We’ve all heard the Six-Second Billboard Rule: how any information the viewer can’t absorb in six seconds is wasted.

In reality, even six seconds is a bit optimistic. A focused, impactful three-second “read” that allows some breathing space is actually more effective. Why? Allowing your basic message a few uninterrupted seconds to sink in without adding anything else to think about creates a small “memory zone” before the next distraction (i.e. brake lights or the next billboard), increasing the chances your message will stick.

Remember the first time you saw one of Chick-fil-A’s iconic “Eat Mor Chikin” billboards? Couldn’t believe your eyes, could you? Three-word headline, no phone number, no web address. Just a memorable image (cows painting) that continued burning its way into your retinas long after you’d sped past.


Chipotle’s got a pretty good handle on simple and iconic, too. One message, no extraneous details: Really Big Burritos, delivered with a sense of humor.

Just about a year ago Dole began their "366 Ways to Go Bananas" or "A Banana a Day" promotion to support their three-year-long "Go Bananas" concept. The overall goal is to encourage Americans to use and incorporate bananas in their diet outside of just breakfast and lunch-- which would increase the overall sales of bananas.

I read a brief recap on the promotion (though results aren't measured/published yet) on Path to Purchase and began looking up information immediately, as I was impressed with how full-circle this initiative seemed to be.

Dole identified the issue that people were primarily eating bananas for breakfast and lunch. Their opportunities were obvious enough, encourage the use of bananas for all meals and snacking, but it was the execution that was impressive. A microsite, social media accounts, recipe and serving suggestion development, in-store promotions, national tour, retailer and film partner promotion, blogger outreach and sticker QR code activation all pulled together to make this happen.

A microsite dedicated to A Banana a Day including  bananas recipes, serving suggestions, nutritional information, links to their Monday Funday Facebook promotion, and a link to their Twitter account where a new way to go bananas was posted daily utilizing the hashtag #Go366.

I recently read an article in Path to Purchase which called attention to Triad’s Pinterest Board, Ads: Then & Now. 

This comparison of product ads from 40-60 years ago to current ads, took you for a tour of years gone by. It was like walking into the homes of my parents’ or grandparents’ and opening the pantry. Oh how times have changes and the products that have changed along with the times. My observations of how the ads have changes from then till now are:

“Then” ads:

  • Communicated product features and benefits
  • Focused on present times
  • Suggested how the product could currently benefit you

“Now” ads:

  • Focus on where the product can take you
  • Tell you what you can experience because of this product
  • Suggest who the product helps you become
  • Connect with your feelings
  • Encourage living life to its fullest and enjoying the fun side of life

The holiday shopping season is finally upon us. With Thanksgiving less than a week away, our mailboxes have been packed with Black Friday and Pre-Black Friday mailers and flyers for weeks now. Ditto the Sunday papers: stuffed to the gills with inserts from every retailer you can think of.

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If all that seems pretty normal, don’t let it fool you - something major has changed since last Christmas. Social has just officially broken through to mainstream America – and if you need proof, you need look no further than Macy's “Share the Magic” holiday eblast.

This year, Macy’s is connecting customers in an unprecedented number of ways - through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, their Mblog style blog, Tumblr, Pinterest, iPhone and Android Apps, even SMS texting. And they’re not alone.

In the marketing world, “brands” have always been the epicenter of our being. The very reason for our existence.  Dominating retail space and the hearts and minds of consumers…THE BRAND. However, over the years, we’ve noticed a shift in the retail landscape. The transformation of private label to—the PRIVATE BRAND.

Yes, yes, private label has always been there, but it was the cheap, imitation version of the brand—only to be purchased by those who couldn’t afford the “real thing.” The real brand.  But over time retailers have significantly raised their game on private brands.  Consider Wegman’s, Target’s Archer Farms, Kroger’s Simple Truth, and Costco's Kirkland. The list goes on and on of great private brands.

Consumers are converting in droves to store brands, because they find them on par with, or better than the brands they’ve come to know and love. In fact, 7 in 10 consumers say that store brands are either better than or about the same as national brands for offering high-quality products. And, on average, 20 to 40% lower in price than national brands.

