brand action Lipton

3 Examples of Creatively Awesome Brand Actions

Let's just face it: despite media being bombarded by all types ion ads in different media formats throughout an average day, It's getting harder and harder to gain the consumers' attention. Attention spans are shortening, and what used to cut it just ain't cutting it anymore (for the most part, anyway). So brands and companies are having to think more creatively, using brand actions - OOH tactics and other events and "stunts" to cut through the clutter and connect with consumers by giving them an experience. These brand activations or brand actions are becoming all the rage in the industry. While there have been many excellent and very creative brand actions and activations over the last few years, I wanted to showcase just three of the top creative brand actions/activations from the past couple years.


#1. Burger King - Google Home "Hack"

As smart speakers have started invading homes and reacting to what is happening around them, Burger King decided to take advantage of that new presence in its customers’ homes.

In a TV spot, they decided to talk directly to Google Home speakers, triggering an action with the “OK Google” formula, so you can learn more about their most iconic product, the Whooper.

This hack had so much momentum Google decided to block that specific request, generating even more PR for Burger King in the end. One of the  great brand actions of 2017 and wonderfully creative idea (although Google might have not been so amused).


#2. Absolut Vodka - "Never Gonna Gif You Up"

This is the story of how the brand got 780 million organic views using wit, stop motion and a lot of vodka. 

Giphy, the world’s largest GIF platform serves 2 billion gifs to users on a daily basis and Tinder reports that users who start conversations using GIFs have a 30% higher reply rate than those who don’t. The way these GIFs are used poses an exciting opportunity for brands, as they’re shared as a form of self-expression from one person to another. 

If a brand could create GIFs relevant enough for a certain audience, they could effectively inject the brand into their target audiences’ online conversations without having to rely on intrusive ads. So, this is exactly what Absolut did. 


#3. Pedigree (UK) - "Dog Dates"

1.2 million older people in the UK are labeled as chronically lonely. Pedigree, following the direction of their Feed the Good campaign, decided they could make a difference by pairing seniors with local dogs and sending them out on a date together.

Armed with the belief that ”a dog is a conversation waiting to happen,” program participants took their dog date for a walk and met new people through the instant ice-breaker of their canine companion. The program got elderly people out of their homes and into social settings, without the responsibility of owning a pet themselves. And it worked brilliantly, both as a way to get lonely seniors out and socializing, and Predigree gaining more grade awareness amongst consumers. (Here's a link to the case study)


Pedigree Dog Dates: Jennys Story from Nick Armstrong on Vimeo.


The Case for Investing in Creative Advertising

As a business, trying to persuade folks buy stuff can be a hard task. As consumers we’re constantly being fed advertisements and brand experiences thousands of times per day, but, due to all the ‘noise’ around us these days, the ability for there average consumer to actually remember those advertising exposures is extremely limited. Not to mention, our attention spans are continuing to shrink as well. There’s no shortage of theories and ideas for cutting through all this ‘noise’, and in many cases there’s actual research to support those ideas and theories. What we do know, however, is this: Creativity and creative advertising correlate to sales and sticking in the minds of consumers. it can really be distilled down to three main reasons why —


It’s simple: consumers remember creativity. According to a 2004 study, creative advertising, when compared to other more “traditional” media, stood out from the crowd, attracted attention, and was much more memorable for being more noticeable to consumers. In fact, a 2008 study from the Journal of Advertising, stated that “creative advertising was found to enhance recognition, and this positive effect increased over time.” This is because creative ads tend to present new information in connection with old info in ways that add a greater level of meaning for the audience. Memory can be defined as the process of making meaningful connection between new and old ideas. A great creative ad or idea can help do the heavy lifting for you.


It’s well known that creative content is entertaining content. As consumers, we watch tv, browse social media, and search for things on Google mostly for a form of entertainment. The places we go for entertainment are also the places we have come to accept as places we are more likely to see an advertisement. Hard sells are boring, they’re disruptive and not very attractive. Creativity makes advertising appealing in and of itself (to the degree that an ad can be appealing for a consumer). Creative ads are also better for consumers, and our media partners. Another recent study found on, looked into the unintended impact of creative on an audience. It found that creative work has a positive impact on the audience’s own creativity and, in turn, produced a positive perception of the media [the ad] was placed in. Don’t forget: you can get even more creative by deciding where and when to place an ad. Think “outside the box” on this!


