About the Steve O Zone

Monday, April 30, 2012

You Call This Advertising?

Let's face it, in today's world, advertisers and their agencies are faced with enormous challenges when it comes to getting their brands, products, services and wares noticed.

The need to be creative, to be different, to stand out was always paramount to success but now, thanks to social media, digital advertising and all the good stuff that goes with it, the bar has been set very high.

We already know that  many, if not most, consumers feel like they are subjected to too much advertising and simply don't trust the advertising they are subjected to in the first place.

Ok, so we (those in the advertising circle) know we have to rise above the every growing amount of clutter to get noticed.

And I'm sure the folks at DraftFBC Buenos Aires had every intention of drawing attention to their client when they conceived and ultimately created this spot below but...

And you know maybe I'm a little over sensitive right now what with my kids recently losing their grandmother but...

Well you be the judge:

Like I said maybe I am being over sensitive right now but to me this commercial is an example of an agency trying to be edgy just for the sake of being edgy.

I mean what's more edgy than watching a grandmom get blown away in a hail of gunfire during a bank heist?

And trust me, I am one prone to push the proverbial envelope as I don't like "same old, same old" by any means. 

Maybe this is a cultural thing? Maybe Americans view grandmothers in a different light than they do in South America? Maybe that's why this bothers me so much.

What did you think?

Did you like it? Why?

Did you not like? Why?


Friday, April 27, 2012

Taking It To The Streets - A Brilliant Example Of Street Savvy Marketing

For those of you over the age of say 40, I apologize if The Doobie Brothers' song Takin' It To The Streets is now reverberating in your head, but after learning about this campaign, the phrase of taking it to the streets was the first thing I thought of.

The opening line to The Doobie Brothers' classic is "You don’t know me but I’m your brother" and I in fact have to thank my brother Michael Olenski for sharing this brilliant - at least I think it's brilliant, example of what I am calling "street savvy marketing."

Publicity photo of the music group The Doobie ...
Hey maybe I've coined a new phrase today - street savvy marketing.

Well you all can decide if you like that phrase or not or maybe it was already in use and I never knew it.

Anywho, the example comes from the cable channel TNT, who decided to make a dramatic entrance if you will, into the country of Belgium. Created by Duval Guillaume ad agency, the campaign was simplistic in design yet incredibly creative in its production and features choreography rivaling a Broadway show, all of which left a crowd of onlookers "too flabbergasted to react or to run away or intervene" according to agency rep Marc Wellens.

It's amazing what can happen when you take an otherwise nondescript square, add in an innocuous red button, a sign with one simple edict on it, and some good old fashioned human curiosity.

This is kind of a flash mob in reverse whereas you don't have a pre-scripted scene involving a mob or crowd all waiting for their cues but rather a crowd that unwittingly becomes part of the action, which is just as, if not more powerful and impactful than if they had been "in on it."

Judging by the fact the the video, as of this writing, has over 29 million views on You Tube, it would appear that many others also found it quite interesting, if not, dare I say, brilliant.

Well, truth be told I didn't think all of it was brilliant. There was one part which made no sense to me and that was the part where the football players - the American football players that is, remember this is Belgium, came running out to enter the fray. I don't understand why the agency would elect to inject something so American into an otherwise European-themed idea but hey, that's just nitpicking and the football players are only in the video for a brief time and it is at the end.

Of course now TNT needs to live up to the enormous hype they've created and now must televise shows that produce the same amount or more of drama.

Good luck with that.

Source: You Tube

Named one of the Top 100 Influencers In Social Media (#41) by Social Technology Review, Steve Olenski is a freelance writer/blogger currently looking for full-time work. He has worked on some of the biggest brands in the world and has over 20 years experience in advertising and marketing. He lives in Philly and can be reached via email,Twitter, LinkedIn or his website.


Monday, April 23, 2012

Brand Managers Have A Lot Riding On A Logo

I am not a designer nor do I play one on TV. However, I have done my fair share of branding and have worked with many a designer and art director on logo design and creation.

