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On December 1, at the Annual Recreation Vehicle Industry Association International Trade Show in Louisville, Kentucky, Lewis Communications helped Tiffin Motorhomes unveil their newest model, the Allegro Breeze. The Breeze is a 28′ Class A diesel-pusher that isn’t just a new product, but creates a whole new category in the RV industry. Just as luxurious as Tiffin’s high-end models, the Breeze is smaller, more maneuverable and fuel efficient.

In an industry where in the past bigger almost always meant better, a teaser campaign was developed with the tagline, “This is BIG.” The campaign targeted dealers and industry media letting them know Tiffin would soon be unveiling something brand new. The Tiffin website homepage included a countdown clock promising something huge at the industry’s leading annual show. Direct mail and social media posts also helped spread the word of Tiffin’s big news leading up to the show.

The actual unveiling at the RVIA show included an oversized curtain with fake wheels pushed out to create the impression of a vehicle almost twice the size of the Breeze.

When the curtain was dropped attendees were surprised to see a luxury RV half the size of what was expected. Miniature pocket-sized brochures were handed out and the wording on the side of the display changed to say “Small is Big.”

The Breeze was named Best of Show for the RVIA Expo and was featured in RV Business and MotorHome Magazine.

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Lewis recently helped create a successful joint promotion for Whole Foods Market and the Black Warrior Riverkeeper. A portion of proceeds from a day’s sales went to the Riverkeeper, and sales for the gourmet market were up by 5% the day of the promotion. Lewis also created a new educational brochure for the Riverkeeper.

The Corporate Myth of Free Social Media Marketing
The Corporate Myth of Free Social Media Marketing

Robert McDonald, CEO of Proctor & Gamble, made headlines this month when he announced to Wall Street that “social media is free” — apparently as a defense for firing 1,600 marketing and other non-manufacturing workers.

“In the digital space, with things like Google and Facebook, the return on investment of the advertising, (1) when properly designed, (2) when the big idea is there, (3) can be much more efficient. One example is our Old Spice campaign, where (4) we had 1.8 billion free impressions.”

A closer look at his statement, however, reveals four glaring flaws in his thinking.

1) Nothing “properly designed” is free. Social media efforts take time and talent to create and well-constructed networks of (sometimes) thousands of people to take root. P&G’s social media channel is no more free to operate than are their sales or distribution networks.

2) No “big idea” is free. Sure, it’s easy to sell Knicks tickets NOW. But big ideas, from Jared Fogel to Jeremy Lin, require some risk and investment upfront before they can be spread in any media, including online.

3) Yes, social media “can be” more efficient – but efficient doesn’t mean free. A Toyota Prius can be more efficient to drive, but you still have to buy one and fill it up BEFORE you can save money on its operation.

4) The Old Spice campaign was the opposite of “free”. It was launched via a massive television buy, was produced with world-class advertising agency, production and talent expense, and was supported by what one analyst called, “a forest of buy-one-get-one-free coupons”.

True, the Old Spice campaign was a masterful effort that re-defined the brand and deftly utilized special media. But to suggest that it garnered 1.8 billion free impressions blatantly misrepresents the magnitude of their investment and their well-deserved return.

Clarity hurtling towards you at 21,000 mph
Clarity hurtling towards you at 21,000 mph

According to some British scientists, on May 19, 2031, an asteroid about the size of Manhattan is predicted to center-punch the Earth, effectively eliminating all human life within a few months.

Bummer.

So, we probably don’t have to put quite as much emphasis on that global warming issue. (What is Al Gore going to do?) Not to mention those who are currently building a house don’t need to opt for the more expensive 30-year roof.

21 years left.

So does knowing the exact amount of time you have left change anything? Does your list of “somedays” take on a newfound urgency? Are you now going to quit your job and go help the less fortunate around the world?

I say if that’s what you want to do, you should pursue it with unbridled vigor. For me, knowing now I will never retire actually provides a little more clarity. How many times do you attempt to look way off in the future and you feel like you somehow won’t live the life you have at present. Well, no need to worry about that anymore I suppose.

Now we all have something in common to worry about: May 19, 2031. So let’s all just stop worrying about everything else that is suddenly not so important: the economy, our 401K’s, the death of advertising, or TV or NASCAR. We’re all going to be just fine. You know how I know? Because if you’re reading this, you are probably in the advertising (uh, sorry…the “communications/social influence”) business. Which means you’re in the greatest, most exciting and interesting career on the planet. You make a living on ideas. That is NEVER going to change. Sure those ideas will manifest themselves in new ways, but who cares? Great ideas will always be great ideas up until that fateful May Monday in the not too distant future.

So take a look at what is on your desk right now. There are a million excuses not to make it the best it can be: “I don’t have enough time,” “I’ve got too much on my plate,” “It will cut into my Facebook time,” “The AE is clueless,” “The client won’t like it,” “The creative director is stupid,” “The strategy is wrong,” “There is no budget,” “They’ll never buy it,” “I can’t make a difference,” “The category is shunned by the shows,” “My computer screen is too small,” “I am a hack,” (okay, I admit I still believe this one). The difference between good work and GREAT work is the unwillingness to give in to the voices. So just take things one at a time. Pick your projects, clients, etc. that will most help you make a difference. And have fun. Most importantly, make whatever you do GREAT. Make it memorable. Make it funny, or serious or compelling. Just make sure to get it done by Sunday night, May 18, 2031. I can promise you, this time there’s no way you’re getting an extension.

