Brands Want To Be Like Mike (and Ike)

For anybody unfamiliar with the Mike and Ike story, for over a year now the popular candy has been engaged in an extensive marketing campaign aimed at re-branding their product. Since April of 2012 Just Born (the owners of the Mike and Ike brand) has been running a social campaign- posting stories about Mike and Ike’s breakup on Facebook, Twitter and various blogging sites.

The reason for the duo’s split was down to ‘creative differences’ after the pair couldn’t agree on new flavours and packaging for the candy. Mike was leaving to focus on his music career (his debut single entitled “Strawberry or Die”) while Ike now had the time to focus on his art. The somewhat controversial twist of the pair also filing for gay divorce made the break up even more intriguing and the story was picked up by various media outlets like the John Stewart show- which only added to the story’s popularity. Viral videos (that continue to upload) on YouTube, as well as the Mike and Ike movie added to the hype surrounding the candy duo’s comeback and made the product re-launch a massive success.

Traffic to the Just Born social media sites (and website) has more than tripled since last year and the brand now has over 1 million fans on Facebook. Just Born has also reported a 7.2% increase in sales- the largest in the brand’s history.

The pillars of the campaign were set primarily in:

  1. The Packaging (or the Physical)- This let people know the campaign was for real. The physical aspect of Mike sometimes being scribbled out on boxes of the candy and other times Ike being so reinforced the story being told and made people question if this was for real.

  2. The Digital-  the ability for the brand’s audience to engage with the story in the form of a the two-way dialogue between the brand and it’s audience was crucial to the campaigns success. Leveraging the power of Social media not only built a following, it kept the audience engaged and turned customers into fans.

For me this campaign not only highlights vital considerations for re-inventing brands, it also offers a blueprint on how to do it. Firstly, it shows just how important social media is- to the re-branding process and to an organisation’s digital strategy. It also shows how important it is to the customer (i.e. the brand’s audience).


Let’s take a closer look at this story and while doing so you might consider how you could apply these steps to your re-branding process:

  • Create an engaging brand narrative that is captivating or humorous (or both) to your target audience.

  • Identify the best ways to engage that audience with the narrative. Between Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and various blogging sites it is likely that the market for Mike and Ike candy engaged with this campaign at some point in time.

  • Decide on the story, decide on the media AND STICK TO IT! The Mike and Ike story has been running for over a year now. Sometimes businesses expect social media to work miracles instantly- and sometimes it can- but more often than not it requires work. This doesn’t mean you can’t eventually become as successful as some of the bigger brands out there (case in point here) and build a sizeable following that actually engages with your product. After all it’s not just likes and shares we are looking for, but rather potential clients and fans.

  • Find out who is popular in your target audience’s circles. Make use of endorsements from celebrities, symbols or figures who can reach a wider audience. In this case, rapper/producer Nelly along with NBA basketball player Lamar Odom were included in the campaign to identify with a specific type of audience. This attached meaning to the story and again added to its intrigue and its humour.

  • REWARD LOYALTY. As a way of ensuring that Mike and Ike’s new found popularity lasted and translated into increased sales, the brand introduced a new flavour- “strawberry reunion”. They are also rewarding customers for their engagement over the past year with numerous special offers, promotions and interactive games on their website and Facebook page. This is an important note that is sometimes overlooked; just because a campaign  is “over” it should never really end (especially one as successful as this). Now that you have done all this hard work and increased your traffic (and hopefully your sales), sustain it’s success as long as possible and use it to get started on the next big thing! Just like products, campaigns also have a life cycle.


The Mike and Ike campaign is not the only successful re-branding story that utilized the power of an integrated digital and social  strategy. If you have any others we would love to hear them!

Email Marketing- If it Ain’t Broke…

Email marketing is still one of the best forms of online marketing out there, but it is fast becoming an overlooked tool by many marketers. Around 25% of lead generation, for example, still comes from email marketing campaigns which represents a greater ROI than that of leads generated through social media.

One of the reasons it is still such an effective tool is because email marketing has the ability to reach a specific client and speak to them in a personable way. Email marketing also has the ability to drive customers to your website or a landing page- all the while engaging them with your brand.

While the concept of email marketing is still sound, the problem today is that some marketers are not adapting to the changes brought about by the ever-evolving mobile market. According to a survey by Marketing Land over 58% of 1,100 email marketers said they were not designing their emails to render with the mobile market. Given the fact that mobile usage is increasing dramatically and is set to overtake desktop by the end of 2013 there is a massive opportunity being lost here.

