Yearly Archives: 2017

Success Can Be Beautiful, Too.

What do you get when you pair R&R Partners with a festival that represents the essence of what makes this life extraordinary? You get measurable success.

Through a recent partnership with the Life Is Beautiful festival, R&R’s Las Vegas team was able to flex its marketing muscles and show the world that an integrated communications strategy grounded in research, insights and tons of creative flair isn’t just for big companies—when mixed properly, this concoction works exquisitely well for homegrown festivals like our very own Life Is Beautiful.

So what exactly is Life Is Beautiful? Representing much more than just another music festival, Life Is Beautiful is a movement of positivity and good energy, reflected through spectacular music, inspiring art, tantalizing cuisine, and captivating intellectual conversation. These four pillars of the festival work together to create an exuberant experience that takes place in an environment unlike any other: Downtown Las Vegas. You can also check out the Life Is Beautiful website to learn more (which we designed, coded and executed).

While being highly focused and candid, the R&R team worked closely with the Life Is Beautiful marketing team to create, execute and measure an integrated campaign that included creative executions, brand refinement, web development, social media, public relations, CRM development and execution, partnership leveraging, media planning and buying, market research and strategic guidance, just to name a few. This close partnership between client and agency resulted in a stellar outcome: Not only did we exceed our client’s expectations, we helped achieve its loftiest goal—the first sellout in the festival’s history, with 35,000 tickets sold in just seven days. Go team!

Agility proved to be important—and perhaps it’s best illustrated by the R&R team’s seamless execution of a Facebook Live event to promote ticket sales, a first for the music festival industry. This event proved to be a huge success and complemented other elements of the integrated campaign, such as a brand-new CRM system that was implemented to handle a variety of lifecycle communications, keeping interested prospects engaged and informed.

Speaking of communications, we also refined the festival’s brand guidelines and helped unify the brand to help ensure that its image and online presence could grow with its popularity. We introduced new treatments, consistent style guidelines and new brand elements to give festival partners refreshed graphics to use in promotional materials and partnership opportunities. Furthermore, all of this new creative was strategically placed using sophisticated media planning techniques that ensured media spend was optimized to maximize exposure among targeted market segments in both traditional and digital realms. (And we’re not even including the $11.6 million of earned media coverage our PR team helped secure.)

While all of these components were meticulously assembled into a truly integrated campaign, perhaps the greatest achievement of our partnership with Life Is Beautiful is epitomized by our close collaboration and teamwork among a variety of diverse players. Things like “exceed ticket sales” and “sold out” sound great on paper, but these types of accomplishments can only happen when everyone involved truly believes in the work and has the tenacity to come together as one to make it happen.

 

Thank a Hunter with a Hug

The Colorado Wildlife Council wanted to extend its existing statewide education campaign, “Hug a Hunter/Hug an Angler,” which focuses on informing the general public where the money goes from hunting and fishing license fees: benefiting wildlife management, conservation of public lands and Colorado’s economy. R&R Partners would step in to take the campaign to the next level, while introducing the client to new ways of reaching the target audience with dynamic creative, social media, and traditional and nontraditional paid media tactics.

But first, a little background. In the early 1990s, a misinformed Colorado public would vote to outlaw spring bear hunting. And a few years later, it would include trapping on public lands. Colorado Parks and Wildlife (then known as the Colorado Division of Wildlife) was powerless to intercede. Special interest groups were taking away local sportsmen’s rights and disrupting the hunting and fishing heritage that was an essential attraction of Colorado’s great outdoors.

Colorado’s sportsmen would organize as the Colorado Wildlife Council and work to protect the state’s hunting and fishing legacy by creating a pilot program with a comprehensive, media-based approach to educate the public (especially the non-hunting and non-fishing public) about the importance of wildlife and wildlife management. Hunters and anglers showed their support by agreeing to a voluntary check-off donation program to demonstrate that a statewide public education campaign had value. The program was such a success, it resulted in the bill HB1266 (Public Education License Surcharge) being passed in 2005 by the state legislature. This new law allowed permanent funding to be secured from a surcharge on hunting and fishing license fees to finance an annual statewide public education campaign.