The bottom line: creative content sells! The idea is that if consumers enjoy a products branding, and they remember the product or service from its branding, they’re more likely to end up buying said product or service. In other words, If the audience is entertained, and if they remember the product, there’s a strong correlation with the purchasing decisions. According to the Cannes Lions research, companies that win their annual Creative Marketer of the Year “outperform the stock market by a factor of 3.5”. They have also found campaigns that “go viral” make larger commercial gains than average and have more positive brand effects. As for the cost of this creativity, Cannes demonstrated these viral campaigns on average had half of the budget of the average campaign. to sum it up, creativity can actually help you save money. It is well known in the ad industry that creativity is the key to doing more with less [of a budget].

creative advertising example

When it comes to investing in creativity, the bottom line is that it’s a no brainer. Creativity and creative advertising produces greater recognition amongst consumers, is shown to be farm more entertaining than a traditional “hard sell” ad, and can actually help save you money if you are doing it effectively. These three big things help prove that businesses who are ready to think outside of traditions and norms when it comes to branding and advertising, are more often than not rewarded for their ability to buck the norm. It just makes sense. Businesses who invest in creative advertising and branding are winning. Is your company or business interested?

ooh advertising

OOH Ads Effective in Reaching Millennials, Gen Z

As it stands today, Millennials and Gen Zers make up almost half of the population in the US and are amongst the most influential of today’s consumers. However, on the downside, they are also the hardest audiences to engage, due to the ride of cord-cutting, ad-blocking and radio-streaming. Basically, they are leading the charge away from traditional media, and thus, the traditional advertising approach. More than half of millennials actively block ads and Gen Z is even more likely to use some form of ad blocking… YIKES!!

This shift in overall media consumption habits has led to a rising investment in out-of-home (OOH) ad spend. OOH ads, compared to other media channels, cannot be blocked, fast-forwarded, or skipped (bummer). You also cant pay more to avoid these types of ads. But, don’t fret! According to a recent global study by Kantar Millward Brown, billboards and other forms of OOH ads are the #1 form of ads amongst Millennials and Gen Zers.

ooh advertising

According to another recent study, this time done by Nielsen, “one out of every four consumers will post an image of an outdoor ad to Instagram.” These younger generations are also nearly 50% more likely to click on a mobile ad after being exposed to the same ad on an OOH advertisement first. While Gen Y and Z consumers love taking in content (way more so than other, previous generations), they don’t have a lot of tolerance for interruptive ads (See: ad blockers, cord cutting, etc.) – which makes outdoor ads and different experiential types of media a more important advertising medium for brands and agencies as they look to influence these younger consumers.

Attention spans are continuing to get shorter and shorter. While these younger generations love consuming content, their attention spans are growing shorter by the day, thanks to the rise of the internet and smartphones. Gen Zers, who grew up in a world with smartphones, have only an 8-second attention span.  This is even shorter than Millennials, (believe it or not) who have an attention span of about 12 seconds on average.

To overcome these challenges, brands and agencies are increasing their spend on OOH advertising, banking on direct-to-consumer engagement in local markets with authentic content that is relevant to their (Millennials and Gen Z) daily lives.

OOH advertising provides a last-touch opportunity. Location, frequency, and context each play an important role in successfully influencing these younger consumers’ behaviors with OOH. This approach is also forcing brands and agencies to think creatively about context, time, location, and messaging in order to win over Gen Y and Z audiences.

These days, consumers spend roughly 70% of their time outside, while having a lower tolerance for digital ads than ever before. Brands and agencies that are able to cut through the noise, think creatively, remove the barriers that get in the way of reaching Millennials and Gen Zers, and start focusing more on ads in real-world formats like billboards and other OOH, will begin seeing a much better return on investment for years to come.

All of these above reasons make OOH ads the most effective way to market towards Millennials and Gen Z these days. If you’re a brand, and you’re not starting to focus more on OOH ad spend… what are you waiting for?? Contact Blue Ridge Creative Marketing today to see how we can help you.


video ads small business

The Nitty Gritty: Video Ads for Small Business

Not too long ago, larger businesses considered video ads as something that was “nice to have”, while smaller businesses would only wish they could have  budget big enough for video ads. However, because of the rapid rise of technology and social media, video advertising has become a significant part of marketing strategy for businesses of all shapes and sizes (not to mention, budgets).