We at Posner know the value email marketing can add to your business from the results we get for our clients on a daily basis. There is an enormous opportunity out there today for businesses to gain a competitive advantage by adopting an email strategy that is designed for both the mobile AND desktop market. While some people may question the relevancy of email marketing today, we highly recommend that it be incorporated into your online strategy.

A report by eMarketer in 2012, for instance, showed that email marketing was still a very effective tool for marketers because the click through rates were still above a level that is considered ‘good’- according to Google Adwords, a click-through rate of around 3% is considered to be effective. The example given below represents the click through rates for the Financial Services Industry, who boasted a click-through rate of around 5.4% at that time (over Q1 in 2012).

Email Marketing Performance

What is even more interesting from this report is that it highlights where these emails are being opened. The graphic below shows that in 2011 over 70% of emails were opened on Desktops with mobile around the 21%. mark. In 2013 around 50% of emails are opened on Desktops while 41% are now being opened on mobile devices.

Open Rate Share Email Marketing

With mobile trends set to overtake desktop by the end of 2013, businesses that adopt an ‘early worm’ policy by recognising the importance of the mobile market could a greater ROI.

Unfortunately what we are seeing for now is a correlation between the increase in the amount of people using mobile devices to open emails, and the lack of marketers who are designing their email campaigns with this in mind. How many times have you tried to open an email on your iPhone or Android and found that you can’t see it properly?

Another reason why email marketing is effective is because it is trusted and because people who open and click through your emails expect that you are trying to sell them something. We have found that clients respond very favourably in this regard to email campaigns. Adding links to your emails is also a great way to increase your SEO and drive your clients to a landing page or website, all the while increasing the length of time they are spending with your brand.

What the future holds for email marketing
The future of email marketing is bright. However, marketers need to realise the importance of mobile and the different rules that apply to the mobile market. The Interactive Service Team at Posner has helped many businesses optimize their marketing and advertising campaigns through a multitude of options for both mobile and desktop. We have found that if your email marketing strategy is not compatible with both mobile and desktop, the fact is that your click-through rates will take a massive drop. Aside from not reaching your audience, it also becomes difficult to evaluate a campaign’s true performance.

Designing an email marketing campaign
While there is no standalone tactic that ensures success with email marketing, our experience at Posner has found that it is important to look at each individual campaign and understand the purpose of the campaign. Instead of sending out a bunch of emails to your entire contact list hoping for success, you should ask yourself:

  • Are you targeting the right demographic?
  • What is it that you want people to do with the information you are sending them?
  • How are they likely to respond to the information?
  • And how are you encouraging a positive interaction with your brand through these emails?

The next thing to consider is whether the information can be accessed on all devices.
While it is important to constantly add new tools to your businesses marketing kit, it is just as important not to forget the ones that still work.

Make Your Sweet Blog Stick with Strategic Inbound Marketing

In today’s business world, the standard for social marketing should be set to “high”. Yet, while many companies are very active with their outbound social marketing initiatives, how much attention is being paid to their overall inbound social marketing strategies?

Inbound marketing draws in traffic without unconcealed or blatant outreach (which would be outbound marketing). Examples of inbound marketing include: streaming podcasts, videos (hopefully viral) and blogging, plus techniques to make sure that a company’s content is easy to find including search engine optimization. After you draw in potential consumers, what makes them STICK to become a “supporter”, “fan” or a “follower”? The answer is GOOD CONTENT. In regards to a website’s “stickiness”, Ann Capps of Artipot.com (@artipot @anncapps) writes: “Driving customers to your site is one thing, but without compelling content they have no reason to stay.”

Make Your Sweet Blog StickBlogs with “sticky” content are blogs with quality, worthwhile, reliable, and perhaps most importantly, relevant content. Of course, these adjectives are all subjective, and that’s why a blogger must know who he/she wants to reach and influence. But just hoping that people will come across your content isn’t enough! A well thought-out strategy is necessary for your content to tally views and for your blog (thus your business) to see tremendous gains. Inbound marketing involves actively, consistently and strategically putting content on the internet for other people to come across while they are doing their own personal searching and browsing.

Now…how do we get the blog seen more? People already searching for something will come across your blog organically if you offer/are writing about what they have searched for and need. This can be done by well thought-out keyword entry, tagging, backlinking (be sure to look for a Part II of this post for tips and tricks on the aforementioned techniques). The right keywords, meta-tags, and linking drives traffic to the blog, and then optimizing in the blog can enhance your SEO standing!

