Monthly Archives

August 2013

TV Flatlines, But Online Soars

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Bad news for the big box in the family room; audiences of all ages—but especially men and younger people—are forgoing their TVs and going online to stream shows, movies and viral video clips, MediaPost reports.


Fifty-eight percent of Americans now stream digital video—that’s 20 percent more than five years ago. The most active group is 18- to 24-year-olds; 60 percent watch some programming online, and 1 in 4 watch five or more hours each week. That’s twice the rate of 25- to 49-year-olds.


Male streamers are also fueling the trend. In March 2012, men watched an average of 4.3 hours of online video per month, up 5 percent from the previous year, as shown in this infographic from Adweek.


Advertisers could strike gold with these burgeoning audiences, especially because online commercials are proving to be more impactful than TV ads. The vast majority of online viewers (87 percent) stream ads start to finish, or 20 seconds on average. Compared to TV, online commercials have twice the message stickiness for viewers, 40 percent versus 20 percent, and double the brand recall.


“Digital video presents a big opportunity for marketers, given that online viewers are receptive to ads … and that viewing is growing among hard-to-reach audiences like adults 18-34 and light TV watchers,” Adweek reports.

Young Dads Splurge on Family Fun

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In the family, Dad is CEO of fun. New research from Mintel has found that fathers—especially younger dads—are the most likely to shell out for family entertainment, even in lean times.


“Many dads see their role as one of choosing fun activities that instantly gratify their kids,” says Gretchen Grabowski, travel and leisure analyst at Mintel. “The likelihood that dads are the primary spenders in this sector, both in money and time, opens the door for marketers to target this group for family entertainment promotions.”


Whether it’s movies, mini golf or Disneyland, one-fifth of Millennial dads surveyed spend more than $300 per month on family entertainment. Compare that to just 7 percent of young moms and 11 percent of dads 35 and older, both of whom keep a tighter leisure budget.


Economic recovery is still slow for the entertainment industry, and 42 percent of parents are spending less on family leisure activities than last year. But Millennials are more likely to defy this trend. One-third of parents aged 18 to 35 are spending more this year, as compared to 17 percent of older parents.


The industry can take heart that bonding time still ranks high for everyone in the family. Parents (91 percent), younger kids (77 percent) and even teens and tweens (73 percent) say they enjoy family time. Marketers will do well to focus promotions on the benefits of recreational fun for the family unit and social development of children, Mintel says.

Beer Marketers Ignore Joe Six-Pack

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The nation’s largest brewers are spending fewer and fewer dollars promoting Joe Six-Pack’s favorites: economy beers like Busch, Keystone Light or Miller High Life. Instead they’re pouring advertising dollars into fancier suds, line extensions and fruity labels, Advertising Age reports.


Media spending on the five largest “subpremium” beers—Natural Light, Busch Light, Busch, Miller High Life and Keystone Light—plummeted to $6.9 million last year from $22.4 million in 2011. In contrast, Anheuser-Busch InBev spent $32 million last year just to launch Bud Light Platinum. MillerCoors put its greenbacks behind Redd’s Apple Ale and the craft label Leinenkugel’s.


The big brewers’ goal? Get Joe to trade his regular can for a higher-end bottle and capture a larger share of the growing premium market. To do this, they’re purposefully inching up the price of sub-premium brands while bringing down the price of premium labels.


The strategy is helping tip the scales. Economy beer sales have fallen from 16 percent of total beer sales in 2009 to 14 percent in 2012. Meanwhile craft beer sales rose from 9 to 12 percent.


However, Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors can’t completely ignore Joe Six-Pack or risk losing market share to smaller national brands like Pabst Blue Ribbon and Old Milwaukee. Each brewery tightly guards their share of the segment, and for good reason: economy suds still account for near a fifth of the total U.S. beer market.

It’s Tough Being a Dad in Adland

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Dads in advertising don’t share the same concerns and anxieties as mothers in advertising.


Last month, Digiday looked at the challenges specific to being a mother in advertising. Many of the issues women raised—the needs to multitask and constantly juggle responsibilities at home and work—don’t register with most men.


Men appear more comfortable with leaving more of the parenting to their spouses and often putting work before family—something that’s often seen as necessary in an industry like advertising, which is notorious for its unpredictable hours and grinding travel schedules.


Unfortunately, it’s still true that employers have different expectations of men than of women. Men aren’t seen as primary caregivers, so it’s more unusual when a man says he needs to be home for his children, whereas it’s expected for mothers. So the men accept the long hours and last-minute client requests over the weekends and at late hours as just par for the course in the agency world.


