Lane Closure on the Super Information Highway

So, one guy in Michigan has caused 250+ brands to pause spending on YouTube, and he, ironically, has a patent to fix the issue if Google will buy it.

As news started to break two weeks ago about advertisements showing up next to hate groups and videos promoting terrorism, big brands like General Motors, Johnson & Johnson, Verizon and Walmart have been quick to jump on the PR train and state that they’re pausing all YouTube spend until a fix is developed. There have been countless articles detailing all the happenings, pointing fingers, talking about the end of digital advertising as we know it, saying the entire approach is wrong and how to fix it.

Is this an issue? Yes, without a doubt. Should your agency and media partners be doing everything they can to stop this from happening? Yes, without a doubt. Does the issue run deeper than YouTube? Yes, without a doubt. Is this getting overblown in the always-on news cycle? Yes, without a doubt.

To understand the scale of YouTube, think about these stats:

  1. More than 1 billion people around the world – roughly a third of all people online – are YouTube users.
  2. YouTube is the second largest search engine, bigger than Bing, Yahoo!, Ask and AOL combined.
  3. According to eMarketer, 180 million of those people are from the U.S.
  4. 400 hours of content are uploaded to YouTube every minute.
  5. The average user session is 40 minutes.

Anytime you run ads on a website that’s full of user-generated content, it comes with a certain level of risk. Realistically, the problem runs much deeper than YouTube and is more of an online problem, although TV, radio and print have all had their fair share of ads being pulled over the years. The majority of digital ads are bought against an audience, not specific sites. Therefore, you’re opening yourself up to run on millions of channels or sites in order to deliver an ad to “adults 25-54 who drive a Cadillac, use Crest and have a dog.” According to an article in The New York Times, Chase Bank had been running on 400,000 sites. Clearly an unmanageable amount for anyone to monitor; hence, the need for technology to help classify those sites and the content on them. That’s where these digital filters come into play. Platforms like YouTube have tools in place to allow you or your agency to apply a certain level of brand safety, such as to blacklisting/whitelisting sites; excluding adult content; and now, thanks to our political system, you can block “FAKE NEWS” sites. While it’s the accuracy of these very tools that is being called into question, you should always go beyond them to ensure brand safety. If you don’t, it’s as if you’re allowing them to grade their own homework.

We at R&R Partners have longstanding partnerships with third-party verification experts such as DoubleVerify. We routinely layer on additional safety measures to not only ensure our clients’ ads are being seen, but also to safeguard against questionable content coming into play. Now, more than ever, marketers need advanced technologies to identify and protect against unsafe environments while confirming they’re targeting [human] audiences in order to deliver reliable and effective campaigns. While we do monitor our clients’ online campaigns on a regular basis, we also push for 100 percent transparency from our partners and, in turn, we’re 100 percent transparent with our clients. It’s safe to say nothing in the digital space will ever be perfect. However, we are confident in our approach, always investigating new technology and applying those learnings in real time to our clients’ business. We’ve taken a deep dive into both our largest and smallest YouTube campaigns and worked directly with Google and have yet to find any instances of ads running against this negative content.

Again, this goes far beyond YouTube, even into TV. However, they’re just the 800-pound gorilla, so they’re rightfully getting the brunt of the backlash. Just the other day, Mercedes-Benz and Hyundai announced they are pulling ads from The O’Reilly Factor due to sexual harassment claims and settlement payments totaling $13 million. This has now expanded to over 30 brands.

So, to the guy in Michigan, I say, “Thank you.” Thank you for bringing an issue into the limelight and continuing to push our industry forward. We all must demand transparency and brand safe environments on behalf of our clients. Simply put, if you won’t be 100 percent transparent and open about your technology and ensure brand safety, you shouldn’t be on anyone’s media plan. It’s our responsibility as agencies to ensure that the tech platforms we partner with are built on these same standards.

Our approach is simple − build the brand and protect the brand.