Another great tip is to build relationships with other bloggers: making genuine comments on another blogger’s posts (a blogger who you actually want to be connected with) is one great way to catch that blogger’s attention. After a while, said blogger may link to you from their website. Yes, we’re reaching out, but our actual technique for gaining traffic is a draw-in: blog readers see a link to your blog from a page that they already find credible and are already using, making it easier to gain views because there is, for one thing, less risk of wasted time when someone is recommended another “expert” from an already accredited and trusted source of theirs.

Well, we’ve covered why blogs are so important, and in Part II, we will discuss in further detail how to keep people sticking around you and your content (hence the term “sticky” content). As we said above: “Blogs with ‘sticky’ content are blogs with quality, worthwhile, reliable, and, perhaps most importantly, relevant content. Of course, these adjectives are all subjective, and that’s why a blogger must know who he/she wants to reach and influence.” What’s your favorite blog, and why is it your favorite? Hey—you can even let us know how you found that favorite blog of yours. These things, you’ll find, are interesting to observe in retrospect.

Trending in Advertising: Placement with Canadian Media

Media placement continues to play an important role in branding that may never fully be achieved by newer marketing channels. As the landscape is constantly changing, we’re seeing a major shift with regards to attention in other geographic locales. We’ve been particularly impressed with the Canadian market.

Our neighbor to the north enjoys a stable economy, a rising population and untapped marketing potential. Let’s have a look into what’s happening in Canada today.

POPULATION
Current estimates put the population of Canada at 35 million. Canada is one of the world’s fastest growing countries due mostly from immigration, especially to British Columbia, from the Far East, Middle East, India and Iran. Since 9/11, the United States has practically closed its doors to new immigrants. As a result the third world’s best, brightest and richest have been making their way to Canada. These new immigrants have contributed to a resurgent baby boom.

The Canadian population is 11% the size of that of the U.S. If Canada were a U.S. state, it would almost be as large as our most populous state, California. If the Toronto-Hamilton Metro Area were a U.S. market, it would rank fifth behind Philadelphia and before Dallas-Ft. Worth.

Geographically, Canada is the second largest country in the world, but 80% of its population lives within 100 miles of the American border. This is because Canadians are dependent on imports and exports across the border; shipping costs rise the farther goods are moved north or south.

The top 10 markets represent 71% of the population. And 44% of the population is concentrated in three major markets – Toronto-Hamilton, Montreal and Vancouver.

In terms of language, 66% of Canadians classify themselves as English speaking and 21% as French speaking.

ECONOMY
Although in many ways Canada is tied to the U.S. economy, Canada did not suffer the recent recession that plagued the U.S. as severely. According to Moody’s, Canada ranked #1 in the world for financial strength. Forbes said that Canada is the best country for business in the G-20.

On average Canadians are wealthier, more likely to be employed and have better healthcare and social safety nets than their neighbors to the south. The 2013 Social Progress Index, which assesses 50 nations in terms well-being benchmarks such as nutrition, medical care, shelter, access to higher education and environmental sustainability, ranked Canada #4 in the world. The U.S. was ranked #6.

MEDIA
Canadians have access to the same media choices that are available to us in the States. These include TV, cable, radio, billboards, newspaper, magazines, internet, social media and mobile. However there is more government regulation, and media choices are divided into English and French languages. Despite government regulations, much American media spills into Canada. About 60% of media revenues are controlled by five large multi-media companies.

Due to the vast geography, the multiple languages and the many ethnicities, it is hard to find national media that “covers everyone.”

TELEVISION
Canadians watch about 20% less TV than their U.S. counterparts. There are three national (English) networks, two French networks, and many regional and local channels. There is limited availability of television time, and it can be costly to buy.

RADIO
Of the 1200+ over-the air stations, 75% are broadcast in English, 22% in French and 3% in other languages. Other than the non-commercial CBC radio network, all stations are local. Listening is split evenly between in the home and in the car.

DIGITAL
Canadians have a higher internet usage penetration at 83% than the U.S (78%). Online and social media come the closest to providing a national media presence.

NEWSPAPERS
Unlike the U.S., newspaper readership continues to grow in Canada. Much newspaper readership is done online or through mobile devices.

There are 121 daily newspapers in Canada, 89% of which are in English. Only the “Globe and Mail” and the “National Press,” both published in Toronto, can be considered national in any sense. As in the U.S., newspaper publishers have diversified with free dailies (Metro), alternative, community and college papers.