The campaign focuses on increasing awareness of the benefits of wildlife, wildlife management and wildlife-related recreational opportunities in Colorado (specifically hunting and fishing) – targeting non-hunters and non-anglers, and identifying the value of conservation, protecting wildlife and the benefits to Colorado’s economy. But after several years, the effectiveness of the campaign was waning. Confusion among Coloradans was building in regards to where funding for wildlife and wildlife management comes from, posing a threat to the campaign’s success.

The council turned to R&R Partners to give the campaign a new lease on life. But, our vision for their new campaign would be anything but cookie cutter.

Launched in March 2017, we gained valuable insights and consumer truths derived from our own research and discovery through a combination of non-hunters and non-anglers and supportive hunter and angler focus groups. From there we would develop messaging for a full-fledged, fully integrated campaign that included traditional, digital and social, and with a strategic media buy designed to reach voters that are more difficult to connect with.

Our creative execution tells the story of where the money goes when someone buys a hunting or fishing license, while illustrating the positive impact of license fees and how they preserve and benefit Colorado’s wildlife, public lands and economy. The closing message, “even if you don’t hunt/fish, chances are you still love hunting/fishing” identifies that every one benefits.

We also created content for the Wildlife Council’s social media channels (Facebook and Instagram), implementing GIFs and Facebook photos and video carousels. And we’ve developed attention-grabbing rich media assets that include educational online games for desktop and mobile.

As for the effectiveness of the new campaign – we’re happy to say we’re getting our share of hugs from the Colorado Wildlife Council. So far, just four months into the campaign, we’ve achieved some impressive metrics. We’ve garnered over 150,000 website visits to HugaHunter.com. The campaign has earned more than 13,500 “Likes” on the Colorado Wildlife Council’s Facebook page. And the total number of impressions achieved so far have reached over 30 million, through display, video, social media, digital radio and rich media.

Getting into the Swing of Things

Food, Drinks, Fun? We’re in! Or should we say “We’re game!” When Topgolf opened its Las Vegas location in May 2016, R&R Partners was selected as its agency of record for media planning and buying. We developed a new media strategy that not only helped evolve the Topgolf brand, but also helped keep up with the brand’s rapid growth. This successful partnership helped Topgolf quickly became one of the best new attractions in Las Vegas, and gave R&R the opportunity to meet with executives at Topgolf’s home office in Dallas, Texas.

We jumped at the opportunity to showcase what R&R could do, and are happy to announce that we’ll be developing and executing a media strategy that will support 28 Topgolf venues currently open in the United States. The full-funnel media strategy includes traditional and digital media, with a heavy emphasis on paid social and video.

R&R will also be working with eight other Topgolf venues that will be opening later this year, including locations in Nashville and Orlando. We’re excited to bring our tourism, entertainment and convention knowledge to the table, to make those openings a huge success, just like in Las Vegas. 

If you haven’t already, grab your friends or family and check out your local Topgolf. If golf doesn’t do it for you, go for the great food (injectable donut holes!) and great drinks (Tipsy Palmer). And if you don’t have a local Topgolf, just wait, it will most likely be coming to your city soon!

 

An Attitude of Serving Others

Our employees have a long history of recognizing how important charity and volunteering is to our communities. And while giving money to worthy causes is important, we made it clear that we wanted to be in the thick of things, and actually have the chance to volunteer our time as well.

This prompted our People and Culture department, along with the R&R Partners Foundation, to roll out an initiative encouraging R&R employees to use up to 40 hours of extra paid-time-off time to perform volunteer work within our communities. This time-off can range anywhere from personal interest programs to company-sponsored initiatives. The only limitations are our imaginations and, of course, that the work is done for a 501(c)(3).

We kicked this off in true R&R fashion and gathered a group of employees that was able to take off a Friday afternoon (score!) to help volunteer in our community (double score!). We decided to go to Three Square Food Bank, a local food bank that has been instrumental in helping to feed families in need in the Las Vegas area. As an agency, we have a long-standing relationship with Three Square, as we have groups that go annually to help volunteer. (You can read more about Three Square here.)

This particular visit, our volunteers helped with the Backpack for Kids program, which provides food to children who are hungry in our community. And boy, did we help! Our volunteers packed 4,260 meals that will provide kids enough food to eat through the weekend. Think about that: In the three hours we were there, we helped feed 4,260 kids!

We’re very fortunate that we’re given the opportunity from our employer to go out and volunteer in the community. But then again, that’s what R&R is truly all about—serving with a purpose and attitude.