This is why mothers in advertising feel so much extra pressure—they view parenting and their jobs as equal full-time positions. The women in advertising I spoke to seemed much more focused on being efficient multitaskers, taking client calls while breastfeeding and getting extra work done in order to leave early to pick up their kids. Yes, some of the men mentioned that becoming a father made them dillydally less at the office, but they didn’t express the same pressure to equally satisfy the demands of their agency roles and the demands of being a parent.


Shorter hours aren’t in the offing in this industry that revolves around client service. Since men at agencies are the ones who are more willing to put work before family and be gone from home for longer, it’s not surprising they think that.


Excerpted from Being a Dad in Adland, by Saya Weissman, Digiday, June 24, 2013.

Millennials Are Set to Jet

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Though they might be eating ramen noodles today, the Millennial generation will become the majority of U.S. jet-setters within a decade. Airlines, hotels and other travel companies that wish to capture the loyalty of 16- to 34-year-olds need to act now or be left at the gate, according to a report from the Boston Consulting Group.


Millennials are dream customers for the travel industry. They crave adventure, new experiences and exposure to a global world view. Though they currently fly less than older travelers, they spend more per flight and are more likely to travel internationally.


“A clear opportunity exists to shape this generation’s travel-brand preferences,” the report says. Expect to see a jump in business flights by this demographic in the next several years. By 2020, Millennials will take half of U.S. business flights.


Companies are well advised to begin paying attention to young people’s unique needs and preferences around travel. In general, Millennials find booking travel a hassle and prefer to book online using aggregators like Expedia or Priceline. They are more likely to book a pricier ticket last minute, pay for extra legroom and splurge on in-flight entertainment and Wi-Fi.


Airlines have an opportunity to design new loyalty programs around young people’s preferences. For instance, Millennials prefer to earn free travel rather than earn upgrades. The report suggests airlines should build promotions around Millennial’s game-playing dispositions, making it a fun challenge to earn travel rewards.


Group travel presents another opportunity for promotions and profits. Millennials are much more likely to book group trips with friends and family members, and will be looking for deals on blocks of airline seats or hotel rooms.


There’s no easy formula for reaching a demographic that may put equal weight on a friends recommendation as a stranger’s online review. Millennials are the most likely age group to share travel experiences such as photos, blog posts and reviews online, and they are the most likely to read online tips as well. Celebrity endorsements, recommendations from social media networks and the use of humor in advertising are among the outreach techniques the report recommends.

Women Crack ‘Bro Code’ for Chips

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This is the story of how a trio of businesswomen took on billions of male taste buds with one familiar snack: the Ruffles potato chip.


The women—three executives at Frito-Lay—saw that Ruffles scored well with men and set out to rebrand the chip to capture even more male buyers. After three years of what they call “bro research,” Ruffles has new lines of chips with exaggerated textures, metallic packaging and amped-up flavors, Advertising Age reports.


Their silver bullet for nailing guys’ appetites? They aren’t men.


“The closer you are to something, the more you tend to overlook the ‘aha’ [moments] because they are so familiar to you,” said Christine Kalvenes, VP-Innovation for Frito-Lay.


To unlock the secrets of men’s salty cravings, the execs ­­— Kalvenes, Christina Menendez and Pam Forbus—dispatched a team to interview men in neighborhood bars across the country. They followed up with online surveys and even gave men head cams to document shopping trips.


Their surveys confirmed that guys love Ruffles, especially their thickness, crispier bite and, of course, their ridges. So they unveiled the Ruffles Ultimate line with ridges twice the size of regular Ruffles. A new ad campaign for the Ultimate chips stars the absurdly mustached “Ruff McThickridge” in a tongue-in-cheek homage to 1970s car chase flicks.


The Ruffles brand team also revamped flavors in a new line called Ruffles Max, inspired by “real food guys want” like steak, beer-battered onion rings and barbeque ribs.


The resulting sales are mixed thus far. U.S. sales of Ruffles rose 4 percent in 2012, but then took a dip in the early part of 2013. Ruffles still trails its sister brand Lay’s in total sales, though the team at Frito-Lay says more advertising is coming.

Social Media’s Gender Lines

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When the visually stunning Pinterest arrived on the social media scene, it was a boon for marketers trying to reach women, who make up 70 percent of its user base. Women continue to dominate the social media sphere: They outnumber men on Twitter by 40 million and make up 58 percent of Facebook users, according to this infographic by


So where can social marketers reach men? First, through videos. Male users have a slight edge (54 percent) on YouTube, and men watch YouTube videos for about an hour every week, as compared to 35 minutes per week for women (though that number is rising).


Brands that are trying to reach men also need to pay attention to Google Plus, which has a much smaller user base but leans decidedly toward men at 64 percent. However, only 1 in 4 of men use Google Plus for social interactions like group video hangouts or community groups.