R&R Partners Sponsor the IC Summit in Mexico City

Last week, R&R was lucky enough to attend and sponsor the IC Summit in Mexico City. The summit featured over 250 international marketing professionals who discussed several topics currently affecting the Latin American marketing and advertising industry.

Questions discussed included, “How do CMOs protect their brands globally?” and “What challenges do they have growing their industry in the Mexican market?” On the first day, CMV’s very own Ruben Olmos sat on the panel and helped answer this vital question. He discussed R&R and CMV’s expertise in brand marketing and the role that GPA plays in optimizing a brand’s performance in international markets. On the second day, CMV’s Diego Velasquez spoke on the panel and discussed the importance of a strong client/agency relationship and the benefits of this type of a relationship.

Aside from having two speaking roles during the summit, R&R also sponsored two coffee breaks, where we were able to connect with conference attendees about their needs and what ways we can help grow their business. The booth also showcased our Hispanic creative work, R&R’s vast capabilities, and who we are as an agency. Additionally, it featured virtual reality headsets with some of our featured VR work, along with a photo booth for those who wanted to have a little fun!

This summit was a great opportunity for R&R to position ourselves as the cross-border agency with an expertise in Hispanic marketing that we have become. Companies present at the IC Summit included Bimbo, Aeroméxico, Interjet, LaLa, Telcel, Club Santos, OXXO, Kellogg’s Latin America, and many more.

Finally, check out our magician who was able to tell the R&R and CMV story in a very unique way here:

ANA Brand Masters Conference 2017

Imagine a stunning backdrop of cotton candy skies with a cool ocean breeze. Now, imagine that, but only seeing it from afar because you’re sitting inside a conference center in a hotel for three days. The trade-off was being able to take in all of the knowledge that was being shared by today’s top marketers. The sold-out ANA Brand Masters Conference was held in Dana Point, California, and included speakers from American Greetings, Taco Bell, Intel, Subaru and Allstate, to name a few.

Let’s dive into what these brands shared.

American Greetings, Alex Ho

We’ve all seen this ad: World’s Toughest Job by American Greetings. This is the video where it held fake interviews for a position that required the person to do “everything” and for no pay − only to reveal that the job was that of a mom. What’s interesting is how this company has remained relevant in a digital-forward world. Think about it. It’s a greeting card company. You can’t get more analog than that. American Greetings recently had an activation at CES. It teased its product and launch as a “Device Like No Other,” and partnered with Nick Offerman as the spokesperson (which, btw, who doesn’t love Nick Offerman?). Genius.

American Greetings did this by doing these three things:

  1. Define a purposeful position.
  2. Use research to determine a provocative insight.
  3. Have engaging creative.

Melissa Thalberg, Taco Bell

First off, I had to get my head straight and stop staring at her outfit, it was too cute. We need to embrace that there are brands that are positioned to be mass marketers, but that there are attributes that make them small and indie-cult like. The key is to embrace that you can be both. Its mass market side is all about the business: How many Naked Chicken Tacos did they sell this week? The indie-cult side is all about the brand behavior, what brings its brand to life; what people relate to; how people interact with the brand. And Taco Bell discovered this indie side through research. Went to a happy hour that lasted way longer than expected and now you’re hungry? Go to Taco Bell and get a large haul of Cheesy Bean and Rice Burritos, Fiery Doritos Locos Tacos Supremes and Nachos Supremes, and finish the meal with a Mountain Dew Baja Blast Freeze. (I’ve only heard of people doing this, not that I’ve done it myself.) ICYMI, to build on this mass-cult-like success, Taco Bell opened a two-story restaurant/retail location on the Strip and is holding a contest for the ultimate Taco Bell wedding.

Key takeaway: People are not one-dimensional and neither are brands.