Rebranding a Global Tech Powerhouse

The pace of change in business is relentless, and even the global leaders in technology aren’t immune. In fact, just the opposite. Avnet, a Fortune 500 company in the electronic distribution industry, came to R&R Partners to help keep it ahead of the marketing curve. Working closely with Avnet’s marketing team, we did a deep dive into the company, its products and market position, which led us to a global rebranding effort.

Avnet has a storied 95-year history and wide reach in more than 100 countries. From supplying parts for radios in the 1930s to supplying technology for NASA, to helping Fitbit go to market with wearable technology, Avnet has been the ultimate B2B middle man.

But as competition increases and margins grow thinner, Avnet needed to redefine and reassert its differentiating capabilities to an ever-changing market. More than a distributor, companies know Avnet as an effective problem-solver that can help bring new products to a global marketplace.

This ability gives Avnet a platform not only for creating a new brand position, but also reestablishes its relevance in a highly volatile market.

Avnet’s true leadership position lies in guiding its clients to success and their products to market. Avnet not only helps its clients move forward, it actually helps them reach further. It’s that notion that underpins Avnet’s new Reach Further campaign.

Through customer testimonials, we created a series of videos about how Avnet collaborates with clients who have amazing technology ideas. The videos tell stories of how Avnet has helped turn clients’ initial ideas into today’s latest tech products.

 

A digital and print campaign also shows how Avnet transforms ideas on paper into products that meet an important need.

Finally, R&R helped consolidate dozens of Avnet websites into one global site that centralizes and engages customers in a much more efficient way.

Today, this 95-year-old company feels fresher and more relevant than ever. And just a few months into the launch, we are already seeing significant and positive movement in key metrics.

Action to Impact: thoughts from an inspired activist

“People are in love with the IDEA of activism, but not the WORK required.”

DeRay McKesson, Civil Rights Activist

“You’re a bleeding heart”, my dad always says to me. It’s true. Throughout my life, I’ve been plagued with this burning desire to change the world for the better. It’s something that I can never fully explain to others – but I have always felt that my greater purpose is to be the voice for those who need it most.

Lincoln and I hanging in Washington, DC for the ADL National Leadership Summit

Earlier this year, I had an epiphany. Though strong, my voice isn’t enough. I realized that I wanted to do more than say “I support” – I want to be a part of something greater that inspires ACTUAL change. But, as we know, change also takes physical work and it isn’t something that presents itself, wrapped up in a bow. While a march may set the tone, only the devoted can keep the pace to ensure change actually happens.

For this reason, I found myself enrolling in the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) Sturm Fellows Leadership Program. ADL’s Robert B. Sturm Mountain States Leadership Fellows Program was created to involve people who are committed to ADL’s mission “to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all.” The Sturm Fellows Program, which runs from September-June, exposes participants to educational programming about the substantive issues of ADL’s agenda and gives them the opportunity to become ADL leaders in the community.

The highlight of the program was the opportunity to attend the ADL National Leadership Summit in Washington, DC, which I attended earlier this month. I cannot explain the gratitude I felt to be in the presence of so many people who want to do good – and not only with words, but with action. The program included presentations from ADL leadership, community leaders and activists, and legislators including Sen. John McCain (AZ), Sen. Marco Rubio (FL), Sen. Ben Cardin (MD) and Sen. Al Franken (MN); representing that civil rights will never be a partisan issue, but a human issue.

One of the speakers, former FBI Director James B. Comey, had powerful words for our group that revolved around unity. One story he referenced was his visit to Orlando immediately following the shooting that occurred at Pulse Night Club in 2016, leaving 49 dead and 53 wounded. He reminisced speaking to an individual who helped those at the scene after the shooting had occurred. He relayed to our group the words of this individual, who said to Mr. Comey:

“I heard the gun shots, and I started running toward where I heard them. I didn’t care what religion the victims practiced. I didn’t care who the victims loved. I didn’t care about the race of the victims. I knew they needed help and that was the bottom line.”

SO WHAT NOW?

It seems that today, more than ever, I have friends/family/colleagues say to me, “I want to do something to help, but I don’t know what. I feel paralyzed. I don’t know where to start.” With so much at stake, I too at times feel overwhelmed. However, I recognize that as one person, I cannot do everything at once. Though still fresh in my activism career, I have learned some helpful tips from those around me:

1. Follow your passion(s): what particular issues are you passionate about? Start there. Have many, like myself? Start         with one to get your feet wet to determine what kind of time you have to commit.

