Onward to this week’s musings …

#1 –  “Be Thankful for Feedback: Good, Bad, and Indifferent” via

Premise: Customers have had polar opposite opinions on retailers opening their doors on Thanksgiving Day.  What is somewhat lost in all of the debate is the value of the feedback these stores have received due to making decisions like this.  Good or bad, listening to the feedback provided by your customers is absolutely critical.  The author provides three tips to consider as you embark on your holiday messaging.  

Thoughts: Well, the crux of our efforts really started in a similar spot.  However, the overall theme here, when you pull back the curtain, really is to listen to your customers.  You have to understand the impact of the decisions you make.  

#2 – “3 tips to avoid marketing missteps this holiday season” via

Premise: How do retailers keep shoppers involved and engaged throughout the holiday season and beyond?  The author puts together three tips on what retailers can do to sustain their efforts over a longer period of time.  

Thoughts: What really caught my attention is the third tip in this article, “bridge the gap between bricks and clicks”.  If you can’t optimize your customer experience by having both channels work together, then don’t try and focus your efforts on one or the other.  It is incredibly frustrating to have a completely different user experience between the in-store and online.  

#3 – “Izze’s Friendsgiving Campaign Includes Pop-Up Social Events for Millennials” via

Premise: Fruit-drink maker Izze is back with a new campaign heading into the holidays, called Friendsgiving.  The brand will be advertising across Amazon, Instagram, and Pinterest as it targets Millennials.

Thoughts: Respectfully, I had no idea that Izze was part of PepsiCo’s portfolio until this week.  I missed last year’s campaign, but I really do like what they are doing as we head into Thanksgiving.  

What brands are using a Thanksgiving-related campaign or hashtag that has caught your attention over the past few weeks?  Please do pass them along!

Tweet of the Week:

Once again, please spread the word and help others who are struggling to put a meal on the table this holiday season.  

For those celebrating Thanksgiving this week, please have a great, yet safe holiday!  #SaveThanksgiving


Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 11-8-15

Branding and Digital Marketing

Branding and Digital Marketing

As we head into and through the end of the year, there are a number of different branding efforts taking place.  This week’s #SundayMusings runs the gamut across a few of these holidays as brands have begun their year end marketing campaigns.  

#1 –  “Top hotel bonus points promotions for Thanksgiving week stays” via

Premise: Loyalty Traveler informs its readers of the best hotel travel deals for Thanksgiving week, one of the biggest travel weeks of the year in the US.  

Thoughts: Across all of the major hotel chains – Hilton, Marriott, IHG, etc. – you will be able to find the current promotions and deals in this article.  Depending on your loyalty across each, I’m sure you will be able to find something if you are considering traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday.

#2 – “REI Stores are Closing on Thanksgiving” via

Thoughts: No premise is needed here.  You have probably seen this announcement from REI, completely closing their stores on Black Friday.  Thank you! #SaveThanksgiving

Even better news … the retailer will be paying its employees as if it is a regular workday and have opted to turn this into a hashtag campaign – #OptOutside.  Well played REI!

#3 – “Why Hallmark is Ditching TV, and Sentimental Ads, for a Bit of Biting Humor this Holiday” via

Premise: For the first time, Hallmark is abandoning TV advertising for its Keepsake holiday ads, going with an all digital approach.  There are a handful of ads on its microsite for the campaign and the company is using the #KeepsakeIt hashtag for the campaign.  

Thoughts: It pains me to write anything about Christmas here – ahead of Thanksgiving – but I did want to bring to your attention.  It is telling when a brand rich in tradition decides to completely abandon the TV and go all digital.  The times, they are a changin’ …

Tweet of the Week:


Self-serving?  Sure.  A good cause?  Absolutely!  Check out the online food drive on Feeding America through the link in the tweet above.  Help others who are struggling to put a meal on the table.  Thank you!

Hope you enjoyed this week’s #SundayMusings!


Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 10-25-15

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding! (Photo credit:

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding!
(Photo credit:

Welcome to a Halloween themed #SundayMusings with Shore Branding!  With next weekend being the holiday here in the US, let’s take a look at what you may want to do, or avoid, for the holiday.  We’ll also take a look at a few early winners when it comes to their Halloween branding efforts!

#1 –  “5 Scarily Bad Brand Personality Traits to Avoid This Halloween (and After)” via

Premise: With every holiday comes a desire and plan to tailor your brand’s message or social media posts to make it relevant.  However, there are a number of items to avoid when thinking about tying your brand to a Halloween, or any other holiday, themed message, post, etc.

Thoughts: This really didn’t have to be tied to Halloween at all.  However, arrogance and/or dullness in your posts, message, etc. top this list in my opinion.  There is no need to break through the clutter through something provocative if that isn’t your normal tone.  Stay consistent.  

#2 – “5 Designs We Love: Seasonal Branding for Halloween” via

Premise: Five of the top branding and/or packaging items that have been seen thus far for the forthcoming Halloween holiday.  

Thoughts: I really like what Fanta did with their packaging.  Great look and an even better bit of innovation to it, by turning it into a drink dispenser and, from what I can tell, a Halloween basket as well.  Doesn’t that look like a Halloween basket to you?  