And just as every word in a given brand's tagline or slogan carries an inherent amount of weight, so too does the color of their respective logo.

I would bet the majority of consumers never realize the level of painstaking detail that goes into the creation of a logo. But as you will read and see below, every color carries with it a different connotation that a brand/company hopes conveys the precise subliminal message they want it to for they more than likely have a whole lot of money riding on it.

Let me know what you think of this as I am very curious to see if you notice the color or colors of a logo and if so, do those colors affect you in any way? 

Source: http://fr.locita.com


Monday, April 16, 2012

Curiosity May Have Killed The Cat But Complacency Will Kill The Marketer

Not long ago I told you of the One Quarter Of American Consumers (who) Are Brand Loyal. That indeed is a very telling statistic which came from a survey conducted by Ernst & Young. Today comes the results of another survey, this one done jointly by Acxiom and Loyalty360, which sheds some light on why so few consumers are brand loyal. And it all comes to down one word.
com·pla·cen·cy – a feeling of quiet pleasure or security, often while unaware of some potential danger
I give you exhibit A...

That’s right boys and girls, 60% of all the respondents – who were comprised of executives in both B2B and B2C companies from a cross section of industries, dedicate less than 20% of their marketing budget to customer retention.

See where I’m going here with the whole “complacency” thing?
The 60%/20% statistic is even more telling when you factor in the 80/20 rule which many brands adhere to and states that the top 20% of customers drive 80% of a brand’s sales and profits.
The findings also make mention of a study done by Bain Consulting which found the average company loses 20-40% of its customers every year. Reducing customer attrition by a mere 5% can improve a business’s bottom line profits by 25-85%.
Exhibit B comes in the form that nearly 75% of respondents indicated that less than half of their employees focus on driving retention marketing programs.
There is some good news to report as nearly 60% of respondents plan on increasing their marketing retention budget over the next two years.
Of course I wonder what about the other 40%. What are they doing?
But I digress.
So why the low numbers when it comes to retention?
Why aren’t more marketers and brands focused on retaining the customers they already have? Presumably these are the loyal customers so it makes me wonder aloud what is these marketers and brands are thinking by not concentrating more on keeping the customers they currently have “on the books” especially when you consider it costs six to seven times more to gain a new customer than to keep an existing one according to Bain Consulting.
One would assume that the majority of companies, brands, marketers, advertisers, organizations or any other way you want to describe them, would know who exactly their most loyal/most valuable of customers are, right?
Well about that whole what happens when you assume edict, try this on for size.
Less than half of all respondents know who their most loyal and valuable customers are and as Tim Suther,Acxiom’s chief marketing officer, put it in the press release announcing the findings of the survey, “… knowing who these loyal customers are and how to best engage them is a business imperative to succeed in the age of the empowered consumer.”

Let’s recap...

You know, from having read my recent article that brand loyalty among American consumers is very low. You now also know that far too many companies, brands, marketers, et al undervalue the need for retaining existing customers, and far too many don’t even know who their most loyal and valuable customers are.
Do you think, just possibly, that the reason for such a low percentage of brand loyalists has any direct correlation with the fact that so many marketers are not doing enough, not engaging enough, with their existing brand loyalists?
I realize that price and quality play a major role when it comes to purchase decision time given today’s economic landscape but “creating an organization-wide focus on and commitment to retention drives a brand’s ability to deliver the level of experience that optimizes customer engagement” which in turn increases brand loyalty.
In other words Mr. and Mrs. Brand, remember who brought you to the dance, aka your most valuable customers. Don’t ignore them once the dance starts, talk to them, engage with them and stay engaged.
And dance your little hearts away all the way to the proverbial bank.


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Death ends a life, not a relationship.

The subject line is a line from the writer/author Mitch Albom, which I love and conveniently borrowed as it captures my thoughts exactly.


My mother in law passed away yesterday and if there was ever the living embodiment of the word "matriarch," it was Margaret (Peg) Chambers. An extremely strong woman with an unabashed love for her children and especially her grandchildren, she was truly one of a kind.