2. Reach out: what organizations align with your passion? Reach out to them and ask what type of help they need most.

3. Determine your commitment: can’t afford to give financially? Volunteering is just as impactful. The organization you reach out to should have a list of opportunities that are available and ways you can help.

4. Local politics ARE important: reach out to your local representatives and talk to them about the matters which concern you most. Participate in City Council meetings. Stay engaged in the local elections and local issues that directly impact your community.

As for how I’ll change the world and the legacy I may leave behind, I’m not quite sure of that yet. Fortunately, I’m surrounded by many other like-minded individuals who also wish to change the world, and trailblazers who provide inspiration for us daily in how to accomplish that.

To all the other bleeding hearts that I’m fortunate to know, work with, or be in the presence of – don’t stop and keep the dream alive for a better tomorrow. I am with you.

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:

Destinations for Dreamers

Grupos Posadas, Mexico’s largest independent hotel company, has partnered with R&R to rebrand its Fiesta Americana Resort Collection, a group of 12 distinct resorts located in many of Mexico’s premier beach destinations.

Posadas is known as a hospitality leader throughout the hotel industry. Its history has been written with passion, dedication and hard work, and rewarded with nearly every significant recognition in the industry. However, the brand has had limited awareness within the United States, with this U.S. visitor audience comprising a significant portion of overall property visitation. Growing the resort collection’s brand profile among this consumer group is a critical step in driving future business.

With this challenge firmly in focus, R&R’s team landed on the brand position of “La Colección.” With luxury resorts situated in some of Mexico’s prime coastal destinations, La Colección, was created around the consumer insight that many of us daydream of our next vacation. Making sure the brand stands out from its competition, we identified an opportunity to inspire the dreams of vacationers through storytelling. Utilizing our brand platform, R&R crafted a compelling story inspired by the brand’s unique attributes, grounded in consumer and brand truths, and designed to create an emotional connection with the consumer. We launched Grupos’ new brand by developing a new website, digital content strategy, and a fully integrated digital and social campaign.

Winning a Win-Win

In a city constantly reinventing itself, the stakes were never higher for community leaders, an unlikely mix of hotel executives, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, and thousands of local football fans. The future of two major construction projects was on the line, which would forever change Las Vegas’ skyline for the better. But this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to move Southern Nevada to the next level faced heavy opposition. So they turned to R&R Partners for help.

Branded the Win-Win Nevada Coalition by R&R’s team, we would head up one of the toughest challenges in recent Nevada history in convincing 63 state legislators of the need to support a change in legislation that would benefit our city: passing new room taxes to help fund the renovation and expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center to keep our convention business competitive, and to help fund a new professional 65,000-seat, domed sport stadium.

The first challenge for the coalition was to secure support from two-thirds of 63 legislators to enable the governor to call a special session. The next hurdle would be securing passage of two intertwined bills that would change how room tax revenues would fund the Las Vegas Convention Center expansion, and help in the construction of a new NFL-ready stadium to lure a professional football team to relocate to Las Vegas. This was no either/or proposition – we all got what we wanted, or we all went down in flames.

We started with only 22 votes out of the 63 legislators. We needed 42.

So how did we do it?

With the collaboration of every single discipline at R&R, we launched a targeted campaign that flipped the negative sentiment on its head. Our message was powerful: a vote for the stadium was a vote for 40,000 construction jobs, an injection of $1.5 billion into the local economy, and an additional $32 million in education dollars annually. And a vote for expanding and remodeling our convention center was a vote for keeping our lead as the No. 1 convention destination in the business.

In three very short weeks, we created a tagline, a logo to match, a website, out-of-home media, collateral and a social media campaign. We arranged for speeches, testimonials, a video … the list goes on. And it turned the tide. We created enough momentum for the governor to call a special session. We secured the votes needed, and we won. We even capped it off with a press conference to detail the negotiated workforce benefits for minority communities in Las Vegas, and a bill-signing ceremony with the governor. Our social, online and earned media numbers were off the charts, too – $69 million in PR value and 4.7 million online impressions, to name just a couple.

The bottom line: Our campaign wasn’t just about impressive metrics on a page. It was about winning triumphantly or losing completely. And with one of the most integrated, wide-ranging, kick-ass teams ever assembled at R&R, we declared victory.