We’ve lamented the often sad state of Cleveland sports here a timeor two. And yet, like most Greater Clevelanders, we still find ourselves waiting, hoping and dreaming for a day when it all turns around. It’s this rare, unshakable underdog spirit that makes our little place on the North Coast so unique. Maybe next season. Maybe next month. Maybe next week, we’ll make our comeback.
This spirit – this shared desire for a great redemption – helped shape our newest work for The MetroHealth System. Like Cleveland itself, MetroHealth has earned a reputation for its unwavering dedication, compassion and ability to bring people back from the most dire of situations. However, in a region dominated by health care goliaths, MetroHealth hasn’t always gotten the credit it deserved.
But MetroHealth is truly Cleveland’s hospital, and has been since 1837, long before Municipal Stadium was built, or Bob Feller ever threw a fastball. For nearly two centuries, MetroHealth has been serving the people of Greater Cleveland and is now leading the nation (and world) with innovation and expertise in trauma care, rehabilitation, stroke care, cardiac death prevention, neonatal care and much more. An underdog, perhaps, but capable of doing amazing things.
Every day, amazing comebacks happen. They may not take place in our great stadiums, but they are happening in the hallways of MetroHealth. It is our hope that this campaign, and the inspiring true stories featured within, give the great people of Cleveland something to cheer about.
So it is with great excitement that we invite you to take a look at some of our newest work for The MetroHealth System: the proud sponsor of the comeback.
MetroHealth: Beat the Odds
MetroHealth: Christie’s Story
Stay tuned! A whole lot more creative is on the horizon.
Just as Valentine’s Day seemingly belongs to Hallmark and Halloween is now property of the candy companies, this year’s Social Media Day, taking place June 30, is presented by Mashable, the internet’s number one social media news outlet. Social media users are encouraged to help organize and attend meet-ups that celebrate the digital revolution that is Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and more. But despite all of the mind-blowingly awesome things social media technology has made possible over the last few years, plenty of individuals have lost their way trying to navigate the dos and don’ts of this evolving digital landscape. Lucky for us, there are plenty of web sources willing to share these online fails with the world. Below are some of our favorite examples that should provide you with plenty of LOLs this Thursday and beyond. Just don’t laugh too loud – you could be next.
Knowing and learning from what others in the field are doing goes along with my passion for branding. We pretty much all agree on what a brand is and what it is not. I have not seen any new “proprietary” definitions lately.
Agencies in the branding business instead use their brand diagrams as a way to communicate their competence and distinctiveness. They seem to brand the brand diagram. Here are a few examples. Keep in mind, they are all intended to reach the same end result.
I like this one visually. It should be animated though, as I see the wheels turning. Using the pie chart in the smaller circle is a nice touch for someone like me with a research background.
While some people might see this one as a family tree concept, I see the brand as the heart that pumps life into all other marketing and corporate activities.
This is called the “double vortex brand model.” I applaud the emphasis placed on marrying the internal culture with the external brand. In today’s digital world, the marriage is vital to brand consistency and success. To be even more current however, I recommend this one to be presented in 3D, glasses and all.
I like the symmetry created with all the arrows and the comprehensive feel of the visual (although I know some clients who would add to it.) If you step back and look at this one holistically, it’s just in time for the Fourth of July.
The diagram and branding process at Melamed Riley is simple, direct, and most importantly, focused. It is virtually confusion-proof with zero time required to understand the brand components. As a result, all energy is channeled to uncovering and developing a brand. Our diagram doesn’t contribute much of anything beyond simplicity to the process. It’s all about the people who freely bring their enthusiasm and unique perspectives to the table.
It’s funny. There’s nothing we could trademark about the way we work except for the relevance and uniqueness of the brands unleashed by our people.
As everyone knows, this May was one of the soggiest on record, with day after day of gloominess and rain. That, in addition to work pressures and the usual zaniness of a hectic home life, really had a way of dampening my spirits. And this was in the spring, a time when outlooks would typically be a whole lot sunnier.
A few weeks ago, in the midst of all this grayness, I found myself stuck in traffic due to an accident and, of course, more rain. After sitting on the highway at a dead stop for about 45 minutes, traffic started moving and I soon was making my final approach home. And that’s when I saw it stretched across the highway before me — a double rainbow. It was one of the coolest natural phenomena I’d ever seen, and I wasn’t about to pass up this opportunity. Not just to photograph it, but to make a wish. Or a few wishes. After all, I figured multiple bows get you multiple wishes, right? Here were the results.