She was "more than just a mother in law" however. She was a very close part of my life these past 15 years or so after moving in next door to my wife. 

Every day I would see her or speak with her; seek her guidance, etc. She was and ALWAYS will be there for us whenever we needed her.I feel especially sad for the two of the three most important women in my life: my wife Terri and our 12-year daughter Samantha. 

Terri, like her mother for sure, is the Rock in our family... and there is no close second. 

Over the past several years as she has gotten older, Samantha and her grandmother have become very close. From helping her around her house to the two of them playing Webkinz to just hanging out by the pool, Samantha and her grandmother were most assuredly two peas cut from the same pod. 

I will never forget the sheer agony on my daughter's face upon learning the news that her grandmother had passed away. Like her grandmother and her mother, she immediately put others' feelings before hers saying to her mother after hearing the news, "I'm sorry you lost your mom" amid flowing tears. 

Consider it another job well done, Peg. Samantha has and is already becoming the living testament to you. 

Rest In Peace Margaret Chambers. I love you.


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Social Media Demographics

The infographic below, which I first saw on Mashable, was created by Online MBA. It's got some very telling and insightful info such as the fact that 2/3 of all adult online users are connected to one or more social media platforms.

That's amazing... it truly is. Wonder how many are still out there who still think social media is just a fad?

But I digress...

Another telling statistic is the gender breakdown between men and women on some of the social media platforms, in particular Google+ and Pinterest.

Google+ is definitely where the men hang out, literally as 71% of men use it compared to just 29% of women.

To find women, AKA the most powerful brand ambassadors in the world - in the social media space, head over to Pinterest where 82% of pinners are women. It's precisely Why Brand Managers Need to Take an Interest in Pinterest.

Click here for a full view of the infographic.

'Til next time,


Friday, April 6, 2012

Be Honest, Would I Look Good In Leggings & A Tank Top?

File this one in the "maybe we should be a little more selective in who gets what email" file. 

As part of my ongoing search for new full time employment I am working with many recruiters and staffing firms in and around the greater Philadelphia area. And for the most part they've been great to work with. 

My contact at each firm sends me leads they think would make for a good fit with my particular skill sets and we go from there.
Today however I received the following email in my in box... (I won't say who sent me this email)


Hi Steve,

We are looking for a freelance size 8 fit model for our fashion client in Bucks County.

You do not need to have previous experience but qualified candidates MUST meet the measurements below and be available for fit sessions once a week.

·         Size: 8  
·         Height: 5'5 to 5'8
·         Chest: 34-36
·         Bust: 24-26
·         Waist: 26-28
·         Drop waist: 33-37
·         Hip: 38-40
·         Inseam: 32-33
·         Thigh: 24-26

If you are interested, please send hourly rate and the below specs. These specs MUST be accurate and exact. If you have not been measured, you will need to go to a tailor and get measured. Also provide photos (front, back, side) wearing leggings and a tank top with hair pulled back. You will not be considered without measurements and photos.


Now, as good as I may think I look in leggings and a tank top - I don't have enough hair to even pull back, so scratch that - what's much more disconcerting is the fact that I got this email in the first place.
Yes this could be nothing more than a slip of a keystroke but consider that this is the first such email I received from this particular agency since signing up with them.

This is the first job opportunity they sent me. 


There are how many people out there like me looking for a new job and are dependent on agencies such as this one to help them land said new job. 

And I get this?

I wonder how many other men in their database also received this?

And Lord knows this is not rocket science here. This is, if nothing else, going through your database and eliminating any name that sounds like a man's name! 

Sure if someone only has a first initial on their file there's no way of knowing the sex of that person but the last time I checked there are no women named Steve.

Stevie, yes

Stephanie even.

But Steve?

Ironically I just wrote an article for Forbes about how there are still some companies in 2012 that still don't even capture name and address of their customers.

Apparently there are some who don't know basic email marketing rules, either. 

Needless to say this particular agency is not making me feel all warm and fuzzy when it comes to helping me in my job search.

Ok, let the snarky comments commence. 

'Til next time,