The other winner here is one of the most digital savvy brands we have, Oreo.  Naturally … #3 – “This App Will Help You Find the Perfect Wine to Pair With Your Halloween Candy” via Premise: I’m relatively positive the title of this article says it all, as Vivino – an app for winos … excuse me, “wine enthusiasts” has launched this year’s perfect pairings between Halloween candy and wine.    Thoughts: This is simply fantastic.  Added bonus, it comes with an infographic!  An interesting point worth mentioning is that there are no specific brands mentioned or referenced in the pairing, only types of wine.  That sounds like a future brandscaping opportunity for a wine company! Tweet of the Week:

I’m not even sure where to go with this one.  Hanes XTemp technology keeps you cool as you load up on your Halloween costume, layers, and yes, hair.  Fantastic use of the holiday that can be reapplied for Christmas in a few months in a similar manner I’m sure.

Added bonus time, here is my favorite Halloween Vine thus far (from Lowe’s) …

Hope you enjoyed this week’s #SundayMusings!  Happy Halloween and Happy Halloween Branding efforts to those giving it a try!


Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 10-11-15

Branding and Digital Marketing

Branding and Digital Marketing

This week’s #SundayMusings takes a look at the most recent advertising stories that have caught my attention over the past few weeks.  What brands have caught your attention recently with their ad efforts – whether that be by TV, digital, or elsewhere?

#1 –  “Are Marketers Finally Getting the Hang of Locattion-Based Mobile Ads” via

Premise: While location-based advertising on mobile devices has been a small portion of mobile ad spending, there continues to be progress made in this arena.  Companies like Essence and xAd have worked with Google to improve this targeted approach at mobile advertising.  

Thoughts: Location-based marketing continues to slowly move forward and we’re only going to see increases in spend levels here as technology gets stronger and platforms become richer.  Push notifications from the likes of Google, Foursquare and others on my mobile, leave no doubt in my mind that this is going to continue to grow.  

Just over two years ago (wow!) I did some testing with Nearwoo and while this slightly moves the needle from location-based marketing per se, the ability to drill down at such a granular level is a highly impactful resource for businesses – big and small.  

#2 – “Ready or Not, Here Comes Your First Big Weepy 2015 Holiday Prank Commercial” via

Premise: Shaw Communications released an ad for Canada’s Thanksgiving holiday and won the internet for a few hours, surprising family members with others returning ‘home’ for the holiday.

Thoughts: Originally saw this link and thought for sure it would be Christmas ad, which naturally made my blood boil.  However, this was a great ad that truly does get you thinking about what the holidays really are, or should be about.  

As always, let’s #SaveThanksgiving – no matter what country you celebrate it in!!

#3 – AdWords and Social Media: King and Queen of Advertising –

Thoughts: A look back at the history of Google’s AdWords and how it has boomed since social media has taken off over the past decade or so.  Interesting to continue to see how AdWords evolves and how powerful the platform is / has become.  

Is your brand/business using AdWords?  How effective has it been for you?

Tweet of the Week:

Well, Carl’s Jr. certainly sparked the controversy recently with its latest ad.  Let’s just say that this is the least revealing tweet you will find on their #TexMexBacon campaign.  Not only did we get the standard “sexist” commentary from this campaign, they managed to make it political as well with some folks saying it was controversial because of the US/Mexican border “issues” that are on-going.  

Can we just enjoy advertising for what it is and not turn everything into such a PC-driven debate?!  Hope you enjoyed this week’s #SundayMusings!  


Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 9-27-15

Branding and Digital Marketing

Branding and Digital Marketing

With the start of the NFL season in swing and Oktoberfest starting in Germany this weekend, it is time to dedicate a #SundayMusings to beer.  It has been a long time coming and will also be part of next weekend’s “Loyalty to Brands”.  Here are a few stories that caught my attention in recent weeks across beer brands.

#1 –  “Guinness raises a glass to Denis Leary’s Firefighters Foundation with $224K donation” via

Premise: Guinness has donated just under $224K to actor/comedian Denis Leary’s Firefighters Foundation, in support of firefighters nationwide.  The relationship between the beer brand and Leary has been going on for a couple of years now, with Guinness giving back to the community in a very noble way.  For more information you can visit  

Thoughts: The first thought for many when asked about Denis Leary may be a foul-mouthed comedian or the star of Rescue Me.  However, he does a lot of good through his foundation, the genesis of which comes from an unfortunate life event.  

Kudos to Guinness for continuing the relationship not only through its donations, but continued PR and ad support behind the cause as well.  

#2 – “Bud Light and Google Partner To Win Football Fans On The Second Screen” via

Premise: Bud Light, the official beer of the NFL, is partnering with Google (and YouTube) to market its product to those using a second screen during football.  Whether you are searching for scores or fantasy football updates online, you are likely to wind up seeing some type of marketing effort from Bud Light.  