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Lewis recently completed six new television spots for Alfa Insurance. The spots were shot by director Kevin Donovan and employ a wide range of comedic (and occasionally poignant) moments to illustrate Alfa’s superior value and responsive claims service. This is the fourth year of the ongoing Let’s Talk About Tomorrow campaign the agency crafted for Alfa.


The travel industry has endured a rough couple of years, to put it mildly. In times of downturn, there is always a desire to focus on short-term tactics that will “drive traffic,” and that often leads to pressure on a Destination Marketing Organization to promote more with fewer resources. In my opinion, however, this is a slippery slope. Instead, I would argue that while drawing more visitors through specific initiatives is important, now more than ever is a good time to remind yourself and your community partners of a few core obligations that you have as a DMO.

1. First and foremost, a DMO must ensure that the community brand remains strong. Your job is to answer the question, “Do I want to go there and will I enjoy it?” in the mind of the visitor. Hoteliers, restaurants, attractions and other businesses in your community are focused on the things that will bring them customers and revenue, and they should be. They need you, the DMO, to be the voice of what your community stands for and promote the values, lifestyle and experiences that their visitors will enjoy in your community. If you do not take care of the brand, no one else will.

2. Next, your constituents need you to give them the ammunition to attract the best customers. To do so, however, you need a lot of insight from your constituents and their customers. Specifically, they should allow you to speak with their customers (in a respectful way), and they should openly and proactively share things they learn about their customers. As a result, you need to give back to them in the form of customer profiles, trends and insights for the community as a whole. You should make sure that any potential visitor or group finds your constituents quickly and easily. I will take that one step further and say you should share this information with city members to see if there are opportunities to improve infrastructure or incorporate your brand throughout the city.

3. Lastly, your visitor is online (call me “Mr. Obvious”) and you serve your community best by engaging your brand with consumers where they are. If I were to do a Twitter search on your city, what would I find? What if I went to your website or Facebook page? Is a dialogue taking place between you and the online community? Does your website give me a sense of your community or is it simply an online version of your visitors guide? You are the portal to your destination and you cannot afford to neglect the online world or damage your brand by only touting local promotions. You serve your community partners best by being the one, if only, voice that allows people to get to know your community.

If you remain true to these fundamental challenges, I believe that you will see long-term success, and that the pain and length of the downturn can be greatly reduced.

How do you ensure your brand message is being heard today? How do you help your constituents attract customers? What does your online presence look like? I would love to hear how you are balancing your branding efforts with the downturn and what you are finding works.

London 2012 is Over. Which Brands Won?
London 2012 is Over. Which Brands Won?

Team Great Britain, Michael Phelps, Usain Bolt, Gabby Douglas and countless others won athletic gold in London, but which brands came out on top during these games?

The Peacock
In the U.S., NBC’s brand saw mixed results with soaring ratings delivering a huge and positive impact to their bottom line. Unfortunately, the hashtag #NBCFail was ubiquitous during the games and reached a crescendo last night as Bob Costas pulled the ultimate bait-and-switch promoting an appearance by The Who, but only after a pilot for a new sit-com. NBC pays billions of dollars to have the U.S. broadcast rights for the Olympics, and must make hard decisions about how to recoup that investment. It is still hard to see how going out of your way to aggravate your viewers is a winning long-term strategy.

The Swoosh
Although Nike wasn’t an official Olympic sponsor, they almost don’t need to be. The swoosh logo was shown on screen thousands of times on athletes’ shoes and apparel. Their guerilla marketing campaign “Find Your Greatness” was brilliant in both strategy and execution by featuring everyday men, women and children finding greatness on a less-than Olympic stage, but still in a town called London.

The Ultimate Branding Machine
One of the less-heralded Olympic partners was BMW Group who found smart and relevant ways to keep their brands and their cars top-of-mind. In addition to TV spots touting their sponsorship, BMW riffed on Willy Wonka’s Golden Ticket by driving a Golden Bimmer around London giving free tickets to those who shared photos of themselves with the car. During the closing ceremonies, Jesse J and two other singers were transported into and around Olympic stadium in three Rolls-Royce Phantoms specially built and badged for the event. BMW’s Mini joined in the competition with remote-controlled Mini’s carrying javelins back to athletes finding a way onto hallowed athletic ground that is supposedly free of commercial clutter.

Proctor & Gamble, Omega Watches and several other official and not-so-official sponsors of the games were highly visible with TV spots, online video, and social media memes. The brands mentioned above stood out most to me during these games, but branding is seen through the eye of the beholder.

Which brands grabbed your attention and won Gold in London?

20 Big Wins At Healthcare Marketing Awards
20 Big Wins At Healthcare Marketing Awards

At Lewis, we go to great pains to remind people that we’re not a “healthcare agency.” After all, we work with RV manufacturers, insurance companies, energy utilities and other businesses, and we’ve won awards in every one of those categories.