1. The relentless rain stopped for the two days we were scheduled to shoot some commercials outside. Two beautiful days in a row after weeks of rain.
2. Out of the blue, we picked up a very exciting new piece of business.
3. After surviving innumerable presentations, research with huge online panels and several focus groups, a comprehensive advertising campaign (that was concepted more than a year ago) is about to launch in just days — totally intact. Feels like a miracle.
Was it the luck of the Irish? Was it the rainbow? Was it the fact that we are staffed with some pretty fantastic people who make good things happen? Or was it a little bit of each of these things? Who knows? Some people say, “I’d rather be lucky than good.” I think this spring proves it’s better to be both.
A curious thing happens every year at E3, where literally thousands of people including fan boys, industry analysts, company partners and representatives descend upon the Los Angeles Convention Center.
The 2011 Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) took place just last week on June 6 and 7th. For those of you who aren’t in tune with your inner geek, E3 is the world’s largest trade show detailing the latest and greatest in computer software and video game products for handheld devices, personal computers, and video game consoles.
The three largest players in the videogame industry have become Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo. While a struggle takes place between these giants in magazines, on the Internet, and in game shops around the country, the real time for these organizations to shine is at E3. It’s a chance for developers and publishers to show off what’s in store for the coming holiday season, and why you the consumer, should open your wallet and buy their brand.
E3 is a spectacle, a rare chance to see companies go head-to-head for your hard-earned dollar in a tech-savvy gladiatorial-like arena, sans the battle axes and voracious tigers.
Every two to five years a major change in marketing strategy and corporate message accompanies the newest iteration of technology about to go on sale.
Sony – PlayStation
Sony arrived on the gaming scene in 1994, but has always been a powerful player in the media industry, setting standards for technological benchmarks.
The biggest story following Sony this year was their poor mishandling of the PlayStation Network outage, where hackers in Europe stole thousands of users’ privacy information. Sony neglected to inform customers of the identity theft for a week before breaking their shocking period of silence. Everyone wanted to know how Sony would recover from this PR nightmare, and surprisingly they did quite well.
Sony immediately addressed the outage from outset of their press conference, and made light of the situation while apologizing to their dedicated fan base. Afterward they proceeded to show gamers how they consistently appeal to hardcore/traditional gamers by giving them what they want most: New IP labels and exclusive Japanese games. Sony also wowed audiences with the introduction of the new PlayStation Vita, a handheld device.
Aside from their technology, little has changed with Sony’s PlayStation message in recent years. Sleek, modern, cutting-edge, PlayStation 3 manages to retain no-nonsense gaming while providing more casual gamers with motion-controlled options.
Microsoft – Xbox 360
As far as video game companies go, Microsoft is relatively new to the scene, arriving in 2001.
This year Microsoft heavily pushed one of their newest peripherals, the Kinect, which is Microsoft’s answer to the popular motion-controlled games pioneered by Nintendo Wii. For a system known for its hardcore audience and superior online gaming community service, there was very little shown that garnered much excitement for adults. Microsoft’s shift in focus is understandable, as they are looking to chip away at the wildly profitable newer market of casual gamers Nintendo has uncovered in the last 5 years.
Microsoft’s message is changing from one exclusively about video games to that of entertainment. Not only did Microsoft push motion control, they also focused on making Xbox a hub for all types of media including movie watching, social networking, and even television.
Nintendo – Wii U
Nintendo has traditionally been known for driving innovation in the industry, and has capitalized in the last 5 years on a newer market of casual gamers with their Nintendo Wii. While production costs have been very low and sales have been good, the outdated technology behind the Wii has alienated a lot of Nintendo’s core audience since their 2006 shift.
In April of this year it was announced that Nintendo would be releasing their newest video game console, and would be trying to recapture the hardcore gamer. Many had hoped this would be Nintendo’s return to its roots as a traditional gaming system with modern graphics capabilities. But a poor presentation of the new console “Wii U” left many attendees puzzled as to what exactly their new product was.