Thoughts: Bud Light is working with 28 of the 32 NFL teams, having created a unique can for each of the 28.  I actually saw a good amount of responses from Bud Light’s Twitter feed, as they replied to many NFL fans across teams with quick GIF files of that respective team’s Bud Light can.  Needless to say, Bud Light is listening and taking content marketing to another level through its online channels.

#3 – Miller Lite – Free Rides

Premise: Miller Lite is partnering with various transit systems and communities to give away free rides to promote safety and to prevent drunk driving with this site.  

Thoughts: How do you build saliency when your number one competitor has the national partnership with the most prevalent sports league in the US?  You do a little good for society.  The program has provided almost 5 million free rides to date.

I noticed this on Twitter as well, when Miller Lite was promoting the program for the Eagles and Cowboys game from Week 1 and thought it was a fantastic program that deserved more attention.

Tweet of the Week:

While there are Oktoberfest’s held all over the world, nothing compares to the one that started last Saturday in Germany.  Bucketlist …

That’s it for this week’s #SundayMusings!  What is your favorite beer and why?


Brand in Focus – LeapFrog

Visit for the latest in kids toys, games, and technology!

Visit for the latest in kids toys, games, and technology!

The next brand to be placed “in focus” is LeapFrog – which builds off of last weekend’s #SundayMusings focus on brands that have entered our household since the birth of our child last year.  LeapFrog is the creator of a number of educational toys, games, and technology-driven gadgets for the young ones in the house.  We have found their products to be fun and engaging, while also catering to my gadget geekdom.  

Let’s look under the hood on how LeapFrog brands itself online and across social media platforms in our latest “Brand in Focus”!

LeapFrog Homepage 1

LeapFrog’s own website is easy to use and makes it easy to find what you are looking for.  Directly below the headlines in the screenshot above you will find the ability to find the right LeapFrog product by product category and/or by your child’s age bracket.  Easy enough, right?

Further down you will find verbatim responses and quotes from LeapFrog users, a nice way to resonate with potential customers and those that have yet to try its products.  

LeapFrog Homepage 2

You won’t find links to LeapFrog’s social media sites until you hit the bottom of the home page – where the company has direct links to its Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Pinterest pages.  Let’s dive into each …


LeapFrog currently has over 1.1 million likes on Facebook.  Just about every weekday you will find at least one update on LeapFrog’s Facebook page.  Engagement with fans goes through peaks and valleys, somewhat surprisingly.  There are some posts that catch less than 100 “Likes” but there are others that easily exceed triple digits.  

One of the more successful posts – in terms of driving Likes and shares – is seen below, the Facebook announcement of LeapFrog Epic, the latest tablet to be launched by the company last month.   

Introducing the brand new LeapFrog Epic, our newest tablet with a kid-perfect UI that grows with your child and lets…

Posted by LeapFrog on Wednesday, August 19, 2015


The other item that caught my eye is that there are a lot of calls to action or tabs at the top of LeapFrog’s Facebook page – and that’s a good thing in my opinion.  They provide you with a Customer Support page for email and phone support.  They also have links to their other social media feeds, and across product pages.  

LeapFrog Facebook


There is a big drop-off in the number of followers from Facebook to Twitter, where LeapFrog has a little under 30K followers on the latter.  There is also a little bit more of a gap in frequency on their Twitter feed, where there is occasionally a week or so going by without an update.  

However, one item that caught my eye in August and it falls under the Brandscaping category – where LeapFrog and Toys R Us came together on 8/26 for a #ToysForAll Twitter chat.  An excellent job by the two companies to come together for a good cause.

The #ToysForAll Twitter chat

The #ToysForAll Twitter chat


Similar to its Twitter numbers, LeapFrog has slightly under 30K followers on YouTube.  However, LeapFrog’s uploaded videos on YouTube have driven over 30 million views!  LeapFrog’s YouTube page provides a plethora of information and video to guide yourself through.  The content is nicely organized as well – take a look at the “Playlists” page and you’ll find that someone has taken the time to organize the video uploads by product categories.  

What actually caught my eye and drove home the decision to put LeapFrog in focus this quarter is the new ad below.  I first saw it during a commercial break on Hulu and thought it was well done … and well targeted by Hulu’s algorithm given how much kid-friendly content we have purged through in recent months.  


A similar level of focus and detail can be found on LeapFrog’s Pinterest page and boards, with Pins and boards ordered by season, holiday, product category and more.  You will also see a Holiday wish-list board for each of the past three years.  

LeapFrog Pinterest

I’m a little surprised that LeapFrog “only” has 14K followers on Pinterest, as I would have thought this would be a great place for moms to follow the brand and to get ideas for their children via a more visually stimulating platform.  

Overall Summary:

I’m very impressed with the level of detail that goes into organizing LeapFrog’s content on each of the social media platforms.  Someone, or a group of people, are doing a great job at paying attention to detail for the company.  

One item that did catch my eye when flipping across networks is that the LeapFrog website does not directly connect to its Google+ or Instagram pages.  However, those do exist and are out there, but I like the focus on where they have more traction right now.  

What have you seen from LeapFrog across platforms that you like/dislike?  Are you currently using their products, and if so, why?  Let us know in the Comments section below.