But at the same time, we are especially proud each year when the Healthcare Marketing Awards roll around.

We like healthcare.

It’s consumer branding. It’s an expensive, important decision in people’s lives. It’s research-driven and yet highly emotional in its execution.

We find like-minded souls at the helm of many of the nation’s top teaching hospitals. They value research, as we do. They have substantive, real product differences that consumers deserve to know about. And creative skills we tend to be good at, like storytelling and craftsmanship, make us a good fit for the category.

Nearly 4,000 entries were received in this year’s competition–and Lewis walked away with 20 major awards, including one Best of Show.

This is on the heels of the nation’s other significant healthcare marketing competition, the Aster Awards, where Lewis also won a Best of Show and other honors.

We work hard at this stuff. So, it’s gratifying when the industry notices. I’m proud of our teams in all three Lewis offices for such a great showing.

You’ll find the complete list of wins below.

 


 

2011 HEALTHCARE MARKETING AWARDS

BEST OF SHOW – Newspaper Advertising
Memorial Health
Savannah, GA
Beach/High School Football/Field Trips

GOLD
Logo/Letterhead
Louisiana State University Health System
LSU Corporate Identity

GOLD
Magazine Series
Medical University South Carolina Medical Center
Fisherman/Girl in Car/Grandpa & Grandson

GOLD
Outdoor
Memorial Health
Heroes/Cancer/Preemies

GOLD
Television Series
Memorial Health
Midnight/Hello Summer/Chances

GOLD
Newspaper Series
Stony Brook Children’s Hospital

GOLD
Special Video
Stony Brook University Fundraising Video

GOLD
Employee Communication Program
University of Virginia Health System
UVA EMR Campaign

GOLD
Newspaper Series
Vanderbilt Health Primary Care & Walk-In Clinics
Family Doctor/Fever/Check Up

SILVER
Television Series
Medical University South Carolina Medical Center
Distance/Independence/News

SILVER
Newspaper Series
Memorial Health
Beach/High School Football/Field Trips

SILVER
Television Single
Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt
Money

SILVER
Radio Series
Stony Brook University Medical Center
Remember/Different/The Choice

SILVER
Special Event
University Healthcare Consortium
Poster/Microsite/Brochure/Video

SILVER
Special Video
Upstate University Health System
Cancer Video

SILVER
Total Advertising with TV
Wake Forest Baptist Health
Knowlege Campaign

BRONZE
Newspaper Series
Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt
This Isn’t

BRONZE
Radio Series
Vanderbilt University Medical Center
McPherson/Pietenpol/Thompson

BRONZE
Total Advertising with TV
Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Branding Campaign

MERIT
New Media
University of Virginia Health System
UVA Holiday Greeting

 

2011 ASTER AWARDS

BEST OF SHOW – Total Advertising Campaign
University of Virginia Health System — Charlottesville, VA

Award: Best of Show
Entry Name: UVA EMR Campaign
Category: Total Advertising Campaigns

Medical University of South Carolina — Charleston, SC
Award: Gold
Entry Name: 2010 Magazine Series
Category: Magazine Publication – Series

Medical University of South Carolina — Charleston, SC
Award: Silver
Entry Name: 2010 Total Ad Series
Category: Total Advertising Campaigns

Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt — Nashville, TN
Award: Gold
Entry Name: Newspaper Series
Category: Newspaper Advertising – Series

Stony Brook Children’s Hospital — Stony Brook, NY
Award: Gold
Entry Name: Development Ad ’Sandbox’
Category: Newspaper Advertising – Single

Stony Brook Children’s Hospital — Stony Brook, NY
Award: Silver
Entry Name: Stony Brook Children’s Logo
Category: Logo Design/Letterhead

Stony Brook Children’s Hospital — Stony Brook, NY
Award: Silver
Entry Name: Fundraising Video
Category: Other/Misc

University of Virginia Health System — Charlottesville, VA
Award: Bronze
Entry Name: UVA Beyond Surgery
Category: Service Line – Surgical Services

University of Virginia Health System — Charlottesville, VA
Award: Gold
Entry Name: UVA Branding Campaign – Spine
Category: Service Line – Orthopedic Services

University of Virginia Health System — Charlottesville, VA
Award: Silver
Entry Name: UVA Branding Campaign – Pediatrics
Category: Service Line – Children’s

Vanderbilt University Medical Center — Nashville, TN
Award: Gold
Entry Name: 2010 Magazine Series
Category: Magazine Publication – Series

Vanderbilt University Medical Center — Nashville, TN
Award: Silver
Entry Name: Anthem :60 TV
Category: TV/Video Advertising – Single

 

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A print campaign for The Scribbler was named Best of Show in the 7th District ADDY Awards in New Orleans (the 7th District encompasses most of the southeastern United States and includes Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee and Lousiana). The campaign of small space ads for a Birmingham-area stationery boutique was created by ACD Roy Burns, designer Holly Cook and senior copywriter Kathy Oldham. The accolade also marks the second consecutive Best of Show District win for Lewis Communications.