Ultimately Nintendo is trying to bring the hardcore and casual crowd under one new system. — a feat many think is utterly impossible on a system that will be likely outdated in just two years time, when other companies will undoubtedly release their newest systems.
Will gaming systems of the future merge television, movies, music, social media, and shopping? It certainly looks like manufacturers are trying. Is there something to be said about strategies where companies do one thing exceptionally well? Will Nintendo be able to continue its successful Blue Ocean strategy of low production costs and unique offerings? One thing is for certain. E3 has left us with more questions about the future than answers, and if we’re even slightly curious about the next best thing, we might just open our wallets, eventually.
As a member of the advertising work force, I am constantly drawn to advertisements. I am no creative, but I still find enjoyment in seeing ads, both good and bad and critiquing them or thinking, “What were they told that made this idea come to life.” My constant enjoyment of advertising can be found in my office – no, not my work office, but my home office. My husband and I (also a member of the advertising work force) started collecting old print advertisements a few years back. They are proudly displayed on the walls of our home office. We have all sorts of print ads. Everything from Chef Boyardee to Bigelow Carpet.
In reading these vintage pieces of creativity (mostly from the ’40s and ’50s) I started to notice a trend … What were they thinking?!? For your enjoyment, here are just a few of my favorites from our collection.
What I found odd: Nothing about this photo makes me want to eat Hunt’s. Nothing.
Something in this ad that you would never see today: A photo such as this.
What I found interesting: A recipe is provided in the copy, which is a trend that is still commonly used today.
What I found odd: They used to make portable televisions, ya know, in case you wanted to watch a show and your friend didn’t own a television – a little hard to comprehend in today’s technological years.
Something in this ad you would never see today: The word “needn’t.”
What I found interesting: $199.90 gets you a television AND a stand! What a deal!
What I found odd: The canned food is positioned as “Real Italian-Style Ravioli.” Now, it is better known for, “My kids are hungry and screaming and I have no time to cook.” Or better yet, “I’m a college student strapped for cash. Chef Boyardee is cheap, and I would rather spend most of my money on beer.”
Something in this ad you would never see today: A Chef Boyardee with dark hair and a mustache. The guy is really showing his age these days.
What I found interesting: The spelling of the Chef’s last name has evolved from Boy-Ar-Dee to Boyardee.
What I found odd: Large bowl of ice cream, large product shot, teeny tiny boat.
Something in this ad you would never see today: Borden had its own show! The fine copy reads, “Check out Borden’s show ‘The People’s Choice.’” From a quick little research, I learned that “The People’s Choice” was a sitcom that aired on NBC involving an ex-marine and a basset hound whose thoughts were voiced by an actress named Mary Jane Croft. I’d watch it.
You’ve all been there: The chips are down. The excrement has hit the fan. The pressure’s on. You’ve got a mountain of important work to do and little time to do it. You’ve got to get grinding, and get grinding fast. For months, that’s how it’s been on my end – both at Melamed Riley headquarters and elsewhere, as we’re doing some renovations around the house and there’s my WMC Fest speech to tackle this weekend.
I don’t know about you, but when it’s time to crank out some serious design, I turn up the music. Typically, when I’m noodling around day-to-day, I’ll switch between music, NPR podcasts and progressive talk radio. But when time is short and you’ve got to hit it out of the park, I’ll listen to music exclusively.
Here, in no particular order other than alphabetic, are nine albums that have always been there for me. Some old, some really new, they’ve helped me finish the job. There are myriad more, too many to list. But this is as good a sampling as any:
1. Fleet Foxes, “Helplessness Blues”
2. Fruit Bats, “The Ruminant Band”
3. LCD Soundsystem, “London Sessions”
4. Neko Case, “Middle Cyclone”
5. Radiohead, “OK Computer”
6. Talking Heads, “Remain In Light”
7. A Tribe Called Quest, “The Low End Theory”
8. Warpaint, “Exquisite Corpse – EP”
9. Wilco, “Wilco (The Album)”
I’d highly recommend any of these the next time you need to enter Grind Mode. What do you find yourself listening to when the going gets tough? I asked my MR colleagues the same thing, and here’s an informal survey of their responses:
Patrick Bensi: When I’m not at MR, I lie around in a hammock while my assistant brings me cheese sandwiches and plays fetch with my dog, so I know nothing about this “grinding out some work” that you speak of. But if I ever did need to participate in some old-fashioned manual labor, I would be listening to Tool (“Lateralus”) and 311 (“311″ – AKA the Blue Album) as pigs flew through the air and fat ladies everywhere sang to the heavens.