Brands already embracing video ads have had a great advantage over their competition.

Soon, video advertising for small businesses will become essential. Without it, they may not be able to compete for new customers. Video ads provide so many advantages that small businesses without a video marketing strategy may very well get left behind. Here are the top three benefits and defining reasons your small business should consider using video ads.

video ads

1. Continuing to Grow with No Signs of Slowing Down

These days, video is everywhere! People watch over 500 million hours of video on YouTube each and every day. An estimated one-third of all online activity is spent watching video. That’s incredible.

Business owners should know that digital video is not just a “fad.” It’s a real trend that reflects our evolving preferences and use of technology. It shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Video uploaded to social media has also quickly gained traction. Since Facebook introduced native video in 2013, it has grown to have over 500 million people watching at least one video in a given day.

Mobile is the main reason behind this huge growth in video production and consumption. As smartphone adoption rates rose and device owners gained access to cheaper data plans, the simultaneous explosive growth in content production and audiences looking to be entertained by video created a full-blown phenomenon.


2. Video Communicates Emotion More Than Words or Images Alone

Video content combines sight and sound with motion to create a unique experience. By combining moody imagery with soothing music, for example, small businesses can make viewers feel emotion more effectively than images or text can just by itself.

Look at explainer videos for example. A two-minute explainer video is capable of delivering over 200 words from a script. It will also show deeper information with animations, and things like visual cues.

It’s also well-known that folks tend to remember video far more clearly compared to text alone. According to a recent study, the average viewer claims to remember nearly 95% of what they saw in a video compared to just 10& of what they read. That is a giant difference!

This info shows that video does more with less. Your viewers will get more of your message, enjoy it as an experience, and remember it better overall. It’s worth the money for a small business.


3. Rank Higher in SEO and Social Media

YouTube is the actually considered the second largest search engine in the world. It’s also owned by the largest search engine in the world, Google. Google’s search index algorithm gives video about 50 times higher chance of appearing on the first page of results compared to any page that just uses text or imagery.

Video search results tend to show at the very top of SERPs (search engine results pages) or near the top-five overall results. By having your video more likely to appear at the top of the search results, you can get more clicks from searchers. This is a huge advantage to pay attention to. So, using videos can help your website get ranked higher than you’d ever be able to achieve through traditional SEO alone.


There it is, folks. Three very good reasons for your small business to get into video advertising. With the technology to produce and edit high quality video at our fingertips, it has never been cheaper or easier to produce exciting video ads that only big corporations could make just a few short years ago. Remember that you can start small, experiment, and have fun. Because it can be done for cheap, or even free, you have nothing to lose, and everything to gain. Want to get into video ads, but not sure where to start? we can help! Contact us today to get started.

advertising second screen

Effectively Leveraging the "Second Screen"

Let’s face it: we spend A LOT of time on our phones these days. Be it commuting to work on the subway, waiting for our food at a restaurant, in the grocery store line. We’re even using them while watching TV!

In fact, recent research from eMarketer found that over 177 million adults (18+) use their phones while watching TV. While that has big implications if you’re running traditional TV ads, it’s also something that brands need to increasingly think more about when it comes to the mobile experience.

According to the same study, an estimated 177.7 million U.S. adults, (or about 70% of the population), regularly use a second screen device while watching TV. Approximately 26% or 46 million of these “second-screeners” are looking for content related to what they’re watching, but the majority (131.5 million) are not.

How do you effectively reach these people, regardless of when and which device they’re using? How do you stand out and break through the noise amidst the choices coming from not just one but two or maybe even three devices?

second screen advertising

The answer could be screen-agnostic strategies and leveraging existing creative across channels and screens, TV’s included. Here’s how it works: instead of customizing different ads for individual platforms, you’d create content that works across platforms to reach audiences wherever their attention happens to be at the time.

This could mean things like increasing the use of six-second spots, the video ad format of choice for social media channels, largely thanks to the “YouTube generation” and its preferences for snackable – or micro – content, for traditional TV advertising, or maybe even experimenting more with traditional 30 or 60 second spots on social media – which social platforms like Snapchat have recently begun trying. 