Alan Bethke, Subaru

This was my favorite session because the story of the Subaru brand fascinates me. In 1968, Subaru came to the United States. In 2007, it only had 1 percent of the market share for automobile sales. That’s 1 percent of 17.5M cars sold annually. Of course, it wanted more than 1 percent, so it did a bit of research. Of the 99 percent of people who did not purchase a Subaru, two-thirds said it wasn’t because they thought the product was a poor product, but because they didn’t know anything about the brand. They had no idea what to think of Subaru. They also asked Subaru owners what they thought.

Here’s what was learned, regardless of what kind of Subaru model they owned:

  • Subaru owners lovedtheir cars and rarely had complaints about it. It was just a good, reliable car.
  • They were so reliable, they kept them forever. Even passed it downto their kids.
  • They were dog owners. Subaru owners overindexed in the dog-owner category.

Guess what? All of these insights led to some pretty great spots. Please note how each of the below directly ties back to the research above. The Love campaign raised awareness of the Subaru brand and increased car sales. Subaru went from 1 to 7 percent of the market share.

Carjam: New Subaru TV Ad “Love Stories” Commercial 2011 − YouTube

2017 Subaru Forester | Subaru Commercial | Making Memories (Extended) − YouTube

Subaru Dog Tested | Subaru Commercial | In the Dog House − YouTube

There were overarching takeaways from all of the brand/agency presentations.

  • They needed data/research to find the human truth that would tell the story. What are your audiences saying?
  • Be nimble. The only constant is change. You must be able to adapt to your audiences’ changing habits to keep your message from getting stale.
  • If you make a (brand) promise, deliver on it. Everything you say and do should deliver on that promise. 
  • Assess if your marketing dollars are working. If they’re not, reallocate them. 
  • Collaboration and integration between the brand and agency were fundamental for growth.
    • Brands respected and trusted their agencies.
    • Agency teams had a genuine interest in their brands.
  • Each and every one of them talked about purpose and telling their story. There was a purpose in everything they did.

It’s this last point that left me hopeful. These big brands and big agencies talked about the close relationship they had. It was because they thought of their agency as an extension of their marketing team and that they trusted them. They were seen as experts, providing valuable insight, research and recommendations to push the brands forward. They had purpose. Guys, we already do this. This is nothing new to R&R. This is the R&R way. We don’t need to be a big-name agency to get the win because we’re already winning. Every takeaway listed above is something we already do for our clients. We just need to practice it; make it better than the last; repeat. I feel like I’m about to go on some Jerry Maguire-esque rant, but I’m not a burned out sports agent who’s had an epiphany about our industry being dishonest, so I’m going to write a mission statement. No no. (Which, btw, if you haven’t read it, you should. It’s an interesting rant mission statement.) But, walking out of that conference had me pumped and rejuvenated and made me want to sing “Free Fallin’” by Tom Petty. 

Finding Purpose on International Women’s Day

For more than 100 years, people around the world have been striking, protesting and marching in support of women’s rights every March 8, on what is now recognized by the United Nations as International Women’s Day. And on this day, I’m reminded of the heartbreaking story of Madonna Badger, and how she chooses to “fight with hope and love.”

I first learned of Madonna when she spoke at The 3% Conference last year. When she took the stage, I expected her to impart wisdom gained from her life as a creative director and the founding of her agency, Badger & Winters. Instead, she opened her heart and shared her story of unfathomable tragedy. In the early hours of Christmas Day 2011, Madonna’s parents and her three little girls − Lily, Sarah and Grace − died in a house fire. Madonna was also in the home at the time; she wasn’t able to save her family.

After enduring a year of devastating depression, grief and survivor’s guilt, she emerged with a new purpose. She would use her considerable talents and voice to make the world better for women and girls. She would do this in honor of her daughters, and in the hope of making the impact she knew her girls would have made had they lived to fulfill their potential. The #WomenNotObjects campaign was born.