Jim Bird: When I need to calm down and change my mood: Simon and Garfunkel’s greatest hits or any James Taylor.
John Butler: I actually listen to podcasts of “Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me,” “Only A Game” and “Car Talk” from NPR. No, not kidding.
Darla Dackiewicz: I certainly do listen to music by mood: Soundtracks, New Age, Jazz and Classical (instrumentals) when I need to be creative. Favorite singers when I need a pick-me-up run the gamut from Josh Groban to Daughtry to Adele to Linda Eder to Clannad.
Stephanie Landes: Lately, I’ve been really digging “The Suburbs” by Arcade Fire for working tune-age. I always find myself going back to Radiohead’s “OK Computer” when I’m grinding out copy for something. Anything by Aimee Mann is great for work too.
Nicole Melville: I’m kind of all over the place, but here are some albums that put me in a trance-, yet propelled-like state. Some oldies, but goodies: Beck, “Guero”; Blacroc, “Blacroc”; The Flaming Lips, “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robot”; Grand National, “B-sides, Remixes & Rarities”; Jay-Z, “The Black Album”; LCD Soundsystem, “Sound of Silver”; Radiohead, “OK Computer”; M. Ward, “Post War”; Aimee Mann, “I’m With Stupid.”
Rick Riley: It’s got to be instrumental – otherwise my thoughts get derailed by the lyrics. Stuff like Jean Luc-Ponty and Spyro Gyra work pretty well.
Bill Roddy: I think running a marathon qualifies as work … here’s what I listen to while I’m trying not to think about all of the miles I have left to run. Don’t judge. Haha. Here they are: “Bawitdaba,” Kid Rock; “Right Now,” Van Halen; “Let’s Go,” Trick Daddy; “Run This Town,” Jay-Z (feat. Rihanna & Kanye West); “Pump It,” Black Eyed Peas; “‘Till I Collapse,” Eminem & Nate Dogg; “Numb/Encore,” Linkin Park & Jay-Z; “Boom Boom Pow,” Black Eyed Peas; “Crazy Train,” Ozzy Osbourne; “Faint,” Linkin Park; “Down With the Sickness,” Disturbed; “Unbelievable,” EMF; “Lose Yourself,” Eminem; “Move Along,” The All-American Rejects; “Stronger,” Kanye West; “Turnt Up (feat. ATL),” Travis Porter & DJ Teknikz; “Put On,” Young Jeezy & Kanye West; “Sing For The Moment,” Eminem; “Heart of a Champion,” Nelly & Lincoln University Vocal Ensemble; “My Time,” Fabolous & Jeremiah; “The Show Goes On.” Lupe Fiasco; “Written In the Stars,” Tinie Tempah (feat. Eric Turner); “The Pretender,” Foo Fighters; “Immigrant Song,” Led Zeppelin; “Not Afraid,” Eminem; “Young Forever,” Jay-Z (feat. Mr. Hudson); “Airplanes,” B.o.B. (feat. Hayley Williams of Paramore); “In the Air Tonight,” Phil Collins; “Empire State of Mind,” Jay-Z (feat. Alicia Keys); “Live Your Life,” Rihanna; “The World’s Greatest,” R. Kelly; “Don’t Stop Believin,’” Journey; “Gonna Fly Now,” Bill Conti (Theme from “Rocky”); “I Made It,” Kevin Rudolf.
It used to be that A-listers would cringe at the thought of doing a commercial. The only exception was to do an ad in other parts of the globe. It was okay to jump on a jet, head to Japan and do an ad for … oh, I don’t know, Suntory Whisky or something. A way to reap all the benefits of a big paycheck, while not ruining your reputation stateside.
In the past, one way of getting around the possibility of tarnishing one’s career by appearing in a commercial was to do an uncredited voiceover. However, today the negative stigma seems to have diminished. Famous spokespeeps can be seen and heard praising big brands that have big budgets without an askance look from critics.