MAGAZINES
There are over 2000 Canadian consumer and business magazines. Some of the largest include Chatelaine (women’s), Macleans (news) and Canadian Living (lifestyle).

Interested in learning more about media placement in Canada, or anywhere else in the world? Contact the Posner media placement team by phone 212-867-3900 or email info@posnermiller.com

Defining Luxury Branded Real Estate

When Peter and I went to Dubai to speak to international developers at Cityscape in 2007, I had the pleasure of touring the Baccarat residences. I was impressed with the level of detail and how its designers had successfully integrated the brand’s products throughout this property thereby reinforcing the brand dynamic.

baccarat residence interior

Baccarat Residence Paris

Branded real estate today leverages well-respected luxury brands and turns properties into destinations. Some industry insiders see “Retail Branded” properties as the next big thing, and project that they could become the norm as demand for high standards of design, amenities and service increase among consumers in the luxury market. These global endorsements of high-end brands for a certain echelon of hospitality and residential real estate have been licensed by several familiar brands including: Virgin, Versace, Bulgari, Baccarat and Armani.

Globally as real estate development costs are ever increasing in prime markets, research is showing that developers can ensure success and improve their profitability by strategically aligning with these high end brands, offering fully-serviced designer luxury hotels and residences that are appealing to ultra high net worth consumers. The trend began as a way to add more of a mark on a property.

While creating upscale branded properties has been going on for generations with names like Biarritz, San Remo, and Dakota, there has been an evolution of luxury branded properties over the last decade. It began as residential developments chose to link to trusted high end hotel brands like The Ritz-Carlton, Four Seasons and St. Regis. More recently, as a billionaire class of UHNW has emerged developers continue to seek ways to elevate the perception of their product to attract this audience.

Developers with properties in A+ locations, with outstanding views need not pursue licensing agreements with luxury retail brands. Yet, properties in B locations are apparently able to achieve similar success and price points when the property is associated with a respected luxury retail brand. In fact, such properties can become the anchor to new upscale neighborhoods.

Armani Casa 20 Pine

Armani Casa Deck at 20 Pine

Developers also continue to bring in top architects and designers to add to the cache of new developments with celebrity architects like Frank Gehry, Richard Meier, Herzog & de Meuron, Robert Stern and Philippe Starck, Cesar Pelli, Enrique Norton (who became luxury brands in their own right).

Branded properties around the world are being valued around at 30% to 300% more valuable than other competitive real estate when they are attached to one of these high-end name brands. What analysts and reporters are saying, the reason these branded properties are so successful is the sense of innovation, high end services, impeccable design and the “trust” associated with buying into a designer brand meaning you’ll have a higher quality and sexier product. What consumers also feel is that they are buying into a community, going beyond the bells and whistles, decor and eccentric public areas, buyers feel as those they are part of other like minded contemporaries when buying into a certain style or aesthetic, that they are in a ‘club’.

People purchasing these premium properties, are walking into the buying experience with the same level of expectations they would have walking into a designer shop on 5th Avenue. The expect a higher level of service, a very distinct style and user experience. This translates to how they are shopping for these residences attached to their beloved designer brands.

Mercedes House

Mercedes House NYC

So how did this pan out for the 20 Pine/Armani Casa and the Mercedes House, two designer properties here in NYC?

The 20 Pine/Armani Casa condominiums was one of the few instances we found where this was not as successful a pairing as it was in other countries as it came to the market as the real estate bubble of 2007 burst. However, today six years later, the property holds a greater appeal than many downtown properties and has been on solid footing with increasing property values. It continues to out perform the lower Manhattan market as a whole.

More recently, The Mercedes House a new rental on the far west side appeals to young professionals who want great amenities and are aspiring to a higher quality of life. This property, developed by of Two Trees Management Company, was able to leverage the Mercedes car dealership at its base. The property is commanding higher prices and greater interest than other neighboring new buildings by venerable apartment developer Archstone.

Does the concept of excess and blatant affiliation work favorably for high profile buyers today – after all of the Wall Street’s bad publicity? A year ago, I would have said no, but the period of remaining low profile and more humble seems to be over. Glamour is back and it looks like trends are moving back towards interest in these high level brands again with the introduction of the Baccarrat residences here in New York off 5th Avenue. Based on global performance, it is pretty clear that this trend will continue to move forward and we’ll be seeing a lot more of these kinds of pairings in the NYC, the US and around the world in real estate development industry in the near future.