The mission of #WomenNotObjects is to end the objectification of women in advertising and support brands that empower women. Hundreds of years of systematic privilege, fear and prejudice have shaped society to hamper the rights, dignities and personal freedoms of women, minorities and anyone thought to be “other.” Today, objectifying and stereotyping in marketing are a couple of the more subtle ways in which these discriminatory ideas are perpetuated. These harmful messages, often cloaked as “art” or locker room humor, threaten to undermine the gains we’ve made toward true equality and, in doing so, weaken our society.

I’m very proud that we don’t do the kind of work that objectifies or stereotypes. We use our voices and talents to influence and move legislation, to inspire movements, and to create positive experiences. We know the impact our work and service can have on individuals, communities and culture. And so, let us support and spread the mission of #WomenNotObjects and continue to use our talents to fight with hope and love.

TEDxMileHighWomen

Recently, I attended the TEDxMileHighWomen, “It’s About Time,” speaker series in Denver, Colorado. Describing it as a “speaker series” would be incredibly dishonest. For me, and I think for all 2,800 female/male attendees, it was so much more; a spiritual awakening.

TED, created in 1984, came to be by Richard Saul Wurman. Three fields of study drove his inspiration for what would become TED: technology, entertainment and design. What was once a simple conference, TED rose to success in 1990 and quickly became a viral video phenomenon. Suddenly, a community of people with passion to change the world had a common forum to coalesce around. Presenters include scientists, philosophers, musicians, business and religious leaders, philanthropists and others.

I knew immediately I was in for something huge as I entered the TEDxMileHighWomen event. Something that would light a fire deep in my belly; I could feel the match falling fast down my throat as the venue’s lights dimmed and the event began. The energy was high and the room was full of individuals who attended this event for something we all crave in career and life: to be inspired. This particular event included solely women speakers from the Mile High City, and it was promised that all individuals would leave with another woman’s dream at the forefront of their minds.

As the evening’s emcee and host, Lauren Casteel, CEO of The Women’s Foundation (a woman whose career and leadership I have admired for years), approached the stage, she said this, “We’re here because women didn’t always have the platform they have today.”

She’s right. Though our country has come a long way as it pertains to women’s rights, there is still work to be done to ensure that all girls’ and women’s voices are heard, and not just because we are begging people to listen. TED empowers women to question the status quo while nurturing their passions, and it acknowledging their fears, without judgment. It also provides a community that gives a voice to the “thinkers” and “doers” – who often feel undervalued and unnoticed.

Out of all the phenomenal speakers (there were 12 total), the moment that hit me the hardest was the applause that followed Christen Reighter, who delivered a powerful presentation that recapped her journey to become surgically sterilized. With this decision, she relived with the audience her personal discovery that society desperately clings to a woman fulfilling the assumed role of mother, without a woman’s consent; that her identity and worthiness is not a choice she makes herself but is rather associated with titles that are forced upon her. She shared the judgment she faced from her friends, family and even her doctors—some whom even refused to perform the (highly legal) procedure for her. She felt dismissed, silenced and vilified – for doing nothing more than making an informed decision regarding her own body.

When her presentation ended, all attendees stood from their seats and gave an extended applause, causing Christen to bring her hand to her mouth as her eyes welled up with tears. When our emcee Lauren came back to greet her, she placed her hand on Christen’s shoulder and said, “If before you felt invisible, please look around this room and remember, you are not.” It was a beautiful moment I felt so honored to be part of.

As a gay woman, I certainly find myself feeling invisible in society’s eyes. In discouraging times, I remind myself how fortunate I am to work for a firm that celebrates and champions who I am. After the November election, our CEO Billy Vassiliadis assured our staff that R&R would always fight on behalf of its employees to protect their rights and well being. These were words I needed to hear. To hear them from my firm’s leadership was poetic and gave me hope for the future.

Ultimately, all people deserve to be seen. Whether it be attending a speaker series, or reassuring words from my CEO – these are the moments that show me that I am not invisible.