Without the fear of bidding their budding careers adieu, a voiceover is a way to make a quick buck for the famous few. You may be able to discern between such voices as Morgan Freeman, Richard Dreyfuss, Sean Connery and James Earl Jones. But, here are some other famous folks who have joined the ranks of actor-slash-voice talent. See how many you can guess correctly. Answers are provided at the bottom. Good luck!
Now that the NBA Finals has started (and I think we all know where that’s heading), it’s time for me to weigh in on topic near and dear and completely over-talked about here in Cleveland: The impact of LeBron James’ unceremonious (oh, how we wish …) departure from our fair city and the team which bears our name.
As a Cavs fan (and devotee of just about all Cleveland sports), “The Decision” made me angry. Like everybody else, I thought it was executed in the worst taste imaginable, contrived by a mind so insulated from reality that he truly didn’t even realize that it was wrong – or why it was wrong. However, that’s not even remotely the worst thing about it.
One of my favorite Seinfeld episodes is the one where Jerry’s “frenemy” and dentist, Dr. Tim Whatley, DDS, converts to Judaism and immediately starts telling Jewish jokes. This bothers Jerry, who ironically decides to confess his problem with Whatley’s behavior to a Catholic priest:
Jerry: I have a suspicion that Dr. Whatley has converted to Judaism purely for the jokes. Priest: … and this offends you… as a Jewish person? Jerry: Nooo … it offends me as a comedian.
As a marketing professional, and an avid professional sports fan, this perfectly captures the irony of my feelings about LeBron’s departure: It doesn’t offend me as a sports fan; it offends me as a marketing professional.
I follow professional sports as a hobby, but as someone who does marketing for a living, the business of pro sports is far more interesting. Professional sports franchises are just like any other consumer business – and they have brands, which need to be managed. And at the core of these brands is the relationship that they have with their customers (er, fans). Essentially, the “business” relationship between a sports-franchised brand and its fans goes something like this:
“As a fan, I promise to support you by spending money attending games and buying branded merchandise – and in return, you have to try to win and to care about the city you play in and the fans you play in front of.” (Notice that I didn’t say “play for,” but I’ll get to that later.)
This may sound a little cynical – but really, this is what it boils down to. Sports teams are businesses that operate in a city for the entertainment of the fans. And the health of the business relies directly on the popularity of the umbrella sports’ brand (NFL, MLB, NBA) and the product brand (the Cleveland office of NBA, Inc. AKA the Cavaliers). What they are selling is entertainment, but what they’re investing in is customer loyalty.
And fundamentally this loyalty is based on the belief, delusional as it may be, that the name on the front of the jersey has something to do with the city in which the team plays and the fans that support them. Even though it’s a team composed of people from exotic places such as the Dominican Republic or Venezuela or Milwaukee, fans believe that the team that play in jerseys with Cleveland’s name on them, actually plays for Cleveland. That when the team wins, the players feel better having won for the fans. And when they lose, they will strive to win the next game all the harder, for the fans. And that should they be ultimately successful, they will bring a championship “home” to that city and those fans.
Otherwise, the fans would simply root for the team that wins the most because they always have an unfair advantage and more money to spend, regardless of the where they played (I’m looking at you, Yankee fans). And this wouldn’t support a viable, multi-office, revenue-sharing corporate structure such as those we have in the National Football League or the National Basketball Association. Notice I didn’t include Major League Baseball on this list, but that’s another blog for another time.
Which brings me back to LeBron. Did he do anything illegal? No. Immoral? Nope. Ungrateful? Maybe.
What he did, simply put, was to completely ignore the very essence that keeps professional sports a viable business. He admitted, for the first time that I am aware of, what many more cynical people than I have suspected for years: Professional sports exist exclusively so that a very small group of supremely talented athletes can get extraordinarily wealthy while achieving the personal goals to which they feel entitled. He took “his talents to South Beach” because he could. That’s what he wanted to do. Because it was his right to. But that’s not the end of the story.
The end of the story, likely, will be that the Miami Heat will win the 2010-11 NBA Championship. And that this will irreparably and profoundly change the dynamics of professional sports as a branded entertainment property. This shatters the illusion that the athletes draw any connection between the millions of dollars and vast celebrity they receive and the working people who pay for it with modest paychecks and unflinching adoration. LeBron has ruined professional sports by being honest enough to admit that he doesn’t play for anyone but himself. The real question is, why in the world would anybody pay hard-earned money to watch that?