But, it’s all still a relatively new phenomena, and part of the problem is that marketers still haven’t figured out the best ways to engage these consumers effectively. Even though consumers may be on their smartphones or tablets while watching TV, they do not yet assume that a TV ad will require them to connect via mobile, so marketers need to really educate consumers if they want this to become a reality.

To really begin taking advantage of “second screen”, testing different screen mechanics and platforms should be encouraged, but marketers should also think about how they can start complimenting mobile and tablet use with their TV ad from the start, and activate it regularly so that folks begin to expect to engage with a TV ad, and it becomes a “new norm.”

social media brand twitter

Can Brands be too "Human" on Social Media?

On the night of the most recent Super Bowl between the Patriots and the Rams, the delicious orange-citrus flavored beverage SunnyD tweeted, "I can't do this anymore." This appeared to be in reference to how slow and boring the game was, but responses from all over Twitter and social media, with many from other major companies, immediately started responding back to the drink company.

Other big brands on the platform offered things like hugs and tissues. Little Debbie, in a since-deleted tweet, sent out tips on how to address clinical depression. All because if you took the original sentence out of context, it almost seemed as if the drink was potentially suicidal. So naturally, folks on social media wanted to help!

As you may have assumed, some outrage quickly followed, with many companies and other twitter users publicly questioning the ethical boundary crossed when brands use depression as a social media marketing strategy. By now, this type of outrage is simply a part of the expected cycle; what's harder to figure out is why, and how did we get here? 

Why are real humans searching for, or expecting meaning from a brand's social media presence? What does it mean that a culture, particularly a young one, is so desperate for help and answers that it will actually seek out life information from a brand's social media page?

Plenty of experts will attest that It's become increasingly important for a brand to behave more and more like a real human individual in order to help them stand out in an ever-growing space. It helps them get attention and increase engagement, which is what marketing and advertising is all about, after all. In 2019, we're definitely not running out of examples of brands trying their hardest to stand out in a crowded space by acting this way on social media. Twitter in particular.

social media brand Wendys

We (as consumers) love it, are entertained by it quite a bit (countless lists of the "funniest brands to follow on Twitter"), laugh at it, and complain or critique it. Think about how many people actively look to Wendy's Twitter account as a "role model" for social media snark. It is all absurd, but it's just the way of the world right now. For marketers, it's an increasingly tricky thing to navigate. Twitter is a medium that's held up by so much irony and snarkiness, that sometimes it's hard to distinguish what's sincere from what isn't. But, In order for these sorts of brands to differentiate themselves, they have to be able to stand out and not offend at the same time... which is a tough thing to do - especially these days.

Sure, brands can stand out in other ways. But, short of taking a stand on a big social issue with a major multi-million dollar ad campaign, this is next best way it seems (much cheaper as well). Using Twitter or other social platforms well as so many brands are doing - in order to provoke a dialogue - demands much quicker thinking, or much less thought that the traditional route. Really, it's a type of spontaneous and improvised marketing that's all about timing and wittiness.

A brand has to be able to sound appropriate on the platform they are using, and speed plays a huge role in this. To be seen as cool, brands have to continually straddle the line between not really caring what they say, and avoiding a PR nightmare for their words. Brands that can hit the right balance see an engagement much more personal than the type brands previously had with the public before social media. This is a huge driving factor for it all.

Everyone knows that behind every brand's social account is a person doing the posting (or sometimes an automated bot - lame!). But, part of the problem with brands becoming more and more human on Twitter, and on social media in general, is that it can sometimes be unclear if it's the individual's voice or the brand's voice sitting behind the keyboard.

Before social media, there was never such a "human-like" interaction between brands and consumers — where things like an orange drink accidentally hinting at its deep depression were not even heard of. Now, there's becoming an increasingly visible blurriness between whose tweets we're reading—the brand or the people behind the brand—and this is surely not the last time, intentional or not, a brand will commodify our sadness, or we as consumers will jump to conclusions about the emotions of the people running a brand's account. These lines are still being drawn, and it's anyone's guess as to how much they'll be moved in the coming years. But, in the mean time, it will probably get worse before we're able to finally find the perfect balance. Until then, we will continue checking in on out favorite brand social media feeds to see the latest "beef" and witty "clap backs" being thrown out on the web.