GABBCON Recap

I was fortunate to attend GABBCON (Global Audience Based Buying Conference & Consultancy) in Los Angeles in early November, with the day focused on “The Future of Television and Video.” In the company of other agencies, brands and sales reps from various sectors of the media world, it was an interesting day of debate, conversation and learning.

The long and short of things is that the world we live in continues to get more complicated for marketers − duh. With the proliferation and adoption of technology into our lives, we live in an on-demand world, and because technology allows us to live that way, advertisers are more and more able to reach the right consumer at the right time. People-based buying has been incredibly buzzy this year, and will only continue to be as brands continue to feel the ROI squeeze and demand more accountability for their spending.

In the morning sessions, it was a focus on television − linear, IP delivered, VOD, addressable, PTV, SVOD, FEP, CTV. Enough acronyms? TV buying has become increasingly complicated due to changing viewing habits. Traditional linear buying remains the mainstay, but advertisers are showing steady growth and interest in these more audience-driven buying methods. Overall, sentiment among the group was that traditional television still has its place, driving mass awareness, but augmenting with other buying techniques has shown an upside for various brands. The other universal truth − programmatic or any data-driven TV buying is not truly programmatic; there is nothing easy or automated as the name implies.

Columbia outerwear shared an interesting case study regarding its spring campaign in which the company had a reduced budget but raingear sales goals to meet. At a time of year when rain is prevalent nationwide, but a budget that cannot afford its national plus-18 market approach, Columbia employed a programmatic TV solution. It has defined PTV as a combination of addressable, high-index linear and DVR/VOD, and connected.

With strong distribution as Dick’s Sporting Goods, Columbia used credit card data to target those who had previously shopped at Dick’s, in addition to a weather trigger to most efficiently employ its budget. In the end, this was a more cost-efficient approach that increased (relevant) reach, drove lifted consideration, and increased rainwear searches and product page views.

One of the more thought-provoking parts of the conference was centered on the idea of attention. Sony Crackle posed the question: “Is attention the new currency?” Sony Crackle commissioned a study with Nielsen on the effectiveness of its Break Free product, where viewers have a lower ad load within their Crackle original series. The results revealed that buying the more premium offering drove greater attention; viewers were seven times more likely to recall the ad than in their traditional pod. Hulu has been operating with this mentality for a few years now with its product offerings of user-pick creative carousel, sponsored viewing (commercial-free after :60 spot) and interactive spots. While there is a premium for these deeper engaging units, Hulu has reported stronger results compared to its standard ad pods.

Over the last few years, I’ve become more critical of the value of an impression. When you look at a yearlong campaign and the total number of impressions purchased, how meaningful is that number?  Honestly, not much. With banner blindness, ad avoidance and multitasking, just how valuable is an impression if a consumer isn’t noticing you? While I don’t think we’ll ever fully transact on the metric of attention, as an industry, it’s time to take a harder look at our methodology of measurement and what kinds of impressions we really want to make.


Final Presidential Debate Brings Fireworks and Priceless Vegas Publicity

Oct. 19 saw one of the most important events ever to happen in Las Vegas. It wasn’t CES, Garth Brooks at the T-Mobile Center, or the Mayweather vs. Pacquiao fight − it was the final presidential debate of the 2016 election. Regardless of how each candidate was seen as performing, and regardless of who will win on Nov. 9, the event is already a success for Las Vegas, both the brand and the community many of us call home.

debate1

Las Vegas has never before been seen as a natural fit for this type of large political event. A U.S. president had never visited Las Vegas until 1935, when FDR opened the Hoover Dam. The area has been talked about as a host site for both the Republican and Democratic national conventions since at least the 1980s, but the city’s largest venue at the time, the Thomas & Mack Center on the UNLV campus, was considered not large enough.