To reach Bob Posner,  to discuss your company’s marketing needs, please call 212-867-3900 ext 302 or email bposner@posnermiller.com

Posner Advertising Ramps Up Digital Services Capabilities

Established Industry Leader in Lifestyle Focused Marketing Increases Capabilities & Solutions for Impressive Client Roster

Posner Advertising, a full-service agency with the credentials, creativity and a passion for building and branding businesses, has been implementing an expansion of their digital marketing offerings. Known for marketing at the speed of change, the well-established agency takes on additional hires to drive a broad spectrum of integrated interactive offerings for their prestigious clients, including;

  • Web Design & Development
  • Branded Social Media Promotions & Pages
  • Video Marketing
  • Content Marketing
  • Inbound Blog Marketing
  • Social Media & Community Management
  • Behavioral Marketing
  • Mobile Application Development & Marketing
  • Email Marketing
  • Content Management Systems
  • Interactive Displays & Kiosks
  • SEM – Search Engine Marketing
  • SEO – Search Engine Optimization
  • Digital Media Planning
  • Custom Reporting and Analytics

Posner Advertising Digital Services


What the future holds…

With the unfolding of this new wave of offerings comes an exciting evolutionary step forward for Posner Advertising.  The agency will be continuing to cultivate their suite of digital services, and plans to make other strategic hires in the coming months.  Stay tuned, the agency will be releasing more news regularly as well as posting updates on their blog.

Posner Advertising, Inc., established in 1959, is a full-service agency headquartered in the Flatiron District of New York. They offer their clients the unique blend of extensive traditional experience and sophisticated digital marketing skills that has facilitated a long history of marketing success stories.  For sales and further inquiries, contact Bob Posner at 212-867-3900 or visit www.posnermiller.com

Are you Missing out on Potential Customers?

Unlike a retail setting where you know customers have found you the minute they walk in the door, online customers can be searching for the products you offer 24/7 without you even knowing.

Every day consumers turn to the internet to research products and services.  As customers search online, businesses often miss out on the chance to engage potential customers because of missing elements on their company website. Read the rest of this entry »

B2B or B2C – 7 Reasons to Consider Social Media

Having a social media presence is no longer an option for most businesses. In today’s online environment, having a social media presence is as important as having a website. Savvy customers will look your business up not just on a general internet search but also on Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook to see how often you update your pages and how responsive you are to customer comments and questions.

Although, social media is generally thought to be a business-to-consumer marketing channel, there is growing evidence that social media benefits B2B. A Hubspot 2010 State of Inbound Marketing Lead Generation Report states that B2B companies that blog generate 67% more leads per month than those who do not. In a BtoB 2012 B2B Social Media Marketing Report, B2B marketers were asked to choose the most important method used for their social media efforts. LinkedIn was chosen by 30% of respondents, followed by   Facebook (20%), blogging (19%), Twitter (16%) and YouTube (8%). Read the rest of this entry »

7 Elements of Viral Videos

In the last post, we focused on how online video advertisements enhance brand awareness, increase customer engagement and ad performance.  Whether you want your next ad to be like the Kia Soul Hamster or the T-Mobile Angry Birds Live, the power of viral videos is undisputed.

By definition, viral videos are videos that become popular through sharing on the internet through social media sites, video sharing sites and e-mail.  The appeal of creating a viral video is the possibility of having thousands of people talking about and sharing a video about your brand.

By the end of 2011, the Visible Measures 2011 Social Advertising report stated consumers had chosen to watch video ads over 5.6 billion times.  The same report stats 1 in 12 campaigns drove over one million views in 2011, 40 campaigns totaled over 10 million views and the average campaign generated 765,000 views. In 2009, the average view for a video ad campaign was approximately 460,000.   Read the rest of this entry »

Enhance Your Brand with Video Ads

The world of digital marketing continues to evolve and the internet has become just as important as print and television to advertisers. According to Nielsen, in 2011 over 274 million Americans have internet access, doubling the number of Americans with access in 2000. That number will keep growing as record sales of tablets and smartphones are on tap for 2012.

Once the star of online advertising, banner ads are losing their allure to more entertaining and engaging video ads.  Early on, static banners gave advertisers the chance to reach new customers and provided the ability to easily track web visits back to the ad source.  Banner ads were the staple and trusted choice for online advertising.   Things have changed. Read the rest of this entry »