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6 Reasons Innovative Consumer Products Need Longer Forms of Television

Companies spend millions creating innovative products hoping to build a secure future. Then most often they introduce those products to market…with ineffective communication. These days “digital” seems to be the go-to approach everyone chooses. Yet taking your innovative product to market with a digital release is the equivalent of whispering in Grand Central station. You think you did something – but nobody who would care about your product is going to hear you. That’s why Atomic specializes in using TV to drive success for innovative consumer products introduced at retail. We prefer longer forms of TV (60 and 120 second spots – or even half hours) for six reasons: TV Drives Demand for New Products… Longer forms of TV dramatically shorten the time it takes for a product to be a sales hit. Why? Message, demonstration and communication, along with a call to take action, ensure that consumers go to the store asking for the product. TV Increases Margins… A product on a shelf doesn’t add value to itself. So, with too many releases, lacking communication, retailers have to rely on price cuts to drive sales volume (price cuts they ask the manufacturer to pay for or share). TV can change this situation. A well demonstrated product demands a higher price – often as much as double or triple the price without TV. TV Builds Brand while Driving Demand… In our work, we find that consumers retain the most powerful brand messages when they are seen through a meaningful product. Crafted carefully, a smart television campaign will drive demand and also build powerful long-term brand value. TV Brings Shelf Potatoes to Life… There’s a special type of product […]

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The Year Some Digital Emperors Lost Their Clothes

It’s been an eventful year in digital – with a string of writers and speakers pointing out where Regal Attire is missing among the Emperors. Because of this, I thought I’d pull together a brief list of links to some of the most interesting revelations of undress: Dan Lyons published his book “Disrupted: My Misadventure in the Startup Bubble”. This  book offers an insider’s view of HubSpot – but it takes on a much bigger topic. Essentially, it shows how easily digital ventures (like AdTech and marketing automation) become games dedicated to driving up share price without delivering value to the customer (those companies who use their services). In the next year, we’ll discover this is true of the online video marketing business – but that emperor hasn’t yet been called out. (Check out Dan Lyons’ book here.) The Digital Fraud Debacle. AdContrarian Bob Hoffman has extensively covered incredible fraud in the digital marketing business. (Sample of Bob’s postings here. You can find another one here.) Media Fraud in General. A new ANA report reveals how some agencies drive their own profits at the expense of making good choices for their clients. While it’s a good first step, some felt that it was an inadequate report attempting to just “get by”. The AdContrarian has discussed the ANA report. And I’ve written about the conflict agencies find balancing their profits with client success. Television has been rediscovered. Okay, it never went away. But this year recognition has been clear that smart advertising for mass market leverages TV. A key part of TV’s value is its incredible reach. As Byron Sharp has shown in his books How Brands Grow & How Brands Grow, Part 2, the […]

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AMAZON – Retail’s 800-Pound Gorilla…or Crafty Coyote?

An odd digital disease has run rampant among mass retailers for the last couple of decades – let’s call it “Amazon Panic”. (Professor Mark Ritson calls advertising’s version of this digital disease “morbus digitalis”>.) Amazon Panic involves falling prey to digital theories because we’re told “physical things like stores will go away and be replaced by digital”. These theories are given extra momentum because of popular mythology around disruption. And for retail, Amazon becomes the panic point because they are the biggest mostly pureplay digital retailer. (Most other pureplay eCommerce has already failed due to bad economics or morphed into something else.) Amazon.com is such a powerful distraction that a Time Magazine article recently called it the “800 pound gorilla”. A Challenging Data Point. Last year, we mounted an advertising campaign for a product that drove consumers to Amazon as well as a traditional retailer. These were tagged commercials that directed consumers to either website. Surprisingly, given the media weight and the tags, online sales at the retailer were roughly 8x the sales of the product on Amazon. So that started my team at Atomic studying the numbers – looking back at 20 years of Amazon Panic. What we find is both fascinating and quite clear:  Amazon Panic is out of proportion. Amazon’s True Size:  We’re told that Amazon is a $107b retailer. They’re not. Amazon pushes that idea (and even such respected firms as Forrester have been sucked into it). Yet only a portion of Amazon’s revenue can be considered revenue they “took away” from retailers. So we need a new term to get to Amazon’s true retail size:  Retail Equivalent Revenue. Let’s breakdown Amazon’s total […]

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New Language: Attribution or Contribution for Advertising Impact?