The professionally focused LinkedIn is one place where men dominate a largely interactive agenda. LinkedIn has a 54 percent male user base, and those users like to research companies, reconnect with past associates and spearhead face-to-face networking opportunities, the research shows.


But with male usership lagging on most social sites, marketers trying to reach them have an uphill battle. Pinterest alone drives more business referral traffic than Google Plus, LinkedIn and YouTube combined. Yet brands also can’t afford to ignore men, who are making more household purchasing decisions and increasingly looking to their social networks for advice about what products to buy.

Alcohol Brands Capture Men

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All those beer commercials and whiskey billboards are working, especially on men, M&M Global reports.


In a survey of Brits, 53 percent of men said advertising strengthens their loyalty to specific alcohol brands, as compared to 45 percent of women, according to research from communications agency G2 Joshua.


Young Millennials are even more easily swayed. Sixty percent of 18- to 24-year-olds said advertising influences which bottles they pull off the shelf.


The study arrived amid controversy about proposed bans on alcohol advertising in the UK.


“The research showed that 90 percent of Brits stated that the amount they drink would not change should a ban on advertising be introduced,” the article said.


Reaching Mr. Mom

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Marketers love moms. Seen as the CEO of their households, moms are the target of millions of ad campaigns each year. Unsurprisingly, the majority of market research aims to decode moms’ shopping behavior, attempting to find out where, how, why and what moms buy.


But a new market research project has unveiled a rising consumer force: Mr. Mom. Dads today are deeply involved in their children’s lives and are making far more of the household purchase decisions jointly with their spouses. Mom used to purchase most of the baby and child products, household goods, clothing and more. Now, dad is increasingly getting involved in all of these purchase decisions. As dads embrace their new family roles, marketers can no longer afford to market only to moms.


Yahoo! recently partnered with Hunter Qualitative Research, and db5, a Los Angeles quantitative consultancy, to conduct a comprehensive study of dads today. The study came to one main conclusion: Men are getting more involved in every aspect of family life.


Over 80 percent said they already have a say in over 10 household purchases per year and would like to be more involved in purchase decisions. These changes also create a greater desire to get the best deals and take charge, with 94 percent of dads citing the desire to be a smarter consumer and 86 percent wanting to be more in control over purchase decisions.


The key takeaway from the research is that men – and especially dads – have become more involved in every aspect of family life, including making household purchase decisions. Yet dads feel ignored by marketers – and so instead turn to social networks and peers to get information on products they’re interested in buying. Forty-six percent of respondents said they use their mobile phones as part of the shopping experience to call home while in the store, check prices and availability, read reviews, research brands or make purchases.


There’s a tremendous opportunity for brands to build loyalty with this growing audience. Dads like humor, free trials, are generally more open to advertising and have larger social networks than women. Brands that create deep connections with dads today will capture a larger share of household purchases in decades to come.


Excerpted from Mr. Mom, by Jon McNeill,, February 2013.


From Bros to Men

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Popular men’s websites range from the Greek life-worshipping Total Frat Move to side-boob celeb tracker Egotastic and lifestyle blog Guyism. Men’s sites are visual and honest. They love photos of women, real hookup stories and tales of frat initiation. They want to know how to meet women, what to wear to get laid and how to cook a steak on the grill in time for football season.


While plenty has been written celebrating popular websites geared at women and their interests—Jezebel, the Hairpin, the Frisky, etc.—the places bros gather on the web remain cloaked in general disapproval, charged with embracing misogyny and rape culture.


Yet they’ve become media empires in their own right. BroBible and Guyism have been bought out by larger media companies, and the ad dollars are rolling in. Now, some of the sites are starting to grow up, taking their readers from “young dude doing a keg stand” to “young man paying his mortgage and ordering fine wine.”


It’s “Bro” media. Once for a specific type of man, for better or worse, and now aimed at the “every guy.”


There’s a mixed bag of responsibility that comes with the more racy or sexist content on bro sites. An article on BroBible titled “9 Ways to Get Her to Leave After Sex” is clearly meant to be a joke, but at face value, it could be taken as an example of how to treat women. Where BroBible once focused only on girls and sports, it’s now driven by relationship material, self-improvement posts, and content about easing post-grad woes. BroBible’s not the only one trying to grow up.


Chickipedia, part of Break Media’s men’s lifestyle blog MadeMan, is exactly what it sounds like: a Wikipedia-style catalog of hot women. But while the MadeMan reader enjoys the occasional picture post, he more so wants to know how to dress and date better.


“Our readers are kicking it up a notch, and part of that is respecting women,” MadeMan Managing Editor Steve Mazzucchi said. “It’s bringing guys along on their journey from bro to man.”


Excerpted from Bros II Men: frat media tries to grow up, by Gaby Dunn, The Daily Dot, June 10, 2013