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That all has started to change recently. Las Vegas hosted primary debates for both the Democratic and Republican parties. Nevada’s battleground-state status and diversity of economics, ethnicity and geography make it a valuable bellwether campaign stop and an attractive venue for candidates. While presidents are no longer a rare sight in Las Vegas, the debate was a unique event. It’s also the first collaboration between a university and a destination marketing body to hold one of these events. The LVCVA and UNLV partnered together throughout the process to secure and produce the Las Vegas debate.debate3

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Here are some key facts about the debate held on Oct. 19:

  • Two years prior to the event, potential host sites begin by getting their applications to the Commission on Presidential Debates, the nonpartisan body that organizes the general election debates. The criteria is incredibly strict and detailed, and the criteria for selection is 19 pages long.
  • 16 other communities applied for the privilege of hosting one of the three presidential and one vice presidential debates in 2016. Most of the debate sites have historically been universities.
  • Four host sites were chosen − The Wright State University in Ohio, Longwood University in Virginia, Washington University in Missouri, and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Wright State pulled out of the debates in July 2016, and Hofstra University in Long Island, N.Y., was chosen as a replacement.
  • Two of the 2016 hosts had held presidential debates before. Hofstra has held three consecutive presidential debates since 2008. Washington University has hosted five different presidential and vice presidential debates.
  • $85 million worth of worldwide publicity for Las Vegas was generated by September 2016, with the final number still being tabulated and expected to peak at well over $100 million.
  • 5,000 journalists from around the world traveled to Las Vegas to cover the final presidential debate, most staying for almost a full week. This was double the expected figure.
  • Three TV networks, CNN, Bloomberg and MSNBC, broadcast from the UNLV campus in the days leading up to the debate.
  • 6 million TV viewers watched the evening’s debate, the third most watched TV debate of all time.

The general feeling among political pundits and local observers was that the debate was a resounding success, and that the publicity value for both the university and the destination is priceless. With many experts predicting that we will be the site of a future national political convention − its further proof to what those of us who understand Las Vegas already know. Whether it’s the world’s best tourist destination, the center of most industries’ leading business events, or one of the most vibrant political scenes in the country − Las Vegas is always the right place to be.

Worldwide Partners North American Region Conference 2016

It was, yet again, refreshing to join 50 other independent agency executives in Portland last month at the Worldwide Partners North American Region Conference. Refreshing because we gained and shared so much knowledge, but also refreshing because it reiterated how special being an independent agency is, and the value that independence is to clients.

WPI president and CEO John Harris said it best recently in his op-ed in the Drum, “The operational freedom that independent agencies enjoy better positions them to support the requirements of speed, agility and accountability – without sacrificing creativity, innovation and scale – that brand marketers are demanding from their agencies today.”

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One panel at the conference stood out to me – a panel of search consultants and consulting firms – where they focused on what a client wants from an agency in today’s marketplace. Themes were: relationships, people, culture, value add, business adviser, social content understanding and nimble. I couldn’t agree more, and further, it is supported in R&R Partners’ recent re-publishing of our “Who We Are” statement and focus of our 2017 business strategy:

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I am proud to work for a fiercely independent agency and be part of the Worldwide Partners independent agency network, where all the themes discussed with this esteemed panel are paramount in everything we do.

Additionally, the WPI NAR Conference had other great topics that we covered, from Instagram to innovation in OOH to the Contagious guys who strive to keep us relevant to exceptional Women in Advertising:

Thank you to WPI for keeping us, independents, relevant, inspired and refreshed!

Cause Marketing 101

Social cause marketing—these are philanthropic buzzwords that appear to be sweeping companies and organizations in recent years. By the sound of it, it seems like something every organization should adopt. By the looks of it, it can do wonders for any business’ reputation.

But what is it exactly?

In short, cause marketing involves the marketing efforts of corporate entities, non-profit organizations, and other cause groups to achieve a mutually beneficial outcome. We’ve seen great examples of cause marketing in recent years with Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty, Product (Red) for the Global Fund to Fight Aids, or Yoplait’s Friends in the Fight for Susan G. Komen.