It’s important to be careful with language around advertising. Far too often what sounds like highly precise language includes incredible leaps of assumption. Consider the Relevance Leap. Despite incredible hype from digital teams, it turns out that online “relevance” is really based on the idea that a consumer has done something relevant to the advertiser. Relevance is in the eye of the beholder: I am bombarded by a lot of ads that someone decided were relevant to me – but aren’t. Don’t be misled by the term. Or, consider terms like “engagement” or “viewability”. Ed Papazian recently mentioned both in a MediaPost article comment (article link here), noting the numbers don’t mean what the words imply amid a digital world. Just because the digitician’s called a metric “engagement” doesn’t mean it measures when consumers are engaged. So what should we make of “Contribution” – a term being bandied about for sorting out media effectiveness. To be honest, I’m hopeful. Think of this term used in the context: “rather than focus on attribution, we are choosing to look at each type of media for its contribution”. At least that’s a good start. We Need to Replace “Attribution”. Attribution has been all the rage for few years. It arose through a combination of a desperate need to justify digital spend, an important need to sort out the best ways to spend in a complicated advertising mix, and was given an extra push with the arrival of big data (and the myth that data could tell us everything about our media impact). Except, “Attribution” has turned out to be one-dimensional. Generally, it means no more than attributing every consumer purchase to one source of media. […]

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The National Hardware Show’s Innovation Vitality

When I attended the National Hardware Show in Las Vegas recently I was hoping to find a good display of innovation along with solid mainline products. This was particularly important because my March visit to the International Housewares Show in Chicago was underwhelming when it came to innovation (see my comments here). The Hardware Show delivered. I saw a range and vitality of innovation that I hadn’t seen at Housewares. The focus at Housewares seemed to be massive volumes of minimally interesting products available in a wide range of colors. The focus at Hardwares were innovations that were valuable to consumers (although I was sad to still see a few pink things from male companies hoping to “appeal to women”). A few of the innovations I noted… …There was the ubiquitous BluFixx man strolling the aisles to lead us to their booth (where we learned about their version of the new blue LED light curable products). In the photo that’s Atomic VP of Accounts Skye Weadick with BluFixx man at the show. …It seemed like there was another Shark Tank funded product lurking around every corner. …Somehow at Hardware, the IoT was integrated into products in ways that delivered more consumer value and made better sense. …And did you see what’s happening with BBQs and smokers? In a soon to be published article I wrote that they need DRTV. With a tremendous array of newly revealed innovations (and great food), now is the time communicate! All in all it was quite fun – and reflects why hardware retail is so vital right now. Stores need innovative products because they make the stores stronger. While we’re not […]

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Do Ad Agencies Serve Clients or Their Own Bottom Line? It’s Tricky.

In 2012 I wrote a blog post motivated by a letter penned by a departing Goldman Sachs executive. The letter had appeared in the New York Times. If you haven’t…

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Longer Spots, Better Results: Keys for a Killer 2-minute Spot


This original article appeared in the March 2016 edition of Response Magazine. It is slightly modified.
Longer TV spots — 60 and 120 seconds — are a staple of response-measured…

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Housewares 2016: Where Did the Innovation Go?

A week ago I returned from my trip to the International Housewares Show in Chicago. The show remains quite vibrant despite over a decade of fears for its demise.
But…

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Why was Azek at New York Fashion Week?


This year New York Fashion Week was greeted by Azek – a new advertiser hoping to reach women. But for Azek, a brand unknown to consumers, the campaign fails on…

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Driving Success for Innovative Products in the Hostile World of Retail

I’ve spent a career introducing innovative new products at retail and know how challenging it is to make
You can’t expect innovation to sell if you wait to educate consumers…

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