It’s nothing new for a brand to incorporate digital elements to engage and interact with consumers. They have a website, Facebook page, or Twitter account to become more interactive and engage their audiences. In fact, it’s generally expected. Consumers have become accustomed to interacting with their favorite brands and sometimes getting exposed to new brands based on these customer experiences, especially with the viral nature of the consumers sharing their content.

Often there are benefits for the consumer such as access to special offers, coupons, discounts and content. All of these add to the over all brand experience.The introduction of QR codes has helped to mobilize interactive brand experiences – consumers can take action right then and there with their smart phone. Just scan and be taken to more information, content, etc.

Now brands are beginning to push the envelope even further by making printed content/ads and packaging interactive in some very innovative ways. Using innovations such as augmented reality, in combination with neat ideas and promotions, brands are doing all sorts of out-of-the-box engagement. Here are some examples:

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Last week was the Shopper Marketing Expo, put on by the Path to Purchase Institute in Chicago, IL. The best of the best in shopper marketing were there sharing valuable information. I attended four sessions and found some common themes running throughout:


I heard about insights from everyone. Art Sebastian from Kraft Foods spoke about how it took him six months to comb through the binders of insights Kraft had when he arrived. While I understand that most of us don’t have anywhere near that volume of research, I wonder if we are really looking at what we have and filling in the missing gaps. Our insights should build a story around the brand… if the story is incomplete, more insights are needed. If the insights tell you something other than what you know, trust it or do more research.

The short answer to this question...No..and Yes.

Google cares very little, or some may say not at all anymore, about what you have to say about your own website.  After a decade or more of  tolerating people gaming the system, the experts think they have finally come up with a way to stop the cheating.  We will get into that in a minute, but let's first discuss how we got here...

Google used to rely heavily on Keywords.  These are terms picked up by search engines on your website, whether in title tags, meta tags or your content.  They would use these terms to establish what your site was about and how they should direct search traffic.  Allowing website creators to determine what search traffic they should garner quickly proved a fool's errand.  Crafty developers and SEO consultants found ways to rank highly and not necessarily for the phrases in which their site was most relevant.  The name of the game was, is and probably always will be traffic. The constant need for traffic gave birth to all kinds of "black hat" SEO tricks of the trade and spurred the exponential growth of a cottage industry called Search Engine Optimization.  Once Google successfully stamped out black hat techniques such as repeating terms, white on white text (so that only the search engine spiders see it) as well as content and link farms, it had to find a way to be more credible in the results it was returning.  Google wants more than anything to deliver you to the most relevant possible site for your search and relying on the developer just wasn't working.

I have a tendency to do my food shopping on the fly, tucking it into the empty spots in my schedule, often when something on my list has become a critical need. I am going in for items that I buy regularly, know where they are, know what they look like, and have calculated how long it will take me to conquer my list.  I enjoy the activity of hunting down and gathering the items on my list, much like a scavenger hunt.  My challenge is when I find myself in front of a display shelf, looking for “my product”.  It can almost feel like a personal offense when I cannot find something that I have purchased regularly.

One of my regularly shopped items is yogurt and in the last year I’ve expanded my yogurt choices to include Greek yogurt, with its thick, creamy texture and the higher protein. I have tried several brands and even the store brand in a few selective situations.  When I determined to try Greek yogurt and set out for the dairy section, my challenge was deciding on a brand. The only thing I had to draw upon was a brand name that was  familiar, the only brand I had heard of - Chobani. This new purchase was not hard to handle, as the packaging was bold and plentiful.

How much time does it take to engage an audience? A rodeo bull rider gets it done in 8 seconds: 1,200 horsepower nitro-burning fuel dragsters do it in under 5.

Bearing that in mind, 15 seconds should be plenty of time for a social video, right?

That’s the thinking behind the new 15 second social networks that are popping up, like Viddy and Tout. Optimized for mobile devices, they take advantage of the increased use of smartphones for primary web access across all age groups. Not only do the new networks make it easy to upload video clips, there’s less competition for viewers than on YouTube or Facebook (although instant sharing to both social giants is built into both Viddy and Tout).