So, what makes social cause marketing impactful? How does a group properly identify and adopt a social cause? How is it effectively marketed? I’ll illustrate three examples from R&R Partners’ Salt Lake City office that may help answer these questions.

Identify a need:

Utah Department of Public Safety – Highway Safety Office: Utah DUI Staycation Trolley Tour

Over the past 10 years, more deaths have happened on Utah roads on the 4th of July holiday than any other holiday. As Utahns began planning their Independence Day celebrations, we identified a need for our Utah Highway Safety client and began strategizing ways to position the “don’t drink and drive” message to best combat the deadly holiday. To encourage Utah drivers to make plans for sober driving, representatives from the Utah Department of Public Safety’s Highway Safety Office and the Utah Highway Patrol partnered with the Salt Lake Trolley Tour, a narrated sightseeing tour through historic Salt Lake City. We invited Salt Lake-area news outlets to join local law enforcement aboard the Utah DUI Staycation Tour and share the ride of lifetime—experiencing a DUI without the related costs.

The trolley tour took guests to various sites around downtown with a handful of out-of-the-ordinary stops. These stops included up-close and personal views of standardized field sobriety testing, the finest photo opps of a Blood Alcohol Testing vehicle (BATmobile), and a final stop at the jail administration building.

Our goal is not to stop people from drinking, but rather urge safe driving in situations where people might be drinking. If Utahans chose to drink on Independence Day, we encouraged them to make a plan—designating a sober driver or utilizing a ride share service. Otherwise, they could experience a summer staycation they wouldn’t soon forget.

http://www.good4utah.com/news/local-news/good-4-utah-experiences-dui-without-the-costs-penalties

Select an impactful partner:

Slow the Flow, Save H2O + Garbett Homes: Flip Your Strip

R&R Partners has developed a strategy for cause marketing called the “Theory of Reasoned Action” which highlights four steps for effective social change:

  • Raise awareness
  • Change attitudes
  • Change intentions
  • Change behavior

A crucial piece of the Theory of Reasoned Action pie includes community mobilization—or the process in which individuals or organizations carry out messaging or activities to accomplish an initiative. To mobilize a community, it often requires strategic partnerships to communicate messages via innovative ways.

Recently, we partnered with Garbett Homes—a Utah homebuilder committed to sustainable and innovative building—with our client Slow the Flow, Save H2O (from the Utah Division of Water Resources). Our shared goal was to extend Garbett’s efforts to the exterior of the home by promoting a Flip Your Strip initiative for residential landscaping. This initiative encouraged the conversion of neighborhood park strips (the area of yard between the sidewalk and street) from sod to an attractive water-wise alternative saving up to 10,000 gallons of water per year, per household.

The Flip Your Strip initiative aims to build awareness in the community and state, but also highlight Garbett Homes as a leader and advocate for water-wise, sustainable exterior landscaping. The summer-long project culminated in a media event to educate press and the community on the intended initiative. For additional community outreach, local elementary Daybreak Academy was invited to participate in the event. Speakers educated students about the Flip Your Strip project, the importance of conserving water, and ways they could help make a difference for Utah’s future water needs. Each student walked away with a t-shirt and water-wise plants for a hands-on application of the initiative for the academy’s schoolyard.

Build engaging content + creative:

Utah Department of Public Safety – Highway Safety Office: St. Patrick’s Day Saints of Sobriety

Many people like to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day by raising a pint of their favorite beverage, but some press their luck by getting behind the wheel. To remind St. Patrick’s Day revelers to never drink and drive, representatives from the Utah Department of Public Safety’s Highway Safety Office and the Utah Highway Patrol visited Salt Lake-area news outlets to reveal a DUI-prevention message that encouraged bar and pub patrons to take a cab or ride with a sober lad or lassie.

Additionally, on the evening of St. Patrick’s Day 2016, law enforcement representatives partnered with Salt Lake City bars where local actors transformed into living statues of the “Saints of Sobriety”, including: St. Haylor of Cab, saint of wise travelers; St. Cristyl O’Clearhead, saint of responsible drinking; and St. Alweis the Appointed, saint of designated drivers. Those who made the pledge to get home safely received a coin from law enforcement representatives that, when deposited in the statue’s hat, activated an interactive performance by the living saint statue. To assist in additional awareness, each bar also placed a stained glass display at their location to communicate the importance of sober driving on Utah’s roads. The message was interactive, hands-on, and entertaining..

For the first time, Utah experienced zero alcohol related crashes or fatalities on St. Patrick’s Day. By identifying a need and a timely message, while channeling impactful creative, our message came to life with a fresh and innovative platform and likely played a role in preventing crashes and fatalities this year.

By identifying a need, selecting impactful community players, and building engaging content, any organization can adopt, and shape, an impactful cause marketing campaign. R&R Partners holds the tools and expertise to take key moments like each of the above examples and turn them into critical successes for any client.

Future of Ad-Tech and Digital Marketing

I recently sat in on Denver Startup Week’s panel on “The Future of Ad-Tech & Digital Marketing.” Although this seminar was extremely startup-centric there were many interesting nuggets pertaining to digital marketing and ad-tech in general. The most interesting takeaways:

Threats to Digital Advertising:

Of the major threats to the future of digital advertising, the three most crucial according to this panel were Ad Blocker downloads, identity theft, and the concentration of power and assets by major companies.

1) Ad blocking software is becoming increasingly prevalent for online media users and these apps are not limited to desktops or laptops, but extend to mobile devices also. Ad blockers function in a way that keeps individuals from seeing ads therefore eliminating crucial calculable data for ad agencies like ours. However, as we move forward and even in pop culture we see that brands are starting to rely more and more upon social influencers as ambassadors or walking billboards for brands. Influencers can act as a way around ad blockers. It was noted that “nearly 86% of our decisions are made based off one’s peer group.” This may lead to social influencers, CEOs, owners, and other “spokesmen” appearing more frequently in branding campaigns, as body language is noted as one of the strongest reinforcements advertising can offer.

2) Identity theft and cyber security has long been an issue, but has become more prevalent as more personal information is stored and shared online and between third party entities. Living in a time of technology that allows one to check their bank statements and then go right to Facebooking or internet shopping on a connection that is most likely open and accessible to any computer savvy individuals puts all sorts of personal information at risk. This simultaneously creates the need for protection of personal information through encryption and other means not often understood by typical Internet users, but these sorts of measures are sure to become more normal to the average Internet surfer. This also creates an issue for advertisers, and their partners, who often rely on third party affiliates to purchase client targeting information. A cease or major reduction of the almost free flowing information gathered by third parties would create an interesting situation for advertisers, who may see this sort of crucial information experience high rates of inflation and an overall decreased quantity of this type of information in general.

3) We are seeing huge concentrations of power and assets in companies like Facebook and Google – which can end up being incredibly problematic. These companies already have so much client information and power that they nearly eliminate true competitiveness in the market place through the shear amount of customer monetizing information they have.

First Party vs. Third Party Data:

The speakers on the panel also relayed an interesting viewpoint on the relationship between first and third party data. They suggested that first parties should try to import or purchase third party data and augment it with their own rather than push their data to third party companies. Sometimes when giant third parties have customer data the risk of this information being shared grows exponentially, and this is where data leakage may occur to where competitors can see and use this data to their own benefit.

Quantitative vs. Qualitative Data:

The final discussion of the panel was the strategy of shifting from quantitative data to qualitative data. This seems counter-intuitive for buyers and sellers of media who simply want to reach the largest amount of viewers possible. However, it makes sense when considering the role of qualitative data as part of developing a real relationships with viewers and customers. It will become increasingly more important for companies to create campaigns that collect more data about the users while simultaneously becoming more engaging therefore helping to curve the perceived intrusive/invasive nature of ads.